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Saturday, December 31, 2005


Check the title link DLA's, the 'backlash' has started. Like most US 'conservatives' Michelle Malkin does not allow comment on her drivel; she does however solicit "TIPS", so i wrote her an email instead.

Subject: TIP from Britain
From: edjog
Date: 2005/12/30 23:13 GMT
To: malkin@comcast.net

Message body:

There is no excuse for torture.

To seek to hold one's government accountable for complicity in it is not a 'left' issue.

It is democracy.

The tone of your piece "THE NEW MOONBAT CRAZE IN BRITAIN" is not only misleading, but also, by casting aspersions on those who would challenge the continuation of this hideous state of affairs, tends to excuse the original act.

That you do not actually state your own opinion, whilst casting these aspersions, points to your own cowardice.

You are also factually in error.

Craig Murray wrote the book as a further continuation of his fight against Uzbeki torture, a fact he was certainly in a better position to judge the reality of than you, as he was the British Ambassador there. The 'documents' prove that this was his concern, showing as they do his opposition to UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office policy as far back as 2002. He also stood for parliament against our Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in an effort to get these concerns a public hearing, after being continually rebuffed by the FCO. He states quite categorically that his book contains "his own thoughts" on the issue and that one need not buy it to read the documents, since he has made them widely available. The book itself is not available anyway, because by law, he must obtain permission from the UK Government before publishing, which has been refused. Hence the leak.

The torture referred to is not "British-outsourced" at all. The information, that Murray claims was obtained under torture that has been used by British Security Services, has come to them via the CIA. So if it is "outsourced" at all, it is by the US. In fact Murray's correspondence calls for an MI6 presence in Uzbekistan, which was apparently lacking: "We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state."

Craig Murray did not "organise" anything. He made the documents available to some popular bloggers and the rest of us, seeing the importance of the issue, mirrored the documents so that the UK Government could not stifle their publication with D-Notices or threats of prosecution under The Official Secrets Act.

In short, your piece is dross, with all the credibility appertaining to me, should i compose a rebuttal entitled "FAR-RIGHTEOUS EXCUSENIK SUPPORTS TORTURE". Then again, given that your purpose is simply to support what you mistakenly perceive as your short term interest, perhaps i will.

Here's the TIP:
You need to wake up and stop trying to view the world's events as ideological stances.


Nod to Jesus' General.

What i did not add to the email, in the spirit of politeness you understand, is that in her picture at the linked site, she looks to have been the victim of some rather poor plastic surgery and so, perhaps this is why she doesn't think torture's so bad, since she must live with anguish every day.

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Anonymous Smiley said...

I have no respect for, nor give any credibility to, any blogger who does not allow comments. They are quite simply, afraid of rational feedback which could even potentially expose their rant for the illogical drivel that it is.

(So! How 'bout those Bush "free speech zones" heh?)

They seem to be driven by FEAR. Fear of gays, fear of abortion-on-demand, fear of death-by-terrorist. Because of FEAR they are willing to live in a world without personal choice. How can we help them to see that FEAR as a emotional response hinders rationality?

31/12/05 22:56  
Blogger edjog said...

Friend, i don't know.

I'm tempted to say that providing an exhaustive risk assessment, so that the pros and cons of any given response can be weighed against a similar risk assessment of that response, could be the place to start. However, that would be to make a number of assumptions that do not fit with the evidence:

1, that fear has not already hindered rationality beyond the point where any logical thought can take place;

2, that actual facts are known which could inform an assessment and that even were they, anyone other than those in power would get a chance to know them;

3, that the 'reaction' is not in fact itself the casus belli, the 'justification' for which is merely awaited;

4, that other emotional responses such as guilt, greed, envy, hatred and self-loathing do not preclude the ability to respond reasonably;

5, that, all irrationality aside, people are not too lazy to exercise personal responsibility.

Examining my own need to seek more than 'simple' emotion based reactions, i find i have beliefs which insulate me from my fears. However some of them are irrational themselves:

1, i believe i lead a 'charmed life', that a spiritual force promotes our best interests and mine specifically. I am 'luckier' than most people, when 'the shit hits the fan' i'm miraculously not there or not much hits me if i am;

2, i have a broad base of knowledge and experience, thus a very accurate internal model of 'the way the world works'. I trust that anything new will be understandable enough for it not to do me any harm;

3, i can spot bullshit half a mile away.

The combination of these, plus the fact that i don't actually care very much what happens to me, so long as i get a few more laughs in before the end, allow me to contemplate even the very worst or best without being scared off.

That's not to say that i don't feel fear, or any other potentially destabilising emotion, just that (often bitter) experience and therapy have taught me to look at the bigger picture.

Then again, after a time when i was almost conquered by despair but saved by hatred and stubbornness, it was the example of others living as i do now which allowed me to overcome fear to try it. So perhaps that's the way. To just crack on and hope that enough people take heed of one's example that 'a critical mass' is reached and humanity survives. If it doesn't, we'll have at least had a deeper experience of our own lives. In the meantime: i reserve the right to subvert my enemies' methods to ends which i deem reasonable.

2/1/06 01:33  
Blogger shane said...

Great "advice". It's amazing the lengths we have to go to to speak truth to power. And on that subject, have you seen/read Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech? He comes down pretty good on Bush, Blair, torture, US foreign policy, etc.
You can access it here: http://nobelprize.org/literature/laureates/2005/printer-lecture.htm

5/1/06 04:30  
Blogger edjog said...

No, i hadn't seen that before shane and thanks for bringing it to my attention. Your url is misspelle4d (that was a genuine accident which i thought i'd leave in for comic effect) though, so for anyone else who reads this go here for Pinter's speech.

It's wise and inspiring, not in the common 'rousing' stylee but rather in the honest recognition of the steely resolve necessary for our task, which i would agree with him is "restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man."

Personally, in my limited attempts to "speak to power", i'm simply going through the motions. As Prof Noam Chomsky says,

"It makes sense, in any system of domination and control, to try to change it as far as possible within the limits that the system permits."
(interview with Ziga Vodovnik 2004/07/14 Cambridge, MA. ZNet)

I do not believe 'they' actually care: why would they? It is in their short-term vested interest to carry on as before or even enact regressive measures. The only reasons for the powerful to listen are to better understand the nature of dissent, either so it can be silenced or, should this prove impossible, it can be bought off and should this fail, the absolute minimum be conceded.

No, i'm speaking to you. What i'm saying is that we are forming a culture which, by utilising technology, operates outside the standard practices of our parent societies and therefore has no need of it's inherently repressive structures. The way forward is not to beg scraps from the rich table but rather party on the floor, we've got the means to make it clean enough to eat off these days.

A point will be reached where this culture can demand that our societies' structures reflect its beliefs and goals, by main force or the threat thereof, as all previous rights have been wrested from prevailing power historically.

We must beware however. Not simply against direct repression, agents provocateurs, and demoralising propaganda, but against insidious infiltration. What the fuck am i on about? Is this some early 20th century revolutionary speech i'm quoting? Could well be for all i know, but here's how it's relevant now:

What if the internet becomes even more of a complicated broadcasting medium, rather than a peer-to-peer communication technology? Who will 'own' it? What information will travel most often and with least resistance?

5/1/06 08:34  
Blogger shane said...

The idea that technology might make "inherently repressive structures" obsolete is a hot topic on anarchist list serves these days. I tend to take the Luddite position here, but withougt being so extreme. I don't think technology can solve our problems, but I don't think it exacerbates them, either. No matter how sophisticated our technology becomes, it can't make finite resources infinite, so the repression of the masses will always be necessary. It's true, though, that the old methods of direct coercion have been replaced by "persuasion" and brain-washing, which is why I don't think internet communication will ever be seriously censored. A better means of dealing with dissent is just to marginalize it.
And yes, it's true that "they" have no incentive to listen to dissenters, but when someone sneaks in a critical email under the guise of "tips" it does create stress-- even psycopaths don't like to be challenged--and that might lead to change. Might.
I can only think of myself in this respect: I entered college as a Reagan-supporting Republican, and within two months I'd become a Liberal Socialist--and now I'm an Anarchist (of sorts). So change can happen. Granted, it's not likely to take place at age 50 or 60--especially if the oil refineries you own depend on your not changing--but little by little ... maybe.
I go back and forth on this, though. One day I'm completely pessimistic and the next I'm full of enthusiasm, so I can't speak with a tremendous amount of conviction. But I'm sure your letter had to have touched some nerve. At the very least, she'll be a little less comfortable spewing her drivel in the future.

5/1/06 18:51  
Blogger edjog said...

You're right shane, about technology, but it can make information about those resources, and the uses to which they are put, infinitely disseminable. This is leading to a level of scrutiny of the activities of the powerful which was previously impossible. It's like Chomsky says, further into the linked interview above, before we can tackle oppression people must first realise that they are being oppressed. That 'the way the world is' is not a 'natural phenomenon', like the sun rising and setting, but rather a series of beliefs/customs/practices which when combined keep those in power where they are.

Yes, marginalisation. I don't do myself any favours by resorting to foul language on this blog, but then hey, fuck it, when something fucks me off, like most people i know, i swear in direct proportion to how fucked off i am. But then again, i'd imagine that the words "anarchist" and "anarcho-syndicalist" in the meta tags of this page are probably all that's needed to trigger "Net Nanny" type applications. After all, anyone who advocates equality, justice and peace whilst pouring invective on those whose words/deeds seem contrary to sanity, let alone any of those, is clearly a dangerous subversive, from whom 'our children' should be protected.

Quite apart from such blatant exemptions from anti-trust legislation such as the TimeWarnerAOL merger, the ownership of content and distribution means of media is still in the hands of the same people, even if their company has a different logo: corporate oligarchy. We must resist this, or risk giving them the power to further marginalise dissent. That's one reason why i support Mozilla, i mean it helps that it is better software than Excrementer� or Safari-so-good-but-not-good-enough�, but it's open source, which lends itself therefore to modification and user driven developement. If, at some point, a large software company were to make it difficult to access certain web content by burying the controls which turn off the restrictions under layers of technical sounding menus etc. in their browser, it won't affect me. There's more to this argument: Lawrence Lessig is the man with the plan as far as i can tell.

Re: Malkin.
Well, one always hopes i suppose, but like i said, i'm not really talking to her. It's a shame that Blogger doesn't properly support TrackBack links, so that any random reader could link directly from her tripe to my rebuttal. Personally, i don't think one should be able to edit them either. I have every confidence in what i say, so i have no fear as to what anybody else may write about it. Who knows, i may actually learn something, which is always a nice surprise.

6/1/06 03:04  
Blogger shane said...

Hey edjog,
Another issue with technology is cost. The internet, for example, is a great way to dissemenate alternative info., but only a small percentage of world population can afford--or has access to--computers. I saw a promo for a $20 laptop produced by someone who wanted to equalize the playing field for the poor, but I'll bet it doesn't sale very well. In America, owning one will be seen as a sign of low status, and in the Third World, where the majority (half of the world's pop., that is) live on the equivelent of $2 a day, I think, the cost is still too high.

8/1/06 19:51  
Blogger edjog said...

You're right shane, but only as long as we keep operating within our current economic model.

Off the top of my head, i thought: what do we do when we get a new computer? Sell the old one on eBay? Well, is the quarter of what you payed for it really worth the aggravation? How about a charitable donation of our old computers, isp servers, router equipment, Cat V cable etc. to developing countries? In fairness, it shouldnt be that hard to sell the idea to the corporate oligarchy, after all: without a continually expanding market for consumer goods and brands, capitalism doesn't work, therefore investment in the infrastructure of underdeveloped nations makes financial sense.

The Marshal Plan worked for Europe, the rapid redevelopement of consumerism kept the US economy from going bust again by providing a market for oil based products and investment opportunities.

It also engenders good will. Again take Europe: we've been cheerfully taking it up the arse from the US for years, it's only now that American rapaciousness has really come out of the closet that attitudes are changing.

8/1/06 23:42  
Anonymous Smiley said...

Nice thread. I have no idea how this page popped up but it did and here I am. Hope you've been well.

Bookmarked. ;)

31/10/08 21:15  

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