Friday, February 25, 2005

Independent vs. Privatized
I noticed something interesting regarding language use on the Today program. On Monday morning they were interviewing the Health Secretary John Reid did an interesting language fiddle – whenever he needed to refer to the private contactors in a report about cockups in a privatized scanner program, he used the word independent. Privatized is a word with negative stigma attached due to botched jobs and greedy corporate robbery. Rather than change the G8 mandated policy, its far easier to use words like independent, reform and modernize. Neo-Labour have taken this one straight from the neo-cons playbook.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Learning About al-Qaeda
I have just finished reading al-Qaeda - The True Story of Radical Islam by Jason Burke. It's is a very good read. He was one of the talking heads in the top BBC series, The Power of Nightmares. At the start of the book he gives a good description of the meaning of the phrase 'al-Qaeda' which reminded me of Dune by Frank Herbert - as many have noted! al_Qaeda "..can mean base, as in camp or a home, a foundation, such as what is beneath a house or a pedestal that supports a column" while Dune's central character is named by a desert tribesman as Usul, meaning "The strength at the base of a pillar."

Anyway, I thought I knew the score with what al-Qaeda were about and where they came from, but after reading this, I guess I did not. I would go as far as to say this, in the current climate, is essential reading. In the conclusion he talks about how the so-called war on terror is being fought, "Currently military power is the default, the weapon of choice, in fact the greatest weapon available in the war on terrorism is the courage, decency, humour and integrity of the vast portion of the worlds 1.3 billion Muslims. It is this that is restricting the spread of al-Qaeda and its warped world view, not the activities of counter-terrorist experts or the military strategists." He ends by linking to a foot-note of leaked memo by Donald Rumsfeld, "We are having mixed results with Al Qaeda, although we have put considerable pressure on them - nonetheless, a great many remain at large...Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?....The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

communiqué from occupied Bristol #1
Bringing you the choicest cuts of breakcore, fuckstep, mashup, electronica and raggajungle; it's the return Parasite and 606 show!

Our dedicated guerrilla army of beat-warriors are scouring the globe for the best sounds around, while our Bristol massive are hunting high and low in our own back garden for interesting vibes to bring to the table. But it's not all music - filmmaker and VJ extraordinaire Anakissed will be joining us for topical debate and political anecdotes.

Tune in to hear the results TONIGHT!!!:
at 20:00-22:00 GMT.

We'll broadcasting from Parasite HQ fortnightly every Thursday night. Login to the Hijact forum to request tracks/chat etc..,6.0.html

Friday, February 11, 2005

Breaking the Democracy-Free Tade Link
On the issue of business waking up to the opportunities of state communism China stylee – all the benefits of free trade with none of the drawbacks of communism - They [Walmart aka Asda] are allowing unions if they are affiliated with the Communist Party in China. These unions act like Wal-Mart does when it comes to getting wage increases, they don’t give them.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Urban Fox
I saw a fox this morning at about 6am on St.Nicholas Road! I have seen foxes in Bristol before, but normaly on the edges of the city, along the cycle path etc. This was slap-bang in the middle of BS2! Wish I had had a camera to take a piccy!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Software Patent Battle
Bristol has been named as one of seven UK cities to hold a debate on the issue of software patents on 18th March this year. Why does this matter? Recently an attempt was made to push an EU law that would create very strong copyright protections for big business and massively restrict the creation of free (as in freedom) and open source software. In response various groups such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) launched a campaign to urge a think again. Indeed one such call, from the FSF founder, Richard Stallman, was issued in Bristol in 2004. The law being proposed was very much along the line of the US copyrights laws, which have been accused of stifling creative and individual freedom. Fortunately this proposed law has been scrapped and so has been forced back to the drawing board.

This gives a chance to open up the debate, which, unlike last time will allow more than just hand-picked company people to participate. Do you value open-source/free software? If you are using Open Office, Linux/GNU, Firefox, eMule, Gnutella, Bittorrent, Wikipedia or indeed Indymedia – then this ethos of technology is having some impact on your life!

If you wish to take part in the debate, you need to register by 18th February here:

If you wish to know more about the ideas of the Free Software Foundation then see here: