Cyber Security and International Relations

Nuclear Weapon Test ApacheI have just read a short, but interesting article by Rod Beckstrom entitled ‘It’s a MAD, MAD, MAD Cyber World’.  It was particularly interesting to me because of my academic background in international relations on which it draws parallels.  The article compares the current cyber security situation with the Cold War national security concepts, particularly with the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) Doctrine of the Cold War.

MAD doctrine related to the concept of deterrence that kept the peace during the Cold War. Under MAD conflict between the Great Powers was prevented by making the cost so high it would be rigorously avoided.  The idea was based on the assertion that if NATO was attacked by the Warsaw Pact the response would be total rather than proportional.  This meant that any attack would result in General Nuclear War. This was understood by all the actors.

Beckstrom refers to the Internet variant MAD as Mutually Assured Disruption.  This is based on the fact that the Internet is of immense value to all nations and that if one nation attacks another the other will respond in kind.  Of course, the actors on the Internet are not restricted to nation states.  The situation is therefore far more complex than the Cold War, and rogue elements are far more prevalent.  Also the consequences of upsetting the game would by no means herald the end of civilisation. The doctrine would therefore not be as an effective behavioural control mechanism as it was during the Cold War.

Nevertheless, an interesting article which can be read at: http://dld-conference.com/articles/its-a-mad-mad-mad-cyber-world.

Uganda and the West’s Inconsistent Approach to Gay Rights

Rainbow FlagIt is good that Western leaders are criticizing Uganda for this new anti-gay law. However, where is the criticism of the West’s Middle Eastern ally – Saudi Arabia? Where are the calls for the ending of diplomatic relations with that country as well?

It seems that the concern about anti-gay laws is inconsistent.  Why is that, and is this current criticism about something else?  Does the reference in the article to “evangelical Christians” give the real game away?  The Guardian writes:

“Homophobia, supported by many US-funded evangelical Christians, has become more virulent in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.” (1)

Does this explain the willingness to do the right thing with regard to Uganda, but the unwillingness to do the same thing with regard to Saudi Arabia.  Of course there are obviously no evangelical Christians preaching openly in Saudi Arabia!  Is this latest moral indignation just part of the Western elite’s ongoing crusade against Christianity?

If Western elites really cared about gay rights then they would be more consistent in their criticism.

(1) Uganda politicians celebrate passing of anti-gay laws, the Guardian, 24 February 2014

Great Leader Cameron, the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf, Can Solve All Our Problems!

Mexican wolf

Mexican wolf

I’ve just been reading an article at Canada Free Press (Friday, February 7, 2014) about the floods in the UK and the incompetence of the government with regard to planning for them.  I felt that I had something to say on this subject so I left a comment at that site.  The article by Anna Grayson-Morley included the following quote and I used this as the starting point of my comment:

“This is all until Dave stepped in with extra money that no one knows where it will come from or who exactly is going to get it.”

Here is the rest of my posted comment:

Notice how pledges are deliberately vague.  Cameron just wants to avoid the criticism of the moment and does not care one bit about the future. What he says now is just short term political management, to distract the public.  This is just like his pledge to have a referendum on the EU in the event of changes to the EU Constitution .  When the Lisbon Treaty that amended that Constitution came along, Cameron reneged on his commitment, just as he will undoubtedly do in the future with regard to his latest pledge to allow a referendum on the EU.

Cameron is like the little boy who cried wolf and thus could never be believed or trusted again.  The three parties that make up the political troika that rules Britain as a single party state based on their shared vision and indistinguishable policies, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative, exhibit exactly the same political character flaws as well.

Government needs to make policies and devise plans over long periods of time.  A government that can’t anticipate problems and can’t make plans for the future is a government in name only and not worth the expense of maintaining.  But ultimately why should they, the people never hold them to account anyway, they believe what the media tells them and they suspend the functions of independent thought!

Increasingly we see those in power concentrate on trendy causes, which they bully people to embrace, rather than on representing the needs of the people and the country.  It is as if, in our era of globalisation, democratic governments have been stripped of any real power and have contented themselves with the petty functions of a Parish Council.  Or is it all this a manifestation of the “creative destruction” so beloved by our Cultural Marxist decision makers?

Yesterday I listened to the Jeremy Vine radio programme which was discussing whether a small percentage of money should be taken out of the foreign aid budget and devoted instead to getting the people of the flooded areas of England back on their feet.  Do-gooder after do-gooder rang in saying, oh no, don’t take money from the foreign aid budget, that is so essential!  The implication was that the people of England are not suffering enough to be worthy of aid!

What I couldn’t fathom was why the UK was getting into ever increasing debt while at the same time giving money away.  Equally, if Government is making cuts then how can it afford to give public money away. If the Government can afford to give money to countries with space programmes, then perhaps that money could be more productively used on a British space programme.  If the Government can afford to give money away then it is obviously extracting tax money that it does not need.  Aid is an individual choice – in this era of globalisation let the global elite, those who control the system and have the real power an money in the modern age, give aid and keep our treasuries intact and focused on their function of maintaining this country and its people.

The lack of planning for these latest floods reminds me of the lack of planning for the millennium bug that got governments panicking in 1999.  They were apparently so short term in their thinking that they never thought the year 2000 would ever arrive so never planned for it.

The truth of the matter is, the British government is the tool of the global elite to further their global interests.  It is not the servant of the people who elected it. Elections are just a minor inconvenience that can be got round by clever media manipulation and the psychological exploitation of an unthinking and gullible public.

The problem we face is only illustrated by the current flooding issue – it runs much deeper and covers a broader range of concerns.  The problem we face is that government is so aloof and so corrupted by global money that it no longer cares about doing the job that government is supposed to do.  It is too busy interfering in people’s daily lives, poking its nose where it is not wanted and brainwashing entire populations, as well as bulling them, to sacrifice cherished freedoms and put their trust in the principle of ‘Government knows best’!  Government should spend less time spying on its own people and more time doing its job!

Scarlett Johansson Makes a Stand Against Bullying Sanctions Movement

Israel: View from Mount Carmel

Israel: View from Mount Carmel

I’ve just been reading an article on the Telegraph website by Brendan O’Neill about Scarlett Johansson.  I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard to commend her on her decision of to give her role with Oxfam the big elbow after the charity allegedly ‘hinted’ that she should sever her links with SodaStream due to the company’s links with Israeli settlements.

Personally I think Oxfam should focus on its charity role rather than engage in the politics of the trendy, politics which involves very nasty attempts to bully and demonise the only true functioning and well established democracy in the Middle East.  Trade Unions should perhaps do the same and concentrate on representing their members in these difficult times.

There is too much bullying behaviour by Cultural Marxist types who seem to vent their spite on anything remotely Western or democratic these days.  Oxfam’s apparent attempt to ‘get to’ Scarlett in some way seems to me to fit their modus operandi.  Israel as a functioning Western style democracy obviously upsets them.   Good to see someone standing up to them rather than being intimidated by them.

Are charities really champions of the needy, or are they champions of a the dangerous Cultural Marxist political ideology that seeks to undermine the Western world?

Well done Scarlett!

See Brendan O’Neill’s article HERE.

Victims of Sharia Action Network Project – Latest Development, The Case Of Tim Burton In The UK

International Civil Liberties Alliance - Swiss Based Human Rights NGO

International Civil Liberties Alliance – Swiss Based Human Rights NGO

As readers of this blog will probably already know, I am a member of the Board of Directors of the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA).  ICLA is a human rights organisation that specifically focuses upon the impact of sharia principles on human rights around the world.  We have recently established a new project, the Victims of Sharia Action Network (VOSAN) to highlight specific human rights abuses in places where sharia principles are well established, as well as in sharia’s new frontier in the Western world.

The latest VOSAN action relates to the case of Mr Tim Burton, a radio host who has been charged by West Midlands Police on what ICLA sees as very tenuous grounds.  In fact he seems to being persecuted for his political activities rather than anything he has actually done wrong.  What is even more alarming is that the persecution against him seems to imply that aspects of sharia law are gradually becoming embedded into the legal system of the United Kingdom thus compromising that system’s commitment to equality before the law.  The specific aspects of sharia that apply to this case are ghiba and namima.

The following article was first published on ICLA’s website.

Tim Burton – Victims of Sharia

SHARIA REFERENCE

Slander (ghiba) – Reliance of the Traveller (page 730, r2.2); and Talebearing (namima) – Reliance of the Traveller (page 731, r2.3).

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSED

Freedom of expression.

HUMAN RIGHTS REFERENCES

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19 (freedom of opinion and expression); European Convention of Human Rights Article 10 (freedom of expression); United States Constitution First Amendment (freedom of expression).

REPORT FROM

Liberty GB

BACKGROUND TO THE CASE

Liberty GB states the following on its website:

‘Last week Liberty GB radio host, Tim Burton, was charged by West Midlands Police with racially aggravated harassment, after his post on Twitter described a prominent individual as “a mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya-artist”.’ (for more details see the Liberty GB website)

Mr Burton was clearly expressing a personal opinion and should therefore be protected under the right to freedom of expression that Britons supposedly still enjoy.  Also the issue of truth was not mentioned and to the best of our knowledge no legal proceedings have been initiated on grounds of defamation.  Of course we are not making a judgement here about whether the remarks were true or false – that would be a matter for the civil courts.

The apparent heavy handed and overzealous approach of the UK police is especially worrying in that it may discourage people in the public eye, who make decisions effecting society, from being held to account – something that is essential in any functioning democracy.  If this sort of official action is allowed by current hate crime legislation then it is clear that such legislation is in desperate need of review if the UK is to meet its international human rights obligations.

The fact that the Mr Burton has been charged suggests that sharia norms are increasingly becoming embedded into British society at the expense of traditional conceptions of law and justice.  However, sharia is not been implemented openly and honestly, but by stealth, often via ill-defined and broadly applied ‘hate crime’ regulations.

It would appear that Mr Burton has become a victim of sharia, just like victims of bulling and persecution in many Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states where sharia provision are applied more directly.  The specific sharia concepts that appear to be being implemented in this case in the UK are the concepts of slander (ghiba) and talebearing (namima).

The Islamic concept of slander is very different to what Western law recognises (see http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/slander).  Western legal systems tend to require a statement in question to be untrue.  However, under sharia truth is irrelevant.  The well respected manual of sharia law, Reliance of the Traveller refers to slander and talebearing in the following terms:

“Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, son father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else concerning him.” (page 730, r2.2)

“As for talebearing (namima), it consists of quoting someone’s words to another in a way that worsens relations between them.” (page 731, r2.3)

It therefore appears that in the United Kingdom, the Islamic concepts of slander and talebearing are being subsumed under the broad and ill-defined heading of ‘hate’.  It appears that public authorities are treating non-Muslims as second class citizens, something else that sharia demands.  This means that in a very stealthy and underhand manner the United Kingdom is sidestepping its obligations under international law with regard to the most basic of human rights.

In places like Pakistan such legal provisions are regularly used to persecute religious minorities. It is unfortunate that UK policy makers are either not doing due diligence when legislating or are legislating to deliberately undermine basic freedoms.

ICLA’s RECOMMENDATIONS TO UK AUTHORITIES

ICLA believes that freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free and democratic society.  It also believes that religious and other minorities, or indeed anyone, should not be subject to discrimination and persecution and that sensible legislation that respects basic human rights is required to ensure this.  We recognise the necessity for and the considerable advantages that are derived from different cultures to working together in an increasingly globalised world.  However, in the interests of basic human rights and equality before the law, it does not believe that incorporating sharia principles into the legal system is the answer.  Sharia results in religious persecution and is therefore not something that should ever be used as a solution in any just and democratic society.  The division of the world into Muslim and Non-Muslim that is stipulated by sharia does not serve the interests of a just and cohesive society and risks creating greater division and bad feeling.  Our goal is to create a just society where people are both free to express themselves while at the same time being free from persecution and intimidation.  We therefore seek to work with people and organisations from across the religious and cultural spectrum who also want to improve community cohesion and ensure a just and happy society.

We therefore make the following recommendations:

1) That in the interests of justice and to ensure that the UK meetings its international human rights obligations the petty and politically motivated charges against Mr Burton be dropped.

2) That the British Government reviews all its hate crime legislation to ensure that fundamental principles of justice are not undermined.  Vague regulations need to be replaced by ones that are well defined and that can be easily understood by the general public and by law enforcement professionals.

3) That all stakeholders come together to help create a just and cohesive society.

ACTIONS FOR ACTIVISTS

The International Civil Liberties Alliance recommends activists to do the following:

1) If you are in the UK then you should write to your Member of Parliament about this issue cite the above Liberty GB quote above (including a link to it).  Ask them whether they personally believe that scarce police resources are used in this way to undermine freedom of expression rather than serve the interests of justice.  You may also like to ask them whether they are in favour of reform of hate crime legislation to prevent overzealous policing that is evident in this particular case.  Contact details for MPs can be found HERE.

2) If you are in another country you should write to the British Ambassador or High Commissioner in your country citing the Liberty GB quote above (including a link to it).  You should also ask them whether human rights abuse implied by this this sort of incident could impact negatively on the relations between your country and the UK.  Do the state sponsored abuses suffered by people like Tim Burton indicate that Britain is no longer the land of freedom of expression that it purports to be when lecturing other countries.  Contact details can be found via the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations

Remember to be polite and respectful in all your communications.

Alliances And The Contemporary International System

Congress-of-Vienna

The following are a few thoughts that I put together in response to a discussion on a LinkedIn discussion board about the idea of an Asian NATO http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/9/lyons-an-asian-maritime-alliance/:

I think an Asian ‘version’ of NATO would not have much of a foundation based on shared values and interests of Asian nations.  Furthermore in an increasingly globalising world geographically based alliances are not as relevant as they once were.  NATO itself is a relic of the Cold War based on Cold War realities rather than the challenges of the contemporary world.  Increasingly some of its member states have diverging interests, and conflicting values.  Alliances need to be based on shared values and shared interests and just as NATO no longer has that basis a potential Asian ‘version’ of NATO would not either.

To protect Western interests and western democratic values a new alliance system needs to be devised that operates in the context of globalisation.  There is already an emerging alliance that operates in the United Nations that is at odds with Western democratic ideals and that is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).  That ‘alliance’ of states has been active in diplomatic circles trying to undermine basic Western values such as freedom of expression and impose its own value system on as much of the world as possible.

An alliance of democracies incorporating European and North American countries together with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Israel, and India would have a much better basis for an alliance that championed shared values and interests an which would protect the freedoms and way of life that we hold dear.

Tilly’s Christmas

People who visited my blog earlier this year on 8 October will have seen that my pet dog, Tilly, underwent a major operation.  You can find the 8 October post HERE.

Earlier this week she celebrated her first Christmas since her operation.

The following video shows her opening her Christmas presents on a Christmas morning we thought she might not have seen.

Petition Against Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

Westminster BorderIf you are a British citizen or a resident in the UK (you normally live in the UK) please consider signing this petition (link at bottom of this page and HERE).

I put forward the petition to HM Government’s e-petitions service.

If you know anyone (who is eligible) who might be interested in signing the petition please consider passing the link on to them.

Please publicise this petition – many thanks.

Stop Funding Pakistan Blasphemy Laws

Responsible department: Department for International Development

We the undersigned demand that the United Kingdom Government should cease providing aid to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan until that country repeals its discriminatory blasphemy laws.

Not only are blasphemy laws an affront to freedom of expression they are also a cause of religious discrimination and act to undermine religious freedom. In Pakistan such laws are used as an excuse to attack minority communities as a whole as well as individuals within such communities.

Pakistan is a member state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC played a large role in the making of United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 that purports to be an instrument to promote religious tolerance. As such Pakistan should have no trouble abolishing its blasphemy law and treating all religions as equal within the borders of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Link to petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/58562

Support USA Asylum Request of Victim of Sharia Albina Kurmanbekova

Support the asylum USA asylum request of Albina Kurmanbekova, a Christian convert from Kyrgyzstan.

Support the asylum USA asylum request of Albina Kurmanbekova, a Christian convert from Kyrgyzstan.

I wrote the the following VOSAN Action and press release over at the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA).  Albina Kurmanbekova  is a convert to Christianity who faces persecution if she is sent back to her home country of Kyrgyzstan.  She has sought asylum in the United States and the decision on her case is imminent.

Western leaders need to use their influence on the world stage to ensure that laws and practices that punish apostasy (i.e. a person changing their religion) are outlawed.  Such laws and practices are a violation of the principle of freedom of religion.

http://www.libertiesalliance.org/2013/12/27/albina-kurmanbekova-victims-sharia/

http://www.libertiesalliance.org/2013/12/27/call-obama-intervene-victim-sharia-asylum-request/

***

VOSAN Action: Albina Kurmanbekova – Victims of Sharia

NB. This matter is EXTREMELY URGENT – the decision on Albina’s case by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is imminent ACT NOW AS INDICATED BELOW:

Sharia Reference: Apostasy From Islam (Ridda) – Reliance of the Traveller (page 595, o8.0)

Human Rights Abused: Freedom of Religion, Gender Equality.

Human Rights References: Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18Article 16, and Article 1; European Convention of Human Rights Article 9; United States Constitution First Amendment.

Report from: Philly.com, and CreepingSharia

Background to the Case: Albina Kurmanbekova was born a Muslim in Kyrgyzstan but converted to Christianity.  Apostasy is a crime under sharia law and returning her to her country of origin may be extremely harmful to her personal safety. The second class status of women under sharia is also of relevance.  In Kyrgyzstan this status is made even worse by the local cultural practice of ‘bridenapping’ which combines kidnapping with forced marriage. Albina legally entered the United States on a work-and-travel visa and has respected American laws by going through the official channels to seek asylum. More information can be found at at Philly.com, andCreepingSharia.

Goal: For Albina Kurmanbekova to be granted asylum in the United States of America.

Action – URGENT: The International Civil Liberties Alliance recommends activists to do the following:

  1. Write to President Obama: Citizens of the United States could write to or telephone President Obama about this issue – guidelines for contacting the President can be found HERE (includes letters by mail, via the White House website, by telephone, using Twitter, and by email.
  2. If you are resident in their Districts write to Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA)https://wolfforms.house.gov/contact-form or Chris Smith (R-NJ)http://chrissmith.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm who we understand are interested in human rights issues.

NB. The decision on Albina’s case by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is imminent so your action on this is a matter of great urgency. Be polite and respectful in your letters/communications.

***

Press Release: Call For Obama To Intervene In Victim Of Sharia Asylum Request

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For press queries contact Chris Knowles at victimsofsharia@gmail.com

27 December 2013, Basel, Switzerland: The International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) has today launched a campaign in support of the recent asylum request of Albina Kurmanbekova in the United States.

VOSAN Program Director Chris Knowles said:

“Albina’s case is very worrying. Lawmakers need to be made aware of such cases.  They need to understand the dangers that sharia can pose to individual human rights.  Granting asylum in this case might even go some way to assuage worries that sharia principles will not be allowed to take root in the United States itself.”

Miss Kurmanbekova’s case is currently being heard by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and a decision is imminent.  She was born a Muslim in Kyrgyzstan but converted to Christianity.  Apostasy is a crime under sharia law and returning her to her country of origin may be extremely harmful to her personal safety.  Furthermore, in Kyrgyzstan the second class status of women under sharia is compounded by the local cultural practice of ‘bridenapping’.  This combines kidnapping with forced marriage and the authorities seem reluctant to stamp out this wicked and degrading practice.

Albina’s case illustrates a widespread problem – the persecution of Christians.  During the current holiday season we should be mindful that large numbers of Christians currently face severe persecution in many parts of the Islamic world.  It is time for human rights leaders such as the United States to put this problem high on the international political agenda.

Albina entered the United States legally on a work-and-travel visa and has respected American laws by going through the official channels to seek asylum.

While President Obama continues to support an amnesty for illegal aliens we hear very little from him about compassion for people who entered the country legally but seek genuine asylum through the proper legal channels.  He should make his views on the Kurmanbekova case known to the public and should intervene on her behalf if that becomes necessary.

It is time for America to take a stand on human rights abuses in the Islamic world, making it clear that it is supports freedom of religion and therefore opposes practices that punish apostasy. President Obama will be endorsing sharia law if he allows this poor young women to be deported to Kyrgyzstan.

More information on the VOSAN campaign on behalf of Albina Kurmanbekova can be found HERE.  More information about the Victims of Sharia Action Network can be found HERE and HERE.

ENDS

ICLA Postal Address: ICLA Inter. Civil Liberties Alliance, Postfach 1403, CH 4001 Basel, Switzerland.