Nov 30, 2007

Hmm, interesting rumours...

Been following the Clinton Campaign Hostage Drama most of the evening, mainly because I have no social life but I also because I have £20 in bets on both casualties and which group will get the blame.

Anyway, according to posters on AboveTopSecret, the hostage-taker in question is a libertarian, a self-styled "conspiracy theorist", claims to be an ex-solider (uncomfirmed) and says he has a bug or chip of some sort implanted in his head.

IOW, he sounds like many of the more lunatic fringes of the militia movement.

Oh, look at that. A bill is going before the Senate to investigate radicalism and terrorism within the USA. Since most American Muslims (outside the ghettos) are very mainstream, they're more likely to be looking at various militia and seperatist movements within the USA.


Alternatively, if you have been paying attention to how the mainstream media have been covering Ron Paul, and the likely political beliefs of this guy (usual militia movement talk about the NWO, internationalism, the UN, Federal Reserve etc) we can quite easily expect the media to paint this as another Ron Paul crazy, like the Aryan Nations guys and those people arrested for making fake money the other week.

Which, incidentally, is what my bet is on. Come on American news corporations, don't let me down now.

Sweden is awesome

A little boring, perhaps, but still fairly awesome. And by awesome I mean humanitarian. I've always had something of a soft spot for the Scandanavian countries anyway.

On the other hand, it makes for relatively unexciting foreign policy. Which could be a significant problem, especially for people like me, whose entire raison d'etre is foreign policy problems (creating them, exacerbating them, letting them spiral out of control, clamouring for military
intervention, stressing the exceptional nature of the crisis etc etc ad infinitum).

But then, the Scandanavians seemed to get all that out of their system a while ago, and are civilized countries now.

The Parable of Jesse James

As posted on forums (author unknown)

Jesse James once sought shelter at a lonely farmhouse. The widow there apologized for her poor hospitality. She said she had very little money and despaired of paying the debt collector, who was coming imminently to demand $1,400.

James gave her $1,400 and told her to get a receipt. Then he hid outside and watched the road.

The debt collector arrived, looking grim, and entered the house. A few minutes later he emerged, looking pleased.

James accosted him, took back the $1,400, and rode off.

Nov 27, 2007

The Christian Nerd factor

The Christian nerd factor for this particular war in Iraq has been higher than usual, and for obvious reasons. One, it is being waged for no obvious reason, making it fertile ground for all sorts of wild scriptural speculation— just about anything you want to dream up, even the idea that Saddam Hussein is the antichrist makes more sense than the actual justification for the war given by the government.

- Matt Tiabbi,

Nov 25, 2007

France unveils new anti-piracy laws


Well, anyone expecting anything innovative from 'Sarko' clearly doesn't know their French politics very well. As most people who paid attention to the car burning debacle last year know, Sarkozy only knows how to use brute force to solve a problem. If its Algerians being forced out of the labour market and having to turn to crime to survive, tough luck. Equally, if its a tricky legal and economic issue that wont go away, just stop the people who created it from going online.

Now, I hate to point this out. In general, I am supportive of artist copyright laws, because its means they get to eat and live in a generally acceptable manner. But the simple fact is that the issue of downloading is not going to go away. Internet laws are barely enforced in first world nations, how are they going to stop people in Brazil or Russia (where there are thriving internet file-sharing cultures) from uploading and downloading?

The issue isn't going to go away, and some people have recognized this. A long term solution would be to look towards our socieities views on artists, intellectual copyright and the economics of the internet and music/film/book world. People have suggested solutions, including artistic support tokens, which can be given to artists and cashed in, for suitable amounts of money (raised via a general tax). Other economic plans, such as Basic Income or versions of Guaranteed Income (such as negative income, as proposed by Milton Friedman) could also work in favour of artists.

Some people are waking up to this, it seems. Radiohead and Saul Williams have taken this route recently, allowing customers to decide how much they want to pay for an album, from nothing upwards. But for now, they are minor voices against, firstly, the music corporations and secondly, proponents of the Anglo-American, big-government definition of the Free Market, who shudder in horror at ideas like the Negative Income Tax, despite their libertarian origins.

Also, I noted with interest, Sarkozy was saying this was
"A decisive moment for the future of a civilised internet"

One of the things I love about the internet is that it is not civilized. Sure, there are bastions of near law and order, but they are islands in a sea of anarchy. In an increasingly "civilized" world, I like the fact there are places we can go where these rules sometimes do not apply. Even better, unlike real places where the rule of law does not exist (like Somalia, Iraq etc) there is very little chance of you getting killed. And I don't even have to dress up and learn the language to go there.

This just could be my Nietzschean side coming out "to venture into states where it is not permitted to not be a barbarian" so to speak. But civilizing the internet would be essentially the same as taming it, breaking it. I like the dark, deep corners of the web, where people don't feel constrained by many social norms, that they feel free to act like their truly fucked up selves without any social cost. Obviously, those in power do not. Trying to civilize the internet reminds me of the stupid "make bloggers respectful" campaign or whatever it was called, which the government was trying to encourage people to do. Fuck that noise.

Gah, now my headache is coming back and I want to hit someone. Later.

I think I finally figured something out...

OK, so this could all be hangover cynicism talking, but hang with me. I think I have fnally figured out why even normally sympathetic/progressive/net-based news sites and journalists will not touch the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Now, we all know why the mainstream will not touch it. That's fairly obvious. The right wing mainstream media considers anything that paints El Presidente in bad light as liberal propaganda in the first place, and as for the supposed left wing mainstream (more accurately, neo-liberal. Eris I hate how political meanings have been warped by media discourse) are part of another conspiracy entirely, that of keeping the status quo dynamic. The 9/11 Movement, true or not, represents a narrative dangerous to the staus quo, and so is ignored as much as possible, in the same way any political opinions outside of the liberal/conservative framework are.

But these smaller, more politically aware news networks, what about them? After all, many of them espouse viewpoints quite frequently which lay on the outside of American politics. So why would they avoid such a topic?

Its because 99% of the 9/11 Truth Movement are pure, unadulterated, assholes.

Lets put it this way. Since they have started to put on protests and organize themselves (its come a long way since Loose Change) they have managed to get mentions on some alternative news outlets. Most of it has been critical, it must be said. Some has been derisory, to be sure. But instead of stating their arguments, in considered and careful ways, building pieces of evidence upon others and building a theory of what actually happened that day, most prefer instead to repeat some "factoid" about the tower collapse and then brand the person in question as a secret dupe of the power elites and a moron at best, or a willing agent and gatekeeper of the media at worst. No matter their past record for standing up to the powers that be.

For example, consider the cases George Monbiot, Noam Chomsky and Matt Tiabbi, all journalists with a long history of considered thought and political agitation, in one form or another. The minute they disagreed with the 9/11 Truth Movement, for whatever reason, they are labelled as controlled assets of some nefarious hidden power.

Way to show intelligent and reasoned debate, guys. You sure showed everyone else you aren't a crackpot fringe movement, with your excellent command of logical argument. Aren't smear campaigns pretty much what the likes of President Bush and Tony Blair get up to, when they dont like someone?

That is precisely the problem with dealing with these people. If you disagree, you will be buried under a mountain of accusation, slurs and lies. Not to mention shrill and threatening emails. What sort of journalist wants to put up with that sort of shit, especially when he or she can cover topics which don't consider them accessory to what, if its true, would be one of the biggest crimes in modern history?

There is also the other entire mountain of data you have to plow through, and analysis of said data being done by people who are not experts in the field. Look, when it comes to engineering, I don't take anything as a common sense argument. At all. My father was an engineer, and while my math skills are adequate enough to keep up, when someone goes through and explains things, before then I take nothing for granted, because most engineering is only expected to work within certain parameters. So when people say "obviously this isn't true because the towers would... its not actually that obvious. Explain. With reference to past examples. You know, do some research. Common sense and physics do not always make great bedfellows, depending on the common sense of the individual in question.

And there is so much data out there. And conflicting data, from debunkers, that to actually look at it all and come up with a reasoned conclusion would require months of research. I know, I thought I could skim read the topic myself, a while back. Oh poor deluded me.

Anyway, its time for coffee and ibuprofen again. One saving grace of my blog readership is that it is probably small enough to avoid a legion of 9/11 Truther's descending on this place and painting me as a paid shill of the Conspiracy (I wish. When I did work, indirectly, for the RAND Corporation, all they paid for was my coffee bill for the afternoon meetings). I hope people will note I actually avoided talking about the truth of the 9/11 conspiracies, because that is not what I am questioning here. Its the conduct of the believers of these conspiracies and how their actions alienate them from pretty much everyone, forcing them into a paranoic mindset where the world is filled with enemy agents, instead of disgruntled journalists who don't want the hassle of having to deal with thousands of assholes.

Nov 24, 2007

Little Johnny Howard is down and out for the count!


Not that I especially like Rudd. Reminds me too much of Blair. But Howard was awful.

Nov 23, 2007


OK, I've done a slight overhaul of the links section of this thing. Mostly, I've divided it into two, blogs and resources. The line was kind of hard to draw on some, or I was just bored, and so they may be in slightly different sections than you would expect (for example, Grey Lodge, while having a 'blog', almost exclusively links to other content, and so is a resource).

Secondly, I've added a lot more links. Especially conspiracy, magick and arts/creative endeavours, which I had kind of been neglecting. A few more are likely to be added over the coming days as well. If someone's link accidentally got lost while I was trying to sort it out, please let me know and I'll rectify that as soon as possible. Unless it was an 'accident' and I don't like you. Although I don't think that happened.

Magickal debates

There have been a couple of these lately, both on POEE and EB&G. While this probably means little outside of the context of the threads themselves, I still thought some of the insights and discussions on the topics were well worth sharing.

I have to admit my own personal biases run towards psychological models in this, but it seems a fair few other people thought the same so...well, anyway, here is some cut and paste of the more interesting sections. I think the most important lesson we learned from this debate, along with most philosophical topics, is to define your terms.

: Ok, there's alot of people out there in the pagan community talking about spells and energies and alot of other things like that. listen to 'em and it sounds like you're trapped in D&D or LARP hell, especially if you get the one's that are deep into the whole trend of communicating with other entities which are generally accepted as mythical (fairies, dragons, etc.). it's almost enough to make you wonder if the pagan community is populated mainly with semi-functional schizophrenics or people suffering with some other neurological disorder.

I have seen and experienced somethings that stand outside of the realm of typical daily experiences. This is not something that makes me crazy, rather, it has made me inclined to accept evidence presented to me upon the basis of either my own personal experiences (because some of these things I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen 'em myself) or if the evidence is presented in a manner that is sufficiently persuasive. as such, i've found that many of the people who claim to have experiences such as sexual encounters with animals or spiritual entities while they are tranformed into a different being are highly suspect. few, if any of the accounts, have been presented in a persuasive enough method to convince me to believe them.

this said, i do not expect anyone to believe me. what i describe here is a result of my own personal experience, occult research, and what i have observed as trends in the occult research of others. you can call bullshit on this and that's ok. what i put forth here is a theory. theories can be accepted or disregarded on the basis of evidence presented. i will apologize if my phrasing is such that it does not adhere to the conventions of presenting a scientific theory. this is in part because i'm a bit rusty on that and in part because the subject matter doesn't exactly bode well to that presentation format.

LMNO: Please try not to conflate the vague scientific term "energy" with the vague psychological term "energy". It tends to piss off the scientists. Neither have been properly defined. You might as well say "aether waves". Even "orgone" has been better defined that either of those.

Buddhist Monk Wannabe
: This is interesting, because it goes back to the whole idea that magic is just something that you can do that other people don't know how to do. I don't call it casting spells, but I use meditation/visualization in much the same way.

Cydira: direct observation of magic is exceptionally difficult, especially when one is working with these 'energies' ascribed to objects, emotions, etc. indirect observation is somewhat easier.

an example of this can be given in something i've done in the past on several occasions.

there is a route that my husband and i drive to go visit our friends. traveling at the posted speed limit (65 mph, using cruise control) with favorable road conditions (fair weather, clear road conditions, and no traffic hazards), we can make the drive in 2 hours. when i concentrate on arriving in an hour and a half rather then 2 hours, i 'bend' time.

the conditions are the same as above and the time has not only been measured by myself, but also by others who are informed when we leave our home. i've yet to test this under other road conditions, but thus far, this has yielded the same result for about 75% of the trials done over the last few years. (the trip is a semi-monthly trip, so i regularly have the opportunity to do this little experiment.)

some may say that i've manipulated the energies around me to 'bend' time. i'm disinclined towards that argument. i think that it operates differently. unfortunately, i've to figure out a good way to phrase my theory before i post it. give me a little time and i'll have it posted up here.

Singer: Like you... I am offended by the over-use of the term "energy". I believe "energy" in all it's categories is quantifiable and measurable. I believe that all life-forms create quantifiable and measurable energy as a necessary product of living. In fact I think I plunged into this thread with a fairly lengthy treatise on how to measure the electrical energy of thought.

I'm all about the potential application of personally generated energy. It seems reasonable to me that the bars of the BIP are maybe bent a little when someone or something (like a "healer", or a "placebo") triggers a mechanism by which an individual can bypass their own BIP to effect a desirable outcome... one that would not be as easy or possible without the help of the trigger.

This concept may have broader implications than the purely personal.

But, we'll never know as long as we keep saying "well... it doesn't seem possible so it's not worthy of serious study"... especially since this leaves ANY study of "magical" phenomenon to the tin-foil hat brigade...

Rev Burnstoupee: so maybe science takes an objective approach to understand the universe, and religion/mysticism/magick takes a subjective approach. it seems silly to try and describe a religious/mysical/magickal experience in terms of objective reality. take certain 'methods' for enlightenment for instance. often times one method flat out contradicts another method. its not because one is 'true' and one is 'false'. one method that works for one person might not work for another becasue of the variation of the qualities and experiences of the mind. so to discuss 'energy' in terms of a magical subjective experience can only be metaphorical. that isn't to say that it doesn't "work". take kundalini energy, the 'energy centers' and the two 'psychic pathways that travel up and down the spine. now they're not really THERE...but in terms of a method they are used AS IF they were there. and apparantly there have been achievable results. nothing i can personally attest to and i wouldn't expect a scientist to be able to measure any of that, but the practicioner seems to be different than before. it's like the tree of life isn't an actual TREE, ya know?

i need a :barstool: and a drink to match. at least alcohol is objective.

Ratatosk: Magic, in my experience appears as the change of perception through conscious will. That is, the conscious manipulation of filters and programs which process the data that our senses pick up. This includes not only relatively simple things like RAW's "Quarter Experiment" where focusing on quarters leads to finding more quarters... but also complex things like body language, reactions of other people etc.

In more depth, I generalize magic into multiple types:

Perception Manipulation (Modificaton of which bits of reality to focus on)
Personality Manipulation (Invocation of Godforms, archetypes etc)
Programming Modification (Metaprograming, NLP)
Program Creation (Egrigores, NLP, "Spellcasting")
Comfort (Ritual)

I'm sure there may be a thousand other ways to generically classify different forms of "magic", but I hope the above gives you an idea of what I mean.

It appears to me, that magic was simply a model created without the advantage of modern neurology, one that we can replace to some extent with modern scientific models. However, and this is only my opinion, while we can discuss the theory in both magical and scientific terms, the magical model seems more useful in practice... probably due to the difference between 'the road we can speak about and the road that we walk upon'.

As for the quantum model discussed earlier, I have given this much thought. Quantum mechanics, in my opinion are useful when discussing magic in one very important fashion. Quantum mechanics give us an example of a very useful model which seems magical to most people. It discusses things in symbols which kind of relate to reality, but not really. Our concept of what an atom looks like is symbolic.

Magic, I think could be seen in a similar vein. It's a different model used to discuss concepts which may be very hard to otherwise discuss or attempt to implement.

Cainad: So we're talking about two (or possibly more) rather different phenomena here. Allow me to make a very clumsy attempt to distinguish them, so some of you smart-alecks out there can point out the flaws in my explanation and clarify it for everyone else.

First off, we have "magic," the thing that is supposedly indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced technology. This is very true, but only if you haven't got the slightest fucking clue how that technology works. If you know how to use or make something of high technology, then that makes you a magician to the ignorant, but you know yourself, at best, only as a technician. A dude in a robe who throws fireballs around or summons demons by drawing circles with wonky symbols around it, a shmoe who wears a suit and makes things appear and disappear for the amusement of his audience, and a guy who can kill people instantly by pointing a funny-shaped metal tube at them and pulling a trigger are all 'magicians' to someone (like, say, Pacific Islanders before encountering Westerners), but to themselves they are merely using or applying something that they know and understand perfectly well.

Mahdgjickque, on the other hand, is the attempt to produce effects of the 'magical' variety (whatever those may be, according to the nature and level of one's understanding of the world) without involving too much sciencey-sounding or applied technological stuff. These may be fireballs without fireworks, visions without schizophrenia, or even as internal as mind alterations without lobotomies. At the most basic level, it is an attempt to impose the Will (what we want) on the world without going through all the complicated, impractical, and/or dangerous steps normally required to make these things happen, if they are possible at all. Mahdgjickque is what happens when we cease to be content with seeing magic happen, and we decide to try and become the magicians.

So what I might be trying to say is that 'magic' and 'mahdgjickque' are the reflecting and non-reflecting sides of a two-way mirror. Studying mahdgjickque is the equivalent of putting your face really close to the mirror's reflecting side and blocking out the glare with your hands so you can see what's on the other side of it. Maybe, we tell ourselves, if we get really good at mahdgjickque we can figure out how to get on that side of the glass.

Cain: Well, this is why we need to define our terms in order to speak about this in any sensible way. English is well known for its multiple homonyms and if you are using one with an already pre-accepted meaning which is different from what you mean, then we are going to have problems. I can, quite easily, accept a psychological model of what is being proposed here. A metaphysical one is alot more difficult, however. If we don't say from the outset what we are talking about, then natually the majority of people are going to go for the most obvious explanation and conclusion - that you are talking about magic in the sense of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and proceed to mock you.

This furthermore isn't helped by people in the 'occult community' who themselves cannot seem to agree what they are tallking about. Which is fine, to a degree, because neither can Discordians about chaos, and they seem to get on with it fine. But when you have Wiccans and Ceremonial Magickiqians rubbing shoulders with people advancing a more believable and approachable theory, you are always going to have some serious problems. Furthermore, some of these people who don't accept the usual mumbo-jumbo about spirits and demons will then proceed to use badly understood scientific models to try and 'prove' their theories, which is pretty much as bad as the imaginary monsters, when confronted by someone who understands the models being discussed.

Now, for the technology example, I don't buy that at all. Why? The examples we have are of people who are utilizing processes that at least some other people know, and can explain with reference to established natural laws, to make repeatable results. The "can explain" bit is important, because while you could claim all the rest apply to mahadqickians, they fall down on explanations that can be verifiably tested (and often on repeatable results as well). Using a fighter jet is substansially different to evoking Ares, for example.

Again, I'm not down with the "faith" business either. I've seen enough fanatics who fervently believe in something, with the sort of faith which you could break rocks on (and trust me, it was tempting to test this). The point is, despite their faith, that alone cannot change anything outside of themselves, and often little inside themselves either, once that state is reached. Its an end state, not a process used to achieve a goal, and I think the consesnus is that magique, whatever it is, is for doing stuff with.

In fact, I was listening to my podcasts I have again last night, and I'm not sure who said this (it may have been Chris Titan on Occulterati, but I'm not sure. It could have been Curcio as well) but they came up with a brilliant explanation. Magick is pulling the wool over your own eyes, and then being able to do that to other people, in order to achieve your goals. Or words to that effect. He was explaining how he got really deeply into biology, Sumerian mythology, psychology, Hermetics etc and how using all these different lenses or ways of looking at the world, allowed him to convince himself first that he could change himself, and thus how he interacted with the world, and then later on being able to cause that change in other people too. Which is a nice blend of the psychological/sociological arguments put forward, and also a nice lock-in with NLP.

Bonsai Ent: "magic is the Will expressing itself against the physical universe and bringing about a change"

"why that is no different to me going downstairs and making a cup of tea!"


"accept mine works..."

I could be called a fan of the Derren Brown, or indeed Granny Weatherwax school of magick.
Better known as the "if you want something done, do it" school.

I think the social/psychological magick is closer to theatre than anything else, one could use the drama of magic to bring about psychological changes, make oneself more confident, feel strong, feel attractive... I've been trained in drama and we've gotten quite good at it. What is the Method but Reality Tunnel shifting at the drop of a hat?

My only criticism here, is why call it "magic". Again, it seems to me sticking to the aesthetic, it is just role-playing and escapism.

Nothing inherently wrong with it, I just don't buy it.

Ratatosk: The difference that I've found exists in the idea that we're dealing with different models. When I'm looking at information using a scientific model, I use the terms appropriate for a scientific model. When I'm playing in a philosophical model, I use the terms appropriate for that model. When I put on a Christian hat, I use the terms used by people who live in that model of reality. When I play with 'magic' I use the terms that are used in that model.

Just as an earlier post misused the scientific quantum model, some people misuse the 'magic' model. Some people think that quantum physics means that there is no reality until we look for it, that doesn't mean that there's a problem with QP, only that there's a confusion in their ability to read the map. The same seems true for 'magic'. In every model of magic that I've studied, (Wicca, Thelema, Chaos Magic) there's no discussion of rabbits in hats, or sleight of hand... no fireballs getting thrown from bellies, no flying etc etc etc, in almost all of the cases, we're dealing with metaphors which are more aligned with psychological manipulation, rather than manipulation of the physical world.

That's the reason Crowley added the 'k' to magic, to separate the 'stage magic' from the stuff of consciousness change.

We could discuss magic in entirely non-magical terms. I have a great book which is called Mind Hacks, put out by O'Reilly and Assoc. It has experiments and exercises that nearly mirror those in Liber Null and Liber Kaos and The Book of Atem (all chaos magic books). However, (and this depends entirely on one's opinion of how neurology works) it may be much easier to effect changes through some metaphors than others (considering that no matter how direct Mind Hacks tries to be, its still using metaphors).

For me, I play in magic sometimes, not because I think it works, but because I like to examine reality through as many tunnels as possible. It seems to me that we can spend our life looking for THE ANSWER (which may or may not be possible), we might spend our life in one single model/map and experience only the stuff that gets labeled on that map, we could spend our lives asleep like the poor pinks and norms... not even realizing that they're looking at the menu, rather than the meal. For me, I choose to try as many metaphoric restaurants as possible... I don't mind if the Menu is in French, German, English or glowing on a big board behind the cashier. I don't think it will get me closer to THE ANSWER... but I do enjoy getting to experience the different perceptions and ideas used by different people. Further, it means that if I'm talking to a Christian, I can use words, terms... the model, that they are familiar with and sometimes describe new concepts to them using their own map. When I'm talking to an Atheist, the same ma be true. When talking with a Chaos Magician, I can use their metaphors and when talking to a Wiccan, Buddhist or Hindu, I can use their metaphors.

I don't necessarily understand all of those maps as well as a person who spends their entire life looking only at a single model... but I'm ok with that.

The Menu is not the meal. Magic, based on my experiences, references a set of symbols on a particular map. You can choose to not use the map, but that doesn't invalidate the map or its symbols.

Bantu: To avoid any impressions of fawning...that's neither here nor there.

I think you've [LMNO - Cain edit] explained your positions with clarity enough for a layperson to understand and with little room for dispute. Cains last post especially was the icing on the cake.

I've enjoyed reading the all varying opinions and ideas here, cheers to Cyd too.

I've come late to the realization of the elements of Fundamentalism in prevalent in Paganish belief systems. l always thought that one could hold certain 'beliefs' for what they were and then recognize what is measurable scientific theory with ease in these systems. I've seen and experienced some pretty incredible things I don't yet understand or can find explaination for. That doesn't make it manisfestations of supernatural energies. In my 'beliefs' the supernatural is somewhat antithetical.

And UPG covers my ass. Okthxby.

LMNO: Well, one thing I found intersting in this thread was that no one said, "ok, big guy, so what do you think is going on here?"

There was pretty much just an assumption I was like James Randi, and thought it was all bullshit.

So, here goes:

I believe the universe is wierder than science can currently account for. The history of science has shown itself to be islands of knowledge in a sea of ignorance.

I believe that things happen that cannot be explained easily.

I think most forms of "magic" are combinations of yogic practices, NLP, self-hypnosis, the placebo effect, psychology, metaphor, reconstruction of the BIP, self-delusion, and unadultarated bullshit.

I think that people who try to describe the wierd shit in the universe using scientific terms are deluding themselves.

I think the people who "know" that their magic practices create weird shit are making false correspondences.

I think that some people who are adept at certain kinds of magical practices have a greater tendencey to either belive their own metaphors, or see the BIP more clearly.

I think more research is needed in all areas of study that lend themselves to scientific research.

I think people who use fairy tales to make themselves feel better aren't necessarily bad, but also make boring dinner guests.

Cydira: I'm pretty sure that the explanation of why magic works is grounded in a combination of psychology and physics, though I haven't been able to establish what precisely is the reason. I've been trying, but no real success.

I'd like to see one of two things happen. Either a new term needs to be invented to describe the phenomena that results from successful magic, thus leaving the term magic to retain it's socially accepted connotations, or a change in the connotations associated with the term magic. As I highly doubt the second will happen (despite the flailing and other efforts of the Pagan sub-culture among English speakers), I think a new term is needed.

I just don't know what the hell to call this.

The people who oppose the use of the scientific method and decry it as opposed to occult studies are fools, in my opinion. The scientific method is a highly valuable tool that we use on a regular basis. The process of developing a theory, testing it, and evaluating the results is done daily in a wide array of arenas. Sure, we're not dressed in lab coats, running tests on chemicals, recording the results, and submitting papers detailing our findings to any of the scientific publications. But we use this process to evaluate why something isn't working, how to navigate problems that arise in the workplace, and address other quandaries that come up in our lives.

It also forgets something important. The use of the scientific method is a continuation of a long line of occultists's work. It just happens to be accepted into mainstream society and the places where it is used are no longer hidden under a veil of secrecy. One can still argue that rituals are still used in scientific study today. The donning of protective gear and the setup of laboratory equipment is no less an act of ritual then putting on robes and lighting candles. The distinction made is that the use of protective gear and setting up laboratory equipment is viewed as practical and necessary by the general public, where as the rituals of religion and occult studies are viewed as superstition by the general public.

All of that said, I've got to say that there's alot of crackpot occultists out there who irritate the hell out of me. I can't stand the people who lie and insist that one must blindly accept the lie. Outrageous claims are hard to accept, but arguments can be presented to persuade some one. To refuse to attempt that and expect blind faith, it's just something that stinks of a con being pulled on me and I will actively resist it.

Nov 22, 2007

Dont tase me bro part 2: electric boogaloo

No, seriously, what the hell is up with cops and tasers? Its like giving terrorists semtex, or politicians hookers and blow.

This time around, the 'fun' starts at 2 minutes in. Really though, giving cops a weapon that leaves no marks and is supposedly non-lethal (tell it to the dead guys in Canada and Florida) is just asking for trouble.

LOL, internet

Nov 20, 2007

Today's Quote

For a while there, Prussia was a small nation that didn't need any crap about "rights" or any New Jersey high-collar deacon defending it. They had this thing called The Prussian Fucking Army, the one that actually won the battle of Waterloo...So let's get real: small nations have no rights. Nobody has any rights. People have the guts and the guns or they're nothing.

The War Nerd

Nov 16, 2007

Enough already!

I'm looking at my BBC News feed now and, yet again, it seems the non-story that is Madeleine McCann is again top news. Third top story on their front page in fact, leaping ahead of such trivial matters as over 200 dead Bangladeshi's, the continual erosion of civil liberties in Pakistan, sanctions being put on Iran and other little items of minor interest like that.

Of course, its no news the media is totally and utterly full of shit on this whole story. Anyone with half a brain forced to live in the UK between May and September could have told you that. And this is just another in the long line of blog posts blasting the media and, to a lesser extent, the McCann family themselves, who have been complicit in the entire coverage.

Now, the information in the first paragraph is damning enough, especially when one considers the nature of story: namely that one of the friends of the family repeated their original story they told the Portugese police. However, I want to add in something which is more comparable with the McCann story, something to show the true problems and tragedy involved in the level of coverage given so far.

I went to the Website, to see how many children had gone missing since June of this year. Its 29. Since Madeleine McCann went missing, 29 more families have had their lives torn apart and lived in daily anguish. But does anyone know the name of Derrick Ayebare? Or Paige Chivers? Or Telvin Timba? I bet almost no-one, outside those affected, could even tell you those names, let alone know what they look like.

Of course some are older than Madeleine, up to 17 in many cases. But so what? As Bill Hicks would point out, they suddenly reach a certain age and they're off you're fucking love list? In the case of Telvin, he's even younger, only 2 years old, and yet not a word from the media on his vanishing. Of course, the other interesting thing is how many of these 29 children are not white, and do not come from well-to-do middle class suburbs. Not that I'm suggesting in any way that the UK tabloids are racist or anything, oh no.

Hellen Atugonza. Derrick Ayebare. Morshed Alam Manik Chadpur. Jin Chen. Paige Chivers. Golam Sorwar Chowbhury. Joelson dos Santos. Ossai Elvis. Andrew Paul Gosden. Bingsong Huang. Kudzai Kaondera-Shava. Andy Kumar. Rose Kusemererwa. Wayne Kwenda. Sasha Martin. Ahamed Ziham Mohamed-Misbah. Ajmal Moradi. Giang Thi Tra Nguyen. Danielle Nightingale. Danial Osmani. Leanna Petrenko. Dorothy Powell. Shi Qin. Barbara Santiago. Abigail Sommerville. Telvin Timba. Carly Ward. Shayou Zheng.

What makes them any less deserving of being found?

Time to piss off the NSA again

Rewson, SAFE, Waihopai, INFOSEC, ASPIC, MI6, Information Security, SAI, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Privacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, The Artful Dodger, NAIA, SAPM, ASU, ASTS, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, SAO, Reno, Compsec, JICS, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, RSP, ISS, JDF, Ermes, Passwords, NAAP, DefCon V, RSO, Hackers, Encryption, ASWS, CUN, CISU, CUSI, M.A.R.E., MARE, UFO, IFO, Pacini, Angela, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, SALDV, PEM, resta, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, SAMU, COSMOS, DATTA, Furbys, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, ram, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, SADCC, NSLEP, SACLANTCEN, FALN, 877, NAVELEXSYSSECENGCEN, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, rsta, Active X, Compsec 97, RENS, LLC, DERA, JIC, rip, rb, Wu, RDI, Mavricks, BIOL, Meta-hackers, ^?, SADT, Steve Case, Tools, RECCEX, Telex, Aldergrove, OTAN, monarchist, NMIC, NIOG, IDB, MID/KL, NADIS, NMI, SEIDM, BNC, CNCIS, STEEPLEBUSH, RG, BSS, DDIS, mixmaster, BCCI, BRGE, Europol, SARL, Military Intelligence, JICA, Scully, recondo, Flame, Infowar, FRU, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, ISADC, CISSP, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, JOTS, ISACA, NCSA, ASVC, spook words, RRF, 1071, Bugs Bunny, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, JIC, bce, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, IRA, EODG, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, site, SASSTIXS, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, SARD, LABLINK, USACIL, SAPT, USCG, NRC, ~, O, NSA/CSS, CDC, DOE, SAAM, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, LLNL, bemd, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, SABENA, DREO, CDA, SADRS, DRA, SHAPE, bird dog, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, SC, TA SAS, Lander, GSM, T Branch, AST, SAMCOMM, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, benelux, SAS, SBS, SAW, UDT, EODC, GOE, DOE, SAMF, GEO, JRB, 3P-HV, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, radint, MB, CQB, TECS, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, SART, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, diwn, 747, ASIC, 777, RDI, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, EODN, SHS, ^X, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, NSS, Duress, RAID, Uziel, wojo, Psyops, SASCOM, grom, NSIRL, D-11, DF, ZARK, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, NSWG, MP5k, SATKA, DREC, DEVGRP, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, MEU/SOC,PSAC, PTT, RFI, ZL31, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, Schengen, SUSLO, TELINT, fake, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, Mafia, JASSM, CALCM, TLAM, Wipeout, GII, SIW, MEII, C2W, Burns, Tomlinson, Ufologico Nazionale, Centro, CICAP, MIR, Belknap, Tac, rebels, BLU-97 A/B, 007,, bronze, Rubin, Arnett, BLU, SIGS, VHF, Recon, peapod, PA598D28, Spall, dort, 50MZ, 11Emc Choe, SATCOMA, UHF, The Hague, SHF, ASIO, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, 5ESS, smuggle, Z-200, 15kg, DUVDEVAN, RFX, nitrate, OIR, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, NSO, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Enemy of the State, SARA, Rapid Reaction, JSOFC3IP, Corporate Security,, Baldwin, Wilma,,, Police, Dateline, Tyrell, KMI, 1ee, Pod, 9705 Samford Road, 20755-6000, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, M-x spook, Z-150T, Steak Knife, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, ISR, NSAS, Counterterrorism, real, spies, IWO, eavesdropping, debugging, CCSS, interception, COCOT, NACSI, rhost, rhosts, ASO, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, NAVCM, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, NSS, rita, ISSO, submiss, ASDIC, .tc, 2EME REP, FID, 7NL SBS, tekka, captain, 226, .45, nonac, .li, Tony Poe, MJ-12, JASON, Society, Hmong, Majic, evil, zipgun, tax, bootleg, warez, TRV, ERV, rednoise, mindwar, nailbomb, VLF, ULF, Paperclip, Chatter, MKULTRA, MKDELTA, Bluebird, MKNAOMI, White Yankee, MKSEARCH, 355 ML, Adriatic, Goldman, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, NABS, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Emerson, Tzvrif, SDIS, T2S2, STTC, DNR, NADDIS, NFLIS, CFD, BLU-114/B, quarter, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, JSOTF, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M., Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, rusers, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, LASINT, csystems, .tm, passwd, 2600 Magazine, JUWTF, Competitor, EO, Chan, Pathfinders, SEAL Team 3, JTF, Nash, ISSAA, B61-11, Alouette, executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Tarawa, COSMOS-2224, COSTIND, hit word, hitword, Hitwords, Regli, VBS, Leuken-Baden, number key, Zimmerwald, DDPS, GRS, AGT. AMME, ANDVT, Type I, Type II, VFCT, VGPL, WHCA, WSA, WSP, WWABNCP, ZNI1, FSK, FTS2000, GOSIP, GOTS, SACS STU-III, PRF, PMSP, PCMT, I&A, JRSC, ITSDN, Keyer, KG-84C, KWT-46, KWR-46, KY-75, KYV-5, LHR, PARKHILL, LDMX, LEASAT, SNS, SVN, TACSAT, TRANSEC, DONCAF, EAM, DSCS, DSNET1, DSNET2, DSNET3, ECCM, EIP, EKMS, EKMC, DDN, DDP, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, SUW, J2, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, Fernspah, MYK, GAFE, forcast, import, rain, tiger, buzzer, N9, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, OC3, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, Z, sweeping, SURSAT, 5926, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, NAIAG, Cypherpunks, NARF, 127, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, J-6, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, ISSSP, Anonymous, W, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, SUBACS, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, N-ISDN, NLSP, OTAR, OTAT, OTCIXS, MISSI, MOSAIC, NAVCOMPARS, NCTS, NESP, MILSATCOM, AUTODIN, BLACKER, C3I, C4I, CMS, CMW, CP, SBU, SCCN, SITOR, SHF/DOD, Finksburg MD, Link 16, LATA, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, UXO, (), OC-12, counterintelligence, Shaldag, sport, NASA, TWA, DT, gtegsc, nowhere, .ch, hope, emc, industrial espionage, SUPIR, PI, TSCI, spookwords, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., SUAEWICS, Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, qrss, loch, 64 Vauxhall Cross, Ingram Mac-10, wwics, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Siemens, RPC, Met, CIA-DST, INI, watchers, keebler, contacts, Blowpipe, BTM, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Z7, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, no|d, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, BROMURE, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Starr, Wackenhutt, EO, burhop, Wackendude, mol, Shelton, 2E781, F-22, 2010, JCET, cocaine, Vale, IG, Kosovo, Dake, 36,800, Hillal, Pesec, Hindawi, GGL, NAICC, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, ISPE, CCSC, Scud, SecDef, Magdeyev, VOA, Kosiura, Small Pox, Tajik, +=, Blacklisted 411, TRDL, Internet Underground, BX, XS4ALL, wetsu, muezzin, Retinal Fetish, WIR, Fetish, FCA, Yobie, forschung, emm, ANZUS, Reprieve, NZC-332, edition, cards, mania, 701, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, NSDM, l0ck, beanpole, spook, keywords, QRR, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, NSWT, press-release, WISDIM, burned, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Enforcers, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, NACSE, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, ISM, JCE, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, NSV, GQ360, X400, Texas, jihad, SDI, BRIGAND, Uzi, Fort Meade, *&,, supercomputer, bullion, 3, NTTC, Blackmednet, :, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, IWIS, Planet-1, ISTA, rs9512c, Jiang Zemin, South Africa, Sergeyev, Montenegro, Toeffler, Rebollo, sorot, Yucca Mountain, FARC, Toth, Xu Yongyue, Bach, Razor, AC, cryptanalysis, nuclear, 52 52 N - 03 03 W, Morgan, Canine, GEBA, INSCOM, MEMEX, Stanley, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, WASS, WID, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, O/S, Area51, SABC, basement, ISWG, $@, data-haven, NSDD, black-bag, rack, TEMPEST, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, ISAF, unclassified, Sayeret Tzanhanim, PARASAR, Gripan, pirg, curly, Taiwan, guest, utopia, NSG, orthodox, CCSQ, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, UNSCOM, Fukuyama, Manfurov, Kvashnin, Marx, Abdurahmon, snullen, Pseudonyms, MITM, NARF, Gray Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, NSES, Sugar Grove, WAS, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, XM, Parvus, NAVSVS, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, blow out, BUDS, WQC, Flintlock, PABX, Electron, Chicago Crust, e95, DDR&E, 3M, KEDO, iButton, R1, erco, Toffler, FAS, RHL, K3, Visa/BCC, SNT, Ceridian, STE, condor, CipherTAC-2000, Etacs, Shipiro, ssor, piz, fritz, KY, 32, Edens, Kiwis, Kamumaruha, DODIG, Firefly, HRM, Albright, Bellcore, rail, csim, NMS, 2c, FIPS140-1, CAVE, E-Bomb, CDMA, Fortezza, 355ml, ISSC, cybercash, NAWAS, government, NSY, hate, speedbump, joe, illuminati, BOSS, Kourou, Misawa, Morse, HF, P415, ladylove, filofax, Gulf, lamma, Unit 5707, Sayeret Mat'Kal, Unit 669, Sayeret Golani, Lanceros, Summercon, NSADS, president, ISFR, freedom, ISSO, walburn, Defcon VI, DC6, Larson, P99, HERF pipe-bomb, 2.3 Oz., cocaine, $, imapct, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, ST1, assasinate, virus, ISCS, ISPR, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, WWSV, Atlas, IWWSVCS, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, SASSTIXS, IWG, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, NSRB, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, Johohonbu, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, ISEP, ISEC, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, NSOF, DC7, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, LITE, PKK, HoHoCon, SISMI, ISG, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, HAMASMOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, Monica, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, AG, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, .375, Peering, CSC, Tangimoana Beach, Commecen, Vanuatu, Kwajalein, LHI, DRM, GSGI, DST, MITI, JERTO, SDF, Koancho, Blenheim, Rivera, Kyudanki, varon, 310, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, jaws, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, meta, Faber, SFPD, EG&G, ISEP, blackjack, Fox, Aum, AIEWS, AMW, RHL, Baranyi, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, VIA, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, WWSP, WID, osco, Mary, honor, Templar, THAAD, package, CISD, ISG, BIOLWPN, JRA, ISB, ISDS, chosen, LBSD, van, schloss, secops, DCSS, DPSD, LIF, J-Star, PRIME, SURVIAC, telex, Analyzer, embassy, Golf, B61-7, Maple, Tokyo, ERR, SBU, Threat, JPL, Tess, SE, Alex, EPL, SPINTCOM, FOUO, ISS-ADP, Merv, Mexico, SUR, blocks, SO13, Rojdykarna, RSOC, USS Banner, S511, 20755, airframe,, Furby, PECSENC, football, Agfa, 3210, Crowell, moore, 510, OADR, Smith, toffee, FIS, N5P6, EuroFed, SP4, shelter, Crypto AG Croatian nuclear FBI colonel plutonium Ortega Waco, Texas Panama CIA DES jihad fissionable quiche terrorist World Trade Center assassination DES NORAD Delta Force Waco, Texas SDI explosion Serbian Panama Uzi Ft. Meade SEAL Team 6 Honduras PLO NSA terrorist Ft. Meade strategic supercomputer $400 million in gold bullion quiche Honduras BATF colonel Treasury domestic disruption SEAL Team 6 class struggle smuggle M55 M51 Physical Security Division Room 2A0120, OPS 2A building 688-6911(b), 963-3371(s). Security Awareness Division (M56) Field Security Division (M52) Al Amn al-Askari Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti Federalnaia sluzhba besopasnosti GCHQ MI5 Kill the president

Nov 15, 2007

Nov 14, 2007

Thought of the day

When life gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS. Or just blame it on increasingly underfunded AIDS programs.

Nov 12, 2007

I'm probably going to hell for this...

But I'm going to post them anyway. Fuck you, I'm sick. And have too much spare time to surf YouTube, it seems

Nov 9, 2007

30 hours

Now normally, I wouldn't be too worried about having been up for 30 hours. I've done it before, when I've had to, and while it took a bit of willpower to stay awake, it wasn't too bad, all in all.

But noooooooooo, this time round I had to stock up on Red Bull and caffeine pills, didn't I? And despite having had none of either in the last 8 hours, I'm still fucking wired. I swear, I'll be lucky to be sleeping this time tomorrow night.

Well, at least I'll document the weird hallucinations for you, at least. Assuming the caffeine vibrations don't drive them away.


Nov 7, 2007

International Crisis Group release

International Crisis Group
date Nov 7, 2007 4:53 PM
subject Pakistan: Release Crisis Group Board Member Asma Jahangir


Pakistan: Release Crisis Group Board Member Asma Jahangir
Return the Country to Its Constitutional Order

Brussels, 6 November 2007: The International Crisis Group calls on Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf to immediately release its Board member, Asma Jahangir, the prominent human rights advocate, and restore the country’s constitutional order.

Forces loyal to Musharraf rounded up hundreds of political and civil society leaders after his imposition of martial law at the weekend. Dr Jahangir – Chairperson of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Crisis Group Board member – was placed under house arrest for 90 days, along with scores of other HRCP members.

"Asma Jahangir must be freed at once," said Lord Patten of Barnes, Co-chair of the Board of Crisis Group. "Musharraf’s actions are completely unconstitutional, and he has no legal basis to hold Asma or any of the others wrongfully detained over the past few days."

Thomas Pickering, fellow Crisis Group Co-chair, said, "What has happened to Asma has happened to countless Pakistanis – the political opposition, civil society, the judiciary and the media are all under attack. Asma and the others must be set free, and fundamental freedoms must be restored in Pakistan right away."

The international community must urge Musharraf to reverse his dangerous course without any delay.

"Asma Jahangir is unlawfully detained just as her country’s constitution has been illegally suspended," said Gareth Evans, Crisis Group President. "For her sake and for the good of the whole country, Musharraf must be made to reverse his decrees. Only a legitimate democratic order can save Pakistan from a descent into further turmoil."

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) 32 (0) 2 541 1635
Giulia Previti (Washington) 1 202 785 1601

To contact Crisis Group media please click here

Nov 6, 2007

Saul Williams album

Produced by NIN, The Rise and Fall of Niggy Stardust by Saul Williams is available for free download (or with a $5 donation) at this link.

Go. Now.

Backlash against Colbert?

Waaah, a satirist is making a mockery of the political system!

Humourless morons.

Nov 4, 2007

Pakistan declares Martial Law


Well, I suspected this was the pipelines for a while now. Pakistan has been steadily falling apart for the last few years. What with Al-Qa'ida and elements of the Taliban now being based in Pakistan, the Baloch insurgency, the vital importance of relying on US patronage for Musharraf and the increasing numbers of foreign radicals who gain their training in Pakistan, the situation has been untenable for quite a while now. Something had to give, and it seems that this is the last vestiges of democracy.

I know the Realists in the State Department are probably high-fiving each other right now, because to them a strong man dictator is a better choice for a chaotic state than a democracy, but this is really quite bad, in a way they probably haven't realized.

That this was a political decision based on the upcoming ruling on the election and not because of state security was so blatantly obvious it barely needs pointing out. None of the major systemic reasons behind the failings of Pakistan as a state have changed in recent months - though they may have intensified somewhat. No, the change has been the return of a possible challenger for the leadership of the country (Bhutto), and this ruling.

Now, I don't know the intriacies of Pakistani internal politics. I should make that clear right now. But Pakistan, as an ex-British colony and one time democracy, has a thriving civil culture who very likely wont take this lying down. Already statements have come in from opposition leaders, lawyers and political commentators condemning the move. In short, he's made the situation in the country even more unstable. While before, Musharraf could rely on the support of the national and regional parliaments, to give him that veneer of legitimacy and popular support...well, now that is not looking like a good political move.

Not that it will matter. The Constitution is suspended and law is now dictated by force of arms. So these parliaments will be sidelined, and the supporters of Musharraf will quickly come out of the closet, seeking his favour by backing his actions. Naturally, they will be condemned by their political enemies, and instability will creep up the political system.

And since the rule of law is subject to arms now, expect the Islamic extremists and Baloch insurgency to go into overdrive. In standard terrorism theory, the strategy terrorists normally employ is that of a vanguard, to force the government into repressive measures and out of proportion responses, in order to turn the population against the leadership. Now, while modern insurgencies don't necessarily require that anymore (all they really have to do is show the state is not necessary), its an added and welcome bonus.

In short, Pakistan is a powder keg of instability right now. A nuclear armed powder keg. Now, the US is supposed to have plans to get hold of those weapons and sites should something nasty happen, but the reaction of Rice and Milliband suggests this move was quite unexpected. And since the sympathies of the ISI are hard to guage at the best of times, who knows where such weapons could end up?

Now, I simply could have said Law of Eristic Calculation (Imposition of Order leads to Escalaction of Disorder) but that would have been far too simple.

Anyway, stay tuned. This move is only going to put Pakistan into more trouble, and things are going to get very interesting...

Nov 1, 2007

Understatement of the week

BBC News:
London's Metropolitan police force has been found guilty of endangering the public over the fatal shooting of a man officers mistook for a suicide bomber.

The force broke health and safety laws when officers pursued Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes to a Tube station and shot him seven times, a jury found.

Empahsis in the text is mine. Nice to know human life is so highly valued in the modern, civilized country of Great Britain.