War & politics: Sept 11th, bin Laden, Middle East news, from my own perspective.
"Several thousand tribal elders held a jirga, or council, and agreed to raise a force of their own to find the wanted men. In the last two weeks, the tribes have handed over 42 of them. Tribal members, meanwhile, have bulldozed and dynamited the homes of eight men who refused to surrender."
glad we're hearing about this. Normally such inaccessible and 'minor'
efforts would only be reported in local press, never reaching something
like the NYT.
[During the anti-Soviet drive] the United States indirectly helped pay for hundreds of hard-line
religious schools that produced anti-Soviet fighters. Today, the same
schools appear to produce anti-American fighters.
Are we yet pouring more money into correct these mistakes? Or, going for the short term, painful, fix? My guess is the latter.
"David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, yesterday claimed that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria."
Debka.com has been saying the same for ages.
From my archives: Documents coming to light in Baghdad directly incriminate
Syria as a full partner in the financing, development and concealment
of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs
Mind, they were also saying: The Iraqi ruler has massed around Baghdad--not only his crack fighting divisions and most loyal suicide units, but also his missiles and weapons of mass destruction, including possibly radiological devices.
All search engines, to varying degrees, analyze links in calculating the relevancy of a page for a particular query. Seed the Web with enough links pointing to the same site using the same anchor text, and you alter the search results. The effect is magnified with less popular search phrases, since there are far fewer competing links.
Some Google bombs may have been accomplished with as few as 20 links. What is important is not the number of links, but rather the popularity of the sites doing the linking and the relative obscurity of the search term.
I wonder if us UK bloggers should do that for Blair, something on the lines of 'big liar.'
Gated communities should be adopted by councils to improve
community safety, the home secretary, David Blunkett, said today.
WTF? This doesn't sound very egalitarian! What the hell is happening to this so called socialist government?
This on top of the higher money for good or best higher education? I'm beginning to pray that Labour lose their vote next week, a day before the Hutton report, and this will be the exit for Blair.
The government faces renewed calls for a full judicial inquiry into its decision to go to war with Iraq.
I don't see why this programme is more of a call to action than anything else that has been said by anybody else. Nothing too exciting in it.
However, I certainly want Blair's head on a block for the passion he added to his calls for an attack on Iraq in Parliament 18th March 2003. I certainly was for it then. To stop any chance of WMD being used or passed to mad Muslims — for no other reason. For sure, he was a ruthless dictator — but that was for Iraqis to solve.
"We are now seriously asked to accept that in the last few years, contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence, he decided unilaterally to destroy the weapons. Such a claim is palpably absurd."
That's what he did Tony. Your intel was wrong. You went to war for the wrong reasons.
I used to respect and trust you. Now, I don't.
I want you out. Otherwise Labour will lose. And I don't want that, not at all.
Why did we go to war? I now believe it was for other reasons. Perhaps as a distraction for the bin Laden brigade, perhaps for the US dollar hegemony, perhaps for more power in an oil rich region. I still don't know. But, I do believe that WMD was a camouflage — a way of getting around the anti-war public.
The 5,000-strong crowd was believed to be the first public
demonstration in Iraq demanding death for Saddam since he was captured
by U.S. forces Dec. 13.
Iraq is turning into a blood thirsty country. I guess it always has been.
From an article in The New Yorker. A fascinating insight into Saudi culture. Here's just a few quotes about this dangerous and unstable country.
I had begun to look at Saudi society as a collection of opposing forces: the liberals against the religious conservatives, the royal family versus democratic reformers, the unemployed against the expats, the old against the young, men against women. The question is whether the anger that results from all this conflict will be directed outward, at the West, or inward, at the Saudi regime.
A number of Saudis told me that many of the muttawa’a (government-subsidized religious vigilantes usually trailed by official policemen, who are at their command) are ex-convicts who would be unemployable except for the fact that in prison they memorized the Koran. They receive a bounty from the government for every arrest they make: reportedly, three hundred dollars for every Saudi, and half that for a foreigner. One Jeddah resident described them as “an occupying force.”
There is no feeling, in this article, nor, in anything else I have read, that there is a light, a way out. All I read is blackness, hopelessness.
Perhaps the stars will be such a commonality it may get through.
"The admission of doubt is
particularly significant for Mr Blair because, unlike President George
Bush, he put WMD, rather than regime change, at the centre of his
justification for war."
What worries me, is that, though WMD may never be found, will we ever know if they were there, and have been hidden, or given/sold to terrorist orgs?
Witness another Guardian report, "French police are convinced that their country has escaped a planned chemical or biological attack by an Islamist cell linked to al-Qaida." Though this cell was making it's own botulism or ricin.
Personal security passes, a digital warrant contained in the writings and other stored ephemera in one's blog.
Dave Pollard's cooking up some more excellent thoughts. His first of a series of important ideas for 2003 concentrates on blogs. This item, I'd like to revisit.
"Blogs could be the platform for a proxy for each of us as individuals, our electronic filing cabinet and electronic identity - A blog consists of information about you, and knowledge you've accumulated. What if you expanded it to be a repository for all the information about you and all the knowledge you've accumulated, your 'locked' filing cabinet. You control it, you decide what does and doesn't go into it, and who can have a temporary key to what parts of it. Then at work, it could be your proxy, the repository of knowledge that shows your value to your employer and the value you've added to the company. And it could be your resume. At home it could be your medical patient record. Your bookshelf catalogue and refrigerator/pantry inventory and recipe book. Your bio for the dating service. Imagine the applications that could be built on this knowledge. Your intellectual property, under your control. Amazing. Scary."One of the applications would be the policeman stopping you to see if you're a terrorist or not. Easily he'd be able to access you blog with bills or other background knowledge you have about yourself on his mobile device. Looking at your posts he'd see if you're an extremist. If you didn't write, he could question you on your utility bills, your movements, interests.
I do see the day when it is a legal requirement to have a blog. For this very purpose. All your school, employment and bank records, bills, passports and other legal documents will be sent there by government agencies, utility companies and so on. Your library books, music choices, phone calls, browsing statistics, every conceivable record would be there, including GPS information from mobile devices. Transport records, car ownerships, bus or train trips. FOAF is only the start.
Big brother? Sure.
As a way of finding criminals, of checking out truths, researching backgrounds, probabilities, understanding motivations. It couldn't be beat. Where as finger printing, or retinal checks could if there's no previous history of wrong doing.
Thought police? Sure.
In a civilisation where 99.999% of people are good, honest. Where 0.001% are bad, dishonest and out of them the tiniest minority are evil. Where that evil, in years to come could wipe out thousands, millions even billions of people, I don't mind. I welcome big brother, as I do with the zero tolerance of New York's drive to eliminate crime. As I do with the CCTV cameras now everywhere.
Thirty or forty years, after the second, or third WMD attack on the West the public will say yes to anything.
Security will be our new morality.