Archive for March, 2004

State-sponsored paranoia – now with the goodness of fruit!

16 March 2004

terror alert banana Genius. You can now get an appropriately coloured dancing banana that automatically illustrates the US Department of Homeland Security‘s Current Threat Level.

(via Ben Hammersley)


Someone admits to buying from spam? No

16 March 2004

Ever wondered who keeps the spammers in business? Well, it might be this guy – who “spends hundreds of dollars a week buying via spam”.

Is this guy for real? The goods he says he buys via spam include aromatherapy oils, an air conditioner, a metal detector – none of the spam I get is anything like that – it’s all either 419 scams, Viagra and porn (one recent Inbox highlight was the enticing subject line: “h.o.t. g1rls aged :: 188″)

On closer inspection this looks more like a spammer pushing his own industry, he admits he was a spammer himself and (found via this /. thread) he owns a dodgy software selling site with such amazingly innovative programs such as “Instant Unzip” and “Password Generator” as well as the more blatantly misleading ones such as “HTML Encrypter” and “IP Blocker” (“Protect yourself against IP Ads!” – what?). My favourite one is the “Amazing Popup Blocker”, which is followed in the list by a “Secret Popup Maker”. Anyway, for $25 this guy seems to be selling nothing, except what is out there already on the net for free (and it would be interesting to see whether the software is his firm’s original work…)


Gratutious plug of a mate’s site

16 March 2004

Tom has created I think I upset Google, which amused me muchly, as well as reminding me that my habit of self-Googling about twice a day is not a particularly constructive use of my time.


Met Commisioner’s sense of priorities

16 March 2004

A terror attack on London is inevitable, says Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens. If so, then shouldn’t he be fulfilling his duty as London’s chief police officer and devote as much time as possible to making sure our emergency planning is adequate, instead of wasting his time investigating the death of Princess Diana?


Right-wing backlash against the Spanish

16 March 2004

Well, the Socialists have won in Spain, an election result swung by the Madrid bomb, or to be accurate, its aftermath and the Aznar government’s hasty attempts to pin it on ETA. This has cued a lot of fury from the right-wing press (as excellently documented by Harry’s Place and Chris Brooke), at best saying the terrorists have won, and at worst accusing the Spanish people of moral cowardice. This is an extraordinary slur, especially after the dignity of their peaceful protest on Friday, and ignores the fact that long before the bombing, 90% of the Spanish populace opposed the war in Iraq. Additionally, the turnout for Sunday’s election was one of the highest in recent years, so if anything, the bombings have shown how strong Spanish democracy is and how the Spanish people’s desire to keep it that way. True cowardice in response to a terrorist attack, say, would be using and twisting its legacy to bomb and invade countries that had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I had initial concerns about the result of the election and the message it might send, but the more I think about it the less I think it is significant. The destructive philosophy of Al Qaeda is not concerned with Which political party is democratically elected to govern which country. Al Qaeda’s intent is to promote jihad against the West, destroy the Jews and restore the Caliphate. Democracy is irrelevant. The Aznar government’s actions in Iraq, if anything, helped this cause by stoking aggression in the Middle East and turning more and more Muslims against the West, so it’d be wrong to say electing the Socialists is helping the terrorists. Regardless of who actually did the bombing, this election result does not send any message to Al Qaeda, as Al Qaeda are not listening – ‘they’ simply do not care.


Blunkett starting to really take the fucking piss

15 March 2004

Not satisfied with his quest to destroy every civil liberty in Britain, David Blunkett has come up with a new wheeze – charging victims of miscarriages of justice for the food & lodging costs they incurred while in prison (found via Sore Eyes). Quoth:

Spokesmen in the Home Office say it’s a completely “reasonable course of action” as the innocent men and women would have spent the money anyway on food and lodgings if they weren’t in prison. The government deems the claw-back ‘Saved Living Expenses’.

[...]

The Home Office said an “independent assessor appointed by the Home Secretary takes into acccount the range of costs the prisoner might have incurred had they not been imprisoned”. The spokesman said the assessor was “right” to do this, adding: “Morally, this is reasonable and appropriate.”

No it’s fucking not. It’s utterly morally reprehensible to demand innocent people pay for the mistakes the judicial system did. It was their lives that were being destructively robbed, not the Prison Service.

Just what is going on in Blunkett’s mind? Is he thinking something like “That’ll punish ‘em. All these years of pretending to be guilty so they could get a free bed and three square meals, greedily robbing the state blind, it’s what they deserve.” What next? Charging dead people’s families for the waste of NHS money spent on them? Demanding payment from the Afghans and Iraqis for the bombs we dropped on their heads?

The case is up in the Royal Courts of Justice this week, I really hope there is some law (The “Fuck Off, You Evil Bastard” Act?) that stops this abomination of a policy from going ahead. The Scottish Executive have already said they would not follow the directive, which gives me (and everyone else) another good reason to move north of the border. I’m praying for the right decision to be made, either that or some sort “reasonable and appropriate” (i.e. fatal) accident to befall the Home Secretary.


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