The Fix

George Monbiot – Just what exactly do you stand for, Hazel Blears – except election?: Fixes like this might give you some clues about why more people are not taking part in politics. I believe there is a vast public appetite for re-engagement, but your government, aware of the electoral consequences, has shut us out… You create an impenetrable political monoculture, then moan that people don’t engage in politics. It is precisely because I can picture something better that I have become such a cynical old git.

Also, via Paulie, an item about those who – I’ll put this delicately – attempt to play out-do the government at their own game.

Polis – Clay Shirky: online group action lacks legitimacy: Shirky thinks this is now the biggest issue facing online public activism: legitimacy. It is simply too easy to campaign or lobby online. There needs to be ways of creating or measuring the legitimacy of online political actions that go beyond how many people click on a website.

And here’s one good reason why this matters.

Another? Well, we’ve all watched the quality of old media spiralling downward. Almost anyone nowadays can get their opinion in print or their face on telly by claiming to be an expert or the leader of a movement*.

(*see: bowels)

Back soon, folks. I’m travelling to the continent to recharge my psychic energies… and gather my imaginary army.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Epic win: Christian Bale Vs. David after the dentist

By now most of you will have heard Christian Bale’s rant (plus a few remixes) and seen David after his visit to the dentist (plus a few remixes)… now prepare yourselves for a sweary trip to YouTube heaven (NSFW audio, obviously):








Posted in Video | 4 Comments

Jeremy Reynalds forgot to declare an interest

Jeremy Reynalds is an interesting man whose mind works in interesting ways.

Take, for example, his reaction to the Abu Ghraib scandal; which *so* obviously raised questions about homosexuals in the military and the way CBS conduct themselves.

So when he is presented with evidence that Glen Jenvey posed as an extremist on Ummah.com, we should not be surprised that he asks questions about the way Ummah.com conduct themselves, and we should count ourselves lucky that he’s not speculating about their sexuality:

Jeremy Reynalds – Large Islamic Website Still Carries Material Advocating Destruction of Israel Ummah forum administrators posted a vocal defense of their site (www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=197121), headlined “Ummah forum detest today’s misleading article in ‘The Sun,'” and alleged that Abuislam is really Jenvey, claiming confirmation from his IP and email addresses. In an e-mailed statement, Jenvey denied being Abu Islam, adding that some inflammatory posts formerly on the site have now been either removed or manipulated to the forum administrators’ advantage. He said, “Over the years I have monitored both www.ummah.net and www.ummah.com and their chat rooms. I know they hate me enough to try and discredit me.” (via)

That’s not much of a denial, and I reject it for two main reasons:

1) That Ummah.com alone/initially declared a direct link between ‘abuislam’ and Glen Jenvey is a false premise; Ummah.com declared a link between ‘abuislam’ and a post by ‘Richard Tims’. The link between ‘Richard Tims’ and Glen Jenvey was later revealed at Bloggerheads, and involved otherwise-innocuous spam submitted some 6+ months previous to multiple websites, including the website of a close ally of Jenvey’s.

2) If Jenvey is claiming or suggesting that he’s the victim of a set-up, he’ll have to do better than establish possible motive. As Richard Bartholomew points out here; “Rather more is required than simply asserting (or even proving) that Ummah.com is run by bad people.” (more)

But the main point I wish to raise in this post involves declarations of interest.

Right toward the end of the article, there’s a passage where Jeremy Reynalds refers to “Jenvey and former colleague Johnathan Galt”, but there is no mention at all of any past or present relationship Jeremy Reynalds might have with Glen Jenvey. In fact, that sentence could be read to mean that it is Jenvey and Galt who are former colleagues (i.e. connected professionally to each other and not to Reynalds).

There are many ways that Glen Jenvey and Jeremy Reynalds (and Jonathan Galt) have intersected online, but in an effort to convince Mr Reynalds to take a closer look at the evidence linking ‘Richard Tims’ to Glen Jenvey, I have decided to use the following single example, that also includes a heck of a lot of spam:

Over the weekend, D-Notice kindly got the ball rolling on a Wikipedia investigation into the PCCLIES sock puppet, which led me to browse through Wikipedia edits made under Glen Jenvey’s old profile.

When doing so, I noticed that Glen Jenvey had link-spammed Wikipedia to promote Jeremy Reynalds’ (now out of print) book War of the Web: Fighting the Online Jihad, here on this page about Islam.

Oh, and here on this page about Islamic terrorism, here on this page about the Tamil Tigers, here on this page about Al Qaeda, here on this page about Abu Hamza, here on this page about Hizb ut-Tahrir, here on this page about Osama Bin Laden, here on this page about ‘espionage’, , here on this page about the PLO, here on this page about Terrorism, here on this page about Cyberterrorism, here on this page about the September 11 attacks, and, quite hilariously, here on this page about ‘bestsellers’.

[Note – Jenvey made several attempts to spam some entries, most persistently on the entry for Al Qaeda. Many of these spam entries include crimes against the apostrophe that have since become Jenvey’s trademark, and though the relevant ‘talk’ page was deleted a long time ago, it’s a fair bet that this activity led to him being banned or flagged as a spammer, and subsequently starting one or more replacement accounts to edit his own entry, promote his websites at glen-jenvey.com, abuhamza.org.uk & sellyourstory.org, plug the literary works of Jeremy Reynalds, and/or ‘set the record straight’ on his relationship with the FBI. There’s one hell of a vapour trail waiting to be uncovered, by the looks of things. If I find myself with a spare hour or two I may go browsing again later.]

I will remind readers again that this is only one visible way in which Glen Jenvey and Jeremy Reynalds have intersected online.

If there is a past, present, personal and/or professional link between Jeremy Reynalds and Glen Jenvey, then Reynalds should have declared it in his article… even if only to claim that Jenvey is merely one of his biggest fans.

After all, Reynalds is a CEO and he has a master’s degree in communication; he should know what a conflict of interest is.

PS – Link-spamming the entry for the 7 July 2005 London bombings was a class act… but I’m sure Jenvey was thinking of the victims in his own special way when he did it.








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement | 16 Comments

Carol Thatcher: weblogs, frogs and golliwogs

The Times – Carol Thatcher’s golliwog remarks ‘made eyes roll in the green room’: Thatcher, who had been drinking, her spokeswoman admitted, is alleged to have referred to “the golliwog frog”, thought to be a reference to the French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has a white French mother and a black Congolese father. As some rolled their eyes and others challenged Thatcher about her use of the word, she is said to have responded, “well, he’s half-golliwog”, prompting Brand to leave the room in disgust.

1. Carol Thatcher just ran out of wiggle-room. I don’t care what was on her damn jam jars while she was clearly failing to grow up, she needs to be pulled up on this to some extent (while stopping short, one would hope, of burning the poor dear at the stake).

2. Derek Draper’s dishonest attack on Iain Dale has blinded a few people to Dale’s bad habit of vouching for people on the basis of what he assumes/asserts took place at an event that he himself did not witness. Compare his certainty that Carol Thatcher did not use/mean the word ‘golliwog’ in a bad way to his certainty that police questioning Damian Green did use/mean the word ‘grooming’ word in a bad way. Dale is a Tory propagandist, and people should stop expecting objectivity from his corner.








Posted in Tolerance | 5 Comments

PCC ‘in league with terrorists’ outrage shock exclusive

Hi folks! Regulars at Bloggerheads will know by now that I’m simply fascinated by the craft of sock-puppetry, and I have a cracker of a sock-puppet to show you.

[Note – If this is of little to no interest to you, then I invite you to instead enjoy the exciting events currently unfolding over at the Bad Science weblog; copyright claims are being used to dodge scrutiny. Hat-tip to Thomas for the heads-up.]

So far, an unknown number of anonymous web users operating primarily via the Lionheart weblog have been attempting to muddy the waters on the Glen Jenvey affair by claiming that the website hosted at Ummah.com is a terrorist/fundamentalist/extremist hive, hostel, hotbed, and what have you, as Jenvey himself was busy claiming after posing as an extremist on that website and passing off his planted comments as genuine.

I encountered a fresh pro-Jenvey sock-puppet this morning when I saw it being used to remove the following text from the Wikipedia entry for Glen Jenvey:

Criticism

Jenvey has been accused of falsifying evidence of Islamist threats. On 7 January 2009 the UK tabloid newspaper The Sun ran an exclusive front page story claiming that participants in a discussion on Ummah.com, a British Muslim internet forum, had made a “hate hit list” of British Jews to be targeted by extremists over the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict. Jenvey was quoted in the article as an anti-terror expert, stating, “Those listed [on the forum] should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs.”

The UK magazine Private Eye discovered that Jenvey, posting to the forum under the pseudonym “Abuislam”, was the only forum member promoting a hate campaign, while other members promoted peaceful advocacy. The story has since been removed from The Sun’s website following complaints to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission.[5][6]

The name of the profile used for the removal of this text is PCCLIES, and as that name suggests, the person behind it seeks to clear Jenvey’s name not only by hurling accusations at his accusers, but also by hurling accusations at the industry body currently investigating their accusations.

Clear so far? Good.

I’ve saved a screen capture of three of the main edits of five used to make this latest accusation, and you can follow those edits yourself in this order – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – but I thought you might like to see what the final accusation would look like if it had been written in red crayon:

Tch. What is it about Jenvey’s many anonymous supporters than their uniform difficulty with spelling and apostrophes?

[Psst! I know the claim about Private Eye discovering the Jenvey/Abuislam link is highly questionable, but there’s not a lot I can do about it until Private Eye admits in print that perhaps the anonymous tipster they’ve claimed elsewhere as their source obtained their information by the novel means of reading my website. There’s also the small matter of one of Private Eye’s own people emailing me and seeking help with the story prior to their publication, a hitherto-unpublished fact that I’m far more inclined to go public with now that I’ve emailed them about this and not had so much as the courtesy of a reply. Anyway, the short version is this is the way Wikipedia works, and not a lot can be done about it until the peeps at Private Eye decide to be a little more reasonable. Please do not try to correct this anomaly via Wikipedia, no matter how unfair it may seem.]








Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments

Boy Miliband boldly stands aside on torture

Telegraph – David Miliband says Britain right on ‘torture evidence’ refusal: He told MPs that the American authorities did not want documents discussing the Binyam Mohamed case to be made public, and that defying their wishes would not be in Britain’s national interest. He denied that the US had threatened to “break off” intelligence co-operation with the UK if the intelligence was revealed – apparently contradicting a ruling by two senior High Court judges who accused the Americans of putting pressure on the court.

Can anyone explain to me how matters and attitudes have improved since the previous administration?

UPDATE – Lib Dem Voice – David Miliband – two questions no-one asked him








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid | Comments Off

Emails to Downing Street delivered

Tom has kindly been keeping tabs on the Downing Street email situation, and he tells me that they’re a month away from a fix.

The emails I’ve gathered have been faxed to Downing Street, with the following message:

Hello, Downing Street Peeps.

The following are emails sent to emaildowningstreet@yahoo.co.uk to with the promise of hand-delivery to Downing Street.

I’ve just been informed that the email facility for the PM will (finally) be replaced within a month. This makes any kind of fuss over this surplus to requirements, so I’m faxing the data instead.

However, at some stage, if it’s not too much trouble, I would appreciate knowing just why it’s taken 6 months to fix or build a system that can process maybe 250 emails a day, especially when so many of them can be safely ignored, addressed with a ‘Gordon Brown thanks you for your letter’ reply, or passed on to the relevant authority.

Tim Ireland
manic[at]bloggerheads.com

PS – I don’t care if you’ve done away with the old system, you jokers still owe me £2000… or, in lieu of that, the simple courtesy of acknowledgement.

That “maybe 250 emails a day” figure is what I’ve calculated as the maximum everyday flow of emails based on the number of people searching for ways to email Gordon Brown, the PM, the Prime Minister, etc. (i.e. how many emails they would get if everybody looking for a way to do it actually wrote and sent something, which isn’t at all likely).

I didn’t collect anywhere near that many of course, but the small sample I did collect showed me that the types of email sent to the PM have not changed over the past few years. All that was missing from my checklist was some guy having a back-and-forth with his MP before dramatically CCing the PM on their conversation (“A-ha! You’re in for it now!”)

Initially, I wanted to use the opportunity to send an email myself (probing for a response about that lovely Mr Draper, who claims their blessing), but it can wait. For a bit. Maybe.

Draper’s way is widely recognised as manufactured and fraudulent, but the following PR parallels may be of interest;

1. Draper speaking of himself in third person in his comment-free updates column. Elements of Drudge and Staines.

2. People from his circle billing him as a ‘stalwart’ when he’s been online for two bloody weeks. Elements of Dale, Staines and Hilton.

These people bluffed their way through and bullshitted their way past pretty much everything that makes a blog a blog, and fast-tracked their way to influence by the simple measure of declaring themselves important.

The only difference between them and Draper is that they’ve had more time to perfect their technique.

Allowing Draper rope is a risk.

(Unless of course the plan is to match the current circle of self-promoting pseudo-bloggers like-for-like in pitched battles of rigged arguments and manufactured outrage, in which case development is well ahead of schedule and you should be celebrating with boat drinks before the year is out. We’ve already reached a stage where every conversation needs two threads, because neither party can trust the other to host it.)

Related Bloggage:
Turbulent Cleric – Thatcher was crass but Draper is the real villain!








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Snow day!

A small selection of photos I took when out and about today.

In other news, Iain Dale is waving the ‘fascist’ tag about, and David Cameron throws like a girl.








Posted in Photos | 3 Comments

What could possibly go wrong?

Press Gazette – Revised Sun freelance rates ‘lowest on Fleet Street’: The Sun and The Times have cut the freelance rates paid for stories and pictures to levels condemned as “completely unacceptable” by the National Association of News and Picture Agencies. The move follows a review of operations which could also see widespread cuts to staff journalists across News International – especially among production staff, according to sources at Wapping… Sun deputy managing editor Richard Barun has informed news agencies of the cuts to rates in a letter in which he insists that The Sun remains the “the biggest overall payer in the business”. He said: “I’m please to say that The Sun will continue to pay more than any of our rivals for great exclusive words and pictures.”

The Sun, by their own admission, concentrate their spending on splash at the expense of substance, to a greater extent than any competitor… and they seem quite proud of it.

You know what this story needs for that added human touch? This story needs an extra quote or two… preferably from a member of the National Association of News and Picture Agencies.

Say… the South West News Service, if I were to choose a member agency at random.

/cheeky








Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 2 Comments

Jenvey: another long and boring post about sock puppets

Read Richard Bartholomew and this comment thread on the subject of Lionheart’s serial retro-moderation and other sudden changes of heart.

Richard Bartholomew reports that Lionheart is back, and defending Glen Jenvey.

All of the comments presently under that latest Lionheart post about Jenvey are, in my view, most probably from Jenvey.

Most if not all are unmistakably written by the same person.

And reading them may amuse you, the readers of this obscure blog.

Data below the fold.

[———– fold ————–]

Continue reading








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 14 Comments