Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Counter-Jihad: The Cold War on British Muslims

In late July I received the latest Spinwatch report written by Tom Mills, Tom Griffin and David Miller. The 70 page report examines the activities of the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange; two key right-wing think-tanks involved in the debate on Islam and multiculturalism which are thought to have influenced the UK Coalition Government’s counter subversion strategy.

The report, which was completed before the recent terrorist attacks in Norway, argues that right-wing think-tanks have understated the rise of Islamophobia on the far-right and in some cases condoned the rise of groups such as the English Defence League because of their own links to the 'counterjihad movement'.

The Cold War on British Muslims, shows how the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange have rejected counter-terrorism policies based on public safety and have instead sought to revive discredited counter-subversion policies from the Cold War era – policies which targeted a generation of trade union leaders and peace activists including future Labour Ministers.  The report warns that reviving such policies is likely to stigmatise and even criminalise politically active Muslims, as well as liberals and leftists, and risk undermining the traditional freedoms enjoyed by churches, schools, universities and public libraries.

The Cold War on British Muslims also reveals for the first time the network of individuals and foundations that are bankrolling both think-tanks.  Donors identified in the report include the neoconservative Rosenkranz Foundation in the United States, and hardline Zionists like Lord Kalms and the late Cyril Stein in the UK.  It reveals that both think-tanks share major donors with a number of controversial organisations including the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers, the Israel-Diaspora Trust (an organisation founded by the late Rabbi Sidney Brichto, a passionate supporter of Israel and scourge of its critics inside and outside the UK Jewish community) and the Anglo-Israel Association (founded in 1949 by the Christian Zionist Sir Wyndham Deedes).

The report’s co-author, Professor David Miller of Strathclyde University, said: ‘The policies advocated by the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange detailed in the report inevitably mean the curtailment of civil liberties and the narrowing of political debate.  The consequences for British Muslims though will be even more serious.’

He added: ‘The revelations about the think-tanks’ donors arguably calls into question their ability to produce fair and balanced research and certainly underlines the need for greater transparency over the funding of think-tanks.’
The report can be downloaded from the Spinwatch page on Scribd; or as a PDF here (786 kb).

Hanan Chehata comments on the report, Spinwatch exposes links between pro-Israeli groups and Islamophobic British think-tanks
There is no doubt that attempts to whip up Islamophobia are on the rise and there certainly seems to be an atmosphere of intolerance and racism gaining traction here in the UK. While it is easy to point the finger of blame at racist far-right groups such as the BNP and "the Zionist false flag operation" the EDL (as the BNP call them) (p32) as a major source for stirring up such unnecessary hatred, a new report published by Spinwatch attempts to trace the source of some of this Islamophobia to its more subversive roots, particularly to groups and agencies which purport to be moderate British think-tanks but which instead serve Israeli interests and promote a clearly Islamophobic agenda.
The Spinwatch report draws parallels between how left wing groups, peace activists and trade-unionists were targeted by anti-subversion agencies in the 1960's and 1970's and their seeming nostalgia for such an era of political subversion policies to return by calling for the targeting of politically engaged Muslims, liberals and leftists today.
 She concludes,

The agenda for groups that engage in the counter-jihad movement is clearly "a coalition in which US militarisms, the Christian right, European far-right nationalists and militant Zionists all play central roles, along with a variety of other sectarians." The British think-tanks named in this report are no different, and their anti-Islam and pro-Israel agenda may not have been directly stated by them but is clear from their words actions and from looking at those who not only work within their ranks but who ultimately fund and control them and their agenda.
See also the Center for American Progress Report on Islamophobia in the USA and Canada 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Student Delegation: Christ at the Checkpoint Conference

Student Delegation 2012! from Christ at the Checkpoint on Vimeo.

Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College shares about the unique opportunity for students from around the world to join a special delegation for the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in March 2012.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Riding the Surf at New Quay

Riding the Surf at New Quay Harbour from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Not recommended unless you are an experienced swimmer as these two boys clearly are. Some of their friends were diving off the same harbour steps into the surf. Not sure though if their mothers knew...

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Zionist Lobby Veto and the British Government

Alan Duncan backs down after accusing Israelis of ‘land grab’

By Tim Ross, Telegraph

The international development minister, Alan Duncan, has been forced to remove a video from a government website in which he accused Israelis of a “land grab” in the middle-east after protests from Jewish leaders.

Mr Duncan, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, also accused Israeli settlers of “deliberately” taking water away from the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Israeli Embassy criticised Mr Duncan for his remarks about Israel’s controversial security wall. The minister has now removed the video from the Department for International Development’s website, claiming that his comments had been “misinterpreted”.

In the video Mr Duncan declared: "The wall is a land grab. It hasn't just gone along the lines of the proper Israel boundary.

“It's taken in open land which actually belongs to Palestine. Israeli settlers can build what they want and then immediately get the infrastructure so that takes the water deliberately away from Palestinians here.”

The Board of Deputies wrote to Mr Duncan – and the Foreign Secretary William Hague – and demanded that he take the video down. Shortly afterwards, the footage was removed.
 Jews sans frontieres summarises,
"So a UK minister has used a video on a government website to express government policy on Palestine and the Board of Deputies of British Jews has told him not to do that.  And he has dutifully removed the video from the site.
We now have two front page articles in the most recent edition of the Jewish Chronicle boasting of a Jewish lobby group's ability to effect government behaviour and policy.  Next week perhaps there will be a couple of front pages telling us that it is antisemitic to speak of a Jewish lobby."


Thursday, 25 August 2011

End U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Sabeel and ICAHD Initiative

Philip Weiss
reports on a new series of adverts appearing on San Francisco's public transport system  calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.
The ads, part of a growing national campaign, went up this week on the Powell Street cable car, a popular tourist attraction in downtown San Francisco; in three of the busiest stations on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) - San Francisco's Civic Center, 12th St. Oakland, and Downtown Berkeley; and on the Muni level of the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. Next week the same ad will be posted in the 16th St./ Mission station in San Francisco.
Chief sponsor of the local ad campaign is Northern California Friends of Sabeel, the local affiliate of an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians to bring justice and peace to the Holy Land through non-violence and education. Co-sponsors include Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, the Middle East Children's Alliance, and Bay Area Women in Black.
The new ads now feature photos of Jeff Halper, a Minnesota-born Israeli professor; Salim Shawamreh, a Palestinian construction supervisor born in Jerusalem; and a grandchild of each. Halper is co-founder and coordinator of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD); Shawamreh's Jerusalem home has been destroyed by Israeli wrecking crews, then rebuilt by volunteers organized by ICAHD, four times since 1998. The two men and their families have become close friends. They have toured the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, speaking out against Israel's 44-year occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Read more here 

You can view more photos of Jeff Halper here and photos of Shawamreh's rebuilt home here

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Driving from Luwero to Nkondo

Driving from Luwero to Nkondo, Uganda from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Off the tarmac, life gets a little more exhilarating driving on dirt roads in Central Uganda, gauged by flash floods and hardened by the heat of the tropical sun.We made this 20 minute journey twice a day while building an extension to Goshen school. 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Nile Porch at the Bujagali Falls, Uganda

The Nile Porch, Bujagali Falls, Jinja, Uganda from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

The source of the Nile pours out of Lake Victoria cascading through Bujagali Falls on its way north through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. Nile Porch is a beautiful resort with tented accommodation overlooking the rapids.