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05:12 AM ET (US)
Interesting and informative, but would be suffering with something more on this topic?
06:02 PM ET (US)
Impressive webpage! I like it a lot! I'm looking forward to the next update
very thanks
Michael Kulbarsch
03:25 AM ET (US)
Martyn Taylor
10:07 AM ET (US)
On 5th April 2006 a 23 year old phone salesman from Hartlepool (anyone who knows it will understand the significance of being 'from' Hartlepool, they hang monkeys as German spies there - still) was prevented from boarding a flight from the elegantly named Durham Tees Valley Airport to Heathrow, questioned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and delayed so that he missed his flight.
What put the authorities on to this potential Robert Reed? (apart, that is, from his being a young man of Indian origin who, as will emerge, obviously fancied himself as one humorous dude) In his taxi, on the way to the airport, Harraj Mann asked the cabbie to play LONDON CALLING by The Clash - you know, 'London calling from the faraway towns. War is declared and battle come down.'
While this may not be quite as stirring a call to arms as RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES by that well known friend of peace everywhere and democracy, the Master of Bayreuth (that's Bayreuth not Beiruit) Richard Wagner, it is to be accepted that The Clash haven't been getting played much on Radio Cleveland these last thirty years. Who, in their right mind, is going to believe that a Muslim terrorist is going to ride to Paradise to the strains of an anthem by a gang of gap toothed London punks (or sharp dressed young men, if you include Paul Simenon) Guys, listening to pop music is against their religion! Especially WESTERN pop music.
Mr Mann is of Indian origin, brown skinned and most likely Hindu - if anything - and what is the difference between him an an olive skinned Muslim from Arabia? I mean, to a policeman one wog is the same as another.
Somewhere, Joe Strummer is choking on his Guinness, but isn't surprised.
Safety, as we all know, is paramount, but, once again, I'm reminded of that ancient Greek aphorism - those who the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.
Mind you, Mr Mann's taste in music is questionable. Rock the Casbah indeed!
Deleted by topic administrator 02-22-2006 12:01 PM
Jonathan Vos Post
08:52 PM ET (US)
Charlie, please let me know if I'm abusing your hospitality and bandwidth.

I thought it interesting to read:

The United States Air Force [new] Mission Statement, which reads "The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace." They define their own terms on that web page.

That's not the usual lamp post, is it?
Jonathan Vos Post
07:40 AM ET (US)
God was unavailable for comment on the following story, somewhere on the front of the War on Christmas...

U.S. Unprepared for Attack, 9/11 Panel Says
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
4 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The former Sept. 11 commission is giving Congress and the White House poor marks on protecting the U.S. against an inevitable terror attack because of their failure to enact several strong security measures.

The 10-member panel, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, prepared to release a report Monday assessing how well their recommendations have been followed. They say the government deserves "more F's than A's" in responding to their 41 suggested changes.

"People are not paying attention," chairman Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said Sunday. "God help us if we have another attack...."
Martyn Taylor
10:26 AM ET (US)
Let's be honest - the 'terrorists' of George Bush's fantasies are not terrorists because the object of the terrorist excercise is the inculcate a sense of terror in the host population without actually doing anything and achieve political change that way - go read the handbooks about terrorism, they are there to be read. Al Quaida and the Iraqi insurgents aren't terrorists - how much more terrorised can those poor people be? - whatever else they may be, but what sort of casualty is the language when the American government appears prepared to ride rough shod over every law - national and international - including their own Constitution and for what? The election of brother Jeb next time around?

Read Sun Tsu. Know your enemy, and don't give him what he wants or expects. It is clear that the American government does not know their enemy and seems intent on giving him exactly what he wants. Bush is a Bourbon, plain and simple.

The really worrying thing is that some of the jihadists really do want to destroy our way of life, and it is a sad little truism that the only real, sure defence of freedom is freedom. I had the distasteful experience last night of watching an apologist for the American administration defending the prospect of bombing Al Jazeera for the crime of daring to oppose the administration line. Watch out all you guys at the Guardian and Liberal Party HQ. Al Jazeera today, the Quai D'Orsay tomorrow. Voltaire may have been French, but he was still right.
Jonathan Vos Post
01:40 PM ET (US)
And for postmodern approaches to combating "bad guys" consider:

Kill or cure: the smallest help must wait till we've conquered our fear of grey goo
Nanomaterials may have the power to save millions of lives, if scientists can manage the potential risks
By Keith Rodgers in San Francisco

Published: 20 November 2005

"... Just because something has a potential to reduce our privacy, it is not necessarily 'bad'," says Dr Lin. "We need to weigh the benefits of that technology (eg nanosensors that protect us by sniffing out minute traces of biochemicals) or competing interests (eg safety)...."
Jonathan Vos Post
01:30 PM ET (US)
A recent arrest in the USA had a heavily armed suspect who possessed sarin. And in Japan:

NPA deputizes Yahoo in hunt for five fugitives

The National Police Agency is placing wanted posters on the Yahoo Japan Web site regarding five suspects.

The five include three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives -- Makoto Hirata, 40, Katsuya Takahashi, 47, and Naoko Kikuchi, 33.

Takahashi and Kikuchi are wanted over their alleged involvement in the March 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system....
09:08 AM ET (US)
Try neutral constructions such as, "Enemies of Westernism" perhaps.

BTW Just how many members of that Victorian invasion of Afghanistan made it back to India? One wasn't it?
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
07:56 AM ET (US)
Alex: agreed, forming policy by reference to Clancy novels is bad -- haven't these guys heard of history books? (The old saw about "those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it" springs to mind, especially in the context of, e.g., attempts to pacify Afghanistan ...)

Z: yes, but bear in mind I was trying to avoid treading on certain bunions that the people I'm trying to reach are sensitive about. Hence the circumlocution, use of the near-meaningless placeholder term "terrorist", and so on.
07:03 AM ET (US)
I think we should stop using the term "Bad Guys".

The term downplays the threat by conjuring up images of Bond Super Villains and easy-to-shoot black hats and Imperial Storm Troopers.

By adding a moral dimension, it also hints that Good Will Triumph and that God Will Smite the Evil doors.

Worse, the term tends to sidetrack practical discussions into debates about relative morallity. In a Post Modern intellectual world, there are no moral absolutes, and it's distasteful and hubristic to sit in judgement on other people and cultures, some of whom may only be guilty by association, or by proximity to the target area.

Instead, let's be honest and just say "enemies".

They're often idealistic and heroically self sacrificing, with genuine tales of woe, and a realistic understanding of the West's contribution to their plight. They're often intelligent educated people with experience of the wider world.

We'd rather debate with them over a beer. But since they want to kill us and destroy our civilisation, they are our enemies. That alone should be enough to concentrate our minds.
06:27 AM ET (US)
I've blogged (http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/2004/...hese-operation.html) before that it worries me when the rulers of the world appear to be framing their policy by reference to Tom Clancy novels. At least Kahn had marginally more class than that.

Worryingly, the effects of policy-by-Clancy seem to be a world-by-Ballard, whether in empty-world/apocalypse or Orwellian techno-dystopia mode.
L. Nemo
06:51 PM ET (US)
A bioweapon has been used in the US. In 1984 in the Dalles Oregon a cult used samonella in a salad bar to try to influence the outcome of a county election. This allowed for a more targeted attack and a slower and harder to pinpoint attack.

Jonathan Vos Post
06:42 PM ET (US)
Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote: "Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories." Should we really prefer that politicians, including the dark side of ideolgues who incite terrorism, follow Sir Arthur's suggestion?

I know from extensive personal contact that Herman Kahn was deeply into science fiction (and a friend of Heinlein) when he defined USA nuclear policy. Aum Shinrikio seemed influenced by science fiction, and there is the meme about "The Foundation Trilogy" influencing Bin Laden and Al Queda. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were, perhaps, overly influenced by Westerns (film and TV, not books). Governor Schwarzenegger is influenced by sci-fi. Saddam Hussein wrote (or had ghosted) a Romance-Adventure novel. I don't want to split hairs on defining "thriller" and "technothriller" but I think that Mr. Stross has hit the nail on the head here.
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