Notes and Comment Blog

Next be your family

Jul 8th, 2016 12:45 pm | By

Ewa Banaszak on Facebook yesterday:

This is what has happened to our family last night !! This is so sad and disturbing to go through… Especially that we have been in here for 10 years, working, studying and putting all that we can… Please share and spread the word so that it doesn’t happen to someone else!!!

To stało sie w naszym rodzinnym domu wczoraj wieczorem !!! Jest to tymbardziej smutne i niepokojące przez co przechodzimy… Tymbardziej że mieszkamy tutaj 10 lay, pracujemy, uczymy sie i wkładamy wszystko co możemy… Proszę o udostępnianie i nagłaśnianie żeby się to nie powtórzyło…

Updating to add:

The BBC reports:

A Polish family are “scared to go out on the streets” after a racially motivated arson attack at their home.

Ewa Banaszak said her family wanted to stay but racist comments have “intensified” since the referendum.

Police said the fire was started deliberately in a shed at the house in Plymouth and a “hate-filled letter” containing threats was sent.

Ewa Banaszak, aged 22, has lived in Plymouth with her family for nine years. She described what happened: “My sister was in the bathroom and noticed the shed was on fire from the garden.

“The shed contains bicycles, an electric lawnmower and trimmer – there wasn’t any fuel in it. My dad used the hose to try and fight the flames. It wasn’t working well so he opened the doors and hosed inside.”

Ms Banaszak told the BBC she “didn’t feel safe any more”.

“It has been very intense after the referendum, with people saying ‘go back to your own country’. We’ve had verbal comments over the last couple of years but it has intensified after the vote and now this, which is the most serious incident yet.

“We have been here for such a long time. I will always be Polish but this is our home, where we live and work. People are scared to go out on the streets and speak Polish. We won’t go back.”

The police believe the fire was started deliberately.

No escape

Jul 8th, 2016 11:56 am | By

What was that we were saying about racism and abuse and hatred and violence?

In Fermo, Italy on Tuesday:

A Nigerian man who had recently fled to Europe to escape Boko Haram militants was beaten to death on the streets of Italy this week as he tried to defend his wife against racist abuse.

Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36, and his wife Chimiary, 24, were walking through the north-central Italian town of Fermo on Tuesday when a man called Chimiary a “monkey” and tried to grab her, according to local priest Vinicio Albanesi, a friend of the couple.

Namdi intervened, and the resulting fight left him in a coma. He was pronounced dead on Wednesday.


Amedeo Mancini, a 38-year-old Italian man who is part of an “ultras” gang of extremist soccer fans, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing Namdi. Mancini told investigators that he’d insulted the couple because he thought they were stealing a car, and he claimed that he’d acted in self defense after Namdi attacked him, HuffPost Italy reported.

But Chimiary told the priest that the attacker had bludgeoned her husband with a road sign and continued to beat him as he lay unconscious on the ground, according to HuffPost Italy.

Read the story of what they went through in Nigeria and then on the escape to Italy and then when they got there, if you want to break your heart. Watch the video of their wedding, performed despite their lack of the documents necessary for a legal marriage.

Namdi’s death this week inspired an outpouring of condolences from officials and supporters around Italy. It also heaped scrutiny on the anti-immigrant backlash flaring up across the continent.

“Today the government is in Fermo with Father Vinicio and local institutions in memory of Emmanuel. Against hate, racism and violence,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tweeted early Thursday.

Fermo Mayor Paul Calcinaro said Namdi’s death was “like a nightmare” and condemned the “creeping racism that cannot and must not find space in any way in our city.”

While the town of 40,000 has overwhelmingly welcomed migrants and refugees, there have been pockets of anti-immigrant sentiment. Several churches hosting refugees have been targeted in bomb attacks in recent months.

Trajectory: bad.

Verbal abuse, spitting and barging

Jul 8th, 2016 10:56 am | By

The Guardian tells us:

Police recorded a 42% rise in complaints of hate incidents – numbering over 3,000 – in the weeks before and after the EU referendum, amid a heated national debate about immigration leading up to Britain’s decision to leave the union.

New figures released on Friday showed a large rise in reported incidents, averaging over 200 a day. Police said 3,076 hate crimes and incidents were reported to forces across the UK between 16-30 June; one week before and one week after the vote on 23 June.

Police chiefs said the rise amounted to a 42% increase in reporting week on week, and an increase of 915 reports compared to the same time last year. Privately some police chiefs fear the real figure could be higher, with past studies suggesting just one in four hate crimes are reported to police.

Also of course there could well be distortions in the reporting caused by Brexit, reporting on Brexit, reporting on post-Brexist racism, all that – people could be prompted to report things that they wouldn’t have otherwise. The reporting of incidents of X doesn’t equate precisely to the actual incidents of X. Reporting is just reporting, and it’s highly fallible.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, said:“We now have a clear indication of the increases in the reporting of hate crime nationally and can see that there has been a sharp rise in recent weeks. This is unacceptable and it undermines the diversity and tolerance we should instead be celebrating.

“Forces have been monitoring and managing hate crime more robustly since the attacks in Paris in 2015. We believe that greater awareness and confidence in the police response has contributed to this increase in reporting.”

Police said the main type of offence seen during the 16-30 June period was “violence against the person, which is primarily harassment, common assault and other violence (verbal abuse, spitting and ‘barging’)”.

The trajectory – it is not good.


Jul 8th, 2016 9:29 am | By

The words “Reichstag fire” keep coming to mind.

The Washington Post:

At least five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday evening in an attack by snipers in downtown city streets that followed a peaceful protest over recent police shootings. The Dallas police chief said an attacker told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

The city’s downtown suddenly exploded into violence at around 9 p.m. when gunshots echoed through the streets, sending protesters and police officers alike scattering for cover. Authorities said two civilians were also injured during the shooting.

I can see such terrible possibilities flowing from this.

The police had a long conversation with one suspect before they killed him with a robot explosive.

Before they sent in the robot, Brown said, a hostage negotiator talked to the suspect at length.

In those conversations, Brown said the suspect told police that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter” and angered by the recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that dominated national news this week.

“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Brown said during the Friday morning news conference. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

I’m sure Donald Trump will be too grownup and responsible to capitalize on that.


The incident came on a night when protests raged nationwide over the fatal police-involved shootings of two black men earlier in the week.

On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge. Less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota. Video footage of the killings or their aftermath spread quickly on social media, spurring widespread anger and renewing a debate over race and police departments’ use of deadly force.

As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.

For two hours, roughly 800 protesters marched peacefully, chanting and waving signs.

And then at around 9 it all went to hell.

We’re not on a good trajectory here.


A seemingly friendly employee offered her help

Jul 7th, 2016 11:59 am | By

David Futrelle reports on a horrendous thing that was done to Chanty Binx – the red-haired hate figure who’s been abused by the abusive gang online for the past three years.

Now one of her haters has put her back in the spotlight again, and in a supremely creepy manner. Not long ago, you see, Binx stopped by a government-run liquor store in the Toronto area to pick up a bottle of wine. A seemingly friendly employee offered her help.

In fact, he claimed later, he had recognized her from the internet, and was hoping to hear her speak to make sure she really was who he thought she was.

After she left, he somehow accessed the store’s surveillance footage, took a screenshot of her visit to the store, and put it up on Facebook (without the blurs you see below):


Gruesome enough? Woman has the audacity to go to a store, and a worker at the store steals security footage of her and posts it on Facebook with abusive commentary.

This time Binx has decided not to lay low. She spoke with CityNews about the latest twist in the internet war on her. The report is chilling, and well worth watching.

“[I feel like] I’m being watched constantly,” she told CityNews. “No matter what I do, I’m under a monitor.”

Now that the CityNews segment has run, the hate campaign against her has predictably ramped up again.

Futrelle included a selection of the violent fantasies expressed about torturing her to death. There’s one about a gang of men ripping her cunt to shreds and stomping on her ugly tits and smashing her teeth with a hammer and fucking her face until she dies and cutting open her body and pouring in lye. Good healthy stuff, it’s great that they get it out there instead of letting it fester.

What makes me all the more disgusted by this is remembering that Richard Dawkins chose to tell his million-plus followers to go ahead and mock her a few months ago. He told them: “Yes, she deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier.” It was before the stroke; it may be that he wouldn’t do that kind of thing now even if he hadn’t turned his Twitter account over to the RDF staff…but he did it then. He did it even though many people begged him to stop. Who knows if maybe the guy at the liquor store was encouraged by Dawkins to “mock her” by posting stolen security footage of her buying a bottle of wine.

That’s a very bad tiger to ride.

He has ridden a tiger, and knows the tiger he rides

Jul 7th, 2016 11:24 am | By

A powerful essay by Matthew Parris in the Spectator about feeling, for the first time in his life, ashamed to be British.

I’ve sometimes regretted what we do but never hated what we are. Foibles, yes; miscalculations, yes; selfishness and silliness — well, which of us is immune?

But these last few months I’ve seen a Britain, specifically an England, that I simply do not like. I’ve seen a nasty side, and seen colleagues and friends pander to it in a way I never thought they would. It has made me feel lonely in my own country, and the experience has touched me irreparably.

The reliance of the leaders and opinion leaders of the Leave campaign upon resentment of foreigners, dislike of immigration and — in many cases — hatred of immigrants, has been absolutely disgraceful. It should be a stain upon our conscience.

I’ve been feeling the same thing, from a distance. I’m not used to seeing Britain this way, and it feels horribly sad.

On the day of the result he was near Parliament watching people do a CNN interview.

In front of the camera I saw two people shouting at each other and sensed the argument was out of control. Next up for interview, I sat down to watch. The interviewer was Christiane Amanpour, her interviewee the MEP Daniel Hannan.

I have never seen so violent an argument on TV. Nobody won but both lost their tempers. Amanpour accused Hannan of trying to win the Leave campaign by inciting hatred of immigrants; Hannan insisted he had never done so, had never even argued against immigration, but simply for Britain to ‘take back control’. Shouting, he challenged Amanpour to cite any example of anti-immigrant language he had ever used.

I’m sure the record will bear Daniel out. I doubt he’s a racist or wants sharp reductions in immigration. He will have been fastidious in his language. But his rage was instructive. Beneath the furious denials and the angry demands for chapter and verse was the rage of a man in acute personal discomfort about the company he has kept and the currents in society whose cause it has become his lifetime’s work to champion, while carefully disavowing what drives them. Amanpour hardly landed a blow on Hannan because she did not put the most wounding charge: that he has ridden a tiger, and knows the tiger he rides. He — and I use him only as an eloquent example — raises his hands in repudiation of the destination he hears his followers bawl for, yet offers to take them halfway there. He has only argued (as he shouted at Amanpour) for people to ‘take back control’.

That. I’ve seen some people I know doing that, and it has shocked me to the core.

I once asked Enoch Powell whether, no racist himself, he ever felt squeamish about some who cheered his speeches. He replied — to laughter from our audience — that in politics you take support from wherever it comes. The reply diminished him.

Over the last few months a poison has been seeping through our national life. My faith in my fellow English, in our democracy, and in those who serve it in high places led me wholly to underestimate its potency or its capacity to spread.

‘You just don’t get it, do you?’ Brexiteers have crowed to me: ‘You’re out of touch.’ They are right. I was. I did not know my own country. I do now. And I like it a little bit less.

Trump is doing us the same service. I feel very alienated from a country where Donald Trump is so popular.

Bundy wants a speedy delayed trial

Jul 7th, 2016 9:26 am | By

Ammon Bundy is grandstanding again.

Bundy, looking pale and thin after five months in jail and lacking the quiet vigor he exuded during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon, has so far never spoken out of turn during proceedings leading to his Sept. 7 trial.

But he shot out of his seat at the end of a hearing on Wednesday where U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown had earlier denied his request to delay the trial date — a date he argued in February violated his right to a speedy trial.

First he wanted a speedy trial, but now that they’ve scheduled that, he wants a delayed trial. That’s so Bundy.

 Ammon and his brother Ryan initially lead the charge for a trial to start even sooner than is currently planned. When the proceedings began in February, the government warned the court that it could take until the spring of 2017 to prepare for such a complex trial.

But the brothers pushed for the observance of their rights under the Speedy Trial Act, and Judge Brown settled on a start date of Sept. 7.

Ammon and Ryan “were loud and clear leaders on case management issues from the beginning,” Brown said.

And a delay in the Oregon trial would muck up the schedule in Nevada, Brown said, where the Bundy brothers and five other Oregon defendants are also facing charges related to the 2014 showdown at patriarch Cliven Bundy’s Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch where protesters stopped the government from seizing Bundy’s cattle.

During the Oregon occupation, Ammon Bundy led daily press conferences outlining the militants’ demands and describing his legal theory that the Constitution bars the federal government from owning land.

But now his lawyer is complaining about the word “leader” for Bundy – he being so shy and retiring and all.

“Mr. Patrick, I meant no offense,” Brown said. “I am only using the word he has been referred to as.”

Ammon Bundy stood and picked up the thread.

“I want to make sure I won’t be considered the leader for the purposes of sentencing,”he said.
“Of course not,” Brown said. “Please sit down. You have a lawyer to speak on your behalf.”

“I have my rights to speak,” Ammon Bundy said.

“Not right now you don’t,” Brown told him.

Ammon, who over five months of hearings has remained quiet while his lawyers did the talking, turned toward the packed gallery.

“I want it known that both times I have spoken, she has shut me down,” Bundy yelled. “I tried to talk, and she shut me down.”

“Yes she has,” one of his supporters yelled back.

“All right, that’s it,” Brown said, and ordered the courtroom cleared.

It’s a court. It has rules. It’s not personal to Bundy.

Guest post: When you take some of the arguments about race and reword them for gender

Jul 7th, 2016 5:09 am | By

Originally a comment by Artymorty on What exactly did she mean by that?

Well I did some reading around, and — whaddayaknow — everything I could find of the left’s efforts to reconcile their conflicting ideas about gender and race is terribly flimsy. I thought at least I’d find some food for thought, but no. This was the best I could muster:

– “Gender is more deeply rooted in one’s own mind, while race is more forcibly imposed by the surrounding society.” (Hmm citation seriously needed there.)

– Transracialism is about Deception therefore it’s deceitful, whereas transgenderism is about Truth therefore it’s true. (Circular reasoning at its most absurd.)

– Transgendered folks face discrimination and social disapproval in a way that folks who identify outside of their prescribed racial identities don’t. (This doesn’t really address the question — but what’s worse, it isn’t necessarily true, as we’ve seen in the case Arundhati Roy here, and of course Rachel Dolezal last year. Monnica T. Williams, a psychologist writing at Psychology Today, said, “The real issue is that switching from White to Black defies the unspoken social order and therefore elicits social punishment. Dolezal’s parents were so distressed with her “downgrade” that they needed to publicly “out” and humiliate her.”)

– Gender dysphoria is real and recognized in the DSM-5 while “transracial” folk don’t have a named psychological condition. (Well, for one thing, sometimes they do: body dysmorphia is no less “real” than gender dysphoria is; take a look at Lil’ Kim. But more to the point: since when do liberals put so much stock in the supposed wisdom of the DSM of all places?!)

It’s striking when you take some of the arguments about race and reword them for gender. Like this Guardian piece, for example:

Perhaps it feels convenient to white people men who desire to unravel systemic effects of a hyperracialized hypergendered society (especially those effects that they feel affectwhite people men negatively) to embrace the notion of a transracial transgender identity, as if such a thing exists. But to argue that real parity between race and ethnic groups the sexes in the United States exists – and can be exchanged one-on-one – is to deny protections for those groups marginalized by institutional power.


Crossing over […] doesn’t subvert the structure; it reinforces it.


If anything, to believe that one can transfer one’s identity in this way is a privilege – maybe even the highest manifestation of white male privilege. The ability to accept marginalization, to take on the identity of blackness womanhood without living the burdens of it and always knowing you could, on a whim, escape it, is not a transition toblackness womanhood; to use it to further your career or social aspirations is not to become black a woman.


To deny the complexities of racial gender identity is to plead ignorance. To demand that your racial gender identity be seen as fluid because you are inconvenienced bywhiteness maleness and your ambitions are thwarted by other people’s blacknessfemaleness is just a new reason for a very old kind of erasure.

Sounds like a TERI — a Trans(racial) Exclusionary Radical Intersectionalist.


It’s all about collaboration

Jul 6th, 2016 5:14 pm | By

Brian Cox says how Brexit is doubleplus ungood for science.

He thinks ongoing scientific research at all levels is vital. Which brings us, almost neatly, and inevitably, to Brexit — the elephant in every room, pub and Uber journey in the capital. Last weekend thousands of people marched from Trafalgar Square to Parliament to protest against the planned departure from the EU. I ask what effect Brexit will have on the amount of money available for research. “I promised myself I wouldn’t really talk about it,” he demurs. There’s a pause, before he quietly but convincingly does so.

“What you can say as a fact is that we receive more than a billion currency units a year. Pounds, euros, whatever it is, it’s about a billion,” he begins. “So the first question is what happens to that. It’s obviously a big hit to the university research base. That’s extremely problematic.” A member of the Royal Society’s staff points out that “10 per cent of university research funding comes from the EU”. Cox nods.

“Even more urgent is the position of EU nationals in our system,” he says. “Not only in lectureships and professorships but post-docs and students. All these things need addressing. But it’s not just science. There’s an enormous list.”

I suggest that British science might become isolated: unable to attract talent, its own talent unable to travel easily to foreign research posts. “Absolutely,” he nods. “When you look at my fields, particle physics and astronomy, it’s all about European and global collaboration. The European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory, CERN. The “e” in CERN stands for Europe — our whole science infrastructure is European. The facilities we have are part of a much wider structure: one single country generally cannot afford to build large facilities on its own. It’s all about collaboration.”

And collaboration is quite a good thing, after all. It’s something to strive for. It’s a big improvement on war and fighting.

Tasneem Khalil

Jul 6th, 2016 3:54 pm | By

Facebook has disabled Tasneem Khalil’s account. He’s been reporting on the people behind the massacre in Dhaka and on the new IS video saying IS is going to keep on attacking Bangladesh. Now Facebook have disabled his account. That’s stupid and wrong and bad.

Tasneem Khalil ‏@tasneem 6 hours ago
Nice! Looks like @facebook has disabled my account for covering news about the rise of ISIS in #Bangladesh. Disappointing.

I understand #Bangladesh government is keen on downplaying/hiding ISIS presence in country. Why is @facebook aiding censorship?

Ridiculous indeed: the way @Facebook censors independent journalism.

Siddhartha Dhar ‏@SiddharthaDha11
@tasneem @facebook that is ridiculous. I can’t believe Facebook did that. What’s wrong with covering a story?
9:48 AM – 6 Jul 2016

He’s a journalist, Facebook. Look him up. Use your brain.

What exactly did she mean by that?

Jul 6th, 2016 12:05 pm | By

A new battle breaks out:

On 1 July, ELLE India featured the extraordinary author Arundhati Roy as the cover woman of the magazine’s July issue, in which she was interviewed on her writing, exercise habits and first new novel in 20 years. The interview also raised the issue of blackness, which MISHKA WAZAR interrogates.

Fans of Roy and her Booker Prize-winning debut The God of Small Things fawned over the cover and interview, which gave rare insights into the life of the private writer and activist.

However, the bubble of idolisation quickly burst somewhere during Roy’s answer to the first question of why she was featured on the cover of ELLE India. Her response was: “Because I have seen dark-skinned women on ELLE covers. I love that. I’m a black woman. Most of us are. Ninety percent of us are.”

Ok so Twitter gotten hip to Arundhati Roy glibly dropping the fact she’s black in a recent Elle interview?

— Zoé S. (@ztsamudzi) July 3, 2016

That “Twitter gotten hip?” is interesting – as if Twitter is the obvious go-to place for wise reflection on issues such as who counts as black and why it matters. Why does anyone think Twitter is useful for that? Twitter is useful for picking fights; it’s not useful for thoughtful discussion.

The answer raised some controversy. Tweeps quickly began to wonder why an Indian woman was calling herself black. What exactly did she mean by that? And who exactly is she referring to when she says that “most of us” are black?

And let’s kick the shit out of her just to be on the safe side, eh?

The use of the term black by non-black people of colour has been a contentious issue in progressive circles of late, especially in South Africa. There has been a Black Pride movement recently on the internet, with hashtags such as #BlackOut gaining popularity all over the world. But even within a positive movement, there are problems. When Jesse Williams spoke at the BET Awards last week, internet trolls were quick to downplay the message of his speech because Williams is mixed-race. Erasure of identity is common where people do not fit into certain circles exactly the way they’re supposed to, and so people began to erase William’s blackness. But how is this navigated when a well-known human rights activist embraces a term that many people believe does not belong to her?

By saying she identifies as black and who is anyone else to say she isn’t black?

No? That’s not the correct answer? That’s odd, I could have sworn…

As a black-identifying woman, Sikhona Nazo, a student at the university currently known as Rhodes (UCKAR), explains that, initially, she didn’t have a problem with Indian people identifying as black, because both Indian and black women are affected by whiteness. However it’s very problematic to refuse to acknowledge that the racism experienced by Indian women is different to the racism experienced by black women. Nazo says that the system is against both groups, but it’s against black women more. As an Indian woman living in India, who is not extremely dark-skinned, Roy has never experienced the same form of systemic and structural racism that black women do, and claiming that she does by embracing that identity is an erasure and dismissal of black women’s painful lived experiences.


Far from satisfactory

Jul 6th, 2016 11:37 am | By

The Chilcot report is out; the BBC summarizes.

Tony Blair overstated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, sent ill-prepared troops into battle and had “wholly inadequate” plans for the aftermath, the UK’s Iraq War inquiry has said.

Chairman Sir John Chilcot said the 2003 invasion was not the “last resort” action presented to MPs and the public.

There was no “imminent threat” from Saddam – and the intelligence case was “not justified”, he said.

The Beeb offers highlights:

  • The circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were “far from satisfactory”
  • The invasion began on 20 March 2003 but not until 13 March did then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith advise there was, on balance, a secure legal basis for military action. Apart from No 10’s response to his letter on 14 March, no formal record was made of that decision and the precise grounds on which it was made remain unclear

It’s hard for me to understand what it even means for one country to decide whether or not there’s a “legal basis” for it to attack another. It seems like a polite fiction, aka a smokescreen.

  • The UK’s actions undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council: The UN’s Charter puts responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security in the Security Council. The UK government was claiming to act on behalf of the international community “to uphold the authority of the Security Council”. But it knew it did not have a majority supporting its actions

Well that’s the thing, isn’t it – there’s no such thing as “the international community.” It’s a ridiculous label, that nevertheless gets bandied about a great deal. There is the UN, but the U part is another polite fiction – but it is also an aspiration, while the “legal basis” for invasions isn’t even that.

Many alarming signals

Jul 6th, 2016 10:08 am | By

Deutsche Welle has more on that IS video from yesterday.

The video, which was verified by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group and Terror Monitor Group, contained clear signs that the terror group has some Bangladeshi nationals working for it.

One of the Bangladeshi jihadists shown in the video said: “what you witnessed in Bangladesh … was a glimpse. This will repeat, repeat and repeat until you lose and we win and the Sharia is established throughout the world.”

The video also appreciated last Friday’s attack on a restaurant in Dhaka that killed at least 22 people, the majority of them foreigners, from Italy, Japan, India and the United States.

The attackers were mostly from wealthy, liberal families – a development which is new in the country as terrorists involved in the previous targeted attacks were mostly from poor and conservative families.

Tasneem Khalil, a Sweden-based journalist who monitors online channels of jihadists, says the latest video has many alarming signals that need to be considered.

“The video essentially urges Bangladeshis to engage in an IS-led jihad in Bangladesh. This is a significant change from earlier IS’ communication in which people were encouraged to join the jihad in Syria,” he told DW, adding: “I see this as an open declaration of war against the Bangladeshi state.”

Arifur Rahman agrees with Tasneem.

There is much consternation at the fact that the killers and the guys in the video are from liberal rich backgrounds.

Arifur Rahman points out that the overall atmosphere in Bangladesh is filled with religious fervor to such a high level that regular youth-related activities cannot flourish. He said: “Unregulated private universities systematically employ radicalism favoring teachers who then attack gullible young pupils with a toxic narrative of jihadism.”

Religious fervor is like a loaded gun writ large.

Experts believe Bangladesh’s continued denial of the presence of international terror groups in the country will not help. “We have a very curious situation involving, on the one hand, a terrorist group that is openly boasting about its plans through magazine articles and now this video. And on the other hand, we have a government that is pushing those very threats under the carpet,” said Swedish journalist Khalil.

“The Bangladeshi government must immediately take robust steps to protect religious minorities and foreigners in the country – these are the key target groups of IS attacks,” he stressed.

Taslima of course says the same thing. I hope the people in power in Bangladesh pay attention at long last.

Targeted in mass numbers

Jul 5th, 2016 5:25 pm | By

IS has released another disgusting video saying it’s going to kill us all unless sharia is established everywhere.

Hailing the July 1 Gulshan terror attack, international terrorist group Islamic State has now released a video calling for jihad in Bangladesh and threatening more attacks on “crusaders” and “crusader nations.”

The video message believed to be issued from Raqqa in Bangla was first found in an IS-affiliate website and then released on YouTube early Wednesday.

In the video, three of the speakers are of Bangladesh origin, but they could not be identified immediately.

One of them said they would not stop until establishing Shariah law all over the world. “The Jihad that has come to Bangladesh now has been promised by Prophet Mohammed,” he said.

“We will not stop killing the crusaders till then; we will win or die for our religion as martyrs and achieve Sahadaat [martyrdom] … we don’t have anything to lose.”

He termed the current form of democracy a Shirk or unforgivable crime.

“I want to ask you a question: how do you support this ‘Shirk’ notion of democracy? Don’t you know that it gives power to people to enforce law and have power whereas the power belongs to Alllah only? [according to the Qur’an]”

Don’t you know that “Allah” is a figment of the human imagination? That all these supposed rules laid down by “Allah” are just human rules dressed up as coming from a god? You fucking imbecile?

The second speaker labelled the government as kafir.

“Since the govt has changed Allah’s law and has implied man-made law they are all ‘Kafirs’ now. It is our religious duty to fight against it. Crusaders are killing innocents Muslims globally with planes and bomb attacks.

“So the Holey Artisan incident is our revenge to the lost blood of the hundreds and hundreds of Muslims who were killed,” he said.

Why? Why avenge them? They died as martyrs and you just said that’s a win for you.

“We believe the Shariah in Bengal won’t be achieved until the local Hindus are targeted in mass numbers,” said Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, the man leading the operations in Bangladesh, in an interview.

Oh god, it’s too disgusting.

Traffic control

Jul 5th, 2016 4:10 pm | By

You know how people like to use “intersectionalism” as a kind of intellectual bludgeon? Well that’s a silly question; of course you do, because we keep talking about it. Anyway – I’m wondering how they’re dealing with Toronto Pride and BLM. They crashed right into each other at that intersection on Sunday.

Members of the Black Lives Matter Toronto group briefly halted the Pride parade today, holding up the marching for about 30 minutes.

The parade didn’t re-start until after Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed a document agreeing to the group’s demands.

The organization was given the status of Honoured Group for the parade, which is the grand finale of Pride Month. It did not give Pride Toronto advance notice of their planned sit-in.

In other words BLM was given the status of Honoured Group beforehand, and then halted the parade without warning.

Alexandra Williams, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, told CBC’s Natasha Fatah that they held the sit-in because they wanted to hold Pride Toronto accountable for what she called “anti-blackness.”

Will Toronto lesbians and gays interrupt the next BLM event? Intersectionalism is supposed to cut all ways, you know.

Meanwhile, a gay Toronto cop has written an open letter to Pride:

This year, 2016, marked a first for me. My first Pride parade. I would be working, nonetheless it would be my first one in any capacity. Wow, what an event. What a spectacle, a joining of everyone.

The 2016 pride events really opened my eyes to something. The support that I have from my peers and supervisors has been unwavering. When I saw all those floats and officers marching (hundreds), I realized that my employer fully supports this part of me, and so many others like me. As I stood post at Yonge and College, ensuring a safe atmosphere, Chief Mark Saunders came up to me. I had the opportunity to salute him, and I knew that I had a leader who was invested in this celebration of Pride.

LGBTQ cops have struggled for decades. I am fortunate, because it is their struggles in the past, that have made my orientation an irrelevant factor in my workplace interactions. Members of police services, and their employers (like RBC, Telus, Porter, etc) have just as much right to participate as any other group.

Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias.

I suppose this illustrates why intersectionalism isn’t the answer to all questions. You can invoke it all you want to but it doesn’t resolve issues like this one. It’s tragically easy to understand why BLM doesn’t want to participate in honoring cops as cops – and it’s also easy to understand why LGBTQ cops don’t want to be excluded from Pride. What’s the solution? I have no idea, and invoking intersectionalism doesn’t help me a bit.

A blood libel

Jul 5th, 2016 3:17 pm | By

Here’s a bad thing I overlooked, from the NY Times on June 23:

Echoing anti-Semitic claims that led to the mass killings of European Jews in medieval times, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accused rabbis in Israel of calling on their government to poison the water used by Palestinians.

He made the unsubstantiated allegation during a speech to the European Parliament on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said in a statement later that Mr. Abbas had spread a “blood libel” in the speech.

He retracted the claim two days later.

Mr. Abbas was repeating a claim initially made on the website of an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Anadolu, the Turkish state-run news agency, repeated the claim on Sunday. It was echoed in The Gulf News, a daily newspaper in Dubai. The Anadolu article said that a Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, whom it called the “chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements,” had issued an “advisory opinion in which he allowed Jewish settlers to poison water in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that news outlets had not been able to find a Rabbi Mlma or any listing for the council mentioned in the article.

The fact that the claim appeared in Anadolu and The Gulf News makes his retraction pretty worthless.

His speech got a standing ovation.

Jewish groups quickly condemned Mr. Abbas’s comments.

“It is unconscionable that a foreign leader proudly states a blood libel in the European Parliament and he receives a standing ovation,” Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement.

The Gulf News article cited an Israeli organization critical of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank as the source of the claims. but the organization told Haaretz that it knew nothing about it.

Rumors that Jews had poisoned wells and other sources of water arose in the 14th century as the bubonic plague raged across much of Europe. The rumors led to the destruction of scores of Jewish communities. In Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France, hundreds of Jews were burned alive.

Ugly times.


Jul 5th, 2016 12:36 pm | By

Islamists like their televangelists too.

One of the attackers, suspected to be Rohan Imtiaz – the son of a politician of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League – posted a message on Facebook last year quoting 50-year-old Naik, a Mumbai-based doctor and an Islamic televangelist, the Daily Star reported.

Naik’s speeches are beamed on Peace TV across the sub-continent, even in China, with a100 million viewership. He is said to be wildly popular in Bangladesh.

The founder of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, Zakir Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches. He is also among 16 Islamic scholars banned in Malaysia.

So, Zakir Naik may have been one of the influences on the slaughterers at the Holey Artisan Bakery.

That doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t know – they got their inspiration from somewhere, and wherever it was clearly wasn’t a well of generosity and compassion. They got their inspiration from someone or many someones who preach hatred and violence. What you see is what you get.

Yo, Zeus, wassup?

Jul 5th, 2016 11:04 am | By

NASA has put a spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Juno passed over Jupiter’s north pole and through a region that Heidi Becker, the leader of Juno’s radiation monitoring team, described as “the scariest part of the scariest place.” In this belt of radiation, electrons bouncing back and forth at nearly the speed of light could have knocked out the computer and other electronics.

“They will go right through a spacecraft and strip the atoms apart inside your electronics and fry your brain if you don’t do anything about it,” Dr. Becker said.

But a titanium vault built for Juno proved up to the task of shielding its crucial systems.

Someone in a NASA video pointed out that Jupiter has a bunch of moons in different orbits traveling at different speeds, and picking your way through all that is [understatement] a challenge.

At 11:18 p.m., Juno’s main engine began firing to slow the spacecraft enough to be captured by the planet’s gravity. Juno also passed through the plane of Jupiter’s diaphanous rings. Although the mission planners had chosen a place that they thought would be clear, they could not be certain, and even a piece of dust colliding with a spacecraft moving at 130,000 m.p.h. could have caused considerable damage.

Juno traveled within 2,900 miles of Jupiter’s cloud tops, passing through almost the exact spot that the navigators had aimed for after its 1.7-billion-mile voyage. “Isn’t that incredible?” Mr. Nybakken said.

It is. It is.

The spacecraft will have to make multiple flybys, Dr. Bolton said, before the scientists will be able to start answering questions like whether there is a rocky core at the center of Jupiter. “We’ll be hesitant to guessing the wrong answer until we see more information,” Dr. Bolton said.

With a different vantage point from Juno’s polar orbit, the spacecraft’s cameras are likely to add to the number of known moons of Jupiter, now 67. “I expect that we will see some, and the number will keep going up,” Dr. Bolton said.

Radiation will gradually fry the instruments, and on the 37th orbit Juno will do a suicide dive into Jupiter, in order to avoid contaminating Europa with earthly microbes.

Troubling concerns

Jul 4th, 2016 5:34 pm | By

Crap news from India:

A Facebook group, which levelled a death threat against Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin, has raised fears of the influence and presence of dreaded Mideast terrorist group Islamic State in Kerala. The page, which had posts in Malayalam and English, was taken down on Saturday morning soon after media started reporting about its existence.

It is not clear who moderates the group, Ansarul Khilafa (The Followers of Khalifa). The threat against the Bangladesh writer known for her progressive views was made by one of the members of the group. The group had 135 likes before it was deactivated. The group’s presence comes amid a spate of terror attacks in Bangladesh, the busting of an IS module in Hyderabad and the arrests of IS sympathizers from various states in the last few months. It raises troubling concerns about whether the terrorist outfit, known for its beheading and sex slavery of captured non-Muslim women, is striking deeper roots in India.

Swastikas in Freedom Fields Park

Jul 4th, 2016 5:08 pm | By

More news from the fascists:

A memorial to the late Labour leader Michael Foot in his home city has been vandalised with extremist graffiti.

The stone tribute to Foot, who led the party from 1980 to 1983, was daubed with swastikas, obscenities and references to the British National party and English Defence League in Freedom Field Park in Plymouth, Devon.

The memorial opposite the house where the former parliamentarian was born in 1913 was erected in July last year after the money was raised through public donations.

Luke Pollard, who was a Labour candidate in Plymouth in the 2015 general election, posted on Facebook yesterday:

Today, I got a message that the Michael Foot Memorial in Freedom Fields Park had been vandalised with Nazi swastikas, BNP and EDL as well as some other offensive words.

Michael stood up against fascism and to see these symbols of hate on his memorial is sickening.

I was proud to be one of the organisers of the appeal for a lasting memorial to Michael and I know from the tweets, messages and conversations how important it is to so many people in Plymouth.

We live in toxic times which means it is even more important we stand up for what is right. Taking a stand against hate is in all of us. Nazi graffiti is unacceptable wherever it may be.

If you know who vandalised Michael’s memorial please report it to the Police. In the meantime I hope the council cleans the memorial up quickly. We don’t need thoughtless hate like this in our city.

Three swastikas, two BNPs, one EDL, and right at the top, the first one you see, CUNT.

The Guardian continues:

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell tweeted: “This is disgusting beyond belief. Michael was a great man and a good friend. This strikes at everything he stood for.”

Tudor Evans, leader of the Labour group on Plymouth city council, tweeted a picture of the vandalism and wrote: “Nazi bastards.”

Welcome to post-Brexit hell.