Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The War on Terror: Hearts & Minds Loss

I watched the documentary 'Age of Terror' by Peter Taylor the other day about the IRA bombing of the remembrance day parade back in 1987. Part of the discussion of the attack was around if the IRA planned to kill civilians and it seemed to be the consensus that they did not, but they were more than prepared to accept them as 'collateral' for the attack on the security forces. The framing of this bit was with revulsion, of course. But if you follow this line, this is the same justification Britain and America uses in Iraq and Afghanistan, that some resistance groups in Iraq use when they plant an IED and so on. Some groups are deliberately targeting civilians, a further jump down the moral pit. I would argue that the UK/U$ abandonment of any pretense of morality in this war is not much different from the 'evil dooers'. This brings me to my 'quote for the day';

The war on terror, O'Connor [counsel to Salahuddin Amin, tortured with complicity the of MI5] suggested, "has led those on both sides ... to share common standards of illegality and immorality".

The same documentary also highligted how the IRA's war could only have been ended politically. So click here is a 'picture for the day';

Says it all really.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Coming Housing Crash

It has been coming for some time, back in 2003 I was predicting this (yes, blowing the trumpet);

When the economy takes a down-turn, as surly one day it will, interest rates will rise and jobs will be lost. Then the time-bomb explodes. Those morgaged to the hilt will loose their homes. Those without their own homes in rented property will find their rent rising to meet the morgage costs. The already strained housing sectors, despite having the space to house us all will, because of economic factors out of our control, begin tearing a the fabric of the city. Developments will lay derelict, monuments to lost opportunities. The global investors will move out of our city, happy to wait until the market bounces back to realise a return on their investments. We’ll be picking up the pieces while they move their attentions to profitable opportunities elsewhere.

Well Inside Track, the buy-to-let venture, feeding of people's greed, has becomes the lastest victim in the crash;

Inside Track, the company that spearheaded the buy-to-let investment boom, is to go into administration early this morning. The demise of the firm, which once promised to show customers "how you could give up work and be a property millionaire instead", comes as buy-to-let mortgages dry up amid tumbling values for British new-build flats, Spanish apartments and Florida homes.

And I suspect there is more to come.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

GoatLab Rocking It

The last goatlab was a wicked night out, really good fun and some amazing music so a big thanks to all for putting it on. Metro ran an interesting interview with the headliner, Symtheme;

And Parasite's daughter, Rhapsody, drew a Dalek with a guitar to commemorate the night!

Translation of Rhapsody's text here, more photo's here.

See you at the next one on 20th June!
System Collapse

Reading in the paper about how plastic made from corn-starch is having a detrimental impact on the climate and global food prices just goes to show how we can't consume our way out the problems we face. Perhaps this is why environmental writers like Paul Kingsnorth are sanguine about global warming, arguing it is too late to change the massive momentum of the capital-consumption machine. It is also compounded with the recent strike by the Grangemouth refinery workers about how the 'just-in-time' system is so vulnerable that the temporary closure of one plant threatens the whole UK system - there is no resilience in the system - and now it looks like it is inevitable;

DOOMSDAY. The end of civilisation. Literature and film abound with tales of plague, famine and wars which ravage the planet, leaving a few survivors scratching out a primitive existence amid the ruins. Every civilisation in history has collapsed, after all. Why should ours be any different?....Lester Brown [of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC] thinks we are fast running out of time. “The world can no longer afford to waste a day. We need a Great Mobilisation, as we had in wartime,” he says. “There has been tremendous progress in just the past few years. For the first time, I am starting to see how an alternative economy might emerge. But it’s now a race between tipping points – which will come first, a switch to sustainable technology, or collapse?”

Tainter is not convinced that even new technology will save civilisation in the long run. “I sometimes think of this as a ‘faith- based’ approach to the future,” he says. Even a society reinvigorated by cheap new energy sources will eventually face the problem of diminishing returns once more. Innovation itself might be subject to diminishing returns, or perhaps absolute limits.

Couple of other links worth reading;

- Who to Vote for by the Green's Charile Bolton, a study in why our political system is crap and full of lying politicians.
- The Pointy Heads, Ian Bone's attack on those who preach while not doing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Creationism: Its All Bunk

It is a little tedious to get into if people are pro/anti-science per-se. It is often more complex than that. For example, I could be called anti-GM - I don't have any moral objections to the idea of manipulating genes, but I do have a moral objection to the implemntation of this technology as we don't really understand it as yet and it is another control method. However when it comes to creationism/Intelligent Design, it is clearly just rubbish;

In six months, evolution's 'just so story' led to new drug targets for new HIV/AIDS therapies, and a brand new avenue of research for immunologists and virologists all over the world (tetherins role in influenza, ebola, EBV, herpes, whoo!!!!).... But what would have happened in Bizarro World? What would have happened if Intelligent Design Creationists were in charge...What [have the creationists] been doing the past six months? How [have they] contributed to the HIV research community? The medical community? The scientific community? ...What have they done in the past six months to help stop AIDS, cancer, influenza, MSRA, anything??

But that did not stop the Bristol Festival of Ideas from promoting it, along with a class-A wargonger.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Realpolitik Iraq

All those people who died to give Iraq 'freedom' and 'democracy', all those trillions spent to get it. This is what it looks like...

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

Hang on, it it not Iraq's oil? Nope - it just happens to be under Iraqi soil, but goddam it, it U$A OIL and they will do with it as they please. And before us Brits get smug over this, our government is at it too;

A social justice group has obtained documents showing that the British government tried to influence a new Iraqi oil law in favour of UK businesses. The London-based Platform group said on Friday that the documents showed British diplomats tried to exclude Iraqi oil firms in favour of firms such as BP and Shell.

(Also interesting to note as the twice-fired minsiter, now EU trade representative Peter 'Bliar' Mandelson talks down a boycott of China, the Chinese government move to buys a skate in BP.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Unmasking that May Kill the C2i

If you have not heard, the campaign group Plane Stupid recently caught a spy from corporate 'intelligence' group C2i in their midst;

Since late summer 2007, an employee of a corporate espionage agency has been trying to infiltrate Plane Stupid. Toby Kendall, who works for C2i International, a "special risk management" firm, thought he was undercover in our London group, gathering information on what we're up to. Instead we've been feeding the 'revenge movie' obsessed mole false information, which he's been reporting to the aviation industry for months.

Kendall, described as 'more Austin Powers than 007' bragged about his job on various social network sites (as well as a misogynistic streak coming from his bebo profile, 'Scared of: Having an uglier wife than Brooke's' he swaggers. Well ladies... whatcha wating for? He's a catch!)

So if you see this guy;

At any meeting or action - watch out!

Now if you go to his employers website - C2i, they have a news section where they point to recent media articles with them in - as of the date of writing the most recent entry was 12th November 2005. Indeed the site looks barren of activity. So they must have not been in the news? A quick google news search reveals plenty of mention of the company - but all out the outing of their super-spy.

Where this gets interesting is what future does C2i have? In a parallel case, the corporate spy group who went after peer-to-peer users, Media Defender, itself got hacked and thousands of emails and other files spilled out onto the internet, revealing lots of company secrets and operational methods. If you build the reputation of a company in understanding technology and you get popped by a better user of technology, that costs. It cost Media Defender over $825,000 and ended up bankrupting the company. How many clients have bailed on C2i (assuming it had more than one) since this story broke?

However the downside it that corporate infiltration won't stop, it will just get better - so we have to get more creative as a counter.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

BNP are Pricks - Update

Thanks to Anakissed for the info;

looks like he got the sack! ha!

and his blog has been taken offline! although you can still comment on it here:

Great news!
The Grain Fight

As the west looks to nuclear and bio-fuels as false hopes in the face of global warming, it (as has been warned) has the knock-on effect of starving the poor as resources are diverted;

And meanwhile, land used to grow biofuel feedstock is land not available to grow food, so subsidies to biofuels are a major factor in the food crisis. You might put it this way: people are starving in Africa so that American politicians can court votes in farm states. Oh, and in case you're wondering: all the remaining presidential contenders are terrible on this issue....What should be done? The most immediate need is more aid to people in distress: the U.N.'s World Food Program put out a desperate appeal for more funds. We also need a pushback against biofuels, which turn out to have been a terrible mistake. But it's not clear how much can be done. Cheap food, like cheap oil, may be a thing of the past.

Also, as the US celebrates Martin Luther King, it also deports a peace activist. Nothing changes, everything changes. And well done to the Free Tibet protesters in taking on China via the torch!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Its Official: BNP Are A Bunch of Pricks

If there was ever any doubt about what a bunch of pricks the BNP are, then it is worth this view into the mind of one of their leading figures, Nick Eriksen, who is standing for Mayor of London;

A senior BNP leader with a strong chance of winning a seat in the London Assembly next month has written that rape is a "myth" and that "some women are like gongs - they need to be struck regularly."

The Evening Standard has revealed that Nick Eriksen, the BNP's London organiser and the second-highest candidate on its list for the Assembly, is the author of "Sir John Bull," a notorious far-Right blog which has regularly advocated hatred and abuse against women. The disclosure will be a serious blow to the BNP's hopes of London electoral success.

In August 2005, Mr Eriksen wrote: "I've never understood why so many men have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the feminazi myth machine into believing that rape is such a serious crime ... Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal.

"To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched. The demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Men who go along with the rape myth are either morons or traitors."

What a massive, massive pick. Anyone who supports them or votes for him is both a moron and a traitor.