Grisoft antivirus software: AVG has been upgraded to V7.5 and along with it Grisoft have released an anti-spyware tool.
AVG is a good antivirus scanner, fast and as far as we can tell, complete.
The anti-spyware tool seems comprehensive and takes the form of scanner, although it is considerably slower than spybot, it seems very useful.
29 October 2006
28 October 2006
The Torygraph indicated that the dictator Pinochet may have stashed away some £98 million in gold:
" HSBC has launched an investigation into allegations that the former Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet held a secret stash of gold worth £98m at a branch in Hong Kong.
The inquiry follows explosive claims in the Chilean press that investigators had uncovered an HSBC account holding 315,000 ounces of gold that could be tracked to the general."
However, the BBC reports that:
"Papers linking Chile's former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet, to alleged gold deposits worth $160m (£85.5m) in Hong Kong are fake, the HSBC bank says.
The London-based bank said in a statement it would continue to co-operate with Chilean investigators.
Chilean officials said it was now up to the justice system to decide if the allegations were based on false papers.
Lawyers for the general - who ruled between 1973 and 1990 - have denied the accusations as insulting and baseless.
The Chilean courts have stripped Gen Pinochet, 90, of the legal immunity he enjoyed as a former president in several cases, but he has yet to face trial.
He is facing charges for tax evasion in connection with his family's undisclosed foreign bank accounts, and also faces possible charges in connection with human rights abuses committed during his time in power."Whilst the BBC article is a fine example of "neutrality", my bet is that Pinochet has a lot of stolen or drug money stashed away, even if it can not be proven at the moment.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/28/2006 02:53:00 pm
25 October 2006
Prosecutors in Buenos Aires have formally charged that Hezbollah committed the 1994 bombing in Argentina which killed some 85 people and injured another 300, according to reports:
"BUENOS AIRES: Prosecutors formally charged Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah Wednesday in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina, which killed 85 people and injured 300.
"We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994 on the AMIA (Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, a Jewish charities association headquarters in Buenos Aires) was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hezbollah to carry out the attack," Argentine chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman said.
Prosecutors called for the arrest of top Iranian authorities at the time, including then-president Ali Rafsanjani.
No one has been tried for the crime in more than a decade since Argentina's worst-ever terror attack."
I wonder how the "we are all Hezbollah now" crowd in the Pro-War coalition will react??
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/25/2006 08:08:00 pm
22 October 2006
As if it were needed, Berlin witnessed yet another sign of the revival of National Socialism in Germany today has some 750 neo-Nazis openly marched, Reuters describes it as:
"BERLIN (Reuters) - A group of 750 neo-Nazi sympathisers demonstrated outside a Berlin jail on Saturday against the detention of the singer of an outlawed rock group.
German police said several hundred anti-fascists chanting "Nazis raus" (Nazis go away) were separated from the rally by police. There were no incidents of violence.
The far-rightists were protesting the detention of an obscure singer, Michael Regener. He also goes by the name "Lunikoff".
He was sentenced in December 2003 to three years and four months in jail after a court ruled his band "Landser" was a criminal organisation that spread racial hatred. He began his sentence in April 2005 after losing legal appeals.
Some protesters carried posters reading "Freedom for Lunikoff" as they marched near the Tegel prison in northwestern Berlin.
Israel's ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, said in an interview published on Saturday in the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper he was concerned that Jews were not feeling safe in Germany. "They are no longer able to pursue their Jewish way of life here freely," Stein said."
Let's not forget the recent election wins and the growth of NPD:
"This now makes the economically depressed state the fourth regional legislature where an extreme right party is represented:; The NPD also sits in Saxony's parliament while the German People's Union (DVU) is represented in the state legislatures of Brandenburg and Bremen. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is on the Baltic coast bordering Poland, is one of Germany's poorest regions with an unemployment rate of 18.2 percent, nearly double the national average.
The former communist states have never caught up to the West economically since German reunification in 1990, strengthening the appeal of the NPD party, which has been able to capitalize on the disaffection among jobless youth with its crude anti-immigrant, racist platform."In the post WW2, much was made of modern Germany's abhorrence with National Socialism, the death and destruction that it brought and how these lessons were learnt by young Germans.
Clearly, the German political establishment, civil society and police are not doing enough, I suggest they make an example of the next 750+ neo-Nazis that demonstrate and incarcerated the lot of them.
It should be made clear to neo-Nazis that if they march they will be incarcerated, no ifs no buts.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/22/2006 12:24:00 am
21 October 2006
Hezbollah's use of cluster bombs and ballbearings in the recent conflict with Israel Lebanon has been well documented.
Amnesty International wrote:
"(Washington, DC) -- Amnesty International (AI) today charged in a new report that Hizbullah committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes, in its deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians during the recent conflict.
During the month-long conflict, Hizbullah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians, seriously injuring 33 others and forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to take refuge in shelters or flee. Around a quarter of all rockets were fired directly into urban areas, including rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings. An estimated ten percent of the rockets carried war heads, packed with thousands of ball bearings. Once these indiscriminate rockets struck, the ball bearings sprayed out, inflicting death and injury for 300 meters or more.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA's Executive Director. "Though Hizbullah denies any policy of endangering and targeting Israeli civilians, it used Katyusha rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings to maximize harm to innocent civilians. Targeting civilians is a war crime -- there's no gray area."
In meetings with Amnesty International, Hizbullah argued that its rocket attacks on northern Israel were a reprisal for Israeli attacks on civilians in Lebanon and were aimed at stopping such attacks.
Amnesty International's briefing includes evidence of:
- Hizbullah's firing of some 900 inherently inaccurate Katyusha rockets into urban areas in northern Israel in clear violation of the principle of distinction between civilian and military targets under international law;
- Hizbullah's use of modified Katyusha rockets packed with metal ball bearings, designed to inflict maximum death and injury, with one such rocket killing eight railway workers;
- Statements from Hasan Nasrallah and other senior Hizbullah leaders that the group intended to target civilians as a form of reprisal, violating the prohibition on direct attacks on civilians as well as the prohibition on reprisals against the civilian population;
- The flight of civilians from northern Israel and the existence of shelters preventing a higher death toll than the 43 civilian fatalities recorded.
These findings show that Hizbullah clearly committed war crimes and the perpetuators must be brought to justice," said Marty Rosenbluth, Amnesty International USA's Country Specialist for Israel and the Occupied Territories."Human Rights Watch wrote:
"On Monday, Human Rights Watch researchers inspected a three-story apartment building in Haifa's Bat Galim neighborhood after it was struck by a rocket around 3:00 p.m., causing extensive damage to the top two floors and wounding six residents, one of them seriously. They collected metal ball bearings that had pierced the walls of the apartment building across the street and car windshields up to one block away."
So it seemed strange that some people are still denying that Hezbollah was guilty of war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians, as it did by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israeli civilian towns.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/21/2006 03:44:00 pm
20 October 2006
Damn those 0870 numbers, as reported by the Times:
"AT AN outlandish 9p per minute for telephone calls that are usually answered by a computer, 0870 might be best described as the international dialling code for rip-off Britain.
But a computer expert has found a way to circumvent that national-rate number and is sharing his secrets with 10,000 people every day. The website www.saynoto0870.com lists 5,000 firms that publicise expensive numbers that often cost three times the cost of a call to a landline number. Callers enter a company name and the website reveals a local geographical number and sometimes even details of a free phone line for a business.
A search by The Times immediately found that TicketMaster’s information and booking line 0870 4000700 can be reached on 0161-385 3500. Similarly Barclaycard’s card protection service on 0870 0100578 can be reached on 023-92652222 and even by freephone on 0800 603060.
British Airways advertises its general helpdesk on 0870 8509850. But it can be reached more cheaply on 0191-490 7901. Its executive club has a freephone number: 0800 123111.
The site was founded by a publicity-shy government computer expert who wants to be known only as Daniel from Lancashire. He set it up five years ago after being incensed at how big companies ripped off their customers."
So site of the week is: www.saynoto0870.com
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/20/2006 12:52:00 am
19 October 2006
Cluster bombs are a nasty piece of munitions and they may well have been used by Israel in the recent conflict in Lebanon. They were rightly condemned and discussed at length in Harry’s Place.
For using cluster bombs Israel was demonised by a wide range of obsessive “anti-Zionists” and the matter received considerable publicity in the press.
Now, it has come to light that Hezbollah were using their own form of cluster munitions in the conflict, as reported by HRW:
“(Jerusalem, October 18, 2006) Hezbollah fired cluster munitions into civilian areas in northern Israel during the recent conflict, Human Rights Watch reported today. This is the first time that Hezbollah's use of these controversial weapons has been confirmed.
Hezbollah's deployment of the Chinese-made Type-81 122mm rocket is also the first confirmed use of this particular model of cluster munition anywhere in the world. Human Rights Watch documented two Type-81 cluster strikes that took place on July 25 in the Galilee village of Mghar.
‘We are disturbed to discover that not only Israel but also Hezbollah used cluster munitions in their recent conflict, at a time when many countries are turning away from this kind of weapon precisely because of its impact on civilians,’said Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's Arms Division. ‘Use of cluster munitions is never justified in civilian-populated areas because they are inaccurate and unreliable.’
While it is not known when and how Hezbollah obtained these foreign-made cluster munitions, and while Hezbollah used far fewer cluster munitions than Israel did in the recent war, the new findings raise serious concerns about the proliferation of these weapons to non-state armed groups, as well as states.”
Leaving aside the obvious issue of Hezbollah deliberately choosing to target civilians, which is a war crime, with their unguided rockets, I wonder if the usual suspects will be quick to condemn Hezbollah, this time?
I somehow doubt it.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/19/2006 04:55:00 pm
18 October 2006
Nope not really, but I might have if you believe this con email I received recently.
I hope that the BNP type nutjob that has plagued this feeble blog goes and collects the winnings then retires, finally leaving me in peace.
The con email:
"FROM:PRIZE AWARD DEPT.
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Euro millions Lottery Winners International E-mail programs held on the 12th of October, 2006. Your E-mail address attached to ticket number:31210 with serial main number:Pl88812, drew lucky star numbers:112390 ,which consequently won in the 2nd category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of €760.000.00 (Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand Euros)
Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 100,000 company and 50,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world.
This lottery was promoted and sponsored by Bill Gates, President of Microsoft, the world's largest software company inorder to enhance and promote the use of Internet Explorer Users and microsoft-wares around the globe. This promotional program takes place every three years. We hope with part of your winning you will take part in our end of year 50 million Euro International lottery.
To file for your claims, you are to contact our Payment and Release Order department company's customer service using details below:
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Remember,all winning must be claimed not later than two weeks, After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake.Please note in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications please remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.
Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.
Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.
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Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/18/2006 07:09:00 pm
17 October 2006
I seem to have "acquired" a number of nutjob BNP supporters in my comment boxes, after the exposé on BNP "terrorists" and I wondered how best to deal with them, then I had an idea.
At YouTube I ran across a great video that nearly everyone appreciates (excluding nutjob BNP types): Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream"
(Hat tip: Habibi)
The transcript (best viewed with a small font):
"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as
the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow
we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous
decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves
who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a
joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years
later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of
segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the
Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of
material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished
in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own
land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When
the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a
promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a
promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be
guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note
insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this
sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a
check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We
refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of
opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check
that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce
urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to
take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the
promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and
desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the
time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid
rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.
This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass
until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen
sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro
needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude
awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither
rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship
rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of
our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the
warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of
gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us
not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of
bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high
plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to
degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the
majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous
new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to
a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced
by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied
up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is
inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always
march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the
devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be
satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of
police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy
with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways
and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's
basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed
of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as
long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York
believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and
we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and
righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great
trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells.
Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you
battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police
brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to
work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South
Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums
and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can
and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my
friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I
still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression,
will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists,
with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition
and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as
sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every
hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain,
and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord
shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this
faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle
together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing
that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will
be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of
liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's
pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so
let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let
freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring
from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let
freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow
freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet,
from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when
all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,
Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words
of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty,
we are free at last!" "
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/17/2006 12:39:00 am
15 October 2006
Too many blogs, too many blogs, like the ancient Mariner might say: blogs, blogs everywhere but not a drop to drink.
Managing the sea of blogs which engulf us is hard.
How do we separate out the good from the bad and keep track of interesting articles without spending hours in front of a browser?
I have tried several solutions, using Firefox, none of which are perfect:
selectively grouped together blogs that I like and read regularly, against those that I try to read almost daily, compared with those I rarely read but are amusing, although updated too infrequently.
Still that was time consuming and slow.
I think I might have found a better solution: Google Reader
Google reader aggregates the feeds from blogs and treats them very much like e-mails, so it shows you a selection of updated articles without the necessity of flicking through endless Firefox bookmarks (or IE’s favourites).
Google reader is another Google service which is accessed via a Google e-mail account.
The hardest part (and is not that hard) is to add the blogs that you like, here’s one way to do it
1. bring up Google reader, in a browser window
2. in a separate window bring up your bookmarks
3. select the bookmark that you want and do a right click and copy
4. returned to the Google reader page and click on “Add subscription”
5. paste into the “Add subscription” sub-window the link to the blog (e.g. http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/index.php)
6. Google will work out the rest and add it to the lower left side sub-window
7. if that doesn't work, look for a RSS or XML widget on the web page, click on “Add subscription” and paste into the “Add subscription” sub-window
8. essentially Google scans the web page for any possible feed and will try to retrieve it (most web pages have RSS feeds, just look for the funny widgets or email the webmaster and ask)
9. once you've added a selection of blogs to Google reader they will appear in the right-hand main sub-window.
10. Each time you login, it will show you the latest updates to the blogs, so less much hassle.
11. That’s it
Any problems just read the help pages
I thoroughly recommend it.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/15/2006 02:56:00 pm
13 October 2006
As much as rather dimwitted BNP supporters and sympathisers tried to suggest otherwise, the BNP and the extreme right are explicitly linked to violence and terrorism.
The examples given below of Copeland and Lecomber are just a sampling.
More recently Lecomber was allowed back into the BNP as Searchlight reports:
"The British National Party’s return of election expenditure in a recent Redbridge council by-election shows that Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, has lied over the status of a convicted terrorist.
Although the documents state that John Evans paid all the bills for printing the large number of leaflets the BNP distributed in Bridge ward, copies of invoices show it was Tony Lecomber who ran the campaign, in which the BNP came within 157 votes of taking what had been a safe Conservative seat.
Lecomber was sacked as the BNP’s group development officer and head of internal discipline in January after it emerged that he had sought out a meeting with the Liverpool gangster Joey Owens in which he suggested Owens “take out” a Cabinet minister. Owens, who had been Griffin’s personal bodyguard until revelations about his gangland activities surfaced, was suspicious, thinking it was an attempt at entrapment of himself, the BNP or both. He reported Lecomber’s suggestion to Griffin and threatened to go to the press if Lecomber was not dismissed.
Griffin hesitated but eventually forced him out. A BNP organisers’ bulletin announced that Lecomber had resigned after “making a serious error of judgement” which could have “caused embarrassment to the party”.
This was not Lecomber’s first brush with terrorism and violence. Although his long criminal career is well known to BNP members and senior officers, it had not until this year prevented his rise to the party’s highest echelons.
In the mid 1980s Lecomber received a derisory three-year prison sentence after a nail bomb he was trying to deliver to the headquarters of a leftwing organisation went off prematurely in his car. When the Bomb Squad searched his home in Ilford, east London, they found home-made hand-grenades and electronic detonators.
On his release from prison, John Tyndall, then the BNP leader, warmly greeted the mad bomber, as Lecomber has become known, and promoted him in the party.
Lecomber changed his appearance. Gone was the street fighting nazi in a T-shirt that proclaimed the SS as his heroes, and in came a dark suit, glasses, white shirt and tie. That is how he was dressed when he and a gang of BNP thugs beat a young Jewish teacher senseless, a crime that got him another three years in jail.
Again after his return promotion was rapid. Tyndall might have expected some gratitude for standing by him, and even viewing Lecomber as his successor to the party leadership, but when Griffin moved to take over the BNP it was Lecomber who undermined Tyndall and became known as the Witchfinder General, using his position to deal ruthlessly with anyone who spoke up for Tyndall.
Lecomber’s resignation was not the whole story. He remained on the party payroll and while some party officers’ questions about Lecomber’s status were answered with lies, others were quietly told that his departure was only temporary and he would return when the dust had settled.
Griffin has even claimed that Lecomber may have been acting strangely when he met Owen because his diabetes gives him mood swings. Those who have known him since his early teens believe he is simply pathologically violent.
That Lecomber is still pulling many strings in the BNP is clear from the Bridge ward election return. Only two invoices are from suppliers outside the party itself. Both are addressed to Lecomber, one at his home address.
Searchlight had wondered how the BNP managed to produce nine leaflets within the election limit of barely over £1,000. The return shows that over half the expenditure went on 5,500 A3 colour leaflets printed by Pioneer Print of South Woodford for £424.00. Five thousand postcards from 1clickprint cost £80 and the other seven leaflets were supplied by the party print shop for a mere £306.30. Election agents are supposed to declare goods and services supplied at less than market value but the documents are silent on this point.
The return also lists three donations of over £50: from Sylvia Howard, Alan Thrower and John Evans, all in Redbridge.
Griffin and Eddy Butler, the BNP’s elections officer, were presumably happy with Lecomber’s role in the campaign but others in the party may be less enamoured with Griffin’s lies. "
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/13/2006 08:14:00 pm
12 October 2006
As the "international community" twiddles its thumbs the situation in Darfur gets worse, and a new report suggests a much tougher approach is required:
"The International Crisis Group says diplomacy has "failed" and targeted sanctions are now needed to prevent the humanitarian situation from worsening.
It calls for economic measures to be applied to key business interests, in particular Sudan's petroleum sector. "
The ICG has a good background article on Sudan.
The report's conclusions are:
"Diplomatic efforts to persuade Khartoum to accept the UN deployment should continue to be pursued – not least by African Union and Arab League countries – but unfortunately there can be few grounds left for optimism that they will succeed. Given the difficulties involved in contemplating full-scale non-consensual military intervention if Khartoum does continues to refuse the expanded UN mission in Darfur, the international community has little choice but to pursue an action plan based primarily on economic, legal and more limited military measures in order to change the NCP’s calculus of costs and benefits with regard to cooperation.
Tough personal and business sanctions targeted at the NCP, in combination with relatively limited but cautionary military actions, including the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly-zone as a logical extension of the ban on offensive military overflights that the Security Council established in 2005 but failed to follow up on, are called for, as well as steps to make the ICC investigation more effective. The international community must also correct its grave error in not continuing to pursue efforts to secure an all-inclusive peace agreement. The DPA has been a failure, and the AU, with U.S., EU and UN support, must now actively resume consultations with all sides, including stakeholders that were not part of the Abuja negotiations, to correct its shortcomings.
However, if the situation continues to deteriorate -- if there is further major displacement, humanitarian access is cut off, the government offensive continues and the NCP still refuses to accept a UN peacekeeping mission, the balance of argument in favour of non-consensual deployment, in terms of the relevant criteria of legitimacy, may change. Planning for that contingency should begin."
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/12/2006 02:20:00 am
Sunny at Pickled Politics asks some very pertinent questions concerning the BNP "terrorists", who were recently arrested:
"Why did the story not make national headlines as it should have? Various reasons seem to be attributed to this. Earlier today I spoke to one BBC exec who found it “utterly bizarre” they missed the story. He first saw it on Pickled Politics and flagged it up to others, who were caught unaware.
The BBC national news team relies on various channels to feed them information. Among them are their own reporters, feeds from news wire services such as PA and stories flagged up by local radio teams. In this case, for whatever reason, it seems neither of these channels fed the story back to “the system”, I was told.
This came from a source who would have loved to do the story. But PA did not pick it up, BBC Radio Lancashire did not flag it up and the police did not inform the national press. You may ask why they didn’t? Wasn’t it a big story?"
Update: obviously we don't wish to prejudge the issue and certainly it might be common amongst BNP members to have a wide range of armaments or explosives in their houses but for the rest of humanity that behaviour is a bit abnormal.
We could, of course, conclude that they had these weapons and explosives for a reason, and being fascists, it shouldn't be too hard to work out what their "reasoning" was: attack people that disagreed with them.
Let us hope that the criminal justice system deals very harshly with them, once they are found guilty.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/12/2006 12:00:00 am
11 October 2006
After 9/11, after Darfur .... just wait for it... the "Zionist's plot over North Korea's nukes"? Ami Isseroff explains:
"Very likely, the next evil to be blamed on the Zionists is the North Korean A-bomb or the fight against it. We can envision several versions of this theory. One version will hold that Kim Jong Il is really a Mossad spy who had plastic surgery. He got the nuclear technology from Mossad agents. A second theory will explain contrarily that it is only Jews who are interested in stopping North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons, just as it is widely accepted that only "Zionists" are worried about the Iranian nuclear development program. The latter theory will probably be propagated by the North Korean government. Pretty soon Counterpunch, Antiwar and similar sources of enlightenment will be insisting that "Zionist neocons" and Mossad agents have infiltrated the governments of China, Russia, France and the US. "
Now any other time we might even joke about it, but given the political climate and the prevalence of conspiracy theories I think that Ami is probably right on this one.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/11/2006 11:42:00 pm
09 October 2006
I like Mike Totten’s work and his writings on the recent conflict in Lebanon were informative and accomplished.
Totten has just released a set of pamphlets, and one in particular caught my eye: Hassan Nasrallah: In his own words.
I am sure that the apologists and lickspittles for Nasrallah will denounce it as a tissue of lies.
No doubt they will argue that all of Nasrallah’s anti-Jewish statements are frauds, no matter the source, no matter how much corroboration there is, etc.
You’d expect it from such loons, much like 1930s Stalinists repeating the Party “line”, no matter how twisted or perverse it might be and at variance with reality. Nasrallah in their eyes can do no wrong, however, the rest of us know better.
I hope Amazon start to stock Mike Totten’s stuff shortly!
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/09/2006 10:00:00 am
08 October 2006
07 October 2006
Via Pickled Politics
"TWO Pendle men have appeared before Pennine magistrates accused of having "a master plan" after what is believed to be a record haul of chemicals used in making home-made bombs was found in Colne.
Robert Cottage (49), of Talbot Street, Colne, and David Bolus Jackson (62), of Trent Road, Nelson, made separate appearances before the court charged with being in possession of an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose. The offences are under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
Both men were remanded in custody to appear at Burnley Crown Court on October 23rd. Cottage was arrested at his home on Thursday, while retired dentist Jackson was arrested in the Lancaster area on Friday, the same day as he left a dental practice in Grange-over-Sands.
The 22 chemical components recovered by police are believed to be the largest haul ever found at a house in this country.
Cottage is an ex-BNP member who stood as a candidate in the Pendle Council elections in May.
Mrs Christiana Buchanan, who appeared for the prosecution in Jackson's case, alleged the pair had "some kind of masterplan".
She said a search of Jackson's home had uncovered rocket launchers, chemicals, BNP literature and a nuclear biological suit.
Police raided Cottage's Talbot Street home on Thursday of last week. The house was taped off while forensics officers searched the premises. Neighbours were told to stay in their homes for their own safety. Mr Cottage's car was also taken away for examination.
Officers also made a thorough examination of Jackson's Trent Road home and, again, officers were on duty outside the house. Forensics officers examined the property."
Ex-BNP?? Oh yeah, sure. He was a fully paid up member of the BNP until 5 months ago, and now they are trying to deny his past/current political affiliations, the reality is that he still is a member, just they want to disassociate themselves from him.
The BNP is full of would-be fascist bombers**, who for the moment find it more opportune to wear a smile and tone down their fascist rhetoric, but once in a while one of the thugs gives the game away, showing the BNP for what they truly are: Neo-Nazis in suits , with new patter to disguise their fascist heritage.
**Let us not forget about that BNP/Neo-Nazi nutter David Copeland, the nail bomber that attacked Brick Lane, Brixton and Admiral Duncan in Soho in the late 1990s.
Searchlight reminds us that "In the mid 1980s Lecomber received a derisory three-year prison sentence after a nail bomb he was trying to deliver to the headquarters of a leftwing organisation went off prematurely in his car. When the Bomb Squad searched his home in Ilford, east London, they found home-made hand-grenades and electronic detonators."
Cottage, Copeland and Lecomber, the tip of the neo-Nazis iceberg
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/07/2006 12:29:00 pm
06 October 2006
04 October 2006
Well, the reports of security problems with Firefox are just down to a prank by kids, as noted:
Hmm, either way I'm still sticking with Firefox, IE is junk:
" Microsoft Repatches Repatch, Issues Third Fix For IE Flaws
This update cycle has not been an example of our best work," admitted Tony Chor, group program manager for Internet Explorer, in an entry on the team's blog."
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/04/2006 01:50:00 am
02 October 2006
The story of the fascist dictator Auguesto Pinochet selling off his medals brought a rye smile to my face, Ireland OnLine reports:
"Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been selling some of the medals and diplomatic decorations he received in his political and military career to pay for personal expenses, a newspaper reported today.
Pinochet, 90, is facing economic difficulties because the judge investigating the source of his multi-million pound bank accounts abroad ordered his money frozen, El Mercurio reported.
Pinochet receives a monthly pension of about €4,170.
Judge Carlos Cerda, who is trying to determine the source of up to €22.4m the former dictator accumulated in secret bank accounts abroad, indicted Pinochet on tax evasion charges and ordered his money frozen while the probe develops.
Pinochet’s lawyers insist the money comes from savings, donations and investments.
Pinochet also faces charges of human rights violations during his 1973-1990 dictatorship but previous efforts to try him have failed as charges have been dropped on health grounds. Pinochet suffers from mild dementia produced by several strokes, among other health problems, according to doctors."
Of course, his former intelligence chief disagrees, and states that Pinochet got much of his fortune from Drug money.
Pinochet came to power in 1973 in a bloody coup d'etat, and his brutal regime was probably responsible for the death of over 3,000 and up to 100,000 tortured or detained in the 17 years of his dictatorship.
In 1998 Pinochet was arrested in Britain but escaped after much legal wrangling and his supposed “brain damage”, only to be miraculously cured once he arrived back in Chile, amazing.
So Pinochet eluded justice yet again thanks to jack Straw’s stupidity.
In 2004, Pinochet was stripped of his immunity.
In September 2006, there were reports that he might finally be put on trial.
However, I fear that the only justice Pinochet will find is in Hell, but we can all hope it comes swifter, and not soon enough for this victims of his crimes.
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/02/2006 08:24:00 pm
01 October 2006
The current fiasco of scraping together NATO forces for Afghanistan brings to mind the Cold War.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO was on the front line to stop, as we were told at the time, the ever present possibility of conflict with the Warsaw Pact countries.
NATO was to be the bulwark against Soviet expansion and millions of Soviet troops.
Oh, how things have changed since the early 1990s.
NATO, instead of fighting millions of soldiers under the direction of the Kremlin, now faces a ragtag band of Taliban.
Of course, guerrilla actions can be unpredictable and hard to contain, but the probable thousands of Taliban fighters hardly compare with the millions of East European troops and the Red Army.
The undignified diplomatic shuffling and arm twisting which is going on now just to raise a few thousand troops for the NATO force in Afghanistan does not bode well for the future.
European nations seem more content when the threat is on the doorstep (has allegedly it was with the Warsaw Pact), but the ramifications of a rejuvenated Taliban retaking Afghanistan are too awful to consider, for the want of countries in the West fully engaging with the problems there.
The recent treaty signed by President Musharraf will, in all probability, give the Taliban a launch pad for attacks into Afghanistan from the lawless border region of Pakistan.
Combined with bumper crops of poppies it would seem that Afghanistan might regress.
Western countries have known for at least the past two years of the Taliban's resurgence and yet have not taken up the challenge, there is much talk of winning “the hearts and minds” but comparatively little real change on the ground.
So the four broad problems of Afghanistan, as I see them, are:
1. Western countries pitiful contribution to the rebuilding of Afghanistan
2. insufficient aid and military expertise
3. a method for dealing with the growth of poppies
4. how to make the border region of Pakistan inhospitable for the Taliban and Al Qaeda
The first two points should be comparatively easy to deal with if Western countries feel that the rebuilding of Afghanistan is in their vested interest and not just another annoyance.
The third point could possibly be dealt with by buying up the crop entirely and using it for medical purposes rather than allowing it to be processed into hard drugs. It seems unlikely that an eradication programme would be feasible or achievable in Afghanistan, so the alternative is to spend money to mopping them up and win the hearts and minds, that way.
The fourth point is very tricky, that border region is incredibly inhospitable and as the British found probably unconquerable. It may be that tribal loyalties in the region take precedence over money or perceived self-interest, military operations would seem futile and buying off parts of the border region may be more effective and in the long run cheaper than military incursions. Either way it is unclear as to how to deal with this problem.
So Western countries have several choices: engage with Afghanistan, pour money and resources into the region or allow Afghanistan to become, yet again, a mediaeval barbaric regime under the Taliban.
I think I know what is more preferable but do the politicians in the West?
Posted by ModernityBlog at 10/01/2006 12:10:00 am