18-28 May, 2004

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, May 18th, 2004
at
9:44 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20040518
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:44
Tinfoil helmet optional:

Nick Berg’s Killing: 50 Fishy Circumstances, Contradictory Claims, and Videotape Anomalies

Old munitions being dug up by ammo-hungry insurgents have sparked some rather optimistic ‘WMD tip of iceberg’ claims. FOX’News’ is leading the charge.

Feel free to skip these two if you don’t know or don’t care about recent developments in the world of MT and other blog formats:

Mark Pilgrim dumps MT in favour of WordPress, explaining that ‘all non-Free software is a dead-end’.

A general link to WordPress is also charting well this morning.

Dave Winer announces that the Frontier kernel will be released as open source.

Just nudging the top ten, Andy Kaufman is a man as good as his word and John Scalzi has a few words for about-to-be-married gays and lesbians.

Finally, here’s a rather commercial and merkin-centric blog survey. I stopped after ‘annual family income’.

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Date
20040518
Tony Blair
Time
09:52
Jack Straw was on Radio 4 this morning. He described the current leadership froth/fluff/genuine-movement-type-thing situation as being part of ‘mid term difficulty’. Reuters carry the first recent reference to this terminology in this piece, which also puts forward the idea that Iraq ‘could constitute a poisoned chalice for Blair’s successor and be no help to the party’.

This works in quite well with another assertion by Mr Straw this morning – that the call for war did not come from Mr Blair; it was voted for by the House of Commons.

Yes folks; this war belongs to everybody, not just Mr Blair. Remember; youuuuu voted for it! (Well, your MP did. After Mr Blair presented his ‘evidence’ in parliament. Which may or may not have been massaged. Subconsciously. Oh, and after the whips had a quiet word with MPS about further ‘evidence’ – that didn’t go on record.)

Get rid of Mr Blair and the problem remains; and then we won’t have The Great Leader on hand to help us solve this problem. That he didn’t cause.

Sun – PM: I will not cut and run!

He said: “The task of leadership when things are difficult is precisely not to cut and run but to face the difficulties and overcome them.

“The choice we have is not just as a coalition but as a world now.”

He said Iraq “was wrecked and degraded under Saddam Hussein,” adding: “Have we got the will to see it through to a country that’s stable and democratic and operates in the best interests of all the Iraqi people?

“We will continue until we have got the job done.”

Mr Blair later warned there will be “no ducking out” from ANY of his responsibilities.

He insisted that he still had the moral and political authority to keep our boys and girls serving in the Gulf state.

Mr Blair added: “Before the war in Iraq Saddam Hussein was in charge, brutalising his people and destroying their country.

“We are trying to make the country better with the support of the vast majority of Iraqis.

“Every time there’s a terrorist incident or somebody is assassinated that to my mind is the reason not for cutting and running or ducking out.”

Ministers backed him after reports that Mr Blair might quit as PM early.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said the reports were “a bit of silliness”.

A source close to Gordon Brown said they would not be “diverted by malicious, divisive and baseless gossip.”

Deputy PM John Prescott told Labour MPs he was “fully behind the Prime Minister”.

I hope this message is getting through, people… there’s more at stake here than one man’s career. There’s also Iraq.

Stay with me, because this last bit can be confusing…

It’s wrong to tie Mr Blair to Iraq, as he is not responsible.

It is wrong to try and remove Mr Blair, as he is responsible for Iraq.

Hang on, let me try and rephrase that so it makes more sense…

We cannot remove Blair from leadership because of Iraq… erm, because of Iraq.

Better?

No, didn’t think so.

Labour: I See Red (Labour Needs Leadership Change)

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Date
20040518
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:10
I’ll be working on posters ‘as and when’ today – and keeping a sharp eye out for news of Brian Haw, who is due in court today. (UPDATE – He has been granted bail and ordered to return on 1 June.)

I’ll also be posting a job ad later this morning. Just a short-term contract for a local designer who knows their way around Movable Type. The overall design is done, we just need someone to carve what we want out of MT. It’s a no-brainer, but the job needs to be done quickly.

Here’s your chance to bug me for details before I actually post them…

5, 4, 3, 2…

UPDATE – Ok, here it is. Pardon the ‘copy and paste':

We require a committed freelance designer/developer with proven experience of the Movable Type platform. You will be using provided flat Photoshop files to create custom layouts using Movable Type, HTML and CSS. Basic technical requirements include:

- Professional and proven ability to author sites within Movable Type (ability to hand code).

- Excellent understanding of HTML and CSS (ability to hand code).

- Good working knowledge of Photoshop/Fireworks.

You will be working remotely so you’ll need your own home office with relevant software. In the first instance please mail movabletype AT screenpages DOT com with URLs stating your responsibilities on these sites design/build, and your CV in Word or PDF format. This is an immediate requirement so the successful candidate will need to be able to hit the floor running! We will offer an attractive hourly salary for the right person.

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Date
20040518
Activism
Time
15:54
Download and display some nifty fake images. (There’s a little bit of truth in each and every one.)

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Date
20040518
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:03
Independent – Allies accused of breaking Geneva Conventions on civilian losses: … the Americans and the British do not bother to keep count of the people they have “liberated” and then killed. This is not usual in modern warfare. In most past conflicts, attempts were made to keep a tally of civilian losses. Legal experts say that, particularly in the case of Iraq, it is the duty of occupying powers to do so under the Geneva Conventions.

UPDATE – Heh. The perfect solution to the Abu Ghraib prison problem: rebranding.

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Date
20040518
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
17:05
www.instruction-manuals.co.uk

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Date
20040519
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:29
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has spent £15 million on mercenaries in Iraq.

Apparently there’s a world of difference between a private military company and a private security company… but being a naive peacenik, I simply did not know that.

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Date
20040519
Normal People
Time
09:30
German couple advised by fertility clinic to ‘try sex’: A clinic spokesman said: “We are not talking retarded people here, but a couple who were brought up in a religious environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate.”

Man Arrested After Motel Room Is Coated In Vaseline: After Roger Chamberlain checked out last week, the cleaning crew discovered mattresses and bedding were slathered with the slippery stuff. Vaseline covered the TV set, furniture, carpeting and towels — and everything else in the room.

We can only assume that this includes the bible in the bedside table.

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Date
20040519
The Happy Poster Project
Time
09:35
Best. Reaction. Ever.

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Date
20040519
GMail
Time
09:37
GMail attains currency status before it even launches. I’m willing the bet that there’s something in Google’s T&Cs that says being this ‘nice’ is a little bit naughty.

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Date
20040519
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:40
Six Apart continue with their “Hey, stop! Now, listen… let’s not be hasty” marketing programme.

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Date
20040519
Opportunities
Time
09:47
Britain’s Oldest Nudist Camp for Sale!

Cease your sniggering! This is serious:

Regulars at the discreetly-named North Devon club told the paper they were fearful about its future – and also concerned at visitors coming to view the property. “We’ve had all sorts just wandering in. We even caught one man hiding in the bushes taking pictures. He was lucky he wasn’t lynched,” said 67-year-old Glenys Banner, who has spent every summer at the camp for 23 years.

(Link via the full-to-overflowing Attu Sees All.)

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Date
20040519
Labour Needs Leadership Change
Time
09:56
Roll up, roll up – place your bets! When do you think Tony will step down or get the shaft?

Ever the optimist, I’ve gone for Tuesday 15th June 2004.

BBC – Blair’s leadership back on menu: Ministers are all rallying round in public, of course but there is little doubt that old feuds – between Robin Cook and Gordon Brown, for example – have been patched up and new alliances are being made. Backbenchers, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly nervous about the safety of their own Commons seats. If Tony Blair really has become an electoral liability, many of them will pay the price.

Fun things to do:

My stats show only 200 or so views of Labour: I See Red from the parliament.uk servers. We need to bump this up a bit.

Your mission today – if your local MP is of the Labour variety – is to send them a link to this important political message.

The email address of any MP is dead easy to work out. If their name is John Smith, it’s smithj@parliament.uk – I’m sure you can work out the rest for yourself. Go to it. (Be nice.)

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Date
20040519
Weapons of Mass Distraction
Time
10:37
Thirtysomethings find comfort in weekend pajama parties and plan the ultimate sleepover. Well, something has to fill the void left by Friends and Sex In The City.

Totally unrelated:

This competition is designed to remind us that it’s nearly time to waste another summer watching nobodies do nothing.

Mind you, it could get exciting. I refer you to this post from June last year: Incidentally, I was quite worried last month that the Big Brother house was a prime UK target (poor security, high visibility, low payload requirement, guaranteed footage, etc.) but now I’ve relaxed a bit. Nothing to do with decreased vigilance, it’s just become obvious that no-one is watching the damn thing.

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Date
20040519
Pluggage
Time
10:37
Time once again to plug Giltsharp’s short story competition. 50 Swiss Quattros are going begging and all you have to do is string a few words together on your blog.

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Date
20040519
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:55
BBC – US ‘abuse soldier’ faces court: The first American soldier charged over the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal is set to go on trial in Baghdad. Specialist Jeremy Sivits is accused of taking the photos – including one of a “human pyramid” of naked prisoners – which sparked international outrage.

A candlelight vigil has been held in his home town of Hyndman, PA.

Jeremy Sivits, “our hometown hero.” The folks at Hyndman Middle-Senior High must be especially proud. Perhaps they can use some of Jeremy’s snaps to liven up their Pictures page.

Moving right along to where responsibility lies… (hint: look up)

UPI – Army, CIA want torture truths exposed: But what enrages many serving senior Army generals and U.S. top-level intelligence community professionals is that the “few” in this case were not primarily the serving soldiers who were actually encouraged to carry out the abuses and even then take photos of the victims, but that they were encouraged to do so, with the Army’s well-established safeguards against such abuses deliberately removed by high-level Pentagon civilian officials.

ABCNEWS.com – Former Abu Ghraib Intel Staffer Says Army Concealed Involvement in Abuse Scandal: Top military officials have claimed the abuse seen in the photos at Abu Ghraib was limited to a few MPs, but Provance says the sexual humiliation of prisoners began as a technique ordered by the interrogators from military intelligence. “One interrogator told me about how commonly the detainees were stripped naked, and in some occasions, wearing women’s underwear,” Provance said. “If it’s your job to strip people naked, yell at them, scream at them, humiliate them, it’s not going to be too hard to move from that to another level.”

Bag a statue, send a reminder.

UPDATE – A long comments thread relating to that last link is available over at Atrios.

It was also there that I found this chunky nugget…

I’m not putting any helpful text in this link, sorry. You need to follow, read and poke around yourself on this one.

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Date
20040519
Church & State
Time
10:56
Village Voice – Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move: …we’re not supposed to know the National Security Council’s top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios. But now we know.

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Date
20040519
Activism
Time
10:58
I’ll be working on some more ‘Fake Image’ posters later today. I can’t source the actual Sun ’45 minutes from doom’ front page, so I’m going to have to take the piss with an obvious mock-up, I think.

UPDATE – Luke from Expats reports on yesterday’s Bush Snr protest. They got shunted into a Free Speech Zone – the second provided for the Bush family on British soil.

This from Luke: A man was arrested right in front of me for “breach of the peace” for refusing to protest inside the barricades, which was outright unnecessary and can only fan the flames of anger from the other protesters.

UPDATE – Scotsman – Action Hint over Parliament’s Noisy Demonstrator: Possible action against a one-man demonstration opposite Parliament is being carefully considered at the highest level of Government, the Commons heard today.

So, sending the muscle in hasn’t worked, ditto for bullshit terrorism ‘threats’ and charges. What else can they come up with to silence Brian Haw?

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Date
20040519
Flash Music Video
Time
12:15
JPEG Baby is world-famous in Germany again (NSFW site). This single link is resulting in 100 visitors an hour.

UPDATE – Ahahahahaha! Found via the same site, an excellent (and also NSFW) Flash game: Spermicide! They won’t get away with using that music for long….

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Date
20040519
War on ‘Terror’
Time
12:36
The new ‘security’ screen in the House of Commons isn’t balloon-proof:

BBC – Commons suspended: The House of Commons has been suspended during Prime Minister’s question time after a balloon filled with purple powder was thrown at Tony Blair.

(Email heads-up from BigDaddyMerk.)

UPDATE – Please note the subtle alteration to the ‘Labour: I See Red’ banner.

UPDATE – Refresh that BBC link for an increasing amount of detail. The projectiles weren’t thrown from the public (screened) gallery, but from the press gallery.

There’s more from the Guardian. Not that you need my help from this point on. The wires are alive with this. It’s already been reported on CNN, in New Zealand, in South Africa, etc. etc. etc.

So, when do you think we can expect new anti-protest (sorry, best make that ‘anti-terror’) screens for the press gallery and the side gallery? Should do wonders for the growing bunker-mentality that’s served us so well in the past.

UPDATE – Tom Watson is also bringing us fresh news from the purple powder front. Apparently John Prescott was a right old hero, and jumped to cover the powder so it wouldn’t spread.

UPDATE – And here’s the slow-motion replay (1.2Mb AVI) , coming to you courtesy of chachacha.co.uk. Take a look at the shake of the head at 00:14. Blair knows exactly what this is – and what it’s not. Ditto for Brown and Prescott. Makes the whole ‘cover the powder up so it doesn’t spread’ moment look more like housekeeping than heroism. But that’s just me.

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Date
20040519
Guantanamo Bay
Time
15:38
“That’s not the way we do things in America.” – George W Bush, April 30, 2004

Oh, really?

Guardian – Former Guantánamo chief clashed with army interrogators: The commander of Guantánamo Bay, sacked amid charges from the Pentagon that he was too soft on detainees, said he faced constant tension from military interrogators trying to extract information from inmates.

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Date
20040519
Activism
Time
17:54
There are three new posters on a newspapery theme now ready to roll on the ‘Fake’ Image Poster Project page. Download, print, and distribute at will.

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Date
20040520
The War on….
Time
10:58
1. Yes, I found it amusing.

2. Yes, I think it was a stupid thing to do.

Bear with me…

Blair is a man who simply doesn’t listen. His ‘leadership’ has been almost as distant and enclosed as Bush’s.

Remember, I’ve felt the shut-out first hand. I was receiving email intended for Tony Blair for months-stroke-years, and it wasn’t until post-11/9 (please note correct formatting of date) when I was receiving email from high-profile Muslim groups that his communications department suggested that maybe I could spend time vetting and forwarding the emails to his constituency address – before swiftly moving back to the position of pretending that I didn’t exist.

So I can not only empathise with the position of Fathers-4-Justice, I can also tell you with some degree of confidence that you are going to see more and more of this kind of action if Blair continues to:

- operate contrary to (or oblivious to) public feeling

- use willing, almost ‘in house’ media to shift his personal spin

- pass off stunts like The Big Abortion as public consultation.

But there’s one other thing that Blair gets up to that really gets my goat. It’s the massive error in judgement that should be keeping you awake at nights.

Blair deliberately manipulates the (very real) threat of terrorism to serve his own agenda.

And this stunt was an asset for Blair from the moment they decided to use flour bombs.

So let’s congratulate Fathers-4-Justice for an inspired campaign move. We can see the results today in the headlines that read:

FATHERS SEEK JUSTICE IN COMMONS

*cough*

Had Fathers-4-Justice not pulled their stunt yesterday, many of the headlines would have read:

HOWARD TAUNTS BLAIR OVER LEADERSHIP

Take a look at what was being discussed when the flour hit the fan.

or…

HOWARD: BLAIR MUST STAND UP TO BUSH

Independent – Howard’s message to Blair: Time to stand up to Bush: Michael Howard breaks ranks with Tony Blair over Iraq today by calling on the Prime Minister to speak out publicly against the United States when he disagrees with President George Bush.

Well, truth be told, if we had media with brains and balls, the headlines would mostly read:

HOWARD: HYPOCRITE & OPPORTUNIST

Instead, a condom full of purple flour has become a ‘powder missile’. This taps directly into the public’s fears of biological weaponry, doing Bush & Blair’s War on ‘Terror’ a grand service and – surprise, surprise – Murdoch was on the case before the purple haze settled (see right).

And today, The Scum contributes to the ever-growing culture of fear with:

THEY COULD ALL BE DEAD!

Shocking! True! But more than a little misleading. (Oh, and please do note that the pictures of Posh as a teenager are given an equal amount of space. And top billing.)

Actually, perhaps this headline should read:

*WE* COULD ALL BE DEAD!

Especially because the Blair government is soooo concerned about terrorism that MPs have been given no advice or training on any procedures to follow if there were a terrorist attack in the House of Commons. Instead they build screens that serve more to separate us from the seat of democracy and damage what’s left of the concept of open government in this country.

And when there is the possibility of a biological agent on the loose (however unlikely that may seem) you have people like David “Don’t Panic” Maclean herding his Tory charges out the door, crying; “Get out, out, quickly now.”

I think we can all be thankful that Fathers-4-Justice do not have access to their children. Had they been brought on the day, they would no doubt have been used as human shields by wild-eyed Tories rushing for the nearest exit.

Sending potentially contaminated MPs to wander into the lobby and beyond and even have a stroll outside if they wanted to? If we must discuss this matter in terms of an actual possible maybe perhaps terrorist threat sometime maybe possibly in the future (that you can count on), can the focus please be on practical measures we can take to protect the people and their representatives?

No?

OK, let’s just build another screen and ban the public from Westminster altogether. We can use the same security drive to shift that shouty fellow across the road. I mean, we have to protect democracy from terrorism, right?

UPDATE – From the BBC, some promising promises from Peter Hain and – shock horror – use of the non-panic words ‘flour bomb’.

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Date
20040520
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:00
I blogged this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating, as it’s f’ing jaw-dropping stuff…

Village Voice – Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move: …we’re not supposed to know the National Security Council’s top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios. But now we know.

Is Bush’s policy guided by people who believe the world is about to end and that we should be helping matters along? Is Bush one of these people?

He certainly has no problem giving them government funding so they can brainwash the kiddies.

You should worry about this. You should worry about this a lot.

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Date
20040520
Activism
Time
11:10
Via Toby

What governments and corporations get up to when they don’t think anyone is paying attention.

UPDATE – Also, there’s this from Y. Bee Normal..

Permission to protest? Denied! We must do what we can to protect our endangered Republicans…

And for those that need reminding:

Sack Bush: The Bagged Statue Experiment

The ‘Fake Image’ Poster Project

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Date
20040520
Normal People
Time
11:43
Where is that smell coming from? (Link via the non-smelly Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040520
How Weblogs Work
Time
11:50
The initial analysis from the Memespread experiment is ready. There’s also some coverage at Wired to be had. (Links via Me and Ophelia.)

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Date
20040520
Goodbye, George
Time
12:16
Guardian – Hostilities force Bush into deep hole : The conservatives’ growing awareness that failure may be imminent has generated a backlash against the more radical “neo-conservatives” such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith at the Pentagon, who are blamed for persuading President Bush that an invasion would be relatively easy.

(Link via Sensible Election, who also point us to this ruling on Bush’s Medicare ‘news’ segments.)

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Date
20040520
Advertising Genius
Time
13:47
I Want To Believe.

UPDATE – Oooh, look. It’s even managed a mainstream injection.

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Date
20040520
Photoshopping
Time
14:47
Woof!

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Date
20040520
The Bush Administration
Time
14:53
Yahoo – Pentagon Stops Payments to Iraq’s Chalabi

Yahoo – U.S. Troops Raid Chalabi’s House in Iraq

FYI, Chalabi was a major source of that ‘darn good intelligence’ relied upon by the Bush administration.

UPDATE – Here you go, this should keep you busy.

UPDATE 2 – There’s more on this and the bombing near the Syrian border over at Back to Iraq.

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Date
20040520
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
15:02
Say what you like about Specialist Sabrina Harmon, I think she has a lovely smile.

What a shame she wastes it on naked Iraqi bottoms and people who have been beaten to death.

UPDATE – An i-Poddish treat from the streets of NYC. Oh, and a close-up here.

(Link via Abnu.)

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Date
20040520
Church & State
Time
18:04
If you’re in America, you can watch it on PBS tonight. If you have a beefy computer with a wide pipe, you can watch it anytime you like (Windows Media or RubbishPlayer):

Frontline: The Jesus Factor – ‘Examining George W. Bush’s personal religious journey, its impact on his political career and pResidency, and the growing influence of America’s evangelical Christians.’

(Cheers to Y. Bee Normal for the heads-up.)

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Date
20040520
Flash Music Video
Time
21:19
I think I’ve just been out-done (1.4Mb Flash – also contains a bitchin’ guitar solo).

UPDATE – Link now fixed. Follow and enjoy!

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Date
20040521
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:24
Busy day today, but I do have these for you…

Bush and his lovely little neo-cons are so concerned about their litigious society that they’re planning to use writ-happy parents as part of their censorship drive.

U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings – Bush’s failed Mideast policy is creating more terrorism: Now everyone knows what was not the cause. Even President Bush acknowledges that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Listing the 45 countries where al-Qaida was operating on September 11 (70 cells in the U.S.), the State Department did not list Iraq. Richard Clarke, in “Against All Enemies,” tells how the United States had not received any threat of terrorism for 10 years from Saddam at the time of our invasion.

Bush may acknowledge that there was no terror/Iraq connection before the war, but he suggests or infers it every chance he gets. Oh, and here’s some more good news on ‘the central front on terror‘ that he’s so proud to have created. (Here, have a look at Little Johnny Howard bleating this defensive mantra as recently as yesterday.)

Yahoo News – GI: Boy mistreated to get dad to talk: A military intelligence analyst who recently completed duty at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq said Wednesday that the 16-year-old son of a detainee there was abused by U.S. soldiers to break his father’s resistance to interrogators.

Has Andy Kaufman returned? Snopes gives it ruling.

Anil Dash steps forward to try and clam the MT storm.

Wired reports on gmailswap.com

Troy in Fifteen Minutes

Robot protest!

Does what is says on the tin. But looks kind of naff.

And finally, Re: Statue-bagging

That’s what I like about Moveon.org; they think big.

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Date
20040521
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
11:27
www.marryyourpet.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040521
Flash Music Video
Time
11:28
I don’t understand. Why make something in flash and ‘broadcast’ it as a compressed video? Wouldn’t the .SWF file be more accessible, smaller in file size and offer higher resolution?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040521
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:34
The Ultimate War Sim: Like my Grandpa always said, there were no naked human pyramids in Starcraft.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040521
Bunch of Stuff
Time
16:52
Another incredible car makeover that’s sure to impress the chicks, the incredible quality of local newspapers and how upset some people can get about the theft of their digital eyebrows. All this and more in this week’s B3ta newsletter.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040521
Flash Games
Time
18:10
Cheat! (Read the instructions over somebody’s shoulder for maximum enjoyment.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Goodbye, George
Time
09:53
Awwww, poor widdle Bushie fell off his bike and got a boo-boo on his face. Of course, it didn’t happen because he’s a witless and uncoordinated buffoon who can’t even stay upright on a Segway, it happened because he’s a go-getting he-man…

McPaper – Bush suffers cuts, bruises while biking: “It’s been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose,” (White House spokesman Trent Duffy) said. “You know this president. He likes to go all out. Suffice it to say he wasn’t whistling show tunes.”

What a guy! I vote we get him one of those quad-bikes. I hear they’re pretty lethal. If we want to go all out, we can buy this remote-control quad-bike and make sure the job gets done right next time. Hell, if the topsoil is loose enough, we might even be able to plant him head-first like a lawn-dart.

UPDATE – Some thoughts on this and other pResidential misadventures from the London News Review.

UPDATE 2 – Experience a fish/barrel moment and enjoy the heartwarming laughter of the American people.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
I. Want. My. Windmill!
Time
09:55
Power to the people – by rooftop turbine: The Swift Rooftop Wind Energy System, developed by the Edinburgh company Renewable Devices Limited, supplies the power directly into a home’s individual existing mains supply. Each turbine is made up of five two-metre rotor blades encased in an outer-rim, like a wagon wheel, and it sits just 1.5 metres above the height of a house.

Ooh, lookie – they have a website. That needs optimisation. I’ll let you know how I get on.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:59
Hooray for the good ship Lynndie England, and all who sail in her (Link via ScaryDuck.)

US tactics ‘heavy handed’ says Straw memo: The first cracks in Britain’s coalition with the United States over the occupation of Iraq were exposed last night by a leaked government memo which revealed deep misgivings about America’s “heavy-handed” tactics in the war-torn country

Gen. Zinni: ‘They’ve Screwed Up’: But Zinni broke ranks with the administration over the war in Iraq, and now, in his harshest criticism yet, he says senior officials at the Pentagon are guilty of dereliction of duty — and that the time has come for heads to roll.

The Marine’s tale: ‘We killed 30 civilians in six weeks. I felt we were committing genocide’: The Marines were told that Iraqis were filling ambulances with explosives, and that soldiers were dressed as civilians, but after pouring fire into vehicles and hearing no explosions, they started to doubt the truth of these claims.

Hmm, sound to me like the Marines were sold some kind of terror/Iraq lie. Mind you, there’s still a chance they can keep a lid on all of this…

Sydney Morning Herald – Rumsfeld bans camera phones in Iraq: Quoting a Pentagon source, (The Business newspaper) said the US Defence Department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
South West Trains
Time
10:11
############################################################

Peter is the latest South West Trains victim to stand tall. He’s cooking up a passenger protest!

“I want to be able to give a representative group of passengers the option to travel on time, so I’ll be looking to hire a coach to run from Alton Station to Farnham Station. If I can get a reasonable quote for the journey then there will be no cost to passengers, otherwise there’ll be a nominal fee to recoup the cost. ”

Ahahahahahahaha!

Do go and check it out – and if you’re going to nab a link today, do consider making it this one; this plan deserves support.

############################################################

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:18
Topping the chart, it’s a good old-fashioned blog-broken sex scandal! Wonkette has an exclusive photo and The Washington Post has the report.

Coming a close second and gettings links from all sorts of magical places, a new song from Eric Idle, dedicated to the FCC. (It’s a 2.98 Mb MP3, and NSFW without headphones.)

Also, there’s most of the war stuff collected in the post below and two links relating to Michael Moore:

A report from MichaelMoore.com

Andrew Anthony asks some awkward questions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Tories are Triffic
Time
10:27
From The Mirror, who you know have every reason to be careful lately

The Tory Leader and his Drug-Dealer Cousin: A drug-dealing cousin of the Conservative leader was named in connection with a Royal Pardon allegedly linked to “large sums of money” changing hands. The cousin, Simon Bakerman, has been linked to the case of two notorious heroin barons who got out of jail early in what an MP on Friday described “scandalous” circumstances. The Royal Prerogative in the case was authorised by Mr Howard when he was Home Secretary in 1996.

UPDATE – Ooh, look; here’s some interesting background via the Observer, courtesy of Google, and a related report from the same period, also from the Sunday Mirror.

If you want to track this story as/if it develops, set up a Google News Alert.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Inneresting
Time
10:32
Photos of an abandoned Japanese mining colony.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
The BNP
Time
10:40
You’ll want to be quick if you want to see this; the server can only take a minor beating.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Tony Blair
Time
10:44
You may want to pay to read this, you may not..

John Rentoul is of the considered opinion that Tony can’t be shifted and that Labour can’t lose and he cites this prediction.

Time, I think, to found The Voter Apathy Party and go with posters like:

WHY BOTHER VOTING? YOU KNOW LABOUR’S GOING TO WIN.

Or, we could colour our futures with a touch of optimism…

The Scotsman – Cook tipped for role of kingmaker: When the former Foreign Secretary quit his Cabinet job as Leader of the House of Commons immediately before British and American troops went in, few fancied his chances of a comeback. But now that the Prime Minister’s Iraq strategy has foundered, and there is open speculation in parliament about whether Mr Blair can survive, the Livingston MP is not only on the road back to office, he is being tipped as a future kingmaker.

Watch the show, link if you have a website, send a copy if your local MP is of the Labour variety.

UPDATE – Bless the Interwebnet. Oh, and cheers Al. Mind you, I’d still be happier if it were a real party that you could actually decide not to bother voting for.

UPDATE 2 – More on the worth of John Rentoul’s words over at The Uk Today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Video
Time
12:45
Watch George W. Bush prepare to make a very important announcement (streaming Windows Media file). The punchline is a kicker.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
The Bush Administration
Time
13:49
Good news! Great care is being taken to place the right people in the right jobs in Iraq.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
14:45
Quote Of The Day: “Bad people have celebrations, too.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
OK, So I’m a Comic Book Geek
Time
14:58
I have got to get me a copy of Alyas Batman En Robin. You can find out more about this incredible film here and here. (And if you live in the US or Canada, you can pick up a stray copy on eBay here.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Video
Time
16:01
Star Wars Kid in Ep III? Forget that. Check him out starring in Ep IV (3.4Mb WMV). This is a (very) late arrival to the party, but it’s well cut and the music works a treat.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Flash Games
Time
16:05
Defender!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
Opportunities
Time
16:12
The Israeli spy agency Mossad is recruiting! You can find the online form you need here. (Cheers to ScaryDuck for the heads-up.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
17:06
BBC – Disney strikes Moore movie deal: Miramax chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein will distribute satirist Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, despite an earlier ban by backers Disney. … It is believed the deal will force the Weinsteins to repay Disney the money spent on the film so far, but that Disney will not receive any of the movie’s profits.

They’re going to be sor-ry…..

There’s no release date for the UK yet, but (show of hands) who wants spend their hard-earned money to go and see this as soon as it comes out? We can all go together and dress up as Disney characters and eats lots of popcorn and stuff.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040524
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
17:57
U.N. Iraq Draft Gives No Exit Date for Foreign Force: A new U.S.-British drafted U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing sovereignty for an Iraqi caretaker government approves the presence of the U.S.-led force there but sets no date for the troops to leave.

Tonight’s speech will be interesting. Assuming, of course, that you get a chance to see it.

UPDATE – Almost missed this… Morgue Records Show 5,500 Iraqis Killed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:14
Transcript.

Key excerpts.

Short version: Terror, terror, freedom, Saddam, terror, Abu-Gargd, Aboogravy, Abu… nevermind. We’re building a shiny new prison (applause). We have a plan (applause). Sorry, no details as yet. Hard times to come, terror, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. We have a vision: us vs. them. I thank you (applause). (Phew! I think they bought it…)

And this is how much he knows/cares about it. Reuters are being very kind about this. Than first pronounciation actually came dangerously close to ‘Abu Gay Rape’ – talk about a Freudian slip.

He also did his best to associate Abu Ghraib with Saddam Hussein before kindly offering to burn down the barn after the horse has bolted. Not even this is news. The bold plan to purge guilt and destroy evidence was announced last week.

Quote of the Day: “So my feeling is, tear it down. Get rid of it Not just because of what a few soldiers did, but because of also because of what that symbol meant to Saddam, and show the Iraqi people, ‘Hey, we don’t want that kind of torture anymore.'”

Hey, torture is bad, m’kay?

Oh, and there it is again: ‘Abu Ghraib, Saddam’… ‘Abu Ghraib, Saddam’…. just keep repeating it and will become as natural as ‘Iraq, terror’.

Saddam is evil. The building is evil. We have a vision and it is holy. Now let’s move on….

The draft resolution does not give the Iraqis powers to make the troops leave: It does not give a definite timetable for the foreign force to leave and calls for a review after a year. An elected Iraqi government, after January, can also call for such a review. A review, however, would be similar to an open-ended mandate and would not mean the force would leave unless the Security Council, where the United States has veto power, decides it should do so. Deputy U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham acknowledged there was no authority for Iraq to ask foreign troops to leave.

But they will leave if asked nicely.

Finally…

Poll: Iraq Taking Toll On Bush

I ashamed that it’s taken this much just to get him on the back foot…

UPDATE – One day we will all look back fondly on the days of near-to-infinite Bush/terror flame wars at Fark.com

UPDATE – Two from the London News Review for you…

Bush foresees a “chaotic” future in Iraq.

Bush plans to demolish Abu Ghraib prison: another step towards that Nobel Peace Prize.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
RWCs
Time
10:18
It was bouncing around yesterday that this off-the-cuff remark was a fabrication, but look at the wingnuts eating it up.

‘Revealed’ by Drudge, printed by Murdoch’s Washington TimesKerry pokes fun at Bush mishap. They also feel compelled to point out that Kerry has fallen off a bike, too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:25
Futurama Panomaras.

Author booed for bagging Bush. He even dared to (*gasp*) infer that the pResident is a liar!

Curse the liberal media!

Got a book in you? Would you like one? (No, wait…)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
Compare & Contrast
Time
10:29
Guardian – What have we done?: The horrific images from Abu Ghraib have come to define the ill-starred occupation of Iraq, but what do they really tell us about America? Are they simply the work of a few rogue soldiers, or the result of the new foreign and domestic policies of the Bush administration, which find ready approval in an increasingly brutalised society? Susan Sontag on the ugly face of the war on terror.

Independent – UN troops buy sex from teenage refugees in Congo camp: Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
WMDs
Time
10:35
Yahoo – Nuclear Experiment Planned at Nevada Site: The experiments technically do not violate the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty because no critical mass is formed and there is no full-scale nuclear explosion. Anti-nuclear groups criticize the experiments as contrary to the treaty’s spirit.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
Updates
Time
10:44
Re: Tom Watson’s site.

It seems to be an automated switch to a holding page. But getting any kind of answer or support for this unannounced change is proving difficult. Just one reason why we’re already making moves to change providers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
Tony Blair
Time
11:32
The UK Today comments on recent Iraq Polls: At the end of the day, a poll on Iraq is pretty pointless. Tony Blair is going to continue with his sacred policy in Iraq, regardless of what pollsters or protestors say.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
South West Trains
Time
11:37
Did anybody else see that pathetic launch of new rolling stock at Waterloo yesterday? I’d provide a link, but apart from 30 seconds on BBC news, it got the zero coverage it deserved. FFS, they had a bunch of women prancing about in 60’s gear to say goodbye to the old stock. You’d think the last thing they would want to do is remind people that until now they’ve been paying through the nose to ride around in carriages that are close to 40 years old.

If you currently travel from Alton Station to Farnham Station, prepare to protest. If you travel elsewhere on this crappy and unreliable network, why not have a word or two with your fellow victims about group bus charter for a month?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
RWCs
Time
15:06
Is Rush Limbaugh still abusing prescription medication, or has he simply gone ‘street’ and started smoking cheap crack before he goes on air? (I know it’s rough going, but do try to hang in there until the last paragraph. It’s a whopper.)

UPDATE – Here you go; this should cheer you up. Always works for me.

UPDATE – Oh dear, I fear my sides will split with laughter. So clever. So very devastating…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
It’s War! And You Just Volunteered!
Time
16:39
Torture: practice makes perfect.

UPDATE – Also, here’s another nail in Bush’s coffin, courtesy of El Reg.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040525
Goodbye, George
Time
16:53
If you have a blog, please do blog this…

Stirling Newberry – Justice must be seen to be done: It is time for someone, someone with something to lose, (to) come forward and state the obvious: we have, installed in our oval office, a man who is so unfit for the duties – by reason of a pathological dishonesty and complete disregard for the welfare of the citizens of this country – as to demand that we remove him, and his party, from power – and then use every law and organ of government to investigate the nakedly criminal underpinnings of that party.

UPDATE – A small thought for you; the longer we allow this to go on, the weaker we look. As this morning’s first post should show, I feel a significant level of guilt that I haven’t done more myself.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:34
Apart from the minor distraction of a kick-arse computer makeover, Blogdex tells a story today…

Guardian – US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war: An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress…

Washington Post – Bush Poll Numbers On Iraq at New Low: Public approval of President Bush’s handling of the conflict in Iraq has dropped to its lowest point with growing fears that the United States is bogged down and rising criticism of Bush’s handling of the prison abuse scandal…

McPaper – History lesson: GOP must stop Bush: Thirty years ago, a Republican president, facing impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, was forced to resign because of unprecedented crimes he and his aides committed against the Constitution and people of the United States.

And, yes, this is related. It all comes down to the polarisation caused by this fundamentalist administration and – glory be – expectation of the rapture to come. It’s the ultimate Us vs. Them battle… and everyone cast in flesh is invited.

Enter God Zone – the country! Frank Miller will be pleased.

1. Please excuse the obscure literary reference

2. I make no excuses for referring to graphic novels as literature

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
The War on Terror
Time
10:02
Take your tinfoil helmets off; you won’t be needing them…

CNN – Sources: Major terror attack possible this summer: Several U.S. officials said Tuesday that intelligence indicates there is increasing concern about the possibility of a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil, perhaps as early as this summer. Such an attack might take place before the November presidential election in an attempt to affect the outcome, the officials said.

Possible? Possible? Try very bloody likely.

The longer Bush & Blair are allowed to maintain their lies and play their games, the more likely this is to work. (It worked in Spain, but only because Aznar played the game that Bush and Blair are still playing right down to the wire.)

Waiting for a major election to enact change is a mistake for three reasons:

1. A crime is in progress. It’s our duty as citizens to bring the criminals posing as our leaders to justice, and not hang around waiting for karma to sort them out.

2. The only way to fight the terrorists is to rob them of their assets. Their primary asset right now is the indefensible actions of our governments. This works for them from the ground up (the more people who have sympathy for their cause, the more able they are to move freely and take action).

3. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the longer we wait, the weaker we look.

The effectiveness of terrorism is rooted in fear. Bush and Blair have been taking that fear and enhancing it (!) in order to turn it into some kind of asset. (Like, say, using it to justify a pre-emptive strike against a nation that had nothing to do with the current terrorist threat.)

Waiting for what passes as democracy these days to sorts things out will invite the worst kind of trouble.

/rant

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
Established Media
Time
10:33
My, my, my – there is a change in the air, isn’t there?

To think that only yesterday I was wondering what Mr Murdoch’s exit strategy was. Not that you’re likely to see anything like this in a Murdoch paper…

New York Times – The Times and Iraq: But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.

If you’re looking for someone to thank for this, look here.

(Links via this post at Atrios.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:14
London News Review – The Blair Bush Rift: it’s all about elections: If we pick apart the argument between Britain and the United States over the running of Iraq after June 30, we can see that it is all about two leaders facing the end of their political lives. It is about elections, leadership, and legacy. As you might have expected, it isn’t actually about the Iraqi citizenship at all.

The UK Today – Bliar: According to the soaraway Sun, Tony Blair plans to make an historic speech before the UN General Assembly. In my eyes the only way such a speech could be consider historic would be if it contained key phrases such as “I apologise for the reckless and unwarranted invasion of a soveriegn state without your authority.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
Photoshopping
Time
14:13
Mmmmm, rapturous…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
Church & State
Time
14:30
Praise Him!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
15:08
The Register – Did Rumsfeld ban Iraq camera phones?: Rojas, a more sceptical reporter than many, believes it’s possible some reporters have been fooled into picking up the (satirical) Farce story as news. But here’s the thing: it seems pretty likely that Rumsfeld will be pushed into making the satire come true – or at least, into trying.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
The Bush Administration
Time
16:58
All this spin is making me dizzy.

Keep the mantra kickin’, folks:

Abu Ghraib = Saddam, Abu Ghraib = Saddam

Bush good, Saddam bad! Bush good, Saddam bad!

We can’t allow an isolated incident involving a few misguided soldiers to ruin the good reputation of this fine administration.

*cough*

General Miller lied to congress, doo-dah, doo-dah: A U.S. Army general dispatched by senior Pentagon officials to bolster the collection of intelligence from prisoners in Iraq last fall inspired and promoted the use of guard dogs there to frighten the Iraqis, according to sworn testimony by the top U.S. intelligence officer at the Abu Ghraib prison.

UPDATE – Those pesky rotten apples need sorting out, yes they do…

UIP – Army kept whistle-blower in locked ward: The Army kept a soldier whistle-blower in a locked psychiatric ward at its top medical center for nearly two weeks despite concern from some medical staff that he be released, according to medical records.

Now, let’s all wait patiently for the story about soldiers who were put on high-risk duty after giving voice to crazy notions about humanitarian treatment…

UPDATE – It gets betterer and betterer – the U.S. is holding some Iraqis hostage in an attempt to get their relatives to surrender, and they’ve been doing it for some time now. In fact, some of the ‘detainees’ that were abused appear to have been women taken hostage in order to make their husbands surrender. Say it with me: Genevna Conghawfdfdg… Geneva Carnbwfdh… Geneva Cownahdsdf… ah, the hell with it. It’s a whole new world. Old rules don’t apply.

(Damn, I knew we should have taken Bush Snr. into custody when we had the chance.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
Flash Games
Time
19:18
I know it’s been a rough couple of days WHAT WITH ME SHOUTING AT YOU AND EVERYTHING, but here, via FunJunkie, is a nifty game to calm your nerves (the controls kind of remind me of the most excellent Spaced Penguin).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040526
The War on Terror
Time
21:14
Al Qaeda ready to attack! Be afraid!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
Is That Real…?
Time
09:58
Neil Gaiman on the reality of the Chernobyl photo-diary and the ‘childless couple told to try sex’ story.

Neil should pick up the latest copy of Private Eye (1107), which has further details on the latter…. and a knockout story on page 2 regarding torture methods in Iraq that I’ve half a mind to repeat here in full later today (seeing as they can’t be arsed to broadcast stories like this online).

UPDATE – Yep, here you go. They owe me for ripping of Tom’s Teens page in its entirety without permission anyways….

From Private Eye No. 1107:

Concern over American forces’ use of torture will not be news to US vice-president Dick Cheney. He was warned about the practice as long ago as 1992 when he was defence secretary for George Bush Snr.

In 1988 US senators investigated claims that American-backed “counter insurgency” operations in Central and South America, particularly Honduras, had included abusive interrogations. The senators were shocked to discover that two CIA manuals used to train interrogators recommended torture. They included techniques similar to those that have been used more recently at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

After the senate investigation the CIA added a new preface to the manuals, stating: “The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults or exposure to inhumane treatment of any kind as an aid to interrogation is prohibited by law, both international and domestic; it is neither authorised nor condoned.” However, the National Security Archive, a historical project at George Washington University, uncovered a 1992 memo to Cheney warning that, even after the 1998 investigations the US government was still circulating Spanish language guidebooks with the torture instructions.

It warned Cheney that the “offensive and objectionable material in the manuals… undermines US credibility and could result in significant embarrassment”.

The memo was stamped “SECDEF HAS SEEN”, and Cheney scribbled on it “I concur” referring to the recommendations that the manuals be withdrawn and the human rights component of military training be re-emphasised.

The senate investigations that led to the 1992 memo to Cheney were spurred by revelations of torture by US-backed forces in Honduras. The US ambassador to Honduras, who was implicated in the scandal, was one John Negroponte. Mr Negroponte is now the US ambassador to… Iraq.

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Date
20040527
“The same thing we do every day, Pinky…”
Time
10:05
The most linked UK weblogs, May 2004.

Well, shucks…

(reaches for tissues)

Now seems as good a time as any to remind you that you only have a few days left to make your nominations for the 2004 New Statesman New Media Awards.

Even if you just to do it to cheer me up or egg me on, please do it – and please do present your nomination in the proper context.

This isn’t a formal political website. It’s just me – one guy, with occasional help from other bloggers – dealing with matters as I see fit. Sometimes it makes a difference, sometimes it doesn’t. But I’d like to think that I’ve done some small amount of good just by speaking up from time to time and/or inspiring others to do the same.

(reaches for sick bag)

Bloggerheads is also responsible for a few firsts, and one last. The most notable first is the first genuine weblog by politician anywhere in the world, which came about mostly because of efforts to sort out the last world-leader to get a publicly-accessible email facility. (Which, incidentally, is so brilliantly conceived (1, 2) that it can be of immediate use to our new PM when he or she takes charge.)

*cough*

Well, that’s torn it. Modesty is currently cowering under the desk and afraid to show its face, so I’m free to say the following (while also acknowledging that that Tom Watson was born to blog with or without my help):

It has to be noted that the blogs that emerged after Tom’s in the U.S. (Gary Hart, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark and George W. Bush, in that order) grew mostly along party/campaign lines. By the time Bush’s campaign team cottoned on, they had a complete abortion on their hands. Here in the UK, the pattern is clearly very different. The blogs by MPs and Councillors that followed Tom’s (you can see a sequential list here) were of the personal variety, and thankfully quite well-established before the grand joke that is the Big Conversation came along.

We’re still battling to convert more MPs to the correct use of this channel, but without an established pattern of genuine communication, something like Tony Blair’s Big Abortion could very well have set the tone instead. Scary, huh?

Actually, I should probably let you know that recently I’ve come to a decision about the tactics I should be using to spread the correct use of weblogs amongst MPs ahead of the next general election. A few peeps are in on this, but mostly it’s a big secret-squirrel thing.

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s certainly not going to be pretty… and it’s not going to happen unless you give me a bloody good reason to put work and necessary updates to this blog to one side for a wee bit.

OK, now looks like an even better time to remind you that you only have a few days left to make your nominations for the 2004 New Statesman New Media Awards. Unless you’ve done so already.

(reaches for a fresh cup of really hot tea)

UPDATE – Oh, let’s be honest. It’s probably going to happen anyway… but I’d much rather be a happy and well-rewarded worker. Wouldn’t you?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
Photoshopping
Time
10:07
Abu Hamza has been arrested. On an extradition warrant issued by the US government. On the day following their big unspecified terror alert thingie. Just when things couldn’t look worse for Bush & Blair.

I’m just saying is all…

(Image posted to B3ta.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
In The News
Time
15:02
The UK Today – Abu Hamza: And is it not just so timely that no sooner does the US issue a warning of a serious terror attack in the US, than the UK’s most loud-mouthed pain in the ass suddenly falls victim to deportation to the US. Maybe I’m reading more into this than is there, but it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that there has either been a deal done with the US, or else the UK security services have slipped the US some dodgy information on Hamza. Either way it all seems just too tidy.

I also heard the comments from Hamza’s lawyer on Radio 4 that Balders refers to. And about 20 minutes after that, I heard Norman Tebbit cite gay marriage as a cause for this week’s primary distraction, the obesity epidemic.

Nothing to do with our workstressfearconsumeworkstressfearconsume lifestyle, or the fact that we have so little choice when it comes to food that we may as well be eating out of a trough. (Lord Sainsbury, I’m looking in your direction.)

Also nothing to do with the ‘we wish to regulate ourselves’ food industry that cries ‘nanny state!’, but spends millions every year telling us what to eat.

The kids? That’s the parent’s problem. Nowt to do with TV commercials telling kids that they can be popular, successful sports heroes by topping up on sugar-coated Frosties. Also nothing to do with marketing pushes reaching right into schools.

Expect maximum volume and minimum change.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
15:29
An archived replica of Washingtonienne is now live, thanks to Wizbang.

Also of interest, and charting quite well on Blogdex today, is this excellent overview of wing-nuttery.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
Goodbye, George
Time
15:38
And now a few words from the actual President of the United States: In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president. I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability… So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation’s trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands. I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable – and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, “We – even we here – hold the power, and bear the responsibility.”

Keep it up, America. You’re *this* close to saving our asses from WW3.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
A Blog Is Born
Time
16:41
Best. Blog. Title. Ever. Some tasty content, too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Date
20040527
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
18:44
Do you remember how The Sun reacted to breaking news of the torture of Iraqi detainess?

Day One: Less than a 1/4 page. 130 words.

Day Two: Leading with George W. Bush’s version of events, 229 words.

Recently a Labrador puppy was thrown off an overpass and today, The Sun is there with a massive 3/4 page and 270 words!

You read that right, folks. According to Rebekah Wade, Iraqis are less important than dogs; and to prove it, she’s decided to follow outrage with action by offering a £1000 reward (see their fabbo poster) for “information leading to (the) arrest or conviction of the thugs responsible.”

Of course, me just pointing this out makes me an enemy of puppies everywhere. That’s the kind of monster that I am.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040527
The Interwebnet
Time
19:04
How it works – 1

How it works – 2

UPDATE – I shouldn’t laugh. Check out this History of the Interweb that I wrote for Tesco back in 1998…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040528
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:30
Independent – Abu Hamza: dangerous terrorist – or political pawn?: Suspicions that the timing of the extradition hearing was a stunt to help focus attention away from the Iraq war were heightened when John Ashcroft, the US Attorney General, held a press conference in New York to publicise the charges. His planned arrest was also leaked to The Sun’s political editor hours before it took place, ensuring a positive front page story on anti-terrorism. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York police, described Mr Hamza as “a freelance consultant to terrorism groups worldwide”.

Ashcroft. Again.

Sensitive information leaked to The Sun to ensure a positive tone is set. Again. (Incidentally, being charged with a crime proves your guilt. According to The Sun.)

Am I the only one who considers this to be embarrassingly obvious?

Abu Hamza is a very shouty and dangerous man. And I don’t like him. But you really have to take a look at the dates on the list of charges and ask yourself one simple question:

Why now?

A kind of related tangent (you need to know where my head is at)…

Night before last, our SKY box had a nervous breakdown and stopped receiving satellite signals. Yesterday, the wife talked to the kids and the kids came to a decision that surprised the hell out of me.

Until yesterday, SKY had been regarded as a necessary evil in our house (I’m not the sort of person to stamp his Daddy-feet and demand that such-and-such a newspaper or such-and-such a service provider isn’t allowed in my house) but now things have changed.

Last night we advised SKY that we were cancelling our subscription. We made a point of telling them why. Right now they’re bleating about contracts and us paying until a certain date (even though we can’t see what we’re paying for, but SKY will happily repair the box if we maintain our contract etc. etc.) but our household has decided to stop funding the willing conspirator Rupert Murdoch. Not in a month from today, but from this moment forward.

SKY had obviously heard this kind of thing before. The main line they had at the ready was “but he’s not even on our board of directors.”

We. Don’t. Care.

We know where the money ends up, and we know what Murdoch does with it. And he’s not getting any more from us.

Of course, this means that I won’t be able to watch BBC Parliament (UPDATE – it’s available on Freeview – Huzzah!) or track the antics of FOX News. Or enjoy new episodes of The Simpsons. This decision also complicates the need to check the print version of The Sun from time to time.

But…

I. Don’t. Care.

Not one more penny for Murdoch. Ever.

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Date
20040528
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:33
Some harmless misdirection, a list of Googlebombs and this…

Scott Rosenberg: For the Times, this transparency thing is still very new. And admitting that major stories that helped launch an ill-conceived war were at best careless and at worst fraudulent is a painful thing for any journalistic enterprise. But admitting mistakes is the first step toward preventing their recurrence. Now if we can only get our president to understand that principle.

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Date
20040528
Interesting Times
Time
10:37
This long weekend, I’d like you to do me a favour. I’d like you to think very seriously about the following…

If you could take measures that didn’t amount to an empty gesture, that might very well bring about real change, what would you risk personally to be rid of the this criminal and his accomplice?

I’m serious.

And if you come to a clear decision, I’d like you to tell me about it. Please.

Speaking for myself, ongoing job security and even the continued existence of this website have become secondary concerns. But I’m not going to piss anything away unless I think I can actually make something positive happen.

(waves nervously to bosses and hopes they don’t panic)

If you come to a clear decision, I’d like you to tell me about it. Please.

I’m speaking to readers, friends, clients, and lurking politicians here. If you’ve never emailed before, now is the time.

Do we take action, or do we turn our heads and hope that it will all sort itself out?

If you come to a clear decision, I’d like you to tell me about it. Please.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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