May 25, 2007

Don't cry for me, Discordia...

Bloggage will be light again as I pack up and return home for the summer, and so leave behind the fantastically fast connection the University have foolishly given me. Not only will I have to do the incredibly fun trip from the east coast of Scotland to the South West coast of England (I love traversing the country, really), because of lack of suitable broadband providers, I will be stuck using free WiFi services for a while. Which will slow me up in a number of ways.

Oh, and I'll likely have to work, as well, which kind of sucks. As in, have set hours and tightly defined goals. Goddamn, me and the standard working practices are not made for each other. As such, I'll likely update on the weekend, but on the other hand, may have time for a more reflective and longer piece or two.

Anyway, thats all for now. I'll drop by once I've settled in again.


May 24, 2007

The War on Terror: A four way dialogue

The Prospects of Fanaticism and Terrorism: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Osama bin Laden and Jean Baudrillard in Virtual Dialogue (International Journal of Baudrillard Studies Volume 1, Number 1).

This is a sort of cut-up dialogue taken from the above online journal which I found quite fascinating as a read. Not so much for the argument itself, although there are occasional gems of brilliance from all sides, but for how it is developed and put together overall.

The original was composed by Gerry Coulter, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada and can be found here.

The following virtual dialogue is the outcome of an experiment involving the insertion of fragments of contemporary radical theory into the competing hegemonic discourses on terrorism. Specifically, the thought of Jean Baudrillard is injected into the space occupied by sermons on terror from some of its proponents on both sides of the terrorist war between the White House and Osama bin Laden. The combatants in this war are dedicated to keeping public discourse in protective isolation from radical theory and its potential disruptive effects on the certainty each side propounds. The goals of this experiment are to contribute to a disruption of these protective processes and to introduce more uncertainty into the discussion of terrorism and its certainties of death and counter death.

The gathering of fragments involves a strategy of disruption: “The fragment is like a nucleus of an ephemeral destiny of language, a fatal particle that shines an instant then disappears. At the same time, it allows an instantaneous conversion of points of view, of humours and passions”. This experiment also provides an example of how new opportunities for perception arise when we suspend concern for linearity and emphasize the role of uncertainty. These new perceptions affect not only our view of hegemonic discourse, but lead to a renewed understanding of theorists such as Baudrillard. The voices which speak in this dialogue do not do so in historico-chronological sequence. This is a dialogue exchanged for history at a time when we can no longer tell each other histories. The strategic use of Baudrillard’s thought is directed at providing a more uncertain space, a space for non believers, at a time when it seems we are only being given a choice between two competing fanaticisms.

II. Soft World Order

Osama bin Laden: “When you talk about the invasion of New York and Washington, you talk about the men who changed the face of history and went against the traitors. ...These great men have consolidated faith in the hearts of believers and undermined the plans of the crusaders and their agents in the region”.

George W. Bush: “...our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil”.

Dick Cheney: “More people died there on September 11 than we lost in combat in the Gulf War. When you think of that attack and of the merciless horror inflicted at the World Trade Center, no punishment for the terrorist seems too harsh. dealing with the terrorists themselves, we will be relentless and they will come to understand the meaning of justice. ...We cannot deal with terror. It will not end in a treaty. There will be no peaceful coexistence, no negotiations, no summit, no joint communique with the terrorists. The struggle can only end with their complete and permanent destruction”.

Jean Baudrillard: “There is no remedy for this extreme situation, and war is certainly not a solution... and this is indeed its raison d’etre: to substitute, for a real and formidable, unique and unforeseeable event, a repetitive rehashed pseudo-event. The terrorist attack corresponded to a precedence of the event over all interpretive models; whereas this mindless military, technological war corresponds, conversely, to the model’s precedence over the event, and hence to a conflict over phony stakes, to a situation of ‘no contest”.

Bush: “We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network”.

Baudrillard: “No one can say how it will all turn out. What hangs in the balance is the survival of humanity, it is not about the victory of one side. Terrorism has no political project, it has no finality; though it is seen as real, it is absurd”.

Bin Laden: “I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only... This is all that we had hoped for”.

Baudrillard: “We are far beyond ideology and politics now. No ideology, no cause -- not even the Islamic cause can account for the energy which fuels terror. ...Terrorism, like viruses, is everywhere. ...It is at the very heart of the system which combats it... as though every machinery of domination secreted its own counter apparatus, the agent of its own disappearance -- against that form of almost automatic reversion of its own power, the system can do nothing. And terrorism is the shock wave of this silent reversion”.

Bin Laden: “They also lack a fair cause to defend. They only fight for capitalists, usury takers, and the merchants of arms and oil, including the gang of crime at the White House. This is in addition to crusader and personal grudges by Bush the father”.

Cheney: “The best defense against a terrorist attack is to go destroy the terrorist. And then we're doing that”.

Baudrillard: “And so you go to terrorism, which is an enormous fantasy of a political order of the State the better to murder it, to massacre it. But what game is terrorism playing? Terrorism makes no more sense than the State does. They are accomplices in a circular set-up”.

Bin Laden: “Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people”.

Bush: “We're at war. There has been an act of war declared upon America by terrorists. ...Behind the sadness and the exhaustion, there is a desire by the American people to not seek only revenge, but to win a war against barbaric behaviour, people that hate freedom and hate what we stand for”.

Baudrillard: “ is a mistake to see terrorist action obeying a purely destructive logic. It seems to me that the action of the terrorists, from which death is inseparable... does not seek the impersonal elimination of the other. It has to be made to lose face. And you never achieve that by pure force and by eliminating the other party”.

Bin Laden: “We stress the importance of the martyrdom operations against the enemy -- operations that inflicted harm on the United States and Israel that have been unprecedented in their history, thanks to Almighty God. We also point out that whoever supported the United States, including the hypocrites of Iraq or the rulers of Arab countries, those who approved their actions and followed them in this crusade war by fighting with them or providing bases and administrative support, or any form of support, even by words, to kill the Muslims in Iraq, should know that they are apostates and outside the community of Muslims. It is permissible to spill their blood and take their property”.

Baudrillard: “I do not praise murderous attacks - that would be idiotic. Terrorism is not a contemporary form of revolution against oppression and capitalism. No ideology, no struggle for an objective, not even Islamic fundamentalism, can explain it. ...I have glorified nothing, accused nobody, justified nothing. One should not confuse the messenger with his message. I have endeavored to analyze the process through which the unbounded expansion of globalization creates the conditions for its own destruction”

Bush: “We will use the military might of the United States. We will use our intelligence-gathering capacity of the United States. We will use every diplomatic means of the United States. We will disrupt their financial networks. We will do everything we can to achieve our objective, which is to rout out and destroy global terrorism”.

Baudrillard: “The US, like everyone else, now has to face up to a soft world order, a soft situation. Power has become impotent. But if America is now no longer the monopolistic centre of world power, this is not because it has lost power, but simply because there is no centre anymore”.

III. Fundaments

Bin Laden: “Keep this saying before your eyes: ‘It is not fitting for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land.’ Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks. Your wish to the crusaders should be as came in this verse of poetry: ‘The only language between you and us is the sword that will strike your necks’”.

Baudrillard: “And this is precisely the kind of hatred that explains the September 11 terrorist attacks”.

Bush: “War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing”.

Baudrillard: “With its totalizing claim, the system created the conditions for this horrible retaliation. The immanent mania of globalization generates madness, just as an unstable society produces delinquents and psychopaths. In truth, these are only symptoms of the sickness. Terrorism is everywhere, like a virus. It doesn’t require Afghanistan as its home base... Globalization... is based, as colonialism was earlier, on immense violence. It creates more victims than beneficiaries, even when the majority of the Western world profits from it. Naturally the United States, in principle, could liberate every country just as it has liberated Afghanistan. But what kind of a peculiar liberation would that be? Those so fortunate would know how to defend themselves even with terror if necessary”.

Bin Laden: “In the end, I advise myself and you to fear God covertly and openly and to be patient in the jihad. Victory will be achieved with patience. I also advise myself and you to say more prayers”.

Baudrillard: “...there was in all religions... a power of illusion, the power of the very violent denigration of the real. It was radical even in the first religions. Symbolic culture has always been lived as a denigration of the real, something like a radical distrust: the idea that the essential happens elsewhere than in the real. And that possibility is disappearing, little by little, without pressure from the operation of the world -- the idea that the world is real and that all that is required now is to operate in the real. There is not even a utopian world any longer. There is no utopia., utopia has gone into the real, we are in it”.

Bush: “And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me’”.

Baudrillard: “Perhaps, but it is not religiosity that drives them to terrorism. All the Islam experts emphasize this. The assassins of September 11th made no demands. Fundamentalism is a symptomatic form of rejection, refusal; its adherents didn’t want to accomplish anything concrete, they simply rise up wildly against that which they perceive as a threat to their own identity”.

Bin Laden: “O ye who believe! When ye meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); That ye may prosper. God, who sent the book unto the prophet, who drives the clouds, and who defeated the enemy parties, defeat them and make us victorious over them. Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire! [Koranic verse]. May God's peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad and his household”.

Bush: “We cannot know all that lies ahead. Yet, we do know that God had placed us together in this moment, to grieve together, to stand together, to serve each other and our country. And the duty we have been given -- defending America and our freedom -- is also a privilege we share. We're prepared for this journey. And our prayer tonight is that God will see us through, and keep us worthy. ...May God bless America”.

Baudrillard: “It is what haunts every world order, all hegemonic domination -- if Islam dominated the world, terrorism would rise against Islam, for it is the world, the globe itself, which resists globalization”.

Bin Laden: “God Almighty says: ‘Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil.’ So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan”.

Bush: “As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country”.

Baudrillard: “Is there still room between these two fanaticisms for a non-believer to exercise his liberty?”.

IV. Symbolic Challenge

Baudrillard: “Wars are often begun in the name of justice, indeed this is almost always the official justification. Yet, while they themselves want to be so justified and are undertaken with the best of intentions, they normally don’t end in the manner in which their instigators had imagined”.

Bush: “Not only am I pleased with the great cooperation that we're having with our friend, the Japanese; I am most pleased that the Saudi Arabians yesterday cut off relations with the Taliban, and that President Putin, in a strong statement to the world, talked about the cooperation that Russia and the United States will have in combating global terrorism as well. The coalition of legitimate governments and freedom-loving people is strong”.

Baudrillard: “Bush aspires to return to trusted ground by rediscovering the balance between friend and foe. The Americans are prosecuting this war as if they were defending themselves against a wolf pack. But this doesn’t work against viruses that have already been in us for a long time. There is no longer a front, no demarcation line, the enemy sits in the heart of the culture which fights it. That is, if you like, the fourth world war: no longer between peoples, states, systems and ideologies, but, rather, of the human species against itself”

Cheney: “...what we're asking nations to do, and which the Paks have clearly made a decision to do, is we're asking nations to step up and be counted. They're going to have to decide. Are they going to stand with the United States and believe in freedom and democracy and civilization, or are they going to stand with the terrorists and the barbarians, if you will? And it's a fairly clear-cut choice”.

Baudrillard: “If terrorism is a sort of murderous advertising campaign which keeps our imagination on tender hooks, it can be countered only by a piece of more effective advertising”.

Bush: “ the United Nations, I will set out my vision of our common responsibilities in the war on terror. I will put every nation on notice that these duties involve more than sympathy or words. No nation can be neutral in this conflict, because no civilized nation can be secure in a world threatened by terror”.

Baudrillard: “Is it not a paradox that the West uses as a weapon against dissenters the following motto: Either you share our values or…? A democracy asserted with threats and blackmail only sabotages itself. It no longer represents the autonomous decision for freedom, but rather becomes a global imperative”.

Bush: “This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil. But good will prevail”.

Bin Laden: “...during the Tora Bora battle last year. In that great battle, faith triumphed over all the materialistic forces of the people of evil, for principles were adhered to, thanks to God Almighty. ...We were about 300 Mujahideen. We dug 100 trenches that were spread in an area that does not exceed one square mile... our centers were exposed to a concentrated bombardment. ...the bombardment was round-the-clock and the warplanes continued to fly over us day and night. To sum it up, the battle resulted in the complete failure of the international alliance of evil, with all its forces, [to overcome] a small number of Mujahideen - 300 Mujahideen hunkered down in trenches spread over an area of one square mile under a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius. ... If all the world forces of evil could not achieve their goals on a one square mile of area against a small number of Mujahideen with very limited capabilities, how can these evil forces triumph over the Muslim world?”.

Baudrillard: “We must see the thing beyond the opposition of good and bad. I look for the confrontation with the event as it is without equivocation. Whoever is unable to do that, is led to a moral falsification of history... Evil does not retreat in proportion to the advance of the good. Therefore the concept of progress is, outside of the rationality of the natural sciences, in fact, problematic. Montaigne said: “If the evil in men were eliminated, then the fundamental condition of life would be destroyed”. ... Good and evil are irresolvably bound up with one another, this is fatal in the original sense: an integral part of our fate, our destiny. reality one would have to turn the whole debate on its head. The exciting question is not why there is evil. First there is evil, without question. Why is there good? This is the real miracle”.

Bush: “We're a nation that can't be cowed by evil-doers... We will rid the world of the evil-doers... on the Lord's Day, I say to my fellow Americans... Your government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert that evil folks still lurk out there”.

Baudrillard: “Hence the stupidity of all that is reported about the terrorists: everywhere the wish to palm off meaning onto them, to exterminate them with meaning”.

Bin Laden: “It is important to hit the economy, which is the base of its [America’s] military power...If the economy is hit they will become reoccupied”.

Cheney: “Once the bubble burst in the stock market, we're not collecting those capital gains revenues any more -- the way we were for a while. That's had a big impact on revenue. The terrorism attack of 9/11 clearly didn't help. It had a significant impact. You look at industries like the airlines, the travel business, and so forth, they've all been adversely affected by that. And, of course, we've got the ongoing war on terror, and now the operations in Iraq. So, I think it's not surprising that we got a deficit at this stage”.

Baudrillard: “...terrorism claims to really aim at capital (global imperialism, etc.) But it mistakes its enemy, and in doing so it aims at its true enemy, which is the social. Present day terrorism aims at the social in response to the terrorism of the social”.

Bush: “Al Taqua is an association of offshore banks and financial management firms that have helped al Qaeda shift money around the world. Al Barakaat is a group of money wiring and communication companies owned by a friend and supporter of Osama bin Laden. Al Taqua and Al Barakaat raise funds for al Qaeda; they manage, invest and distribute those funds. They provide terrorist supporters with Internet service, secure telephone communications and other ways of sending messages and sharing information. They even arrange for the shipment of weapons. They present themselves as legitimate businesses. But they skim money from every transaction, for the benefit of terrorist organizations. They enable the proceeds of crime in one country to be transferred to pay for terrorist acts in another. The entry point for these networks may be a small storefront operation -- but follow the network to its center and you discover wealthy banks and sophisticated technology...”.

Baudrillard: “...a new terrorism has come into being, a new form of action which plays the game, and lays hold of the rules of the game, solely with the aim of disrupting it. ... they have taken over all the weapons of the dominant power. Money and stock-market speculation, computer technology and aeronautics, spectacle and the media networks -- they have assimilated everything of modernity and globalism, without changing their goal, which is to destroy that power. ...Suicidal terrorism was a terrorism of the poor. This is a terrorism of the rich. This is what particularly frightens us: the fact that they have become rich. (they have all the necessary resources) without ceasing to wish to destroy us”.

Bin Laden: “We realized from our defense and fighting against the American enemy that, in combat, they mainly depend on psychological warfare. This is in light of the huge media machine they have”.

Baudrillard: “The media make themselves into the vehicle of the moral condemnation of terrorism and of the explosion of fear for political ends, but simultaneously, in the most complete ambiguity, they propagate the brutal charm of the terrorist act, they are themselves terrorists, insofar as they themselves march to the tune of seduction”.

Bush: “This is a different war from any our nation has ever faced, a war on many fronts, against terrorists who operate in more than 60 different countries. And this is a war that must be fought not only overseas, but also here at home. I recently spoke to high school students in Maryland, and realized that for the first time ever, these seniors will graduate in the midst of a war in our own country”.

Baudrillard: “This paradoxical configuration is the only original form of our time, and subversive because insoluble. There is neither victory or defeat: no sense can be made of an event which is irremediably spectacular, or irremediably symbolic. Everything in terrorism is ambivalent and reversible: death, the media, violence, victory”.

Bush: “I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today”.

Baudrillard: “Of course there are those who committed these acts, but the spirit of terrorism and panic reaches far beyond them. The Americans’ war is focused on a visible object, which they would like to destroy. Yet the event of September 11th, in all of its symbolism, cannot be obliterated in this manner. The bombing of Afghanistan is a completely inadequate, substitute action”.

Bush: “Flags are flying everywhere -- on houses, in store windows, on cars and lapels”.

Baudrillard: “The worst that can happen to global power is not to be attacked or destroyed, but to suffer a humiliation. Global power was humiliated on September 11 because the terrorists inflicted something the global system cannot give back. Military reprisals were only means of physical response. But, on September 11, global power was symbolically defeated”.

Bush: “It is time for us to win the first war of the 21st century decisively, so that our children and our grandchildren can live peacefully into the 21st century”.

Baudrillard: “War is a response to an aggression, but not to a symbolic challenge. A symbolic challenge is accepted and removed when the other is humiliated in return (but this cannot work when the other is crushed by bombs or locked behind bars in Guantanamo). The fundamental rule of symbolic obligation stipulates that the basis of any form of domination is the total absence of any counterpart, of any return”.

Bush: “I think the way to fight off evil is to do some acts of goodness”.

Baudrillard: “Evil is the world as it is and as it has been. Misfortune is the world as it never should have been. The transformation of evil into misfortune is the most lucrative industry of the twentieth century. ...Misfortune is a mine whose ore is inexhaustible. Evil, in contrast, can’t be subdued by any form of rationality. This is the illusion of the West: because technological perfection seems within reach, one believes by extension in the possibility of realizing moral perfection, in an future free of contingencies in the best of all possible worlds.

V. Generalized Terror

Bush: “What we saw was how to take real -- data on a real-time basis to determine if there was an outbreak of any kind, including a terrorist attack. The best way to protect the homeland is to understand what's taking place on the homeland so we can respond. incredibly useful tool for America, a useful tool to protect ourselves”.

Bin Laden: “Planes poured their lava on us, particularly after accomplishing their main missions in Afghanistan. The US forces attacked us with smart bombs, bombs that weigh thousands of pounds, cluster bombs, and bunker busters. Bombers, like the B-52, used to fly over head for more than two hours and drop between 20 to 30 bombs at a time. The modified C-130 aircraft kept carpet-bombing us at night, using modern types of bombs”.

Cheney: “In Desert Storm, it usually took up to two days for target planners to get a photo of a target, confirm its coordinates, plan the mission, and deliver it to the bomber crew. Now we have near real-time imaging of targets with photos and coordinates transmitted by e-mail to aircraft already in flight. ...Today our commanders have a real-time display of our own forces on their computer screens. ...on a single bombing sortie, a B-2 can hit 16 separate targets, each with a 2,000-pound, precision-guided, satellite-based...”

Baudrillard: “...nothing takes place in real time. Not even history. History in real time is CNN, instant news, which is the exact opposite of history”.

Bush: “We are patient; we're deliberate. ...The issue is international terror. I like our chances against bin Laden, however. There's no cave deep enough for him to hide. He can run, and he thinks he can hide, but we're not going to give up until he and every other potential killer, and every other body who hates freedom will be brought to justice”.

Baudrillard: “Without a doubt, the Taliban Regime has been smashed. However, the network of the international terror organization, al-Qaida, still exists. And Bin Laden, dead or alive, has, above all, disappeared. This lends him a mythical power; he has achieved a certain supernatural quality... What is at issue is more than the control of a territory or a population or the disbanding of a subversive organization. The stakes have become metaphysical”.

Bush: “They will try to hide, they will try to avoid the United States and our allies - but we're not going to let them. They run to the hills; they find holes to get in... this is a great nation; we're a kind people. None of us could have envisioned the barbaric acts of these terrorists. But they have stirred up the might of the American people, and we're going to get them, no matter what it takes”.

Bin Laden: “A message to our Muslim brothers in Iraq, may God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you. ...We are following up with great interest and extreme concern the crusaders' preparations for war to occupy a former capital of Islam, loot Muslims' wealth, and install an agent government, which would be a satellite for its masters in Washington and Tel Aviv, just like all the other treasonous and agent Arab governments”.

Bush: “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act... And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives...".

Baudrillard: “...what kind of state would be capable of dissuading and annihilating all terrorism in the bud...? It would have to arm itself with such terrorism and generalize terror on every level. If this is the price of security, is everybody deep down dreaming of this? ...Understood: terrorism is still a lesser evil than a police state capable of ending it. It is possible that we secretly acquiesce in this fantastic proposition. There’s no need of “political consciousness” for this; it’s a secret balance of terror that makes us guess that a spasmodic eruption of violence is preferable to its rational exercise within the framework of the State, or to total prevention at the price of a total programmatic domination”.

Bush: “Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole. Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere”.

Baudrillard: “Terrorism emerges when no other form of resistance seems possible. The system takes as objectively terrorist whatever is set against it. The values of the West are ambivalent, at a definite point in time they could have a positive effect and accelerate progress, at another, however, they drive themselves to such extremes that they falsify themselves and ultimately turn against their own purpose”.

Cheney: “And as the leading power, we have a further responsibility to help keep the peace of the world and to prevent terrorists and their sponsors from plunging the world into horrific violence. President Bush takes that responsibility very seriously, and he is meeting it with great resolve and with clarity of purpose”.

Baudrillard: “The terrorist hypothesis is that the system will commit suicide in response to the multiple challenges posed by deaths and suicides. ...It is the terrorist model to bring about an excess of reality, and have the system collapse beneath that excess of reality”.

Cheney: “Fortunately, in this period of challenge, the United States has a leader in President Bush, who has the patience and the resolve and the moral clarity necessary to wage the war on terror and to win it”.

Baudrillard: “What we hate in ourselves -- the obscure object of our resentment -- is our excess of reality, power, and comfort, our universal availability, our definite accomplishment... And this is exactly the part of our culture that the terrorists find repulsive (which also explains the support they receive and the fascination they are able to exert). Terrorism's support is not only based on the despair of those who have been humiliated and offended. It is also based on the invisible despair of those whom globalization has privileged, on our own submission to an omnipotent technology, to a crushing virtual reality, to an empire of networks and programs that are probably in the process of redrawing the regressive contours of the entire human species, of a humanity that has gone "global." (After all, isn't the supremacy of the human species over the rest of life on earth the mirror image of the domination of the West over the rest of the world?). This invisible despair, our invisible despair, is hopeless since it is the result of the realization of all our desires. ...if terrorism is derived from this excess of reality and from this reality's impossible exchange, if it is the product of a profusion without any possible counterpart or return, and if it emerges from a forced resolution of conflicts, the illusion of getting rid of it as if it were an objective evil is complete. For, in its absurdity and non-sense, terrorism is our society's own judgment and penalty”.

VI. Irony

Cheney: “...only the terrorists themselves want to live in such a world, where law is replaced by brute force and morality is defined by vicious and violent men”.

Baudrillard: “Terror is dissipated by irony”.

VII. Epilogue

Baudrillard’s contribution to the virtual dialogue illustrates how theory can stand as a challenge to the real. A further interesting effect of this virtual dialogue is that the voice of Baudrillard is so relatively comforting. We are now living through a period in which it seems there is very little to believe in and this is a key problem for the proponents of terror. Each side of the current terror war offers a substitute for uncertainty. The value of Baudrillard’s thought at the present moment is its reminder that it is also important not to believe: “So today, with the loss of utopias and ideologies, we lack objects of belief. But even worse, perhaps, we lack objects in which not to believe. For it is vital -- maybe even more vital -- to have things in which not to believe”. Against the thought of Baudrillard, the prospects of fanaticism are not good, and terrorism did not stand a chance.

Just a small question....

Has ANY plot uncovered by the US in the wake of 9/11 ever actually held up to serious scrutiny, or not involved an FBI-paid agent provocateur as a central figure?

I mean, really. The Fort Dix allegations are ludicrous. As almost all the previous allegations have been. I sometimes think my professor, John Horgan, was right, when he said that if we just didn't do anything beyond basic security checks, there would be a negligible effect on the rate of terrorist attacks. Because, as we can see, the state creates its own terrorist scares where none exist, driving up the perception of terrorism. Whereas in fact, as we can see, terrorist attacks, at least in stable liberal democracies, are really very rare and far and few between.

Of course, we in the UK are doing a swell job of following the US lead. Here, of course, the stakes are much higher though, as whoever can fuck up the least is going to get a nice chunk of cash as part of their permanent budget. Scaring the public is, of course, a secondary consideration.

May 21, 2007

Principles of advertising 101

"The masters, whether they be priests or kings or capitalists, when they want to exploit you, the first thing they have to do is demoralize you, and they demoralize you very simply by kicking you in the nuts. This is how it’s done...This is a principle of the advertising copy writer, that he must stir up discontent in the family. Modern American advertising is aimed at the woman, who is, if not always the buyer at least the pesterer, and it is designed to create sexual discontent....But with the adult, the young married couple, which is the object of almost all advertising, the copy is pitched to stir up insatiable sexual discontent. It provides pictures of women who never existed. A guy gets in bed with his wife and she isn’t like that and so he is discontented all the time and is therefore fit material for exploitation.”

- Kenneth Rexroth, in an interview on The Social Lie

May 19, 2007

Refusing to be outdone....

Looks like someone got the drop on Hoopla and passed on dodgy intel. Shame, but it happens to the best of us. If you look carefully, you can actually see the photos have been somewhat altered.

However, at great personal expense, PFLD agents were able to get some advanced analysis done, to bring up what had been originally removed. Look at the original to the left and note the very slight difference.

As you can see, there appear to be markings on the arm of the craft.

Now, onto the unscrubbed photo, with a more up close view.

If you look carefully, you can see some of the markings are actually letters from the Roman alphabet. The craft is not alien in origin at all, it is human!

Now, for the closeup.

How very odd. And rare. Not many photographers ever get to see HIMEOBS craft in action. Of course, officially, HIMEOBS only carries out research, but everyone (everyone with a brain) knows that is patent bollocks.

Very interesting indeed.

May 17, 2007

Delicious blasphemy

Notice of Compulsory Ilumination

THANK YOU FOR DEMONSTRATING your knowledge of the English language. By continuing to read this Notice, you hereby agree to be bound henceforth by the following terms and conditions:

1. You agree not to allow others to do your thinking for you. This includes making the assumption that the opinions expressed by newscasters, editors and pundits from media outlets large or small, "Conservative" or "Liberal," are your own opinions.

2. You agree that you will not necessarily want to buy something just because there is a commercial for it on TV.

3. You agree that advancement in life is not synonymous with a fattening bank account.

4. You agree that your beliefs are not inherently more valuable than other, even conflicting, beliefs held by other people. You agree that you have neither an obligation nor a license to decide what is best for others.

5. You agree not to obey laws simply because they are on the books, but rather to question the moral authority behind every legislative endeavor of any government. This point is inclusive of your responsibility not to wait for unjust laws to be repealed before violating them.

6. In order to slow down the Police State's advancement, you agree to provide every police officer you encounter with probable cause to search you and/or your vehicle or personal effects for contraband, so long as you do not actually have any materials in your possession for which you might be penalized. This makes the bastards fill out tons of paperwork for no reason and delays their (nevertheless inevitable) march toward totalitarianism.

7. Finally, you hereby deauthorize and denounce any notion you have until now espoused which furthers in your mind the idea that the State is your Protector, because it is, in all truth, the opposite.

Your compliance is not only requested, but is enforceable under this and other Agreements, regardless of whether you are aware of them or not, or whether you have already agreed or have yet to agree to them.

- vexati0n

Spread far and wide, people.

May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead

Image and sentiment by Open Bar (

May 14, 2007

On Friendship

Americans "more likely to back attacks on civilians".

You know me, I despise automatic anti-Americanism in political debate. Its a childish prejudice and whats more, its rarely even funny. But when you start seeing poll results like this, you have to wonder....

Percentage of population agreeing that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified:”

Pakistan: 86%
Bangladesh: 81%
Indonesia: 74%
United States: 46%

In part, this reminds me of the very chilling read by Scott McConnell, the Hunger For Dictatorship. He quotes extensively from Lew Rockwell, who describes a "dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism." This had led to a "mood...[that]...dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”"

Not that the USA doesn't have a monopoly on madmen and imbecilic voting habits (Palestine and Iran come to mind), but neither of those have the global military capacity or inclination towards military action that the US does. I personally find McConnell's argument balanced and compelling and certainly worthy of further discussion. To me, it raises a whole host of questions about the political culture that has been created within America, as well as the problems of education and the media. But thats a whole different discussion. But oh, what I would give for a Jefferson or Madison to be in charge of the USA today....

May 11, 2007


A story that didn't seem to catch much attention in The Times, from a couple of weeks back, is the subject of my attention today.

Its an interesting little piece of propaganda, because of the way it piles assertion on assertion and connects apparently unrelated issues into a larger framework. Its also full of crap, but because its the Times, and not some rag like the Mail, it is of a higher quality than you normally see.

First off we have the eternal bogeyman of the 21st century, Al-Qaeda, planning attacks with the help of "supporters of Iran".


Yep, its that time of year again. Lets claim, with little assertion, that [insert Axis of Evil State here] is helping Al-Qaeda. Haven't we heard this tune somewhere before?

Now, you'd probably say I was using previous conduct, not logical argument, to prove my point here and that this is a not very honest form of debate. And you'd be right.

However, consider this. The world's best intelligence services still cannot fathom the precise relationship between Iran and Hezbollah. One of the best known terrorist/state sponsor connections that is about (and has been for a while) and not Mossad, the CIA, MI6, the NSA or anyone else can figure out if Iran merely promotes an international climate in which Hezbollah can flourish, provides material support, trains its members or indeed controls it.

Yet somehow we are meant to accept that Al-Qaeda, a group that was affiliated with the Taliban ( who nearly went to war with Iran in 1999), a group that have shunned state connections except in the most failed and ostracized of societies, is now making deals with a stable international power.

I'll be fair, this report is better than most because it draws a line between Al-Qaeda Core, who are mostly in Pakistan and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who despite various links are separate. Sort of in the same way the UK and USA are separate countries, they just happen to work together 90% of the time.

However, Al-Qaeda in Iraq was led by the notorious Shi'ite hating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and founded by members of various Jihad factions he had trained while in Afghanistan or recruited when back in the Middle East. His position was certainly not one of cooperation with any Shi'ite group or faction at all. Yet we are meant to believe his predecessors have made plans with the natural leader of Shi'ite communities all over the world? This reasoning sounds suspiciously familiar to some of the things said about Saddam...

No doubt there are "links". However, links are being used here as a neutral term. For example, if a French intelligence agent met with an informant in an Al-Qaeda cell, that would be a "link" between French intelligence and Al-Qaeda. It does not necessarily imply collusion of any sort. Al-Qaeda core did have links with Iran and from what can be gleaned, even from the 9/11 Commission whitewash, is that this took the form of a neutrality pact, of sorts. Iran did not impede the movement of Al-Qaeda operatives and in return Al-Qaeda did not unleash a barrage of attacks on Tehran.

And it would seem even that agreement has fallen apart, since many Al-Qaeda members have been detained in Iran since the fall of the Taliban, presumably for use as bargaining chips either with AQ itself or with the USA. In the civil war in Iraq, Iran is far more interested in using its influence over the Mahdi Army and Iraqi security services than having to deal with quite frankly insane elements of AQ in Iraq.

I also noted the nice use of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the report. Implicitly referencing Iran's nuclear program? It seems possible. May as well hype that threat while we are in the general region, after all.

Consider the wider context of this, as well. As noted by Another Day in the Empire, similar spectres of Al-Qaeda attacks have also been raised in France by Sarkozy and his cronies. Never mind that its in fact the same bunch of thuggish idiots they were before, who merely took the Al-Qaeda name for media and possible funding benefits (though you do have to wonder if the Saudi backers of Al-Qaeda are getting wise to this scam now).

Two countries. Two changes of leadership. Two threats. Nothing like the fear of attack to make people cleave closely to a new leader, especially if they are somewhat unpopular or divisive. And it costs next to nothing to do, while playing into a larger geo-political goal concerning a certain state and nuclear energy.

War Corporatism

A short, but excellent video that got a mention on Out There Radio's latest show. Its only a few minutes in length, but compresses a lot of information quite succinctly.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

As written by Davide Simonetti of

Forgive the Latin title but I think that this is the best way to convey the sense of irony I feel when looking back on Tony Blair's decade in office. It means, of course, "Thus passes the glory of the world" but the vernacular doesn't do it justice. There will, no doubt, be plenty of political obituaries being written about Tony Blair and after ten years of his leadership, there are so many aspects of his tenure in office that only some of them can be covered here. This obituary isn't just for Blair but also for the political system he helped to undermine.

As Tony Blair prepares to leave Ten Downing Street for the last time as Prime Minister, it is us, as well as him perhaps, who are emerging into the sunlight blinking after such a period of darkness. I fear the euphoria will be short-lived. Anyone who has driven on the Autostrada in the mountainous regions of northern Italy will tell you, you emerge from one tunnel into bright sunlight before almost immediately entering another. Similarly, we are exiting the long tunnel of Blair only to enter what seems almost certain to be the much shorter tunnel of Brown. A tunnel it will be nevertheless, but one where the light at the end of it is visible. After that, the tunnel of Cameron seems likely to follow, and its length at this time is unknown.

Though not perfect, the tunnel analogy does I think illustrate part of the problem we have had with British politics since Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979. A pattern seems to be emerging with a strong idealist of one party staying in power for far too long followed by someone to continue their policies who serves a much shorter term until he in turn is replaced by a strong idealist from the opposition who remains in office for far too long. Thatcher claimed Tony Blair and New Labour to be one of her greatest achievements. Certainly she created the climate for Blair, and Blairism can be seen as a continuation of Thatcherism - both 'ideologies' make use of the same economic theories. Blair in turn is taking credit for the reformation of the Conservative party under David Cameron. The two great opposing parties are merging into one homogenised entity where, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter which one takes power and the theatrics in Parliament are just that.

Was it always this way? I don't think so. There used to be much more of a distinction between 'left' and 'right', now the terms are all but meaningless and voters have little to choose from in terms of policy and instead base their selection on personality or looks. This may be described by some as "winning the argument" but we are all the poorer for it as democracy is the loser.

Blair came to power on a wave of optimism. Finally the sleazy, selfish Tories were cast out, and with such a huge majority, Blair had a mandate to bring in some real positive changes. Alas, it wasn't to be. In order to win the election, Blair pledged to stick with Tory spending plans for the first two years. The first promise he broke was the one he made to the Liberal Democrats in order to gain their support which was to seriously look in to the possibility of introducing proportional representation for a more balanced and representative Parliament. In the 1997 election manifesto was a commitment to hold a referendum on electoral reform. One look at the size of his majority cast that idea into the long grass.

The first stories of sleaze didn't take long to materialise but Blair (still referred to as 'Bambi' in some newspapers) was able to turn on the charm and convince most people of his 'honesty'. His over-the-top lamentation over the death of "the people's princess", Diana, didn't raise too many eyebrows back then. It was the obsession with spin that first took the gloss off of New Labour. It was something that made them an effective opposition but was quite unsuitable for a party in government. As Cool Britannia morphed into Rip-off Britain the spin coming from Downing Street was always apparent.

There were some seemingly positive aspects of Blair's time in office at first. The introduction of the minimum wage and a huge injection of cash into the NHS that was, for the most part, swallowed up by wage increases. The situation in Northern Ireland has improved under Labour too and the new power-sharing deal can be called historic, but in Blair's speech there was no mention by name of the late Mo Mowlam who brokered the Good Friday agreement, although he did pay tribute to John Major who had the courage to start negotiations with the IRA.

The privatisation of public services continued under Blair and Labour gave away far too much power to big business letting the market drive everything as the Tories did. Introducing so many a target-driven systems inevitably lead to corruption and short cuts. Education and the NHS suffered as a result. Blair inherited an economy in reasonably good shape from the Tories. After 18 years of misery, they had finally managed to turn things around and unemployment was lower and so was inflation. Blair took the credit for this and managed to continue the trend for a while. But again, this progress is deceptive. Unemployment continued to fall in the beginning of Labour's tenure, but the jobs on offer were and are largely insecure and low paid McJobs that do nothing for social mobility.

The Tories would never have gotten away with the privatisations in the health service and education that Blair has undertaken, and 'Old' Labour would never have dreamed of carrying out these 'reforms'. By doing them under 'New' Labour, the public could be convinced that these changes were for the better. Tony Blair in this respect seems to be like a Trojan Horse put into the ranks of the Labour party in order to do the things that the Tories couldn't. The Tories protest about Tony Blair, but he has carried out their policies and done them a favour because he will take the rap for the inevitable failings of these policies allowing them to claim that they can do better. When they return to power they will merely continue the process started by Thatcher and take it to new depths now that Blair has done the difficult bit for them.

From the start of Blair's tenure as leader of the Labour Party, he sought to seduce big business. His party needed support and cash and by selling access, and later peerages, the money rolled in. It was only a matter of time before Labour got rumbled for this and a large part of Blair's legacy will be the cash for honours investigation where he became the first Prime Minister to be interviewed by the police in a scandal - twice. The cash for peerages scandal was yet another miserable milestone of the Blair premiership. Even more shocking was the decision by Blair to halt the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into the corruption surrounding the BAE - al Yamamah arms dealing with Saudi Arabia. This has done immense damage to Britain's international standing and the country can no longer criticise corruption abroad and be taken seriously.

What Blair will be remembered for mostly is, of course, the Iraq war. Up until then the electorate were pretty forgiving but all that changed with the lies leading up to the illegal invasion and the chaos that followed it. By ignoring between one and two million people on the streets of London he showed a contempt for the wishes of most people in Britain. He only got support for the war by exaggerating the supposed threat from Iraq. When the falsehoods about Iraq's WMD were exposed, it lead to the highly suspicious death of the prominent scientist Dr David Kelly and an inquiry that was an obvious whitewash. The only resignations from this saga were from the BBC which became emasculated as a result. The worse the situation in Iraq got, the more exposed Blair and New Labour became. Blair focussed on preventing any meaningful discussion on the war either in Parliament or through further inquiries.

Of course the Iraq and Afghan wars were just the latest in a series of campaigns that Blair either participated in or supported. In 1998 Britain bombed Iraq with the Clinton administration, in 1999 it joined in the bombing of Serbia. Britain backed the attack on Chechnya by Russia under Vladimir Putin. And in 2006 Blair wholeheartedly supported the Israeli assault on Lebanon. While Blair made loud claims to be supporting democracy and freedom, his government backed repellent regimes like those in Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Colombia. While Indonesia was attacking Aceh province in 2003, Britain was supplying weapons to it. On a more positive note, the sending of British troops to Sierra Leone in 2000 did help end the civil war there.

Part of the fall out from the Iraq war was the continued disenfranchisement of young Muslims in Britain furious at Britain's involvement in the carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan and its unqualified support for Israel and refusal to speak out against the atrocities committed against Palestinians. An already high threat of terrorism got much higher and on July 7th 2005 the first suicide bombings in western Europe took place in London killing 52 people and maiming hundreds more. Blair resolutely refused to to equate this event with his foreign policy and lies were trotted out to cover the incompetence of the security services who had been following at least two of the bombers. The government still refuses to hold a public or independent inquiry into this event.

What has happened though is an unprecedented attack on the long-held civil liberties of Britain. Under Blair Britain became a surveillance society with more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the world. Demonstrating outside Parliament became illegal without prior permission from the police. Despite all opposition against the idea, Blair pushed hard to impose ID cards on us all with biometric information and all details about us (including medical) easily accessed by government departments as well as fraudsters. The right to trial by jury is being eroded, habeas corpus has been suspended.

Yet despite all these measures, Britain is no safer according to the same government who introduced this Draconian legislation. We are constantly being told of numerous terror threats against us. Whether real or exaggerated, the population is being kept in a state of fear and therefore more likely to accept even more erosions of civil liberties.

Crime and punishment were obsessions with Blair, particularly when it came to anti-social behaviour. During his tenure 3,000 new criminal offences were created. Since coming to office there have been 53 law and order bills. Unsurprisingly this had led to an explosion in the prison population in Britain making it the highest in Europe at about 80,000 compared with the 50,000 it was when Blair took office. The severe overcrowding in Britain's prisons has led to proposals to build more of them and loud calls to cut the prison population.

Part of Blair's obsession with punishment can be put down to the relatively new phenomenon of government by tabloid. Blair, more than any other Prime Minister, has been heavily influenced by the tabloid newspapers, particularly The Sun. Rupert Murdoch helped formulate the public opinion that got Blair elected and has since had a hold on him. This has resulted in knee-jerk legislation coming from New Labour every time a grizzly story hits the headlines. For all his enthusiasm for the law, Blair has been quite happy to twist it to suit his agenda. We've seen him do this in the case of the Chagos Islanders. Similarly, the courts were used to prevent three Britons from suing Saudi Arabia for torturing them after pressure from the Saudis.

Under Blair democracy itself has come under pressure. Blair introduced a series of gimmicks designed to create the illusion of increasing democracy in Britain, the results have been the opposite. New voting methods have led to electoral fraud. Just about every petition on the Downing Street website has been ignored, including one with over a million signatures. We've heard 'The Big Conversation', we've also seen an 80 year-old heckler manhandled out of a Labour Party conference and we've seen a woman arrested for reading out the names of people killed in Iraq. The Terrorism Act is used as a catch-all to prevent any sort of dissent. There was even an attempt to pass a law allowing further laws to be made without Parliamentary scrutiny called the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Although a good performer in Parliament, Blair was never much of a parliamentarian, his style was always more presidential and tried to push through controversial legislation with a minimum of debate. From early on in his premiership he relied more on unelected advisers than on cabinet ministers. He changed Prime Minister's Questions from twice a week to just one 30 minute session. Accountability to Parliament has become an issue now. Before Blair came to power, the slightest whiff of a scandal would result in a resignation. Now Parliament is regularly misled and resignations are few and usually by disgusted politicians rather than scandal-ridden ones. When scandal has forced the resignation of politicians, they often reappeared shortly afterwards as in the cases of Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett.

People have become more and more disillusioned with party politics as they see little difference between the party in power and the opposition. And when Labour was re-elected in 2005 with just 22 percent of the electorate, the need for electoral reform was highlighted as never before. Britain now has the lowest voter turn-out in Europe when it comes to general elections. Voter turn-out has fallen from 72 percent in 1997 to 60 percent in 2005.

On the international stage, Blair's credibility was severely undermined by his closeness to the Bush administration and his inability to criticise it no matter what atrocities it committed or supported. Guantanamo was merely "an anomaly". In many cases it seems that Britain was actively involved in abuses. This is evident by Britain's close collusion with the USA in 'extraordinary rendition' with the UK being used as a stop-over for CIA flights taking abducted people to countries where they were tortured. Britain's denials of any involvement have proved to be false and the lack of co-operation with the subsequent investigations is a matter of record.

Internationally Blair became known as Bush's poodle and this label reflected Britain's position as little more than a client state of the USA. In this 'special relationship', Blair has allowed the USA to sack British Ministers, to rewrite his speeches in America and Blair had to ask permission from Bush before embarking on diplomatic missions. The isolation of Britain and the United States became glaringly apparent during the Lebanon war where Britain and America alone with Israel opposed the rest of the world which called for a ceasefire.

Another legacy of the Blair era is the sharp divisions in society which he failed to address. Under Blair, there has been an 'economic apartheid' with child poverty among ethnic minorities much higher than the rest of the population. And the inequalities don't stop there. Recently there has been a string of reports highlighting the inequalities in Britain which has the second highest child death rate among the 24 richest countries in the world. Child poverty in Britain is increasing and a recent UNICEF report showed Britain's children to be the unhappiest, most neglected and poorly educated among the world's 21 richest countries.

Like Blair, Gordon Brown refuses to tackle the issue. Social mobility in Britain has effectively been frozen so there is even less opportunity for people to climb out of the poverty trap. The introduction of University tuition fees (that Blair had originally said would not be introduced in his election manifesto) frightened off many poorer students from furthering their education because of the huge debts they would be saddled with for much of their working life. So much for "education education education". Under Blair the gap between rich and poor has widened considerably.

Will things improve under Gordon Brown? Superficially possibly but somehow I doubt there will be any real improvement. Brown is one of the architects of 'New Labour' and another fan of Thatcher. While he has been happy to hide and let Blair take the flack for New Labour's failings, he himself is behind many of those failings as we saw with the recent pensions scandal. Brown could have threatened to resign (or be sacked) over the Iraq war if he was as opposed to it as has been reported by David Blunkett. A high-profile resignation like that of the chancellor of the exchequer would have had a huge impact on Blair's credibility earlier on and might have changed the policy. Instead he chose to go along with something he knew to be wrong. That says much about his character.

Right from the beginning of Blair's long departure, Gordon Brown has been portrayed as the only viable replacement. Most of the other potential candidates are broadly similar in political outlook to Blair with the only one offering an alternative set of policies being John McDonnell. Needless to say, this threat to the status quo has been pretty much marginalised by the media. New Labour seems determined to carry on regardless of the failures of its policies. Blair, no doubt, will see this as as a sign of his lasting legacy and maybe it is but it's not one to be proud of.

So what next for Blair? There has been plenty of speculation as to what Blair will do next. The most common view is that he will tour on the lucrative lecture circuit, but there have been plenty of other rumours too. Some speculate that he will work (or rather continue to work) for Rupert Murdoch, others think that he might get a job at the UN or the European Union. Perhaps he might want some ambassadorial role which will give him some needed diplomatic immunity from potential prosecution. He may start off by taking one of the freebie holidays he has become notorious for (the Italian media has dubbed Blair "Lo Scroccone" - the scrounger) although they might be harder to come by now. Whatever Blair does I hope he is never again given the amount of responsibility and power he had as Prime Minister of the UK. While it still seems unlikely he will be prosecuted for war crimes, it isn't a total impossibility and a one way ticket to the Hague is what is hoped for by many.

May 9, 2007

Was the attack on the Death Star an inside job?

The PFLD investigates...

We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.

Like many citizens of the Empire, I was fed this story when I was growing up. But as I watched the video, I began to realize that all was not as it seemed. And the more I questioned the official story, the deeper into the rabbit hole I went.

Presented here are some of the results of my soul-searching regarding this painful event. Like many citizens, I have many questions that I would like answered: was the mighty Imperial government really too incompetent to prevent a handful of untrained nerf-herders from destroying one of their most prized assets? Or are they hiding something from us? Who was really behind the attack? Why did they want the Death Star destroyed? No matter what the answers, we have a problem.

Below is a summary of my book, Uncomfortable Questions: An Analysis of the Death Star Attack, which presents compelling evidence that we all may be the victims of a fraud of immense proportions.

1) Why were a handful of rebel fighters able to penetrate the defenses of a battle station that had the capability of destroying an entire planet and the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships?

2) Why did Grand Moff Tarkin refuse to deploy the station’s large fleet of TIE Fighters until it was too late? Was he acting on orders from somebody to not shoot down the rebel attack force? If so, who, and why?

3) Why was the rebel pilot who supposedly destroyed the Death Star reported to be on the Death Star days, maybe hours, prior to its destruction? Why was he allowed to escape, and why were several individuals dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms seen helping him?

4) Why has there not been an investigation into allegations that Darth Vader, the second-ranking member of the Imperial Government, is in fact the father of the pilot who allegedly destroyed the Death Star?

5) Why did Lord Vader decide to break all protocols and personally pilot a lightly armored TIE Fighter? Conveniently, this placed Lord Vader outside of the Death Star when it was destroyed, where he was also conveniently able to escape from a large-sized rebel fleet that had just routed the Imperial forces. Why would Lord Vader, one of the highest ranking members of the Imperial Government, suddenly decide to fly away from the Death Star in the middle of a battle? Did he know something that the rest of the Imperial Navy didn’t?

6) How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?

7) Why has their been no investigation into evidence that the droids who provided the rebels with the Death Star plans were once owned by none other than Lord Vader himself, and were found, conveniently, by the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and who is also believed to be Lord Vader’s son? Evidence also shows that the droids were brought to one Ben Kenobi, who, records indicate, was Darth Vader’s teacher many years earlier! Are all these personal connections between the conspirators and a key figure in the Imperial government supposed to be coincidences?

8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?

Hopefully, one day, these questions will be answered, not covered up by the liars of the Empire!

May 7, 2007

Deleuze, Guattari, Debord and the Israeli Defense Force

A really interesting article on how the IDF are using some very odd theoretical texts in order to inform their military doctrine. Especially since they are the sort of texts I tend to read in my spare time, especially Debord and Deleuze.

The "infestation" idea is a very interesting one, I must admit. Almost impossible to carry out in a heavily inhabited area, very horrific for the poor people who have to suffer through it, but a fascinating adaptation nonetheless.

Also, the fact that the military are getting into this sort of thinking, about the inversion of the urban landscape, postmodern anarchists and an understanding of emergent communities dedicated to disruption should be setting off alarm bells in any politically interested Discordian's head, because its the sort of stuff we like to think about. Hakim Bey, TAZ's, Situationist edge we had against more Aneristic groups is being closed off now, understood and incorporated.

More on this later.

May 6, 2007

So, I haven't been blogging lately....

You know why? Because the weather's nice, the beer is cold, and I have reading to catch up on.

Oh, OK, I'll try and update some more.

May 4, 2007

Moment of Truth, from Condi

"I think anything that is an American plan is bound to fail"

Carnival of Anarchy

As you know, I tend to enjoy plugging sites on this place. After all, it costs me nothing to do so and spreading the love means sites I think are good get marginally more exposure, hopefully keeping the dross down and in its place (where I can laugh at it when I need something funny to read).

So, anyway, I know its been on my blogroll for a while, but I thought I'd draw attention to the Carnival of Anarchy blog. Always a good read and I've recently been catching up on the great series of recent articles on anarchism and violence. I haven't commented, for the simple reason I am not an anarchist myself, though I will admit more sympathy to them than most political groups. Especially at CoA, where there is a healthy level of contribution and good writing.

Especially interesting for the last theme were the articles the peaceful dictator's violent subordinate and the Anarchist Case Against Terrorism, which I particularly enjoyed, being as I am mired in a paper about vanguardist tendencies in Marxist theory.

So if you are an anarchist, or even like me and just like reading a good mix of political theory and practice in a well explained manner, I certainly suggest checking it out.

May 3, 2007

Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged!

Ask me no questions, and I will tell you no lies.