Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hunting PunterNet

In her speech to the Labour conference today, Harriet Harman announced a new, shocking development in the world of online vice:

And there is a very sinister development which we are determined to stop. You know trip advisor – a website where guests put their comments on line for others to see. There is now a website, like that, where pimps put women on sale for sex and then men who’ve had sex with them put their comments on line. It is ‘Punternet’ and fuels the demand for prostitutes. It is truly degrading and puts women at risk.

Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London. But Punternet is based in California so I’ve raised it with the US Ambassador to London and I’ve called on California’s governor Arnie Schwarzenegger to close it down. Surely it can’t be too difficult for the Terminator to terminate Punternet and that’s what I am demanding that he does.

And I’ve got news for him: if he doesn’t, I’ll be back.

Actually, according to its front-page PunterNet has been going for more than ten years. There are no pimps in sight - though women working in the sex trade are active in the site's forum pages. Several have left messages today mocking Harriet's hopelessly naive comments. There's a lively thread here. One of the contributors points out that PunterNet is actually registered in Ohio! From what I've seen, PunterNet is, as its name implies, entirely client-driven. It's basically a modern version of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, though rather less well-written.

Alix Mortimer, now gloriously restored to blogging life, pulls Hattie to pieces here.

Also up on the site today was an open letter from the site's proprietor, who goes by the name of Galahad:

Dear Mrs. Harman,

I have a few points to make regarding your recent remarks regarding my website and your fantastic demand that the Governor of California close it down.

Firstly, PunterNet is not violating any laws. If it were, then surely the many websites catering to the US prostitution scene (where sex for pay is almost completely illegal) would already have been closed down.

In the USA, there is a concept called "freedom of speech" which is considered the most important personal right guaranteed by the Constitution. It exists specifically to prevent the sort of abuse of power that you are attempting. The Governor (indeed, even the President) has no authority with which to shut down a perfectly lawful enterprise such as PunterNet.

PunterNet was not the first, and is certainly not the only, website in the UK with the same subject matter. Rather than creating the demand for commercial sex, sites like PunterNet are a response to that demand, which has existed since the dawn of mankind and certainly long before the advent of the Internet!

One of the missions of PunterNet is education - to provide information and guidance in hopes that the commercial sex scene is limited to consenting adults and those who choose of their own free will to engage in it.

If sites like this one did not exist, and if prostitution were outlawed, then it would effectively be handed to organised crime on a platter - just as happened with liquor during Prohibition. If, on the other hand, sex-work is recognised as a legitimate, honourable profession, then there will be no market for the criminal elements, and the truly despicable aspects of the scene such as sex slavery and trafficking will die out. Surely that is a far more desirable goal than driving it back underground where it will then consist only of criminals and victims?

In closing, I would like to thank you for the huge influx of traffic to my website which your actions have caused. I am sure that the ladies who are a part of the PunterNet community thank you as well, as they will no doubt benefit financially from the many new clients who might otherwise never have found them.

The last point is, of course, the most pertinent. In delivering her scoop about the existence of a ten-year old website, Harman has triggered a predictable Streisand effect. But she got her Terminator gag in, so she's probably happy. Read the rest of this article

Double standards

From the Agnes Poirier thread:

A priest and Roman Polanski walk into a Hollywood bar.

The priest says to the bartender, "I just molested one of my altar boys." The bartender says, "Get out of my bar you creepy pervert before I call the police!" The priest leaves.

Roman Polanski says to the bartender, "Thirty years ago, I drugged and sodomized a 13-year-old girl." The bartender says, "Man, I loved Chinatown!"


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Monday, 7 September 2009

Bad girls really bad

The Heresiarch's longer standing readers may remember the Satanic Sluts, a Gothicky softcore performance troupe briefly rescued from obscurity last October when one of their number featured in one of the year's most ridiculous scandals. That was the delectable Georgina Baillie, aka Voluptua, a granddaughter of actor Andrew Sachs and a one (or possibly two) time paramour of Russell Brand - I think she's the one in the middle. Ah, yes, those Satanic Sluts.

They've hardly been seen since, but apparently they're still going. A source spotted them on the bill at the Dark Mills Festival in SW19 on Saturday. Dark Mills describes itself as "the Premier celebration of the alternative scene in London, bringing together cabaret, burlesque, art, music and theatre from the Gothic scene". Apparently, Les Filles Sluts did not impress. They were"execrably bad", reports my source. "Describing them as 'burlesque' is paying them far too high a compliment. 'Cover themselves in stage blood and wriggle' seems to be the content of their act."

Mind you, Russell Brand has never been renowned for being fussy.
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Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Face of Jaycee?

One of the strangest facts to emerge from the deeply weird (as well as horrifying) story of Jaycee Lee Dugard is that her deranged abductor Philip Garrido allowed her face to appear on some of his business cards. The Telegraph ran with the story a few days ago, quoting one of Garrido's clients, Cheyvonne Molino: "Her picture was all over his business cards for the last 10 years". The paper speculated, bizarrely, that this may have been a "cry for help" on the kidnap victim's part.

Today, we learn that

The Sunday Telegraph was shown a card advertising the business that featured her in a glamorous pose, head resting on her hands, blonde hair falling across her made-up face.

She looks just like a happy young woman, even an aspiring model. That she could have appeared so contented is another mystifying twist to a near-inexplicable story.

The cards, if genuine, must now be quite valuable collectors' items - though I couldn't, yet, find any available for sale. I did however track down what seems to be the picture described in the Telegraph report. It's hard to tell if it's the real thing. It certainly looks a lot like her last known childhood photo (above), but it's so blurred it's impossible to be sure. The hair and make up have rather an Eighties feel to them, though it must have been taken no more than ten years ago - but then Garrido did inhabit a time-warp of his own creation. Read the rest of this article

Friday, 28 August 2009

Total Fiddlesticks

A day late, I discover that Heresy Corner ranks at no 30 in the "Right of Centre" category of this year's Total Politics poll. That's a miserable 7 places higher than last year, when my average daily readership was less than a third of what it is today. From that I conclude that most readers didn't bother to vote for me. Pooh. (But if you did, a thousand thankyous.) I'm less popular than Nadine Dorries. Or even Boatang and Demetriou. How the hell did that happen?

I demand a recount.

I'm happy to congratulate my evident superiors, though, including Leg-Iron and the Epistolary Conservative, who had a tremendous result at 14.

I also take some consolation from the fact that I didn't debase myself this year by soliciting votes, and in any case Heresy Corner is not a committed, one-dimensional political blog like many others on the list. "Right of centre" is also by far the largest category, with 491 blogs in the Total Politics database. Annoyingly, if it had been placed in the libertarian category (which I think it qualifies for) it would have come in at more impressive-looking number nine.

I note, by the way, that more than 2000 blogs are listed in the TP directory, while only around 1,500 people bothered to vote (or could think of ten blogs to vote for). I've had afternoons with more hits than that. So the result is utterly meaningless, except in a willy-waving sort of way. The real result, the top 100, will be revealed in a couple of days time. I anticipate humiliation.
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Thursday, 13 August 2009

What Women Want

The hit topic on Comment is Free today concerns an erotica/porn mag aimed at women called Filament. It has recently launched, or it will launch if it can find a printer. They started off with soft-focus shots of men in shorts - but it seems that in the course of their research they uncovered a desire for something a little more obvious, to wit, erections. The magazine's staff were more than happy to oblige - indeed, photographer guidelines have been issued which state, inter alia, that "if your model is keen, we encourage it", but encourages freelancers to "think creatively when photographing an erection". Some may find that easier than others.

Unfortunately, they hit a snag: "the pervasive nervousness about depictions of aroused men". Nervousness among printers and distributors, that is. There was some concern about the Obscene Publications Act, and printers, citing potential objections from "the women's/religious sectors", didn't want to go anywhere near it. Kristina Lloyd and Mathilde Madden, writing on CIF, think that this attitude ("cockblocking") reveals "a deeply entrenched sexism: men can look at women but women cannot look at men". In a magnificent display of Guardian logic, they then go on to argue that while pictures of naked women aimed at a male audience are inherently sexist, pictures of naked men aimed at women aren't:

But there's nothing inherently sexist about depicting nudity. It's sexist when only women are deemed to signify the erotic; it's sexist when eroticised images of women are so normalised and widespread that women stand to be viewed first and foremost as sex objects – their value inextricably linked to their sexual desirability. The sexism is in the inequality.

Filament, by contrast is "challenging a culture that positions women as sex-products for men" - by, erm, positioning men as sex-products for women. This is far more positive, since it "is asking for women to be acknowledged as human beings who can look and lust just as men can." Otherwise, the "deficit" in penis (compared to nipple/vagina) depiction "positions women as the providers of sex for perpetually horny dudes." This leads on to a rather convoluted piece of political positioning, which rather misses the point of any sort of porn, which is to turn people on:

Perhaps what's most insidious in this saga is that the market's refusal to admit that Filament reinforces an idea of female sexuality that justifies that very refusal.

Come again? No, that sentence doesn't work, grammatically or otherwise.

The absence of visual erotica for women on shelves crammed with magazines where women are products for male consumers, reduces female desire to the less-interested counterpart of male desire.


And so, runs the self-fulfilling logic, of course women don't want magazines targeting their desire. Women don't have desire, see? They merely receive it. How do we know? Just check out those magazine shelves.

Oh, I see. I think. As an experiment it's worth doing. There's no reason in principle why women shouldn't be able to buy magazines featuring naked men, with or without erections., provided the same concession is accorded to men wanting to look at naked women. But I fail to see why it should be seen as some sort of moral crusade. Many feminists object to pornography on the grounds that it degrades and "objectifies" women. It certainly reduces its participants, male as well as female, to their sexual attributes, using them instrumentally to provoke sensations of arousal. Porn is exploitative, by its very nature: not because it exploits the women who appear in it (some of whom, it seems to me, are more exploited than others) but because it exploits the consumer. It takes a fact of nature - that sexual arousal (in the male) is a necessary precondition of successful coitus, which in turn is biologically driven - and turns it into a source of profit.

Is the woman (or the man) who is "objectified" in the name of porn degraded thereby? Only in a society which regards sexual allure as inherently demeaning, surely. Such would seem to be the underlying assumption of those opposed to porn on political as opposed to religious grounds. It's one thing to say that sex is crassly commercialised in the modern western world, and that this puts undue pressure on young women to dress or act in overtly sexy ways. But it's quite another to maintain that women who do act in this way, to the extent that they become strippers, glamour models, pornstars and the like, are debased by it. In a society that worships sex, such women ought to be objects of worship; and, indeed, the most successful "adult" performers become brands, selling not merely videos but sex-toys and other paraphernalia, signing autographs for the thousands of fans who queue up for a brief glimpse - in the flesh, as it were - of their fantasy object.

Kristina Lloyd protests in a comment:

At the heart of all this seems to be a culture which says women don't want to be consumers of sex/porn/erotica because women don't lust, they are the objects of lust.

But are the women in porn seen merely as objects? On the contrary, they are usually depicted as active participants, getting a kick out of displaying their bodies, masturbating, actively enjoying the sexual acts taking place, reaching improbably explosive orgasms. They are not - except in some sub-genres - lying still and passively accepting what is being done to them. The main purpose of heterosexual porn marketed to men is to arouse men by the depiction of female pleasure. An unrealistic fantasy of female pleasure, no doubt, and one that flatters the male that he is a "stud" - and may mislead the viewer as to what women actually enjoy - but the payoff is nevertheless significant. The woman who is sexually uninhibited, unabashed, in control, demanding "more" - and getting it, and climaxing - is the star of the show. It is the male, with his obliging erection, who is the bit-part player. He isn't even strictly necessary, as the huge market in faux-lesbianism reveals. At most, he provides reassurance to the male viewer that women really enjoy heterosexual intercourse.

Why should there be such emphasis on female pleasure if porn is inherently misogynistic and degrading? Why, if men hated women, would they want to fantasise about women having fun?

But back to Filament. On their website, the editors set out what they see as the main imbalance in the erotic marketplace.

Representations of women’s bodies far outnumber representations of men’s bodies everywhere: from advertising to art. In erotic image in particular, representations of the male body specifically designed for women are almost non-existent.

The common explanation for why women have sometimes seemed disinterested in images supposedly intended for them – the idea that "women are less visual" – has now been largely disproven by research. Research also shows that women prefer images of men designed quite differently to those usually marketed toward women.

Filament's big idea is "the female gaze" - cod-academic jargon for what women find attractive. To discover precisely what women did want in their naked men, the editors looked at both psychological research into female sexual tastes and the input of a panel of women who contributed their thoughts via LiveJournal (I notice that this year's most exciting young feminist, Laurie Penny, was one of those who took part). They determined that women tend to prefer men who were "not muscle-bound", had "more feminine faces" and adopted poses that showed "the subject's character and the environment he is in". Boy bands rather than hunks, then. However, the guidelines suggest that "if you’ve got a guy who is very muscular and you think, very hot, we’ll certainly consider your images".

The advice for photographers is extremely detailed - and thus informative as to what they think women want to look at. It counsels photographers against using body-oil, instead suggesting a “flushed and sweaty” look that might be achieved by "having your model run up and down the stairs a few times before you photograph them." It urges them to shoot in interesting, beautiful and/or recognisable environments where it would be reasonably believable that a sexual encounter might take place - which apparently does not include "places like kitchens, the outdoors, plain studio backgrounds or hotel rooms". Facial expression should "convey eroticism" without being "angry or arrogant", and could include "vulnerability", but not "pictures of men looking hurt or abused". They don't want pictures of men cross-dressing, holding babies ("just inappropriate") or doing housework.

What is most striking about Filament's website is its overwhelming, almost oppressive, air of moral seriousness. This is porn with a purpose. It might be thought that satisfying a demand among women to see naked men was enough on its own, but no. Under "What inspired the concept of Filament?" we learn that:

Women are 10 times more likely than men to undergo cosmetic surgery and 43 times more likely than men to suffer an eating disorder. Is this because women are ‘naturally’ life-threateningly obsessed with their appearance, or is this in some way influenced by women’s media? Many men’s magazines don’t discuss men’s appearance, but nearly all women’s magazines discuss women’s appearance.

Difficult to see how a few tastefully photographed stiffies will put an end to all that.

UPDATE: Ms Penny explains her involvement with Filament in more detail here. Similarity of title might or might not be a coincidence.
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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Beware the Spinal Trap

Simon Singh's allegedly libellous article
Originally from The Guardian, Saturday April 19 2008

(DISCLAIMER: I publish this as a gesture of solidarity, and for information purposes, only. The words complained of are in italics. The British Chiropractic Association successfully argued before Mr Justice Eady that the phrase "happily promotes bogus treatments" amounted to an accusation of knowing fraudulence on their part. Singh continues to deny this.)

This is Chiropractic Awareness Week. So let's be aware. How about some awareness that may prevent harm and help you make truly informed choices? First, you might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that, "99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae". In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer's first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact they still possess some quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything. And even the more moderate chiropractors have ideas above their station. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

I can confidently label these treatments as bogus because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world's first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.

More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.

Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.

Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: "Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck."

This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Professor Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher.

Bearing all of this in mind, I will leave you with one message for Chiropractic Awareness Week - if spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.

· Simon Singh is the co-author of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial
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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mistress of Reinvention

It's a year since the Heresiarch first became intrigued by the goings-on of Max Mosley and his friends in Chelsea. For those directly involved, it has been quite a year - especially for Mosley himself who not only won his legal action and reasserted his control over the FIA but has turned himself into a scourge of tabloid journalism. His ongoing feud with Paul Dacre may well lead to permanent changes in the way in which newspapers operate in this country, for good or ill.

For his nemesis, the Milton Keynes-based dominatrix known officially as Woman E, who filmed the private spanking party (inaccurately described as a "Nazi orgy") at the behest of NoW's Neville Thurlbeck, the fallout from the affair has been less happy. Her husband lost his job with MI5, the Screws diddled her out of some of the money they had promised, she was shunned as a traitor by many former colleagues, barred from clubs and placed on blacklists. She was reduced to begging forgiveness in a cringe-making Sky Television interview - in which she was revealed as a very ordinary-looking housewife called "Michelle" - and selling her story to Dacre's Mail on Sunday.

It seemed to be all over for her. But, as the Heresiarch can exclusively reveal, the dominatrix formerly known as Abi is now getting back into the mistressing business. She has a new name, a new website, and even a new costume which an untutored eye might think incorporates elements of Nazi chic.

In her new site, illustrated with pictures both of her facilities and of herself in a number of poses, she introduces herself as "Mistress Kiera, supreme Dominatrix and Goddess". "I am a tall, beautiful, sensual and sadistic Dominatrix with many years of experience," she proclaims. "I have a commanding presence and I am always dressed in the finest rubber, leather and fetish clothing." But although she might "seem an unattainable goddess", she reassures her potential clients that she is "approachable" and will "consider most requests". Including, no doubt, those from journalists.

Kiera offers "high class BDSM and fetish services from my fully equipped chambers in Buckinghamshire". (Always fully-equipped, these dungeons. When did you last hear of a "semi-equipped dungeon"?) The range of her services is as extensive as ever, ranging from "anal training" and "foot worship" to "light to severe nipple torture" and "shaving". Wasn't that one of Max's special requests?

Not without reason, given last year's events, Kiera would appear to be especially proud of her expertise in blackmail. She boasts:

I run a number of blackmail and financial schemes including; taxation, extortion, contractual control, photo and personal details blackmail. Each scheme is tailored to individual requirements and a bespoke contract will be drawn up between us by my legal slave. Because of timewasters you will be expected to prove you are genuine by either visiting me for a session or pay an upfront fee to cover the set up costs (contracts etc) before any scheme can start.

She must regret not following these rules when negotiating with Mr Thurlbeck.

Given the animosity towards her in the tight-knit world of bondage and whipping, it might be expected that she would be desperate for any custom that came her way. But apparently she can still afford to be choosy. She writes:

Personal hygiene is extremely important to me and I expect the same from clients. Anyone arriving for a session who is lacking in this area will be turned away. Also anyone who in my opinion is under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be turned away. My chambers are situated within a private house and are extremely discreet. I expect the same level of discretion from all clients in return. Anyone who fails to arrive for an appointment without having the courtesy to cancel will be banned from ever visiting me again. Likewise all other timewasters will have their phone and email details submitted to 'timewasters' websites and to fellow Mistresses.

As to who those fellow mistresses might be, we are given no clues. Presumably they don't include the celebrated Mistress Switch, her former best friend turned sworn enemy, who has been warning her contacts and anyone else who cares to listen of the prospect of Woman E's re-entry onto the scene for several months now. On an online forum, La Switch has repeatedly calumniated her traducer as "thick" and "a liar" who "has no loyalty to anyone except herself". "Leopards don't change their spots", she believes. She complains that:

This bitch is playing the sympathy angle, I hear what untrue stories she is putting about. I'm sure she'll be deluding herself and not facing facts. Too scared to look at herself and see what she did. All you have to remember is SHE (not her husband, not the newspaper) walked into a flat wired and betrayed a client and her friends for money. Who would do such a thing?

Who indeed? Clearly, for Mistress Switch, the anger is still very raw against a woman who "went against everything that is fundmental to a PD/client relationship, discretion and trust". She was "blinded by the pound signs" says Switch, who isn't above issuing the odd predictive curse:

I believe in karma. Years ago a neighbour caused our family unnecessary nasty aggravation. My husband said at the time that she was evil to the core. 2 years later she died of bone cancer.

Another mistress joins in, expressing doubt that Kiera's new venture will prove successful. "Even the watersports enthusiasts wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire!" But this lady intuits that there might be something more to the story:

Is she hoping that this will hit the tabloids and get her some more lucrative column inches, a contract with Max sodding Clifford, and perhaps a new job on the telly where she's wheeled out to make a comment on every future scandal as it breaks from an *insider's* perspective? It all seems a bit odd.

It makes the atmosphere in the higher reaches of the Labour party seem loving by comparison.

"She's most likely back because she's penniless and isn't qualified to do anything else" Andi Switch speculated the other day. She's advising anyone booking a session with Kiera to "film your sessions for You Tube, we could do with the laugh being on her". I thought YouTube had guidelines about that kind of thing.

For Mistress Switch herself, things are going rather better. Together with two of the other Mosleyettes and a number of other women, she was in Las Vegas a couple of months ago to film some shorts and take part in a prestigious spanking convention. She continues as active as ever in her particular demi-monde. Women C and D are equally busy: a recent explicit lesbian romp featuring the two of them has attracted great excitement, while Miss D chose to celebrate the completion of her doctorate by getting several of her colleagues to kidnap her and subject her to waterboarding and "interrogation". It was, she reports, "the most amazing experience in my scene life so far". Mistress Switch was a particularly sadistic interrogator, by all accounts, leaving her victim "totally broken". Perhaps "Kiera" should watch her back.
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Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Istanbul Declaration

The Muslim Council of Britain is under official interdiction from the British government after one of its leaders, Daud Abdullah, attended a conference on Gaza in Istanbul which agreed an outspoken declaration of Islamist principles. Hazel Blears takes particular exception to two paragraphs, which appear to treat international forces in the area - potentially including British forces and ships - as the enemy. But the document, signed by Dr Abdullah apparently without reservation, contains considerably more than that. It withholds from Israel even the recognition of its name, preferring to call it the "Jewish Zionist occupying entity". It declares that the Palestinian authority is illegitimate, and that all Arab governments are traitors to Islam. It invokes the blessings of Allah upon global Jihad, which it declares to be a religious duty. And it looks forward to the day when the whole of Palestine is in Muslim hands.

That a senior MCB representative could sign such a document, without apparently realising that it was potentially controversial, demonstrates beyond doubt the full-blown Islamist character of the Muslim Council of Britain. Preferring to draw attention to Blears' "interference" - in calling for his resignation - Abdullah is entirely unrepentant about the document, though cagey about its precise contents. If the Muslim community in Britain is to be represented by an "umbrella body", then it should be a non-political one which concerns itself primarily with the welfare of Muslims in Britain, most of whom have no personal connection with the Palestinian conflict or indeed with the Arab Middle East. Instead the MCB believes that it best represents Muslims by acting as a conduit for political Islam.

I welcome the fact that the government has suspended its ties to this dangerous organisation. I only regret that it has taken them so long.

The "Istanbul Declaration" is available as a PDF from Harry's Place. For your convenience, however, I reproduce it here in its entirety, with the most "interesting" passages highlighted.

Statement signed by Duad Abdullah, among others

In the name of Allah the Most-merciful the All-merciful

A statement by the religious scholars and proselytisers (du’a) of the Islamic Nation (ummah) to all rulers and peoples concerning events in Gaza

Praise to Allah who strengthened His troops, aided His servants and alone routed the Zionist Jews, who says,

‘It was incumbent on Us to aid the believers.’ [Quran 30:47]
And blessing and peace be on the Imam of the mujahidin who says,
‘There will remain a group of my Ummah adhering to the truth, and those who oppose them will not harm them until Allah’s command comes.’ [Hadith]

This statement is addressed to the Islamic Nation, its religious scholars, its rulers and its peoples. In it we congratulate the whole family of Islam on the manifest victory which Allah has granted us in the land of Gaza, a land of pride and dignity, over the Zionist Jewish occupiers. Allah has appointed it as the first step in the complete victory for all of Palestine and the holy places of the Muslims. Furthermore, we herein emphatically affirm various resolutions and judgments.

I. Affirmation of the following unequivocal resolutions:

1. We affirm that the victory that Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza, was indeed achieved through His favor and help - exalted be He! It was also achieved through fulfilling the religious obligation of jihad in His way. This is a confirmation of His statement - sublime is He! -
‘How often a small party overcame a large party, by Allah’s leave.’ [Quran, 2:249]

2. We affirm that this manifest victory has clearly disclosed the volume of international and local military and political conspiracy against the jihad and the mujahidin in Gaza, as represented by the following:

• Military co-operation in tightening the blockade and closing the crossings to the people of Gaza, especially the Rafah crossing

• Public or quasi-public support for the enemy

• The prevention of demonstrations and popular events held in support of the mujahidin; the arrest, trial and severe punishments of those who instigate them

• The aggressive pressure put on the mujahidin to break their will and force them to agree to their [the conspirators] terms and the stipulations of the Zionist enemy

• The attempt to present the Hamas government as the cause of this malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza

• The absence of any official and effective Arab and Islamic stance and its weakness in reflecting the will of the Arab and Islamic peoples to help our brothers in Gaza win. This indicates the width of the gap between the Nation and those rulers who lead it

• The use of funds for reconstruction and aid to those hurt as a negative pressure card on the mujahidin to abandon their legitimate demands, or some of them

• The prevention of delivery of aid and reconstruction funds to the Hamas government and the reliable authorities in Gaza; deeming the Palestinian Authority, represented by the presidency of Abbas and the Fayyad government, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, without the Hamas government; and the delivery of such funds and aid to increase their grip on the legitimate elected government of Hamas. This redoubles the suffering of the people of Gaza at the time they mostly need those funds and aid

3. We affirm in full conviction that the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is coming to an end, is not eligible to represent the Palestinian people. It stands outside the will of its people, and has given up the choice of jihad in the way of Allah Almighty as an effective means in defeating the occupation and the liberation of the Islamic holy places. It adopts the wishes of the Nation’s enemies in exchange for the illusions of false peace.

4. We affirm in full conviction that the so-called Arab peace initiative is a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people. It aims to criminalise the Resistance [muqawama] against the Zionist occupying entity in perpetuity through its de facto recognition of it, as well as the confiscation of the right of refugees to return to their homes and their property.

II. Affirmation of the following legal judgments:

1. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to rush to the aid of the people in Gaza; to rebuild what the Zionist aggression destroyed; to compensate the injured and support the widows, orphans, those suffering permanent disabilities, and the old and infirm.

2. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to restrict itself to dealing only with the legitimate elected Palestinian government (Hamas) in the delivery of aid and reconstruction of dwellings. It is the sole government authorised to do that by reason of its official legitimacy as well as its maintaining the Resistance against the Jewish Zionist occupation, its integrity, and its solidarity with the people in all circumstances.

3. The obligation of the Islamic Nation not to recognise the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is ending, as representative of the Palestinian people. It must not elect it again, in view of its proven financial and administrative corruption as well as its squandering of time and assets behind the false peace process. It is also necessary to work seriously to choose a new authority that will guard the Palestinian ranks, respect their will and their right to resist the occupation, and work for the complete liberation of its land and holy places.

4. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to circulate a declaration to withhold aid funds from the undeserving or placing them in the hands of those who are not trustworthy. It must regard this as a legal betrayal that should be prosecuted, and punish those who cause mayhem, negligence and waste of these moneys.

5. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to find a fair formula of reconciliation between the sons of the Palestinian people, under whose responsibility a legitimate authority will be formed that will attend to the fixed norms and the legitimate and national rights; and will carry on with the jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine.

6. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to open the crossings -- all crossings -- in and out of Palestine permanently, in order to allow access to all the needs of the Palestinians -- money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty. The closure of the crossings or the prevention of the entry of weapons through them should be regarded as high treason in the Islamic Nation, and clear support for the Zionist enemy.

7. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.

8. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways.

To conclude: the Nation’s scholars and proselytisers remind the Islamic Nation, rulers and ruled alike, of the necessity of returning to its religion, adhering to the book of its Lord and the sunna of his Prophet, working for its unity, and seizing control of the instruments of power that will make possible its supremacy and the preservation of its holy places and provisions

‘Allah prevails in his purpose, but most people know not.’ [Quran, 12: 21]).

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Friday, 13 February 2009

What Wilders would have said

Geert Wilders has released the text of the speech he wanted to make in the House of Lords. Here it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna, and for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you, seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for freedom.

This is no ordinary place. This is not just one of England’s tourist attractions. This is a sacred place. This is the mother of all Parliaments, and I am deeply humbled to speak before you.

The Houses of Parliament is where Winston Churchill stood firm, and warned – all throughout the 1930’s – for the dangers looming. Most of the time he stood alone.

In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.

Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.

Today, I come before you to warn of another great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, the end of democracy. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands you respect, but has no respect for you.

There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam will never change, because it is build on two rocks that are forever, two fundamental beliefs that will never change, and will never go away. First, there is Quran, Allah’s personal word, uncreated, forever, with orders that need to be fulfilled regardless of place or time. And second, there is al-insal al-kamil, the perfect man, Muhammad the role model, whose deeds are to be imitated by all Muslims. And since Muhammad was a warlord and a conqueror we know what to expect.

Islam means submission, so there cannot be any mistake about it’s goal. That’s a given. The question is whether the British people, with its glorious past, is longing for that submission.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible speed. The United Kingdom has seen a rapid growth of the number of Muslims. Over the last ten years, the Muslim population has grown ten times as fast as the rest of society. This has put an enormous pressure on society. Thanks to British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill, the English now have taken the path of least resistance. They give up. They give in.

Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated.
For a moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures than me. Two years ago the House of Commons welcomed Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, linked to Al Qaeda. He was invited to Westminster by Lord Ahmed, who met him at Regent’s Park mosque three weeks before. Mr. Rideh, suspected of being a money man for terror groups, was given a SECURITY sticker for his Parliamentary visit.

Well, if you let in this man, than an elected politician from a fellow EU country surely is welcome here too. By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill’s spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the pillars of the European project.

But there is still much work to be done. Britain seems to have become a country ruled by fear. A country where civil servants cancel Christmas celebrations to please Muslims. A country where Sharia Courts are part of the legal system. A country where Islamic organizations asked to stop the commemoration of the Holocaust. A country where a primary school cancels a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with an Islamic festival. A country where a school removes the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. A country where a teacher punishes two students for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. A country where elected members of a town council are told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Ramadan. A country that excels in its hatred of Israel, still the only democracy in the Middle-East. A country whose capitol is becoming ‘Londonistan’.

I would not qualify myself as a free man. Four and a half years ago I lost my freedom. I am under guard permanently, courtesy to those who prefer violence to debate. But for the leftist fan club of islam, that is not enough. They started a legal procedure against me. Three weeks ago the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered my criminal prosecution for making ‘Fitna’ and for my views on Islam. I committed what George Orwell called a ‘thought crime’.

You might have seen my name on Fitna’s credit role, but I am not really responsible for that movie. It was made for me. It was actually produced by Muslim extremists, the Quran and Islam itself. If Fitna is considered ‘hate speech’, then how would the Court qualify the Quran, with all it’s calls for violence, and hatred against women and Jews?
Mr. Churchill himself compared the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Well, I did exactly the same, and that is what they are prosecuting me for.

I wonder if the UK ever put Mr. Churchill on trail.

The Court’s decision and the letter I received form the Secretary of State for the Home Department are two major victories for all those who detest freedom of speech. They are doing Islam’s dirty work. Sharia by proxy. The differences between Saudi-Arabia and Jordan on one hand and Holland and Britain are blurring. Europe is now on the fast track of becoming Eurabia. That is apparently the price we have to pay for the project of mass immigration, and the multicultural project.

Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?

We have to defend freedom of speech.

For the generation of my parents the word ‘London’ is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my country men listened to it, illegally. The words ‘This Is London’ were a symbol for a better world coming soon. If only the British and Canadian and American soldiers were here.

What will be transmitted forty years from now? Will it still be ‘This Is London’? Or will it be ‘this is Londonistan’? Will it bring us hope, or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery?

The choice is ours.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will never apologize for being free. We will never give in. We will never surrender.

Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.

Thank you very much.

Geert Wilders MP
Chairman, Party for Freedom (PVV)
The Netherlands
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Goodbye to all that?

Here are some pictures from the CAAN/Backlash demo last sunday - the eve of the coming into force of the "extreme images" ban. Thanks to Clair Lewis for letting me have them.

Mark Mackenzie

The lady with the "Big Brother is Watching You Masturbate" sign is the renowned spanking model and scene icon Pandora Blake. More pictures, together with a first-hand account of the day, on her highly recommendable blog.

Bruno Deflorence

Taking centre stage here, erotic fashion photographer Ben Westwood, who last time led a group of chained fetish models around Westminster. One of the "slaves", Jade (more conventionally dressed this time) is busy texting.


Here's Clair herself looking at home in front of a TV camera. She later turned up on the BBC Ten O'Clock news.

What would Winston make of it all, I wonder?


Another proud day in the life of the Home of Democracy.
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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Community of the Dome

A satirical short story by Cranmer's Curate

The Dome squatted in the rain as Peter entered the Media-zone for his
last seminar before the Winterval vacation. He had narrowly averted
being evicted from the Dome Academy, an elite feeder for both the
Modernisation Commission and the People’s Media. Following a meeting of
the enablers up in the Lennon-zone to consider his insufficient student
debt, he had been ordered to go to the Conran-zone for some retail therapy.

For festival time, he went to his father’s home in a check-pointed and
well-guarded garden suburb. Peter's parents had recently terminated
their civil partnership. Following the abolition of marriage in 20-,
work-place ballots were held to maintain the required termination rates
set by the Commission. Peter's father had been nominated by a
disgruntled junior and got elected. It was terminate your partnership or
lose your job. Future employment across the Modernised Zones was
impossible to find for anybody who had failed to comply with a
civil-partnership termination. ID cards stored the relevant data.

It was in the pocket of a borrowed suit that Peter found the book. He
had been invited to a 1960s retro party and his father had said he could
borrow an old Mod suit belonging to granddad up in the attic.

"To Pete - this'll really blow your mind. Love Zoe" was written on the
inside cover of the paperback, in good condition but bearing the
desiccated pages associated with its age. Peter noticed some
strange markings on the back - 2/ - net in U.K. The front-cover pictured
a large golden lion and a boy wearing shorts.
Its title - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Peter had liked his granddad, and was curious about the book. He read it
from cover to cover and found its imagery compelling - the strange land
entered through the wardrobe, the perpetual winter, the Witch and her
secret police, and above all the towering figure of the Lion.

But he was baffled by other aspects of the tale, particularly the events
surrounding the death of the Lion. What on earth had the boy Edmund done
wrong? What was wrong with disclosing his enemies' whereabouts to the
Witch? What was wrong with wanting to gain promotion for yourself at the
expense of others?

He could not understand the reason for the gory and humiliating
Voluntary Self-Euthanasia of the Lion. It was not as if he was seeking
to avoid pain, inconvenience, or shame for himself. He was sacrificing
himself for somebody else. It seemed folly to Peter.

Voluntary Self-Euthanasia
At the beginning of the autumn term, Terry began to suffer persistent
headaches. He presented himself to one of the Dome's in-house healing
enhancers in the Detox-zone. The tests began, the operation occurred,
the ensuing therapy continued, but the brain tumour was terminal.

Voluntary Self-Euthanasia had been introduced by the Commission to deal
with the growing problem of an ageing population. It was also useful in
depleting the burgeoning prison population amongst the underclass.

The framers of the legislation considered that the growing culture of
shame surrounding death would lead most terminal patients to
sign their own VSE consent forms. But if the patient was too
incapacitated to give their own consent, VSE procedure allowed the
obtaining of a signature of consent from the stakeholder's employer. For
educational institutions, the Chair of Enablers' signature
was required; for retired persons, the Commissioner
for Pensions was responsible for issuing VSE signatures.

Early on in the scheme, a legal challenge by the relative
of an elderly VSE patient on grounds of age discrimination had
ensured that regulations had to be applied in an egalitarian manner
across all age groups. VSE age discrimination was ruled contrary to
human rights.

When the system first began in 20-, procedures were observed carefully
due to the threat of legal challenges and the initial political
opposition to VSE. Initially, the signatures of two healing enhancers
were required to verify that the patient was unable to give consent
before the main signatory could give theirs and VSE proceed. There was
also an appeals procedure for relatives, which did in some cases delay

But now the system was operating in a streamlined, and
uncharacteristically for the times, unbureaucratic manner. The main
signatory would generally be satisfied with one healing enhancer's
signature and VSE could proceed speedily.

Terry knew his moment would come as soon as the sun-tanned Chair of
Enablers took his case in hand and issued the necessary decree. Confined
to the Detox-zone, he asked for and obtained permission to visit the

The Spirituality-zone
Banks of computer screens lined the Spirituality-zone. Aromas filled the
air and the atmosphere was enhanced by electric candelabra projecting
soft lights.

Terry keyed in his password.


Since childhood, Terry had particularly liked cats.


One duly appeared on the screen, sitting upright and staring




When the decree came from the Lennon-zone, Terry's VSE was performed by
a petite healing enhancer who gave him a massage and waved a crystal
over his prostrate body before administering the
injection. Terry breathed his last and was instantly cremated. His ashes
were placed in a container shaped like an old-fashioned Oscar.

Media Idol
The Community of the Dome gathered in the Nietzsche Hall for the
end-of-term Media Idol, judged by a panel of People's Celebrities. The
format was a policy announcement at a Commission press briefing. Each
contestant spoke into an autocue with their face projected onto a large
screen behind them.

For the first round, contestants were tasked to brief
the media on new funding for 24-hour nurseries on the day that a
commissioner had been charged with obstructing the course of a VSE
authorisation. For the second, they were tasked to humiliate an
unmodernised journalist with an impersonation of a personal mannerism.

Peter's punchy performances in all the rounds won him the prize and in
the blaze of a simulated fire-work display he was declared Dome Media
Idol of the Year. The Community of the Dome then linked arms and sang
the People's Anthem, Imagine. On this occasion, Peter's lips did not
move. His mind was elsewhere.
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