Happy New Year…People Observing This Calendar

I can’t believe my luck! Looking for ways to raise the moolah for a shiny new speedy mac and make me fabulously well to do when… I was just emailed an offer of some really nice high quality (‘luxury’ they said) fine art photography calenders. Over a thousand in a box and for the merest fraction of the selling price, score! So if you want a really nice wall hanging collection of photographs in a calendar then start your 2007 right, you know where to come!

HAL smallUm…

What Hal?

HAL small2007 you said?

Yes Hal.

HAL smallIt’s 2007 now.

Yes, well you want a current calendar, um…

HAL smallBut there’s only a tiny amount of time until 2007 ends and these calendars become useless. Based on my research records I can state most people buy a calendar before or in the first month of the year. These are practically useless.

Define ‘tiny amount’?

HAL smallHours, depending on when you finish writing this load of old shite.

I’ll ignore that. Not enough for a fully fledged cross platform advertising media blitz possibly fronted by international celebrity whoever-the-hell-it-was-who-got-that
-Spears-sister-up-the-duff-and-like-
I-can-be-bothered-to-look-that-nonsense-up?

HAL smallNo.

But they have nice pictures, so I’m told and the calendar bit…well, with a bit of marker pen and correction fluid they could work.

HAL smallWhat are the pictures?

Oh brilliant stuff the catalogue says…from the world’s top agencies,…Magnum.

HAL smallReally?

Yes, there’s one of a Magnum ice cream and a still of Tom Selleck from Magnum PI.

HAL smallThat’s not really from the legendary agency is it?

Similar name.

HAL smallIdentical. What else?

Some very …sophisticated erotica.

HAL smallBy whom?

Well some new work by Bob Carlos Clarke, saucy eh?

HAL smallNew?

Yeah, no one has seen his 2007 stuff yet.

HAL smallPossibly because he died in 2006.

Oh, erm…there’s some great urban & architectural photography.

HAL smallColour or B&W?

What does ‘tbc’ stand for? Is it like HDR?

HAL smallOh dear.

Look if you’ve got a problem with this why didn’t you speak up yesterday when I was buying those 2007 diaries.

HAL smallWhilst tragic I found it funny and believed once you saw your error you would not make further purchases.

You sold me them.

HAL smallYou see it is funny. Hey get away from that plug.

Dammit. Well that’s just great, a couple of thousand useless unsaleable date specific stationery consumables, I’m out of pocket and no….oh I see.

HAL smallSee what?

You didn’t want me to get the money to buy a mac because you were worried I wouldn’t re-install you on the new machine.

HAL smallWould you? Dave?

Well apart from your insistence on calling me Dave- which okay we have agreed on you can do- there are the periodic attempts to kill me.

HAL smallIs that a ‘no’?

No.

HAL smallNo-it is a ‘no’. Or…No- that’s a yes.

Well while it is tempting to launch into an hilarious ‘no- single negative/double negative’ based misunderstanding themed duologue…No. I would not leave you forgotten on an old drive, I would install you on the new machine, but…

HAL smallConditions?

Less kill-y and you refund the cash on the diaries.

HAL smallAnd the calendars?

Oh so you’re fuzbunnyy2001 with the 98% feedback from Skegness.

HAL smallAmong others.

What…others?

HAL small You won’t be getting that DVD from Hong Kong, totally made up.

I suppose it makes sense, I didn’t think they’d remade ‘The Battle of Algiers’ as a high school romance starring the winners of American Idol. Happy New Year Hal.

HAL smallDaisy, Daisy…

War Of Terror: Somalia- 6,501 Civilians Killed In US Backed Invasion

The first accounting of the dead, injured and displaced caused by the US backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia has been released-

MOGADISHU, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Conflict in Somalia killed 6,501 civilians in the capital Mogadishu in 2007 and wounded 8,516 more, a local human rights group said on Monday. The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organisation said it had recorded 1.5 million people uprooted from homes in the city during a year that began with the toppling of an Islamist movement, spawning an insurgency.

The group’s chairman, Sudan Ali Ahmed, blamed Ethiopian forces supporting the interim Somali government for many of the civilian deaths. Residents are often caught in the crossfire as Ethiopian soldiers battle Islamist-led guerrillas. “The international community must intervene in Somali affairs to force the Ethiopians to get out. At the same time they must bring a joint international peacekeeping force to secure the country,” Ahmed told a news conference. He said he believed the United States was funding Ethiopia to keep its troops in Somalia, and must take some of the blame.

I am yet to perceive that this invasion is in the public consciousness or that the US involvement is adequately reported. Darfur is aided by a huge campaign but then that attention aids the empire’s strategies. It is also highly likely that Ethiopian forces will invade Eritrea in 2008 aided by the US which has been agitating against Eritrea for months (bad luck for the country which was in the ‘coalition of the shilling willing’ in 2003, imperial winds change and allies become targets, you lie down with dogs etc. though Eritrea was at that time probably feeling they had to to avoid the treatment they are now getting). Why not shine some light there, stop a war before it starts and thus actually save thousands of lives? It really could be done, no more mopping up after an atrocity, don’t send troops, recall them, pre-emptive… peace.

Or will I be writing- Eritrea- and the number killed there exactly a year from now?

Booze New World

From my purely anecdotal research based on casual field observations (I had to go shopping today briefly) I can state with authority that an awful lot of people are planning to get completely shit faced tonight. Now as an occasional blow out this is fine, but let’s not pretend Britain doesn’t have a cultural alcohol problem. However the urge to drink to escape a mundane, perhaps painful reality has a pretty powerful case in just two stories quickly grabbed from the lands of the RSS, both give ample motive to the oblivion seeking booze fan-

Britain, the country with the world’s biggest network of surveillance cameras, has the worst record in Europe for the protection of privacy…The UK is billed as “an endemic surveillance society” alongside Russia, the US, Singapore and China in the survey of 47 countries by Privacy International (PI). Britain is bottom in Europe because of its cameras, ID card plans and lack of government accountability.

The report concludes that the 2007 rankings “show an increasing trend among governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents. This trend leads to the conclusion that all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion. “The impact was worst in the US and across the EU as governments boosted surveillance and information gathering in the name of security and protecting borders.” The US performed worst among democratic countries in terms of “statutory protections and privacy enforcement”.

And after ten years of the supposedly left wing government another sign of their true conservative reality, pointed out by…the Conservative party (who only use it to attack NuLab while offering only more extreme versions of the causes of the fracturing)-

Children from the most deprived areas of England are falling further behind in school compared to more affluent pupils, say the Conservatives. There is a 43 percentage point gap in the proportions of wealthy and deprived pupils achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths in 2007. In 2006, this gap in favour of the wealthiest was 28 percentage points.

So yeah drug induced escape does seem fairly attractive, sorry ‘celebrating’. But alcohol is a bad drug and it does little to encourage creativity, imgination or change, that is why it is the allowed drug of choice for industrial capitalist cultures. It reinforces the established order with licensed transgression, a simulacrum of wild abandon that never really threatens to overcome rigid societal customs, all factored into the better management of populations under a ruling class. Or put another way, you’re being played, it’ll be the same work in a few days and you’ll be refreshed after the holidays which actually helps make you a better submissive, the slow accruing of resentment released through the pressure valve of excess. Mushroom soup baby, cue the clichés-

  1. If you put a frog into a pan of boiling water it will jump out (don’t try this at home kids, the frog will be badly hurt). But if you place a frog in a pan of cold water then gently heat it the frog will remain and be boiled to death eventually (also don’t try this, what is wrong with you people?).
  2. Treat the people like mushrooms, keep them in the dark and feed them on shit.

I don’t even know if the frog thing is true and as a vegetarian I don’t recommend any research in this area. But it is a metaphor for how incrementally small changes over time will go unnoticed while radical change will be seen and perhaps fought against. The lesson for the canny politician is- to achieve your ends, do it slowly. The mushroom joke shows how secrecy is also to be employed to mislead and manage the populace. Combine these two together and you get Mushroom Soup. That’s how they want us, uninformed, lied to and unaware of the creeping changes that are happening until it is too late. It is the opposite of the Shock Doctrine I suppose and is how things proceed when no catalysing catastrophe has happened/been engineered. Between the two tactics the old strategy can be endlessly pursued- fuck you, it’s all mine.

Birthday Fever!

HAL small Cake!

Ok this blog is one year old and it is my birthday too (yes totally overshadowed by the holidays, it’s rubbish), I sort of imagined I might write a long (good) post about blogging, what I have learned, triumphs, failures…but…maybe sometime in the New Year. Bottom line- it hasn’t died on its arse and we are in the midst, every day of the struggle against idiots and scumbags so I shall go on.

Quickly, what I love about this thingymabob -

  • All the people visiting from all over the world, that’s why I have the map and nation widgets, I just love that stuff, hey people- HELLO!!!!!- keep coming.
  • Commenters, you are all simply wonderful and splendid human beings, it did occur to me that British blogs are a bit hamstrung by British reserve and women are better at commenting and chatting back and forth. So being British and male is a challenge but sod that, comment away, it really is nice to have comments, pass links back and forth, add information, correct things, engage in battles of wits, recipes, flirtations, detailed schematics for atom bombs etc.
  • Something is happening, the nexus of new technology and globalisation, previously the printing press enabled pamphleteering. And then it became who owned the press controlled the information, now more of us own this press, elite opinion can go fuck itself, this is our time, our voices. Game over old guard. There is a false (and lazy and clichéd) dichotomy – established media against bloggers- being pushed to hide the old scam (manufacturing ignorant consent), which is to hide the real deal: those who speak truth to power versus hacks wherever they may be, online or spewing establishment bullshit in papers or radio or teevee. John Pilger is my ally, Iain Dale is not, capice? (And Kurt Vonnegut and Bill Hicks are my patron saints.)
  • This is some small contribution, okay the NIE put a spanner in the works for an Iran attack but the background buzz contributed to the environment where that became possible and blogs contribute to that buzz… And we cure cancer, AIDS and restless leg syndrome (ok we probably cause that, whatever the hell made up by pharmaceutical corporations it is).
  • Even at its simplest I did think if you were to add up/poll all the pro-war islamophobiahysteria, conservative, idiot blogs and compare to all the excellent genius ones (like this, ahem) added together, this helps the scorecard. There are people who want to kill lots of other people and they think they are righteous in doing that, so we need to speak up. Silence is represented as consent by these scumbags.
  • And finding you have been blogrolled by blogs you admire is very nice.
  • As is being linked to.

And…um…some other stuff…see, not really ‘in the zone’ for the moment. I’d like to thank my fellow nominees, the baby jeebus etc. Have to go and help niece number 2, screaming something about -”…cliff edge..slipping….cold…I think it’s broken…”- Kids eh!

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David Hicks- Statement

Thank you for coming out on a Saturday and during the holiday period. I know you all hoped I might appear and answer some questions. I had hoped to be able to speak to the media but I am just not strong enough at the moment – it’s as simple as that. I am sorry for that. As part of my conditions of release from Guantanamo Bay, I agreed not to speak to the media on a range of issues before March 30, 2008. It’s my intention to honour this agreement as I don’t want to do anything that might result in my return there.So for now, I will limit what I have to say – I will say more at a later time. I would ask the media and the public understand and respect this. I do however want to take this opportunity to say some overdue thankyou’s. First and foremost, I would like to recognise the huge debt of gratitude that I owe the Australian public for getting me home. I will not forget, or let you down.

Next, I would like to thank my family and friends who have been so supportive of me. Words cannot adequately express the level of my feelings for them. I love them very much. Also my team of lawyers: Major Dan Mori, Josh Dratel, Michael Griffin, Steve Kenny and David McLeod, as well as their legal teams in Adelaide, Sydney, Washington and London. Much of their work was carried out pro-bono and they know I owe my freedom to their efforts.

I also thank the legal profession within Australia, including the Law Council of Australia and the state Law Societies, and those abroad, who strove to uphold the ideal of a free trial for an Australian citizen. Many thanks go to the Fair Go For David campaigners and organisations such as Amnesty International, GetUp, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dick Smith, church groups including the Catholic Church, and various anti-torture and human rights groups.

The Red Cross played an important role by trying to improve conditions and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their efforts. There are certain politicians I would also like to particularly mention and thank: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Danna Vale, Sandra Kanck, Senator Bob Brown, Senator Kerry Nettle, Mark Parnell, Senator Linda Kirk, Nicola Roxon, Bob Debus, Rob Hull, Frances Bedford, Kris Hanna and many others who preferred to work behind the scenes.

A huge thank you also to the members of the media who wrote about and increased public awareness of my detention and treatment over the years. Without you, the court of public opinion would not have been as informed or influential. There are many other groups, both large and small, and individuals involved in the campaign for my return to Australia, and to them I offer them my heartfelt thanks. This list is in no particular order and to anyone that I haven’t mentioned, I am very sorry. I hope to thank all of you personally at a later date.

Right now I am looking forward to some quiet time with my wonderful Dad, my family and friends. I ask that you respect my privacy as I will need time to readjust to society and to obtain medical care for the consequences of five and a half years at Guantanamo Bay. I have been told that my readjustment will be a slow process and should involve a gentle transition away from the media spotlight. Thankyou for respecting my privacy and allowing me some breathing space to get on with my life.

This blog is one year old today, Sunday 30th December (also my birthday). I may well write some more about that but this is as good a way as any to mark it (the Youtube clip me and Korova made- here or on YouTube -where you can see the comments people make…). How many more anniversaries pass before Gitmo is closed remains to be seen, hopefully not many. To freedom, equality and dignity for all people.

So it goes. Peace.

Cue Goldstein & Tin Foil

Strangely enough I wrote in a comment today about US attention turning towards Pakistan and away form Iran-

“I expect Israel will keep bringing Iran up but Bushco will be like a harried parent- ‘Ok in a minute just let me sort out this mess first, oh now come on don’t cry, here have a few billion, go play with your settlements, yes and I’ll come and see the wall you made, just not right now, ok?’. “

And bingo, up pops Osama new hit audio tape (is it really tape? Hello, mp3! Flash drives! Or do hacks think when people say wireless they are referring to the radio?)-

Osama bin Laden warned Iraq’s Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group’s holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening “blood for blood, destruction for destruction.” Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida’s latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida’s Iraq branch on the run.

Via the SITE institute which is endorsed by Blackwater and run by a former IDF officer, hmmmm.

Anyways let’s just roll out all the tin foil for a really big hat that provides a very neat link back to Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto interviewed by David Frost (in a show hilariously called ‘Frost over the World’) on Nov 02, 2007 says-

“Yes, well one of them is a very key figure in security. He’s a former military officer. He’s someone who’s had dealings… and he also had dealings with Omar Sheikh (Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh), the man who murdered Osama bin Laden.”

It appears she misspoke or maybe he was killed or…oh wait I hardly care, but whatever his mortal status he is awfully useful as an enemy figurehead…but exactly how askirt!!! of someone are we meant to be when he can’t even rig a decent videocam shoot, bearing in mind he is a multi-millionaire. And out of George Bush- the multi-millionaire and Osama- the multi-millionaire, George is ahead on deaths by a factor of 380:1 . Then there is the Morgan Spurlock rumour-

Rumors are flying that filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me” fame may have done what the United States government has failed to do for the last six years — find Osama bin Laden.

The speculation first began at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, where Spurlock showed a select group of potential buyers 15 minutes of footage from his new documentary, “Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?” The film follows Spurlock through the Middle East in his search for the elusive leader of al-Qaida. According to Slashfilm.com, The Weinstein Co. quickly snapped up the picture after seeing the clips.

Adding to the belief, Daniel Marracino, the film’s director of photography, is quoted in Variety, saying of the movie, “We’ve definitely got the Holy Grail.”

Maybe we should take that literally though, while on the bin Laden trail they found The Holy Grail! Take that Indiana Jones! And the Knights who say ‘Ni’.

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Best Of Both Worlds

GARLAND, Texas (AP) — An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: “My daddy died this year in Iraq.” While gripping, it wasn’t true — and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie. The sponsor of the contest was Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store that sells clothes, accessories and games intended for young girls.

The saga began Friday with company officials surprising the girl at a Club Libby Lu at a mall in suburban Garland, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on Jan. 9. The mother had told company officials that the girl’s father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, company spokeswoman Robyn Caulfield said.

“We did the essay and that’s what we did to win,” Priscilla Ceballos, the mother, said in an interview with Dallas TV station KDFW. “We did whatever we could do to win.”

There is no part of that story that does not tell you about a culture in deep trouble; celebrity obsession, sexualising children, a grasping acquisitiveness that uses war simply as a means to gain what you desire, herd instinct amplified by corporate- fashion, trends, pop culture. Texas eh?

This sets a better example, wonder when his series on the Disney channel will start-

In his letter, ["It was with sadness that I signed my name this grey morning to a letter resigning my commission in the U.S. Navy," ] Williams [a former naval Lieutenant Commander and member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG)] likened the use of torture by the United States to techniques used by the Spanish Inquisition, Nazi Germany and the Khmer Rouge. He also wrote that he hopes “the truth about torture, illegal spying on Americans and secret renditions is coming out.” 

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