Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oh, come on...

Yesterday: Major terrorism policy announcement by Home Secretary John Reid

Today: A 'plot to blow up planes' is apparently foiled, and Heathrow airport shut down.

And my first reaction? Utter disbelief and a sigh of resignation.

They've simply cried wolf too many times before - until I see the smoke I won't believe them, and even then I'll have my suspicions. Remember the tanks at Heathrow just before the Iraq war?

Update: For the record, I reckon this plot probably was real - but my first reaction was still "that's bollocks". Desensitising people to this extent through the constant "oooh! Be scared!" announcements is utterly counterproductive.

It does, however, mean that I can carry on with my life utterly unphased by the fact that lots of people want to blow me to shit.

More coherent thoughts: We used to be told that we will not give in to terrorism. We used to be told that we will not change our way of life in the face of this new threat. Now we are told that we MUST change our way of life.

The threat of terrorism is very, very real - you'd have to be a fool to deny it. But the clue is in the name - the point of terrorism is to cause terror.

The terrorists themselves have been remarkably inefficient at scaring the bejeezus out of us, which is their prime modus operandi. They have successfully struck in the West remarkably few times - 9/11, Madrid, 7/7. With the exception of 9/11, the death toll caused by these psychotic maniacs has been, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant, and even the property damage and disruption caused has been relatively minimal.

Instead, it has been our own governments who are terrifying the populace with their constant warnings and announcements of foiled plots; it is our own governments who are causing disruption through airport and railway closures.

Terrorism thrives on the oxygen of publicity. "Martyrs" look forward to being remembered and noticed. So why do we constantly do their PR work for them? Why do our governments keep using their publicity machines to propagate the terror that the terrorists want to cause?

Yes, we obviously need to act quickly and effectively to prevent more attacks. I don't want our governments to sit back and do nothing to prove the point, and I'd far rather we have a few more Forest Gate raids, non-existent Ricin plots "uncovered", and a few more people arrested for allegedly trying to buy radioactive substances that don't even exist than see one single other person killed for the twisted beliefs of a tiny, rabid minority. But I do dispute the effectiveness and sense of the current tactics, which appear to be little more than to ensure that we all have a good scare every few months, supposedly to keep us on our toes.

One thing I do agree with Home Secretary John Reid about is that we can't afford to get complacent. But the more often you get scared, the less impact those scares start to have, and complacency begins to set in.


Anonymous Paul Davies said...

Sometimes I hate how often Mencken's words scream to be trotted out again and again...

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

My imminent emigration can't come soon enough...

8/10/2006 10:11:00 am  
Blogger Jonn Elledge said...

I dunno. Waving tanks around smacks of "we're dead 'ard, we are" and looks like a move in the propaganda war...

...but shutting one of the world's busiest airports? Risking screwing with the British economy? Just to pass a law that, depressingly, is unlikely to be that unpopular anyway?

I don't buy it. This time looks like genuine security paranoia to me.

8/10/2006 10:13:00 am  
Blogger Jarndyce said...

Nah, this is real, you cynic. What's also certain, though, is that "Dr" John knew about it when he was putting his speech together.

8/10/2006 10:16:00 am  
Blogger Cedalion said...

Bollocks! When I heard Reid rabbiting on about sacrificing freedoms I had the thought that something was about to be happen. He's done this before, was it something to do with Afghanistan? Make a big announcement, then next day something happens. Of course, its all very well to say this now after the event. Next time I'll shift my ass and actually blog what I'm thinking.

8/10/2006 10:18:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

That's the big problem: these 21 (and counting) people they've arrested today might actually be terrorists, the security services could have reams of evidence against them, and I'd still find it hard to believe.

In fact, sod that - even assuming that yes, yes they are terrorists and this plot was real, why now? That BBC report reckons the threat wasn't "imminent" (analysis, not fact, I know, but rings true), and the timing's simply too convenient.

I guess I just don't get it.

8/10/2006 10:21:00 am  
Blogger snooo said...

I feel much the same way. While I echo Mr Elledge's concern that shutting down an airport is a bit more serious than the tank-related willy-waving that went on before Iraq, so many things have gone wrong in the past that its difficult not to roll your eyes in disbelief.

I prepared to put aside my cynicism for now. Lets hope there's a bit more evidence this time around than some cleaning chemicals in the fucking cupboard, eh?

8/10/2006 10:58:00 am  
Blogger Tim said...

Given what has happened in the past, cynical reactions to the timing of this speech are perfectly justified... which presents us with yet another example of Blair's wrong-headed approach to terrorism making any actual struggle against the threat that much more difficult.

8/10/2006 11:19:00 am  
Blogger Rob Jubb said...

My cynicism about this is increased by the fact that, if it is just sabre-rattling, it would be very convenient sabre-rattling: after all, reminding us that the islamofascists want to eat our freedom along with our babies might well make it less troubling that Israel's attempts to destroy Hizbullah are still killing tens of Lebanese civilians a day. That said, I suppose that that also makes it more likely that some people might want to blow up planes.

8/10/2006 11:38:00 am  
Anonymous KathyF said...

It is much harder to be cynical about this when your daughter is about to board a plane at Heathrow, bound for Chicago. I'm glad they decided to move today instead of tomorrow.

8/10/2006 12:03:00 pm  
Blogger Liadnan said...

Reading the BBC report, and noting that this has been under surveillance for some time but was stepped up about five days ago leading to today's events, I think it's more that Reid knew this (almost certainly real) thing was imminent when he made his announcements than the other way around. So he could come out strongly knowing that the next day he'd be able to say "told you so".

8/10/2006 12:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Almond said...

I'll change my mind when one of these 21 suspects appears in court charged with something more than non-payment of his TV license.

8/10/2006 12:37:00 pm  
Blogger Postman said...

POstman Patel linked the MI 5 warning when the Alert levels changed , anticipating an early try out - lo and behold.

THat plus JR's speech yesterday.

Let's get real...

1 THreat to blow up planes ex Heathrow to US with bombs in hand luggage.

2. Number of bombed planes ZERO.

3. Arrested etrists 22 all safe and snug in High Wycombe / Birmingham etc NOT SAT ON PLANES waiting to take off for the US or anywhere.

4. Plastic bags . routines all ready at UK airports.

5. Dry run time. Fear Factory in ivertime and overdrive

8/10/2006 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

As usual I can't help feeling under attack from both sides: terrorists trying to kill me, and NuLab using terrorism as a justification for slashing our freedoms. We all know that the authoritarian bastards would be doing exactly the same thing anyway, but terrorism provides a very convenient excuse.

8/10/2006 01:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Antipholus Papps said...

It's bullshit. This is what happened in Nazi Germany - shriek hysterically about 'terrorism' to consolidate power and remove due process. Yes, of course the actions of Blair and his mob have made us targets. For us to then hand them more power to crush all dissent at home and wage aggressive war abroad makes us complicit little Albert Speers.

8/10/2006 01:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

John Elledge: "Risking screwing with the British economy?"

Well, why let Gordon Brown have all the fun? IIRC, the price of a barrel of oil was $18 in 2001; it's now around $80. That's Bush that is. Tell me that doesn't affect the economy. Like he cares.

This is pure Macchiavelli. Get power. Hold on to power by any and all means.

8/10/2006 01:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Dishonest John said...

It's all a conspiracy!
It's the politics of fear!
Break out the tinfoil hats, lads: the black helicopters fly tonight!

(BTW, re. "tanks" at Heathrow previously, I can think of at least one scenario in which such would be useful.)

8/10/2006 02:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is clear that too many in the west are not able to tell the good guys from the bad. Be assured that the real bad guys know. Thankfully the current leaders in the UK and the US also know.

8/10/2006 03:10:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Anonymous - but DO they know? That's what worries me.

Was Jean Charles de Menezes a "bad guy"? Were all those people they arrested for the Ricin plot and subsequently released? Were those two brothers arrested in the Forest Gate raid, and now still not charged? Are (purely because the issue should be raised, not because I want to enter into a debate about it) all the supposed terrorists being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The point is not, as I thought I had made clear, that we should not act against terrorists - merely that when we act, we should make sure we're right. Otherwise this kind of cynicism and suspicion will become increasingly common, and the average citizen's support for the government's attempts to keep us safe will decrease even further.

If the average citizen's support for government actions begins to decline, how do you think those on the extreme fringes are going to behave? I'm merely worried that it is our own governments who are doing the most to further radicalise the fundamentalist groups from which these terrorists seem to be springing.

8/10/2006 03:19:00 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

On the yank side, this is what happens when we vote for (in Conneticutt) an anti-war candidate, (Ned Lamont). A vote for an anti-war candidate is a vote for another 9-11. Bollocks and balderdash. It's also, of course, to take the attention away from the Lebanon, where 40,000 IDF troops are chomping at the bit. To all bloggers, don't waste time on this story, keep your eye on the ball

8/10/2006 03:19:00 pm  
Blogger Jonn Elledge said...

Matt: thing is, as NM says, there are good arguments for going after terrorists. Even a disproportionate response can have its advantages, if it deters further attacks.

The problems come when you start accidentally hitting people who aren't terrorists, such as the Lebanese civilian population. When they feel faced with a choice between fundamentalist terrorists who haven't attacked them, and western security forces who have, they might be inclined to choose the former. Notions of good and evil look rather different when you're getting the crap boombed out of you by Israel, I suspect.

That said, the Dems are still bloody idiots for electing Lamont because they're going to end up tearing into themselves instead of the GOP.

8/10/2006 03:55:00 pm  
Blogger goatchurch said...

(The bombed Lebanese civilians are not accidental; It's ethnic cleansing.)

When the page gets written about this Heathrow incident, we'll have to work out which heading gets filed under in The List of Terrorist incidents in UK

Nothing will ever top the red mercury terrorist plot, where the jury was told: "whether red mercury does or does not exist is irrelevant" to the prosecution's case.

There's often a good correlation between political speeches and these terrorist announcements. Like the one I found for the Miami bomb plot.

8/10/2006 04:27:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Ethnic cleansing?

Come on - If Israel really wanted to wipe out the Lebanese they'd have managed to kill significantly more than the 1,000 or so civilians that have been caught in the crossfire so far. In fact, considering the firepower that's been pounding into the country, the fact that the deth toll's so low is pretty bloody impressive.

Still, that's a whole other debate, and one I'm not too keen on entering into...

8/10/2006 04:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Nazi Germany comparison is apt. But you have the Nazi part confused...the armies of allah are on the march. The world today looks so much like 1939 it is scary. Replace Poland with Israel and the current inability of the world to confront Iran and we have all the makings of WWIV. Political correctivness has thrown the world, especially Europe, into ignoring what is going on. Here are some good ones for you, due to pressure from Islamic groups Paris has banned topless sunbathing. In Italy a town due to Islamic political pressure has passed a law segregating male and female beaches. Europe is being digested and doesn't even realize it. I noticed London had some real moderate muslims marching a few days ago, real tolerant they looked. But as usual my comments will be considered racist and the rants of a bigot. As for the endless imaginary hobgoblins were they the same fake ones who hit New York, Moscow, Beslan, Madrid, London, New Delhi, Bombay, Bali in just the last few years. Not to mention the arab countries themselves, Saudi Arabia, Eygpt and Jordan. I won't even mention Israel and Iraq bombings. All of this violence has a single connection but no one better talk about it.

8/10/2006 05:17:00 pm  
Blogger Jonn Elledge said...

So, what does Godwin's law say when both sides in an internet debate cite the Nazis...?

8/10/2006 06:06:00 pm  
Anonymous tom p said...

Nosemonkey - excellent post, almost exactly what I was thinking (although I do think that the timing may also be affected by the upcoming US mid-term elections. What was the name of the small town in the USA that it was claimed was subject to an al-qaeda threat just before the last US presidential elections?

Latest Anonymous - Beslan (horrific though it was) was nothing about global jihad and all about the Chechen war of independence. Do you have links for your Paris & Italy stories?

8/10/2006 07:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beslan not being part of the Global Jihad. Did Chechen’s train in Afghanistan? Did Al-Qaeda recruit Chechen Jihadis? What did the Chechen rebels want, a democracy or an Islamic State? But let me sight some better sources…

Links to al-Qaeda ...
People keep asking me about this over on Regnum Crucis or via e-mail, so I'll be up-front: in my own opinion, the only difference between al-Qaeda and Basayev's Chechen Killer Korps is one of semantics, especially when one considers the prominence of people like bin Laden's protege Khattab or Abu Walid al-Ghamdi within the hierarchy of the Chechen forces loyal to Basayev. I've said as much before, but since there is a fair amount of quibbling that can be done in this regard I'll just stick to what is pretty much universally agreed upon by serious observers of the situation in Chechnya, including even some politicians:
• Khattab first met bin Laden during the Afghan War and later served as the leader of an al-Qaeda brigade sent to assist first the Tajik Islamists in the Tajik Civil War and later the Azeri military during the Armenia-Azerbaijan War during the early 1990s.
• Ties between al-Qaeda and a number of other Chechen leaders go at least as far back as the early 1990s.
• Basayev first met with Khattab while fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and then traveled to Afghanistan to receive al-Qaeda training along with several hundred fellow Chechens.
• By August 1995, a large number of Basayev's followers were Afghan-trained Chechen or Arab fighters.
• Several hundred additional Chechens were trained in Afghanistan during the republic's period of de facto independence from Russia and former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev convinced Mullah Omar to recognize Chechnya as an independent state and allow it to set up offices in Kabul and Kandahar. A number of elite Chechen fighters were also made members of bin Laden's personal guard.
• Basayev and Khattab sent emissaries to Afghanistan in 1999, who met with bin Laden in Kandahar and returned with several hundred members of al-Qaeda's elite Brigade 055 as well as a large amount of cash to help bankroll the invasion of Dagestan. An additional $30,000,000 was later funnelled to Khattab from bin Laden through the International Islamic Relief Organization and Global Relief NGOs based in Georgia.
• As the fighting intensified in late 1999, bin Laden sent large amounts of money and weapons to Basayev, Khattab, and Arbi Barayev and appointed Abu Tariq to oversee the distribution of al-Qaeda funds in Chechnya. Abu Tariq was killed in December 2002 and succeeded by Abu Omar al-Saif, another Arab national.
• Al-Qaeda funding was used by Chechen commanders loyal to Basayev to recruit fighters from Georgia, Ingushetia, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan.
• The last contingent of Chechen trainees arrived in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001 fought against the US-backed Northern Alliance at Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
• After 9/11, Khattab sent a token force of Chechen and Arab fighters to Afghanistan to demonstrate his solidarity with bin Laden as well as recognition of him as the undisputed leader of the international Islamist movement.
• A number of key al-Qaeda commanders, including Saif al-Islam al-Masri and Abu Iyad, a member of the group's ruling council, sought sanctuary with Khattab following the fall of the Taliban.
• After Khattab's death in February 2002, al-Qaeda contacted its various NGO front organizations in the Gulf to urge an additional shipment of $2,000,000 to Khattab's successor Abu Walid al-Ghamdi.
• Al-Qaeda WMD chief Midhat Mursi has used the Chechen stronghold in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge as a base from which to train European al-Qaeda members in toxins and crude chemical weapons.
• Abu Omar al-Saif has called for attacks on US forces in Iraq and Abu Walid sent a force of Arab and Chechen fighters to Iraq in answer to Abu Musab Zarqawi's January 2004 request for assistance.
This does not include, of course, Russian reports that Abu Omar al-Saif bankrolled this most recent attack or that there were dead Arabs found among the bodies of the Beslan hostage-takers.

So if any part of a country has a majority muslim population and a group within that population decides to declare that part of the country independent than it is not about Global Jihad it is about independence? So if the Paris suburds or Dearborn Michigan area declares independence one day it is not Global Jihad? Just making sure.

8/10/2006 08:46:00 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

To Jonn: Appreciate but disagree with your opinion. 60% of yanks want out of this war (Iraq). Everytime "Poodle Blair" or Chimp-Boy (Bush) feel threatened, they trot these ridiculous stories out on CNN and the BBC. Hillary Clinton is next! All incumbents are duly warned. The terrorists are yours and my governments, don't be fooled!

8/10/2006 08:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Topless sunbathing, G-strings banned on Paris beach
Paris (ANTARA News Indonesia) - Parisian sunbathers will no longer be allowed to go nude or wear g-strings on the capital's artificial beaches and risk a fine if they are caught baring their breasts or buttocks. City hall has issued a decree banning indecent clothing to preserve the tranquillity of the sandy beaches created on the banks of the River Seine every summer since 2001.
"People must behave according to good standards to maintain tranquillity, security and public order," the decree said, according to Saturday's edition of Le Parisien.
"Notably indecent attire (nude sunbathing, g-strings and toplessness etc) is forbidden."
The city police will be enforcing the rules, and anyone caught baring too much flesh risks a 38 euro ($48) fine.
Defending the decree, city hall sports official Pascal Cherki told Le Parisien that indecent clothing "could have led to temptations and dangerous behaviour on the banks of the river."
Topless sunbathing and g-strings are common on most beaches around France in the summer. (*)
NOW I could not find anything specific in the article about Islamic influence but one has to ask the question, the French known for their sexual freedom unlike us prudish Americans pass a ban like this not when the beaches are opened in 2001 but six months after rioting erupts in the city suburbs, what is going on here? Is a rebirth of conservatism taking hold in France?

Sun, sea and sharia on women-only Italian beach
John Hooper in Rome
Friday August 4, 2006
The Guardian
An Italian seaside resort has taken speciality tourism into new territory in an effort to combine the delights of sun, sea and sand with a respect for sharia law. The council of Riccione on the Adriatic riviera was reported yesterday to have altered its bylaws to allow a section of its famed beach to be closed off and made women-only. That way Muslim women on holiday in the area could swim and enjoy themselves on the beach while respecting Islam's injunctions against mixed bathing and displaying their bodies to members of the opposite sex. Some women-only beaches already exist along the Italian coast, but they are visible from mixed areas. Loretta Villa, the councillor responsible for the initiative, told Corriere della Sera newspaper: "Riccione is a city that lives off tourism. We need to be in a position to respond to the demands of our guests. And in this case the motives are not superficial, but cultural and religious. We have already had some indirect requests for separate beach areas." The proposed beach zone would also have an all-female staff, including women lifeguards. The initiative appeared to have been prompted by a sharp increase in the number of free-spending tourists coming to Riccione from the Arabian peninsula. Corriere della Sera reported that recent guests at the five-star Grand Hotel Des Bains had included a member of the Saudi royal family and the owner of a Saudi television channel, both of whom arrived with substantial entourages. The hotel told the paper it had met the demand for women-only swimming facilities by reserving the indoor pool for them.
WOMEN only beaches, in liberal Europe? So where are the feminist on this one? Anything for a buck I guess, equality for the sexes is just a point of view. Seems that those Saudi oil dollars are changing Europe for the better.


8/10/2006 08:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your right Matt, the big story should be Lebanon. Especially the exposed propaganda being passed out by Hezballoh to major news outlets as truth. It's important to understand that there is not just a single fraudulent Reuters photograph, nor even only one kind of fraudulent photograph. There are in fact dozens of photographs whose authenticity has been questioned, and they fall into four distinct categories.
1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.
All of these forms of fraud have the same intent: to serve as propaganda for Hezbollah, and to make the Israeli attacks look as brutal as possible. And, taken together, they raise a very serious question: Can any of the coverage by the entrenched media be trusted? The ever-growing scandal now involves other news services as well including Associated Press, The New York Times, and others. Goebbels would be proud. Hey look another Nazi reference. How about Mao Zedong would be proud instead, that way we get a good commie reference in to.

8/10/2006 09:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly yesterday was 'a great day' to take more powers. If only some would leak *that* email.

8/10/2006 10:49:00 pm  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Illiteracy, thy name is "anonymous".

8/10/2006 10:57:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Dear God, you go away for a few hours and look what happens...

Anonymous - yes, dear. Indecent exposure in a major urban area has never been a crime in any European country until the eeeeevil muslims took over. The dhimmi state is truly here...

Christ on a bike, get some perspective, man. Yes, there is a genuine threat from Islamic fundamentalism. That doesn't mean that EVERYTHING is part of some global jihadi conspiracy.

You do your own cause no good whatsoever by pointing to every bit of prudishness as an example of caving in to the Muslim oppressor, just as both the British and American governments do no good to their own (probably justified) claims about the terrorist threat by shouting about terror plots all the time.

8/10/2006 11:24:00 pm  
Blogger Matt said...

The clothing regulations at Paris-Plage have applied since 2002. They're being more strictly enforced this year because of a mixture of complaints from tourists and increased activity among Paris's dirty mac brigade. It's about cracking down on public masturbation.

The Italian beach seems to be about making money. Italy is, after all, a capitalist country. I can think of quite a few feminists who would approve of female-only beaches, not least as it removes the horrors of 'the male gaze'. Is it any different from nudist-only beaches?

Finally, back on topic on the civil liberties front. A friend of Nosemonkey's said it best earlier in a private email exhange that I think it's worth quoting quite extensively:

"Do I believe there is a global terror network stretching around the world orchestrating all things from a Dr Evil type cave? No.

"Do I believe that the government acts entirely in bad faith inventing terrorism threats and deliberately does things that are disastrous PR because they think it will promote an anti-civil liberties agenda that they've always intended to pursue regardless of circumstances? No."

8/10/2006 11:26:00 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

Ye gods, I came back here to see further comments and wade through that pile of anonymous crap. Can't you at least put a nickname to your misinformed ranting so we can insult you properly you coward?

An Italian town responds to market conditions and partions a section of a beach to allow women to bath away from men? Oh noes!1!!1! the sky is falling!1!!1!

FFS. Kudos to the police for catching and stopping whatever they did.

John Reid wants to give in to the threat and throw away the basic freedoms that make this country. In the meantime, innocent civilians in Lebanon and Isreal are killed by two competing groups of extremist loons, and the pro-Bush bloggers hatch on to a few instances of doctored photos, because their side would never (ever) doctor the news or try to portray things in a biased manner, not at all.

We're doomed, the extremists are taking over everywhere.

8/10/2006 11:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old media excuse : The documents/photos are forged, but the story is true...

Translation : pay no attention to my lack of clothes. Let me hold your wallet. Look! a flying pig

Bullshit is always bullshit. When Greenpeace lies it is the same as when Blair opens his mouth.

8/11/2006 10:58:00 am  
Anonymous Paul Davies said...

Jonn - "So, what does Godwin's law say when both sides in an internet debate cite the Nazis...?"

I'm not it's explicity stated, but I imagine it's something along the lines of "you're dealing with not just one loser, but a bunch of losers. Give up, and go to the pub."

8/11/2006 11:05:00 am  
Blogger Jonn Elledge said...

Me - "So, what does Godwin's law say when both sides in an internet debate cite the Nazis...?"

Paul - "I'm not it's explicity stated, but I imagine it's something along the lines of "you're dealing with not just one loser, but a bunch of losers. Give up, and go to the pub.""


Anyone want to go to the pub then?

The Evening Standard last night ran with a headline along the lines of "DAY OF TERROR PLOT - 16/8".

I'm sick enough of this thing where every terrorist incident has to be given a 911 style label, without the press starting to do it to attacks that don't happen.

Though imagining an American going, "But, there aren't 16 months in a year!" does at least amuse.

8/11/2006 11:51:00 am  
Anonymous Alec said...

Excellent article NM.

I find both anonymous’ world and a sharia one equally terrifying.

When it was announced yesterday that some of the ’terrorists’ were not at home when Plod called but no measures were being taken to find them - I thought what a load of convenient old cojones for the ‘War on Terra.’

8/11/2006 01:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note that when one doesn't hear what they want, they quickly turn the argument into an attack by name calling. The French and Italian story are true and maybe explained by decency and captialist forces. However it is odd that when such actions occur in the US they are portrayed in Europe as prudish and money hungry. That the Americans will sell out their civil rights for a buck and that the Christian-Right has taken over the country. As for the photo and faux news caption stories, they have been proven true. Your ideas that Bush and Blair pulled out the plane bombing plot to gain more political power is purely speculative. Where is the proof? They, the government, are caught in a catch 22 by your logic. If terrorism occurs like last July it is their fault for not stoping it, if they do stop it then it is not real but a politcal ploy. Please go back to watching your V for Vandetta movie. Personally I always liked Alan Moore's other works like Watchmen. Here however is one last question, both Bush and Blair will be out of power in a few years. So why exactly are they grabing power and taking away civil liberaties?

8/11/2006 02:32:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Anonymous (the most recent one) - You're being sensible in places, but allowing your own bias to creep in in others just as much as the rest of us with whom you disagree.

The French and Italian stories are indeed true. The analysis provided yesterday, however, is not. Your comparison to the US equivalents is fair, but to accuse the Christian right of having some impact in that situation has significantly more justification than accusing Islamic fundamentalists of having an impact in either the French or Italian scenarios.

Regarding the Reuters photo, one photojournalist (as I understand it was - just one) breaking industry guidelines and doctoring a picture for greater impact does not mean that there is a grand conspiracy involving the entire organisation.

As for there being proof that Bush/Blair are manipulating the current situation - there is none. There is also no proof that the plot even existed - all we have to go on is their word.

And yes, they are indeed in a catch-22. It's an impossible situation for any government. Whatever they do will be criticised - but that's going to be the case with pretty much any aspect of pretty much any policy. What I object to, however, is not the fact that they've arrested a bunch of people, it's the dangerous way in which they've introduced new airport policies (creating mass panic and chaos), and the fact that they're using the existence of terrorism to promote existing policy agendas which would never have stood a chance of advancement in the pre-9/11 situation, and which will have minimal impact in actually combating the (all too real) terrorist threat.

As for why Bush/Blair are pursuing these agendas when they'll get no direct personal benefit, I could go into a long-winded piece of speculation about party machines and political elites and the like, but I wouldn't fully believe it and it'd sound like a conspiracy theory. The truth is I'm not entirely sure. A lot of what they're trying to do simply doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever, as so many of their policy objectives strike me as having little or no practical benefit either in terms of their professed goals or cementing their or their parties' political power.

8/11/2006 02:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just find it interesting that when you open up discussions for debate that you get a swing to the extreme, equal condemnation or just insults.

Example: larry teabag
"Illiteracy, thy name is "anonymous"."
Yes, good comeback. Please be more clever with the insults, but at least the name is funny.

Example: matgb
"Can't you at least put a nickname to your misinformed ranting so we can insult you properly you coward?"

Matgb is showing his excellant master debater skills here and is a tough guy as well. See he called me a coward and put me right in my place.

By the way the information is correct, the conclusions made from the info is what you should be addressing.

As for extremeist in the Israel/Lebanon conflict. That Ehud Olmert really is extreme, hard core. As for giving up civil liberaties...give me an example of one that you have personally given up?

For Example: john elldedge
Me - "So, what does Godwin's law say when both sides in an internet debate cite the Nazis...?"

So if one person makes a Hitler and Nazi reference thats okay, but only allow one.
I do think the reference gets way overplayed. It would better to see more of Stalin, Pol-Pot, Mao and Tojo references and yes I am being sarcastic here.

For Example: alec said
"I find both anonymous’ world and a sharia one equally terrifying."

Actually alec you live in the same world as me. I live in one of the bluest states on the US map and find it tolerable, acceptable, even preferable that you have a different opinion than mine. As for living under Sharia, I never have nor do I want to find out what is like.

This is about debate, otherwise you would have groups of people just agreeing with themselves. Really what fun is there in that.

8/11/2006 04:08:00 pm  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Please be more clever with the insults

Q. What do you call a furious troll who thinks that cutting and pasting reams and reams of irrelevant stuff into other peoples' comment-boxes and then garnishing it with a sprig of semi-literate hyperbole equates to "opening up discussions for debate"?

A. "Anonymous".


8/11/2006 04:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I graduated from illiterate to semi-literate.

Nose Monkey, the question with Reuters isn't about some grand conspiracy. It also goes further than just one photo-jouranlist. It goes further than just doctoring photos as both tagline and staging manipulation is evident When I see news put out by any government, I know it will have a certain spin. Its a nation's job to look out for that nation. I expect that and accept it. What I expect from so called "independent" jouranlist sources is just that. Clear, unbias reporting of what is happening not a propaganda tool. So if you are being influenced by Hizballoh say so, don't pretend its spontaneous news reporting.

8/11/2006 04:59:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

So you're saying that one dodgy freelance photojournalist means that the whole of Reuters should be dismissed as corrupt? Fair enough - shall we apply the same logic to the Bush and Blair administrations?

8/11/2006 05:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, it is not just one photojournalist.
Please scan down through ALL of the pictures presented on this link.
If you are not even remotely curious and think there is nothing here than I'll drop the subject. Some discrepancies are explained and some are not, but I think it gives a pretty good overview. I also think the author was trying to be very objective and genuine in his analyst. But you be the judge.

8/12/2006 12:37:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected, the link is, go to reuters_photo_fraud

8/12/2006 12:39:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

No, it IS one photojournalist, Adnan Hajj. I've had a gander at those others, not by Hajj, and it's seriously stretching the point to claim - as you (and certainly a bunch of right-wing US bloggers) appear to be - that this is a deliberate piece of pro-Hezbollah propaganda as part of a grand anti-Israel conspiracy on behalf of Reuters.

Plus, if your standards of truth and honour are so high, I assume your response is the same every time we hear of media manipulation by our own governments? Have you blathered on for similar amounts of time in blog comment sections every time the Bush administration has been found to have fed stories to the press, or every time Alistair Campbell spun the news for dear old Tony Blair?

8/12/2006 01:57:00 am  
Anonymous Ramon de Vaga said...

Don't get it. You don't want to be scared by police action to disrupt terrorist plots, yet you agree that action is required to prevent such plots.

Not trying to make a point here, just not clear what the alternative is. If the raids were made without publicity, that wouldn't work, and if they kept the publicity to a minimum (and avoided Douglas Alexander having to buy an extra tube of hair gel) there would in all probablility be even more hysteria.

Whaddya do?

8/12/2006 06:37:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Simple - considering that this plot was apparently known about since at least last weekend, and was part of an ongoing operation going back months, rather than suddenly force new policies on hand-luggage on airports in just one morning, the same day as making arrests, I'd have introduced the new regulations months ago. It's a bloody nuisance, but makes perfect sense to ban hand luggage - you can threaten cabin crew with a ball-point pen just as easily as you can with a pair of box-cutters, after all.

By making this hasty single-day response, it makes the government and security services look desperate and on edge - which in turn puts the general public on edge. Their job, however, is to protect and reassure - not to terrify.

8/12/2006 01:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Ramon de Vega said...

And if you introduce those changes, leading, inevitably to the same delays as we had this week, what do you tell the public? Would you say you had clear evidence of such a threat? If yes, how would you answer those that said let's see the charges then. If not, how would you explain the changes?

8/13/2006 04:29:00 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

My real objection to the new 'security' procedures, apart from the fact that they are clearly a self-serving move by the government more than they are actually about safety, is that they will be ineffective in the long-term. No security arrangement is foolproof - either because of human error or because the arrangement itself is circumvented in time.

What this means is that one day there'll be another incident, and you won't be allowed on a plane until you're naked.

I was booked on a flight from Glasgow to Gatwick on Wednesday morning. My colleague with whom I was travelling refused to fly because she was scared. Despite my protestations, we took the train back (five and a half hours). The flight cost me £150 and the train journey £111. My calls to BA to have my money refunded have encountered only an engaged tone. Nice little earner, eh?

8/13/2006 03:07:00 pm  

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