Last week Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader, said in an interview that if he were Prime Minister, he would not use nuclear weapons under any circumstances, which provoked a storm of controversy with some commentators declaring that he had in effect disarmed the country. He is also known to be against commissioning a replacement for Trident, Britain’s nuclear submarines which carry American missiles and warheads. On this position he is not supported by a lot of Labour MPs who regard opposition to Trident as being a major factor in Labour’s unpopularity in the 1980s. Others have noted that Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear weapons is long established, that it was part of his platform while campaigning for the leadership, and that Trident is a 1980s answer to a 1980s situation, i.e. the Cold War, which is no longer going on.
I have two separate problems with our renewing our nuclear capability along the same lines as Trident. The first is that Trident is not independent; the missiles are American and although the warheads are built at Aldermaston, Berkshire, they share technology with US warheads. While the agreement with the USA states that they have no veto over the use of British nuclear weapons, their maintenance means that they may be able to insert “back doors” into the system in the event that our most likely target is a country the USA is favourable to — or if the US president simply decides he does not want Britain using nuclear weapons on anyone. If we are to spend billions developing and running a nuclear deterrent, it ought to be of entirely British design and manufacture; otherwise, it is a display of blind faith in and subservience to America.
The main problem, however, is that nuclear weapons have almost no legitimate uses. If used against a city, it is simply a massacre of civilians (very likely mostly women and children, as the men will be away fighting) and a war crime, whatever the “good intentions” or the supposition that it might bring a war to a quicker conclusion. It could be used against a military installation, but these are rarely the size of whole cities and there are usually civilians’ homes surrounding them (as you’ll find in garrison towns in the UK, like Aldershot). If we use them on a country with no nuclear weapons, this will immediately open us up to international criticism and possible war crimes trials; we would not use them on a country with nuclear weapons (and the capability to deliver them to the UK) as this would be a provocation. What, then, is the use of them? Faced with the Russian invasion that they were originally intended to prevent, do we launch missiles at Russian cities? They have enough to destroy most of our cities and garrisons (and everyone knows where those are); they have many more cities than we have. We end up with most of our cities and military capability destroyed, and the Russians can walk right in a few months later after the radiation has dissipated.
I’m not an anti-nuclear zealot, and I do not believe that renewable energy sources such as wind are a viable alternative to fossil fuels; but nuclear weapons are a threat to peace in themselves, as there is always the possibility that one could be launched rashly, possibly by un unhinged leader (and it is foolish to think this could not happen here) or in response to spurious ‘intelligence’, to say nothing of the possibility of radiation leaks due to poor maintenance and so on. The same risks from a technology that makes the modern way of life possible are more acceptable than from a weapons system that has only very limited use and will cause immense loss of life and environmental damage if used. That we can’t just get rid of nukes overnight is clear; they will have to be reduced by agreement, not only between the USA and Russia but also China, India, Pakistan and Israel (and I would not want Modi’s and Netanyahu’s fingers to be the only ones on the nuclear button); but Britain should not sink billions more into another lot of American nuclear missiles. It’s a very expensive way to delude ourselves that we are still a great power.
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Mosque chairman says detectives did not find anything during inspection on Saturday and that his mosque is ‘not open for criminal activity’
Police have searched the mosque visited by the Sydney teenager who allegedly shot dead New South Wales police employee Curtis Cheng outside Parramatta headquarters on Friday, before being killed in a firefight with police.
Video footage from Seven News shows black-clad 15-year-old Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad pacing outside the Charles Street police complex moments after shooting Cheng at point-blank range from behind. The 58-year-old accountant was a 17-year veteran of the NSW police finance department.Continue reading...
Foreign minister warns that blaming Muslims for the killing of Curtis Cheng of Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad would be ‘utterly counterproductive’
Julie Bishop has declared it is time for “the whole nation to take stock” after the murder of a 58-year-old police worker in what the prime minister has described as a “terrorist incident”.Continue reading...
Tell MAMA is the only pressure group that undertakes the hard but necessary work of encouraging Muslims to report religious assaults. MAMA stands for Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks and its workers use the information it collects to persuade the police to take sectarian violence seriously.
I admire Tell MAMA because it follows the cases that rarely get national attention: reports that Ulster loyalists are behind threats to Muslims in Northern Ireland or news of yobs insulting worshippers when they leave a mosque. It ensures that abuse of Muslims does not become an accepted fact of British life and offers a way into a criminal justice system, which is meant to protect their rights.Continue reading...
The minister has arrived. The motorcade fills the unpaved street. Policemen who were slumbering in the early autumn midday heat stir, straighten, then spring into action, clearing the way with their canes for this most important visitor. Mahesh Sharma, India’s minister of culture, is preceded by a small aide in a purple shirt and followed by a large grey-suited bodyguard.
Sharma has come to “condole” the family of Mohammed Akhlaq, a 50-year-old labourer beaten to death by a mob in his small two-storey home in the centre of Bishara village, about an hour’s drive beyond the outskirts of Delhi, India’s capital, last Monday night.Continue reading...
A very disturbing story out of India about a man who abducted a four-year-old boy and killed him by strangling him and then decapitating the head as a sacrifice to the Hindu goddess, Kali. Of course Hindus should not be blamed for this grisly act by one individual, however, one has to ask: what if he were Muslim? You can bet that the right-wing and many on the left such as Bill Maher would be yammering about how Islam is uniquely evil. (h/t: J. Hind)
A four year-old-boy has been beheaded in a gruesome “human sacrifice” ritual in a rural village in southern India.
Indian media reports a 35-year-old man abducted the little boy as he was returning home from nursery in the remote Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh state.
The man, named as Tirumala Rao, is reported to have beheaded the child in a ritual to honour the Hindu Goddess Kali and he was alleged to be seeking “divine powers”, according the Times of India.
Mr Rao was discovered next to the little boy’s, named locally as Manu Sagar, body.
Police officers believe he strangled the boy before chopping his head off as they found rope at the scene.
Villagers then attempted to lynch Mr Rao, tying him to a pole, throwing kerosene on him and setting him on fire, reports the Indian Express.
Villager elders rescued him from the mob and called the police.
He was taken to hospital with 40 per cent burns.
Local police chief Ch SriKanth told the Hindu newspaper: “This is a first-of-its-kind incident in Prakasam district.
A hospital run by Doctors Without Borders was bombed by our jets, to which our leaders crassly responded by describing those who were obliterated in the attack as, “collateral damage.” That’s how easy it is to dismiss these lives for our government.
Many applauded when Pres. Obama made the point of putting gun violence in perspective by asking media outlets to compare the number of people killed by guns in the last decade in the US vs. the number killed in terrorists attacks.:
This is an important point, one that will be glossed over by bigots and Islamophobes who don’t care about these facts. I wonder however if Pres. Obama will ever, if he even can, admit the number of people who have been killed and had their lives destroyed and uprooted because of our nation’s invasions and wars?
Doctors Without Borders staff members at a hospital in Kunduz that was badly damaged in an airstrike on Saturday. CreditDoctors Without Borders
KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 19 people were killed when a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the northern city of Kunduz was badly damaged early Saturday after being hit by what appears to have been an American airstrike, sparking international outrage.
The United States military, in a statement, confirmed an airstrike at 2:15 a.m., saying that it had been targeting individuals “who were threatening the force” and that “there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” The strike will bring renewed pressure on the United States, which has been playing an increasingly active role in Afghanistan amid a resurgence of the Taliban, particularly in Kunduz, but has long been criticized for causing civilian casualties from the air.
“A few are still missing, they might have been buried in the rubble,” he said, declining to give his name because employees of Doctors Without Borders are not allowed to speak to reporters without authorization.
In a statement, the aid group accused the American military of continuing the bombing for 30 minutes after receiving phone calls telling military contacts that the hospital was being bombed.
Not only was 50 year old, Mohammed Akhlaq, killed by an enraged mob who had just heard a blood-curling sermon by a Hindutvan priest at a local temple but now the police are attempting to blame him for getting killed.
In Dadri, on the edge of the National Capital Region, 50-year old Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched by a mob on Monday night because it was rumored that his family had been eating beef. His 20-year old son, Danish, is critically injured. Reports quote the police and the district magistrate as saying that a mob gathered after 10 pm following an announcement made at a temple. They broke down the door to the Akhlaqs’ home and battered the father and son with bricks. The police has sent meat from the Akhlaqs’ refrigerator to a forensic laboratory for testing.
A mob gathered outside a family home. It broke down the door and entered illegally. One man was murdered. Another was critically injured. At the very minimum, four separate crimes were committed against the Akhlaqs, one of which is a heinous crime. Why is it then that meat from their refrigerator has been sent to the forensics department for examination?
They have broken no law by having meat in their home. The Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act does not criminalise the possession of meat of any type. Even if the meat in the Akhlaq home was beef (which they say, it is not), they would not be in violation of any law. Even if they did have illegal substances in their home, it would not justify the mob attack on them and the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq. So why have the contents of their refrigerator become police evidence?
The police, it would appear, does not want to be seen ignoring the sentiment of the mob. It wants to give the sense that it is mindful of the mob’s cow protection concerns. Going by reporting of the murder in some Hindi newspapers, it is clear that Mohammad Akhlaq is being labelled a cow-killer. There has also been violence following the arrest of members of the mob, suggesting some political mobilisation.
When Islamophobia is encouraged by Stephen Harper and his government, what else do you expect?
Montreal police are investigating after an attack on a pregnant Muslim woman.
Police say the woman was going to pick up her daughter from school on Tuesday in the city’s north end, near the Galeries D’Anjou, when two teenagers came up behind her on their bikes and tried to rip off her hijab.
The momentum of their tugging on her head scarf caused her to fall down.
Const. Abdullah Emran said investigators have few details about the culprits because it happened quickly, but said it appears they were boys around 15 years old.
Police are reluctant to call the attack a hate crime, but haven’t ruled out the possibility.
Mass panic? Stampedes? Nonsense, say the experts trying to stop another disaster like last week’s in Mecca: they’re failures of management, and they aren’t inevitable. So why aren’t they a thing of the past?
My story comes from the Notting Hill carnival in 1999, though you may have your own. It was sunny and there wasn’t really a plan, other than to wander the streets and enjoy ourselves. Towards the end of the day, we came to a crossroads flooded with thousands of people. Like everybody else, we headed in.
Gradually the crowd tightened as we neared the junction. My friends and I had to go single-file, which made it difficult to see each other. If we wanted to talk we had to shout, because everybody else was shouting. Soon the crowd was so tight that it was impossible to turn back, or even choose direction. My arms were pinned by my sides. My head was wedged like an egg into a box of others. Mostly we all just stood and waited, but every so often the pack would slip forwards and we’d all have to shuffle with it. Sometimes we’d be carried.Continue reading...
Two bomb blasts rip through outskirts of Abuja on Friday, including one target hit twice before by Boko Haram, after separate strikes in northeast kill at least 21
Two bomb blasts ripped through the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Friday, including one target hit twice before by Boko Haram, after separate strikes in the northeast that killed at least 21.
Pledge comes on the heels of a surge in opinion polls based on a hardline stance against a woman donning her Muslim headwear during a citizenship ceremony
Canada’s ruling Conservatives have pledged to set up a police hotline to report what it called “barbaric cultural practices”, as it sought to capitalize on a hardline stance which has helped it gain in the polls.Continue reading...
This exemplifies the issue with leaders in an institutionalized religion that is wedded to a certain narrative of xenophobic nationalism. It is not limited to the Orthodox Church but can be seen coming from the voices of far too many religio-political figures. Clearly, these people are out of touch with the original and deep teachings of their faiths.
Bulgaria’s Orthodox Church has called on its government not to let any more Muslim refugees into the country to prevent an “invasion”.
The Balkan EU member has largely been bypassed by the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and poverty, many of whom set off from Greece through neighbouring Macedonia and Serbia towards northern Europe.
But Bulgaria has still seen Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis cross its southeastern border from Turkey.
“We help refugees who have already arrived in our motherland, but the government must absolutely not let more refugees in,” the church, which claims 80 percent of the population as its followers, said late Friday on its website.
“This is a wave that looks like an invasion.”
It added that the problems in the refugees’ countries of origin “must be resolved by those who created them and the Bulgarian people must not pay the price by disappearing”.
Friday prayers at Baitul Futuh mosque attended by thousands of worshippers and broadcast to 200 countries
Thousands of people have attended Friday prayers at the Baitul Futuh mosque in south London to mark its reopening, almost a week after substantial parts of the complex were gutted by fire.
With an acrid smell of smoke still hanging in the air, regular worshippers were joined by representatives of other faiths, community leaders, local councillors and members of the police service. The prayers were broadcast to 200 countries and translated into seven languages.