Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Al-Qa'eda threats over Rushdie Honour

Ayman al-Zawahiri, reputed to be Osama Bin Laden's, second in command, is threatening that al-Qa'eda intends to ‘punish’ the UK for Salman Rushdie's Knighthood.

For all practical intents and purposes Al-Zawahiri, is the leader of al-Qa'eda, given that Osama bin Laden is probably out of the picture now, having not been heard of for several years.

He issued the threat of "a very precise response" directly to Gordon Brown via a video, with the fruit loop title of "Malicious Britain and it's Indian Slaves" (obviously an aficionado of 50’s ‘B’ movie titles), posted on jihadi websites, claiming it insulted Islam to reward the author of The Satanic Verses.

He went on to helpfully explain "I say to Blair's successor that the policy of your predecessor drew catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq and even in the centre of London,". He ranted on. "And if you did not understand, listen, we are ready to repeat it for you, God willing, until we are sure you have fully understood."

Hopefully like the rest of humanity ‘im up there’ is a little fed up with al-Zawahiri and his ilk and not willing at all.

Given the performance of al-Qa'eda's recent mass murder attempts in London and Glasgow, supposedly also inspired by the Knighthood according to jihadi websites, one might even interpret the results as a negative vote from on high. The Petrol bomber was almost literally hoist by his own petard when the Molotov cocktail he threw bounced back and immolated - only him. Now that's what you'd call precisely targeted. Consumed by his own evil so to speak.

Security experts indicate the Glasgow and London attempted atrocities could not actually have been inspired by the Knighthood, as it takes months to put something like that together - possibly involving a year in Pakistan training for the perpetrators. That of course doesn’t stop al-Qa'eda attempting to use the Honour to thinly justify attacks they may have had in the pipeline though.

The Government should not let the ‘reasonableness challenged’, no matter where they are found, how long their beards, or how interesting their head gear, influence decisions on who gets what award.

Maybe factors like merit and talent ought to come into it - but not the International Association of Ranters and Carpet Chewers.

Having made the decision the Government must stick with it. If they don’t they might as well check with Al-Qa'eda on everything down to if it’s even ok to use soft toilet paper in the Palace of Westminster’s WCs - and we all know that’s probably already mandated by some EC regulation that never saw democratic light of day ;-)

Gordon Brown should have this video cut to a large format VHS cassette and returned to Mr al-Zawahiri, together with detailed instructions as to exactly what to do with it...

Hazel Blears: Green Belt no longer assured

Hazel Blears, the UK Communities Secretary, she refused to rule out redrawing green belt boundaries. And warned environmentalists to prepare for a showdown over house building in the green belt. Green Belts are land surrounding UK cities zoned to protect the countryside and contain urban sprawl.

Addressing the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Ms Blears said the Government would move fast to ease the housing shortage freeing up greater swathes of land for development.

She said: "I think we are going to have a tussle, if you like, because some people are concerned about environmental issues," and added "But I think the priority has to be to build these homes."

When pressed if this mean drastically downsizing green belt land she said she was in no position to offer "categoric assurances". this is in contrast to pronouncements of the previous incumbent in the post, Ruth Kelly.

These comments should be taken in context with Gordon Brown signalling that housing would be a key part of his coming strategy.

Neil Sinden, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, warned that a move away from protecting the green belts would set Gordon Brown's new cabinet "on a collision course with local communities and environmental campaigners across the country."

"Green belt policy has been vital in securing sustainable urban communities, and attractive and accessible countryside close to where most of us live.

"The green belt is hugely valued by the public, 84 per cent of whom believe that it should remain open and undeveloped. The Communities Secretary's belittling of these views shows a disturbing disregard for public opinion."

“Disturbing disregard for public opinion”? Nothing new there then - but at lest he noticed commented. Clearly Broon does what Broon (and Nu-Lab) wants - and tradition, promises or public opinion appear to mean very little to him.

As things are many people seem to have no idea where bacon comes from, remove people's ready access to the countryside and it can only help increase their ignorance about such things - and reduce their quality of life.