15-30 November, 2004

This entry was posted on
Monday, November 15th, 2004
at
10:42 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20041115
Activism
Time
10:47
And to think it all started with a bit of bloggage…

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Date
20041115
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:49
BBC – Eyewitness: Smoke and corpses: It is hard to know how much people outside Falluja are aware of what is going on here. I want them to know about conditions inside this city – there are dead women and children lying on the streets. People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever. Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.

Independent – A hollow victory: The US and Iraqi authorities announced that Fallujah had been pacified yesterday, saying they had smashed through the last lines of resistance and killed more than 1,200 fighters. Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, said allied forces had “completed the move, for all practical purposes, from the north of the town to the south”. Iraq’s interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, said there had been “a clear-cut win over the insurgents and the terrorists”. But the pacification of the rebel stronghold could be a hollow victory. The Americans will leave behind them a shattered city, having unleashed the full might of the US military against an estimated 6,000 insurgents. There was plenty of evidence across Iraq that the war is far from over, and the devastation of Fallujah is likely to have fuelled the resistance.

And now for the really good news. Remember what was being touted as a certainty just before the U.S. election?

Guardian – Iraq vote could be delayed: Iraq’s deputy prime minister has indicated for the first time that the much-heralded elections due in January could be derailed by the country’s violent insurgency. Barham Salih said the authorities were determined to hold the vote, but admitted they would have to assess the security situation nearer the time. “Holding free and fair elections on time is an obligation that we have undertaken towards the Iraqi people,” he said. But he added: “Nearer the time, the Iraqi government, the United Nations, the independent election commission and the national assembly will have to engage in a real and hard-headed dialogue to assess the situation.” It is the first time a senior figure in the interim government has acknowledged that the dire security situation in large parts of the country could affect the political process.

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Date
20041115
In The News
Time
11:33
Boris Johnson sacked by Tories over private life

Tories: ‘This is not about Boris’s private life’

If this wasn’t about Boris’s private life, then why was he asked the question in the first place?

Private lives – the danger of public scandals

Boris denies ‘misleading’ leader

In fact, was he actually asked the question?

Sacked Johnson planned to quit: But a well-placed Tory MP insisted the former party vice-chairman had not misled Mr Howard since the men did not speak until Saturday. “Boris did not at any stage mislead Michael Howard. They only had one conversation about this and that was yesterday afternoon,” he added. The source indicated that Mr Johnson had not been pressed for details by Mr Howard’s press secretary, Guy Black, last week and so could not be said to have lied to him.

Yes, it would appear that Boris put himself in a rather awkward position (please see important illustration to your right)… but then again so did David Blunkett. But the media weren’t out to shaft Blunkett (his was a love that could not be denied) and his leader stood by him and/or stayed out of it (this was a “private matter”).

But Michael Howard saw the attack dogs circling last week, and even went so far as to egg them on. The moment the dogs had Boris on the ground, Howard stuck the knife in.

Go to Google

Search for ‘opportunist’

Click “I’m Feeling Lucky!”

That is all.

Petition: Bring Back Boris!

Sorry, but Boris was sacked because he was a threat to Howard. His days in this cabinet are over.

The next cabinet, however, is an entirely different matter…

Comments have been closed on Boris Johnson’s weblog, but you should expect them to re-open in a few days. Let the man regroup.

In the meantime, you can follow the latest developments and leave comments at BorisWatch.

UPDATE – BBC – Boris Johnson sacked: Your views

UPDATE – Hmmm. I’m not sure if this most recent development will make Boris’s odds longer or shorter….

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Date
20041115
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:48
Hove Labour – not official, therefore largely unafraid. Go and chip in.

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Date
20041115
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
11:53
So over, that it’s now in book form…

NYT – For the First Time Since Vietnam, the Army Prints a Guide to Fighting Insurgents: For the first time in decades, the Army has issued a field guide to counterinsurgency warfare, an acknowledgment that the kind of fighting under way in Iraq may become more common in the years ahead. The Army field manual on counterinsurgency operations is the first since the early Vietnam era, and the first ever intended for the kind of regular Army units now embroiled in battles in Iraq, as opposed to the Special Operations forces who have taken the lead in previous counterinsurgencies.

Cheers to Carl for the heads-up.

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Date
20041115
Inneresting
Time
12:20
According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, travelling to Iraq is safer than travelling to Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

So Iraq as a country is safer; that’s the official advice. All that hostage-taking must be the result of anti-social behaviour…

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Date
20041115
Normal People
Time
13:51
Meet Ill Mitch. He is the bomb and all that.

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Date
20041115
Photoshopping
Time
13:52
Couldn’t be helped.

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Date
20041115
George W. Bush
Time
15:19
Looks like Bush is headed to our neck of the woods again. But this time, we may do something new.

BTW, have you folks heard of a chap by the name of Dick Tuck?

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Date
20041115
The Bush Administration
Time
16:56
BBC – Colin Powell to quit Bush cabinet

That’s jolly good news. Now the Bush administration can present a united front on the War on Terror.

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Date
20041115
Photoshopping
Time
21:06
OK, just this once, I’ll try to see it from Tony’s point of view…

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Date
20041116
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:53
Guardian – Inquiry into shooting of wounded Iraqi shown in television footage : The Pentagon said last night it was opening an investigation into the shooting of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi in Falluja, following the release of television footage showing what appeared to be a close-range execution-style killing. The Iraqi was one of five wounded prisoners left in a battle-scarred mosque after marines fought their way through the city at the weekend.

Independent – ‘This one’s faking he’s dead’… ‘He’s dead now’: The footage showed several Marines with a group of prisoners who were either lying on the floor or propped against a wall of the bombed-out building. One Marine can be heard declaring that one of the prisoners was faking his injuries. “He’s fucking faking he’s dead. He faking he’s fucking dead,” says the Marine. At that point a clatter of gunfire can be heard as one of the Marines shoots the prisoner. Another voice can then be heard saying: “He’s dead now.” The footage was obtained by a team from the American NBC network that was embedded with the Marine Corps during last week’s seven-day battle to capture the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, which military commanders say has been a focus of Iraqi resistance. The film was then pooled and made available to other media.

Rest assured that if there were no camera there, you probably wouldn’t have even heard about this. For the same reason you’ve probably never heard of Hanan Saleh Matrud. And for the same reason Bush and Blair didn’t feel the need to act on the torture of prisoners until everyone saw the pictures.

How many prisoners are the U.S. hiding from the world in Iraq? Is it a “handful”? Dozens? They assure us there are no female detainees in custody in Iraq (well, maybe a couple of really, really evil ones… but can we really believe that?

This is the tip of the iceberg. Remember that.

Change of pace…

In the scant 188 words The Sun affords this today, they make room to point out that; “Terrorists have been known to play dead to lure in US troops before opening fire.”

You can expect to hear this in many a defence in the coming days. Along with how the marine involved was wounded, and his buddies were dead etc. etc. etc.

But now I’m confused. Was this man an insurgent or militant or a terrorist? There is a difference, isn’t there? And wouldn’t lying wounded for a day without medical attention leave you feeling just a little bit under the weather?

No matter. On the facing page is a girl with lovely, pert breasts. The space she takes up is double that of the story of the (ahem) unfortunate Iraqi.

Her name is Ruthie. She’s 23, and from Ashford in Kent. She’s delighted the Black Watch will be home soon (just as Tony Blair has promised). She says: “They’ve done a terrific job and it’s great to know their time in Iraq is coming to a close. But all of our thoughts this Christmas will be with the families of those who didn’t make it back alive.”

They’re not mentioned specifically, but Christmas being a time of brotherhood and goodwill, I’m sure this statement includes wounded and unarmed Iraqis who get mown down for ‘playing dead’.

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Date
20041116
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:08
CIA: Sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush. Ner-ner-ner, comes the familiar answer, it happens all the time and Clinton did it too.

Powell resigns and Condoleezza Rice is named as his successor. You may wish, at this time, to re-live her finest hour (14Mb Quicktime video, link via Atrios).

Chew: The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few.

Laugh: Republican Congressman John Hostettler has been convinced by local religious groups to change the name of Interstate 69 to a more moral sounding number.

Worry some: Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs.

Worry some more: Bordering On Nukes? New accounts from al-Qaeda to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction.

Try to put it out of your mind: What kind of blogger are you?

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Date
20041116
Civil Liberties
Time
10:10
Washington Monthly – Stealth Conservatism: The comparison with liberal programs is instructive. The point of the Social Security Act really was to provide pensions to old people. The point of the Civil Rights Act really was to eliminate discrimination. The purpose of Bill Clinton’s healthcare plan really was to provide national healthcare. Win or lose, there was no stealth involved.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, we have legislation targeting animal rights extremists that can be used to curtail legitimate protest, anti-terrorism legislation that was be used to curtail legitimate protest, and an Organised Crime Bill that… I don’t need to finish this sentence, do I?

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Date
20041116
WMD
Time
10:20
Man killed by deadly nerve gas! Guess who’s responsible. No, go on, take a wild shot in the dark.

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Date
20041116
Activism
Time
10:22
The UK Today – Bush Re-Visit(ed)!

Yes, I have a plan for Chasing Bush II.

I even have a name for it… Operation Manticore.

Do you remember last time I published a plan, (as did the Stop The war Coalition) and the Bush team changed theirs to avoid embarrassment? Do you remember the new plan that involved mobile phones that was quickly followed by reports that mobile phones could be blocked in some areas?

While the well-publicised alternative state procession was going on, Bush used the opportunity to hold one of his few London-based photo-opportunities at Buckingham Palace while most of the protestors were on the other side of town.

In the end, Bush had to get Blair to cordon off Sedgefield and bus some happy people in, but he achieved a victory of sorts, mainly because we projected our every move. But we needed publicity to drive the campaign (Nnnnngh!)…

Not this time.

Yesterday, I received an offer of funding in response to this post. It’s not *quite* enough to achieve what I want to achieve but it’s damn close… and I have a plan to extend funding just enough to make it happen.

Chasing Bush II – Operation Manticore can and will be planned and executed (and even promoted) under a strict code of secrecy.

The Bushies can move, change and cordon off to their heart’s desire, but this time we’ll know far more about their plans than they will about ours. They won’t know what’s coming (or who to suspect) until it’s too late.

This will take a few weeks to get together. Please bear with me.

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Date
20041116
A Blog is Born
Time
11:38
Meet Russell. He’s a Lib Dem who’s fortunate enough to live in a Lib Dem constuency. In other words, he’s part of the vast liberal conspiracy.

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Date
20041116
OK, So I’m a Comic Book Geek
Time
16:58
Superman is a dick. (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20041117
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
09:58
BBC – New video ‘shows Hassan murder’: A video apparently showing the murder of aid worker Margaret Hassan seems to be genuine, says the Foreign Office. “We now believe that she has probably been murdered”, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said after analysing the tape. Her Iraqi husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, has made a plea for her body to be returned to him “to rest in peace”.

Guardian – Kidnapped aid worker blindfolded and shot: The video, which emerged a week ago but was kept secret, has been studied by experts, and both British diplomats and relatives of Mrs Hassan said they now believed it showed the 59-year-old and that she had been killed.

Given that I spoke out against the brutal and unlawful killing of a wounded and unarmed insurgent yesterday, you might very well ask me (as many RWCs do) where my anger is for the tragedy of the slain hostages in Iraq. Particularly for someone as innocent and as selfless as Margaret Hassan.

Here’s my anger, Jack….

It should be obvious now to anyone who’s been paying attention that there are people on one side of the war on terror who will commit any outrage to further their cause. And they’re enabled by those on the other side, who actually dare to try and frame and shape tragic events rather than fighting the threat itself.

I’ll get back to this in mo. Hang in there.

Yesterday, The Sun spared 188 words for the man who had lay wounded for a day and was shot dead by a marine for not being perky enough to sit up.

Today, Margaret Hassan gets over double that; 420 words. And that’s just the core article. She also gets two-thirds of the front page, an opinion piece (well, actually, that’s more about the “scum” who killed her) and top billing in the editorial, which urges us to learn from this important lesson (a lesson that’s presented short of a vital chapter or two).

But let’s not get carried away. We can’t give the woman the *entire* front page, now can we? Not when the new series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is due to kick off. This same priority is shown very clearly in the presentation of a Page 3 model today (sorry, Margaret, we only abstain from showing boobs when there’s an earthquake, a flood, a major train crash or the death of a really famous person).

Today Katie (19, from Liverpool) can’t wait for this year’s I’m A Celebrity to kick off. She says: “The last three shows have just got better and better and I know the new series will be must-see TV. Watching all those stars battle creepy crawlies in the jungle is hilarious. Roll on Saturday!”

So, in summary; great tragedy, dead martyr, killed by scum, strengthen your resolve… but try not to think too hard about it.

Because if you did think to hard about it, you might begin to wonder why the only (only) reference to Margaret Hassan’s stance on the war is this statement in the editorial: “Margaret had absolutely no connection with the coalition forces.”

In the main article, our great leaders stand side by side with her memory: Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: “It is repugnant to commit such a crime against a woman who spent most of her life working for the good of the people of Iraq.” Tony Blair called the murder “abhorrent”.

The overall suggestion being that Jack Straw and Tony Blair have also spent much of their time working for the good of the people of Iraq… just like dear old Margaret. So together we must…. well, you know the rest.

But Margaret Hassan did have a connection to the coalition forces. She was vehemently opposed to their presence in Iraq and the policy that preceded it.

(Sorry there’s only a Google cache of this. More articles of this kind should pop up soon…)

Robert Fisk – Kidnapped – The heroine who offered hope for Iraq: Margaret was the enemy of United Nations sanctions on Iraq. She is the symbol of all those who believe that Iraq – a real, free, unoccupied Iraq – has a future; and all we can be told is that she, too, has joined the legion of the unpersons, the “disappeared”, the list of those who, because of their language or the colour of their eyes or their nationality, have slipped into Iraq’s dark hole. The ultimate disgrace yesterday was to hear British diplomats who supported those deadly sanctions weeping their crocodile tears for “Margaret”…. But Mr Blair, remember, fully supported the sanctions which Margaret loathed. And, of course, he supported George Bush’s invasion that led to the chaos that has engulfed Iraq…. Before the war to remove Saddam Hussein, Margaret was among the many who warned the British Government that an invasion and occupation would produce a humanitarian crisis in a country already severely weakened by the embargoes.

Now, after her death, all of the good she stood for and all of the good she did is hijacked and corrupted by those who wish to convince us that the current Iraq policy is right and good.

There it is. There’s my anger.

Then – to really get a good steam going – add to this that any outrage committed against civilians or insurgents by the coalition forces is immediately presented ‘in context’ with the outrages committed by terrorists, thereby further blurring the line between them. Even the word insurgent suggests that these forces fighting ours come primarily from outside Iraq. Now, you may know it doesn’t mean that, but take a quick straw poll in the office. How many people define the word correctly, and how many have formed their own definition shaped by coalition-friendly media?

And it was us that brought terrorism to Iraq. But, again, the line is blurred. It’s all part of the War on Terror. We didn’t enhance the threat, we focused it. Oh sure, a few innocent Iraqis got caught up in it, but don’t worry. As we continue to play this game, their anger will grow and more of them will oppose us and/or the blurred edges will get wider and wider. So before too long they’ll be the enemy anyway. And the ‘lesson’ will be that we must strengthen our resolve not to save them, but to kill as many of them as possible.

And it will serve them right for being so ungrateful.

UPDATE – Peter Gasston – Another pointless death: No-one gains anything from the murder of Margaret Hassan; not the (terrorist? insurgent? criminal?) group who took her, not the Anglo-American alliance that created the conditions for her death, not the people of Iraq who have lost a tireless champion and certainly not the family who have lost someone they dearly loved.

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Date
20041117
The War on Terror
Time
10:05
You might as well just kill yourself and save them the bother. (Leads to two juicy links.)

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Date
20041117
In The News
Time
10:06
Jane Rankin-Reid – Grilled, battered or fried: Boris Johnson’s arse on the line.

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Date
20041117
RWCs
Time
10:11
Hello, is that housekeeping? Yes, the fear seems to be missing from this post. Could you send someone up to fix it? Cheers.

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Date
20041117
An American Election
Time
10:13
Sorry Everybody has grown to gargantuan proportions. There’s a solid hour or two in it if you want to check them all. Meanwhile, Bob Piper brings us two highlights from the rather sad werenotsorry.com

(Oh dear. The latter site appears to have died by the looks of things. No matter… here’s a suitable replacement.)

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Date
20041117
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:19
Wibbler met Boris Johnson yesterday and comments are now enabled at Boris Johnson’s weblog.

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Date
20041117
Humanity
Time
10:21
fallujapictures.blogspot.com: a brief note on why – i believe the american people are decent and not without humanity. they have not seen what is being done in their name. maybe we don’t live in a world that can do without war. i do know that people need to know what war means before they decide. a lot of people have sent me pictures of september 11th. please stop. i lived in lower manhattan on 9/11. i’ve seen it in real life. the people in these pictures are just as important as the men and women that died on september 11th. a mother who loses her child suffers the same no matter what her nationality might be. she doesn’t want a lecture on politics or religion. she wants her son back.

That should be enough on its own. Go and see the pictures if you feel you need to… but prepare yourself for some unpleasantness.

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Date
20041117
Compare and Contrast
Time
10:25
Malcom Gladwell – Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life?

Wired – Senate May Ram Copyright Bill

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Date
20041117
The War on Terror
Time
10:29
Washington Post – Terror Informant Ignites Himself Near White House: A Falls Church man who worked as a federal informant on terrorism set himself on fire in front of the White House yesterday, hours after announcing his suicide attempt and citing his growing despondency over how the FBI managed his case.

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Date
20041117
Civil Liberties
Time
10:31
The poison that is nicotine causes Nosemonkey to channel the Tories. Film at eleven. After I pop outside for a fag.

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Date
20041117
Chasing Bush II – Operation Manticore
Time
10:34
Bloody hell. I thought having money was supposed to make things easier.

*sigh*

Development will take about 6 weeks. The Bloggerheads re-design and the soft-launch of the Anti-Murdoch Network will go ahead as scheduled (i.e. soonish).

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Date
20041117
Photoshopping
Time
13:44
Dear, sainted Tony…

(A revision, but I’d like to think that it’s a suitable one.)

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Date
20041117
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:11
Meet Mike Bell. He’s the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Woodspring Constituency of North Somerset, don’t you know….

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Date
20041117
Diversions
Time
16:13
Merry Christmas 1 (UPDATE – Woo! My lyrics made the grade!)

Merry Christmas 2

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Date
20041118
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:31
apologiesaccepted.com – I’m sure you can guess what that’s about.

Trial Shows How Spammers Operate (link via Ultimate Insult).

Music Video: It may be blasphemy, but at least it’s well-executed blasphemy.

Colin Powell deserves our gratitude (link via ScaryDuck).

All rather unfortunate, some stuff went wrong, ultimately unavoidable, no-one to blame. Sounds familiar, no?

Perfect.co.uk – He’d dead now: Yesterday’s news of the murder of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in a mosque, captured on camera by Kevin Sites is made worse when you actually comprehend the details…

That’s better. More reasons to be fearful here.

Washington Post – GOP Pushes Rule Change to Protect DeLay’s Post: House Republicans proposed changing their rules last night to allow members indicted by state grand juries to remain in a leadership post, a move that would benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, according to GOP leaders.

*sigh*… Nothing like being above the law, is there? Oh well.

Here comes the Peace and Progress Party. First order of business; improve the website. (Links via James.)

Here we go again….

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Date
20041118
Chasing Bush II – Operation Manticore
Time
09:49
In a perfect world, would be surplus to requirements….

Toronto Star – Should Canada indict Bush?: When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa – probably later this year – should he be welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes? It’s an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act. This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada’s ineffectual laws in line with the rules of the new International Criminal Court. While never tested, it lays out sweeping categories under which a foreign leader like Bush could face arrest.

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Date
20041118
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:08
Tom Watson’s website is back up, and will be moved to a new host soon.

UPDATE – Remember all the fun we had with Tom’s Teens page? Well, it looks like Ros Taylor has also claimed a scalp.

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Date
20041118
Photoshopping
Time
14:47
It’s been a while….

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Date
20041118
Art
Time
15:25
Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Go on, I dare you!

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Date
20041118
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
15:44
Just got an interesting email forwarded to me. It was sent in reaction to this link from Monday, and our government’s assertion that travelling to Iraq is safer than travelling to thirty-one other countries. The following email was sent from a Brit currently staying in Georgia (one of the countries on the ‘do not travel’ list):

“What an astonishing load of crap! The country notice is years out of date and the “kidnapping” they refer to of a British “businessman” was of a crooked fraudster who was trying to carve in on local mafia business. Although perhaps not as safe as (some places), Tbilisi certainly seems safer than London.”

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Date
20041119
George W. Bush
Time
09:47
Smoochies!

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Date
20041119
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:55
Google puts intalectural elitists at your fingertips.

When co-workers attack.

Whoops!

One from the right: Helping you to understand why shooting unarmed and wounded men is OK… A Marine Writes Home.

Washington Post – Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul.

The low-down from Rising Hegemon: This is literally taking the poor and middle class and making them bend over and ‘squeal like a piggy.’ Once again the rich get richer and the less rich get hosed. John Calvin would be proud.

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Date
20041119
RWCs
Time
09:57
John ‘Leatherface’ Gibson is mouthing off again. Try not to waste any tooth enamel on him.

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Date
20041119
Inneresting
Time
09:59
World’s. Biggest. Country. Town. Looks purdy, though.

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Date
20041119
In The News
Time
10:03
So, hunting with dogs will be banned from February.

1. Pro-hunt protests will hit a peak at around the same time we’ll be hunting Bush. Probably.

2. The internets to the rescue!

3. They didn’t say anything about hunting with leopards, now did they?

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Date
20041119
Humanity
Time
10:12
Europhobia – Sensitivity: Remember the outrage with Ken Bigley’s death? Noticed the lack of the same over Margaret Hassan? The former a guy who went to Iraq for a quick buck, fully aware of the dangers, the latter an aid worker who spent 30 years in the country trying to help out. Well, I just made the mistake of going to Fark for the first time in ages, and started looking at the reactions of some of the posters there to the news that Iraqis have been upset and outraged by this latest murder – a murder of someone who has done more to help their country than pretty much every coalition soldier combined….

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Date
20041119
Established Media
Time
10:15
New York Times – Bono’s New Casualty: ‘Private Ryan’: For anyone who doubts that we are entering a new era, let’s flash back just a few years. “Saving Private Ryan,” with its “CSI”-style disembowelments and expletives undeleted, was nationally broadcast by ABC on Veteran’s Day in both 2001 and 2002 without incident, and despite the protests of family-values groups. What has changed between then and now? A government with the zeal to control both information and culture has received what it calls a mandate. Media owners who once might have thought that complaints by the American Family Association about a movie like “Saving Private Ryan” would go nowhere are keenly aware that the administration wants to reward its base. Merely the threat that the F.C.C. might punish a TV station or a network is all that’s needed to push them onto the slippery slope of self-censorship before anyone in Washington even bothers to act. This is McCarthyism, “moral values” style.

(Cheers to liberal minion Carl for the heads-up.)

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Date
20041119
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
10:16
Slugger O’Toole reports on the Adam Smith Institute event Democracy and the Blogosphere. Links to central site and many other reports.

Perfect.co.uk – Guardian Online does trackback in print: In effect one can now comment on what is written in Online without sending a letter to the editor.

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Date
20041119
Flash Games
Time
10:21
Rumble in the Jumble (link via FunJunkie).

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Date
20041119
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
10:23
Iran is next 1

Iran is next 2

No matter. I’m sure Condi will bring some common sense to the table.

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Date
20041119
Video
Time
10:26
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Dubya: The Movie!

(Link via Ultimate Insult.)

Before you click and visit, try to imagine who would be the best possible candidate to play George ‘Dubya’ Bush… then be prepared to be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

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Date
20041119
Virus Alert
Time
10:47
A new Sober variant – Sober.I – is on the loose. Brand spanking new, this one. I got 16 copies in my Inbox this morning, and it almost slipped past my anti-virus software. Update now.

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Date
20041119
Normal People
Time
10:55
Every woman should have a hobby….

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Date
20041119
Photoshopping
Time
15:41
Mojo… rising…. urge to ‘shop Star Wars… uncontrollable!

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Date
20041119
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
15:48
Guardian – Commons motion to impeach Blair gets go-ahead: The parliamentary motion to impeach Tony Blair for “gross misconduct” over the war against Iraq will be published next Wednesday, the day after the Queen’s speech. It will be the first to be tabled in 198 years, since Lord Melville, a close friend of the then prime minister, William Pitt the younger, faced impeachment for misusing public money in running the Admiralty. Senior parliamentary officials, including legal advisers to the Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, on Wednesday night approved the wording of the text as meeting parliamentary rules, allowing the motion to be tabled on the first day of the new session. The Tory chief whip, David Maclean, has paged every Tory frontbench MP telling them not to sign it.

A new petition has been drafted. Click here to read/sign it.

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Date
20041119
Educational
Time
15:53
BBC – Pupils scared by asteroid spoof: Pupils were left in tears after a teacher told them that an asteroid was about to hit Earth and kill them all. The spoof announcement was designed to teach 14-year-olds the importance of seizing the day but backfired after they became visibly frightened.

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Date
20041119
Bunch of Stuff
Time
17:33
The latest B3ta newsletter is out, and contains:

1. A bunch of fun links. This is one of them.

2. The winners of the C4 ‘Alternative Christmas’ challenge. This is one of them.

(Also, there’s this, which is quite lovely.)

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Date
20041122
The War on Stupid
Time
09:35
Independent – Civil rights groups condemn Blunkett’s anti-terror plans: Tony Blair faces a backlash from lawyers and civil rights campaigners over the string of anti-crime Bills and measures against international terrorism expected to dominate tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, confirmed yesterday that ministers were planning a draft Anti-Terrorism Bill which would include sweeping measures such as judge-only trials, new civil orders for people suspected of planning terrorist acts and the use of wiretap evidence in courts. He said a draft Bill would be produced in the new year, after the House of Lords gives its verdict on terror suspects held without trial in Belmarsh Prison.

Ah. Sorry. I know this is a bit rough for Monday morning, so you may prefer The Sun’s version of this story, which includes a large picture of Osama bin Laden to help you focus your mind on certain ‘necessities’…

I can’t find an online reference, but Blunkett was on the radio yesterday asking that people “give these measures the benefit of the doubt” instead of assuming that the government is out to get more power and/or misuse it.

1. And hasn’t this government earned that benefit of the doubt, ladies and gentlemen?

2. He’s more or less asking us to grant him the benefit of the doubt so he can remove the presumption of innocence. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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Date
20041122
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:37
John Kampfner – The law chief who bowed to Blair: We already knew that the Prime Minister agreed to back George W Bush’s war plans as early as April 2002. He was concerned about regime change and needed to find another reason – weapons of mass destruction – to justify military action politically and legally. What is less known is how Blair, together with the Americans, leaned on the UK Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to change his mind about the legality of the war. That story can now be told.

John Kampfner – Blair’s legal case for war was sexed up too: The story of Blair, Lord Goldsmith, his attorney-general, and the legal advice has leaked out in dribs and drabs. I have had conversations that cast further light on a troubling chain of events. The evidence suggests that Blair, along with the Americans, leant on Goldsmith to change his mind; that the legal advice privately presented to Blair did not explicitly sanction war; and that the later version of that advice on which MPs based their decisions 10 days later was wholly different.

(That second piece appeared in the Times on Sunday. On the same day that the Independent on Sunday was busy giving full-page big-ups to I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here!…. welcome to Bizarro-world.)

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Date
20041122
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
09:54
Washington Post – Nuclear Disclosures on Iran Unverified: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell shared information with reporters Wednesday about Iran’s nuclear program that was classified and based on an unvetted, single source who provided information that two U.S. officials said yesterday was highly significant if true but has not yet been verified.

But of course, the use of force will *cough* be a last resort.

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Date
20041122
Inneresting
Time
09:58
Meet the ‘typical’ Brit.

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Date
20041122
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:00
An innocent mistake? Unlikely. (Now, now, now. Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt.)

Water Force One looks like good value for money. Way to work that mandate, George.

Help for homeless hermit crabs and millions of tiny spiders cover the critter front. But our ‘and finally’ award goes to….

Almost half of Americans believe God created humans 10,000 years ago.

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Date
20041122
Photoshopping
Time
12:24
The Star Wars Photoshopping Project is now on its 17th page.

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Date
20041122
Distractions
Time
12:58
yeargh! Helllllp!

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Date
20041122
George W. Bush
Time
13:17
Ha-ha!

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Date
20041123
The War on Stupid
Time
10:35
John Prescott was dragged out of bed to address the small problem of Radio 4 this morning (as he always is when the government is presenting something that’s total bollocks).

Prescott insisted that the new ‘security’ measures were nothing to be afraid of, as they would be open to public debate. Also, he insisted that the threat of global terror was not something that could be ignored (cross-reference with Blunkett’s recent soundbite: “…we will have to take whatever steps are necessary, particularly in terms of security and intelligence, because it’s no good picking up the pieces – literally – afterward”).

But, when the presenter quite rightly brought up the issue of Iraq (which was supposed to make us more secure, but did just the opposite) Prescott dismissed these concerns by claiming the presenter and the programme had an “obsession” with the subject. He also said – when pressed for details of the ‘benefits’ we were expecting from the invasion of Iraq – that we should “wait and see”.

1. Public debate, yes. But let’s not bother with any meaningless subjects. Like Iraq.

2. The threat of terror cannot be ignored. Action must be taken. But on the action in Iraq, which has done so much to promote global terrorism and continues to do so to this day, we should just hang around and see what happens.

Now, let’s get to the bit where you’re at risk of getting blowed up…

Honest Daily Mail – Al Qaeda attack on Canary Wharf foiled: The source, who has no axe to grind, said that the threats were real and were not deliberately exaggerated for political purposes.

(Read a comment on this article and the front page here.)

The Sun – Foiled: 9/11 London plot: Last night a senior security force said: “This is not about politics. It is about hard work behind the scenes to prevent what is a clear threat to the nation.”

Methinks they doth protest too much. Some semblance of the truth in The Times (miracle of miracles). Please note the inverted commas in part of the headline…

The Times – London ‘terror plots’ thwarted: One senior security source approached by The Times was unaware of such a plot, and pointed out that al-Qaeda rarely repeated terrorist outrages.

Just what I was thinking. Planes! Towers! Even if this hasn’t been deliberately leaked and tweaked to frame the public debate Honest John seems so keen on, it shows a distinct lack of imagination.

Anyway, let’s step back towards the echo chamber and take a look at Murdoch’s new York Post, where this vague and isolated report from “an authoritative senior source” begins to grow and take shape as ‘fact’…

New York Post – ‘9/11′ Plots in Britain: The ghoulish copycat plot was thwarted by British intelligence sometime after the U.S. terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 – and before the would-be suicide pilots could finish training for their fiendish mission – sources told Britain’s ITV News.

Ghoulish! Fiendish! Thwarted! Gosh, it’s all so scary, one might just be tempted to skip over those telling words “it was reported (i.e. claimed) yesterday”…

This is what used to be a link to the original report at ITV.com, which has since been withdrawn. In its place is this (please note the inverted commas, this time around the entire headline)…

ITV – ‘Security services foil 9/11 attack in UK’: ITV News understands that the security services have thwarted four or five September 11-style attacks on targets including Canary Wharf and Heathrow Airport.

As we step back yet again into the echo chamber, we see this evening’s Evening Standard plans to change “was reported” to “has emerged”… See how it’s becoming more and more real as the source of the ‘story’ becomes less and less clear?

Evening Standard – Canary Wharf terror plot: September 11-style terror attacks on the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf were thwarted, it emerged today ahead of the Queen’s Speech, which will focus on security.

Notice also that the following AP report that made it onto CNN that ties this latest round of bull to a more recent round of bull that I commented on here and here. In this bloggage, you may note the quote: But – and this is how the magic time machine works – if I bring up the subject of the Heathrow stunt in 6 months time, the answer from any ardent supporter of the government will be; “Of course the threat on Heathrow was real – they arrested 13 people and found all sorts of plans and photos on a laptop!”

Not quite what I predicted, but certainly grist for the mill…

AP/CNN – Reports: UK terror attack thwarted: Last northern summer, Pakistan gave British officials intelligence suggesting that al Qaeda had plotted to attack Heathrow airport. The information was found on the computers of two accused members of Osama bin Laden’s terror network arrested in Pakistan. The computers held images of Heathrow.

Meanwhile, the government sits back and ‘refuses to comment’ (because they don’t want to compromise security, you understand). As David Blunkett plays the ‘if you only knew what I knew’ card (back to The Daily Mail): Mr Blunkett has recently insisted that Labour will campaign on hope not fear, but then warned that forthcoming trials will show that Al Qaeda are “on our doorstep and threatening lives.”

Actual trials for suspected terrorists? Allow me to get over my surprise long enough to suggest that these trials will take place sometime after the general election.

Likewise, most of Blunkett’s new bills set to represent the guts of the Queen’s Speech today won’t be fully revealed (or ‘shaped’) until well after Blair walks away with a result.

As I’ve been writing this, an article has gone live with some quotes from John Prescott’s interview this morning (If you have ReallyCrapPlayer, you can listen to this interview here). I’d like to share a quote with you: “Every one of our citizens is concerned about the level of security. All the polls show us that people are concerned about crime and security. This is the Government properly responding to that threat and fear.”

1. Yes, I’m concerned about security. Which is why this bullshit alarms me so much.

2. All the polls show people are concerned about crime and security (note what is to be one of many blurred lines between terror and crime in the coming months) because some irresponsible twat is busy stirring up that fear as part of his election strategy.

3. This isn’t being handled responsibly. At all. Far from it. This government’s continued manipulation of perceived threats places us at greater risk of an actual ones.

The publicity coup that was 9/11 greatly enables this manipulation. What was once beyond imagination can now be used to frame almost any debate, simply by evoking the fears everyone felt on that day (which is the end of the conversation for many people) and asserting that – in these times – nothing is beyond imagination (so they can feed us any old rubbish).

Speaking of rubbish, let’s try to nail down today’s sound and fury….

1: But the stories, which cited unidentified sources, did not say when or where the plots were uncovered, or how close they came to being carried out.

2: Key quote: “The significance of this would depend on whether these suicide training exercises were disrupted within the United Kingdom, and what they actually consisted of in terms of preparation, such as the indoctrination of key individuals”

So let’s get back to the guts of it, as Murdoch’s Herald Sun helpfully provides us with the few scraps of meat this story is based on: ITV’s political editor Nick Robinson: “This is the story of what could have been a nightmare averted. A story not of failure, but of success. That, at least, is what I am told by a senior authoritative source who says that the security services managed to avert a plot to fly planes into Canary Wharf here, and also into Heathrow Airport. I simply do not know the details of how they found out, how they stopped it, how close the plot got, but I am in no doubt that this was a genuine feeling on the behalf of those in the security services that they had managed to foil a plot and make us safer.” ITV News confirmed to AFP that their journalist’s “non-attributable source” was in “the arena” of the security services or government, but would not be specific.

This, at least, is what he was told. By a source he cannot reveal who is in “the arena” of the security services. Or government. And what he has been told is that something has been thwarted. But he has no real idea of how it was thwarted and/or if the (Ghoulish! Fiendish!) plot had any significance.

You know, today I’d really like to blow up Canary Wharf. I think I’ll start by… oh, darn is that the time? I’m supposed to start work at 10:30. Oh well, looks like I’ve been thwarted. Still, you came pretty close to tragedy there. Did I mention that in 9/11 over 2,800 people died? And that the central tower in Canary Wharf is 771ft high? And that an estimated 10,000 people work on its 50 floors? Never mind the details, just think of the scale of the tragedy that has been so narrowly averted (or invented, if you prefer).

UPDATE – The UK Today – Nothing to fear… but fear itself: But the devious and dishonest aspect to the Home Office bills is the way the Government is using them to link crime and terror. By blurring the distinction and thus linking the two in the public’s conciousness they use the fear of one (crime) to boost the credibility of the other (terror)…. The biggest threat to freedom in this country today is not Al Qaeda, not the forces of terror, but rather our own leadership. They’re the ones who want to destroy our civil liberties, they’re the ones who dragged us into Bush’s War on Terror.

UPDATE 2 – Via Peter Gasston, we learn of the War on Drugs now merging with the War on Terror… BBC – US pledges more aid to Colombia: Mr Bush, who spent the weekend at a summit in Chile, praised Colombia for its efforts against drugs. “This war against narco-terrorism can and will be won, and Colombia is well on its way to that victory,” he said.

Narco-terrorism now, is it? Looking forward to anti-social behaviour being called Neighourhood Terrorism in 5, 4, 3, 2…

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Date
20041123
George W. Bush
Time
10:42
I like this (for obvious reasons).

Turn Your Back On Bush: On January 20th, 2005, we’re calling for a new kind of action. The Bush administration has been successful at keeping protesters away from major events in the last few years by closing off areas around events and using questionable legal strategies to outlaw public dissent. We can use these obstacles to develop new tactics. On Inauguration day, we don’t need banners, we don’t need signs, we don’t need puppets, we just need people. We’re calling on people to attend inauguration without protest signs, shirts or stickers. Once through security and at the procession, at a given signal, we’ll all turn our backs on Bush’s motorcade and continue through his speech and swearing in. A simple, clear and coherent message.

(Link via ScaryDuck.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:47
Persian Gulf 1

Persian Gulf 2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
The End of Democracy
Time
10:56
Europhobia has a rolling report on developments in the Ukraine.

UPDATE – See also this passing thought over at Rising Hegemon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Free Speech
Time
11:02
School orders boy to cover anti-Bush T-shirt.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Photoshopping
Time
11:04
Another addition to Page 17 of The Star Wars Photoshopping Project. Click here to see a large version.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Activism
Time
11:05
Guardian – Lawsuit: NYC Created ‘Guantanamo’ at RNC: The federal lawsuit claims protesters and bystanders alike were rounded up in mass arrests without cause; were kept without access to their lawyers or families at an old bus depot used as a temporary detention center; and were exposed for days to cruel and inhuman conditions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
RWCs
Time
11:06
Washington Post – Michael Powell Exposed! The FCC Chairman Has No Clothes: Pompous and imperious, an ideologue who believes unfailingly in his own philosophy of how TV and radio should work… Powell ignores or condemns anyone who opposes him. Though FCC chairmen have labored mostly in obscurity, Powell has managed to make himself famous; he’s the Torquemada of the insane campaign now being waged against “obscenity” on the airwaves.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Flash Games
Time
11:11
Just what I had planned for this afternoon. But now I can vent my frustration online instead. Another tragedy averted. Another fiendish plot thwarted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
George W. Bush
Time
11:17
I helps if you channel Elvis for this one…

(sings) The cult of per-son-ali-teeee…..

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Date
20041123
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
Time
11:45
For those who thought the Star Wars program was a little far-fetched…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
12:14
Early editions of today’s super soaraway Sun feature Rupert Murdoch’s middle name on the front page.

(Spotted on Popbitch, heads-up via ScaryDuck.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
The Interweb
Time
13:46
You forgot the bit where we blow everything up in 2012….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Photoshopping
Time
13:48
Yes, more Star Wars….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Compare and Contrast
Time
16:00
Blunkett v. Boris… guess which one is the unstable stalker and determined home-wrecker?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
George W. Bush
Time
16:31
What. A. Clown.

PS – Click here to see images of his bodyguard being detained in Chile.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
16:48
You may wish to make a quick mental note of this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
Photoshopping
Time
17:06
Yep. Another one.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041123
South West Trains
Time
18:47
We should do this.

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Date
20041123
An American Election
Time
20:14
Some very interesting blog stats from the campaign season. It would be good if we could gear up for the same here in the UK.

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Date
20041123
Updates
Time
20:44
I’ll be back on deck after two very busy days. Cheers all.

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Date
20041126
Civil Liberties
Time
09:51
Evening Standard – Jail for Commons protests: New laws will threaten antiwar protesters camped outside the Commons with jail and fines of up to £2,500, the Evening Standard can reveal. In a highly controversial move, the Home Secretary will empower police to evict demonstrators who have held a vigil in Parliament Square since the invasion of Iraq. David Blunkett’s plan will infuriate civil rights campaigners who argue that the streets outside Parliament are a traditional arena for political rallies.

More good news here.

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Date
20041126
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
09:58
Given everything that’s been bouncing around my head these past few days, I found the (many) emails directing me to proudofbritain.org.uk and the inevitable alternative version to be a very pleasant surprise this morning. I’ll make with the details later. In the meantime, I’ll let you enjoy some reactions from Backword, Honourable Fiend and Perfect.co.uk

UPDATE – And now we have www.proud-of-britain.org.uk

Also, a few people in a marketing discussion list I subscribe to have noticed that the official site “doesn’t explain what they will do with the personal data your provide and whether they will or will not be sharing the data with third parties” and that this is “a typical case of ambiguity that the Information Commissioner will do well to jump on right away.”

UPDATE – Oh, FFS…

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Date
20041126
Inneresting
Time
09:59
Kevin Drum on Lakoff and Framing: Facts are great, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re going to win arguments with facts. When facts collide with a person’s worldview, it’s the facts that get tossed overboard, not the worldview.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
An American Election
Time
10:01
Houston Chronicle – Heflin wants House seat back or a new election: State Rep. Talmadge Heflin asked the state House of Representatives today to overturn the results of his failed re-election bid and either order him returned to the Legislature or call for a new election. Heflin’s attorney, Andy Taylor, said the election results in state House District 149 in southwest Harris County were fraught with voting irregularities and potential fraud, most of which occurred in predominantly Democratic precincts.

Best reaction to this that I’ve read so far is here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:20
“Declaration Of Independence Banned” – It’s A Lie!: The school did not “ban the Declaration of Independence” — that is just a lie. This story is like when you hear that a man was “arrested for praying” and you find out he was kneeling in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour and refused to move. This is the BIG STORY today, on Rush, and Drudge, and the rest of the Usual Suspects. And it is a carefully planned and carefully timed lie. The story is timed for this afternoon so that it cannot be refuted until Monday. It is timed to cause fights and hatred at family Thanksgiving dinners across the country. It is part of a strategy to reinforce a “conventional wisdom” notion that “liberals” are “going too far” with their demands of separation of church and state.

And now, the flip-side:

Textbook disclaimer stickers.

Also charting is some a prediction of economic armageddon and worrying news for newspapers. Once you’re done there, do your best to count some stars and resist Christmas.

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Date
20041126
Consume!
Time
10:21
Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day. Here, Poons expresses some thoughts and admits to some difficulty.

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Date
20041126
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
10:26
C.I.A. Says Pakistanis Gave Iran Nuclear Aid

Profile: Abdul Qadeer Khan

Scientist who sold atomic secrets ‘can keep his money’

Carl, you may want to back off on the good news….

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Date
20041126
Church & State
Time
10:27
What nice people. I may just send them some money.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
The War on Stupid
Time
10:29
An extract from a recent edition of Snowmail, kindly forwarded by Wibbler:

Met an excellent group of brokers/dealers/traders in the city at lunchtime. Fell

to discussing the ‘threat’ to Canary Wharf. No further evidence that there is

even a scintilla of truth in the story that a plot was foiled.

Went back to my sources today (yes, two, Lord Hutton.) Both resolute in their

dismissing of the story. So it remains strange tonight that such a story broke

so conveniently upon a day when the government wanted to unveil ‘tough on

terrorism’ plans.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
10:32
Guardian – Impeachment? I found it on Google says Plaid MP behind idea

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
Chasing Bush II – Operation Manticore
Time
10:49
The situation as it stands is that the promised funding is genuine and can be counted on, but only for a campaign directly tied to a Bush UK visit. Obviously, if there’s no visit, there will be no campaign and no funding. Just keeping you abreast so I don’t look a right tit.

If you spy any news about the likelihood of a visit, do drop me a line.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
The War on Stupid
Time
11:21
Cheers to ScaryDuck for this illuminating news item.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041126
Updates
Time
11:22
I’ve been pondering for quite some time on the matter of the upcoming election and what my role would be. Now I know.

This is my position/task-sheet on campaign/political work (I’ve said by email many times; not sure if I’ve blogged it):

1. To the best of my ability, I will work to expand/defend the open form of political blogging that we now enjoy, and be very aware that the campaign season will bring a very dangerous breed of highly publicised one-way campaign blogs.

2. Know and accept that the above requires my offering guidance and assistance to individual MPs from almost any party bar UKIP or the BNP.

3. Know and accept that – on a party level – I can’t work for Labour while I oppose Blair, I won’t work for the Conservative Party full-stop and the Lib-Dems simply can’t afford me.

This pretty much leaves me out of the game. At best, shouting from the sidelines. I’m not happy about that.

A quick detour, a thought or two on timing:

I’m approaching this knowing that there’s a very real risk of a snap election in February. The reasons?

1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; to see Blair’s lies in their purest form, turn to The Sun (which, on Wednesday, declared on their front page that the election would be on May 5).

2. This is the weekend after May Day. I know that this year’s May Day was a very quiet affair, but are they really so confident of keeping it quiet again this year in light of this and other tensions on the union front?

3. The ‘likely’ Bush visit in February that would more or less rule out a February election may be a feint.

Also, I should mention that this caught my eye the other day. Consciously, I didn’t think much of it. But subconsciously… whammo. In fact, it wasn’t until this morning when I saw it again on Blogdex that I realised what a significant effect it had had. Just take a look at what people will accept as normal. Sure, we may shout about it, but what bloody good does it do?

The moment we point out they’re treating people like sheep, they can counter will the always-useful “Hey! This elitist just called you a bunch of sheep!” argument.

There’s also this that I blogged this morning. Worth considering, that bit about arguments and facts. So, bang goes any plan to shout from the sidelines. It doesn’t do any good.

Back to the guts:

1. Blair’s victory in Feb/May 2005 is a foregone conclusion. You need to accept that. The Tories simply aren’t a threat, and nobody can picture the Lib-Dems running the country (not even the Lib-Dems themselves).

2. I opposed John Howard; John Howard won. I opposed George W. Bush; George W. Bush won. And I hate losing.

For this and for many other reasons that I will share with you soon, I have decided that – during the election campaign – I will be backing Blair.

It may not make any sense right now, but that’s the way it is.

You’ll probably need a few days to get over this. Talk amongst yourselves.

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Date
20041126
South West Trains
Time
12:17
Meet Emma. She’s had enough.

UPDATE – So have these people (link via Ionicus).

Oh, and Scaryduck would like a quiet word.

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Date
20041126
Pluggage
Time
12:43
Get out your safety scissors, children…

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Date
20041129
Viral Marketing
Time
09:07
Bit of trade news. I’m only blogging it because the guy agrees with me. (And by guy, I mean gal. Apologies for the temporary gender re-assignment.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20041129
Updates
Time
09:31
February/May, May/February…. what may or may not be Blunkett’s baby is due in February. In May, a lot of valuable real-estate will be taken up by the impending release of Star Wars Episode III. Never mind chauffeuring pensioners, what may be needed is an army of queue stand-ins to make sure the geeks have a chance to vote.

Blunkett… I need him right where he is, so this is rather nerve-wracking.

Here are some key dates. Here is The Sun, onside as usual. Media-watchers might want to print/save this for future reference. It’s blackmail, people. And we don’t negotiate with ex-girlfriends who use terrorist tactics.

Underblog.co.uk – Bloggerheads backs Blair

DoctorVee – Backing Blair

And that’s about it from me for now.

UPDATE – Oh, except for this. Do I get half a point?

Bloggerheads (3 months ago): Theory One – The small matter of pregnancy made this long-standing affair impossible to hide, so the story is being deliberately leaked and managed by David Blunkett, and/or with his full knowledge and authority.

The Age (tomorrow): So bitter were their final exchanges that she firmly believes that it was Blunkett himself who told the News of the World of the affair and who tipped the tabloid off about the time of her next visit so that she could be photographed entering his house.

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Date
20041129
Video
Time
14:42
Eastenders Christmas Special 1917.

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Date
20041129
Tony Blair
Time
18:56
“Having two children by someone else’s wife, isn’t that antisocial behaviour?”

Pfft!

Also amusing, if totally fanciful, is this.

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Date
20041130
UK General Election 2005
Time
08:46
Blog:VoteThe key aim is to widen political participation, encourage mature debate and increase the turnout.

Sounds good to me.

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Date
20041130
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! And You’re Next!
Time
12:24
New York Times – Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantanamo: The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But, just as with Abu Ghraib, no-one will believe it until they can see the pictures. And even then they won’t believe it.

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Date
20041130
George W. Bush
Time
14:10
Give him hell, Canada!

Please note the primary objection to his presence that’s quoted in this article. It may ring a few bells: “I do not like Halifax and Haligonians being used as a photo opportunity for a world leader who has blood on his hands and desperately needs any good international press he can get.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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