... in terrorism

Apparently i am a terror expert...

07 Nov 2006 | 90 words | dead people terrorism

… at least that is what the vistor stats of this site seem to suggest:

Looks as if quite alot of people do look for information on the 9/11 attacks around that date and that some of them do end up here. I would guess that this has to do with my 9/11 lamp, but who knows as there are lotsofotherterrorismrelatedpostingshere as well. In any case the bars in the sites/visits row (orange and yellow that us) on the 9th do look like the WTC i remember from my childhood.

One Friday

01 Nov 2006 | 236 words | england islam migration xenophobia media terrorism

The Guardian is running quite an impressive piece titled ‘One Friday‘ on its website today [i know that it is wednesday today but then those brits drive on the wrong side of the road and are generally confused when it comes to just about every measurement, so this not all too shocking]:

Criticised for their beliefs, clothing and attitudes; accused of not being British enough; reviled as the enemy within – not a day passes without Muslims being attacked in the media. So how does it feel to be Muslim in Britain today? Guardian writers asked people around the country – from a rear admiral to an organic farmer, a rapper to a gay rights campaigner, an accountant to a niqab-wearing teacher – to tell us how they spent last Friday. A G2 special.

Go read it here (warning, it is really long!). My favorite sentence is ‘the other day the internet cafe opposite me was raided, allegedly as part of a transatlantic terror plot. It was ridiculous.’

Which reminds me that we still know next to nothing about that transatlantic terror plot in question. still no news on how exactly they planned to blow up those planes without passports, explosives or tickets. Also not much more information on why liquids on a plane are dangerous. We do however know that denying people to take liquids on a plane is not only stupid but actually dangerous.

Enemy against all mankind: Dr. Liang

21 Oct 2006 | 183 words | piracy terrorism war india

Last weekend saw the third edition of dictionary of war. this project is currently collecting 100 concepts on the issue of war, which are presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at four events in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz and Berlin. Among those presenting in Graz was Lawrence Liang of the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore who did an absolutely stunning presentation titled ‘Hostis Humani Generis‘ in which he links concepts developed in the fight against piracy in todays wars against terrorism and piracy (as in file-sharing). here is the abstract…

Abstract wars demand abstract enemies, and the Hostis Humani Generis (or the enemy against all mankind) is a title that has been bestowed on a host of figures; starting with the pirate and now the terrorist, I seek to understand the links between property, piracy and terrorism and propose that the concept of Hostis Humani Generis helps us understand the idea of war as a continuation of property by other means.

… but you should absolutely download the 30 minute video of the presentation (and of course watch it once it is downloaded).

Terror soap...

19 Oct 2006 | 27 words | terrorism consumerism branding

Too sweet! wish i could buy this here in the Netherlands, but apparently this brand is available in costa rica only…

Photo by skot via boing boing


11 Sep 2006 | 134 words | terrorism war airtravel

So it is 5 years since the start of the war on liquids terror today. the amount of attention given by the media to the events 5 years ago is quite sickening (spiegel online has a 5 years ago at this time …. ‘… mohammed atta woke up‘ / ‘…the first plane crashed in the first tower’ / ‘…the 2nd tower fell down’ feature on their site, that gives me the impression that they would like something like this to happen again as it conveniently makes everybody into a sucker for news and that is good for their advertising revenue).

Maybe the most complete summary of the whole situation was made by ‘sddd’ in the comments section of my blog post about my 9/11 lamp:

the person in that plane can suck my dick.

There may have been too much hyperventilating going on ...

29 Aug 2006 | 344 words | airtravel media security terrorism stupidity

Mondays New York Times ran an extensive article about the details released about the british ‘terror’ scam of early August. The article based on statements from five senior British officials pretty much confirms what other sources had admitted immediately after the scare: the whole fuzz was apparently about a couple of kids who did not even know how to blow up planes at all. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:

But British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers. […]

In fact, two and a half weeks since the inquiry became public, British investigators have still not determined whether there was a target date for the attacks or how many planes were to be involved. They say the estimate of 10 planes was speculative and exaggerated.[…]

Despite the charges, officials said they were still unsure of one critical question: whether any of the suspects was technically capable of assembling and detonating liquid explosives while airborne.

A chemist involved in that part of the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was sworn to confidentiality, said HMTD, which can be prepared by combining hydrogen peroxide with other chemicals, “in theory is dangerous,” but whether the suspects “had the brights to pull it off remains to be seen.” […]

“In retrospect” said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, “there may have been too much hyperventilating going on.”

Hyperventilating indeed! now we only need someone to explain how not allowing you to bring lots of stuff on board of a plane, confiscating old ladies moisturizing cream, making you wait in tents on rain-swept airport parking lots, sticking sub-machine guns in your face and generally behaving like arrogant cunts is going to prevent kids who have no clue about blowing up planes from blowing up planes…

We behave like bitches

27 Aug 2006 | 446 words | terrorism london airtravel stupidity security

So i am back at London heathrow, waiting for my connecting flight to Amsterdam. To get from my arrival gate to the departure hall i had to clear a third(!!) security check since arriving at the airport in Delhi. (the first one being the standard delhi airport one and the second a special one by BA just before boarding the plane because they are obviously not trusting the Indian authorities). Now they must be selling explosives and machine guns on board of planes these days otherwise searching everyone after leaving a plane is a rather silly exercise…

Anyway, this time they apparently found something in my carry-on baggage so a young screener started removing items one-by-one from my bag. As she had told me that i probably had something liquid in my bag (and i was sure i had not) i was starting to take the piss out of her commenting every item she removed with a description of it and the addition that it was solid/not-liquid. however the last thing she pulled from my bag was a half empty 20ml tube of sunscreen which either had not been considered to be liquid before or they had not seen the pervious two times. This made me look rather stupid in any case.

After finishing my search her shift had ended and she left which is why we ended up next to each other on a escalator a little bit further in the terminal building. I told her that my behavior hadn’t been meant personal. surprisingly she thanked me and immediately started to complain about her job which she said she ‘hated’ because she had to take away stuff from people that was clearly not dangerous, like taking away perfume from old ladies and such. she then went on to say:

i dont want to curse, but me and my colleagues we behave like bitches

Apparently she was only on the job for four days (which means that either she picked a bad time to start or that they are hiring lots of new staff at Heathrow to cope with the mess they have created for themselves (and do not do very intensive security screenings of their new screeners) and absolutely hated it because most of the stuff she had to do made no sense whatsoever.

I for my part will try to avoid both British airports as well as British Airways in the future. Kind of hope that both BA and the BAA go bankrupt because nobody will want to use their services anymore. If i was them i would really start pressuring the government to stop acting silly and focus their energy on useful things.

Some did not even have passports...

13 Aug 2006 | 342 words | england terrorism airtravel stupidity media

Thats right. It looks like those ‘terrorists’ who were arrested last week in london were not even close to blowing up anything, let alone boarding an international flight. According to the NBC a senior British official knowledgeable about the [hair-gel bombers] has suggested that

… an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports [… and that …] some suspects were known to the security services even before the London subway bombings last year.

Sounds like a false alarm, which neatly coincides with my first reaction to last thursdays ‘news’. In fact about everybody i spoke to did not believe that this was a real threat and most people (especially in Lebanon) where outraged about this plump attempt to direct attention away from the real killing happening in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere.

I do not know what is worse: That a bunch of white, arrogant, paranoid males (a.k.a world leaders) can reveal fake terrorist plots at their convenience to distract the rest of the world from inconvenient realities. Or that corporate media has lowered their investigative standards so much that they reprint everything that is told them (whatever happened to the good old press conference where the police shows the tools of the foiled terrorist on a table with number boards next to them?) or that a bunch of people will have to spend considerable time in jail because the contemplated the possibility of blowing something up (how often have i done that in the past?)? Or that the already insane and completely arbitrary airport security checks seem to have gotten even more insane (only passports, wallets and tickets on board of UK flights? they better have a library on board then or stock up their bar…).

I hope that this whole thing will actually lead to a trail that will embarrass the shit out of the british ‘security’ apparatus…

update [17 aug 2006]: Here is another article by Craig Murray which seems to confirm the NBC story.

I am sick of it...

Actually i am sick of a number of things at the moment. Has a lot today with what the media reporting, but this evening i am particularly sick of how the media are reporting. Around 2000h yesterday evening the germen news-portal spiegel online had a breaking news alert on top of their frontpage:

Why is that important? Even the most stupid intern doing a sunday afternoon shift in the news room while it is summer outside must have noticed that up until now more than 150 people have been killed in Lebanon by the Israelis and at least 20 have been killed in Israel by Hezbollha. So what is the point of pointing out that 8 Canadians have been killed? I mean dead people are dead people and it does not really matter which passport they had (o.k sometimes it does matter, but that is another story and i cant find the link right now) even if the idiots who are running most media outlets and wire services seem to think otherwise.

Are we supposed to pay more attention to the death of Canadians just because they are mostly white, better educated and issue pointless statements for restraint through the same international organizations (G8/NATO/OECD/…) as ‘we’ are?

Or is it because canadians are so healthy and live in such a safe place that their live expectancy is slightly higher than that of the average Lebanese person and as a result their unexpected death weights more than that of a non-western person?

Now don’t expect an answer from spiegel online, as their breaking news alert linked to an absolute non-story. i do not even know why i still have this crap news-site as my start up page in my browser. Guess i have to change that.

This whole episode also reminds me of how pissed i was with all the western media last week for the amount of attention they paid to the Bombay train bombings. given that these attacks where almost exactly one year after the 7/7 London bombings and killed almost 4 times as many people the media attention was extremely sparse. No interactive flash graphics or interviews with distressed emergency responders when it comes to non-westerners being the victims of terrorist attacks (but then interactive flash graphics and interviews with distressed emergency responders are highly annoying things so maybe one should plead for less media attention to terrorist attacks in the west).

Update [23.jul]: Here is a little bit of background on the dead Canadians by Jim Quilty writing for the Canadian website straight.com.

Not safe in first class either

14 Jul 2006 | 31 words | terrorism bombay airtravel

Looks like the bombay train bombers specifically targeted first class passengers. Not that this really makes a difference, but it reminded me of this screen-saver i came across a while back:

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: