The Nether-World

April 29, 2007

Riverbend Is Leaving Iraq

Filed under: Blogging, Iraq — netherworld @ 9:31 am

I suppose this was predictable as Iraq becomes more and more dangerous. Riverbend the Iraqi author of the excellent Baghdad Burning blog is leaving Iraq along with her family (via Blairwatch).

On a personal note, we’ve finally decided to leave. I guess I’ve known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?

Since last summer, we had been discussing it more and more. It was only a matter of time before what began as a suggestion- a last case scenario- soon took on solidity and developed into a plan. For the last couple of months, it has only been a matter of logistics. Plane or car? Jordan or Syria? Will we all leave together as a family? Or will it be only my brother and I at first?

After Jordan or Syria- where then? Obviously, either of those countries is going to be a transit to something else. They are both overflowing with Iraqi refugees, and every single Iraqi living in either country is complaining of the fact that work is difficult to come by, and getting a residency is even more difficult. There is also the little problem of being turned back at the border. Thousands of Iraqis aren’t being let into Syria or Jordan- and there are no definite criteria for entry, the decision is based on the whim of the border patrol guard checking your passport.

An airplane isn’t necessarily safer, as the trip to Baghdad International Airport is in itself risky and travelers are just as likely to be refused permission to enter the country (Syria and Jordan) if they arrive by airplane. And if you’re wondering why Syria or Jordan, because they are the only two countries that will let Iraqis in without a visa. Following up visa issues with the few functioning embassies or consulates in Baghdad is next to impossible.

So we’ve been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. Which memories are dispensable? We, like many Iraqis, are not the classic refugees- the ones with only the clothes on their backs and no choice. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare- stay and wait and try to survive.

On the one hand, I know that leaving the country and starting a new life somewhere else- as yet unknown- is such a huge thing that it should dwarf every trivial concern. The funny thing is that it’s the trivial that seems to occupy our lives. We discuss whether to take photo albums or leave them behind. Can I bring along a stuffed animal I’ve had since the age of four? Is there room for E.’s guitar? What clothes do we take? Summer clothes? The winter clothes too? What about my books? What about the CDs, the baby pictures?

The problem is that we don’t even know if we’ll ever see this stuff again. We don’t know if whatever we leave, including the house, will be available when and if we come back. There are moments when the injustice of having to leave your country, simply because an imbecile got it into his head to invade it, is overwhelming. It is unfair that in order to survive and live normally, we have to leave our home and what remains of family and friends… And to what?

Read the whole post

I can’t begin to imagine the horrors that Riverbend and all Iraqis have had to put up with since the illegal invasion and subsequent catastrophe. I hope that wherever she ends up, she and her family will be safe and either be able to return one day or find a better life somewhere else. I’ve been reading her blog regularly over the last few years and it always provided a unique, personal insight into the tragedy that Iraq has become. I’ll miss her posts from Iraq but getting the hell out of there seems like the most sensible thing to do. Wherever she ends up I hope she keeps writing as she has a real gift for it. Good luck Riverbend.

*UPDATE*

Ten Percent has an interesting post on how hard it is for Iraqi refugees to enter the United States (Britain isn’t taking many in either).

 

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April 16, 2007

Fun and Games Baiting Nazis

Filed under: Blogging, Fruitbats, Nazis — netherworld @ 4:23 am

*UPDATED* *UPDATED* (See below)

If I was to say that Nazis don’t have much of a sense of humour, I doubt that many people would disagree. Recently I found myself in a position to test this idea and the Nazi I confronted is as humourless as she is gormless.

About a month ago I published an article on Blairwatch entitled America And Britain Asked Poland To Host Secret CIA Gulag. The content of the article is pretty much described by its title. A day later the article found its way onto the Global Research web site with full linkage back to its origin and nothing changed. Fine, no problem. So, a few days ago, while looking at who’s been linking to Blairwatch, I was shocked to find a link with this title: White Trashmericans and Jews Wanted Poland to Host Modern “Gulags”. It was the entire article published with the title changed to reflect this nutcase’s views and changing the context of what I wrote. I was even more angry when I saw that under the title, in smaller text was the original title with a little addition before my name appeared.

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This worried me because in a Google search, for example this hate-filled crap could end up like looking as if it was my opinion.

The name of the blog that published this is (ready for this?) Adolf Hitler Research Society. I mean WTF? I’m trying very hard not to link to it obviously – I don’t want to provoke any more responses from this fruitbat. This blog has nothing at all to do with proper research and is just a vehicle for its owner, a Verohnika Clark, to spew out some of the most hate-filled anti-Semitic bile I’ve ever seen, and to deny the Holocaust and adulate Adolf fucking Hitler. Here is a quick example of the sort of crap you’ll find on this blog from a post entitled “A Case Study: Africans and Naziism“:

Jews are subhuman shit-trash.

There. I said it because no one else has the gonads. Would I ever call for a genocide against Jews? Well, if I was President of Los Estados Unidos, then, “Yes, I would.” I would bomb the living sh*t out of Tel Aviv and cut off all funding to all Jews. I would string up their circus leaders—Chertoffsky would dangle from a rope. So would Bush, Levy, Feinstein, Feingold, Boxer, Schumer, Lieberman, Clinton, and all the other Jewish and crypto-Jewish rat-bags in the Jewmerican government.

That’s a pretty common example of the guff she writes. Naturally I left a comment outlining my disgust at her twisting of one of my posts. I was as polite as I was able to be:

I’d like to make it clear that despite you using one of my articles to support your Nazi and anti-Semitic views, these are views that I do not share and I’m appalled that you used something I wrote and twisted the context in this obscene way.

My article is about Polish and British collaboration with the CIA in its rendition and black site program, and in it I make no mention at all of Jews or “White Trashmericans”, neither of which have anything to do with the topic I was writing about.

I am a fierce critic of Israeli and American policy but that doesn’t make me anti-Semitic. In fact I’m part Jewish so that alone is enough expose your conspiracy theory as the rubbish it is. One of the reasons I criticise Israel and the American neo-cons is because I find their policies and actions to be similar to those of the Nazis (whose ideology disgusts me) and I hate all forms of racism whoever is behind it.

She did change the post putting in the correct title. I thought that was going to be the end of it but she then posted a piece called “Open Rebuttal to David Simonetti” Which started off with the hilarious:

I find your bigotry to be extremely affronting to my docile and sensible nature. I am not an anti-Semite.

Right, I see. After proclaiming her love for Persians and Palestinians etc., there then followed an anti-Semitic rant. The post ended with the frankly bemusing:

I’m ready for your response. Oh, I might like to add that you appear to have a vagina between your legs from the pussified manner in which you write. That’s typical of white men in America these days. They have to be feminine for their ‘masters.’ That’s fine. So do I. So, let’s argue like the two civilized women we are, shall we?

How could I refuse to respond to that?

Verohnika,

Thank you for changing the post, it is slightly better in its current format. I started writing this response before you changed your post. Incidentally, I have a screen grab of your original post and my comment on it.

I’m not going to get into an argument with you over your confused rantings [unfortunately that’s what happened]. As I’ve already said, I have criticised what I see as Israeli crimes. Unlike you though, my criticisms are restricted to the government of Israel and the IDF rather than a whole people which you (in your docile and sensible nature) describe elsewhere on your blog as “vermin”. You are entitled to your views (as repellant as I find them). The issue I’m raising with you is different. By taking an article that I have written which is about a completely separate topic and entitling it “White Trashmericans and Jews Wanted Poland to Host Modern “Gulags”” after publishing it in its entirety, you were altering the meaning of what I have written. Legally, that was a prima facia case of defamation. It affects me because people using search engines such as Google may well see the bit at the top of your post which has the following:

America And Britain Asked Poland To Host Secret CIA Gulag [Typical Jewish stunt. Jewmerica has, indeed, devolved into a nation of worthless Jew-ridden sh*t!J
by David Simonetti

That means that it would be easy for readers to assume that your references to “Jewmerica” and “worthless Jew-ridden sh*t!” (again your docile and sensible nature in evidence) are in fact my views which emphatically is not the case. All I was asking you to do (as politely as I could) was to clearly disassociate your views from mine and my views from yours in order to avoid confusion. That’s wasn’t too much to ask was it?

Oh, and you’re wrong on a couple of other things too. The last time there was a vagina between my legs it was someone else’s, not that I see what this has to do with this dispute. I am definitely masculine and I have no master (what is this obsession Nazis have with masters?) If you think my writing style is feminine, well, again, that’s your opinion. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. Also, I’m not American, in fact I’ve never even been to the USA.

Verohnika’s response was to suggest I read some of her so-called research, all of which comes from discredited historians, Nazis and Holocaust deniers She delights in telling people that she has a B.A. but won’t say what in or where she got it – I suggested it was in Holocaust denial which didn’t go down to well (It can’t be in history because a first year undergraduate knows more about source evaluation). Suffice to say her ‘research’ wasn’t an enlightening read. I don’t know what possessed me but I decided it might be worth refuting some of her ridiculous claims, particulary regarding the Holocaust (in retrospect that was a mistake, I probably should have just ignored the idiot). It really isn’t that hard to do. I blew away one falsehood after another with easy to find evidence that is far better sourced.

Thing is, each time I did this she’d write yet another post directed at me with even more bollocks (the funniest was one called “Mr Simonetti… Damn you“). But the content was always the same old crap. Every post I commented on was instantly buried under a plethora of others. She tried moving the goalposts by saying that evidence from survivors was inadmissible. So, I supplied her with testimony from some of the SS who were very informative in how they committed these crimes and tried to cover them up. She then refused to acknowledge that saying they were testifying after the facts (huh?), their memory was flawed and that there were plenty of SS people who didn’t confess and those who did were tortured (they weren’t). All the photographs and documents had to be forgeries. She wouldn’t accept anything from Wikipedia because it was “dominated by Jews”. On and on it went until it became utterly tedious and pointless.

I decided to change tactics and make the argument more amusing by taking the piss. Her blog doesn’t accept anonymous comments (for obvious reasons) so I invented a few characters to post on her blog (I realise this goes against current thinking on ‘netiquette’ but in this case I thought an exception was called for). I thought that she’d instantly see it was me (it’s not like her blog gets many visitors) but amazingly she didn’t nor did she delete the comments… at first. Here is an example from a typical example of her guff taken from an equally repellant source which I hesitate to link to (I will because it demonstrates her cherry-picking):

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Typically, she responded to this with yet another post entitled “Appeal to Humor Won’t Work“. I then noticed that amongst all her garbage-filled posts was a simple one informing the world that she has changed her e-mail address and here was the new one.

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Not the cleverest thing to do when what you write is such offensive, extremist trash, I thought. Anyway, I couldn’t resist a last little prank before leaving her to sink in her sewer. From her response I don’t think it went down too well.

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Here are a couple of comments that didn’t make it onto that post (not in the best possible taste):

SS Obersturmbannführer Otto Von Lebensraum said:

Mein Gott! This is outrageous. Who could do such a terrible thing? This is even worse than the terrible things we did (not that we did them, of course). Oh, meine leibling, these untermenchen are running rings around you. If ever we needed proof of a vast Jewish conspiracy against us, then this is it. Gott in himmel, have they no shame? As soon as General Wenck arrives with the Twelfth Army and saves our Thousand Year Reich (it can’t be long now) then the Gestapo will investigate this heinous crime and there will be some more gassings…oops! This is an affront not just to you but also to the memory of our glorious Führer who will one day return to restore peace and tolerance in the world as he did before… Oh no, Nurse is coming with the medication again…

Rabbi Schickelgruber said:

Oh dear, it seems you have easily fallen for a prank. How could this happen? Surely someone with such a keen intellect as yours wouldn’t have been stupid enough to write a post with your e-mail address on it after spewing out such racist bile… Oh, you did? I see. I guess the master race isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Oh well, we live and learn. I must say though, whoever did this must have a wicked sense of humour and it seems to have got you a bit rattled.

She has now finally discovered comment moderation so she’ll only accept comments from fellow Nazis now. She’s also deleted every post with reference to me and with any of my comments on. Some of her guff has been reposted (without comments, of course). So I guess she finally twigged. Anyway I wouldn’t bother visiting, it really is a sewer over there. Unfortunately (in cases like these) the First Amendment guarantees her right to spew out this bile while in the rest of the world more laws are coming in to stop this sort of thing. This is why the nastiest and most hate-filled web sites are (more often than not) found in America. However, I too believe in freedom of speech so this presents a bit of a problem. I’ve flagged her blog as offensive and I’ve contacted blogger.com and asked them to put up a warning page in front of it, and if enough people do that then they might be compelled to act. It would definitely be an improvement. Incidentally, Verohnika mentioned in one of her comments that Google pulled her last blog (God knows what was on it if this incarnation is a toned-down version or, more likely, it’s the same old rubbish and Google haven’t realised it yet).

There is a serious reason why I mention all this. I do often criticise Israeli policy and doing so sometimes gets me into confrontations with idiots who call me a Nazi without any evidence to back up the accusation. I find that insulting, especially when, as you’ve seen, there are genuine Nazis out there. Being called one, as well as being wrong and offensive, weakens my arguments against people like mad Mel. I consider it an honour to be despised by people like Verohnika and her hatred of me does me no harm at all. Verohnika thinks she has removed all evidence of our little spat – she’s wrong on that point too. This post will serve as proof. Anyway, after all that I think I need a long bath.

*UPDATE* April 18

A Victory of Sorts

It looks like Blogger.com has responded to my complaint and maybe those of others. To those who have complained, thank you.

content-warning.jpg

The above warning screen now appears for anyone accessing the site for the first time. I just hope the warning screen stays there. This is a positive development and a good compromise; Verohnika’s freedom of speech has not been affected and she is still free to spew out her hatred for now, and unaware first-time visitors are now warned that they may find offensive content if they enter the site. If you do continue and enter the site, however, the warning doesn’t come back unless you clear your cookies. If you want to see this cesspit for yourself, I won’t link to it in case it bypasses the warning but paste this into your browser: http://hitlerresearch.blogspot.com/ (if you do decide to visit and you agree that it’s excessively offensive, please flag it as such using the button on the Blogger.com bar at the top of the page or contact Blogger.com). I imagine Verohnika (or SS Adjutant Handstein, as she now signs her posts) will be spitting nails now. Oh well, she’ll be spitting even more nails when she sees this.

*ANOTHER UPDATE* April 18

Could this be an another victory? I thought I’d have a look and see what Verohnika Clark (a.k.a. SS Adjutant Handstein) has been up to and imagine my surprise when I found this:

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Well, it’s possible that it might just be one of those glitches that happens from time to time, but then it’s also possible that someone with some authority actually had a look at what she was writing and the blog got pulled. I can’t help feeling a degree of satisfaction even though I was content with the warning page (okay, I admit it, I’m punching the air). The last posts I saw in that cesspit of hers were about the recent tragic massacre in Virginia and they really were beyond the pale. Perhaps I should have taken screen grabs but then again her guff has had quite enough publicity. Those last posts I saw were frankly disgusting and I’m not going to go into what was in them. So hopefully Verohnika Clark and her cesspit of a blog have fallen off the internet. I’d like to think that she’s gone for good but somehow I’m not so sure she won’t return. I know she posts her crap on other Nazi sites like Stormfront and her utterly ludicrous Adolf Hitler Research Society (AHRS hole) exists elsewhere on the internet as a web site. However if her blog has gone, then I think that can be chalked up a small victory. Here is the last e-mail I sent to Blogger.com a few hours before the blog vanished:

Hi Blogger Team,

Thank you for your reply. I understand that Blogger does not remove allegedly defamatory, libellous, or slanderous material from Blogger.com or BlogSpot.com. Actually, this is something I’m inclined to agree with in general as I too strongly believe in freedom of expression. My main concern was that there should be some sort of warning for readers before entering the site. It appears that you have put up such a warning and I thank you for that. I believe this is a vast improvement as well as a good compromise; no one’s freedom of speech is affected and unaware readers are now warned that there may be content they might find offensive. This was really what I was hoping for.

I have had some dialogue with the author of the blog in question, using the comments feature but she will no-longer accept comments from me and continues to write content that I’m sure many people would find extremely offensive. In our discussions, this individual told me that Google has already pulled one of her web logs. This was something I discovered after I first contacted you and if it is true then I’m certainly not surprised judging by the extremist content on her current blog.

Anyway, thank you once again for replying and, more importantly, for putting up the warning page, as I say it is a vast improvement and I hope that it stays there.

Yours sincerely

Davide Simonetti

The lesson here is that yes, freedom of speech is vitally important but when someone is loudly calling out for the extermination of an entire race then maybe the platform should be removed. I hope that this is what eventually happened. We shall see. If this is the case then I’ll delete the spoof blog I made to highlight what this idiot was doing.

*YET ANOTHER UPDATE* April 19

Well, I think it’s more or less confirmed that Verohnika Clark (a.k.a SS Adjutant Handstein) has had her blog pulled by Google. I found this furious and barely comprehensible rant at the front page of one of her other websites http://www.adolfhitlerresearchsociety.org/ (which now also seems to have gone down for the moment, hmm):

Halten! AHRS Requests Authorization

This site now requires authorization from Verohnika Clark. I apologize for this inconvenience, but, there have been repeated attacks against my server and my personal blogs by Jewish supremacists and free speech violators. The username and password have both been changed. If you do not e-mail me for the new set, then you will not be allowed to view this web site. E-mail: webmaster at adolfhitlerresearchsociety dot org or AdjutantHandstein@hotmail.com. Another one of my ‘offensive’ web blogs was flagged and deleted by Google and their Jewish minions. Actually, I think it was just sabotaged to the point where I couldn’t post to it or view it any longer. Strange, because I couldn’t view it or post to it from either of my computers, but other people could still view it. I suspect they sabotaged my login or something. Kewt! So, I have started another new blog and the two official AHRS web sites will be password protected from here on out. Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler! We Love You! 4/20/1889 Do not use VerohnikaSS@hotmail.com any longer. It was also sabotaged by Jewry. They signed me up for ADL and Simon Weaselbag online. Please use AdjutantHandstein@hotmail.com. Oh, and they did something to my webmaster account, so, I can only receive mail. I can?t send it from that account. UPDATE! I received two e-mails today [4.18.2007] at my old e-mail address, from anonymous e-mailer, informing me that I had “been warned” that my blog would be ‘sabotaged’. Apparently, this Jewish clown was able to get Google to sabotage my own login procedure. I am going to be out of town starting tonight [4/18/07]. So, I will not be updating my blog or the two sites for a few days. I had to give Adi an early “Happy Birthday.” Make a German chocolate cake for him and light a candle in commemoration of his life and light in a time of nearly unparalleled Jewish darkness.

So, my first reaction to this has to be: Ahahahahahaha!!! Just how fucking stupid can she be? she gets burned by publishing her new e-mail address (after her old one was suspiciously “terminated”) and so what does she do? She publishes another new one so the same thing can, in all probability, happen again. This little rant also tells us that she hasn’t got a clue what is happening to her other that the vast Jewish conspiracy is out to get her (interestingly, though, it seems that I’m not the only one with an axe to grind). She’s gone off to sulk for a few days so we can be thankful for a brief period of rest before she comes back with a new blog to carry on her mission of disgusting the planet. Unsurprisingly, she’s learned nothing from her recent experiences (hey, I did say that she’s gormless). I don’t have the time or inclination to keep a constant vigil on her activities. I will keep my eyes open though because neither her nor her knuckle-dragging Nazi friends can be trusted, but as long as they are as thick as they seem to be, I don’t think there’s a great cause for concern.

It’s interesting that all this happened just before her hero’s birthday. It’s not something that occurred to me, but then why should it? That piece of shit is, thankfully, long dead.

*FINAL UPDATE* (hopefully) April 20

I think and hope all this can be laid to rest now. The AHRSholes web site is back on line and Verohnika Clark is back to blogging her usual crap. The difference now is that the only way to access her new blog is to register with the main Nazi mothership (AHRSholes) for a username and password. This is much better because people can’t accidentally stumble upon this dishonest, extremist rubbish any more, you have to be a Nazi (or just determined) to get to it. So, I think it was worth all the hassle even though it now seems I’m on the Nazi shit-list… Oh well, I think I’ll get over it.

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Leaving aside the hilarity of the people who brought us the Gestapo complaining about their free speech and privacy being violated, this just isn’t the case. As you can see, they are doing exactly what they did before (they’ve just been forced to crawl back under their rock to do it) so their free speech isn’t really affected. And as for privacy, well if you plaster your “private” e-mail address all over the internet then it’s hardly private is it? This seems to have finally sunk in, so even Verohnika will have to acknowledge that she’s been taught a lesson.

Addendum

I’ve just been reading a very interesting post by Unity over at Ministry of Truth (via D-Notice). It’s about new legislation being brought in by the EU to make denying the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide a crime but not the Armenian genocide (for entirely political reasons). Like Unity, D-Notice and DK, I’m completely opposed to this. Clumsy and ill-thought out legislation like this makes having a different opinion a thought-crime and is counter-productive as, like Unity says, it drives these ideas underground instead of defeating them with better ideas. In his post, Unity uses similar arguments to the ones I made about a year ago when I defended the right of the pseudo ‘historian’ David Irving to make a complete prat of himself without getting locked up for it. I mention this because it does have a bearing on the above story – In Europe Verohnika would certainly fall foul of this law.

My spat with Verohnika Clark started when she twisted the meaning of a post I wrote and developed into an argument about her erroneous ideas and extremist language (such as calling for a genocide on Jews). When I refuted her arguments and mocked them, she felt it necessary to delete not just my comments but several posts with my comments on them. Eventually I did call on Google to put up a warning screen on her blog because it was misleadingly called Adolf Hitler Research Society which means that genuine researchers and students might have gone there thinking that the site contained real scholarship only to find page after page of hate-filled anti-Semitic rants, adulation of a mass murderer and Nazi propaganda.

It’s stuff like this which is driving a demand for more legislation to control the Internet, so if self-regulation could be demonstrated to work, I had hoped that it would hold off such legislation. A warning screen wouldn’t have affected Verohnika’s freedom of speech but would have alerted visitors to the nature of the content. As it was, Google decided take away her megaphone, as it did before (despite what Verohnika says, I haven’t a clue what happened to her other sites which also seem to have disappeared). At no point did I call for her to be prosecuted for what she had written – she couldn’t be prosecuted anyway because in the USA the First Amendment guarantees her right to say what she likes. I’m fairly certain that after a short break Verohnika will be back spreading her lies and hate (she’s said as much). But what this shows is that in some cases at least, it is possible to deal with Internet hatred without extra unnecessary legislation. Bringing in laws like the ones proposed (however well-meaning, and I’m not that sure that they are) lowers us to the level of the book-burners we want to defeat.

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January 23, 2007

Playing Fair In Blogland

Filed under: Blogging — netherworld @ 9:26 am

Over the last week or so I’ve been following the recent spat between Tim Ireland and Guido Fawkes. I haven’t commented up until now because I wanted to follow the argument rather than contribute to it and make my own mind up before commenting instead of just wading into a flame war. There have been some very good posts on the issue, notably from Justin, Septicisle, Nosemonkey and Unity as well as Tim of course and I’m glad I read them before commenting as they all make very good points. Strangely, apart from some witticisms there has been little substantial counter-argument from Guido who has left his acolytes to attack Tim.

Why comment? I think the issues Tim raises are important and worthy of debate. I broadly agree with Tim and tend to fall on his side of the argument, but I do read Guido’s blog from time to time and occasionally link to the odd good story and I’ll probably continue to do so. The dichotomy for me is balancing the freedom of the Internet which, obviously, I support, with a need for honesty, accountability and the freedom of others not to be abused (unless of course they’re asking for it), as well as plain good manners. What made me decide to comment however, wasn’t so much Tim’s post but this piece by Unity which for me shows that Tim has a very valid point. It highlights an outrageous abuse of someone’s on-line identity.

Although I wouldn’t call myself a ‘newbie’, I have nothing anywhere near the level of technical expertise of Internet veterans like Tim and Unity. I am however somewhat familiar with ‘netiquette‘ (a term I knew about long before I started blogging) and on the whole I’ve always tried to adhere to those protocols that I was aware of. They are basically common sense and tend to make life more civilised for on-line communities. I don’t feel that netiquette restricts me in any way, I still say whatever I want to say.

Unlike many bloggers I choose to write under my own name whether I’m posting or commenting. I understand the reasons why some people choose to write under pseudonyms or remain anonymous, but I wanted to be completely open and avoid any possible ‘outing’ later (also I tend to get tired of a pseudonym after a while and want to change it). The main issue that Tim raises (as far as I’m concerned) is the one of ‘sock puppets‘, where some people leaving comments take advantage of a flaw with Blogger.com and easily assume someone else’s identity. Needless to say, for the person whose identity has been hijacked this is annoying at best and harmful at worst. Anyone familiar with Guido’s site will know that the comments section of his posts are full of such identity thefts.

This raises the thorny issue of comment deleting. I don’t like deleting comments or making it tricky for people to leave comments. On this blog apart from the odd bit of spam I’ve only deleted a few comments. The last time I did it was when an obnoxious stalker of Rachel tried to reveal her ‘real’ identity. My policy is to allow as many comments as possible even if they consist of little more than ad hominem attacks and I have on occasion come under attack from bullies. A main motive for blogging is to engage in debate and on this blog I’ve been fairly lucky, commenters tend to stay on-topic and this blog isn’t exactly huge so there are usually few comments anyway. However there are times when it is wise to delete comments. I think one of those times is when sock puppets are used. I strongly believe in freedom of speech (unless it infringes on the freedom of others) but the owner of a blog has an on-line reputation and inappropriate comments can adversely affect that reputation and thus their freedom. An example of this can been seen at the NO2ID site where the administrators are trying to raise a very serious issue which became diluted by visitors posting comments on their pet 9/11 or 7/7 conspiracy theories. There was a danger that the site’s message would be taken less seriously by the influential people who read it so those comments had to be moderated. Over at Blairwatch we had a similar problem (involving in some cases the same conspiracy theorists posting off-topic comments).

Of course the owner of a blog also has the right to allow or delete comments as he or she sees fit, but deleting comments that disagree with their point of view or that expose inaccuracies in their post, whilst at the same time allowing comments that make unsubstantiated accusations or hijack someone else’s identity, says something about the blogger. And if that blogger also deletes an offending comment and replaces it with an edited version under the original name or pseudonym without indicating that the comment has been edited, that says even more about that blogger.

These are the issues which I consider most important. If a blog is merely a repository of gossip or holds views that I and others find offensive or goes on ad nauseam about its stats, I don’t really have a problem with that. I have the choice to read it or ignore it just as I choose not to read The Sun or The News of The World. On Tim’s point that Guido’s blog might attract legislation that restricts all bloggers, well, maybe, but I think that considering the antics of the shower in power at the moment, further legislation affecting freedom of speech might well come anyway with or without Guido. I don’t believe he’s as influential as he makes out (I don’t think any one blog can have that much influence). What is more likely attract legislation against us is the constant exposure of government dishonesty, corruption and sleaze by political bloggers of both sides of the political divide and I hope that continues.

For the moment I’ll leave my comment settings as they are. They are already time and date stamped and I want it to be easy for people to leave comments and engage in discussion. However as soon as I suspect that sock puppets (or IP spoofers) have being commenting, I’ll reconsider that decision (because I’m not much of a techie the only way I’ll be able to decide is if the comment is obviously different from the usual views of the person). I’m aware that by writing this I might well be inviting such an attack, but if some unscrupulous bastard tries to hijack my identity, at least my real views are recorded here as a guide for others (another motive for writing this). I agree with Tim that this really is something that Blogger.com should sort out, and it’s another good reason for getting a domain name and moving over to WordPress. Tim’s taken a lot of flak from Guido wannabes and acolytes for exposing these deceits. I know he can take it but I wanted to show my support. Tim and Unity have done bloggers a huge favour be exposing these dangers.

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January 21, 2007

Computer Virus Warning – Attention Bloggers

Filed under: Blogging, Media, Not Politics — netherworld @ 12:38 am

I don’t usually post about anything about computer viruses and worms, but this should be of interest to anyone who receives news alerts via e-mail. Many bloggers are likely to be affected by this malware. There is a nasty virus going about which comes in e-mails with fake news headlines in the subject line.

Storm chaos prompts virus surge

E-mails claiming to contain details of the storms that battered Europe contain a malicious virus, security firms warn.

The e-mails with the subject line “230 dead as storm batters Europe”, can leave computers vulnerable to attack.

The messages were first detected as the storms, which have killed at least 28 people, continued to rage.

Fortunately for me I don’t often blog about the weather and I use a product called Mailwasher Pro to check my e-mails before I download them. However, no system is completely foolproof. I receive a lot of news articles via email and it would be easy to accidentally download a virus or worm if the subject line was different. Today I deleted an e-mail from an unknown source entitled “Russian missile shot down USA aircraft”. That is the sort of thing I’m likely to download and it was only the sender’s e-mail address that made me suspicious. A quick look at the source code confirmed my suspicions, it contained an attachment called Full News.exe.

The new virus, called Small.DAM, was spread through emails with a variety of subject lines purporting to be news. Other variants included “British Muslims Genocide” and “U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza…”

The virus is a trojan – a program or message that look benign but contains malicious code – that is installed when a user opens the e-mail and clicks on an attachment. The attachment could be called Video.exe, Read More.exe, Full Clip.exe or Full Story.exe.

So this is just a word of caution to bloggers and other news junkies. Be careful what e-mails you download and keep your anti-virus software up-to-date (I’m sure most of you do).

*UPDATE*

The Register has more.

 

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December 23, 2006

Aaaaarrrgghh! I’ve been tagged

Filed under: Blogging, Memes, Not Politics — netherworld @ 6:06 am

Yes, it’s happened again, I’ve been tagged (by Rachel) and this time I’m going to respond after having studiously ignored previous memes (well, seeing as it’s Christmas and today is my Birthday). So, the meme is “What are the seven best things you did this past year?”. Hmmm, tricky! I don’t think 2006 will go down as the best year in history. In fact it’s been crap on numerous levels. Anyway giving it some thought, here are seven highlights of the year in no particular order.

  • Getting a cat: Sad but true; I’ve always been a liked cats but after my last cat mysteriously disappeared when I moved back to London, I was reluctant to get another one. Anyway ten years later I did just that and although he’s a destructive, greedy, self-centered, attention-seeking furry little hooligan, he’s also a lot of fun and very cute. He’s a ruthless killer when he finds a mouse, and I discovered when playing with him that he’s a better goalkeeper than Paul Robinson. Also, whenever people come to visit they go all gooey over him…especially girls. Enough cat blogging Ed.

  • Contributing to The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze: This was a fun project organised by Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale. The idea of a book being written by at least 50 different bloggers is something of a first and the subject matter made it something I wanted to be part of. It was the first time anything I had written appeared in print. I was at a party for the contributors the other day and learned that there is going to be a second edition called “THE BIG BOOK OF NEW LABOUR SLEAZE”. I’d better get writing.

  • Writing for Blairwatch: Blairwatch is the blog that inspired me to start a blog. From there I discovered many of the other blogs I now read on a daily basis. So I was delighted when I was asked if I wanted to contribute. Team blogging is a lot of fun. There is less pressure to come up with something every day and because it has more readers than this blog, there is plenty of feedback and lively discussion in the comments.


  • Discovering I’m actually a pretty good student: No one was more surprised than me about this. Deciding that I needed more mental stimulation, I chose to do a Humanities degree with the Open University a couple of years ago. I was spectacularly unacademic at school and college and couldn’t wait to leave and get a job. But after 20 years away from studying, I found that I now really enjoy it (I suppose it helps if you study things that actually interest you). The really surprising thing was that I’m actually good at it. I get high scores for my essays (90% on several occasions) and I’ve just passed an exam on Classical Greece and Rome at Grade Two despite having dreadful handwriting and not having been anywhere near an exam hall in decades. So I shall be continuing my studies even if it is rather time consuming.

  • Meeting other bloggers: This is definitely a highlight of 2006. When I started blogging it didn’t occur to me that I’d end up striking friendships with other bloggers so it was a very pleasant surprise to meet some of the people I read regularly. Outside blogland, most of my friends roll their eyes when I discuss politics so it’s refreshing to be able to talk to informed people on current events. Hopefully there will be more of this in the future.

  • Watching Blair’s credibility drop to zero: Anyone who reads this blog and Blairwatch will know what I think of Blair and New Labour. I can’t think of a more sleazy, dishonest, dangerous, unprincipled, and ill-advised Prime Minister. He has betrayed his Party, the country and the wider world. He has eroded our democracy and is removing our civil liberties at an alarming rate. His reckless rush to war with the American neo-cons and his seeming determination to cause even more damage despite the evidence of his policy failures being plain for everyone (except him apparently) to see, fills me with disgust, as does watching his sycophantic fawning over the Bush administration. So to see Blair being the first Prime Minister to be questioned by the police in a corruption enquiry; to watch Labour Party donors distance themselves from him; to see his poll ratings plummet and to learn that he has no influence whatsoever with the White House brings some grim satisfaction. The sooner he’s gone the better. I’d be even more satisfied if he was to be held to account for his crimes.

  • Watching Italy winning the World Cup: I’m not really a football fan or in any way ‘sporty’. The only time I enjoy watching football is when the World Cup tournament is on. And because most of my family are Italian I tend to support Italy when they are playing (we either have family get-togethers where we collectively shout at the TV, or go to Italian bars and collectively shout at the screen…”Eeetalia!”, along with expensive mobile phone calls to relatives and friends back in Italy every time a goal is scored, missed or disallowed) The Italian team is undeniably entertaining to watch when it’s on form and this year was no exception… Oh how we laughed when Zidane was sent off. My only regret was not being in Italy for the celebrations. I was in Italy in 1982 when the team beat West Germany in the final in Madrid and there followed a week of non-stop partying (starting off with most of the village rushing into the sea).

Anyway there you have it. [Just to avoid confusion, I’ve taken out the links to the poor sods I foisted this meme on to since they are linked on the blogstot version]. Sincere apologies to the following (I promise I won’t make a habit out of this): Justin, ., D-Notice, Devil’s Kitchen, Rimone, Andy Ramblings, Bob Morris over at Polizeros. Anyway, happy Christmas, Yule, Winterval, Saturnalia, Chanukah etc. [Delete as appropriate] and a happy New Year.

*UPDATE*

I forgot to wish Muslims a happy Eid, which falls on December 31 this year (thanks Osama for the reminder). That was remiss of me. I actually thought Eid came at a different time, but then there is Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha So I must have got confused. Please excuse my ignorance. Anyway, happy Eid too.

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December 3, 2006

The Nether-World’s First Birthday

Filed under: Blogging — netherworld @ 6:55 am

animated candleIt’s been a whole year since The Nether-World burst tip-toed onto the blog scene. When I started The Nether-World I was barely aware of what blogging actually was and wanted to find out more about the phenomenon. After 267 posts here, others on Blairwatch and Politics In The Zeros I think I now have a fairly good idea. My main motivation was a desire to have an outlet for the anger and frustration I felt (and still feel) over the many injustices in the world where voting, not voting, writing to MPs, demonstrating and signing petitions haven’t helped. Of course the problems haven’t been solved but ranting about them has certainly been cathartic and it’s helped formulate my arguments more coherently. Hopefully I’ve also helped spread some useful information. One thing I have discovered over the last year is that I enjoy writing and hope to get better at it.

It’s been an interesting year. This is still a very small blog but it is currently 45 in the top 200 blogs measured by Technoranki. There are 465 links to The Nether-World from 128 other blogs and it is read regularly in several countries. (This data applies to the original Blogspot version of The Nether-World, its presence on WordPress is a relatively recent development.) Since starting the blog, I’ve attended political conferences and met politicians, contributed to a book, talked on American radio, made friends with other bloggers, been included in Iain Dale’s Guide to Political Blogging in the UK (just), been nominated for a blog award, come under attack from Israel’s state sponsored cyber soldiers (and saw them off), helped leak numerous documents that the Government tried to suppress, twice made it onto Tim Worstall’s Britblog round-up, been involved in campaigns, reported on several large demonstrations, been invited to contribute to other blogs, had some interesting debates, discovered lots of really good blogs, and generally had a lot of fun. I’ve gained a far better understanding of political issues and current events than I would have if I’d just sat in front of the TV news stations or restricted myself to one or two newspapers.

Not bad for a first year. I wonder what the next year will bring. Hopefully it will bring more readers, a move to a dedicated host with a decent template and also some better writing. I wonder if I would have started this blog if I’d known how addictive blogging can be but I intend to carry on so, many thanks to all the people who have visited The Nether-World and all those bloggers who have inspired and informed me including those who I often disagree with.

By a neat piece of synchronicity, Justin’s Blog Digest landed on my doormat yesterday, so I shall celebrate The Nether-World’s first year by reading some of the best output by other bloggers over the last 12 months. How’s that for being obsessed?

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December 1, 2006

The Blog Digest 2007

Filed under: Blogging — netherworld @ 11:07 am

Blog Digest 2007

Justin from Chicken Yoghurt has put together an eclectic selection of the best blog writing of the last year. Themed in chapters – Culture & Media, Sex, War, Politics, Activism, Work & Play, Death and Sport, it’s a rounded collection of the posts that appealed to Justin and so promises to be an entertaining digest of the year.

It should be available in all good bookshops and of course on Amazon. I’ve just ordered my copy and I’m looking forward to a leisurely read.

Here’s a review from the Amazon page:

Emma Kennedy

‘The only book I’ve ever read that covers mint sauce and the war in Iraq. Genius.’

Book Description

From Bristol to Baghdad, from sex workers to ambulance drivers, it seems like everybody, everywhere is keeping a ‘blog’. At least that’s what the media would have you believe. But with millions of blogs in the UK alone (and many millions more worldwide), it would take you more than a lifetime to read them all in search of the best of the bunch. Which is where this book comes in. The Blog Digest is the ultimate anthology of blog writing from the last twelve months. From searing topical commentary to hilarious musings on modern life – no matter whether you’re a seasoned
blogger yourself or just want to know what the fuss is about, there’s something here for everyone.

Synopsis

Charles Kennedy’s resignation, Lib Dem sex scandals and the election of a new leader, Ariel Sharon’s stroke, the Danish cartoon protests, the Winter Olympics, Gary Glitter, Dick Cheney shooting a man in the face…2006 is already shaping up to be a huge news year. Bloggers – for the uninitiated – are amateur online journalists who post real-time reports of major (and not-so-major) stories on their websites. Famous bloggers like Belle du Jour and the Baghdad Blogger have already secured lucrative book deals thanks to the quality and vibrancy of their writing. But there are literally tens of thousands of bloggers who have not yet made the move to print. “The Blog Digest” provides a complete round up of the way the blogging community covered the major events of the year. Collected and presented within a range of themes, this entertaining and opinionated guide features the very best writing from the rising stars og online journalism.

It’ll probably make an excellent Christmas present or stocking filler.

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Matthew Taylor: Hypocrite

Filed under: Bliar, Blogging, Nu Labour — netherworld @ 7:59 am

Last week Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s outgoing chief strategy adviser, provoked uproar among bloggers by attacking their tendency to criticise politicians.

“What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.”
Source

Well now he is in the news again, this time doing exactly what he accuses bloggers of doing.

One of Tony Blair’s closest advisers has issued a devastating critique of the Prime Minister’s time in power, confessing that the Government’s arrogance undermined public trust.

Matthew Taylor, who was Downing Street chief of strategy until last Friday, has admitted that No 10 “liked the image of being brilliant media operators” and found it hard to make the transition from opposition to government in 1997. This meant that there was a “certain amount of creativity” with the truth when dealing with the media in the early years. [My emphasis]
Source

So the question I have is this: How come it’s okay for Matthew Taylor to criticise the Government but not bloggers? Could it possibly be that Matthew Taylor, as well as being an arrogant, patronising, condescending twat, is also a complete hypocrite?

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November 19, 2006

Git of the Week #1 (of an occasional series)

Filed under: Bliar, Blogging, Civil Liberties, Media, Nu Labour — netherworld @ 10:23 pm

I meant to comment on this earlier so by now it’s already all over the blogosphere, but this story does need to be recorded here too. Actually “git” is probably too polite a word to describe Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s outgoing chief strategy adviser who has decided that the reason people are turned off by politics is not the lies and corruption of the politicians but the people who have the audacity to comment on them, particularly bloggers. Talk about shooting the messenger. Anyway, judging by the reaction from the blogs I’ve read so far there is a rare (but unsurprising in this case) show of unanimity, with everyone having pretty much the same message for this patronising idiot. Let’s have a closer look at the comments he made at an e-democracy conference in central London.

Tony Blair’s outgoing chief strategy adviser fears the internet could be fuelling a “crisis” in the relationship between politicians and voters.

If by “crisis” you mean that more people are able to scrutinse and debate Government policy Matthew, that’s not a crisis but a very positive development, one you should be encouraging rather than criticising.

Matthew Taylor – who stressed he was speaking as a “citizen” not a government spokesman – said the web could be “fantastic” for democracy.

But it was too often used to encourage the “shrill discourse of demands” that dominated modern politics.

He was speaking on the day Mr Blair carried out an online interview.

I thought we were all citizens in a democracy, whether we are a part of the Government or not. Are you suggesting that if you were speaking in your capacity of a government spokesman you would have a different set of views? Yes, the web could be “fantastic” for democracy if only you lot would stop meddling with it and trying to impose unnecessary restrictions on it.

Mr Taylor said Mr Blair’s online grilling from voters – and other initiatives such as environment secretary David Miliband’s blog and Downing Street’s new online petition service – showed the government was making good progress in using the internet to become more open and accountable.

But he said more needed to be done by the web community in general to encourage people to use the internet to “solve problems” rather than simply abuse politicians or make “incommensurate” demands on them.

The Government is slowly waking up to the power of the internet and I applaud some of those initiatives, but I hardly think it’s making the Government more accountable. Mr Blair answered only a small handful of questions selected by the journalists conducting the interview. It wasn’t exactly a “grilling” was it? David Miliband’s blog is the laughing stock of the blogosphere. Has it ever veered off message? As for the petition service on the Downing Street website, well the jury is still out. We don’t know if the Government will take any more notice of the petitions than it does of the votes at the Labour Party Conference.

One of the problems the web community is trying to solve is the undemocratic, mendacious and illiberal actions of this government, I’m afraid that requires a little criticism… deal with it! Politicians are servants of the people, so the people are quite right to make demands on them. If Politicians don’t like that then they should be in another line of work.

Speaking at an e-democracy conference in central London, he said modern politics was all about “quality of life” and that voters had a “very complex set of needs”.

The end of deference, the rapid pace of social change and growing diversity were all good things, he argued, but they also meant governments found it increasingly difficult to govern.

Voters do have a “very complex set of needs” and it is the job of the politicians to try and address those needs. Many of those needs are being expressed on the internet. Because there are so many people on-line, there are obviously going to be a lot of differing opinions. Rather than complain about it, look at what people are saying. The end of deference is a good thing, as you say Matthew, but you don’t really mean that do you, otherwise you wouldn’t be saying this:

“We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government,” Mr Taylor told the audience.

Like “teenagers”, people were demanding, but “conflicted” about what they actually wanted, he argued.

They wanted “sustainability”, for example, but not higher fuel prices, affordable homes for their children but not new housing developments in their town or village.

I’ve been trying to avoid expletives up until now but … Fuck right off you arrogant, patronising, condescending twat. Yes, we are increasingly unwilling to be governed by a bunch of lying, corrupt, greedy hypocrites like yourself and the rest of the NuLabour junta who are not held to account for their actions. Democracy is supposed to be self-government you idiot. Look it up in a dictionary. Of course people are demanding, and they have different views. Your generalisations of the “conflicted” people are offensive in the extreme which is exactly why you should expect some reciprocation. The examples you give show nothing new. It’s up to governments to balance those conflicts as best they can. If you can’t do that or complain about having to do it then piss off and we’ll find people who can.

But rather than work out these dilemmas in partnership with their elected leaders, they were encouraged to regard all politicians as corrupt or “mendacious” by the media, which he described as “a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage”.

Whether media was left wing or right wing, the message was always that “leaders are out there to shaft you”.

Now where would we get the insane idea that our leaders are corrupt, mendacious and out there to shaft us? The media reporting on the cash for honours investigation, the lies we were told in the run up to the war with Iraq…? Calling the media “a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage” is a little disingenuous when what it does is report on your actions, and anyway, what about NuLaour’s conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of fear?

He went on: “At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had.

“It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis.”

Yes Matthew it is a crisis, one entirely of the Government’s making. The impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens you lament is because of the dishonesty and lack of accountability. The richer relationship you want is partly possible because of a vibrant media and on-line community.

The internet, he told the conference, was part of that “crisis”.

“The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands.

“If you look at the way in which citizens are using technology and the way that is growing up, there are worrying signs that that is the case.

No, the internet is part of the solution. What you call a “shrill discourse of demands” is in fact citizens discussing, debating, arguing and informing. What is wrong with that, and why shouldn’t they use technology to do those things more effectively?

“What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.

“The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.”

Yes, blogs like the mainstream media, can be hostile and if they expose how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are then they are doing a valuable service. If you don’t like it, why not try being less venal, stupid and mendacious? Anyway not all blogs provide this service, you’ve already mentioned David Miliband’s blog, and there are other blogs which will happily praise your illiberal policies, gloss over your dishonesty and be the deferential compliant citizens you obviously want. I seem to remember you wanting an official blogger for the recent Labour Party Conference. And what about Hazel Blears’ blog? You seem to complain about blogs when they dare to disagree with you, but are quite happy to use them to spread your message.

He challenged the online community to provide more opportunities for “people to try to understand the real trade-offs that politicians face and the real dilemmas that citizens face”.

In other words to shut up and get with the programme… No chance, if it’s all the same to you we’ll just carry on exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious you are. It’s more fun anyway.

“I want people to have more power, but I want them to have more power in the context of a more mature discourse about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of citizens,” Mr Taylor told delegates.

The last thing you want is for us to have more power which is why your government has put so much effort into removing as many of our liberties as possible. If you want responsible citizens then lead by example and empower people.

Part of the problem, he added, was the “net-head” culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and “anti-establishment” attitudes.

Oh dear! What on earth, may I ask, is wrong with libertarianism? Are you saying that you are opposed to liberty and free will? Judging by NuLabour policies, I suppose the answer is “yes” but that isn’t specified in the rhetoric is it? As for “anti-establishment” attitudes, well Britain has a rich tradition in “anti-establishment” attitudes. It is not a new phenomenon that grew out of the internet, rather a continuation of an old tradition using the internet.

He told delegates: “You have to be part of changing that culture. It’s important for people who understand technology, to move from that frame of mind, which is about attacking the establishment into one which is about problem-solving and social enterprise.”

Technology should be used to encourage elected representatives to communicate better with voters, he told delegates.

Why exactly should users of technology not challenge their leaders and ask pertinent questions?

Government also needed to “develop new forms of consultation and engagement that are deliberative in their form and trust citizens to get to the heart of the difficult trade-offs involved.”

And there should be more effort to make communities “work together to solve problems,” said Mr Taylor.

This government has shown no trust in its citizens and should therefore expect no trust from its citizens. “Work together to solve problems,” is a NuLabour euphemism for “keep quiet and do as your told”. After ten years in power that has become fairly apparent to many people.

Mr Taylor is Tony Blair’s chief adviser on political strategy and the former head of the centre left think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

He is leaving Downing Street next week, after three years, to become the chief executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA).

I’m glad you’re leaving Downing Street Mr Taylor. Hopefully you’ll do less harm working in the RSA, but be warned, artists can be notoriously anti-establishment. I doubt they will be any more deferential and compliant than the numerous bloggers who have such a low opinion of you.

Bloggage
Blairwatch
D-Notice
Guido Fawkes
Iain Dale’s Diary
Mr Eugenides
Not Saussure
Rachel
Paul Linford
Devil’s Kitchen

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November 12, 2006

Ten Tips For Dealing With GIYUS

Filed under: Blogging, israel, Lebanon, Palestine — netherworld @ 5:30 am

If, like many people, you are disgusted by the behaviour of Israel and happen to blog about, say, the latest massacre in Gaza; the desperate situation the Palestinians are in; the carnage in Lebanon or the provocation of UNIFIL peacekeepers; the threat of attacking Iran or any of the other nefarious deeds that Israel is allowed to get away with, then there is a reasonable chance that you may attract the attention of GIYUS. You’ll know when that has happened when you find your post bombarded by comments (usually anonymous and looking remarkably similar) attempting to justify those actions and attacking you for daring to mention them. A quick look at your stats will confirm that you’ve been GIYUSed. If this bothers you, here are some tips which may put a stop to the attack, or at least lessen the flow of moronic comments. Of course I can’t guarantee that they will work, all I can say is that they seemed to work for me when I became their target. First of all don’t be intimidated, that’s what this little army of cyber soldiers want you to be. Instead you could try the following:

  1. Update your post straight away explaining what has happened and adding a little bit about GIYUS for those unfamiliar with this annoying pressure group. This also lets the GIYUS bots know that you’re on to them.

  2. If possible, add some links to previous posts you might have written on the issues to show that you are not going to be intimidated by their antics.

  3. Refute their ‘arguments’ in the comments. This is easy as they really don’t have any. Their comments go along the lines of “it is about time that Israel completely ignore any condemnation of our effort to stay alive and have a simple life in a and keep pounding at the Palestinians…”. Also they don’t stick around to argue, debate is the last thing they want and its what they are trying to stifle. They just do as they are directed by GIYUS.

  4. On no account say anything which they could construe as being anti-Semitic. That is exactly what they want. Not only is anti-Semitism so obviously wrong but you’ll be lowering yourself to their level. Their main objective is to ‘prove’ that anyone who disagrees with Israeli policies is a) anti-Semitic, b) a Holocaust denier, and c) an ‘Islamo-fascist’. To do this they try to blur the distinctions between ‘Zionist’, ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jewish’.

  5. Use reliable news sources to back up your points. If you can find items from Israeli sources, so much the better. Haaretz and B’TSalem are useful.

  6. Invite others to join in the fun, it makes the thread more balanced and much more interesting. It also saves you from having to repeat yourself or respond to every comment.

  7. Don’t delete their comments unless they really are particularly offensive. That just makes it look like you haven’t got an answer to them. Leave their comments up so we can all have a good laugh at them.

  8. Use humour. Believe me, these commenters have as much sense of humour as Ian Paisley on a bad day, and they don’t like having the piss taken out of them (who does?). The issues are deadly serious for both sides of the argument but the point here is to stop GIYUS bullying you into remaining silent about them.

  9. If other bloggers link to your post then even more people will see it thus rendering their efforts to silence you completely counter-productive. I’ll take this opportunity to thank the Curious Hamster, Obsolete and D-Notice for linking to my post which helped GIYUS’s attack on me backfire.

  10. GIYUS has been particularly effective in distorting or wrecking on-line polls. If you are conducting a poll about Israel and you find that GIYUS members turn up in great numbers to distort the result, my advice would be to shut it down immediately and post a message explaining why. I haven’t conducted a poll about Israel but it’s what I’d do if I found my poll being distorted by GIYUS.

When I was targeted by GIYUS I did most of the things on this list and the comments slowed down and then stopped very quickly. And it wasn’t because the GIYUS bots stopped visiting. As I write this they are still coming, they’re just not bombarding me with their silly justifications for what is by any standard criminal behaviour. Groups like this don’t like to be exposed in this way, so when a light is shined on them they tend to scuttle back to whatever dark recesses they emerged from. Mind you, having posted this I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried again.

If you have been GIYUSed and your post is genuine comment on Middle East news and not anti-Semitic or conspiracy theory garbage, feel free to drop me a comment and I’ll link to it. Freedom of speech is important and we have enough curtailment of it from our leaders, so we don’t need these idiots to bully us into silence. If all this sounds like behaving little better than GIYUS, it isn’t. I’m not advocating bombarding peoples web sites with comments or hurling abuse at anyone. This is just a defence tactic which may or may not work if you find yourself under a coordinated virtual attack from a state sponsored pressure group. No state is above criticism and when a state behaves the way Israel does it should expect to be criticised for its crimes. Unfortunately many governments, particularly the American and British governments refuse to criticise these atrocities and are complicit in them, so it’s up to us to do it.

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