Tuesday, 29 June 2004

Alphabet Soup

recent KFC ads contain the strange little phrase — 'kitchen fresh chicken'.

now everybody knows that KFC at one time stood for 'Kentucky Fried Chicken'. Right up until 1991, when they ditched all the actual words and just went with a monogram. (Dieting trends had made "fried" a dirty word.)

Branding is at times a delicate alchemy and many brand names have devolved into a jumble of letters. But it gets more nuanced when the abbreviation stays put while the meaning shifts beneath it, like some sort of signifying shell game.


ad says KFC's drumsticks are good for you.

in late 2003 an ad strongly suggested that fried chicken is the cornerstone of a healthy diet.

The commercial begins with a stereotypical Lazy American Man slumped in the living room in front of The Game. In comes his slim and perky wife, who says, "Remember how we talked about eating better?" This causes Lazyman to make a face (understandably, I think). "Well," says the wife, "it starts today." Then she plops a 12-piece bucket of chicken in front of him. An announcer quickly reels off various facts and figures suggesting that KFC's chicken is healthier than Burger King's Whoppers. Lazyman, choking down another mouthful, removes any doubt among viewers that he's anything other than a slow-witted jackass by telling his wife that he's only doing this for her. The wife makes a sour face. What a miserable couple.

In a somewhat astonishing press release, the company says it intends to "educate the public" that "fried chicken can be part of a healthy, balanced diet" and quotes the company's executive vice president of "marketing and food innovation" as saying: "With more and more Americans on diets and increasingly health-conscious, we thought it was important to get this information to consumers so they can judge for themselves how to make KFC part of their healthy lifestyle."
Nicholson Baker: Checkpoint

In Nicholson Baker's new novella, "Checkpoint," published in August, a man sits in a Washington hotel room with a friend and talks about assassinating President Bush. a narrative device that highlights the discontent many in America are feeling right now.
The International Federation of Competitive Eating
the Top-30 eaters
(via j-walk blog)
Homo Superior

a genetic mutation has given a Berlin five-year-old boy muscles twice the size of other kids his age and about half the body fat. The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth. It's the first known case of a human having such a mutation

The boy's mutant DNA segment was found to block production of a protein called myostatin that limits muscle growth. The news comes seven years after researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore created buff "mighty mice" by "turning off" the gene that directs cells to produce myostatin. Dr. Markus Schülke reports in the
New England Journal of Medicine.
The World Leader in Tunnel Advertising
(via octopusdropkick)
"This week I drew 1000 characters", said James Downing, "all with names."
(via b3ta)
uk Drug testing at work 'to increase'

here is yet another example of non-democratic hierarchical power asserting direct control over our individual minds and bodies.

it should instead be the right of every autonomous individual to research, self-medicate and experiment with whatever we choose. it should be a fundamental right for every citizen to be able to choose to explore freedom of perception without intrusion by government or employer.

ironically meanwhile, an ever increasing percentage of adults and children are functioning, for extensive periods of their lives, under the influence of state sanctioned powerful antidepressants.

these authorised psychoactives are taken on a daily basis by thousands of citizens in each country around the world. notably these are not mind expanding drugs, they are mind neutralisers, and it is typical that their impoverished perceptual and cultural contribution is directly inverse to the bumper profits that they generate for the corporate pushers. while it is also surely no coincidence, that as our collective consciousness becomes increasingly more polluted by prescribed psychiatric pharmaceuticals, we currently find ourselves putting up with a radical erosion of our civil liberties and having to endure the most apathetic and ultra-conformist of times.

Sunday, 27 June 2004


Meet a tosser
my barometer
Veiled 4 Allah


the blog of death
Greg Palast
Gravity Lens
at some point it must have come up in the big brother house that marco likes salt on his toast. because theres a digital spy forum thread titled "Marco likes salt, What do you like on toast?"

heres a selection from the forum member's replies:

1.. Warm sage and onion stuffing spread on hot toast.

2.. mint sauce on toast

3.. Sugar puffs, left in the milk for about an hour so they soak up the milk and go soggy. On toast with lots of salty butter.

4.. Cheese with mashed sugared banana

5.. fresh peaches, cinnamon and muscovado sugar

and 6... (my own contribution) pesto with a thin layer of apricot jam, a wodge of cottage cheese, all topped off with a few rocket (or coriander) leaves.
to which another forum member has commented "ooooh hark at you."

Saturday, 26 June 2004


Sometimes taking the form of goats, these Welsh female færies are hideous in appearance. They hide at roadsides, often making travelers become lost. They should be welcomed into a house or they can become offended and will cause mischief.
google i'd

while avoiding the writing commitments i should be tackling right now, (namely several reports for a DogmaNet deadline on monday), i googled myself instead.

its often curious to imagine what picture could be composited of ourselves, if our only reference was to join up the dot-to-dot digital bread crumbs we trail behind us along the highway.

heres a comment from august of last year that i'd added to a green fairy post on the topic of cosmetic surgery ...

"movie trailer voice-overs are forever touting the promise that it will be something "beyond your wildest imagination." but sadly very little in fiction or reality is ever even within the realms of my imagination, never mind beyond it.

and nothing highlights the drearyness of contemporary human realities more than the choices that are made through surgical body modification. what should be the ultimate act of individual liberation, is instead the ultimate display of willing conformity. the powerful potential to unleash their wildest dreams, is instead a powerful demonstration of just how deeply and successfully their dreams have been colonised and caged by commercial intent. how i long for a world filled with uncommodified imagination and frontiers not yet dreamt of."

(posted by: russell higgs on Aug 19 12:47)
Court frustrates media moguls' expansion in US

"An appeals court in the US has overturned new media ownership rules that would have allowed further concentration of television, radio and newspaper assets in the hands of a few companies.

The decision frustrates the expansion plans of the conglomerates that dominate the American media market, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Viacom and Gannett, publisher of USA Today.

The attempt to loosen the rules last year was met with immediate and fierce opposition.

An unlikely alliance emerged between groups as diverse as the National Rifle Association and the National Organisation of Women who argued that loosening the ownership laws would curb diversity in the US media. They challenged the rules in court."

DIVERSITY in the US media? what diversity? i mean hooray for the court decision but...... uh?

next they'll be telling us theres diversity in the UK media too. you guys crack me up.
Texting lights up Glasto's tents

festival-goers at Glastonbury 2004 have had a helping hand finding their way "home" with a tent that lights up by text message.

Orange has designed a Text Me Home Tent with a receiver and antenna in it with a unique number to text. With a lightweight antenna and receiver box, as well as special luminous ribbing embedded on the tent's edge, the whole contraption is not overly cumbersome. The antenna simply slots into the dome of the tent, and a wire feeds through the fabric of the tent to the receiver box.

When the receiver is sent a text message, it triggers the antenna to rise and light up as an orange beacon. The gadget could, in the future, be personalised further to display different coloured lights, or to play the mobile user's favourite ring tone.

The idea grew from the solar-powered tents which Orange developed for last year's festival.
a digital spy Big Brother 5 forum thread titled: Advice for potential Big Brother 6 contestants?

my advice..... "the best advice is DON'T APPLY.

but if you insist then please please have a mind full of knowledge to share in conversations. be capable of confidently discussing the state of the world with other inmates. have an insightful perspective on american domination and its self appointed role as our jack-booted global police force. have an awareness of the history of art and especially the role of contemporary art. be critical of a youth obsessed culture. and be gemmed up on advances in nanotech, genetech, AI, neuro-prosthesis and robotics. and don't be stuffy and inhibited when it comes to having naked food fights."

Friday, 25 June 2004

Guantánamo trials

holding people in legal limbo at Guantánamo Bay is indefensible and governments around the world should be united in saying so to the US authorities.

Lord Goldsmith, the uk government's senior law officer, will tonight give a speech - given in advance to the media - that there were "certain principles on which there can be no compromise".

"Fair trial is one of those - which is the reason we in the UK have been unable to accept that the US military tribunals proposed for those detained at Guantánamo Bay offer sufficient guarantees of a fair trial in accordance with international standards."

but what about the uk's own little guantanamo-esque black hole at places like HMP Belmarsh and Broadmoor?

For detainee M, still no explanation why uk government locked him up for 16 months

letter from The Forgotten Detainees Belmarsh prison

uk campaign: CAMPACC
"To campaign against the use of the excessive state powers to criminalise political activity which are contained in the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001(ACTSA); and to monitor the use of these powers in the context of the current `war on terrorism’ "

"Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning." From The Trial by Joseph Kafka


the angry brigade, the weatherman, and Baader-Meinhof


During one of the longest political trials of English history thousands of badges were sold with 'I'm in the Angry Brigade'.


They commanded news media attention with their brash rhetoric, violent actions, and, in the eyes of many, their romantic allure.


In July of 1971, Institut Allensbach, a public research firm with a standing and reputation similar to Gallup, published a remarkable poll. Twenty percent of Germans under the age of thirty expressed "a certain sympathy" for the Baader-Meinhof Gang, a group with the avowed purpose of violently overthrowing the West German government. One in ten young Northern Germans indicated that they would willingly shelter a member of the Baader-Meinhof Gang for the night."
uk: half of parents on low incomes have gone hungry to feed their children

The report, called Going Hungry, was carried out by the Food Commission and found that 46% of parents on low household incomes had gone short of food in the last year to feed someone else in their family.

The report also found that a lack of money also made it impossible for many parents to feed their children a healthy diet.

Many of the families interviewed ate poor diets. More than 28% of children and 25% of parents never ate green vegetables or salad. One in 10 children and just under a quarter of parents (23%) never ate fruit.

20% said they did not have enough money for food. The research also found that it cost a family 15% more than their normal amount spent on shopping to eat healthily.

Over the past 15 years the average cost of a healthy shopping basket has increased by 50% compared with a 33% increase for an unhealthy basket, according to the report.
US had pre-war deal with Saddam, says Russian ex-prime minister

Yevgeny Primakov, who now heads Russia's chamber of trade and industry, also cast doubt on the authenticity of footage of Saddam's reported capture that circled the world on December 14.

"All evidence suggests that Saddam surrendered earlier and the story of the hole was invented later," he said.

Primakov, who was also Russian foreign minister, made two secret trips to Iraq at the request of President Vladimir Putin, shortly before the invasion by US and British troops.
(via news insider)

Thursday, 24 June 2004

Moonie leader 'crowned' in Senate

The US Senate was used for a ritual in which the Rev Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Unification church, was "crowned" and declared himself the messiah in the presence of more than a dozen Republican and Democratic members of Congress, it was reported yesterday.

"Emperors, kings and presidents ... have declared to all heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's saviour, messiah, returning Lord and true parent," the 85-year-old Korean "Moonie" cult leader told several hundred guests at the meeting in one of the Senate's office buildings on March 23, according to the Washington Post.

The glittering event in the Senate's Dirksen building reflected Mr Moon's extraordinary influence in US politics. He owns the conservative newspaper the Washington Times and the US news agency United Press International.

His fiercely conservative attitudes towards homosexuality and pre-marital sex have won him the endorsement of leading Republicans, including the president's father, George Bush, and John Ashcroft, the attorney general, who participated in one of Mr Moon's "prayer luncheons" days before the president's inauguration in January 2001.

It was unclear who gave permission for the Senate office building to be used.
Western media silent about US torturing in Afghanistan
Chechnya Abuses 'Go Unpunished'

Human rights violations continue to go unpunished in Chechnya, rights group Amnesty International says in a report.

The group says Russian security services in the republic are responsible for extrajudicial killings, "disappearances", torture and rape.

The report says the great majority of such crimes are carried out with impunity, and abuses are now spreading across the border to Ingushetia.
CIA planned "guerrilla" campaign in Iran to counter communists in 1953: documents

The top secret papers, produced in late 1952 and 1953 by the State Department and the National Security Council, provide proof that the widely-known US-British efforts to destabilize the government of prime minister Mossadegh were backed up by broad contingency plans that called for bolstering US military presence in the region and launching an anti-communist guerrilla force in the south of Iran.

The Mossadegh government, which drew the ire of Washington and London because of its persistent attempts to increase control over the country's oil resources, was toppled in an August 19, 1953, coup led by US-backed general Fazlollah Zahedi who allowed pro-American Shah Reza Pahlavi to return from exile.

US officials have grudgingly acknowledged that the coup had become possible due to CIA-designed Operation "Ajax" that helped plunge Iran into chaos and paved the way for Mossadegh's downfall.

But the administration of then US president Dwight Eisenhower was seriously concerned that the plan could go awry and Iranian communists from the Tudeh Party would capitalize on instability and the unraveling economy to seize power, according to the documents released by the National Security Archive on Tuesday.

"To date CIA has trained and equipped a total of approximately 10 indigenous clandestine radio operators to be located throughout Iran and who can be called upon to maintain communications with CIA when desired," Smith wrote. "Others are being trained."

Stockpiles of weapons and ammunition were being secretly assembled at Wheelus Field, an air base in Libya used at that time by the US Air Force. Smith reported that the base already had enough war materiel to equip a 10,000-strong guerrilla force and allow it to operate independently for at least six months. Other supply bases were being established in Tripoli, the Suez Canal zone and the US state of New Jersey. "These supplies could, within three to four weeks, be transported by air and sea to certain strong tribal elements in southern Iran," the undersecretary of state assured.
Mexico Breaks Up Police-Controlled Kidnapping Ring
Israeli army intimidates ex-soldiers who aired abuse photos

The Israeli army said it was investigating a group of reserve israeli soldiers who set up a photo exhibit giving vivid accounts of abuse and harassment of Palestinians in Hebron.

The Breaking the Silence exhibit - set up earlier this month - has photos and stark testimonials of soldiers.

After completing three years of compulsory service, the group of more than 80 infantry soldiers - who currently serve in reserve units - decided to give their account of serving in what they called the "crazy reality" of Hebron, where about 500 Jewish settlers live in enclaves surrounded by 130,000 Palestinians.

The army said it summoned the soldiers for questioning and issued a court order that they hand over any material that could help the investigation.

"They are trying to frighten us and other soldiers who have expressed readiness to take part in the project," Micha Kurtz, one of the exhibit's organisers, told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper.
2nd Circuit’s Calabresi Also Compares Bush’s Rise to That of Hitler

A prominent federal judge has told a conference of liberal lawyers that President Bush’s rise to power was similar to the accession of dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler.

“In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States…somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power.That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power,” said Guido Calabresi, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in Manhattan.

“The reason I emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when Mussolini was put in by the king of Italy,” Judge Calabresi continued, as the allusion drew audible gasps from some in the luncheon crowd Saturday at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society.

“The king of Italy had the right to put Mussolini in, though he had not won an election, and make him prime minister. That is what happened when Hindenburg put Hitler in. I am not suggesting for a moment that Bush is Hitler. I want to be clear on that, but it is a situation which is extremely unusual,” the judge said.

“When somebody has come in that way, they sometimes have tried not to exercise much power. In this case, like Mussolini, he has exercised extraordinary power. He has exercised power, claimed power for himself; that has not occurred since Franklin Roosevelt who, after all, was elected big and who did some of the same things with respect to assertions of power in times of crisis that this president is doing,” he said.

The 71-year-old judge declared that members of the public should, without regard to their political views, expel Mr. Bush from office in order to cleanse the democratic system.

“That’s got nothing to do with the politics of it.It’s got to do with the structural reassertion of democracy,” Judge Calabresi said.

His remarks were met with rousing applause from the hundreds of lawyers and law students in attendance.
(via news insider)
One sunny day in 2005
an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue,
where he'd been sitting on a park bench.
He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said,
"I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine looked at the man and said,
"Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

The old man said, "Okay" and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House
and said to the same Marine,
"I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine again told the man,
"Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."
The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U. S. Marine,
saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said,
"Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush.
I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here.
Don't you understand?"

The old man looked at the Marine and said,
"Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said,
"See you tomorrow."

(sent via kirsty jb)


globalise resistance
reporters without borders
guerrilla news

protest net
uk indymedia

Index on Censorship
Feminists Against Censorship
@ccess Censorshi

palestine indymedia
libération france

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

Marshall McLuhan (2003) 36" x 44" x 54"
woven acrylic yarn on quarter-inch canvas mesh and trash can. by Rob Conger
(via grow-a-brain)
Geometric Paper Folding: Dr. David Huffman
includes curves not just straight lines
Cybergenics 5
Cyborg animals
view all
view page 1 of 6
(via in4mador)
Owl Puke
All your favourite cartoon characters


TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time

the top ten.....
1. Bugs Bunny
2. Homer Simpson
3. Rocky and Bullwinkle
4. Beavis and Butt-head
5. The Grinch
6. Fred and Barney
7. Angelica Pickles
8. Charlie Brown and Snoopy
9. SpongeBob SquarePants
10. Cartman
Pork Chocs TM - Sugar Free Milk Chocolate Dipped Pork Rinds
tips for living like it's a sit com
(via deltadada)
peer to peer found photos
US war crimes immunity bid fails

The US has given up trying to win its soldiers further immunity from prosecution at the new International Criminal Court.

In the past, the US has threatened to veto UN peacekeeping operations if its demands for exemption from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague were not met.

Earlier this month the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said if the exemption - which expires on 30 June - were extended, it would discredit the UN's claim to represent the rule of law.

"For the past two years, I have spoken quite strongly against the exemption and I think it would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq," he said.

but even though US troops abroad may now be subject to prosecution at the court in The Hague, Washington has already signed bilateral agreements with 89 countries to ensure they do not bring cases against its personnel.
on this day 1985: Air India jet mid-air bomb kills 329
Israelis are quoted more than twice as much as Palestinians in uk tv reports

in addition to "a preponderance of official Israeli perspectives", US politicians who support Israel were "very strongly featured" in news programmes, appearing more than politicians from any other country and twice as much as those from Britain.

a study, by the Media Group at Scotland's Glasgow University, highlights that news programmes do not provide enough information about the conflict's history and origins.

The report takes issue with a tendency in the media to present the problem as "starting" with Palestinian action, while Israelis were seen to be "responding" with actions that were explained and contextualised.

"There was very little discussion of the nature of the relationship between the two sides - that one [the Palestinians] was subject to military control by the other [Israel]," the report says.

Researchers also found a strong emphasis on Israeli casualties on the news despite the number of Palestinian deaths being considerably greater.

And the differences in language used by journalists for both sides were also noted.

"Words such as 'atrocity', 'brutal murder', 'mass murder', 'savage cold blooded killing', 'lynching' and 'slaughter' were used about Israeli deaths but not Palestinian," the report said.

"The word 'terrorist' was used to describe Palestinians by journalists but when an Israeli group was reported as trying to bomb a Palestinian school, they were referred to as 'extremists' or 'vigilantes'."

plus: Israeli Terrorism Doesn't Make News: Cause of the Conflict Ignored

and The Blood on Israel's Hands: When War Criminals Play the Victim and the World Nods in Agreement
Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream
(via what really happened)
Little girl's mom stuck behind glass
(via monkeyfilter)
'find glory in dismemberment'

"What if instead of bending space itself we could somehow bend the perceptual boundaries that limit our view of reality? What if there was some switch we could throw to blow open our default data-gathering settings so we could start receiving information on broadband instead of narrow-spectrum?"
Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons was one Hell of a guy, and not just because he might have been the Antichrist.

He was by all accounts a brilliant chemist, who made major breakthroughs in designing the chemical composition of liquid rocket fuels.

Parsons' fuel mixtures eventually helped America land on the moon. According to countercultural journalist Richard Metzger, Werner von Braun claimed that Parsons (a high-school dropout) was the true father of the American space program.

but Parsons had a much loftier set of ambitions. He wanted to tear down the walls of time and space....... (read on)

more jack parsons links:

jack parsons: antichrist superstar
articles about jack parsons
The Collected Writings of Jack Parsons

"a psychologist had students, who were not mentally ill, act as if they were, enough so, anyway, to get admitted into a psychiactric hospital.

Once admitted, however, they were told to behave as they normally do. That is, behavior that would be considered “normal”.

The results were shocking and are described in the famous 1973 study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” Many of the students couldn’t convince psychologists that they were “normal”.
the Cur

cur, kur, n. a worthless dog, of low breed : a contemptible scoundrel. [old norse kurra, to grumble.]

"We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that."
All Things Zombie.com
- Your Zombie Resource Site!
gay and lesbian characters in comic books
BZZURKK! The Thesaurus of Champions
the r.i.o.t. wheel
the gallery of superdudes
(via the presurfer)
Unusual Churches and Cults
the infinite teen slang dictionary
enter a name or word or phrase, to see what it might (but doesn't) mean.

example: family of breath
adj. like a mobile phone.
"Do you like my house or home, Kelly?" "Yeah, it's family of breath."
daily dose of imagery
the last page of the internet
stomach external
stomach internal
Plushy toast
This page cannot be displayed
(via grow-a-brain)
"Cards as Weapons"
Card Throwing Techniques
Egoism and the Experience Machine
the “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”-Project (TPILB-Project)
(via j-walk blog)

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

A man has been living in a Paris airport since 1988
poor turnout for Naked shoppers at Plaza shopping centre in Oxford Street, London.
Many of the centre's shops and restaurants offered discounts to the nude bargain hunters. staff remained fully clothed.

Monday, 21 June 2004

orwell today
Comparing the world George Orwell described in "1984" with the world we are living in today, 2004
How To Guides : How to Fake Your Own Death
(via grow-a-brain)
Where have both the towers gone?
(via what really happened)
Berlusconi accused of paying for votes

The Italian prime minister has been accused of bribing poor voters in the southern city of Naples. Former interior minister and city mayor Rosa Russo Jervolino said that Mr Berlusconi "had bought votes with 30 euro", according to Spanish press reports.

It is alleged that supporters of Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, the House of Freedoms, offered the money in return for a vote for his ally Gianfranco Fini. It is not clear if the allegations relate to the European Parliament elections or local elections which also took place earlier this week.

Mr Berlusconi was badly beaten in the elections by the centre-left Olive Coalition backed by European Commission President Romano Prodi.

Votes were bought on a regular basis "in my own neighbourhood of Mercato-Pendino, in Lavinaio and in other modest districts", said the Christian democrat mayor who backs Mr Prodi’s party. "This is nothing new on the part of the centre-right, and I am not revealing any secret because everybody knows", she said, according to Spanish daily El Mundo.
Big Brother

the fifth series of Big Brother is expected to be the most lucrative yet after last week's drunken brawl saw ratings rocket, with at least £45m generated through advertising and sponsorship alone.

Advertisers are queuing to get their products in the commercial breaks during the show, which is delivering more than double the number of the elusive 16- to 34-year-olds the channel normally reaches.

Channel 4, producers Endemol, Sky and mobile phone companies will all also cash in on a bonanza of premium-rate mobile, internet and interactive services, in addition to windfalls from SMS and fixed line voting.

Channel 4 has already banked up to £5m after Carphone Warehouse agreed to sponsor the show as a way of highlighting Talk Talk, its rival landline service to BT.

Advertising rates for the Friday night eviction shows and the final will increase by between 15-20% as the number of advertiser-friendly 16- to 18-year-olds watching soars.

"A 30-second spot that normally costs £67,000 will easily go up to £80,000 on Big Brother Friday eviction nights."
Report says US has secret detention centres

The United States is holding people in more than two dozen detention centres worldwide and about half of these operate in total secrecy, said a human rights report released on Thursday.

Human Rights First, formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said in a report that secrecy surrounding these facilities made "inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely but inevitable."

"The US government is holding prisoners in a secret system of off-shore prisons beyond the reach of adequate supervision, accountability of law," said the report.

multiple sources reported US detention centres in, among other places, Kohat in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia and at Al Jafr prison in Jordan, where the group said the CIA had an interrogation facility.

Prisoners are also being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, and others were suspected of being held on US warships.

Pentagon admits holding Iraqi prisoner in secret

On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon admitted that it had "improperly" held an Iraqi prisoner in detention for seven months without assigning him a prisoner number or reporting his presence to the International Red Cross. The New York Times reports that Rumsfeld issued the order to "hide" the prisoner at the request of Tenet. This prisoner and other "ghost detainees" were not reported in order to keep the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment.

Pentagon seeks OK to spy on Americans

Newsweek reports that the US Department of Defense is looking for the right to gather information from, and about, Americans, without having to tell them that they are doing so. "Without a public hearing or debate," the news magazine reports, "Defense officials recently slipped a provision into a bill before Congress that could vastly expand the Pentagon's ability to gather intelligence inside the United States, including recruiting citizens as informants."

Currently all military intelligence organizations must comply with the Privacy Act. The act is a Watergate-era law that requires that any government official who is seeking information from a resident of the US disclose who they are and why they are seeking the information. But Newsweek reports that last month the Senate Intelligence Committee, in closed session, added the provision that would exempt the Pentagon from this restriction. The bill is S.2386, in specific Sec.502 - Defense intelligence exemption from certain Privacy Act requirements.
uk Ministry of Defence accused of 'buying silence of families' over civilian deaths

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of "buying off" families of Iraqi civilians in whose deaths British troops have been involved by making them sign waivers in exchange for compensation payments and "charitable donations".

Figures released to The Independent on Sunday by the MoD last week reveal that so far $14,000 (£7,600) has been paid in official compensation for incidents including deaths in military custody as well as shootings during demonstrations. But the MoD also admits paying "charitable donations" of $24,350 to families up to 13 March this year, the latest figure available.

The "donations" are described as ad hoc payments to cover funeral expenses and help with hardship, but - as with official compensation - the recipient must sign a declaration accepting the money as "full and final settlement". Both types of payment come with an apology, but no admission of guilt or liability. There are accusations that the pay-offs are being abused to silence victims' families, particularly those judged powerful enough to exact revenge.

An Amnesty official said the "going rate" for a death appeared to be about $1,400. But after the death of Baha Mousa, whose father is an Iraqi police colonel, the family was offered much more. "In the Baha Mousa case [a] British military official apologised and gave his father, Col Mousa, $3,000 and said he would make subsequent payments," said the official. "He then offered Col Mousa another $5,000, saying it would be the final payment. But Col Mousa refused to accept this. The military were hoping the family would not take it any further. The other people were only given $2,000 or $1,500. Col Mousa was offered $8,000 because his case got a lot of publicity and he is a senior police officer."

UK troops accused of torture and mutilating Iraqi bodies

British soldiers mutilated the bodies of Iraqi insurgents after a firefight last month near the southern Iraqi town of Majar al Kabir.

The allegations are contained in official death certificates seen by the Guardian written by Dr Adel Salid Majid, the director of the hospital in Majar al Kabir, on May 15, the day after the battle.

Seven of the certificates state that corpses handed over to hospital authorities by British troops showed signs of "mutilation" and "torture".

On one of the seven death certificates in question, Ahmad al Helfi, a 19-year-old casual labourer, is described as having "several bullet injuries to the body, with blueness of the left eye and a cut-wound by a sharp tool on the right arm. In addition, there are signs of beating and torturing all over the body."

Haider al Lami, 21, also a casual labourer, had "several bullet injuries to the body, with mutilation of genitalia". His penis had been "severed".

Hamed al Suadi, 19, is recorded as having "bullet wounds to the neck and the foot. There are signs of torture: the right arm is fractured and there is full distortion of the face."

Another, Ali al Jemindari, 37, had "several bullet injuries in head, face and the body, with slash marks on the neck. The right arm has been severed at the shoulder. There is a large opening in the right cheek and the removal by gouging of the right eye."

The brother of Mr Al Jemindari claims that the eyeball was subsequently found in the dead man's pocket.

Saturday, 19 June 2004

We can dream too

The day white Australians can look in the mirror and say 'I am Aboriginal' is the day their tormented country will start to heal, argues Germaine Greer.
Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands

Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

His book describes the Iraq invasion as "an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantage"

he thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."
mobile evolution
the two core issues preventing phones from becoming the Über-gadget of the decade: storage and power consumption.

Friday, 18 June 2004

"Big Brother gets therapeutic" by Brendan O'Neill in Spiked

To anyone who has ever been involved in a drinking session that went a bit too far, nothing especially outrageous happened in the Big Brother house on Thursday morning. but the fuss over Big Brother does reveal something about contemporary obsessions and fears. The drunken antics were just drunken antics; it's the handwringing response to them that is revealing.

The 11 housemates are being discussed as if they were lab rats - and the result of the experiment, it seems, shows that people are volatile (especially when alcohol is added), are fragile, vulnerable and in need of constant words of wisdom from psycho-babblers, and sometimes will display that most unacceptable emotion, anger.

It is striking that in today's confessional culture, where we're encouraged to let it all out and where BB housemates are invited to cry for the cameras in the diary room, any 'release' involving anger is strictly off-limits.

It is also striking how quickly the housemates themselves accepted the psychologists' degraded view of their behaviour. Even Victor, the self-declared alpha male of the house whose nickname is DNA (Dis Nigga's Attractive), seems to have bought his psychologist's assessment that 'there was an intensity in my anger that terrified everyone'.

They were drunk, loud and badly behaved - but the housemates didn't really do anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps those psychologists, journalists and TV producers who think they did should get out more. Although, of course, they're much more comfortable observing and offering therapy to an apparently weak and volatile public from the comfort of their TV screens.


"Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability In An Uncertain Age" by Frank Furedi in Spiked

Therapy culture represents a shift from the view of the robust, independent person, capable of great individual and collective achievements, to the notion of the fragile, powerless victim in need of continual professional support.

it has created a regime that 'praises some emotions and stigmatises others', therapy culture promotes conformity: laying down a framework of acceptable emotions and behaviour that people transgress at their peril.

being in touch with one's emotions means that it's fine to cry in public or obsess on the 'trauma' of a bad experience - but those who get angry are sent on anger management courses to suppress their rage, and those who fall passionately in love are suspected of suffering the pathology of 'loving too much'.

"creating the enemy" by Brendan O'Neill in Spiked

"Terrorism has exposed deep-seated crises in Western society - its inability to deal with risk, the absence of moral consensus, dominant ideas of victimhood and fragility, a lack of vision or purpose. 'Terrorism' - in the sense of that thing we have become obsessed with over the past two years - is best understood as a reflection of deeper domestic problems, rather than an alien threat from far away."

"At every step, this inability to cope with uncertainty, the tendency to overblow risks, and the focus on human vulnerability, has informed how society has interpreted and dealt with the threat of terrorism - and this has been decisive in determining the impact that terrorism has had on both society and individuals."

"At a time when society finds it difficult to negotiate risk, terrorism can appear more disturbing and frightening than it is; when society doesn't do well with change, particularly unpredictable and unknowable change, terrorists tend to be viewed as a much bigger threat than they really are."

Thursday, 17 June 2004

american students must pledge to televised flag
brotherbrow's fotolog
(via fleshbot)
on this day 1974: IRA bombs parliament
99 rooms
Teleportation breakthrough made

Scientists have performed successful teleportation on atoms for the first time, the journal Nature reports.

The feat was achieved by two teams of researchers working independently on the problem in the US and Austria. The ability to transfer key properties of one particle to another without using any physical link has until now only been achieved with laser light.
the nightmare project
The history of the Universe in seven snoozes
Communion with Celestial Intelligence Into the 5th and 6th Dimension and Beyond
(via the presurfer)
"sometimes there are pieces of songs that are cooler than the song itself"
Chiff & Fipple: The PostStructural Tinwhistle Internet Experience
(via memepool)
self-cleaning clothes
10 Body Mods I'd like to See:
The George W. Bush Public Domain Audio Archive
(via j-walk blog)
video clip BIG BROTHER 5: fight night

fight night transcript

"Police were called to the house in the early hours of Thursday after calls from viewers."

and a few comments from the digital spy forum:


"I don't really see that Channel 4 have done anything wrong. They may have set the stage, but the housemates all knew what they were getting in to, and they're free to leave if they want (the only thing keeping them in being greed and/or vanity). Same way, we're free to watch or not, so I think it's all consensual here - the only thing I object to is these people dictating what I should and shouldn't be allowed to watch."


"I can't believe how WET this thread is!! This was fantastic TV, absolutely the best BB moment ever IMO, there was no REAL danger to life - they are in a TV STUDIO for pete's sake! As soon as the producers had got the footage they wanted they cut the video feeds and sent in the security guards! Easy!

Channel 4 knew exactly what they were doing because they engineered the whole situation almost to the umpteenth degree.

This is exactly what the producers wanted/planned for/engineered and finally delivered.

At last we have a BB where all the HMs have managed to drop the bullsh*t act and actually engage with one another honestly and passionately.

Brilliant! Thank you Endemol. Thank you Channel 4. Well done production team. Mission accomplished."


"lets not forget, BB is 'evil' this year. That includes constructing a smaller house with angled walls, lowered ceilings, raised floors - all designed to mke people stir crazy. Is that not what Davina said?

Sure, one could say everyone's accountable for him/herself - and can choose to drink/not drink. No one is required to fly off the handle at two returned HM's. One could even go so far as to say even though BB seemed to pick people that would clash - that's not leading anyone down a requisite path to battle.

But at the very least - again with the design of the house - BB/Endemol have shown their desire for drama/conflict/personal meltdowns. That much cannot be disputed.

I'd say they were quite successful."
maybe logic academy
Maybe Logic Academy is an innovative online educational learning center and community.
cockroach racing
brotron gallery
"only you can prevent gray goo"
The Happy Mutant Handbook
Mischievous Fun for Higher Primates
When the zombies take over, how long till the electricity fails?
(via boing boing)
Bird's nest performance art
(via geisha asobi blog)
The Suicide Journalist

in 1999 The Observer began a new column, Second Class Male, by Richard Geefe. After an aborted suicide attempt, Geefe resumed his column - at the Editor's insistence - and it was renamed Time to Go, his account of his last few months on earth before killing himself. The columns, which provoked fierce controversy and a vast postbag, were written by Chris Morris.
cookd and bombd
chris morris fansite
just fucking google it

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

the state of america today: L.A. activists tailed, and arrested on way to Liberation Weekend conference

a law enforcement harassment campaign surrounding Liberation Weekend, a conference of grassroots activists at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. The conference, May 15-16, drew activists to discuss “building a revolutionary movement in the United States.”

Melissa Rodriguez, a co-organizer of the conference, received a phone call from friends on Sunday who said they were being followed by unmarked police cars. She and a group of activists arranged to meet them. On the way, Rodriguez was pulled over by a Costa Mesa police officer accompanied by six cars and a helicopter hovering overhead.

Citing seatbelt violations, police handcuffed the bunch and led them to separate cars for interrogation. Police searched Rodriguez’s car without her consent and confiscated a guitar. They took the group to the police station, where, she says, “I kept asking for the cuffs to be taken off, and they said, ‘No you’re still under arrest and there’s still an investigation.’” The activists were booked, fingerprinted and questioned about Rodriguez and the conference.

Several police cars followed Rodriguez as she left the station to drop off the activists at their homes. At the final house, she was pulled over by an FBI agent, who questioned her about her plans for the weekend,

The agents remained parked outside the house all night.

The seatbelt crackdown wasn’t the only questionable law enforcement act during the weekend. On Saturday, Brook Hunter and a group of activists were pulled over on the way to the conference for a faulty brake light. Police asked if they were going to the conference in Los Angeles and detained them when one passenger couldn’t provide identification.

David Agranoff, an organizer with Compassion for Farm Animals, says the FBI visited his home while he was at work

“To me this is all kind of indicative of how much they’re worried about what we have to say, and how much they want to squash out dissent,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about. They may say these are traffic violations or whatever, but it’s no accident they chose to do it all that weekend.”

With guns drawn, L.A. police stopped Nik Hensey on his way to the conference, and told him to put his hands in the air and step out of the car. They said his vehicle “matched a description,” says Hensey. “A subordinate later indicated that I was being watched and they were told to engage me.”

Hensey was taken into custody and his car was impounded and ransacked. Police opened his mail, dumped out the contents of his backpack and picked the lock on his laptop, he says.

He was followed by police to and from the conference. When he approached one of the cars that had been following him, the driver told him that he “knew my politics and that they wanted to keep me from breaking the law,” Hensey says.
(from in these times)
The People's Media Reaches More People Than FOX Does

"Any particular piece of this progressive media patchwork is small (and too often scoffed at by progressives themselves as "insignificant"). But add the pieces together and we have a far-flung network of outlets that - each and every day - is reaching tens of millions of people."
Chinese censors block access to Wikipedia
infra-red camera of pilotless spy aircraft showed image of two swiss civilians smoking cannabis

The swiss army had been giving a trial run to one of its seven drones, pilotless planes equipped with cameras and normally used to spy on enemy troops, when they observed the scene, the paper said.

The incident caused a Socialist member of parliament to make a protest statement, noting that citizens were not supposed to be spied on from the air without their knowledge.
(via what really happened)
Dog's verbal tricks probe origin of language

A collie that is a wizard with words reveals the comprehension needed for language, even though he cannot speak

A word-learning pet dog has given scientists clues that some animals may have the comprehension necessary for language, even though they cannot actually talk.

Rico, a smart border collie, was spotted on television by Julia Fischer and her colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. With a "vocabulary" of 200 words, Rico showed exceptional ability in retrieving specific toys when asked to fetch them.

The researchers decided to test whether Rico's ability was based on understanding and if he could learn and remember new words. They placed a new toy among his favourites and asked Rico to fetch it, using the unfamiliar name. The dog nearly always did. This suggests that Rico is using a system called "fast-mapping", which young children use to learn new words by matching new words to new objects. The study is the first to show fast-mapping in animals.
BBC to Open Content Floodgates

The BBC plans to open its vast archive of TV and radio programming to the Net this fall. Observers are excited about the liberal licensing terms: Users could download and remix all they want, turning the notion of copyright on its head.
Thousands of Blogs Fall Silent

with the flip of a switch Sunday and without warning, Dave Winer closed Weblogs.com, his free blog-hosting service leaving thousands of bloggers without access to their blogs.


dead bloggers
It was a typical sort of entry on LiveJournal, a popular online diary and weblogging site. But Heideman, a student at California State University at Chico who posted the note on Sept. 19, 2000, had no idea it would be his last to the site.

The dullest blog in the world
Turning off a light
"A light in one of the rooms of my house was on. I decided that I didn't need the light on any longer. I pressed the light switch thereby turning off the light."

Chinese bloggers furious as government blocks access to their weblogs
"The bad news is that the blogspot ban, now well into its third day, continues, so I can only hope this stuff is actually appearing after I click the Post & Publish button."

Stop bitching. Make it better
"whether or not they like it (whether or not any of us like it), weblogging is not something that's going away in the next couple of years. Having an 'anti-weblogging position' is no longer even vaguely a 'real-world antidote' to unfathomable and unwarranted 'weblog hysteria'. It's just really unhelpful. It doesn't accomplish anything. So you want my advice? Work to make it better or sod off."
Wearable Robots
Robotics inventor Stephen Jacobsen demonstrates an exoskeleton that provides superhuman strength.


Robotic Legs Closer for US Soldiers, firefighters and rescue workers

Exoskeleton Soon Available for the Elderly

Microsoft plans online life archive: the MyLifeBits project

Microsoft researchers are working on ways to create a "back-up brain" that will do a much better job of containing and cataloguing every picture you take, document you write or conversation you record.

The idea of a vast repository of personal information was first floated in 1945 by US academic Vannevar Bush in an article called As We May Think for the Atlantic Monthly. In that article Mr Bush invented the term Memex for such a device that he said would be "an enlarged intimate supplement to memory."

The scientists collaborating on the project believe that the database of your life could hold a vast array of items that are automatically catalogued and as easy to search as Google.

Gordon Bell, one of the scientists driving the MyLifeBits project, is already putting as much material as he can in a directory of his life. every e-mail message Mr Bell sends and receives is already being stored along with everything he reads or buys online. Mr Bell has also started recording all phone conversations and any meetings he attends.

The team estimates that within five years a terabyte of data storage (1,000 gigabytes) will cost $300 (£189) allowing people to buy at least that much per year. They also point how much data can be crammed into a terabyte of storage space. A terabyte can hold 3.6 million 300-kilobyte images or 290 hours of good quality video.
wearable 'Black box' cam for total recall


A wearable camera full of sensors could help people with memory problems, according to Microsoft researchers. it also seems to be potentially the ultimate way to keep a visual blog, or diary, of your life. Tourism is another area which could potentially exploit this kind of memory recording, relieving tired hands of video-camera recording.

The prototype SenseCam takes an instant snap every time it spots changes in movement, temperature or light. Currently capable of storing 2,000 images on a 128MB memory card, the cam could help people record their days.

Future plans for it, said Ms Williams, include reducing its size, making it wireless and more power efficient. But wider plans include integrating a near infrared lens, like that used on the Mars landers. This means the camera would be able to record more than the eye can see.
first cell phone worm emerges

A harmless virus which can jump between cell phones using Bluetooth has been created, stoking fears of more dangerous worms
Implanted Brain Grid Reads Minds

An implanted brain grid has been found to accurately read motor signals, a step towards using it for thought-controlled wheelchairs and prosthetics.

The grid, studied by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, uses electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity rather than electroencephalographic (EEG) activity, the latter of which is commonly used to study the brain.

This gives it a higher resolution and broader bandwidth, allowing for faster and more accurate mind reading.

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism

"I was attracted to anarchism as a young teenager, as soon as I began to think about the world beyond a pretty narrow range, and haven't seen much reason to revise those early attitudes since. I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.

That includes political power, ownership and management, relations among men and women, parents and children, our control over the fate of future generations (the basic moral imperative behind the environmental movement, in my view), and much else. Naturally this means a challenge to the huge institutions of coercion and control: the state, the unaccountable private tyrannies that control most of the domestic and international economy, and so on. But not only these.

That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met. Sometimes the burden can be met. If I'm taking a walk with my grandchildren and they dart out into a busy street, I will use not only authority but also physical coercion to stop them. The act should be challenged, but I think it can readily meet the challenge. And there are other cases; life is a complex affair, we understand very little about humans and society, and grand pronouncements are generally more a source of harm than of benefit. But the perspective is a valid one, I think, and can lead us quite a long way."
sabotage attack on a southern Iraqi oil pipeline has brought oil exports close to a standstill
Iraq abuse 'ordered from the top'

plus Bush does not deny he authorized torture

on sunday night on one of australia's biggest audience platforms, Merlin, the latest evictee from the australian big brother house, taped his mouth closed with some black tape, and held up a sign which said "FREE TH REFUGEES". (Apparently the 'E' in 'THE' had fallen off). He sat down next to the host Gretel and held the sign up while refusing to speak during the entire interview.

video clip of Sunday night's eviction

On Monday morning Merlin spoke with BB online about his controversial eviction night.

Here's what Merlin had to say about his beliefs, and smuggling that sign into the BB house.

"I knew very early on that if I got on Big Brother I was going to do something to really prove the passion that I have for issues such as mandatory detention of asylum seekers. I always knew I was going to make a point and use this opportunity. I think I owe that to myself and I owe that to the people who respect me and who care about me. And more importantly I owe that to the people who are suffering under these horrendous policies, to use the fact that I'm on national television in front of 1.4 million people."

How did you get the sign into the house?

"It was the biggest rush getting that sign into the house. I had my t-shirt that had patches sewn on, and in between the t-shirt and the patch I had the sign. And then I just tucked it into my jeans so the bulge was under the belt, and put my shirt over it. Then when they padded me down my heart was just pounding and I was like, 'please don't feel the sign'. And then as soon as I got into the house my adrenaline was just pumping. I just put it in the bottom of my drawer and I never touched the t-shirt until eviction night. I'm so lucky."

more on merlin's eviction

meanwhile uk big brother evictee Kat Pinder, aka 'Kitten" speaks out about her own political intent on the show

What made you decide to apply for Big Brother? It seems like an odd thing for a lefty to do...

"Partly I thought it would be funny - I was bored with life and wanted a laugh. And partly I thought it could provide a platform - not a brilliant one, but a way of getting socialist and feminist views across and making people think."


previously in Denmark all nine housemates mutinied after just a few weeks by going up on the roof. They threw a party, decided they'd had enough and simply went home. With nothing to film but Habitat sofas, the programme was forced to shut down for the day. The producers tracked down the subjects but could only persuade three of them to return - on the condition that they would receive weekly visits from friends and family.

and in spain's big brother the housemates refused to vote against each other, leaving the eviction process entirely to the viewers.

but as a review of big brother 5 in the observer accurately points out when it labels the uk housemates as "aggressively bland twentysomethings"
" in keeping with our longstanding traditions of fair play and total apathy, the British contestants, up until now, have demonstrated all the subversion and defiance of civil servants on holiday in Switzerland."

UK troops face court martial in relation to abuse of Iraqi prisoners

British soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are to face a court martial charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners. it involves photographic evidence developed in this country and referred to the UK police. staff at a shop in Tamworth were unhappy with some of the images they had been asked to develop.

"These are not one or two isolated incidents," says Adam Price, the Plaid Cymru MP who has taken a lead in raising the issue in parliament, "They involve different regiments in an extended period of time. That suggests some kind of pattern which we need to understand."

for example, fellow prisoners and iraqis arrested with Baha Mousa - the hotel receptionist who died in British custody - have alleged that british soldiers systematically beat and tortured them under an officer's direction.

"The army investigating the army is not enough," says Lesley Warner, spokesperson for Amnesty International. "This is about how allegations of misconduct are handled in general. An independent civilian-led body needs to step in and investigate at a much earlier stage."


united Kingdom, United States and Israel: THE KINGS OF PAIN
For over 30 years Israel and the US have used time-tested torture practices devised by the British.

It is not unusual for troops to take pictures, or even trophies
"Ten years after the Falklands War of 1982 it was revealed that some British soldiers had removed dead Argentineans' ears as 'war trophies'."

Timeline: the Iraq abuse crisis
November 2003: Amnesty International delivers a dossier to the Ministry of Defence on alleged human rights abuses by UK troops in Iraq - including the killing of innocent civilians.

many Pictures destroyed
british soldiers, who wish to remain anonymous, claim many pictures were destroyed in September when the troops' luggage was searched as they left Iraq.
(the mirror newspaper's online archives on the subject have now similarly been destroyed.)

Saturday, 12 June 2004

on this day 1964: Nelson Mandela was jailed for life

The leader of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was jailed for life for sabotage. The Rivonia trial - named after the suburb of Johannesburg where the defendants were arrested - began eight months earlier, with Mandela, 46, and his co-defendants proudly confessing their guilt to plotting to destroy the South African state by sabotage.

As members of the ANC - the main African nationalist movement - they had campaigned for an end to the oppression of black South Africans. But the movement was banned in 1960 following the Sharpeville massacre and campaigners had decided they had no choice but to resort to violent means.

Nelson Mandela's statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial Pretoria Supreme Court, 20 April 1964

..."I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the Court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the Whites."....

..."I have already mentioned that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto. I, and the others who started the organization, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence."...

..."At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the Government met our peaceful demands with force."...

..."Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision."...

..."The initial plan was based on a careful analysis of the political and economic situation of our country. We believed that South Africa depended to a large extent on foreign capital and foreign trade. We felt that planned destruction of power plants, and interference with rail and telephone communications, would tend to scare away capital from the country, make it more difficult for goods from the industrial areas to reach the seaports on schedule, and would in the long run be a heavy drain on the economic life of the country, thus compelling the voters of the country to reconsider their position.

..."Attacks on the economic life lines of the country were to be linked with sabotage on Government buildings and other symbols of apartheid. These attacks would serve as a source of inspiration to our people. In addition, they would provide an outlet for those people who were urging the adoption of violent methods and would enable us to give concrete proof to our followers that we had adopted a stronger line and were fighting back against Government violence."...

..."During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

quotes by mandela...

""Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

Friday, 11 June 2004


"Adrian Heideman, an 18-year-old college student, wrote about hating his chemistry lab, his love of skateboarding and how he cost his Pi Kappa Phi pledge class "house chore points" for failing to take down a flag on time.

It was a typical sort of entry on LiveJournal, a popular online diary and weblogging site. But Heideman, a student at California State University at Chico who posted the note on Sept. 19, 2000, had no idea it would be his last to the site.

Two weeks later, he died in an apparent fraternity-related alcohol poisoning. He left behind a grieving family, a mournful college and an impromptu electronic memorial that has generated a deluge of comments from friends, classmates and total strangers.

Eulogies and random postings have continued to appear on the site in the years since Heideman died, and the journal has become a place for grieving and friendly banter among old colleagues.

Death and dying have lately become prime topics of interest for bloggers...."
ideas for action
(Simple Adventures for Everyday Living)

"Stop watching a movie in a theater halfway through. Go home and watch the second half on video."

"Go to a party where you don't know anyone and pretend to be someone else. Try it on a plane."

"Sneak into a friend's house and fold laundry or do the dishes."
(via grow-a-brain)
Ronald Reagan Fallout: (Ted Rall on speaking up and receiving hate mail)

"before I went on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" tonight to discuss my rather picayune blog entry from earlier this week--the one where I noted the fact that, if you buy into the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, Ronald Reagan is probably turning crispy brown by now--Sean Hannity turned to me and asked me whether I "do this for the publicity."

"no, Mr. Hannity, I had no idea that I would be one of a few public figures with the temerity to note that Ronald Reagan was a shitty president who caused a lot of misery and hurt to this country that I adore. Frankly, it never occured to me that so many of my fellow liberals would be so lame, so cowardly, as to ignore his true legacy. But there you are,

So why do I do it? Why do I go on Fox and let assholes like Hannity yell at me?

The answer is simple: because someone has to. To be liberal in America nowadays is to feel desperately alone, alienated even from a Democratic Party that's totally unwilling to fight for its own principles. Believing in true (liberal) American values nowadays is like working at a job where you're represented by a corrupt union: you'd probably be better off without a union at all. Ditto for the so-called liberal media; the delusion that we're represented prevents us from getting organized.

I go on those stupid shows to let other liberals know that they are not alone, that millions of others feel exactly the same way that they do about the direction that this country is going. It's a thankless task to be sure, one I'll happily give up when other, more prominent, more articulate liberals step up to the plate. Frankly, the only thing I really want to do is stay home and draw cartoons and write columns.

By the way, my Hate Mail postings have become so popular that I can't resist sharing my latest batch,....."
read on
a rose By any other name would smell as sweet

MONGOLIANS have been ordered to invent their own surnames after generations of living with just one name on the orders of their former Soviet masters.

“Surnames were abolished by the Communists in the 1930s to stamp out clan loyalties and soon we forgot the names had ever existed,”

When communism crumbled in 1990 the ban on family names was lifted but many nomadic herders who roam between Siberia and the Gobi desert continue to refer to each other only by single names.

If people can still find their original family name they are encouraged to choose that, otherwise “I tell them to think of something they were born near,” he said, “the name of a river, valley or mountain. Or people might call themselves after their occupation. We have many Mr Writers and Mr Hunters, even a Mr Policeman.” said Serjee Besud, director of the Central State Library, who is Mongolia’s premier surname expert and has written a book advising how to choose an appropriate name.

Some opt for the place where their occupation has taken them. such as in the case of Gurragchaa, the Defence Minister. In 1981 he became the first and only Mongolian cosmonaut, embarking on a Soviet spaceship for an eight-day mission that made him a hero on the moonscape that is Mongolia. When choosing a surname, there was only one choice — Sansar, which means Cosmos.

others opt for surnames such as Seven Drunk Men.

Borjigem, the clan name of Genghis Khan still the mightiest of Mongols, is now as common as Smith in Britain. But some Mongolians go even further. On the outskirts of the capital, a skinny 18-year-old with dental braces and tender wisps of facial hair calls himself simply Genghis Khan.
(via guardian weblog)
post 156 from a forum thread titled "what defines a slapper"

Originally Posted by the forum member who started the thread:

..."Sex is desensitized so much lately, and I don't agree with that. It's not something that should be done with just anyone - even despite knowing his/her name. It's a wonderful experience that should be shared between two people in love."


..."why just two people? even if "love" were a nescessary pre-requisite for great or meaningful sex, its possible to love more than one person at a time. there are many succesful fulltime threesome relationships in the real world.

there are also many successful loving couples who invite other people to have great sex with them. its also possible to love someone for a very brief amount of time.

while you might feel that there is a dominant contemporary cultural move towards people having sex just for fun, the greater reality is that the dominant entrainment is still this romantic myth that monogamy is the ultimate goal. it propagates a feeling of guilt amongst many people who know in their hearts that there is more to sex than just being a fairytale couple."

Originally Posted by the forum member who started the thread:

..."personally? I feel my body is a temple."


..."depends on which kind of temple you worship at. i prefer pagan temples myself.

camille paglia once wrote of casual sexual encounters: "The unknown stranger is a wandering pagan god. The altar, as in prehistory, is anywhere you kneel."

i'm not motivated here to pick a personal fight with you. just to highlight alternatives that you (and other forum members) might not have considered."

Originally Posted by the forum member who started the thread:

..."You're sharing your body & soul. It's emotional, it's physical, and it's spiritual".


..."all things that very often get mangled by artificial constructs such as words and talking. which is why sex with strangers without conversation can also be so fantastic."

Originally Posted by the forum member who started the thread:

..."Don't even get me started on the health risks of casual sex either!"


..."which is why condoms and proper sex education are so important. not to mention the fact that great sex doesn't always have to be penetrative sex. diversity is the spice of life."

Originally Posted by the forum member who started the thread:

..."Someone who gives it away so easily is doing his/herself a great disservice & cheapening the whole meaning of it. It's not something meant to be casual, like a handshake - but I see that others don't agree. That's fine too. But doesn't make either of us wrong, it just makes us different."


..."and we must strive towards allowing differences to blossom, without the crushing weight of a dominant monogamous ideology that is rooted in the teachings of some big old book."