Friday, 26 May 2017

A Couple Of Points In Murder In Black Letter

Poul Anderson's detective, Trygve Yamamura, was in the OSS, the WWII precursor of the CIA. Thus, like Manse Everard and James Bond, he was in the War although his series starts later.

In SM Stirling's Draka History, the OSS remains the OSS after that timeline's equivalent of WWII.

Surprisingly, Kintyre persuades Yamamura that it is OK to use a very crude form of sensory deprivation to interrogate a gunman whom they are detaining instead of handing over to the police. Thus, Kintyre and Yamamura are guilty of at least two serious offences.

Murder In Black Letter is not grabbing me. I am not really following the murder investigation and am commenting only on tangential issues. However, any text written by Poul Anderson displays points of interest. I will read the novel to the end although I might be doing other things in the meantime.

A busy British Bank Holiday weekend stretches ahead of us with the possibility of more terrorism at a major event. We are also in the midst of a General Election. Thus, we are able to choose electorally between two alternative policies on terrorism. Everyone in Britain needs to think very hard.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Thanks for linking to my "Sensory Deprivation" article. As you know, I'm not convinced that the use of sensory deprivation is always unethical to practice on prisoners unwilling to cooperate with being interrogated.

    And I hope SOME people are finally asking HARD questions on what to do about the problem posed by jihadist fanatics in the parliamentary election campaign.


    1. Sean,
      Measures restricting the movements of all Muslims would radicalize more of them.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Probably, altho that was not what I had in mind (see below). And what about "radicalized" Muslims ALREADY waging jihad on us? Are we suppose to always be weak, spineless, and supine? Continued attacks and massacres will provoke a fierce reaction from electorates fed up with incompetent and inadequate leaders.

      What I did have in mind was stopping any further immigration of Muslims, expelling fanatical imams or mullahs preaching hatred of non Muslims and praising jihad, breaking up and destroying networks of clandestine groups and fake charities funneling funds and recruits to the jihad. Are such ideas as these truly that extreme? If nothing EFFECTIVE is done then new leaders and their supporters will demand far harsher policies than the ones I would support.


    3. Sean,
      I agree with:
      arresting those guilty of planning and/or executing attacks;
      arresting, not expelling, those guilty of hate speech;
      arresting those funding and recruiting for jihadism.
      I disagree with immigration controls. A man coming to seek work or to work, e.g., in a hospital or a University, is not in the same category as a man who is suspected of terrorism. People against whom there is no evidence are to be presumed innocent.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Good! I can see we do have some points of agreement. But we need to clarify matters.

      What is meant by "hate speech" in this context? Merely saying "I like Islam" is not in the same category as "I despise all non Muslims and I want Sharia law imposed on the UK." The first is harmless, the second is not.

      Also, what would be the point of merely arresting fanatical imams and mullahs? What do we DO with them? What good is sentencing them to a term in prison when they will simply return to preaching jihad and Islamic supremacism after their release? No, better to expel them.

      I disagree with your last point. WHY should the UK or US allow in MILLIONS of people with ideas and beliefs contradicting their best ideas and values? ANY nation has the sovereign right to decide on what grounds and conditions immigrants are to be let in. Else it is not TRULY sovereign.

      And I do not object to temporary visitors, such as students attending a university. But abuses like persons illegally overstaying their visas need to be cracked down on.


    5. Sean,
      Your phrase, "preaching hatred...and praising jihad" would come under "hate speech." I used that terminology because there is currently some such phrase in British law. Yes, expelling a guy who continues to preach hate even after a spell in prison seems the only option.
      We find here that, despite differences of religious and cultural practice, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs etc do not contradict our values. Lancaster has a friendship group for women of different backgrounds who share activities and outings, swap recipes etc. There is social integration alongside recognition and celebration of diversity. I would attend the Temple in Preston now and again if I lived closer to it.

    6. Kaor, Paul!

      I dislike the term "hate speech," because by itself it is too vague and open ended. I would prefer to criminalize only specific acts, if possible. And I would prefer to define the advocacy of Islamic supremacism and hatred of non Muslims as a form of sedition analogous to those who advocate the violent overthrow of the state.

      Maybe imprisoning advocates of holy war and jihadism and hatred of non Muslims for two or three years might be worth trying for a first offense. As an experiment.

      And I certainly don't object to persons of different faiths being able to live peacefully with each other.


    7. Sean,
      As you can imagine, the debate is currently virulent here. Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslim children marched to the scene of the Manchester atrocity to express solidarity with the families of the victims and the people of the city.

    8. Kaor, Paul!

      Any such debate should be vehement, even forceful, but based on facts, documented sources, and logic, not "virulence."

      And the problem is not "moderate" Muslims, but the fanatics who insist on strictly hewing to the commands and laws of the Koran, hadiths, and Sharia.