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|Tuesday, August 26th, 2014|
Persistent creeping fasciitis
Sadly, Totalitarianism Is Exciting
By Charles C. W. Cooke
August 25, 2014
A suspect in the beheading of American journalist James Foley is a British-raised rapper who left his parent’s million-dollar London home last year to fight for radical Islam in Syria.
Homegrown jihadist Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old rapper, may be the masked man who severed Foley’s head with a knife in a YouTube video in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, according to reports in several British papers. . . .
In July 2013, he posted on Facebook, “The Unknown mixtape with my bro tabanacle will be the last music I’m ever releasing. I have left everything for the sake of Allah.”
On Aug. 13, he tweeted a photo of himself in Iraq holding a severed head with the caption, “Chilllin’ with my homie or what’s left of him,” The Times of London reported. His Twitter account was suspended soon afterward. It is unclear whose head he was holding.
Bary also tweeted a threat in June: “The lions are coming for you soon you filthy kuffs (infidels). Beheadings in your own backyard soon.”
Like many others, Bary has been taken in by an ideology — a disastrous, abhorrent, absolute, and apparently irresistible ideology. His discontent is not driven by poverty or oppression or historical experience. It’s driven by ideas, and by the human needs that those ideas seek to satiate. Bary, the Daily Mail reports, “grew increasingly radical and violent after mixing with thugs linked to hate preacher Anjem Choudary.” This, sadly, is too common a story. Look through the biographies of the 9/11 attackers. How many of them lacked food or healthcare?
Over the weekend, the New York Times’ Ross Douthat observed that the world’s uglier movements will always attract the bored, which is why, he suggested,
writing off the West’s challengers as purely atavistic is a good way to misunderstand them — and to miss the persistent features of human nature that they exploit, appeal to and reward.
These features include not only the lust for violence and the will to power, but also a yearning for a transcendent cause that liberal societies can have trouble satisfying.
As The Week’s Michael Brendan Dougherty argues, discussing the Europeans who have joined up with ISIS, liberalism’s “all-too-human order” — which privileges the sober, industrious and slightly boring — is simply “not for everyone.” Nor, most likely, will it ever be: in this century, the 22nd, or beyond.
Bary did not discover militant Islam over the Internet, but through his father:
Bary is one of six children of Adel Abdul Bary, an Egyptian militant who is facing terrorism charges in connection with Al Qaeda’s twin 1998 bombings at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
Nevertheless, he clearly found this lifestyle more appealing than the alternative, which was to live as an upper-middle-class musician in the West.
One reason that liberty can be difficult to preserve is that it so often lacks the romance, the heroism, and the sense of involvement that so many appear to crave. Bound by relatively few governmental or social constraints, citizens of free countries are obliged to make their own decisions, to establish and to participate in their own communities, and — crucially – to create their own sense of meaning. This can be tough — scary, even. To join a strictly defined and quasi-totalitarian movement such as IS, on the other hand, is instantly to feel a sense of belonging. As someone who is keenly motivated by a desire to leave people alone, it is distressing for me to acknowledge action-based collectivist philosophies are much, much more popular than I would wish. But they are. Why would Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary want to involve himself with a bunch of such extraordinary thugs? Well, at least they’re doing something.
|Monday, August 25th, 2014|
Clay to Clay
Representative William Lacy Clay Jr. (D., Mo.), whose district includes the city of Ferguson, warned that tensions in the area may reignite if a transparent and thorough investigation doesn’t take place of the death of Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer earlier this month. With demonstrations have gotten more peaceful in recent days, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Clay if he thought Brown’s funeral on Monday might prompt some protesters to return to the violence seen earlier.
“I’m more concerned if we do not get to the truth and get to what actually happened and bring justice to this situation, then there’s going to be a problem in the streets,” Clay said. He promised Brown’s parents that he would work to bring federal resources to investigate the case as well.
Goldfinger. My mother and father took me to see it, and it was just bedazzling. And consequently, I went every weekend to see the pictures. And I saw Lawrence of Arabia—I didn't know what was going on, but the spectacle of Peter O'Toole was mesmerizing. And then I really got into my stride with Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty and Al Pacino and movies and movies ( Pierce Brosnan )
|Saturday, August 23rd, 2014|
Hang them high
British general Charles James Napier. When assigned to British-run India, he was informed that he just didn’t understand Indian customs. He couldn’t ban the practice of wife-burning, he was told, because it was an ancient and valued tradition in India. He said he understood and appreciated that. “This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”
|Thursday, August 21st, 2014|
Dumbass communist twat at work
"...Mountains of books and articles have been and are still written to refute the alleged Marxist claim that “the economy” explains next to everything. Who ever made such a claim ?..."
Gilles Dauve from " A contribution to the critique of political autonomy "
"I really like when some sanctimonious twat says something fatuous followed by 'no-one ever'" - no-one ever
Daryl Layton - Twitter
THE PROPHETIC WORDS OF (ANARCHIST) MIKHAIL BAKUNIN
Written in 1872
The reasoning of Marx ends in absolute contradiction. Taking into account only the economic question, he insists that only the most advanced countries, those in which capitalist production has attained greatest development, are the most capable of making social revolution. These civilized countries, to the exclusion of all others, are the only ones destined to initiate and carry through this revolution. This revolution will expropriate either by peaceful, gradual, or by violent means, the present property owners and capitalists. To appropriate all the landed property and capital, and to carry out its extensive economic and political programs, the revolutionary State will have to be very powerful and highly centralized. The State will administer and direct the cultivation of the land, by means of its salaried officials commanding armies of rural workers organized and disciplined for this purpose. At the same time, on the ruins of the existing banks, it will establish a single state bank which will finance all labor and national commerce.
It is readily apparent how such a seemingly simple plan of organization can excite the imagination of the workers, who are as eager for justice as they are for freedom; and who foolishly imagine that the one can exist without the other; as if, in order to conquer and consolidate justice and equality, one could depend on the efforts of others, particularly on governments, regardless of how they may be elected or controlled, to speak and act for the people! For the proletariat this will, in reality, be nothing but a barracks: a regime, where regimented workingmen and women will sleep, wake, work, and live to the beat of a drum; where the shrewd and educated will be granted government privileges; and where the mercenary-minded, attracted by the immensity of the international speculations of the state bank, will find a vast field for lucrative, underhanded dealings.
There will be slavery within this state, and abroad there will be war without truce, at least until the “inferior” races, Latin and Slav, tired of bourgeois civilization, no longer resign themselves to the subjection of a State, which will be even more despotic than the former State, although it calls itself a People’s State.
|Wednesday, August 20th, 2014|
A sea of trouble
I've been following this and for the first time in my life the idea of taking up arms sits well in my conscience. Obviously in this situation it would be pretty dumb because there would be no chance of victory but the fact that I feel this way, which once would have been so alien to me, is such a change.. How do you guys feel about armed struggle and can you see any circumstances, outside of a full tilt revolution where it could be of use?
Kind of a tangent but basically yes, and I think the history of the workers movement is full of good examples of this. However, it has to have some sort of mandate from the working class in general to be worthwhile, i.e. not just be tiny leftist sects doing spectacular violence for the sake of it. In the current climate in e.g. the UK I don't really see it being viable.
Take your protection-racket and shove it
Something to Think About:
The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
--John Stuart Mill
Passport to Pimlico
Assange has had benefit of Law - his case has been heard by the Law Lords (Supreme Court).
And the UK, along with most States, does not recognise the concept of 'Diplomatic Asylum', which is what Assange and Ecuador are engaged in, and for your information the concept is not supported by International Law nor by any treaty to which the United Kingdom is party.
You will also find that the embassy of a state is not in law considered its territory (contrary to popular belief) but remains the territory of the host state, so in this case Assange has never set foot in Ecuador and has not left the United Kingdom. The fact that under treaties and UK Law the UK's writ does not fully run in the embassy makes no difference - Knightsbridge is not Ecuador. Furthermore Ecuador should never have granted Assange 'asylum' and should have requested that he leaves the embassy premises and surrenders to the UK authorities as soon as possible. Their actions are a clear breach of the territorial sovereignty of the United Kingdom in International Law.
|Sunday, August 17th, 2014|
Hitler didn't fall from the sky
Capitalism was, to both Lenin and Marx, an inevitable stage of historical evolution.
It was not possible to move from a fundamentally feudal system to a socialism of abundance without an intervening period of capital accumulation and centralisation.
Lenin's understanding of history and economic development convinced him that a transitional stage of state capitalism (he did allow that the period of private capitalism could be omitted) was an historical necessity. Lenin recommended we "learn about state capitalism from the Germans, to assimilate their methods, not to spare any dictatorial methods in order to accelerate the westernisation of barbarous Russia, not to recoil from using barbarous methods of struggle against barbarism...govern with greater firmness than the capitalists did. Otherwise, you will not win. You must remember: your administration must be more stringent and firm than the old administration... This discipline included harsh, stringent measures, going as far as shootings, methods which even the old government did not visualise.
Fascism derives from Marxism
Maximoff, following in the footsteps of Bakunin, traces the Leninist policy to "political marxism" itself.
Russian socialism had always been "distinguished by its libertarian and progressive character," writes Maximoff in opening his book. "Political marxism," though, "Is an anachronism, a vestige of the dying past and is altogether reactionary in its essence.
The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels is a reactionary manifesto and is in striking contradiction to science, to progress in general, and humanism in particular. The demands of dictatorship, of absolute centralisation, of political and economic life in the hands of the state, of 'forming industrial armies, especially for agriculture,' of a regimented agriculture in accordance with a single plan, of raising the state to the position of an Absolute and the resulting stultification of the individual, its rights and interest--all that is nothing but the programme of reaction which is incompatible with human progress, with freedom, equality and humanism. The realisation of these demands carries with it state slavery.
Supporter of classic fascist-type, Jock Palfreeman, drinks the 'anti-imperialist' Kool-Aid...in the name of 'anti-fascism'!?
"...Robert Parry writes about how The New York Times Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War (August 14, 2014); Niles Williamson, a scribe for The Leadership of the World Socialist Movement, writes that Kiev deploys fascist militias against Donetsk (August 12, 2014)..."http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/
Andy, you're a fucking dickhead mate.
|Saturday, August 16th, 2014|
Professional skeptics suck-ass
[I]f there are any lessons to be learned from history, it is that we should be skeptical of all points of view, including those of the skeptics. No one is infallible, and no one can claim a monopoly on truth or virtue. It would be contradictory for skepticism to seek to translate itself into a new faith. One must view with caution the promises of any new secular priest who might emerge promising a brave new world-- if only his path to clarity and truth is followed. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to temper the intemperate and to tame the perverse temptation that lurks within.
--Paul Kurtz (The Transcendental Temptation)
Simon Leys replies:
Mr. MacKinnon’s criticism bears on four questions. Let us discuss them in succession:
—Concerning Balazs: Etienne Balazs was a great scholar and an admirable man. That Mr. MacKinnon in reading my modest little essays should be induced to compare me with him fills me with a mixture of confusion and pride. (I doubt however if Mr. MacKinnon did understand Balazs’s writings any better than mine.)
—Concerning city walls: In underlining the fact that walls can symbolize oppression and that it was therefore right to pull them down, Mr. MacKinnon raises a very interesting point. Come to think of it—is it not a shame that, in a revolutionary capital such as Peking, quite a number of other (far worse) symbols of oppression are still allowed to stand: the Imperial Palace, the Summer Palace, etc.? Actually, in this respect, too many countries are still badly in need of a big clean-up: the London Tower, the Louvre, the Escorial, the Vatican, the pyramids of Egypt, etc., etc., are all awaiting the revolutionary intervention of Mr. MacKinnon’s pickaxe. If he intends to devote his energy to such a worthy cause, he has, without doubt, a most busy career ahead of him.
—Mao’s quotation concerning Wang Shih-wei: three points
“Mao deplored the execution of Wang Shih-wei.” Nixon too deplored his “plumbers” initiatives at Watergate. Great leaders are so often done a disservice by clumsy underlings!
“Mao opposes random killings.” This in fact was the only point on which Mao significantly departed from Stalin’s doctrine. Mao always agreed with the principle of Stalinist purges; only, to his more sophisticated taste, their methods appeared rather crude, messy, and wasteful. Mao eventually developed his own theory of the efficient way of disposing of opponents—which is expressed quite clearly in the fifth volume of his Selected Works recently published in Peking: executions should not be too few (otherwise people do not realize that you really mean business); they should not be too many (not to create waste and chaos). Actually before the launching of some mass-movements, quotas were issued by the Maoist authorities, indicating how many executions would be required in the cities, how many in the countryside, etc. This ensured a smooth, rational, orderly development of the purges. Some people see in this method a great improvement by comparison with Stalin’s ways. I suppose it might be so—at least from Big Brother’s point of view.
“Mao said that Wang Shih-wei was a secret agent working for the Kuomintang.” And Stalin said that Trotsky was a secret agent working for the Nazis. Later on it was also said that Liu Shao-ch’i was a secret agent working for the Americans. And that Lin Piao was a secret agent working for the Soviet Union. And now we have just learned that Madame Mao had been working for Chiang Kai-shek. Why not? After all there are always people ready to believe these things—Mr. MacKinnon, for instance.
—Other foreigners living in China: I do have a wide circle of acquaintances who have been, or are still, working in China in various capacities. I do also keep in close touch with a number of Chinese friends, former citizens of the People’s Republic, who know Chinese realities from the inside, a thousand times better than either Mr. MacKinnon or myself will ever do. If it had not been for the advice and encouragement I received from those persons who kept telling me that I was right on target, I would never have felt confident enough to publish these subjective impressions of China. On one point, however, I agree with Mr. MacKinnon: I too think it most unlikely that a person living in Peking, and being employed by the Chinese government, would ever express publicly his agreement with my views (though I know some who do so in private).
|Friday, August 15th, 2014|
|Rats in the bilge me hearties
John Pilger, a respected investigative journalist, writes that “What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap” and that “Moscow’s inevitable response (to Washington’s putsch) in Russian Crimea (is) to protect its Black Sea fleet”.  Once you believe that there has been a coup and not a mass movement, albeit with a strong nationalist and neo-liberal character, then you can believe anything including Russia’s right to annex Crimea.
Pilger writes in a later article  that “the leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin”. Comparing Putin to Chavez and Castro stretches political credulity.
But Pilger goes further when he carries on in the same article that “having masterminded the coup in February against the democratically elected government in Kiev, Washington’s planned seizure of Russia’s historic, legitimate warm-water naval base in Crimea failed. The Russians defended themselves, as they have done against every threat and invasion from the west for almost a century”. To believe that Washington had planned to seize Russia’s naval base in Crimea makes us wonder whether Pilger has lost all his senses.
But it gets even more incredible when he writes further in the same article that “for the Germans, it is a poignant irony that Putin is the only leader to condemn the rise of fascism in 21st-century Europe”. Evidence abounds that Putin works with the far right and fascists in Russia and across Europe. In January, Marine Le Pen of the Front National in France was welcomed in the Duma and met the Speaker of the Duma and Deputy Prime-Minister.  Pravda openly acknowledges Russia’s support for the fascists in the European Parliament . Nazis are allowed to march in Moscow alongside Stalinists on the 1st May. 
Such an article by Pilger flies in the face of facts, supports Russian imperialist annexation and paints Putin as an anti-fascist. Such rubbish should be condemned and it is extraordinary that it was posted on the Stop the War Coalition website without comment.
Unfortunately, Pilger is not the only socialist supporting Russia. Eamonn McCann wrote earlier in the year “if we have to pick a side over Crimea, let it be Russia” because “in this instance Russia has more right on its side than the West”.  Socialist Action views the events in Ukraine as a struggle between Russia and imperialism [Imperialist offensive causes tragedy in Ukraine, Paul Roberts, 22 July 2014, http://www.socialistaction.net/Inte...
]], obviously implying that Russia is not imperialist. John Pilger’s nationalist references to “Germans” are echoed in the Communist Party’s view that “German monopoly capital is clearly preparing for economic expansion into Ukraine”.  Socialist Appeal and Workers Power are also covering up Putin’s imperialist land grab by cheering on the struggle against Kiev-based fascism.
What is worrying is that Russian nationalists and reactionaries are working with some on the left in Russia and elsewhere to cover-up what is the Russian imperialist grab of parts of Ukraine. The latest event was an “international conference” entitled “The World Crisis and the Confrontation in Ukraine” held in Yalta, Crimea (formerly part of Ukraine, now annexed by Russia) on July 6-7. The aim of the conference included the creation “an international network of support for the movement for the creation of Novorossiya”. . The conference was organised by Boris Kargalistky, a Russian socialist, and with some Russian far right or fascist currents. Many of these are supporters of Strelkov, the "Minister of Defence of the Donetsk People’s Republic" , a White Guard monarchist who fought in Chechnya and Serbia. Besides the Institute of Globalisation Studies and Social Movements, of which Kagarlitsky is the Director, the conference was organized by the far right New Rus’ Coordination and Support Centre, and the Osnovanye Fund. This fund was established recently to support the separatist movement by such Russian personalities as Alexandr Prokhanov and Vladislav Shurygin (editors of the far right journal, Zavtra) or Nikolai Starikov (leader of the far right Party of Great Fatherland). It was attended from Britain by Richard Brenner of Workers Power and Alan Freeman of Socialist Action, both supporters of the Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity campaign.
Socialists should have stayed well clear of a conference organised in a territory just annexed by Russia and in which deeply reactionary forces participate. It is also an error to invite Boris Kargalitsky to address the NATO counter-summit in Cardiff at the end of the August.
|Thursday, August 14th, 2014|
Hollywood’s Golden Age Fades Away
By Michael Auslin
The news of Lauren Bacall’s passing yesterday may have surprised many who assumed that all of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age had long ago left us. Bacall, who was 89 when she died, was perhaps the last of the true mega-stars from that era, noted not only for her excellent body of work, but for her indelible connection to the giants of the time, foremost among them her husband, Humphrey Bogart. To consider Bacall’s closeness, not only to Bogie, but to Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, and others, is to conjure up images of a bygone era, once so familiar, yet fading away in our collective memory. That Bacall was the Brooklyn-born daughter of Jewish immigrants who always identified as a Jew, only makes her life path more fascinating. Andrew’s post on “the last empress of Byzantium” nicely catches her inimitable character as reflected in her best roles.
With her death, and that of Mickey Rooney earlier this year, the only major stars left from Hollywood’s Golden Age are the wonderful Olivia de Havilland, who made her first movie in 1935 and turned 98 last month, and the fiery Maureen O’Hara, who celebrates her 94th birthday next week. Some may also put Kirk Douglas in that group, but his career did not take off until the 1950s. For real film aficionados, German-born Luise Rainer is 104, but while she became the first back-to-back Oscar winner, she never achieved the stardom of Bacall, et al. Bacall truly was one of the last of a breed who helped define American culture at the height of the country’s power.
|Tuesday, August 12th, 2014|
Nazbols scream for Buffalo Meat
Turned up to Eleven
By Andrew Stuttaford ( at The Corner NRO )
It’s hard to read this account from Radio Free Europe of a rally held in the Crimean city of Sebastopol (always a Russian redoubt) and not conclude that there is some sort of collective unraveling going on in Russia:
What’s a biker show without interpretive dance? In what can perhaps be seen as a darker continuation of the generally well-reviewed [ahem] Sochi Olympic opening ceremony in February, Russia’s most famed biker gang provided its own take on the conflict in Ukraine. The show, broadcast live on August 9 from annexed Crimea in front of an estimated 100,000 people and on Russian state TV, used a choreographed mix of nationalist rock, pyrotechnics, Nazi and Illuminati imagery, and interpretive dance to portray Ukraine as a state overrun by fascists.
The Sevastopol show begins with children playing merrily on a playground until they flee under the sounds of sirens and the flashing of red lights. Enter Aleksandr Zaldostanov, the nationalist leader of Russia’s “Night Wolves” biker gang and a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who gives his interpretation of the fall of the Soviet Union.
“Enemies who hated us, killed the Soviet state, and took away its territory and its army,” he says before repeating — in an attempt at poetic cadence — the official Russian version of the current Ukraine conflict.
“And now, the healing has begun. It is coming from Russian Sevastopol. We are celebrating our sacred victory at a time when fascism, like putrid, poisonous dough, has overfilled its Kyiv trough and begun to spread across Ukraine. Its tanks are now flattening Kramatorsk, its Grad missiles are destroying Luhansk, its APCs are pouring fire on Slovyansk, its helicopters are attacking the suburbs of Donetsk. The new battle against fascism is inevitable. Stalin’s 11th strike is inevitable.” (This is an apparent reference to 10 Soviet military victories in 1944.)
Darkness falls and the sound of U.S. President Barack Obama’s voice echoes over the crowd: “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story.”
His voice is cut off, and then, over the next 25 minutes, this happens:
Under the towering figure of a symbol taken from the U.S. dollar bill that is commonly used by conspiracy theorists and with the voice of a Hitler speech ringing in the background, dancers in black rise from a white sheet and form a Swastika…..
And so it goes on (click through to the link to see GIFs from the show, which is also on YouTube in its entirety – not recommended, trust me on that).
Politics has always had an element of performance about it, of show and of carnival. The further it drifts from the deliberate ordinariness of genuinely democratic celebration, the more bombastic, bizarre and kitsch it generally becomes, whether in Pyongyang, Stalinist Moscow or Nuremberg’s Luitpoldarena. The curious thing about the Sebastopol show was the way that it delivered its political message in a package that appeared to combine a celebration of the latest edition of the big lie with the aesthetics of Spinal Tap, a mix which should have subverted itself. That it appeared not to says nothing good about the psychological climate in Russia today.
|Sunday, August 10th, 2014|
|Gamma Gamma Hey
Hacking is simple, says author claiming role in breach of spyware firm
DIY guide provides instructions for carrying out similar muckraking exploits.
by Dan Goodin - Aug 10 2014, 4:00am AUSEST
An anonymous author who claims to be the hacker who penetrated controversial UK-based Gamma Group International and aired 40 gigabytes of its dirty laundry has published a how-to guide for other hacktivists.
"I'm not writing this to brag about what an 31337 h4x0r I am and what m4d sk1llz it took to 0wn Gamma," wrote the author, who rightly cautions that the unauthorized access of other people's networks is illegal. "I'm writing this to demystify hacking, to show how simple it is, and to hopefully inform and inspire you to go out and hack shit. If you have no experience with programming or hacking, some of the text below might look like a foreign language. Check the resources section at the end to help you get started."
The do-it-yourself guide explains how hackers can map entryways into a target's network, scan for vulnerable services and exploit any that are found. It also lists some of the most common methods hackers use to keep their IP addresses and other digital fingerprints off their attacks. Among other things, the how-to suggests installing Whonix inside a hidden encrypted volume created by TrueCrypt and carrying out all operations from there. It also counsels against using Tor and instead using hacked servers. Again, this is illegal.
Ars is unable to confirm the claims that the author had any connection to the Gamma Group hack, which has now turned into the source of multiple news articles. Most notable of the news accounts so far is one reporting the government of Bahrain used the Gamma Group's FinFischer software to spy on citizens who were later tortured. With 40 GB of e-mails and other data in the open, it wouldn't be surprising for many similarly damning articles to follow. Ars doesn't advocate trespasses of networks, but also believes the guide, and its claim to be published by the hacker behind the Gamma Group breach, is a newsworthy event worth reporting. FROMhttp://arstechnica.com/security/2014/08/hacking-is-simple-says-author-claiming-role-in-breach-of-spyware-firm/
|Thursday, August 7th, 2014|
|"Deutschland über Allah"
Young Turks and "Deutschland über Allah" in the 1910s
The spirit of universal Ottoman brotherhood soon melted away, revealing a harder, more exclusive ideology. The Young Turks [who seized power in 1908] embraced something called "pan-Turanianism"—the notion that all Turks from the Russian steppes to Anatolia came from a single ancestral land called "Turan." In this view, the entire historical orientation of the Ottoman Empire toward Europe and the Middle East had been misplaced. Instead, the empire should be focused on reuniting the Turanic peoples in Russia and Central Asia. In his book Allah Is Great, Lev [Nussimbaum aka Kurban Said] compared the Turanian obsession to "blood and soil" ideas in Germany. In a kind of Turkish parallel to the German idea of lebensraum, the future was to be found in the East—in an invasion of Russia to reclaim ancestral lands from the thirteenth century and earlier, not only those of the Ottomans but of the other great Turanians, the Mongols and the Huns.* (*Since at least the eighteenth century, Russian ministers and theorists had referred to the Ottoman capital not as Constantinople but as Czargrad, in anticipation of absorbing it into the new world-dominating Super Russian Empire. The counter-theory of the pan-Turanian principle meant that if the Russians wanted to reconquer Constantinople, the Turks would do them one better, reconquering half of Russia.)
What clinched the Turkish-German axis in the First World War was really the personality of Enver Pasha. A dark fireplug of a man who had served as the Ottoman military attaché in Berlin, Enver had embraced all the pointed helmets and polished boots and talk of Wagnerian Götterdämmerung-cum-Jihad. (Kaiser Wilhelm did his part by spreading the rumor that he had converted to Islam.) When Enver led the Young Turks to power in 1908, as war minister, he was sporting a Kaiser Wilhelm mustache, which should have been a clue as to which way things would go. What ensued may have amounted to the most dramatic "self-colonization" in history: in the name of achieving instant modernization and international power, the Young Turk junta turned the Ottoman Empire into a virtual military colony of the German Reich. "Deutschland über Allah," said some diplomatic wags. But it was a dead serious maneuver, and it happened with lightning speed. Enver turned over the entire Ottoman officer corps to the Germans; more than twenty-five thousand German officers and NCOs assumed positions of direct command. A Prussian officer founded the Turkish Air Force, and two German battleships arrived in the Golden Horn. The German crew brazenly donned fezzes and sang "Deutschland über Alles" beneath the seaside villa of the Russian ambassador.
The Young Turks had launched the Ottoman Empire off a cliff. It is hardly remembered now what a large role Turkey played in the First World War, except for the storied Gallipoli landing, where the defending Turks slaughtered British, Australian, and New Zealander expeditionary forces. Almost everywhere else, it was the Turkish soldiers who were slaughtered. More than three hundred thousand Turkish soldiers died fighting the Russians in the Caucasus alone, as a result of Enver's plan to begin a great reconquest of the ancient Turkish heartland. The plan was to take Baku so as to launch Turkish armies across the Caspian in oil tankers, landing at Kizel-Su and crossing Turkestan, conquering Bukhara, Samarkand, and eventually, even Mongolia. On the eve of the revolution, the czar's forces poised for a final attack on Constantinople. Had Russia stayed in the war and the Bolsheviks not prevailed, Istanbul might today be called Czargrad and the Middle East might be an imperial Russian federation. The Turkish rout was the fault of poor planning and bluster—Enver sent Turkish troops to fight in the Caucasus in winter with no overcoats and without even boots—but the increasingly fanatical Young Turk junta looked for someone else to blame for the failure of the Turanian dream. Thus, the infamous Armenian massacres of 1915 were set in motion.
SOURCE: The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, by Tom Reiss (Random House, 2005), pp. 106-108
|Monday, August 4th, 2014|
There was a cascade of coverage of the President’s August 1 remarks concerning John Brennan and his defense of his embattled CIA chief, as Obama was also widely derided for his seeming defense of those who tortured “some folks” after 9/11. (Obama did not mention that the order to torture came from the Oval Office.)
“Well, at least he called the crimes out as ‘torture,” some observers noted. Others, including some in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), called for John Brennan’s resignation as CIA director after he admitted the CIA had spied on Congressional investigators who were writing a thousands-of-pages-long report on the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.
An Executive Summary of that report, in a censored version produced by the CIA itself, is now back in the hands of the SSCI, who may or may not release it soon. The Committee has already decided the full 6000 or so page report itself will not be released for years (if ever), a cover-up of immense proportions.
Jason Leopold, who has been covering the story for Al Jazeera America and VICE, noted astutely in a tweet the other day, that Obama’s comments at his August 1 press conference included a reference to his only banning “some” of the CIA’s torture techniques. Leopold believed Obama previously had always been more absolute in his prohibition of torture.
The full quote from the August 1 presser is worth reproducing here. The quote below begins in the middle of Obama’s defense of those who used torture after 9/11, i.e., those who are the subjects of the Senate’s controversial torture report (bold emphasis is added):
And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.
But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that’s what that report reflects. And that’s the reason why, after I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report.
Only “some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques”? Not all? Was this merely a slip of the tongue by the President? No one in the press corp seemed to notice, and no one took him up on the issue. To date, no one has in the press has at all (besides Leopold’s tweets), though it is very much worth noting that Jeremy Scahill reported in July 2011 on the CIA’s continuing use of black sites and torture in an important article in The Nation. Others had surmised as much even earlier.
But there was a much more insidious and institutional salvage of torture by the U.S. government, which, rocked after the Abu Ghraib revelations, tried to hide and maintain its use of detention and interrogation techniques that relied on force, mental cruelty, fear, isolation, stress positions, sleep and sensory deprivation, and the use of drugs. Waterboarding, for all the attention given to that brutal form of torture, was never really a major component of U.S. torture. There were even some in the CIA who would be glad to see it go.
Using solitary confinement, loud music and 24 hour bright lights, verbal abuse and humiliation, “dislocating the expectations” of prisoners by, for instance, moving them around every day so they never had a sense of solid place or safety or time to rest, or using drugs to disorient them — this is the kind of torture that leaves deep psychological wounds, and which the U.S. wanted to maintain in its interrogation arsenal.
What Obama Meant by Banning Only “Some” Torture
Over the past few years, I have shown how first the Bush administration hid their torture program within a 2006 rewrite of the Army Field Manual on interrogation, then how the Obama administration via Executive Order made that same field manual the law of the land, incumbent on both the CIA and the Defense Department.
I showed that when in January 2009 Obama publicly revoked the Bush torture program, which the government labeled “extraordinary interrogation techniques,” and all the John Yoo/Jay Bybee/Steven Bradbury Justice Department memoranda approving that same torture program, he did not do it in a blanket fashion, but referred the memos themselves to Eric Holder for review. Ultimately, as a Department of Defense spokesperson actually told me, the Holder and the Justice Department never rescinded one of the Bush-era torture memos, in particular the one that approved forms of torture that would be used in a special section, called Appendix M, of the Army Field Manual.
Obama’s admission that he had only banned “some” of the previous administration’s torture techniques was not the first time the government has made such an admission, however obliquely.
Last April, I wrote how the Department of Defense’s main directive on interrogations (3115.09), which supposedly had banned SERE-derived torture techniques (like waterboarding, hooding, etc.) used by the government after 9/11, in fact made a note that only some of the SERE techniques were banned. The ones that were not banned resided in — the Army Field Manual on interrogation, the same manual Obama had endorsed in his Jan. 2009 executive order on “lawful interrogations.”
SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, and is the name given to DoD’s program to prepare military and CIA and other specific government personnel for capture and imprisonment by a brutal enemy. Its participants take part in a mock-prison camp exercise, and it was the kinds of torture practiced during that exercise that were utilized in full-blown operational mode by CIA and Defense Department interrogators in the so-called War on Terror.
The SERE-derived model, which is what the “extraordinary interrogation techniques” really were, was superimposed on an earlier torture program based on isolation and sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, fear and drugs, developed by the CIA and codified in a 1963 interrogation program that is referred to today as KUBARK. Earlier this year, I obtained a version of the previously declassified KUBARK manual with new portions now unredacted.
But oddly, besides myself, only Obama seems to have noticed that not all the torture techniques were rescinded by him. The press and certainly the Senate and the House of Representatives have ignored entirely the use of torture in the Army Field Manual. While some bloggers and human rights groups have noted the anomaly of having the nation’s primary instructions on interrogation include torture techniques, and some have even called for a repeal of Appendix M or a rewriting of the field manual itself, none of these groups or individuals have made this a primary issue. Nor, when the controversy over the Senate report on the CIA torture program is discussed, is the ongoing presence of torture in the Army Field Manual ever mentioned.
The failure to take on the entire torture apparatus is one reason accountability for U.S. torture cannot get sufficient traction. The argument remains shackled by what the Establishment deems reasonable dialogue about torture. So one can criticize the embrace of euphemism to describe torture, or argue why waterboarding is torture, or shout loudly why the redacted portion of the SSCI’s Executive Summary of their years-long investigation should be released, but evidently it is not reasonable, that is, establishment-sanctioned via the New York Times or other media or political authority, to bring up torture beyond the terms already established.
But now Obama has done it. He has said he banned only “some” of the torture techniques that were the target of the SSCI’s report.
The end of the ATLANTIC
James_Blair • a month ago
None of this matters. Various groups have been trying to destroy the internet ever since its creation. If the ITU fails in its role, it will simply be ignored and something new will rise up to take on the role.
Europe has tried to carve out its own internet several times and it always fails. They can mandate something, but they can't make people use it. See the history of the ISO and the internet in the 1990s for details.
Sending party pays was little more than an attempted financial shakedown by the usual suspects in Africa. If it had happened, it would likely have only hurt the african countries involved who would have found themselves off the internet.
The world is just too interdependent now for anyone to go their own way. If the ITU or the politicians try, the commerical sector will push them back into line.
"If no compromise is reached, blocs of countries could theoretically go their own way, giving rise to competing or duplicative domain-name systems. If"
The informal processes that have always made the internet work will solve the problem. The authoratative DNS root servers will still be authoritative. The Saudis and Egyptians will have a choice of either using the real thing or some half-working local joke service