Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Muntadar al-Zaidi is widely considered to be a hero, and in my opinion justly so, for reminding the world of the plight of the Iraqi people caused by the insanity of Bush and Blair. He payed for his symbolic gesture with nine months in jail, not to mention torture. The little shit from BBC News who commented on the footage, Andy Mar, expressed solidarity with his Iraqi colleague using such phrases as "taste of his own medicine" and "you reap what your throw".
With such "defenders of democracy" as the BBC, it is no wonder why Britain today is anything but.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Only 0.18% of all complaints against riot squad officers over the last four years were upheld (Guardian, Friday 6 November 2009). This is not a typo! If you're bad at maths, let me explain that 0.18% amounts to about 1 out of 556.
Does that mean that 99.82% of all people who filed complaints were doing so just for the fun of it? I would lean towards believing instead that a culture of unaccountability has pervaded every echelon of law enforcement.
So what do we do about it? Do we organise mass demonstrations to demand punishment of officers who have abused police powers, or to demand punishment of those in government who have entrusted those powers to a fruity club unworthy of them? Do we start an armed revolt against the state perhaps?
No, the cunning plan is to have elected police chiefs. If anything, this will add to the illusion that police have a mandate from the people to fuck up the way they have done in the past. One may also expect an increase in police brutality against "pervs", "social deviants" and other minorities, to please the tabloid-reading, self-righteous masses.
If the voters are stupid, then the easiest way to achieve repression is through a pretence of democracy. This is demonstrated in Britain more than anywhere else (save the US of course).
More repression is on the way:
Her Majesty's Pleasure: How England "Safeguards" Sexuality, by John Ozimek (Carnal Nation, via Melon Farmers 7th November 2009)
Friday, 6 November 2009
Iran may aspire to have nuclear weapons. Britain has nuclear weapons.
At the head of Iran's government there are nutcases who might one day start a war against Israel motivated by religious beliefs. Britain got involved in the war in Iraq thanks to Tony Blair's divine revelations. Our next PM doesn't seem to be much of an improvement, to put it mildly.
Misogyny is widespread among Iran's political elite. The same can be said of Britain.
Iran has the Basij militia, who are answerable to no one. In Britain, MI5, MI6, special "anti-terror" forces, and even the regular police appear to be answerable to no one. (See here and here and here and here.)
Many judges in Iran are also clergy, passing sentences while firmly believing in fairy tales from the Arabian peninsula. In Britain, the legal system is dominated by bigotted clown in wigs, and juries who believe anything they read in the Daily Fail.
In Iran there are show trials against the leaders of the opposition. In Britain, people can be held in custody for 28 days without even being charged.
Speaking out against Islam can get one seriously in trouble in Iran. Speaking out against quacks damaging the health of patients can get one seriously in trouble in Britain.
There are reports of torture in Iranian prisons, Britain mostly outsources torture to third-world countries.
The Iranian authorities ban some films for vague reasons. (One such film is Crimson Gold, which I much recommend.) Similarly, cinemas in the UK are receiving "free advice" from police not to show certain films.
The Iranian government reveals its authoritarian nature by implementing software to monitor and filter internet traffic. This corresponds to mandatory data retention and IWF block lists in Britain. And more is to come.
Iran has a democracy in principle, but the government does not reflect the will of the people. The British government is currently supported by perhaps one fifth of the electorate, and will continue to give democracy the finger until the summer of 2010, when another political party will take over that doesn't care a jot about democracy, justice or common decency.
The people of Iran are showing exceptional bravery and dignity, becoming of the Persian culture, with its recorded history going back 5000 years. This may in the end break them free from tyrany. The people of Britain...
Ah, forget it! What's on the telly tonight?
Friday, 30 October 2009
Last time scientists were told to lie in order to support government policy, on penalty of dismissal, was under Ceauşescu.
Science is no longer wanted, nor critical thinking, nor common sense, nor human rights, nor common decency. But who needs all that when we have New Labour ideology.
Most repressive regimes invent a term to refer to people who stand in the way of whatever the regime wants to achieve. The term is given a strong negative connotation, and subsequently the populace tends to treat those branded with the term as less deserving of life and happiness.
Examples of such terms are "infidel", "unbeliever", "sodomite", "social deviant", "subversive", "Untermensch", "asbo", and lately "sex offender", which is another concoction of New Labour's mass criminalisation programme, making clever use of Britons' innate pathological fear of sex. The term includes those who have been convicted of rape or child molestation. But it also includes a policewoman who moonlighted as a prostitute, a man who gave a woman a lift from the train station to a nearby brothel (so called domesting trafficking; yes, people have been sent to jail for that), a father owning a holiday photo of his 17 year old daughter in a bikini, people who read explicit Japanese comic books or watched videos with "extreme pornography", as well as many dozens of innocent people (innocent in every respect except that of British law) whose credit card information was stolen by paedophiles.
Responsible journalists would not use a crude term like "sex offender" for such a wide spectrum of individuals, many of whom don't deserve to be treated as criminals in the first place. But of course, we are not talking about responsible journalism here, we are talking about BBC News.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
"Detailed research identified which events are most likely to attract crime and disorder," a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police told BBC News.
"At the end of the day, you've got to say that certain events attract more trouble than others.
We're shifting the focus away from live music. Originally the definition of what Form 696 applied to was extremely broad so by narrowing it down, it's thought that we can better tailor it to our requirements."
Detailed research identified that Muslims are the most likely ethnicity to blow up subways, so by narrowing down security checks, we can better tailor them to our requirements.
Detailed research identified that men between 30 and 35 are most likely to possess child pornography, so by narrowing down pre-dawn raids to houses of randomly selected men in that age group, we can better tailor them to our requirements.
Detailed research identified that opposition MPs are most likely to leak information embarrassing to the Labour government, so by narrowing down our unlawful arrests, search warrants and intimidation, we can better tailor them to our requirements.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
British Museum's Aztec artefacts 'as evil as Nazi lampshades made from human skin' (Mail Online, 27th September 2009)
Solid and scholarly as this exhibition is, I would rather not have the memory of half of these carefully preserved objects in my mind.
The fear of knowledge is perhaps the most pernicious of all, as it promotes ignorance, breeds bigotry, and engenders hatred, Fear of knowledge is what makes history repeat itself, letting people make stupid choices and start pointless wars over and over again.
New Labour is responsible for creating much of that fear, which today borders on hysteria. But let us not forget the contributions made by our 'friends' from the Daily Mail.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
"Nothing will be gained by sending you into custody, because you wouldn’t survive because you would be vulnerable. Support and assistance is needed."
Does the judge perchance admit that jail is a nasty place where strong men rape not-so-strong men? If so, this means that the first individual mentioned in the article has been sent to jail for six months for possessing images of a horse being sexually abused, so that he in turn may be abused. But whereas the horse may not even have noticed, he will, every time he reaches down for the soap, for six long months.
I thought the Hammurabi code (ca. 1790 BC) had put an end to such disproportional punishment.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
The warning comes after Ofsted told two policewomen to end an arrangement to care for each other's children.
This must be the first country in the world that doesn't even trust policewomen to care for children without abusing them.
According to the newspaper, the Thames Valley officer is believed to have been reported by a neighbour.
Thank you, New Labour, for having turned this country into a hysterical hell hole, dominated by fear, distrust and snitching. It may take a generation or more to undo the damage you maniacs have done to this society.
It is highly unethical for a teacher to continue teaching someone or to be in any way involved in their grading, after they have started a relationship. The teacher ought to have been disciplined for this, and possibly dismissed.
There is no mention however of paedophilia in the clinical sense being a factor here, nor that the relationship was very different from a normal romance between two young people, one somewhat younger than the other. The state then has no business interfering in one of the few things that make life worth living, and the long jail sentence cannot reasonably be seen as anything other than a perverse application of a crude law.
An impact statement from the girl's parents said the teacher went "out of her way" to befriend them and their "vulnerable" daughter.
Note that "impact statement" includes considerations about the parents. Often in such cases, parents choose to see themselves as victims. Their hurt pride means more to them than the best interests of their children.
"It is, of course, against the law to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16, even with her consent."
As a rule, statements of judges are full of self-righteous moralising bullshit, suggesting they have the private phone number of God™, whom they consult to distinguish right and wrong. In this case however, there is no mention of "wrong", but just of "against the law". This country has sunk so low that we don't even pretend any more that the law is a reflection of any kind of natural justice.
If the law is out of synch with reality, then reality will have to adapt to the law. This harsh sentencing will miraculously alter the genes of Britons, and from now on, no one will fall in love with anyone on the opposite side of the 16th birthday.
The judge added: "The relationship involved a fair degree of deception not only in respect of the school but also to the girl's parents."
How strange that lovers would try to keep such a relationship secret, when bringing it in the open would only get one of the two in jail for a long time.
The school was made aware of the affair through an anonymous e-mail tip-off, the court heard.
Nice to have such friends and colleagues. I wonder how they can bear the guilt for the rest of their lives.
The judge, who was told the girl and the teacher were genuinely in love, did not uphold the prosecution's request for a sexual offences prevention order as it would be "draconian and unnecessarily cruel" to the girl as well.
How kind of the judge to consider the girl's interests. No doubt she will be delighted that she can see her lover in jail for the next 15 months.
The original BBC News article also included the following (which has since been edited out, but it is still found in the Guardian article, which seems to have been derived from it):
Officers raided the teacher's maisonette in Greenwich, south-east London, and arrested the 26-year-old. They seized sex toys from the house.
What do these "sex toys" prove, other than that BBC News journalists are pathetic little weasels who are all too eager to harm people's privacy far beyond the call of duty?
Blurred boundaries for teachers (Guardian, Wednesday 23 September 2009)
Some of the comments are noteworthy. Whereas Guardian readers tend to be open-minded and critical of the nanny state, as soon as sex is involved even they turn into hysterical bigotted monsters, calling for even harsher penalties for "pervs".
What is it with Britons and sex?
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Policemen who shot an innocent commuter in the head (seven times, with hollow-point bullets) never spent one minute in jail. The policeman who found pleasure in clubbing an innocent passerby to death at the G20 will most likely never receive a jail sentence either. But making love (with remuneration) apparently shakes the very foundations of this society and so warrants the harshest punishments.
The convicted woman might have served society well as a police officer who, for a change, was not clubbing innocent people to death or shooting them in the head (seven times, with hollow-point bullets), regardless of whether she was moonlighting as a private math tutor or as anything else. Instead, her life has been devastated and she has been turned into a burden on society, at least for the next 15 months, when we will all be paying room and board for her.
I'm still puzzled why the establishment came down so hard on this woman. Was it perhaps because her very existence was an embarrassment to Jacqui Smith's claim that all prostitutes are helpless women who are forced into it by ruthless pimps?
For more ideology-driven 'fact' finding, and New Labour creating statistics to suit its purpose, in concert with a police force that is out of control, see:
Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution (Guardian, Tuesday 20 October 2009)
Saturday, 12 September 2009
The intelligentsia in Turing's time were deploring eras when women didn't have the right to vote and were otherwise oppressed. But in the 1950s it was not fashionable to defend the rights of gays. Alan Turing was a genius and his contributions to code-breaking were vital to the war effort. But after the war he was simply a perv, and standing up for that sort of people was not salonfähig.
Today, complacent intellectuals condemn persecution of gays (or to be exact, persecution of one famous gay man) in the 1950s. How courageous to criticise law makers most of whom have been dead for decades! Will the same intellectuals stand up for the rights of consenting adults in the BDSM community who are persecuted by today's government for enjoying non-vanilla sexual activities and images thereof? Defending pervs? No way!
Monday, 3 August 2009
Tackling the film piracy problem (BBC News, Tuesday, 28 July 2009)
"They'll clamp the camera to a seat or use a tripod obscured by a coat. They'll often use microphones, placing them three of them four seats either side to get a stereo effect."
The movie industry is trying to shove the cursed Blu-ray format down our throats, with the justification that the public is demanding higher quality video and audio. That same industry also claims that 90% of "pirated" films are obtained by crummy recording devices hidden in coats of cinema-goers.
As always, BBC News is willing to help industry spread such propaganda, unhindered by any form of critical thinking. The objective is political correctness, not accuracy.
Two more recent cases of BBC News twisting the facts, presumably with ideological intentions:
Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity (Register, 22nd July 2009)
BBC erroneously reports first charges under Extreme Porn Act (Melonfarmers, 25th July 2009)
Labour 'men-only leadership' over (BBC news, Sunday, 2 August 2009)
men "cannot be left to run things on their own"
The only meaningful interpretation of this claim is as yet another deserved stab in the back of Gordon Brown. (Why is he still here?) But honestly, I don't think Brown's disastrous leadership is specifically anti-women, just anti-human. With the gross incompetence of Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears still fresh in our minds, this is not the best time to argue more women are wanted in the Labour party.
There are many bad things one can say about Facebook. The many bugs and browser-specific features reveal it was built by incompetent dimwits. The privacy policies, or their absence, one should be extremely wary of as well.
Nevertheless, after taking precautions, I signed up and I now find Facebook useful to keep informed about social events, where I meet people face-to-face. I concede however that other people may interact with their friend online in place of face-to-face meetings.
So does Facebook on the average lead to more face-to-face meetings, or to fewer? Well, there is this revolutionary new idea to find out things about the world. It is called scientific inquiry. One study on Facebook is for example:
Are Facebook Friends Like Face-to-Face Friends: Investigating Relations Between the Use of Social Networking Websites and Social Capital (Annual meeting of the International Communication Association, 2008)
One major disadvantage of science is that it requires effort. It is much easier to become the leader of some fruity club that worships pink unicorns, celestial teapots or whatever other garbled hogwash. And then you can say whatever you want, without obligation to offer any empirical support whatsoever. Your words will be jotted down by open-mouthed BBC News churnalists desperate to reach their quotas, and published on the front page of their website.
Friday, 10 July 2009
Turkey's prime minister has described ethnic violence in China's Xinjiang region as "a kind of genocide".
And the 'great catastrophe' of 1915, when up to 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives 'accidentally' (oops!), was not genocide? (Turkish PM dismisses apology for alleged Armenian genocide; Guardian, Thursday 18 December 2008) Oh, of course, those Armenians were not muslims, so that doesn't count, does it?
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Rare 007 car to go under the hammer (BBC News, Wednesday, 8 July 2009)
The truth about torture (Guardian, Wednesday 8 July 2009)
I'm so confused! Isn't being a secret agent all about driving fast cars, seducing beautiful women with foreign accents, and sipping martinis (shaken not stirred)? Or is it about
New Labour has long since managed to pervert each and every section of the state, even more than the Tories ever did. For the secret services, they being secret and all that, it has merely taken a little longer for the veil to be lifted. Is the populace in shock now? Certainly. At the death of Wacko Jacko. Once we're over that, we'll be looking forward to the next James Bond film, and we'll feel as proud to be British as always.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
"We have to tell children 'you have done wrong', and if that means going through the court system that's what we have to do."
The flaw in the reasoning is that in this country being convicted and being wrong couldn't be further apart, and the idea of British law as a moral compass has been thoroughly discredited. Only a few bigoted special-interest groups, such as Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (MAMAA), still believe in this myth. If punishment makes good behaviour, we must be the best-behaved nation in the world.
Especially under New Labour, laws have been introduced with the sole purpose of being able to put more people in jail for longer, for 'crimes' that cause little or no harm to anyone. A person a few days past their 16th birthday can be jailed for having consensual relations with a person a few days before their 16th birthday. Someone can be jailed for possessing "extreme porn" involving consenting adults. A computer user can be jailed for forgetting the password to encrypted files. A scientist can be convicted of libel if he justly, and in the best interests of the public, criticises the quackery of chiroquacks.
Conversely, the police can end the lives of innocent people without being prosecuted. Police can harass people and hold them in custody for several days even if very clearly no offense has been committed. They can do this without risk of receiving a reprimand from their superiors, and in fact it seems harassment and arrest have now become standard tools for dealing with any kind of dissent, encouraged by the highest echelons of the state. (See for example: Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police; Guardian, Sunday 21 June 2009.) Big companies such as BT can snoop on internet users without bearing the consequences. One PM and one former PM who are both guilty of deceiving the public and leading the country into a disastrous war will likely never be prosecuted.
If one gives a 12 year old boy a criminal record for calling a girl a 'paki' one doesn't teach him that it is wrong to call a girl a 'paki'. Instead one teaches him that the state is ruthless in how it treats transgressions of mostly arbitrary norms. One should not be surprised if such a boy then grows up to be a banker or MP, robbing people's money in ways that happen to be legal, but abject nonetheless.
The system, pioneered for Sainsbury's by Peter Hughes of Highway Energy Systems, does not affect the car or fuel efficiency,
In other words, it creates energy out of nowhere. Right.
"Hey you guys, let's drive our Hummer 30 miles to Sainsbury's and pass over the kinetic road plates! To save energy!"
Thursday, 4 June 2009
I think I should be very open about my expenses, but there are bits of my private life that I don't think should be open to public scrutiny.
If what happens between consenting adults is exposed to public scrutiny, then that's quite awkward. Isn't it, Mrs. Smith? This is quite unlike your Extreme Porn Law (see Backlash), which doesn't interfere at all with what happens between consenting adults. Does it, Mrs. Smith?
As you sow...
Comment: Good riddance to a bad home secretary (politic.co.uk, Tuesday, 02, Jun 2009)
It fails to mention a few fuckups, but then again, there were so many. See also:
Rule nothing out with these Home Office farceurs – except competence (Guardian, Friday 8 May 2009)
For now, let's not rely on the next home secretary being less of a wackjob.
To value life is as much part of our nature as to have compassion with suffering fellow human beings. As we're all going to die, and many of us as the result of a painful illness, no one can escape the conflict between the will to live and the will to end suffering. No set of laws could offer a perfect legal framework to resolve that conflict for individual people in individual circumstances, but anyone who thinks they are entitled to an absolute judgement on this issue are either stark raving mad, the Pope, or Gordon Brown.
Brown against assisted dying law (BBC News, Tuesday, 30 December 2008)
He replied: "Well I'm totally against laws on that.
Physicians who spend their entire careers dealing with life and death, and the illnesses and suffering that separate them, would never use the word "totally" when they have to decide whether to administer pain relief to a patient at the expense of bringing them closer to the end of their lives. Terminally ill patients who consider active suicide have to make an even more difficult choice. But Gordon Brown is "totally against", so that settles it.
To a man who possesses absolute truths, I wouldn't entrust my bicycle, let alone the job of running the country.
it's not really for us to create any legislation that would put pressure on people to feel that they had to offer themselves because they were causing trouble to a relative or anything else.
So it is all about people getting rid of burdensome parents, siblings or children, is it? And what the hell is "anything else" meant to imply? Do you suggest that children want to treat their parents to euthanasia so they can get their hands on the inheritance? Or what? Come on, tell us what is in your sick mind!
Dear Gordon, step down now. There is not a soul in Britain who takes you seriously anymore, if anyone ever did. And take the rest of those loony-tunes with you!
People who want Gordon Brown to stay do this for all the wrong reasons, e.g. fear of losing their own jobs.
Call to back PM as unrest grows (BBC News, Sunday, 7 June 2009)
We're now less than a year away from the election. We have no more chances left. We either pull ourselves together, stake out what we stand for, or we will be gone.
Where does the well-being of the country come in? Or restoring the people's trust in democracy? We have entered the cynical phase of clinging to power for the sake of clinging to power.
Friday, 29 May 2009
In my blog on music, I frequently mention budget CDs with the most amazing music, much of which has never appealed to wide audiences and will never appeal to wide audiences. How come such commercially unattractive releases exist? Who is making money selling 17-CD sets with new recordings of organ works by Olivier Messiaen, going for less than 2 pounds per CD? It is a mystery to me.
Two things are clear. First, file sharing has never been so widespread. Second, never before have so many interesting recordings been available for so little money, including historical recordings, recordings of contemporary music, and new recordings of older music. If there is the slightest causal relation between the two, then please let everyone keep doing whatever they are doing, because the impact on art seems to be positive.
As to less money flowing into the pockets of imbeciles shouting their unschooled lungs out and recording mind-numbing noise in dad's garage, screw them!
the dangers associated with looped blind cords [...] are linked with the death of at least one child a year in the UK
The incidence of people being shot or assaulted by police, resulting in serious injury or death, is comparable at the very least, and possibly far higher. A few particularly appalling cases spring to mind: Stephen Waldorf (1983), James Ashley (1997), Chris Sherwood (1998), Harry Stanley (1999), Derek Bennett (2001), Jean Charles de Menezes (2005), Mohammed Abdul Kahar (2006), Ian Tomlinson (2009). This is not to mention the around 100 people who die in police custody every year.
So let's ban the police!
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
In an heroic action, police thwarted an attack that could have ended civilisation as we know it by killing millions (eventually).
Two uniformed officers responding to 999 calls went to Cheapside, Shildon, where they saw a man with what they thought was a crossbow.
Clearly a dangerous terrorist.
Supt Graham Hall, from Durham Police, said the officers involved in the shooting were receiving support.
It was further reported that one of the officers sustained serious blood stains on his left sleeve while verifying that the terrorist had been successfully eliminated. It took two washings with different detergents to remove the stains. The laundry bill has been sent to the family of the deceased.
This incident happened some time ago, and there have been no new reports. But under the surface, anger among the public is gathering momentum, about the police yet again taking their monopoly on violence as a licence to kill, and there will be mass demonstrations. Soon. Perhaps. Maybe not. Ah, forget it!
How blessed are we, for our cultural achievements are acknowledged even in the US. So the Americans remembered their aircraft carrier off the coast of Europe.
The function of crappy TV shows is to detract attention from true horrors. Did you think Susan Boyle looked out of place on the stage of a television show? If you seek a truly toe-curling experience, watch the interview with Hazel Blears (Guardian, Tuesday 5 May), pretending to have a clue and to be qualified to be cabinet minister.
But stupid me, we shouldn't criticise our overlords, as this might drive them to suicide or erode confidence in democracy. So let's collectively stick our heads in the sand and when we look up, Britain will have magically transformed into a modern democracy with responsible leaders.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Proposed exercise for statistics class:
If we suppose that police have to violently assault 500 unworthy civilians, of different ages and in different states of health, before one yokel finally has the decency to roll over and die, then what is the expected number of such assaults that we never hear about, either because no cameras were present, or because the inflicted harm was not fatal? There are some unknowns left in the equation, but you get the idea.
In what seems a concerted effort by government, police and judiciary, demonstrations are being pushed to the margins of the political arena. Techniques such as kettling, excessive violence by police, and their routinely taking pictures and personal details of people entering and leaving demonstrations, these are discouraging all but the most determined citizens to take part in future political events. Among the group that remains, there will be a relatively high percentage of trouble makers, whose vandalism will undoubtedly be used as an argument to crack down on demonstrations even more.
Kudos to the Labour government for finding a smart way to prevent major demonstrations without formally banning them, which would surely have led to a rebuke from the European Court of Human Rights (not that this government would care). Unless one suffers from the delusion that democracy equates to putting a pencil mark on a ballot paper every few years, the recent developments are added cause for concern, next to all the other recent assaults on civil liberties.
A good illustration of such warped views towards democracy is offered in a toe-curling CiF article by Jack Straw (Our record isn't perfect. But talk of a police state is daft; The Guardian, Friday 27 February 2009), which abounds in hollow rhetoric and escapism. Among its tenets are that we shouldn't complain because the situation in Britain is not yet as bad as it is in some dictatorships in the Middle East or South Asia, and if we don't like the present government, we should just keep our traps shut until we finally get a chance to not re-elect them, which might not be until June 2010. That is supposed to make us feel better?!
Police 'kettle' tactic feels the heat (BBC News, Thursday, 16 April 2009)
Despite the two instances of alleged police assault, [...]
Excuse me?! Two? Again we see why BBC News has very little to do with serious journalism. There are two incidents that reached the front pages because either someone died or cameras managed to catch a police officer in flagrante. Far more incidents of gratuitous police violence were reported, and it is likely many more took place. See:
G20 police officers may face multiple claims over brutality allegations (The Guardian, Saturday 11 April 2009)
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had received 120 complaints relating to police actions at the demonstrations.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is to be raised from eight to 12, ministers have confirmed.
It will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe,
Say again? Toddlers of eight years old can currently be prosecuted in Scotland?! In any case, "into line with most of Europe" is hardly accurate.
In Belgium the age of criminal responsibility is 18. The streets of Brussels and Antwerp must by now be empty, because all inhabitants have been mugged and stabbed by gangs of juvenile delinquents who are untouchable by the law. Funny, last time I was in Belgium I got a different impression and felt quite safe. At least the Belgian police doesn't go about shooting innocent people in the head (seven times, with hollow-point bullets).
Well, well. The self-proclaimed champion of civil liberties wants to curtail civil liberties. Who would have thought. The sooner Labour is defeated in humiliating and utterly devastating elections the better, but head for the hills by the time the Tories take over. The right to protest is a cornerstone of democracy. And if not against the state, especially sections of the state that have a monopoly on violence, then what's the point of protesting?
"What I'm suggesting is that British soldiers, who I think are our finest young men and women, the cream of society, should also be protected from that sort of gratuitous abuse they experienced last week," he said.
David Davies also seems to think of himself as the cream of society. So the next bill he is going to table calls for a ban on protests against self-important, hypocritical, opportunistic, death-penalty supporting, twopenny swindlers.
"If they were anti-war protesters, they should have come down to Parliament and protested in a peaceful way," he said.
You may protest, but only on our terms. I think that is called 'state-organised protest', perfected to an art form by such countries as Syria and Iran.
He also called for charges brought against individuals in Luton who allegedly hurled abuse at the protesters to be dropped.
You cannot abuse anyone, except people we don't like.
Tories' pledge (The Guardian, Monday 2 March 2009)
The Conservatives' pledge comes as the party also continues to demand repeal of the Human Rights Act. In a message of support to the convention the Tory leader, David Cameron, condemned the act for providing a "veneer of respectability" to the erosion of civil liberties under Labour.
Tories to review Human Rights Act (BBC News, Monday, 23 August, 2004)
The 1998 Act has given rise to "too many spurious rights" [...]
So in 2004 they wanted to scrap the Human Rights Act because it gave citizens too many rights. In 2009 they want to scrap the Human Rights Act because it gives citizens too few rights. Whatever way the wind blows.
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Before anyone objects that evolution must not be equated to atheism, it should be pointed out that the suggestion that evolution implies atheism originally stems from religious circles. If for no other reason than the spectacular acting, highly recommended is: Inherit the wind, the 1960 film related to the Scopes Monkey Trial, with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.
The software giant is offering the cash reward because it views the Conficker worm as a criminal attack.
A similar fallacious reasoning underlies the claim "Guns don't kill people, people do", as often used by the NRA.
"People who write this malware have to be held accountable," said George Stathakopulos, of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.
Who holds Microsoft accountable for their crappy software? If some dunce decides to use Vista in his company and productivity suffers because of one of Microsoft's bugs, can he claim damages? (Needless to say: of course not!)
He told BBC News the company was "not prepared to sit back and let this kind of activity go unchecked".
Then make sure there are no more blatant security leaks in your software, you morons!
"Our message is very clear - whoever wrote this caused significant pain to our customers and we are sending a message that we will do everything we can to help with your arrest," said Mr Stathakopulos.
Microsoft causes significant pain to its customers.
The Conficker worm is a self-replicating program that takes advantage of networks or computers that have not kept up to date with Windows security patches.
The Conficker worm is a self-replicating program that takes advantage of Windows.
In 2003 Microsoft created its reward programme with $5m (£3.4m) in funding to help law enforcement agencies bring computer virus and worm authors to justice.
Is there any money left for quality assurance? Does Microsoft do quality assurance?
"We have not seen this type of worm or one of its class since 2004," said Mr Stathakopulos.
Computer worms were unknown to science before 2004, and had never attacked a Microsoft OS before, so they couldn't have foreseen any of this and couldn't have taken precautions earlier. Right. Pull the other one.
Bunch of incompetent wankers!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Wilders said the embassy letter informed him he was being refused entry because his views "threaten community harmony and therefore public security" in Britain. [Full letter here.]
'Community harmony'? What 'Community harmony'? The community harmony of putting innocent Muslims in jail or shooting them in the shoulder? The community harmony of shooting alleged Muslims in the head (seven times, with hollow-point bullets)? The community harmony that improved so much after we started the illegal war in Iraq, which has been interpreted by almost the entire Muslim world as directed against them?
We shan't blame the Dutch if in retaliation they declare David Miliband and his fellow buffoons persona non grata. In fact, we should do that. I'm sure there is some banana republic somewhere where they'd fit in nicely.
By the way, Geert Wilders' crime seems to be that of suggesting there is a link between Islam and Islamic terrorism. See also:
HENTOFF: The cost of criticizing jihadists (The Washington Times, Monday, February 9, 2009)
Banned from Britain, Dutch campaigner against Islam (Independent, Wednesday, 11 February 2009)
Last night, the Home Office refused to comment on Mr Wilders' case. But a spokesman said: "The Government opposes extremism in all forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.
English 'bishop' Richard Williamson is certainly extreme in his denial of the Holocaust. Will his entry into the UK henceforth be denied? Some called the atheist bendy-bus campaign extreme. Will foreigners who donated to it be kicked out now? I happen to extremely dislike the Labour government and find freedom of expression extremely important. Will I be sent to jail for this?
Apropos "community harmony", basically the same rhetoric has been used to justify the arrest of an editor in India who published an article by Johann Hari:
Johann Hari: Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote (Independent, Friday, 13 February 2009)
They said I had upset "the harmony" of India, and it could only be restored by my arrest. But this is a lop-sided vision of "harmony". It would mean that religious fundamentalists are free to say whatever they want – and the rest of us have to shut up and agree.
Well put. More by Johann Hari in:
One Law For All - No Sharia (YouTube)
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Of the 625 words this article devotes to utterances by two-eyed English idiot Jeremy Clarkson, only 22 are related to his claim that our PM is lying. Apparently, there is so much consensus on this matter that further discussion is futile. In an alleged democracy, it is a very sad state of affairs indeed if one can take for granted that statements coming from the highest political office are less than truthful.
As in the case of the Golliwog affair, while we are arguing about semantics and double entendre, we are not talking about the issues. We are not talking about the economy and whether we can trust our glorious leader to steer us through difficult times. Neither are we talking about dormant and not so dormant racist and xenophobic tendencies in our society that go well beyond choice of words.
Monday, 2 February 2009
"So an Italian took your job. Why don't you try to find a job in Italy then?"
"Er, you mean, you mean, I would have to learn a foreign language?!"
UK foreign language teaching hits all-time low (Register, 12th June 2007)
Support Scots language in our schools, ministers told (Scotsman, 28 January 2009)
Welsh language legal bid starts (BBC News, Monday, 2 February 2009)
BBC pumps 60 quid a head into Gaelic (Register, 2nd February 2009)
Should we fear that the French, Germans and Spanish will start protesting against the 290,000 UK citizens currently working on the continent? I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
Foreign labour strikes spread to Sellafield (Guardian, Tuesday 3 February 2009)
Unite official Kenny Ward told the crowd: "Over the last week your heroic actions here have inspired thousands in our county, hundreds of thousands in our country and millions across the globe."Hundreds of thousand in our country"? Not unlikely. About that many voted BNP at recent elections. "Millions across the globe"? Well, perhaps there is like-mindedness among authorities in Lucca and Milan:
Italy bans kebabs and foreign food from cities (Times, January 31, 2009)
Saturday, 31 January 2009
Traditionally, electronic data is protected from prying eyes by encryption. Encryption turns useful data (plaintext) into a form that is useless and looks like gobbledygook (ciphertext). The gobbledygook can only be turned back into the original data with the same key that was used to encrypt the data in the first place (symmetric encryption).
In the old days, butterfly lovers used to encrypt their images to keep them secret. However, the evil emperor's thugs then started to throw people in dungeons for the mere offence of not revealing their keys. The elves therefore turned to an ingenious invention called deniable encryption, which allowed them to argue plausibly that there was no key, or more precisely with regard to what will follow, to argue that there was only one key, when in reality there were two. The first key encrypted and decrypted allowed images of, say, ladybugs and the second key was used for forbidden images of butterflies. Of course the elves would deny the existence of that second key when asked.
Now let's see how this works in more detail. The technique is most effective where it is applied on an entire device, let's say an external harddrive of 500 GB. A tool is used to turn the complete storage space into gobbledygook. (Warning: all existing information on it is thereby irretrievably erased!) Then either one or two keys are fixed. With the first key one can store encrypted images of ladybugs at the beginning of the harddrive, say in the first 1 GB. Optionally, with a second key one can store encrypted images of butterflies in the remaining 499 GB. The entire contents of the harddrive now looks like gobbledygook if one doesn't know either key, and if one knows one of the keys one can only access the corresponding part of the storage space, and one cannot tell whether the other key exists at all.
Whenever the anti-butterfly squad would stop by, an elf would first claim that his harddrive was broken: "Look, the damn thing doesn't even mount!" He would usually be believed by the underpayed, understaffed, undermotivated and virtually illiterate goons, but when they were in a particularly tenacious mood and kept putting pressure on him, the elf felt he didn't have any other choice but to reveal the first key (and only the first key) to them, and that was the end of it: "Okay, so far I've only stored 1 GB of images yet on my 500 GB harddrive, so what? And I encrypted the ladybug images because I was embarrassed about liking ladybugs, and didn't want my friends to find out. Butterflies?! I don't know nothing of no butterflies!"
The most popular tool realising deniable encryption is TrueCrypt, which is an industrial-strength application available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Each of the two keys allows access to a volume, which behaves just like any other filesystem, consisting of directories and files. The two volumes are, for obvious reasons, called the outer volume and the hidden volume, respectively. Depending on the operating system, one should follow the relevant instructions on the TrueCrypt website, to install the tool and to turn an arbitrary harddrive (which can also be a thumbdrive) into an encrypted device.
Important is that the outer volume should only be modified in a protected mode, which requires both passwords to be entered. The reason is that otherwise the hidden volume might become damaged by being overwritten. For normal usage this is not a problem, as the contents of the outer volume merely serves as decoy, and will normally be fixed once and for all, while one may regularly want to add material to the hidden volume. Conversely, there is no risk of the hidden volume overwriting the outer volume, because the hidden volume 'knows' how much storage space is available to it, which is fixed when the volumes are created, while the outer volume for obvious reasons 'knows' nothing of the inner volume.
- Elves knew that suitable keys had to be long and not consist of words from any dictionary, because such keys would be too easy for the anti-butterfly squad to guess.
- The butterfly images were best directly copied from the source (e.g. a fellow elf's harddrive) onto the encrypted volume. This is because any material temporarily stored on an unencrypted harddrive might leave residual traces. Similarly, viewing of the images was best done without copying them to unencrypted memory.
- With all of the above precautions, the anti-butterfly squad might still find evidence in the logs of a computer that an elf had played a file called extreme-butterfly5.avi. This might cause some embarrassment, even if the filename didn't constitute proof that the video had in fact been about butterflies. (In mentioned evil empire, the mere accusation of a butterfly-related crime was enough to wreck an elf's career, marriage and reputation, not to mention the risk of being lynched by vigilantes, encouraged by the emperor's vile propaganda.) The best solution was to erase log files regularly. This may be rather difficult for Microsoft operating systems, which are utterly hopeless pieces of crap when it comes to security and privacy (see e.g.: "Defeating Encrypted and Deniable File Systems: TrueCrypt v5.1a and the Case of the Tattling OS and Applications"). For Linux however, it is easy to write a script to remove all log files upon logout. To determine which files and directories to remove, the home directory should be scrutinised, especially the filenames starting with a period. Another issue is the /tmp/ directory, which can often be cleared automatically upon logout by choosing appropriate personal settings.
- Further, privacy settings of browsers can be made to erase browsing history, cache, cookies, etc., upon exit.
- Also elves who were not into butterflies preferred to use deniable encryption for all their data, because the paranoid emperor ended up seeing butterflies in the most harmless grocery lists.
- Full-disk encryption with plausible deniability solves the problem of securely storing information, but not of how to confidentially exchange data with others. This requires more care, and in particular public-key encryption via e.g. PGP (GPG on Linux). One can even stay anonymous by using the TOR network and related tools (see the links at Citizen Lab).
Saturday, 24 January 2009
To those who do not belong to the stifling Anglocentric majority unable to tolerate the sound of a foreign language, I would strongly recommend a much more honest, and still gripping, rendering of the Von Stauffenberg episode, originally produced for German television (ARD):
Stauffenberg (2004), at IMDb
A quick web search suggests that the version with English subtitles is currently unavailable on DVD, but one could try finding it on the internet. (Google for: Stauffenberg "S Koch" DVD.)