Waterboarding is torture

VIDEO: Vanity Fair – On the WaterboardHow does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantanamo and elsewhere. VF.com has the footage.

ARTICLE: Christopher Hitchens – Believe Me, It’s Torture: You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning – or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure.

Hooray for our side. Ain’t this war on terrism a magnificent, worthy and well-conducted affair? (via)








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 3 Comments

On the subject of Nadine Dorries and some recent deletions

Well, it looks like Phil Hendren isn’t the only retro-moderating right-wing blogger on the loose today; Nadine Dorries is busily rearranging her website to avoid the consequences of a complaint she was laughing off just a few short days ago.

Too bad for her that I have copies saved. This is something you eventually get into a habit of doing when you’re obsessive when you’re dealing with a whole tribe of pseudo-bloggers who have a history of changing their website(s)/profile(s), inventing back-stories and/or and claiming that this or that never happened.

:o)

Unity says it best right here:

Call it a ‘code of honour’ if you like, but the general gist is that reverse-engineering your way out of an embarrassing situation is a no-no and a major breach of ethics in a medium in which reputation and transparency of behaviour are part of the social glue that keeps the medium ticking over.

Speaking of deletions and reputations, I was reminded of a past event this morning by Nadine’s most recent nonsense and Phil Hendren’s outrage over a ‘set up’ and – after checking one the darker corners of the web and seeing that this too has been retro-moderated out of existence – I can finally file a full report without fear of inadvertently libelling Nadine Dorries in the process:

Way back when Nadine Dorries was levelling false accusations at Dr Ben Goldacre, Ellee Seymour was busily retro-moderating her website to keep pesky facts at bay, and Phil Hendren (aka ‘Dizzy’) was helpfully running interference by being a deliberate pain in the arse, ‘Dizzy’ managed to get not-at-all-outraged when someone laid a little honey-trap for me that was so OTT it was actually damaging to the woman he claimed to be defending at the time.

The events are best explained by publishing this email that I sent to Nadine Dorries in November last year (and no, she didn’t reply to it):

—– Original Message —–
From: Tim Ireland
To: dorriesn@parliament.uk
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 2:51 PM
Subject: URGENT: actionable claims

Dear Nadine,

Just in case you’re not already aware, the following anonymous weblog was created by persons unknown in the early hours of Saturday morning:

http://ironedsardine.blogspot.com/

An attempt was made to anonymously publish links to that URL at the following websites:

http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/

http://www.bobpiper.co.uk/

http://www.ministryoftruth.org.uk/

Each of the webmasters of the above websites took swift action to remove the URL and/or references to it (example)…

http://www.bobpiper.co.uk/2007/11/you_know_who_theyre_writing_ab.php

… but you should be aware that the person behind this website will most likely continue in their attempts to – by implication – smear those who have been critical of you, while not giving a damn about the possible cost to yourself.

(In case it is not clear, I am aware of the rumour behind the most actionable claim made on this anonymous weblog, and I have expressed a view on it here [snip])

I have my suspicions about who is behind the anonymous weblog but, sadly, cannot share them with you.

I can, however, issue you with a warning that what appears to be a clear trail to the person behind it (the IP address that appears as if it were used to create the anonymous weblog and make a relevant edit to Wikipedia: see below) is almost certainly a FALSE one, laid out for my benefit.

Nevertheless, I have already issued an abuse report [*] to the relevant provider, as this could be an important first step to confirming – at least – if any IP shenanigans are afoot.

You may wish to issue a complaint to Blogger.com about the content, but you should also be aware that I’ve been involved in a similar case…

http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2006/08/proof_mike_chambers.asp

… and Blogger will in these cases either refuse to remove the material and/or ‘helpfully’ suggested that you get in touch with the site owner (who, obviously, is going to great lengths to mask their identity).

This anonymous weblog had a tracking package in place that was not only accessible to the public, but openly dangled. It provides the following data about the first tracked visits to the anonymous weblog that clearly show referrals from Blogger-based URLs indicating that this first tracked visitor is also the blog creator:

http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s20ironedsardine&v=1&r=9&vlr=8&pg=21&d=1112

The same IP address was logged during this (since corrected) edit at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nadine_Dorries&diff=prev&oldid=170538614

I cannot stress enough that I think this is a false trail laid out for my benefit, but it might regardless pay to check the IP addresses used to submit to you – via comments and email – the ‘vicious and personal’ material you claim to have received and see if 87.102.42.211 is among them.

Regards,

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – I do look forward to the day when you can allow comments on your site again, not least because it will save me a small amount of time and effort. I would heartily recommend the use of WordPress, which is far superior to your current platform in every respect, but will also say that you will have difficulty regardless of platform until you deliver the apology that Ben Goldacre deserves.

[*I got nothing back from that report, BTW.]

This was, in short, a joe-job and a honey trap:

The creator was attempting to pose as an opponent of Dorries under comments on several weblogs, thereby establishing those bloggers as co-bullies and publishers of links to clear libel. If it were left at that, it would be potentially damaging to all opponents of Dorries.

If I blogged about the joe-job and/or followed the trail that was so obviously dangled, there was clear risk of repeating the libel myself and making false claims about the person(s)/organisations using the relevant IP address.

Now, I wish to stress here that this was an effort to damage the opponents of Nadine Dorries with no thought for the damage it might cause her; the claims made about her sex life were quite specific and quite explicit.

(Obviously I’m not going to give any details, but the relevant Wikipedia edit should give you a good idea of how low this one person would go.)

And yet Phil Hendren, who was right there and part of the conversation when this site was created and promoted, has so far managed to contain his outrage about that attempted set-up.

Unless, of course, he somehow missed it or was simply trying to be as cautious/considerate as I was.

[Over to you, ‘Dizzy’. What are your thoughts on the unknown author of the ‘Ironed Sardine’ weblog? Got any moral outrage to spare, me old mucker? Just while we’re waiting for our mystery player to get back from their holiday…]

UPDATE – It was John Hirst’s idea of a joke, apparently. More here.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

Dizzy’s back, and it looks like he brought a bottle of angria home from his holiday. The short version is that he’s skipping the important bits and basing part of his (constantly changing) side of the story on a retro-moderated post.

While we wait for Mr Hendren to get his story straight (and for someone else to get back from their holiday), here’s a group of angry young men who really, really, really wish they were The Jam:

UPDATE (2 Jul) – 1. Gosh, did you see what I did there? Upon updating the post, I actually gave an indication that the post had been updated. I didn’t pretend that all of this was said yesterday like that retro-moderating dipstick Phil Hendren (who, regardless, is in no position to lecture anybody about failing to link to what they’re talking about).

2. This whole “Tell your mother that I’m not talking to her!” routine is a wee bit absurd and tiresome, but made necessary by a man so childish that he (still!) redirects inbound links from me and refuses all forms of direct communication… when he’s not calling me at home and telling me about his sex life.

3. Incidentally, we’re still not sure if he’s called on more than two occasions (a total of six times). There have been some calls in recent months involving some anonymous sod who hangs up when my wife answers. Phil may wish to declare something on that front before we go any further, but don’t get your hopes up for anything beyond him screaming ‘conjecture’.

4. He’s had a very long time to get his story straight, and he’s not doing very well. The best example of this is the ever-changing story about how he got my number, but more on that – and details of his latest call – a bit further on. I’d like to put this to bed, but I really am waiting for someone else to get back from holiday.

5. It’s your call, but others might wish to hang back a bit, too. No sense going off half-cocked on a total cock.

6. Contrary to what ‘Dizzy’ may think or say at the moment, I’m not making anonymous comments on his website. That’s more his kind of thing than mine. Oh, and the time previous to this when ‘Dizzy’ first called my home to yell at me (after publishing my phone number on his website)? It all started when that sock-puppeting fool (and his wannabe chum Praguetory) claimed that Tom Watson was sock-puppeting on his website… but comments that he claimed were from Tom Watson were made at the very moment we were watching Tom Watson in the House on live television! He didn’t appreciate me disturbing his version of reality at all, but at least he found an excellent excuse to later delete the exchange.

(Scenario #1: Tom smuggles a laptop into the Commons and makes anonymous comments on Phil Hendren’s website during the Budget because what ‘Dizzy’ thinks is *that* important. Scenario #2 – Tom gives a loyal underling access to his account so he/she may make comments in his place while, in the manner of a character in one of Jeffrey Archer’s shittiest short stories, he uses his appearance in the House as an alibi, because what ‘Dizzy’ thinks is *that* important. Scenario #3 – Tom’s account was hacked, because his password was ‘1234’.)

7. Any fool any fool bar one should be able to see that Nine Below Zero were not being praised yesterday, but here’s a clue for the slowpokes:

“… Dizzy only rated a mention because he cared enough to call me at home. Again.” – (Me @ CY)

And now, here’s a group of passionate young men (getting plenty of action) who really, really, really wish they were Duran Duran. Too bad they can’t even manage to get the boat out of the bloody harbour:








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Relax. Don’t struggle. Try not to fight it. You’ll only hurt yourself.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.








Posted in Flash Music Video, Games and Objects | 3 Comments

Shh! Don’t tell Iain or Paul, but…

Civil action can be quite pricey and sometimes dicey, but for those with no time for critics and no taste for accountability, there is an alternative… call the cops and scream ‘harassment':

Slugger O’Toole – Power of arrest used against Belfast blogger: I cannot and do not wish to speak to the veracity of Murray’s claims against the individuals named on his website. Free speech is rightly moderated by a civil code that gives both sides the opportunity to put their case before a court of law. There is certainly a case for the involvement of the police if a blogger, or one of their commenters implies physical threats against a specific individual. But I’ve been through Murray’s blog and have not been able to find any evidence of such; which might explain why no charges appear to have been preferred. If Malachi is right, the use of police power of arrest appears to have been used directly against a citizen for criticising several public figures on the Internet. That’s a development that should worry more than just the citizens of Belfast.

[Psst! On the subject of (ahem) strategic use of recent harassment law, do take the time to learn more about Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden.]








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

Six quickies

1. The reason there aren’t more results for the “Which right-wing ‘blogger’ are you?” quiz; the wannabes (who I’ll be kind enough not to list here) all copy the techniques used by Mummy blogger and Daddy blogger, so there’s very little difference between them. (Outsiders should take note that this quiz relates only to pseudo-bloggers from the right, not genuine bloggers from the right.)

2. The totally non-partisan and not at all right-wing magazine wad of junk mail Total Politics has a chart of the (alleged) “Greatest Speeches of All Time”. There were some red faces yesterday when it emerged that Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech was named one of the very greatest. Not *the* greatest, mind. Only third-greatest. The top two spots are taken by… Ronald Reagan.

(rolls eyes)

Iain’s problem (the same problem experienced with 18 Doughty Street) is going to be that he sees things like this… and doesn’t see a problem.

Another case in point; while lecturing Nelson Mandela on political/moral leadership, Iain has published an outright “Hang Mandela” comment in this discussion thread. Moderation is on (and has been on for months). This means that Iain has to read each comment before it’s cleared for publication. This comment – “Hang Nelson Mandela” – was seen and approved before publication, and not deleted, moderated or challenged by Iain Dale. I can’t wait to hear his excuse for this one. (via)

3. Onto a different but equally distorted world, I’d like to heartily endorse this item from Terence Blacker:

Terence Blacker: A teacher takes off his shirt. Cue panic: It is a simple of story of teacher-bullying, but with the unusual gloss that the child bullies were rewarded by the education authorities, who joined in the campaign of persecution. The victim became the villain. What has been more interesting has been the reaction of other teachers and from the media. While any sane adult or teenager could see that Mr Rouse had merely been a bit of chump, the response in the press has been to eroticise the incident. What the stripping teacher did, the implication has been, had some kind of murky, intimate motive…. A weird and not entirely healthy act of psychological transference seems to be taking place. By interpreting innocent acts, whether taking off a shirt or playing tennis, as erotic, the prudes and pervs of today are revealing their own sexual restiveness.

Well noted, and well said.

Ditto for the Heinz Deli Mayo ad nonsense. The only thing remotely offensive about it is that the (weak) joke relies on a common assumption that women make the sandwiches.

[For the record: (a) a woman makes most of the sandwiches in our house, (b) I have actually used this product, (c) on more than one sandwich that I made myself, and (d) the garlic variety is really quite tasty.]

Moving on…

4. The Times – Labour finish behind BNP in election humiliation: Labour came a humiliating fifth place behind the BNP and the Greens last night in the Henley by-election caused by Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor. Gordon Brown’s first anniversary as Labour leader began with the party securing only 1,066 votes, losing its £500 deposit, and having its working majority in the House of Commons cut to 65, as John Howell, the Conservative candidate, succeeded Mr Johnson in the Oxfordshire seat.

Ouch. A terrible end to an awful first year for Gordon Brown (more).

(But don’t get me wrong… I’m still glad that this lying, torturing murdering bastard is gone.)

5. Meanwhile another disaster looms… but who will face eviction? That’s right folks, here comes the Big Brother by-election!

(Name/idea blatantly stolen from David Icke, but that’s OK… he still owes me for nicking my images.)

PA – Davis to face 25 rivals in election: David Davis will face 25 other candidates in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, the acting returning officer has confirmed. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have already said they will not take part in the contest. But a range of individuals and smaller parties had officially thrown their hats into the ring by the time nominations closed. These include the well-known conspiracy theorist David Icke, Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate Mad Cow-Girl and Miss Great Britain, Gemma Garrett. Among the other parties that will be on the ballot paper is the Church of Militant Elvis Party and a representative of Make Politicians History. Nominations for poll closed on Thursday afternoon and voting will be on July 10. (via)

26 housemates and one big eviction night, how can the punters possibly resiszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..snrk*.

Wha? Where? Oh, sorry, dropped off for a bit there.

6. To close, here are some links relating to the Blog Nation event:

Liberal Conspiracy – Pictures from Blog Nation <--- includes links to many more Charlie Beckett – The UK Left Blogosphere: staring defeat in the face
Dave Cole – Blog Nation part 2: qu’est-que c’est le blog?

Don’t expect much from me just yet. I’m a busy beaver for the next few days and I need a leisurely walk or two before I can really think things out.








Posted in Gordon Brown, The Political Weblog Movement, The War on Stupid, Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

Wipe your chin, David

Telegraph – Conservative expenses row: David Cameron says MPs have to be ‘open and accountable’: David Cameron has pledged to get tough with MPs and MEPs who break the rules over their expenses following a series of Conservative sleaze allegations… “We have got to recognise as MPs it is not enough just to meet the letter of the rules we have to be happy that everything we put in place for funding our offices is something that reasonable and practical people would look at and say ‘That’s OK.'”

Cow cookies!

As usual, Cameron seems like a perfectly reasonable gent until you ask him to deliver something other than a sermon.

UPDATE – Progress on a related matter… well done, Sunny!

Pandora – Dorries in blogosphere battle: Having recently faced defeat over her controversial abortion bill, Nadine Dorries is embroiled in another row – over her website. The Tory member’s blog – which, of course, Pandora reads regularly – has attracted criticism for its personal attacks on opponents. One recent post included a picture of comely housing minister Caroline Flint alongside drawings of the considerably-less-comely Pinocchio. “Don’t call me a liar, minister,” reads the entry. “It will come back to bite you.” Sunny Hundal, editor of the Liberal Conspiracy blog, complained to the Parliamentary Standards Commission, voicing concerns that Dorries may fund the site with taxpayers’ money. “We noticed it a few weeks ago,” Hundal tells me. “We’ve got a letter saying the complaint is to be taken seriously.” Dorries denies using public money. The Commissioner has written urging Dorries to make her funding arrangements known.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

Some quiz goodness for you

A little treat for you, fresh from the potting shed:

QUIZ: which right-wing ‘blogger’ are you?

Good luck.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

Where’s Wally Squad?

Where's Wally SquadOK folks, it’s time to play an exciting new game called Where’s Wally Squad?

To play this game, all you need is a pair of sharp eyes, and the following information:

This Daily Mail article describes a person who is:

– Present at the anti-Bush demonstration in London on 15 June 2008

– In/near the front line(s) of protestors at the Whitehall barricade before the batons started swinging

– Tall, wearing a white t-shirt, carrying a black rucksack/backpack and “a professional-looking camera with a large telephoto lens”

– Screaming abuse at the police

It is alleged in the Daily Mail article that this person is also a policeman. And probably not an off-duty one.

Finding photos of this person or, ideally, video of him acting as described in this article is a tall order that probably won’t change more than a few minds, but with all those cameras around on the day I think it’s worth a shot.

I’ve browsed around Flickr and YouTube and Indymedia and the blogosphere. One possible match has come up and quickly been eliminated as a contender.

I think getting photographers to have a look through their unpublished photos and/or raw footage is the key here, not least because some of these people are quite likely to recognise other/regular demo photographers (i.e. those that are not undercover policemen sent in to mouth off and justify some good old-fashioned head-kicking).

So, if you’d like to play, go forth to places where such photos/videos are published and get browsing.

If you think you have a lead, or even if you hit a dead end, simply ask those who have captured promising images if they have any more and/or provide them with a link to this Daily Mail article and ask them if they saw the chap described.

Good luck!

I have a new possible match for you, and if anyone can provide any information either way, please speak up. (These are from some previously unpublished photos by Davide.)

UPDATE – Another one we can rule out by the looks of things, but now that Galloway is naming names (see Comments) the hunt should get a lot more interesting.

[Psst! Amusingly, because it was so crowded when our man was (reportedly) in action, the people most likely to have a clear frontal shot of him are… the police.]








Posted in The War on Stupid | 5 Comments

Agent provocateur rumbled?

Daily Mail (!) – Was ‘friend’ who yelled abuse at police on anti-war demo a stooge or a thug, asks writer: As a throng of protesters built up by the barriers, an extremely animated demonstrator in a white T-shirt caught my eye. He was near the front screaming abuse at the police and trying to get a friend further back to join him. The second man sheepishly refused his encouragements to edge forward. The man in the T-shirt was tall, well-built and handsome, smiling but with a hint of menace. He pushed aside children and elderly people. He continued to shout slogans such as: ‘Pigs Out.’ On his back was a black rucksack and he carried a professional-looking camera with a large telephoto lens. (via)

Is this him?” asks blogger:

These are grabs from this video captured at the front line. The man matching the description of the writer’s ‘friend’ can be seen at 1:32, 1:45 and 4:30 (i.e. right at the very end).

I’ve scanned through most of the available videos and stills and can’t find (a) any better matches for the description or (b) any clearer shots of this guy.

Perhaps you can do better.

UPDATE:

Q: “Is this him?”
A: According to bat020 (and others) it’s not.

See comments for more.

UPDATE – No names under comments, please. But do please sound off if you have illuminating photos/videos to share.

UPDATE (24 Jun) – There’s a solid lead on who is described in the Daily Mail article, but NO NAMES please until we get better photographic or video evidence. Video footage of the git behaving as described in the Daily Mail article would be the clincher.

Some hunting and emailing will be happening in the background today.








Posted in The War on Stupid | 9 Comments