Friday, January 02, 2015
Lone wolves, stray dogs and leaderless resistance
THE lone-wolf attack on the Lindt cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, reflects a pattern of jihadist activity that merits much closer analysis than it receives from security agencies and Western governments. Instead, in the aftermath of such attacks a left- leaning commentariat, security agencies that often failed to keep the lone actor under surveillance and terrorist experts dismiss the incident as the one-off act of a deranged lunatic.
Indeed, to take such actors seriously, it is alleged, only plays into a socially divisive politics of fear. Thus, The Guardian’s Yassir Morsi considers Man Haron Monis “a desperate man with a violent past” and academic experts such as Clive Williams inform us that Monis received “no direction from the Islamic State”, while Greg Barton contends “it’s a one-off home-grown incident”.
The propensity to regard religiously motivated violence as the actions of deracinated loners is not confined to Australia. A similar complacency characterised the Canadian response to the attacks in October by Martin Rouleau in Quebec and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in Ottawa and the US response to Zane Thompson’s hatchet attack on New York policemen in the same month.
This response dismisses too quickly a strategy by Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as al-Nusra Front, that Western governments need to address forcefully. From the Tsarnaev brothers’ attack on the Boston Marathon and the murder of Lee Rigby in south London in 2013 to this year’s Ottawa and New York attacks, the Lindt cafe assault and the hit-and-run attacks in France before Christmas, such incidents have become the new normal.
They achieve what Cold War terrorist organisations sought, namely “many people watching and not many dead”. Violence motivated by the Irish Republican Army or the Palestine Liberation Organisation in the 1970s thrived on the oxygen of publicity. Such tactics increasingly suit the social media agenda of Islamic State to keep the West off balance by striking at its cosmopolitan heart.
It is not a coincidence, then, that an Islamic State online fatwa in September required potential jihadis to “kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever … in any manner or way”. The potential assassin requires no authority for the deed because: “It is immaterial if an infidel is a combatant or a civilian. The sentence is one” — and it is, of course, death. The attacks in New York, Canada, Sydney, Dijon and Nantes predictably followed in the wake of this social media appeal.
In other words, although security services and the media dismiss the actors as “stray dogs” rather than lone wolves, their attacks serve a wider strategic purpose and reflect the thinking of the most important jihadist tactician since 9/11, Abu Musab al-Suri. Al-Suri possesses impeccable Islamist credentials. Syrian in origin, he gained Spanish citizenship through marriage in 1984. Subsequently he spent time in Peshawar, as al-Qa’ida began to take shape, with Osama bin Laden’s mentor, the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam. Moving to Londonistan in the early 90s, he joined the al-Qa’ida-linked group al-Muhajiroun.
After 9/11 al-Suri recognised that the global Islamic resistance movement required a more flexible strategy than al-Qa’ida had pursued. After 2003, al-Suri’s new third-generation jihadism promoted leaderless resistance. In 2005, he published online his Global Call to Islamic Resistance. It called for spontaneous, self-radicalised actions, “which will wear down the enemy and prepare the ground for waging war on open fronts … without confrontation in the field and seizing control of the land, we cannot establish an (Islamic) state, the strategic goal of the resistance”. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence arrested al-Suri in 2007 and renditioned him to Syria.
American Islamist Anwar al-Awlaki, however, published five articles extracted from Global Call in Inspire, the English online journal that made jihad hip. Significantly, the Syrian government released al-Suri in 2011 and his thinking now directly influences the online strategy of Islamic State and al-Nusra.
Yet, as with its ideology, Islamic State derives its strategy from anti-democratic Western sources. While the Islamist death cult draws on totalitarian ideologies for its sanctification of violence, the concept of leaderless resistance derives from the strategic thinking of American white supremacists. Ironically, it was Aryan Nations strategist Louis Beam who in the 1980s promulgated the concept of leaderless resistance where “individuals and groups” serve the ideological end, but “operate independently of each other”. Meanwhile the lone-wolf attacker first appeared in William Luther Pierce’s Hunter (1989). It inspired Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.
The media, security agencies and academe did not consider McVeigh insane. They took the bomber and the ideology motivating right-wing extremism seriously. By contrast, faced with a far more determined and ubiquitous Islamic State, an oblivious commentariat presents the current wave of home-grown attacks as isolated events, ignoring the group’s broader strategic purpose.
This wilful neglect underestimates the politically destabilising intent of lone-actor violence. Al-Suri and Islamic State have considered tactics and a strategic goal.
In response, Anglosphere governments engage in a discourse of denial leading to a disjuncture between what Islamists say, what the media and security community say they mean and what Islamists actually do. Such self-delusion will ultimately prove self-defeating.
I'm one of the 99.7%
UKIP is Britain's most conservative political party
In the media, we hear a lot about the 0.3% - those candidates for Ukip who've said or done stupid things, things which neither Ukip nor anyone else in the country would. They've had the oxygen of publicity for far too long. I want to talk about the 99.7%, about what we believe.
We're the champions of democracy, the people who believe that if your MP is involved in a scandal you should, if you have enough support, be able to force a vote to remove them. We're the people who put that into practice: when Douglas Carswell MP and Mark Reckless MP joined Ukip, both of them immediately put themselves before the voters in their constituencies and asked them to re-elect them. They did. But before Ukip came along, politicians who defected never bothered to consult the people that matter: you. We're the people who want the public to be able to force politicians to listen through calling a referendum on key issues, to drag democracy kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.
We're the people who believe there's a wider world out there, and that we should be part of it. We shouldn't be part of yesterday's club, looking only to a declining Europe when the globe is changing. We should be developing trade links internationally, with emerging markets like China and India. We should be helping the world's poorest nations through trade - not through policies which send aid yet trample on their ability to develop their own economies.
And whilst we're on the subject, our bloated foreign aid budget of £1billion a month has been going to Argentina, to countries with nuclear and space programmes, and even to countries in the G20. Ukip believes that aid should have a focus on relief from disaster rather than creating dependence. Humanitarian and other aid should be used quickly and efficiently; how many lives could have been saved from Ebola if the political will had been there sooner?
We're the people who are sickened that hard-working people on the minimum wage are subject to Income Tax, and would raise the tax threshold so that no-one doing a standard working week on minimum wage would pay a penny piece. We're the people who believe in tax simplification, the people who think the small business of today is the big business of tomorrow, the people who don't believe that multinationals should be able to lobby for excessive legislation to give them a competitive advantages over the small businesses which just can't cope with it.
We're the people who want an energy policy that's planned for the long term, not the short-termism where renewables are pushed before they're competitive and prices spiral so that millions are in fuel poverty and many pensioners have to choose between heating and eating. We're the ones who believe in developing technology on renewables, getting it to work properly and then introducing it.
We're the people who are bitterly disappointed that so few children from working-class backgrounds make it to universities like Oxford and Cambridge, and who are committed to changing the education system to give everyone a real chance in life. We're the people who believe in grammar schools - not the system of the 50s and 60s which saw underfunded secondary moderns fail young people, but a system where individual needs are taken into account and where proper vocational training is an option, allowing young people to learn skills and trades.
We're the people who want us to take tougher action on crime, to keep our streets safe and - yes - because it's actually in the best interests of those who might be tempted into a life of crime if a line is drawn in the sand and society makes it clear that repeat offending won't be tolerated. We're the people who believe you can have both punishment and rehabilitation in the same system, that you can protect the public and punish the criminal whilst giving them every opportunity to change their ways.
We're the people who want to honour our Armed Forces who risk their lives in the service of this country, to make sure that those who have served long enough have a guaranteed job in civilian life when they come out. We're the people who would offer our ex-servicemen who have suffered injuries or psychological trauma in the line of duty priority medical treatment. We abhor the fact that so many of our prison population are ex-Armed Forces: that shows just how poor care for our veterans really is. We're the people for whom the Military Covenant is serious, not a gimmick.
We're the people who want to safeguard our NHS, to oppose Labour's private finance deals and to protect it from health tourism whereby those who haven't paid into the system come to the UK to get something out. We're the people who would scrap hospital car parking charges, which have become little more than a tax on the sick.
We're the people who are in tune with public opinion on immigration. YouGov recently polled this issue in detail. 71% of people agree with immigration from those who are wealthy and bring money into the country; so do we if they improve our economy. 68% believe in allowing foreign students at our universities; so do we - but they must pay their way just as British students overseas do. 63% of people believe people with high education and skills should be allowed into the UK; so do we as long as those skills are needed in the British economy. For those coming to work in patient care in the NHS opinions are more split: 50% support this. In our view they must speak English well enough to do the job - and we want to train more medical staff here. We're also worried that importing NHS staff from poorer countries can deprive those countries of much-needed workers.
By 48% to 38%, people believe we should help those fleeing war or persecution. We believe that we should do our fair share, but we also believe that international law should be respected - and that people should claim asylum in the first safe country they come to. That's why we aren't happy with the camps of potential immigrants at Calais seeking to sneak into the UK.
And just 13% believe that those with no skills and low education should be allowed to move to the UK. We side with the people here too; we've seen the problems that an unlimited supply of migrant labour from 27 other EU countries has had. We know that it causes wage compression and impacts on the ability of people to get a job. We're the people who want a fair, ethical, colour-blind immigration policy which makes the right distinctions.
We're the people who want to end British taxpayers' money subsidising bullfighting, and to ban the cruelty that is the live export of animals. We're the people who don't want the UK interfering in foreign wars, or British soldiers dying in pursuit of unclear military objectives.
We're the 99.7%. The soul of Ukip runs through us. You may or may not agree with us, but that's what's in our DNA. We are the beating heart of Ukip, the people offering a new way of doing politics. Don't judge us on a tiny minority, judge us on the 99.7%.
British Labour Party elite thinks Northerners are stupid, Labour MP complains
It's a common British prejudice
Ed Miliband's inner circle think people with northern accents are stupid, a Labour MP has claimed.
In a discussion of the Labour Party’s fortunes, Ian Lavery said he was “frightened” by a ruling “elite” in Westminster that has never held a manual job and looks down on working class people.
It came as Labour MPs embarked on fresh infighting over the direction of the party, after Tony Blair, its most electorally successful leader, warned Mr Miliband is leading it to defeat.
Mr Lavery, the MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland, is a former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, taking part in the 1984-85 strike. He was elected in 2010.
The remarks were made during a fringe event at a conference organised by CLASS, a left-wing think tank funded by the trade unions. He was speaking during a discussion on Labour’s welfare policy, in which he said the Labour Party is “in the wrong place” on the issue.
He said the elite in Westminster have not “done anything” in their lives, and think people with northern accents do not “really know too much”.
He also warned there is a dearth of ethnic minority and disabled MPs.
“I’ve got to say there are some superb MPs, Labour party MPs. Sadly there’s not enough MPs who’ve actually worked on the coalface, on the factory floor.
“We haven’t got enough ethnic minorities, we haven’t got enough disabled people in, who have actually been there. We’ve got an elite in, we’ve got an elite in Westminster which quite frankly frightens me. They haven’t been anywhere or done anything, and when you’ve got an accent like mine they think well that man doesn’t really know too much.”
In a statement today, Mr Lavery said: "My comments were about the need for more working-class MPs and in no way a criticism of Ed or his office.
"For the record, I believe Ed Miliband is absolutely the right man to bring in policies that will be of great benefit to people in the North and across the country."
Mr Blair insisted that his apparent warning of a Labour defeat had been “misinterpreted”, and he has confidence in Mr Miliband.
The former Prime Minister had told the Economist magazine that May’s general election risks becomes one in which a “traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result”.
Asked by the Economist magazine if he meant that the Conservatives would win the general election in those circumstances, Mr Blair replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham and a likely contender for the London mayoralty, urged colleagues to listen to Mr Blair “very seriously indeed”.
He said Labour must be the party of aspiration and enterprise, and “not give the impression that we are solely focused on the public sector.”
He added: "I don't think that anyone should underestimate a leader of the Labour Party that won three consecutive elections and fought hard to make Labour electable again after 18 years in opposition.”
But Mr Blair was slapped down as yesterday’s man by Lucy Powell, one of Mr Miliband’s closest shadow cabinet allies.
"Tony Blair, he has his experience and his knowledge from his era as leader of the Labour Party and that is not the era that we now live in,” she said.
Paul Kenny, the general secretary GMB union, a major Labour donor, said: “Tony Blair is now a very wealthy person sitting on top of the pile and is disconnected from the lives of ordinary people.”
Mr Blair said in a Tweet: “My remarks have been mis-interpreted, I fully support Ed and my party and expect a Labour victory in the election."
Charlie Whelan, a former press aide to Gordon Brown, responded: “Don’t be surprised if no-one believes you.”
Australian radio jock loses lengthy legal battle with Muslim leader Keysar Trad: Tribunal rules that calling Lebanese men ‘vermin’ and ‘mongrels’ constituted racial vilification
Jonesy was clearly a bit too sweeping. "Some" is a magic word. He should use it more often
Alan Jones has lost his lengthy legal battle with the Muslim leader Keysar Trad and been ordered to pay him $10,000 plus costs after a tribunal ruled that calling Lebanese men “vermin” and “mongrels” constituted racial vilification.
In a 2005 broadcast on his popular 2GB morning radio program, Jones described Lebanese men as “idiots” who hated “our country and heritage”.
The inflammatory comments went to air when Jones read a letter he said he had received from a listener. The letter, which he also commented on, was in response to a story on Nine’s A Current Affair program the night before about young men taunting police and showing disrespect for the Anzac tradition.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal said in its judgment: “The assertion is made that these men simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that’s taken them in. They are then described in sub-human terms as ‘vermin infest[ing] our shores’.
“These words, which are highly insulting and inflammatory, portray Lebanese men in an extremely negative way, suggesting that they rape and are warlike and violent. The words ‘vermin’ also carry the inference that they are unwanted parasites. Lebanese males are a threat – a ‘national security problem in the making’.”
The tribunal said although Jones claimed to be reading from a listener’s letter he was responsible for the statements that were read out.
“It was Mr Jones who had the ultimate choice as to which letters and emails to read out and who to speak to,” it said. “There is no doubt that Mr Jones endorsed the views of the correspondent.”
The tribunal found that because of Jones’ high profile and status “his opinions are respected and carry significant weight with his listeners”.
An allegation by Trad that the letter was written by Jones himself or a member of his staff was never proven but 2GB’s owner, Harbour Radio, failed to produce evidence the letter existed.
On 19 December the tribunal found Trad’s complaint of racial vilification against Jones and 2GB was substantiated and ordered them to pay the applicant damages of $10,000.
The tribunal also ordered 2GB to undertake a critical review of its 2005 programs and policies on the prevention of racial vilification “with a view to developing and implementing revised programs and policies aimed at eliminating unlawful racial vilification”.
In its judgment, the tribunal rejected Harbour Radio’s assertion that it provided regular training to all presenters and production teams and that in 2004 – before the incident – Jones had attended training which covered the offence of racial vilification.
“This evidence is very general and does not satisfy us that Mr Jones has received professional training in relation to what does and does not amount to racial vilification,” the tribunal found.
Trad’s battle to hold Jones responsible has been a long one with many twists and turns. In 2009 the tribunal found that part of his complaint of racial vilification under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) against Jones and Harbour Radio had been substantiated and ordered they pay him $10,000.
But subsequent legal challenges by Jones and Harbour Radio resulted in the tribunal’s order being set aside and in November 2013 Trad was ordered to repay the $10,000.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.