Saturday, October 03, 2009
This is a book by Stuart Fairney who, like me, regularly comments on JR's blog.
Ted Kennedy wouldn't like it. The villain bears more than a passing resemblance to him, being a United States Congressman who is kingmaker to Presidents, immensely wealthy through his connections, a strong "liberal" supporter of welfarism which he doesn't use & pretty disgusting libertine. Perhaps Kennedy is not the only model. On the other hand there are moments when his pathos shows through.
The protagonist, Halle is a Lara Croft of high finance. The novel is set in what purports to be an alternate universe where the Confederacy succeeded though like the moon settlement in LeGuin's The Dispossesed, this is mainly a literary vehicle to create a libertarian society. Though where LeGuin is a "left wing" anarchist (ie one who doesn't work through the free market) Fairney is a "right wing" one who does. Both authors have views they are keen to promote which either elevates them or interferes with the action according to taste.
The plot involves an attempt by Halle, as CSA representative, to sell the South's economic freedom to the Northern people using methods, including the net, used in this world too Though I think in the real world broadcasters are not quite as easily fooled into letting people speak we have since seen, subsequent to publication, Sarah Palin using the net equally successfully. One nitpick is that economically free economies grow significantly faster than over regulated ones (eg Hong Kong's rise from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in 60 years). The people of the Confederacy should thus be many times richer than those of the North which would make Halle's task much easier. In Britain we are seeing the beginning of that effect where Ireland, which adopted some comparatively minor economic freedom (mainly cutting business taxes) 20 years ago has gone from 2/3rd Britain's standard of living to 4/3rds. However a tale where an entire population was many times richer than any in our world would have made an entirely different book.
But Fairney has created an interesting heroine caring, frighteningly competent, able to beat up muggers, but much too serious for her own good. Did I mention she is black.
The title is a quote from Thomas Jefferson
“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing [a people] to slavery.”
Friday, October 02, 2009
The selection of tree rings here simply cannot, on a statistical, basis, be random. Therefore we are not dealing with some possible honest accident but deliberate fraud. Deliberate fraud on which the whole catastrophic Global warming swindle is based. We also see at total refusal to mention this, indeed censorship of any comments that ask, on Realclimate & related sites. If there were any defence to this accusation realclimate should be shouting it now.
I think this is the death knell for CAGW.
It may also be the moment the blogsphere became the primary news source. This has been growing geometrically over the last few days online yet has been virtually non-existent in the dead tree press & TV. The UK's Guardian (a nominally liberal, certainly PC publication) has been deleting any comments put up on its online site. Unless disproved it is the story of the decade, since it is at least as important as all the CAGW stories over that time put together. That the MSM have allowed themselves, presumably out of fear, to be so thoroughly scooped by the blogsphere completely discredits them.
What its effects on politics will be I hesitate to guess - certainly all those politicians who have spent so long saying ", "debate is over", "scientific debate has now closed" " & "science is beyond dispute" & poured billions into "research" & advertising of this scam. The only thing that may keep them in power is that there are so many of them. The entire western world run by Vaclav Klaus, Senator Inhofe, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul & 1 minister in the Northern Irish government is stretching things thin.
Giving credit where it is due here, Via CCNet, are a couple of MSM reports on it:
Financial Post - by Ross McKitrick, McIntyre's co-worker on his first debunking & recommended to show how extensive the lying was.
National Post (Canada)
But online we have
Bishop Hill points out the Guardian online censorship of anybody mentioning this. I have experienced Guardian censorship before in support of our Nazi friends in former Yugoslavia & thus have a low opinion of this government funded Fakenewspaper but still find such wholesale censorship of anybody mentioning a very important news story shocking.
& I get a pleasant mention
Obviously nothing from the BBC or ITN
If this is the eclipse of the MSM by bloggers as a trustworthy news source it is not because the former has been eclipsed by technology but simply because the MSM (& the vast majority of politicians) have forfeited any trust.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Once again Steve McIntyre has proven a crucial part of the global warming swindle to be without factual merit. In this case he has proven statistically that Michael Mann, in producing his Hockey Stick theory has deliberately faked his most basic evidence.
After 10 years of data being withheld that would allow true scientific replication, and after dozens of requests for that data, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit finally was given access to the data from Yamal Peninsula, Russia. He discovered that only 12 trees had been used out of a much larger dataset of tree ring data. When the larger data set was plotted, there is no “hockey stick” of temperature, in fact it goes in the opposite direction. Get your primer here.Since all 12 trees were very much at variance with the average readings from that group it is just statistically impossible that Mann selected all 12 at random. Therefore it is fraud. These particular tree rings were the evidence on which the entire Hockey Stick theory, that we had flat temperatures for the previous, originally, 1,500 years & an unprecedented sharp rise this century. This is effectively the entire "global warming"/""climate change"/"dangerous climate change" case.
McIntyre has previously found that the Britain's Climate Research Unit, charged with collating world climate records, whereby official records allegedly show warming this century had "lost" all their original data. This excuse after their chief had said "Why should I make the data available to you when you are going to try to find something wrong with it". Even if it were true that "the dog ate the homework" that remark alone proves the CRU is a corrupt propaganda organisation not a scientific one.
Previous to that he found a somewhat different group of scientists had fabricated data purporting to show Antarctic ice melting.
Previous to that he obtained the US official climate records, found they were deeply flawed, stations being moved or built over & no corrections made and that in fact the claim that 1998 had been the warmest year there was false & it was actually 1933.
Previous to that it was he who analysed the algorithms in Mann's Hockey Stick computer programme which magnified the tree ring data & was should would magnify almost any set of data to produce his Hockey Stick graph. Scandalously Nature refused to publish his paper, while publishing attacks, mainly of an ad hominum nature, on him.
The degree of praise Stephen McIntyre is due can hardly be understated. He should be the 2nd person, after Marie Curie, to get a Nobel Prize & bar for mathematically dissecting this (technically this shouldn't be as difficult as most Nobel winning stuff but no better mathematician did it) & the Peace Prize, if that has not been rendered worthless by Al Gore.
This final nail in the coffin of "climate change" obviously is by definition more important than all the false stories & "studies" alleging that warming "may" be worse than previously thought. It proves that ALL the members of an entire allegedly scientific discipline have been either engaged in deliberate fraud or have been hoodwinked by colleagues because they failed to show basic scientific scepticism or make the sort of investigation government was, officially, paying them for.
As such it has, naturally been front page news in every single remotely honest newspaper in the western world (so that would be not one in Britain then); every journalist who has appeared to endorse warming & is not a wholly corrupt whore willing to tell any lie to promote modern big government fascist fear mongering (at time of writing that is 1, worldwide, in Australia); & of course the whole GW scam is now being denounced by every single politician who is sane & not a wholly corrupt, lying, thief intent on establishing fascism through fear such as.
In my increasing opinion that 99% of all government is parasitic & corrupt (& failure to find counter examples) I should point out that while billions have been poured into doing "climate science" from government none of it could find out the basic facts & it depended on Stephen McIntyre, who funds himself, to prove it. Nor is this unique.
UPDATE I have received this email:
Please note: Steve McIntyre's post concerns work by climate scientist Keith Briffa and not Michael Mann. You will probably wish to correct your post.
My understanding is that while Briffa did the tree ring measurement, Mann, in his paper, chose to choose 12 atypical tree rings out of at least 34 to fabricate the global warming trend. My assumption is that Mann is responsible for fabrications in his own paper & that this is a damage limitation exercise. I am open to correction on this & indeed have emailed Professor Briffa to see.
UPDATER My email has surfaced within the leaked emails. This is the reply they decided not to send which is wise since it is both a simple piece of fluff which makes no specific answer & as events have shown, untrue.
If we are to respond, it would be to indicate that there are multiple sources of supporting
evidence and that we continue to place our confidence in the international scientific
assessment process. This confidence has proven to be well placed.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I'm going to quote John Redwood's Diary again but this time am only going to quote myself:
I would give at least even chances that Sarah “starting in January we will build nuclear plants” Palin will replace him. Most British people know nothing about her except what the BBC say & they lie in a way the American media would like to if the audience didn’t already know something about her... Palin was a very capable executive, ending Alaska’s budget deficit & anybody reading her Facebook page can see she has a very strong grasp of issues, a deep respect & understanding of American constitutionalism & the ability to handle words in a way any politician would be glad of. I am quite certain that had the policy I quoted been done the US would now be out of recession. Her opposition to the global warming scam also shows her intelligence & indeed courage.I would change my mind on her bible bashing if I actually saw it on her Facebook page but I haven't.
Partly by chance the lightning of history has struck her, as it struck Obama & the American people & all western civilisation should be glad it has struck such an intelligent, capable & honourable person.
British politicians who merely follow our media may find themselves well outside her turning circle when she is elected.
Someone raised the point about her alleged Biblical literalism
...She is a “Bible believing Christian” which, except in the higher reaches of the CofE, is almost a tautology. ...she was raised Catholic & Catholicism & Bible literalism do not go together. My impression is that, like many people who think the church is a good influence on the kids she is more interested in it socially than theologically. I write this as an atheist myself.
In some cases, such as the claim she wanted to ban library books, what she said has been deliberately twisted out of context. Paradoxically this may work to her advantage since it will now be impossible to persuade the religious right not to vote for her.
By "lightning of history" I mean that some people get political opportunities because they just fit the times. Churchill came to power because all the other Tories were tainted by appeasement, Obama won because America was looking for a black or half black leader brought up like a white man, Blair could do the "trust me I'm just plain folks" routine magnificently. In this way Palin hits America's frontier self image as Steve Sailer said:
"What intrigues people about elections aren’t the platform planks. Deep down, political contests are about picking symbolic champions. Just as Barack Obama, recently of the Illinois legislature, has excited tens of millions by his emphasis on his bloodlines, by his implication that national racial reconciliation is “in my DNA,” the overstuffed life story of the caribou huntress and mother of five (and soon to be grandmother at age 44) embodies the oldest boast Americans have made about their homeland: the fecundity of the frontier...
Palin’s husband Todd... Exactly the kind you’d expect: he works as both a North Slope oilfield roughneck and a salmon fisherman. He’s also won the state’s snowmobile championship, the 2,000-mile Tesoro Iron Dog race, four times. He only finished fourth this year because he had to ride the last 400 miles with a broken arm after being thrown 70 feet. Did I mention he’s part Eskimo?
The even more fundamental reason underlying all the fury on one side and amusement on the other is that this brouhaha centers around female fertility...An obsession in politics with breeding is both very old (hereditary monarchy) and very contemporary. The main qualifications of the current president and this year’s Democratic runner-up are that they are, respectively, the scion and consort of ex-presidents. More subtly, Obama launched himself at the 2004 Democratic convention by devoting the first 380 words of his famous speech to detailing the two stocks from which he was crossbred...Palin has horned in on all that subliminal symbolism with her own old-fashioned American brand. She’s had five kids while throwing out the crooks and nepotists. And now she has a 17-year-old pregnant daughter engaged to a strapping 18-year-old hockey player in one of the few places left in America where a young man with a strong back can support a family."
That gives her an advantage in any circumstances. America is extremely lucky that somebody with all that is also principled & competent.
As for how effective she has been since resigning from Alaska, Ted Belman says it perfectly:
"In less than six weeks she has taken over from all the elected Republicans, the role of government watchdog. She has assumed the role of a government in waiting and all Republicans are riding her coat tails.
From a very small perch on Twitter and Facebook, her messages take off and carom and careen throughout America.
As I reported in “Palin is just beginning to fight - and win”, she knocked the legs out from under Obamacare with her “death panel” charge. Obama has yet to recover. She followed this up with another broadside on Obamacare.
Showing impeccable timing, a day before Obama made a last ditch effort to salvage it with yesterday’s big speech, she deliver an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, no less, entitled Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care.
Obama found it necessary in his speech to respond to this “dummy” by calling her a liar. Immediately afterwards, Palin fought back with a devastating counter attack on Facebook. To wit.
"He called these concerns “bogus,” “irresponsible,” and “a lie” — so much for civility. After all the name-calling, though, what he did not do is respond to the arguments we’ve made, arguments even some of his own supporters have agreed have merit.""
Also reading her Facebook I am impressed not only with her thoughtfulness & inspiration but also with the nuanced way every word is in place, or if it isn't the gap is deliberate. For example for Constitution day she does a fine patriotic piece about America while not wallowing in patriotism (she describes the Constitution as "one of the greatest founding documents in history" which as a Brit I would consider probably an understatement) is patriotic & shows a deep understanding of what the Constitution is about. But she heads it with the James Madison quote "The Constitution of the United States was created by the people of the United States composing the respective states, who alone had the right” which is upholding the position, which I agree with on economic, freedom & constitutional grounds, that sovereignty lies with the individual states not Washington. That is somebody who understands what she believes in & has a mastery of language.
Since the Redwood comment she has made her first foreign speech which has had zero coverage here. She made it in Hong Kong, before an audience of capitalists in what is now part of America's biggest & nominally communist competitor. That alone puts conventional politicians well outside her turning circle. It is a 1 1/2 hour speech & I am not going to fisk it but it repays reading & is an overwhelming answer to the media's claim she was unfit for government because she knew nothing about abroad. Because of that speech I would improve the odds on my earlier bet of her becoming President. However I am going to put up a few quotes & then contrast them with Brown's speech yesterday:
"This war – and that is what it is, a war – is not, as some have said, a clash of civilizations. We are not at war with Islam. This is a war within Islam, where a small minority of violent killers seeks to impose their view on the vast majority of Muslims who want the same things all of us want: economic opportunity, education, and the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. The reality is that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed scores of innocent Muslim men, women and children...
Asia’s Wise Man, former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew...
We need to go back to fiscal discipline...
You know better than most the enormous change that has taken place in China over the last thirty years. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as China has undertaken economic reforms that have resulted in unprecedented growth. Even today, China’s economy is projected to grow by some 8%. It is helping to edge the world out of recession...
Many countries HOPE China will pursue a ‘Peaceful Rise’ but NONE will bet their future on it...
See: this is the heart of the issue with China: we engage with the hope Beijing becomes a responsible stakeholder, but we must takes steps in the event it does not. See? We all hope to see a China that is stable, peaceful, prosperous and free. But we must also work with our allies...
just as a century ago the then-preeminent power, Great Britain, worried little about the rise of America to great power status. My point is that the more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnicity will settle disputes in courts rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we will be concerned about its military build-up and intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is they we will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests...
we welcome China’s responsible rise...
Our economic interdependence drives our relationship with China. I see a future of more trade with China and more American high-tech goods in China. But in order for that to happen, we need China to improve its rule of law and protect our intellectual property. We need to avoid protectionism and China’s flirtation with state-assisted “national champions.” On our part, we should be more open to Chinese investment where our national security interests are not threatened. In the end, though, our economic relationship will truly thrive when Chinese citizens and foreign corporations can hold the Chinese government accountable when their actions are unjust...
In contrast [to the US], China is behaving wisely in negotiating free trade agreements throughout Asia...
When my country again achieves financial stability and economic growth – when we roar back to life as we shall do – it will be thanks in large part to the hard work and common sense of these ordinary Americans who are demanding that government spend less and tax less and allow the private sector to grow and prosper...
We’re not interested in government fixes; we’re interested in freedom! Freedom! Our vision is forward looking..."
I like the bit about Britain since it suggests whoever came up with that (all top politicians have advisers but the real ones make the final decision about what is in their speeches) has a confident understanding of British history. I doubt if she came up with it but only competent people choose competent advisers.
By comparison Brown's speech was simply a series of dubious boasts, cliches & unfundable spending promises (aka bribes) with no hint of original thought. To be fair he was addressing the Labour party. Compare Palin's economic proposal that America set itself to exporting hi-tech to China & importing general goods - which is entirely correct but not populist - with Brown's inane:
"Our new economic model for a strong economy is founded on three guiding principles.
That in future finance must always be the servant of people and industry and not their master.
That our future economy must be a green economy.
And that we must realise all of Britain's talent if we are to lead and succeed."
The 3rd is a cliche, the first simply & destructively unloading his responsibility for the recession on bankers & the second - that our economy can successfully grow by depending on jobs which need endless subsidy - is simply lunatic.
Brown is often treated as an intellectual heavyweight, deeper thinking than anybody else in his cabinet or the other "Blair-lite" party leaders (& to be fair that bit may well be true) while the media say Palin is unsophisticated redneck trailer trash. In fact comparing the 2 it is obvious she is far more intellectual than almost any other prominent western/anglosphere politician.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
John Redwood yesterday blogged on the German election, a subject on which the MSM seems enormously uninterested, which is a shame because if even the Germans are moving strongly in a free market direction it suggeststhe world is shifting:
Germany’s two main parties slump to just 57% of the votePublished by John Redwood
It was a dreadful night for the SDP, down at 23%. Frau Merkel’s CDU also lost votes and vote share, coming out with just one third of the votes. The Greens, and the radical left took away SDP votes. The Free Democrats scythed in to the CDI position. The parties who were not part of the governing coalition surged from 30% to 43% between them.
What were German electors trying to tell the two main parties? They were saying that their efforts to appear the same as each other and to govern together in a consensual coalition on the so called centre ground was the last thing voters wanted. They did not think it was good for Germany. The larger group of critics of the Grand coalition sided with those who want less government, lower taxes and more freedom. The smaller group sided with those who want more government and more centralised leadership and more green policy.
The most exciting thing in the election was the great success of Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the Free Democrats, in boosting his party’ s support. He was strong and interesting, with something different to say. He condemned the car scrappage scheme as an expensive nonsense. He called for a cut in the top rate of tax from 45% to 35% to make Germany more competitive and enterprising, and a cut in the lower tax rate from 14% to 10% to cut poverty and boost private spending. He said of the Grand coalition it was only grand at “raising taxes and accumulating debt. It has frittered away billions in tax money”
The Free democrats want to strengthen civil liberties, reduce state power and keep nuclear power stations. Much of what they say I find attractive...
The Free Democrats are Germany's Liberals & the programme Mr Redwood mentions is exactly what traditional liberals believe in. It is a great misfortune for Britain that outr LibDems have allowed themselves to be hijacked by eco-fascists, nanny statist & assorted special interest groups linked only by the hope that ever bigger, more illiberal, government will supply them with money for their own particular fetishes. Liberals in British politics can have a constructive role only through the Conservatives or UKIP, neither of which are entirely satisfactory.
I commented on his site"
"I suspect if the British LibDems had gone this way they would now be leading in the polls over both Labour & Conservative. When they, being at about 22% in the polls, ditched Kennedy at the same time the Conservatives adopted Cameron they were replacing the most popular party leader with a couple of stuffed shirts. The Conservatives are not ahead because they are liked but because they are the best alternative being offered.
All the policies you mention are traditional liberal ones but the “Lib Dems” here sold their principles to attract eco-fascists & other sorts of nuts too silly even for Labour, to such an extent that free marketism is officially “illiberal” by their Orwellian rewriting & they are committed to blackouts & poverty.
I should also point out that this result matters in Germany purely because they have a PR system. Those results here would simply result in there being a CDU majority over an SPD opposition with about a dozen others. Barriers to entry in economics stifle innovation & that is at least equally true in politics."
Further thought leads me to think that under an FPTP electoral system the growth of small parties might never have happened. If the Greens & far left were part of the SPD they would, in theory be the largest party & in an FPTP system get the most votes. I say in theory because in practice such a coalition would be so riven with contradictions & forced to adopt silly policies that sensible socialists would be driven to vote elsewhere seems like the history of Labour). The only conclusions we can be sure of are that the voters would be offered a worse choice of leadership & that the election would turn more on tactical carve ups between political factions.
I note that many Conservatives are coming round to the concept of electoral reform. Any discussion on it on Iain Dale's Diary, for example, finds ordinary Conservatives on a clear balance, in support of it. I think this is democratic & a sign that the party are genuine reformers. It should also attract the leadership since the FPTP system does not help them the way it used to. This is because people move much more often than in previous decades so that we see Labour constituencies increasingly getting smaller & a pure constituency electoral system means that the Conservatives need to get as much as 10% more of the vote to match Labour. This is also aided by the differential turnout in Labour constituencies where apathy, understandably, reigns. While getting 10% more may not be a problem next year it is likely it will be in 2013. The party leaders should be considering the future.
I doubt if the FDP would disagree with this
I believe that it would be in the interests of the party, as well as the country, to commit itself to traditional liberal policies & particularly to achieving economic success - time after time it is shown that the electorate want wealth, whereas Ludditism, bicycling, windmills & banning things are not popular Even if it is decided that such matters are "incompatible with membership of the party" this would only prove that liberalism & membership of the Lib Dems are incompatible. I must leave that decision in your hands & those of the Appeals Tribunal
Monday, September 28, 2009
As a former British diplomat (NB said by many to be 'pro-Serb'!) I have followed the Kosovo issue on and off for over 25 years. I was one of the first foreign diplomats into Kosovo after the state of emergency was lifted there following the 'disturbances' of 1981.
The one utterly indisputable fact in this sorry story is that for decades successive leaderships in Belgrade failed to extend a sensible hand of friendship and reconciliation towards their Albanian fellow-citizens. Instead they treated them as some sort of inferior race.
Even after Milosevic fell, President Kostunica had no policy for behaving in a positive, reasonable way towards Albanian people in Serbia, even though they were his own voters! I know because I was there and watched it all at very close quarters.
Basically, Serbia blew it, to the point of making even the KLA seem reasonable.
I have thought about this long and hard and just can't explain it to myself: how could smart and otherwise decent people take such ruinously counter-productive positions for so long? But they did.
Check out that vital Balkan 'inat' word and all will be clearer.
Plenty about all this on my own site under the Balkanic Eruptions tag:
HM Ambassador to Sarajevo (1996-98) and Belgrade (2001-03)
neil craig said...
I'll check out your site but I would dispute your claim. Milosevic came to power following attacks by the Albanian police in Kosovo on local Serbs. This was merely the end of a long era of the ethnic Albanian government running an openly racist & fairly violent & fraudulent local regime there. While ethnic tensions exist everywhere, including London, the record of the Serbs towards the Albanians is rather good. Possibly to good for their own interests since they allowed effectively free immigration from Albania.
You will not deny that there are, even now, 50,000 Albanians living in Belgrade & not eager to return to their liberated homeland. It being the only multi-ethnic capital remaining in former Yugoslavia. This itself says exactly what we did & what sort of Nazis we made use of across Yugoslavia.
Do you think that the British people would be equally kindly if Pakistani immigrants had collaborated with Germany to ethnically cleanse Yorkshire of its original inhabitants & set up a racist Moslem regime? I very much doubt it but that is what has been done to the Serbs & what they have NOT taken revenge for.
Unless you dispute that the KLA have engaged in massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing, sexual enslavement of schoolgirls & dissecting living people for organs (both during the terrorism & after being appointed NATO "police") I simply cannot accept the KLA "seem reasonable".
If that is evidence of being "pro-Serb" in the British Foreign Service it suggests most people there indeed share the view the entire race are Untermensch.
Charles Crawford said...
I have lived in different parts of the former Yugoslavia space for some eight years and worked on the issues in London for several more. I speak Serbo-Croat-Bosnian. What exactly is your own first-hand knowledge of the region, please?
Sure, it's really complicated in many respects. But it also is quite simple.
The Serbs as the largest community in former Yugoslavia had the opportunity and the political weight to define the future of that part of Europe. Instead they fell for lumpen national-socialism led by Milosevic, a deeply disturbed man married to an even more disturbed wife.
That happened for one quite interesting and little-understood reason. Back in the early 1970s there was a Belgrade Spring, echoing the 1968 Prague Spring, when hundreds of liberal-minded communists started pushing for real reform.
Tito duly purged thousands of them from the Party, which meant that in the next two decades the Serbian Communist Party was led by dullards and fifth-raters prone to stupid repressive policies such as Milosevic started to offer in the later 1980s. This stopped Serbia offering credible modern policies when Yugoslavia started to break up. Not that weak EU/US dithering helped at that point either, of course.
The national tragedy for Serbs is that Milosevic led them into a political dead-end, and the Serbs en masse repeatedly endorsed him one way or the other. They created the context for their own misfortune, in good part from facile collective opportunism - where did all the TVs and household appliances looted from Bosnia by Arkan actually go, do you think?
All that said, I would agree that in many respects 'Western' policy was bad or worse. But the unbalanced simplifications and zany analogies you use alas do not help us get to a better outcome.
Which is all I have to say on this subject here.
neil craig said...
Basically you are pulling rank & you are quite correct that the british government never appointed me an ambassador there. I would argue that that does not prove you the more impartial.
Beyond that you are arguing that the Serbs are wrong because they are the bigger nationality, which if taken seriously would therefore make them "right" in any dispute with NATO & that Milosevic was bad because he was.
Far from being a nationalist (or even a national socialist as you, unoriginally, brand him) you will know that David owen testified at his trial that he was opposed to nationalism. Having read his speech in Kosovo you will know he was proud that Yugoslavia was, then, a multiethnic state. I note you cannot dispute that Serbia alone remains a multi-ethnic state the rest having benn "cleansed" under NATO authority by such openly genocidal ex-Nazi friends of ours as Izetbegovic, at whose court you had the experience of serving as ambassador. Alongside his other friend Osama bin Laden.
Charles Crawford said... No, I am not pulling rank. I am describing my long personal experience dealing with these issues, and asking what yours might be. I await the answer.
You have energetic views. I just wonder how far they are based on grappling in person with these problems with many of the key personalities involved.
I don't see how you can say that I say "that the Serbs were wrong because they are the bigger nationality" (sic). That is not what I wrote. My point is that as the largest community in former Yugoslavia, the Serbs had a fine opportunity to use their overall 'weight' and experience to define how it might evolve in a positive direction.
They did not take it. Indeed, it remains baffling to most experts why Milosevic did not use Serbia's advantages to pursue his goals using guileful diplomacy and normal political/diplomatic methods - it all could have been so different, and heavily in Serbia's favour...
neil craig said...
I don't accept that it is necessary to have met Izetbegovic to acknowledge that he was an ex-Nazi publicly committed to genocide any more than it is necessary to have met Hitler to be a historian of the Holocaust.
I will leave it to readers to decide whether you did say the Serbs were particularly to blame because they were the largest community.
I am intrigued by what you say about Milosevic's goals. I would be interested in what you think they were. I will also agree that I think Yugoslavia would have been served better by a more guileful & aggressive & less honest leader. However I do not see that supports the claim that NATO's participation in war crimes, genocide & dissections is justified by his lack of guile.
Now I have put all this up as it came to show that Charles is clearly not just a ranter or cliche spouter like so many, though he is loyal to the Foreign Office code. He perhaps wisely, has chosen not to elucidate on that astonishing remark about Milosevic's lack of "guileful behaviour" ".
Guileless = Innocent, NaiveSo according to a leading British diplomat who clearly enjoys the full confidence of the Foreign Office & NATO on this subject the crime of Milosevic & the Yugoslav government was that they were innocents naively trusting to western integrity, the rule of international law etc. Now let me say that I actually have some sympathy with this. Machiavelli was firmly of the opinion that it was the duty of a sovereign leader "Prince" who has the responsibility of protecting the country when it faces an existential threat, to use any tactics, no matter how dishonest & indeed bloody to protect it. Stalin, whether with philosophical thought or not, practiced the same when he signed his Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler. I think the Serbs would have been better served by leaders who were less civilised, less willing to have cease fires & negotiations whenever they were winning & who had been more willing not merely to defend themselves but to make the aggressors pay a price. Indeed Charles puts this point in his essay How To Negotiate: Inflict Pain?
However Milosevic was not charged with being innocent. More importantly Machiavelli never said that leaders should behave like this when not under threat - quite the reverse. NATO, Britain, the EU & USA never faced an existential threat from Yugoslavia. They never faced any slightest threat whatsoever. There is no such justification for their "guileful" actions. If the derivation of words means anything then Crawford is saying that it is the NATO powers that are "guile-ty" of crimes there.
This, however, goes well beyond Yugoslavia. Charles is clearly a civilised individual who would not kill children or small dogs, at least ones he had met. Such people do not convince themselves of the rightness of evil unless they are immersed in such an environment for a long time.
The most depressing of the wonderful Yes Minister episodes is Whiskey Priest in which the minister finds that the government has been supplying bombs to terrorists in Italy. This was after Italian right wing terrorists, masquerading as leftists, had set off the Bologna bomb which killed 80 people. It is not known to what extent the Italian Red Brigade was actually controlled by these same rightists but it was certainly considerable. In turn it is known that these "rightists" were actually Gladio a NATO organisation set up to carry out acts of resistance/terrorism nominally in the event of a Soviet invasion but presumably also in the more likely event of the communists winning the election. All the other Yes Minister episodes are based on known events & if this one were not unique I would expect it to be based on evidence surfacing that the Bologna or some other bomb contained parts supplied by the British Secret Service, but no such evidence has become public - as indeed it never did in the episode.
Enough background - the comparison here is that the minister finds Sir Humphrey eager to cover it up. This causes an argument in which Hacker calls Humphrey a "moral vacuum" which the latter takes well seeing it as high praise & proof of him being a successful civil servant. Nowadays the situation seems worse - Charles is not a "moral vacuum". Sir Humphrey would never have dreamt of publicly defending such things because vacuums do not do that. Mr Crawford actively defends actions which he clearly knows were genocidal & evil carried out simply because their target was innocent enough for them to get away with it. He wasn't born that way - it is a result of a governmental system, meshing perfectly with those in the US & EU systems, which has no ethical basis. These governments do not lie & murder & destroy because they feel that what is best in life is “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women” though many of their Nazi hirelings surely do. They do it because it gives government bureaucracy something to do. Something that will justify all the money spent. That will justify spending more (Kosovo being not an asset but a money hole). Something that will justify more diplomats & "N"GOs. Something that leaves NATO "respected".
This is where government action against foreigners matches with government action against us. If as Ashdown says, 500,000 were killed in the Yugoslav wars that only barely exceeds the number of people (24,000 a year) who died unnecessarily of cold because government insists on preventing us having cheap electricity because it isn't "environmental" over the last 20 years. Time & time & time again we see the workings of Pournelle's Iron Law - that the purpose of government programmes is to pay government employees & their friends & that their official purpose is, at best, peripheral. Would the world not be a safer place if all the backroom operatives of NATO & our Foreign Office & all the others in the NATO countries were carried off in wiff of brimstone? In the same way would we not be better off if all the smoking inspectors, & Health & Safety executives, & nuclear regulators & windmill subsidisers, & social workers & carbon counters & public information officers & eurocrats & planning officers were allowed to seek employment digging ditches?
At the very least would it not be better if 99% of them were.
How many government programmes can you name that have solved the problem they were nominally set up to serve; that have saved more lives than they cost; that have cost what they promised? And as Charles has proven the entire edifice is run by people who have no interest in achieving any moral ends but simply in enlarging their own bureaucracy.
Government is a colossal blood sucking parasite without even the grandeur of a barbarian invasion. With it tamed & shrunk to something closer to a mouse than a juggernaut we, of all nations, have the capability to turn this planet into Eden & to do the same with the universe.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
By the time that was written I had started putting the accusations in detail on virtually every LibDem site that blogged over the weekend. Not good netiquette I accept but then censoring the original honest questions wasn't in the first place. Unsurprisingly most censored it. 6 kept it up but, out of dozens, & mostly like the example of ignoring the elephant in the room, continued their chit chat without mentioning it.
Somebody responded on the LiBDems in Hackney site that since Britain is a constitutional monarchy politicians can't legally be held accountable, to which I pointed out that Mussolini's Italy was a constitutional monarchy & were nonetheless found responsible. He also said that other NATO countries were also culpable & that "I am sure that Liberal Democrats would support a full and thorough investigation into and any resultant prosecutions of anyone [ie anyone foreign] accused of any such crimes" which I await seeing with interest. There was 1 supportive message here.. Not really a diary made a response but censored my reply. Futility monster said he was suspicious of what we were told about Yugoslavia but didn't know much which is honest.
Mike Gradwell made a manful attempt to defend the party by claiming it was untrue that NATO had started the war over Kosovo & similar counter factual assertions He decided to start censoring me though we continued an email correspondence which I assume he does not wish published but in which he was still unable to produce any factual support for the official view. His brother then, surprisingly gave me a telling off for censoring the hordes of LibDems who had pointed out my factual inaccuracies. My reply was reasoned & he has not responded.
There was also a response from the former British Ambassador to both Bosnia & Serbia, Charles Crawford who runs an intelligent blog, mainly on diplomacy. This being his page on Yugoslavia. This has brought me to conclusions well beyond Yugoslavia or the LudDims which I will deal with probably tomorrow. He put up 2 comments but then ceased.
So the final result is that there has been no hint of legal response, that not 1 of the 80,000 members has produced any factual evidence to suggest that the entire party is not complicit in war crimes, genocide & worse, that no member is currently able to dispute it & that nobody who was an MP at the time is willing even to defend themselves from such charges.
Of course you are not to infer from this anything other than that they consider the evidence against them so flimsy that it was scarcely worth their while to rise from their seats and waste their breath denying these ludicrous charges. Or not as the case may be.