22 years

February 10th, 2013

Why My Bloody Valentine's 'mbv' Has Come Too Late To Stop The End Of The World:

Thanks Kevin. Thanks a fucking bunch for taking 22 years to make a record that could have saved the world. All you had to do was make a bunch of songs that sound like being hit on the head with a shovel after doing poppers while listening to a melancholy whale sighing. But you couldn't be bothered and now we're all going to die in planet wide nuclear annihilation.

[Via The Null Device]

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Showcasing his post-prison body

February 11th, 2012

Sometimes I think Marina Hyde is wasted on the Guardian's Lost in Showbiz column. Then she writes a piece like Abu Qatada's weight and the showbizification of terror and I realise she's exactly where she needs to be, doing $DEITY's work:

[The Daily Mail…] is distressed the corporation should regard "extremist" as a value judgment best avoided in news reports, where "radical" would do. But more than that, it seems, they are incensed at the Beeb's guidance on Qatada's present dimensions, despite the fact it was clearly only given to ensure current rather than out-of-date stock pictures are used. "BBC staff have also been advised against using images of the preacher looking fat," the paper shrieks to its readers. "He is apparently now much slimmer than he used to be."

"Apparently"? Now come, come, Daily Mail. This disingenuity does not become you. I put it to you that you knew very well indeed that Qatada had slimmed down – just as you are aware of even minuscule cellular changes in the adipose layers of everyone from Cheryl Cole to third-tier government ministers to babies such as Harper Beckham, who are only one whitewashed inquiry into press standards away from being described as "pouring their curves" into romper-suits and the like.

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'This is the weapon of the enemy. We do not need it. We will not use it.'

October 24th, 2011

Scott Eric Kaufman confirms that Frank Miller's Holy Terror is every bit as dreadful as the whole BatmanCostumed vigilante-versus-Osama bin Laden concept sounded back when he announced the project in 2006:

If you thought his sexism was shameless, you should see his xenophobia […]

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Cormac Ignatieff's 'The Road'

June 19th, 2011

This is a few years old now, but still worth a read: David Rees deciphers Cormac Ignatieff's The Road

Hello everyone! Personal message to all the New Yorkers out there: Did you read Michael Ignatieff's essay in the the NY Times Magazine? If so, contact me ASAP to let me know you're OK. I put your flyer up at Grand Central Station, but have heard no response.

Myself, I'm just making my way out of the debilitating Level-Five Mind Fog that came from reading the thing. Even my "Second Life avatar" has a headache! (Hey young people, did I get that right? Hope so! See you in "Warcraft Worlds!")

The essay is called "Getting Iraq Wrong." And baby, if Michael Ignatieff got Iraq wrong, I don't want him to be right! Because this essay can MAKE LEMONADE IN YOUR MIND. […]

[Via MeFi user docgonzo, posting to this MetaFilter thread]

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Lord Vader declared that 'justice has been done'

May 11th, 2011

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says – Galactic Empire Times:

Obi-Wan Kenobi's demise is a defining moment in the stormtrooper-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who turned against the Empire at the end of the Clone Wars. What remains to be seen, however, is whether it galvanizes Kenobi's followers by turning him into a martyr or serves as a turning of the page in the war against the Rebel Alliance and gives further impetus to Emperor Palpatine to step up Stormtrooper recruitment.

In an earlier statement issued to the press, Kenobi boasted that striking him down could make him "more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

[Via Ghost in the Machine]

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… but …

May 2nd, 2011

Quote of the day:

"I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

Mark Twain Clarence Darrow

[Post updated to correct attribution. jr 3 May 2011]

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Alexander Haig, Pope John Paul II, and Gabriele D'Annunzio

September 11th, 2010

I know I seem to link to the Adam Curtis blog pretty much every time he makes a new post, but that's only because he keeps posting such good stuff. His latest piece, on the origins of the notion that disparate terrorist groups are actually working in a common cause, relates the following, positively farcical, sequence of events:

[Claire] Sterling was a journalist who lived in Italy. She took all the "evidence" of Soviet control that was produced a the conference and bundled it up together into a book called The Terror Network.

It had a dramatic thesis.

It said that there was a "Global Terror Network" underneath the surface of most Western societies and the Middle East.

That all of them – the Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhof gang, Provisional IRA, South Moluccans, Japanese Red Army, Iranian terrorists, Turkish People's Liberation Army, Spain's ETA, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah, the military arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization were all part of a grand Soviet scheme.

The aim of the scheme was to force the police in a Western democracies to crack down on individual freedoms. Then a repressive police state would emerge and breed resentment – making the masses ripe for Communist revolution.

[…]

William Casey, the new head of the CIA also read and believed Sterling's book.

The only problem was the no-one else took it seriously.

Many of those running the Reagan administration knew that the Soviet Union was supporting and arming liberation movements in the developing world, but they didn't believe in the Global Terror Network.

Casey met with his CIA analysts. He told them that the book – The Terror Network – "has told me more than you bastards whom I pay $50,000 a year."

His analysts then patiently explained to him that much of Claire Sterling's evidence was composed of Black Propaganda they themselves had invented and spread around Europe to discredit to Soviets.

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Twitter Terrorist II: The Reckoning

May 12th, 2010

Remember Paul Chambers, the Twitter terrorist? Back in January, when the harsh winter was threatening to close Doncaster's Robin Hood airport, he posted:

"Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

Guess what happened next:

I never expected to be charged, but a month later I was: not under the offence of making a bomb threat, for which I was originally arrested, but under the communications act for the offence of sending a menacing message. […] Even after all the preceding absurdity and near-breakdown-inducing stress, I was confident common sense would prevail in my day in court.

Unfortunately, yesterday I was found guilty and ordered to pay £1,000 in fines and legal costs, which I have to find along with my own legal costs of another £1,000. I am considering an appeal, though I have no means, having left my job due to the circumstances.

I wonder if our new Justice Secretary has any thoughts about whether taking Chambers to court really served the interests of justice.

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Twitter terror

February 11th, 2010

Was this tweet from unhappy traveller Paul Chambers in poor taste?

"Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

Perhaps so. Perhaps not. Depends who he was talking to. I'd imagine that any family/friends/acquaintances were following him on Twitter probably knew his sense of humour and, quite possibly, his travel plans.1

Was this a textbook case of an official overreaction?

A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat. After he was released on bail, he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and has, he says, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life.

Hell, yes! Unless, that is, the prosecution reveal that their trawl through Chambers' computer has revealed evidence that he actually is a spectacularly dim terrorist wannabe.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

As an added bonus, I'll bet Chambers will be on various watch lists for the rest of his days, or until officials everywhere develop a sense of proportion in dealing with 'terrorist threats.'2

[Via Groc's various musings]

  1. He was due to fly out from the airport the following week.
  2. Again, I won't be holding my breath while I await the blessed day.

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Terrorising researchers

May 25th, 2008

Do you feel safer?

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

My favourite part of the story comes later, when a university spokesperson, explaining that it was perfectly reasonable to report the downloading of the document to the police, observed that "there is an expectation that you will act sensibly within current UK law." It's a shame we can't expect the same of the authorities.

[Via Progressive Gold]

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