APRIL 2003

Wednesday 30 April 2003 - torture a woman time again

It's quite extraordinary, I've been through this movie before. Yet another woman is being dragged through the court, and mentally tortured because the legal 'brains' in the Crown Prosecution Service can't get their heads round some things, like infant cot deaths, not having a definable cause. It's only a few months since another woman was put through it and finally released. This one has lost three babies which you would think was bad enough without having to be charged with murder. It's known that if you lose a child from cot death you are more likely to lose another. Yet the suspicious prosecutor minds jump to the conclusion that three is more than coincidence. Without a shred of evidence of any cause of death, the poor woman is prosecuted and made to live through all three again. Both are professional women, intelligent, and with no evidence of abusive behaviour. Lets hope the jury are intelligent enough to see the ludicrous nature of the charge. Until the day when science comes up with an explanation for cot death syndrome, we must assume some babies are just not viable and fade away. It is this woman's tragedy that this has happened to her three times. To accuse her of murder is downright primitive. But then, so is shooting unarmed demonstrators and that's going on every day in Iraq where it is a now, it seems, a capital offence to shout at Americans, unless they got the orders wrong [not unknown] and it was actually u>shoot/u> at Americans. I see a lot more shouting and shooting happening before this 'war on terror' is finally over. The movie will probably be up and shooting soon, wonder if they'll find a suitable chimp to play Bush, must be able to do that puzzled, uncomprehending look Dubya does so well, the sly four-year-old's 'I got away with it' look, the smugness mixed with intense stupidity. Whew, a tough one for a chimp.

Tuesday 29 April 2003 - outposts of empire

More shooting of unarmed civilians by US grunts, this time people demanding the return of their children's school. They're trigger happy, simplisticly minded, and scared shitless, they are making people very angry and are going to be chased out of Iraq as they were from Vietnam. Meanwhile the IRA make even more concessions and the unionists complain it's not enough. It's never enough, they just say no. As much in bad faith as the Israelis are with their neighbours, and as much in the wrong. And speaking of occupations, how long before we get the US bases removed from the UK, they're leaving Saudi Arabia because there's no longer a threat from Iraq, so what threat is there in Europe that we've still got them?
They swagger round the planet, ostentatiously flashing the wealth they've stolen from the rest of us and we're all supposed to fall over backwards with admiration. I make no excuse for being anti-America, in the same way people were anti-Rome once. This imperial army has less discipline than that ancient one. Apparently the UK troops or 'our boys' are so unused to physical and mental exertion that after just three weeks of war and a few more travelling they need eighteen months to recover. Considering amateur, conscripted soldiers in the 1939-45 war were away at the front for years, this says a lot for the modern fighting man. So we, the taxpayers, are expected to keep them while they play soldiers on Salisbury Plain or travel round the world to exotic locations and train as long as it doesn't entail too much actual fighting or hardship. The only ligitimate army is one made up of all citizens defending their country. Anything else is a repressive arm of the state, and furthers the grandiose fantasies of politicians.

Monday 28 April 2003 - the fight against truth decay continues

Slowly it comes out. Returning US troops are being arrested in droves with stolen artifacts in their luggage, many from the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities ... and one source informs me that the first tank commanders into the city clearly suggested to people they loot buildings and encouraged them by blasting open the doors. As they weren't getting any cheering crowds, it was thought the next best thing would be citizens, freely liberated from oppression, expressing their feelings in another way, thus justifying the war. Other Iraqi citizens were disgusted and angry with the Americans for encouraging it and tried to stop it, but gave up and left. This comes from a foreign, objective observer. That, along with the staging of the statue being pulled down clearly shows the US were stage managing things right from the start. But slowly the truth will come out and even the media might catch on eventually.
Meanwhile Fony Blair sweats profusely every time he has to attempt to justify what he did, whether to politicians or journos, and displays all the signs of someone extremely ill at ease with what he is saying; defensive, evasive, sly, shifty eyed. Apart from having the receipts, he can't be shewer [sure] the WMDs are still there, and all evidence points to them being abandoned years ago, so any remnants will be rubbish that got forgotten. Scattered about the UK there are ex-army dumps of such stuff, more or less toxic, more or less corroded. The military is never very careful at cleaning up, witness the munitions they left scattered about in Kenya which have maimed many children and for which the UK government has only recently accepted responsibility after years of lobbying on their behalf. I have to say that Julie Birchill has finally lost it. The rot happened during the Kosovo war, when she clearly got the hots for the Serb psychos with their 1930s uniforms and draped bullet belts. It didn't matter that they were fascist thugs, they obviously fuelled her fantasies which she now seems to have switched to the UK troops as a basis for rubbishing the anti-war movement - 'our lads are risking their lives for us' no Julie, not for me they ain't. Of course she was against them when they were fighting the 'brave' serb butchers. Obviously kafiah-wearing arabs aren't her scene or she'd have been defending the Taliban - rakish, bearded brigands with dangerous style.
Her weekly column of middle-aged, reactionary rubbish gets Observer readers livid and writing to the editor and I think her only value to the paper where every other page contradicts the Karma Kameleon with the squeeky voice - is to get people writing letters. She obviously has no future in radio or TV, so this is her only way of keeping her name going. She'll be getting the hots for Iain Duncan Smith, the virtual leader of the Tories next. Doesn't matter what your name becomes known for, there's value in it anyway which is why the lottery cheats will doubtless prosper and are already receiving offers despite being so clearly guilty it's painful to hear them denying it.

Sunday 27 April 2003 - migrants we could do without

Every current issue I read about seems to be connected. SARS is intimately linked to concentration of people in small spaces and their proximity to animals, in this case pigs and chicken. There is mixing going on between human and animal diseases just as with AIDS and CJD. Bees are being wiped out by an emerging variant of the varoa mite which has been spreading round the world for a decade. The connection is movemnt of species round the planet, species that evolved in one eco-system within a balanced food chain ending up in another eco-system with no natural predators, causing imbalance and in many cases a devastation of one or more native species and sometimes the whole environment.
It's been happening for a long time. The grey squirrel has almost supplanted the native red in the UK, Rhodedendrons now cover huge area of Snowdonia, wiping out all native plants since they were introduced by the Victorians. Varoa came from Asia where presumably the bees had some immunity toit and had evolved to cope. Still it goes on. Garden centres stock many varieties of exotic foreign species, some of which subsequently escape to the wild. The giant hogweed, an extremely nasty plant which if handled causes blistering sores to erupt for years is an incomer too and still not eradicated from the wild. The victorian plant collectors doubtless found it a handsome, fast growing decorative plant. TV gardening gurus constantly encourage viewers to introduce foreigners. As far as human health is concerned, air travel is the real villain. The constant movement of people and plants round the planet exposes the whole human species to every disease organism, and those still evolving. To board a plane runs the risk of breathing in organisms breathed out by any of the other passengers, and recycled by the plane's 'air conditioning' system for the whole of the flight.
While native UK plants and animal species are becoming rarer, foreign invaders adapt with alacrity and prosper. The introduced mink, escaped or liberated from fur farms, have all but wiped out water voles, but the good news is that something is being attempted to remedy this with a campaign to eradicate the mink. How successful this will be is unknown. Success with eradicating the coypu [originally from S. America] was one of the few instances of damage reversal, but still the transport of animals and plants continues. It's understandable that the Victorians didn't understand the significance of their actions, that's no longer true today.

Saturday 26 April 2003 - lies, damned lies and US government statements

So there they are, the Americans, having a whale of a time blowing up ammunition dumps all over Baghdad and doing it from early in the morning to remind the residents who's in charge, and one stash they've gathered together is so big it really goes, and they say it was a controlled explosion just like the others by way of reassurance to people concerned at the huge plume of flames. That is before the news starts coming in of dozens of bodies and hundreds of injured, then they change their story and claim somebody must have fired a flare into the compund, and within a few hours this has become a 'band of attackers stormed the compound firing flares'. It takes an adult to admit when they're in the wrong. What people really dislike about the US is that not only is it the most powerful nation, but it has yet to grow up and that's scary. Like would anyone welcome the biggest bullying teenager on the block having a flame thrower? None of the fires would ever be his fault. It's really, really naff to keep denying something when everyone knows you're lying. Why do politicians indulge in behaviour we all have to suffer in our five year olds but hopefully train them out of before they get too big and dangerous?
Found an amazing piece of software today called UNFREEZe [] which makes animated gifs from any number of gif files with a simple drag and drop process. It's a tiny file to download, installs in seconds and is FREE! If only all software was like this. The trend with commercial software is to add extra complexity all the time because that's the value added product they can get more money out of us for. Each new version comes up with more to learn and more to cause a system crash. None of my 'with bells on' graphics software can do a simple thing like create an animated gif in seconds, well at all actually. It's good that freeware, the real spirit of the net, is still alive and well. is a good source for both commercial software and for shareware and freeware, all ready for download.

Friday 25 April - things I like about dogs

I admire dogs tremendously, they have many characteristics rarely found in their primate friends. One of the qualities I most like is their inability to hold a grudge. Humans can shout at them, smack them, starve them even and they will still give devotion and love. No judgement, no recrimination. Of course, those who don't particularly like dogs or who have never had a relationship with one will always say they behave as they do because you feed them, so it's all about food and they are incapable of emotions like us. There speaks ignorance is all I can say. Food provision doesn't explain why my dog should come and lick me when someone else has fed her, nor why, when fed, she should wish to sit close to me for contact while she sleeps.
Another thing I like about dogs is the welcome you get even if you've only been away for half an hour, as if they haven't seen you for days. That is unless you're away for days then the welcome is like you've been away months, until you've been away months when you need protective clothing and a toleration of saliva. The welcome never varies, is never off-hand as with humans sometimes, is always genuine and full of gladness.
Dogs are experts at reading humans.Over the millenia of our close association they have sharpened and honed this skill until they can unerringly know what you are thinking before you consciously make a decision. They can read body language, small signs, the native language of their human and a lot else besides. They lack the palate to make our sounds but understand so much, even complex sentences, and can communicate with a range of body movements and sounds, that it hardly matters they can't have a chat about the weather.
I still wonder how the dogs of Iraq are managing. Many will have lost everything; home and family. Not much hope of a fund for Iraqi dogs being successful, no donations of dogfood, no emergency mobile kennels or visiting vet teams. As usual, when humans mess it up other species are left to make it alone. I wonder if any birds managed to nest and raise young this year.

Thursday 24 April 2003 - here comes the rain again

At last the rain, rejuvenating the earth, washing away the detritus from the streets which had lately become dusty and full of litter too small for picking up. The swallows which arrived early from Africa will be able to find mud to build their homes now. Walking the dogs will be a muddier affair, but fun still, and the river which they love to splash in should start to look a bit fuller if it keeps up for a useful time. A river with some movement and danger is always much more interesting.
This part of the UK, the west, Welsh marches border country, seems still rich in wildlife compared to most of Norfolk, perhaps because it hasn't been turned into prairies because of the nature of the landscape, hilly to mountainous, making that impossible. So enclosures are marked with stone walls or living hedgerows, both rich habitats, and there are many areas just too inaccessible which are still wooded, with ancient trees often growing out of the rocks. Old settlements are often still visible as marks in the landscape, mono-culture agro-farming isn't suited and there are many raptors to be seen hovering like spy satellites with the watchful camera eye scanning for movement then the folding of wings and breathtaking plunge towards the earth, maybe one day a miniature video link will record it for us all.

Wednesday 23 April 2003 - famous faces and other designer labels

I can see SARS becoming an issue. If I had money to invest I would be investing in companies making surgical masks which are going to see a huge rise in sales worldwide. It's already part of the culture in Asia to wear one if one has a cold or similar, maybe the panic will make them acceptable here too which might lead to all manner of variations and customisation, which the individualistic West is so addicted to. There could be the inevitable cats faces, but how about faces for those not keen on walking around with a blank bottom half to the face? Famous lips and nose could become popular and one would have the somewhat disconcerting image of crowds of people approaching all looking like slightly wrong collagen implanted famous people. Kate Moss would be popular and Liz Hurley would make her own range of Lizmasks. Famous people of course would wear their own, not wishing to be mistaken for somebody else. This would give a form of anonymity, who should the paparazzi shoot in a crowd of famous faces? Muslims might choose the black and white or red and white kafiah design and all look like terrorists. When the crisis has passed and the invader run its course, the masks will have to be abandoned ... oh the nakedness!
I shall have to search surgical masks and see if there are any bulk supplies at bargain rates out there. I have yet to receive the first mask spam, but it shouldn't be too long. Spam still mostly dominated by 25 million dollar opportunities from Nigeria [and S.Africa, Sierra Leone, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire], grow your penis offers, and mortgage offers. Is there a league table somewhere on the net for current spam I wonder. Perhaps one should be compiled along with the real addresses of the spammers so visitors could send them thanks for their offer, several thousand times. Wonder how many hours that could be spent doing something useful are instead spent deleting spam [after first cursory glance to check, or out of nosiness]. People are having to get new email addresses to dump the spam which of course makes for even more confusion for those with non-spam intent wishing to contact. So it's not so simple as just unwanted pixels which can be wiped easily enough. But then the Post Office these days often delivers nothing but junk mail, so I guess it's just the price we have to pay. Or do we? If cold calling on the doorstep is to be made illegal, why not unsolicited advertising whether on paper or screen.

Tuesday 22 April 2003 - the war returns

I'm a lousy general. Instead of pressing home my apparent easy victory, I relaxed, thinking it all over bar the mopping up and left it to what I had on the battlefield. I stopped taking the i>echinacea/i>. The viruses hung out in quiet places and multiplied, regrouped, plotted even. By this morning I became aware of a tingly nasal space, but dismissed it as an after shock, part of the process. By mid-afternoon it had become obvious even to the slowest general that something was up. The battle has raged ever since, until I took more echinacea and the defence forces rallied and again surged into ascendancy. I shall continue with them this time until all signs of resistance are gone and all is quiet in the micro-eco-system.
Easy to ignore the body when the brain is being called on to concentrate on several things at once as well as a lot of parallel processing to absorb what you read yesterday and another little area trying to figure out why the program crashed ... A side effect of the echinacea seems to be a sore mouth and tongue. Perhaps a result of a stimulated immune system directing friendly fire on ally bacteria in the mouth and gut. I am therefore balancing this with some armour for them in the shape of acidophilus, a live culture of friendlies in handy capsule form, to renew the balance of defences in the body and aid the deconstruction of nutrient intake.
SARS seems to be spreading as expected, air transport being it's chosen route. Wonder how long the airline companies will hang on when the air-travel panic sets in. Stock could get a bit shaky, what with all the people who've already given it up because of the risk of diving into buildings or being disseminated over the countryside already diminishing demand. Visuses are the ecosystem's way of balancing the human load on the planet. In China where SARS 'originated' or evolved, there are 100 million vagrants traveling the country in search of rubbish to scavenge from tips or menial tasks to perform. That's 100 million homeless and destitute, and very dirty. Then there's the way they keep animals. Is anyone else concerned about the massive rise in human population to which China contributes a substantial portion? There has to come a point where it's unsustainable and the only way out is mass starvation. Seems distant from this western perspective with food on the table and in the fridge and the supermarket, and few alive in the UK today have any memory of hunger even, except for the homeless who might cope better than the fat bellies of the city when the shit hits the fan. Tomorrow, with strict control on the war, I should have regained some equilibrium and be seeing things in a rosier light, which won't make it any less true, but you gotta laugh.

Monday 21 April 2003 - dirty tricks or conspiracy

Breaking news this evening that The Telegraph has found evidence that George Galloway has been taking money from Iraq from the oil for food program, now ain't that convenient for those who would silence all critics. Not that I would suggest that the Telegraph would stoop to such tactics even though they are of the right, but they could be easily, if not willingly, used by the 'dark forces' that try to control what is heard. As for Blair, bit of 'will no-one rid me of this troublesome MP?' Galloway has been a none too discreet friend of Iraq, never tried to hide it, but on the make to the tune of hundreds of thousands? I remain to be convinced especially as the Telegraph is a Tory comic. They're trying to silence Michael Moore as well, with as little success. Mind you, they tend to do things differently in the States, so I hope he's into tevlar. I feel a bit detached as a result of the virus wars, the echinacea has worked and this war is almost over, the battlefield echoing and nothing seeming to work, even my email software is crashing, maybe I'm more static charged than usual. Must be something chasing the pixels about. Or maybe I've put off the thought that my system is getting old at three years for too long. Everything races away and before you know it, you have a Commodore 64 on your hands.

Sunday 20 April 2003 - viral wars

The viral wars continue, but, as ever, it's ultimately an unequal battle and mine has to be the winning side. To this end I've aided my immuno-armies with regular doses of echinacea along with mentally directing them like a 5-star general. They won't be taking prisoners.
I think there's a large group of people in the developed world - twenty somethings who have grown up in big cities and have been damaged to a more or less extent by lead in petrol. Some of us began warning about it in the early 70s and it took till the 80s before lead-free was available at a few garages and then with a warning that it might be unsuitable for your engine!. Eventually, by the end of the 90s, it became the norm and everyone discovered that it didn't make a jot of difference to their engine. Now you have to search for leaded petrol. But it took so long, and all that time the traffic grew and grew and kids absorbed it. A well-known effect of lead is brain damage in humans, been known for years long before a bright scientist had the idea of adding it to petrol. The warnings that were given about its effect were eventually heeded, but the damage was conveniently ignored.
Could this be why exam pass marks have had to be manipulated for years to keep the figures up? Could this be the explanation that all 'yoof' TV seems to consist of 20-somethings behaving like 10-year-olds? There's a generation of city-bred kids who just want to jump up and down and party, who haven't a clue and care less what's happening to the world, are even worse polluters than their parents and seem determined not to grow up and face environmental Armageddon. That's not all of them of course, many grew up away from traffic fumes - the hippies' kids in particular, and once lead started disappearing the damage gradually lessened, so there's nothing black and white about it, just a feeling that this is a likely explanation for a phenomenon that's readily visible.

Saturday 19 April 2003 - I've become an ecosystem at war

I have a virus attack going on in my body at the moment. War is being waged on several fronts with much loss of life and the dead are piling up in mucus. My antibodies, fearless fighters for the defence of their world, sacrifice themselves for the good of the system. No over the top homecomings with flags and yellow ribbons. Already people are taking to the streets of Iraqi cities to protest the American presence, didn't take long. The troops can't figure it out of course, they were told they'd be welcomed; is there no gratitude in these people, they wonder. And surprise, surprise, the mullahs are demanding an Islamic state with Shia law, so the US has really done the cause of tolerance, understanding and a secular, liberal democracy a blow. But Israel's happy and more bullish in the knowledge America will never move against its interests.

Friday 18 April 2003 - Easter bunnies and pagan rites of spring

Soon these old ritual times will be so out of pace with the seasons they'll have less relevance than they still do with the bank holiday masses massing for the holiday tailback; picnic beside the motorway, let the radiator cool down. Some might even switch off the engine if stopped for more than half an hour. They won't be going to the Peak District this year as it's alight as are several other 'beauty spots' the car people like to congregate at and eat their snacks, discard the wrappers on the way home and arrive back having contributed yet another parcel of pollution over and above their norm. Perhaps the SARS virus is the environment's way of fighting back against the seemingly unstoppable increase in homo erectus. It has many other surprises up its sleeve, it's a system and everything in the system is balancing towards an equilibrium, We have so far upset that equilibrium that balancing will consist of major events.
Still, some think we can move to another planet when we've ruined this one, not that much progress has been made however considering man first 'apparently' walked on the moon in the sixties, [more of that at a later date] still all we can manage is small robotic probes to the nearer planets, and humans seem only to have managed a spell in orbit. They don't want to tell us the reason because all their funding would dry up, it's because humans can't survive outside of Earth's atmosphere, it's all we've got and all these people bred on Star Wars who think they'll be holidaying in space one day are in for a disappointment [as are those mugs who've bought real estate].
The simple reason is the radiation out there, especially from the Van Allen belt, would fry anyone who ventured out without several feet of lead shielding. As spacecraft seem to be made of very thin material, they have definitely not walked on the moon. Apart from inconsistencies in the faked video like the flag flapping in a windless moon atmosphere, and the conflicting shadows indicating more than one light source, there's the matter of the shot of the first 'steps for mankind' being taken by a camera several metres from the craft and carefully positioned to record the view. Now I've never heard about a robot camera that detached and set itself up and everyone could be forgiven for being mislead at the time as they weren't camera-literate, the scenes they saw gave information and weren't to be analysed. The gritty nature of the pictures helped conceal a lot of joins.

Thursday 17 April 2003 - this wheels's on fire ...

Fires are spreading in the UK, more than a hundred grassland fires in all the Welsh border counties and in many other areas, and several bad ones including forests and woods. No rain, wonder if the promised Easter showers will make a difference. Haven't heard if all the US ones are out yet, probably not. We only hear of the big ones these days, and every year there seem to be a few. Less trees to absorb the carbon and make the oxygen we need. We should all be planting trees as if there's no tomorrow ...
If only time would stand still for a while so I could catch up. Quod nihil scituris something all world leaders should meditate on for a long time.I can't think of one world leader or US president who has been so universally ridiculed as George W. Bush. How many computer games have him as the butt of the joke, how many email jokes about him get passed around the world each day, how many Bushisms cause gales of laughter on an hourly basis. Yet to some he is a mini-god, the good ole boy of good ole boys, his fake bonhomie and down-home, country-boy rhetoric jewels of sincerity and rugged determinism; that's the bottom feeders, so who else supports him?

Wednesday 16 April 2003 - propaganda, all is holy

Saw the Chimpmaking a speech to an assembly of grunts, totally unreal 'America is dealing with a humanitarian crisis in Iraq' [which they caused], 'helping to establish democracy' [like the good ol' usa where money don't buy you love, but it sure buys you the presidency], 'helping to build hospitals' [which they bombed] in fact, black is the new white, and a pig just flew past my window. It's like someone kicking another half to death and then claiming they were doing them a favour by helping them out of the gutter they'd been kicked into. It takes hypocrisy to new depths, a defining moment as the media frequently like to say , the death of truth. And still no WMDs so they're grubbing around for anything as justification, graves, stashes of ammunition [as if Iraq as a state couldn't have this legally just like the US and UK]. And the news media go along with everything, no questioning, no stopping to think, all for the moment.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, other news starts to trickle through and life starts to return to normal. The trial starts of the man accused of the murder of Holly and Jessica in Soham last year. For weeks we watched the police live up to their name 'the Plod' as they scratched around doing everything too late, plainly not mentally up to the task. Then suddenly out of the blue they arrest the school caretaker and his girlfriend who'd figured increasingly prominently with the media and might have been the last to see them alive. Presumably working on the assumption that the last person to see a murder victim alive is often the murderer, lacking any clues and increasingly desperate to solve the crime in the full glare of the media. I was sceptical at the time and wondered if this was going to be another miscarriage of justice where the police fit someone up rather than be accused of not being up to the job. There have been so many cases where many years later the victims of this police 'tidyness' have been released, their lives wasted, and this just seemed too convenient for words. Later, we hear that two of the police officers intimately involved in the case have been arrested for downloading paedophile images ... as expected the accused has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice; in other words he lied to the police/media about something. Maybe he was seduced by the attention and made the mistake of embroidering the truth to put himself centre stage ... he made it. The police can't understand such subtleties, as far as their limited intelligence stretches, he lied therefore he must have done it, they just need to find the evidence. Of course, we know how they 'find' evidence if it's not forthcoming. I hope he has a good lawyer.
The sun is so hot it's more like July. Trees all racing to get their sticky leaves unfurled to take advantage of it, and my Beech seedlings are coming on nicely. But so far we've had no rain for a month which, for this time of year, is kind of unusual. What if we get no rain for the rest of the year and drought settles its dry hand over the green British countryside and drains it of colour. But still everyone must drive their cars and burn their rubbish as they always have.

Tuesday 15 April 2003 - welcome to the circus

I don't know which is worse, the careless act which wiped out Ali's family and blew away both his arms, burning his body in the process, or that which is now under way to turn him into a media circus act. The reporters on the spot are queuing up to be pictured alongside his bed with a sympathetic face on, soon he'll be moved to Kuwait where, if he survives, the media will continue to hound him and 'caring' celebs will make the pilgrimage to be seen with him. The money will flow in and he will be showered with gifts; new arms, endless, painful operations, more photo opportunities. His childhood, his life has gone, to be replaced with a celebrity one based on pain, the innocent victim. All the rest know their parts and he will soon learn his, he looks like a bright kid. And his function will be to make all those involved [who supported the war] feel good about themselves, and try to erase the guilt they feel.
Years ago during the Geldoff saving of the world [god bless you saint Bob] starving Africans became objects for this very end, I heard a donation hotline operator in the US say 'thank you sir, we're here to help you feel good about yourself. One rarely witnesses such breathtaking honesty.
I wonder when the next big one on the States will hit, must be brewing, but they'll bide their time until the beast relaxes for the moment sated. Must be worrying the US hawks that they've not found any WMDs, where have they gone??? Saying it so many times, they must have convinced themselves that Iraq had them, even if the rest of the world didn't buy it. Apart from needing to justify going against the UN and illegally invading another state, there must be the sneaking fear that something far, far worse than September 11 could happen any time.

Monday 14 April 2003 - planet of the apes

I'm trying not to think about this war, I'm losing the desire to analyse and understand and wish it would all go away, and I guess a lot of people in Iraq feel the same way. But it won't for a long time, although the media will soon lose interest and eventually we will be as unaware of Iraq again as we are of Afghanistan. Maybe we'll have to follow Syria being trashed, although I feel the US will have a tougher job on its hands. Iraq had 12 years of sanctions and inspections, and bombing during the whole of that time. Syria feels like a different case, but I'm sure the Chimp will feel he's able to take them on, he's out to beat up on the world and no inteelektules are gonna stop 'im. The swagger as he walks is now so ludicrous, so simian.
It's all to do with holding the shoulders at an unnaturally high position with the arms slightly further from the body than is comfortable. You expect a banana to appear at any moment. The problem for many UK citizens who want to boycott US goods is that US companies own so much of our country and we're all slavishly addicted to shopping in their supermarkets. Tescos is already out for being Jewish/Israeli, Safeway is American as is Asda [Walmart] and Sainsbury is owned by a Blair crony who supports Israel. That just leaves Somerfield [northern based and not many in the south and not too hot on vegetarian diet], or there's Spar [!]. I guess I should support town centre little shops and walk around for hours slowly collecting bags but inevitably missing several items that can't be found outside of a supermarket. If you then go to the supermarket to get the last things, you end up wondering why you didn't get everything there.
Of course we have a special relationship, they own half the country and that's not including air bases. So no boycott is ever going to be very effective just because it's so difficult to avoid American goods. When you think you're buying an old British brand, it turns out to have an American parent company. And so the world becomes ever more homogenised, individual cultures slowly drip away to be supplanted by a McDonalds/Disney/Microsoft monoculture where all Americans can feel at home. That's until they choke on their poisoned burger/hot dog/pizza. I think all good Americans should avoid travel for a while. And now Fony Blair has said Ali can't be flown to the UK to save his life as the situation is unstable in Baghdad. What a totally conscienceless third-rater he is.

Sunday 13 April 2003 to loot or not to loot, aye there's the question

Well, some obscenely rich American collectors must be rubbing their hands, the CIA have cleaned out the choice pieces which are even now headed for their private vaults, they'll soon be 'owning' something of history in more ways than one. Help to pay for the war. Golden opportunity for the spooks really, widespread looting of stuff, chaos in the streets, but for all the pictures the media showed, there were none of the looting of the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities, just a verbal snippet tagged onto the end of the exciting crowd scenes. The loot will already be out of the country, these are professionals after all, no turning up at Mosque doors overnight. I mean, why would Iraqis loot the museum? Can they install an ancient artifact in their home, show the neighbours, have barbecues round it? Can they sell it on the streets? No, they were taking mostly stuff that could be used for mending bombed homes, enhancing undamaged ones or exchanging with a black market contact probably for food. This is so obviously the dirty tricks brigade that the US uses all over the world. It's the hidden army who really do the dirty, and are never shown on camera. The fresh faced young man commanding his very own tank is there for the photo opportunities, calling everyone 'sir' like a well-brought-up American boy. Of course, hours previously he had been firing shells into cars and buildings, but shucks, don't he look cute momma!
And already the throwback has his beady little eyes on Syria. Bush quote of the week: 'It takes time to reestablish chaos and order' naah George, about three weeks. Bet the Zionist script writers wished they had a Bush double
to work with, who could at least learn his lines and speak them without mishap. George would be best doing a Typhoo Tea ad. I can see it now ... better get my animation software out and see what it can do. How do you tell a seven and a half year old how a little boy about her age hasn't any arms, just bandages? Fucked if I know. I expect American browsers will change that to F*****, but I don't give a fuck. Faced with the obscenity of war I can never see what there is to get upset by with language, Anglo-Saxon or Serbo-Croat.
Who was it said 'War is the way Americans learn geography' ? Probably Michael Moore. My favourite current joke was a letter in the Observer today. 'Why do the media keep on about Sunni and Shia, they haven't had a hit in years'. Well you gotta laugh or the tears wouldn't stop once they started.

Saturday 12 April 2003 - the media falls for it every time

The pulling down of the statues seemed to me like a media event. The faces of the participants, not a large crowd, just seemed too camera aware, too much waiting for the camera to catch them, too much glancing sideways to judge the effect. But then, I thought, in a media age, who isn't media savvy? But the truth is much more sinister as you'll see if you click on this link: Another good source of real information is: where you can subscribe to Fraser's newsletter and get it delivered to your mailbox every week, a recommended read.
Now the hard men get involved on a personal level. Iraq will have the highest number of CIA operatives of all countries for the next few years. They not only have all the Ba'ath party people to hunt down and eliminate [as much for what they could tell as for their crimes] but they will also have to 'liberate' those Iraqis who object to the carve up once they realise what is happening, the honest ones who can't be bribed. There will be many unexplained deaths over the coming months and years.
Meanwhile the poor will continue to suffer, probably more than they did under Saddam for his quarrel was ever with political rivals and the Kurds and Shias. They will certainly not get the health care they had for a long time, and many more babies will die. I'm still waiting for a journalist to ask how many more tonnes of depleted uranium have been added to the environment of Iraq and whether they have an estimate of how many deaths that will cause. I'll certainly be asking the question of anyone I can think of .
I think that every person in the US and UK who has supported this should make a donation of at least £200 [and dollar equivalent] for the rebuilding and compensation of Iraq. After all, it wasn't against the people but Saddam, there is therefore a moral imperative for them to cough up as much as they can afford. Perhaps the government could organise a fund to which they could all contribute and chase the images of dismembered babies from their minds.

Friday 11 April 2003 - forward planning? What forward planning?

Amazing how the best minds of the US and UK can plan something like this but not give a thought to what happens after the happy citizens have strewn rose petals at the feet of the conquering liberators. Expect they thought they'd all go back to their little lives; mowing the lawn, buying ice cream for the kids, chatting over the garden fence, perhaps have a holiday or paint the fence. Ah, but the garden fence got bombed to shit along with the house and most of the family and now there's mayhem on the streets 'cos they emptied the jail and there's no authority 'cos they bombed that too. And Strangelove Rumsfeld laughs in glee at the press conference, claiming the media have created a scene of devastation whereas it's really just people experiencing freedom and tomorrow they'll go back home. Complacency is too weak a word for this Zionist, he's high on killing Arabs just like Sharron, his best buddy, and they're putting in a gang of Israel-leaning, hard right CIA spooks. The oilfields have already been heavily fenced and guarded by - you guessed it - US troops, the same troops who can't be expected to guard hospitals and museums or act as a police force. Got the oil, don't give a shit, to sum it up. With the censorship of the US media, the American public don't get to see half of what we see, and we don't get to see half of what the rest of the world sees [media bias in our case, self censorship], so they are probably ignorant of the true situation [unless they get their information from the Internet]. I hear the victory parades have started for the 'heroes' homecoming. Meanwhile, in Iraq, the whole place is flattened, hospitals have been looted and attacked, water and electricity are off over most of the country and children are still dying.
There is no order or authority, no infrastructure, no money worth anything, a lot of bomb sites and damaged buildings, and a lot of anger which boils over all the time. The US troops still there stand around looking bemused and incapable of doing anything. It's not their job, they just do killing. And the population is beginning to turn nasty towards the yanks, very soon the sniper fire will increase and open hatred will start to come out in mobs. There'll be 'situations' where, again, they will fire on civilians and kill more. The crowds will get increasingly hostile. They are already shooting up cars that get too close to them; what kind of men are these who will fire on a car with children in because they're too petrified with fear to think? Heroes? The Nazis were brutal, but they at least had courage. These are overarmed pansies, OK with playing at soldiers or shooting a few students in a demo, OK for running about and shouting, not so hot when fired on though, then they have to call in air strikes. The Brits at least have conducted themselves so much better than the Americans that they stand out as a lesson on how to behave, and they're no angels.
Ultimately it's all about the twin towers, America under the hard-right junta wanted to get revenge, it had thought it was invulnerable and could behave any way suited its interests without any comeback. Afghanistan wasn't enough, they'd got the kick from killing [at least two separate wedding parties were wiped out as I recall, amongst many such incidents] and wanted to have some more. This felt good, it felt right, the red blood was an aphrodisiac as long as it was a foreigner's. There's a sickness in America, and we haven't seen the last of it. The celebration parties and flag waving are to come yet, the overstated, over emotional, jingoistic rhetoric, the marching bands and the yellow ribbons - our country, right or wrong, love it or leave it, support the president or butt out. Somehow, the Clinton years seem like a faded dream of the good times when common sense prevailed and the nuts were just in the gun lobby or surviving in the desert in log cabins with deep, bombproof cellars waiting for the government agents to come. Now they are the government and the world is deeply worried. Maybe Syria next, who knows which is first on the Israeli hit list.

Thursday 10 April 2003 - where did the war go?

It's all got a bit silly, men beating up statues, rushing about and behaving badly for the assembled cameras. They all know how extras have to behave in this situation so they're playing up for our benefit. The troops seem confused, not quite what they expected, not sure what to do about people running past with three piece suites on their shoulders. A systematic cleaning out of everything owned by the state [wouldn't we all like the opportunity!] even the plumbing and fitments are going along with office chairs, beds, filing cabinets and even windows. The press are, of course, horrified and, being middle class and privileged, are shocked at widescale pilfering by people with nothing, one of their worst fears, and a bad example. The officers are more sanguine about it, seeming to think it's OK because they've been repressed and the regime has wallowed in opulence while they went without. The British army is more sympathetic and tolerant than the British media.
But that's not the full story. All of that happened in a small part of Baghdad, in the Shia area so expected, and it was all young males aged between ten and thirty. Elsewhere, bombed streets were deserted or running with the footsteps of urban warriors with guns, and those suffering in the hospitals continued not to smile for the cameras. The triumphalism of the war party is a tad disingenuous, the end result a foregone conclusion given the overwhelming military superiority, and the determination to use it despite civilian deaths.
Meanwhile the cry of 'get Saddam' has gone up and everyone is rushing around looking for him in the most unlikely places - a mosque? There's a network of tunnels and bunkers under Baghdad and if he gets in there will they ever find him? He could end up as a mythical figure, forever being spotted but never captured like the 'black beasts' that have proliferated across the British countryside. Saddam could end up a wizened, white moustached figure seen scurrying away when approached. Expeditions would be mounted like the ones to find the Loch Ness monster.
Or is it all a bluff and they really atomised him in the restaurant so no one would ever be able to ask him the details of what the US and UK supplied him with. I think he would be an embarrassment to both states if he was captured alive, it would make marvelous theatre. I'd like to say a big Hi to my American readers and reassure you that I love Americans and hate what the bozo, redneck, hard right, gene-challenged militarists do in your name, and with your taxes. There are amazing people in America and much new thinking goes on there, but the dinosaurs still rage. Keep on thinking free, the future of all of us depends on you winning.

Wednesday 9 April 2003 - craven images and icons

Statues are being tumbled and smashed as if destroying lumps of concrete can change anything. Almost a pre-civilisation, tribal ritual feel to it except for the tanks doing the smashing, symbols and high drama. The market in souvenirs is buoyant. Groups of men who don't look exactly poverty stricken seem to be embarked on organised looting on a grand scale, businesses being formed for the future, stock being got in. A wholesale relocation of furniture is taking place, someone had all the baths and fridges and now they're going to new owners.
The dogs, and I'm relieved to find there are still dogs, all howl together across Baghdad fifteen minutes before the planes arrive to drop their bombs. And we think we're superior. In a year's time will the men in charge be any better? Will the American still be there? Will the military governor still be toting a gun in a holster on his hip? 'I believe I'm John Wayne, get on your horse.' He's even called Chuck! In childhood games I was always an Indian and hated the cavalry as only an Indian could. And I didn't know then about the smallpox infected blankets given to them in a precursor to biological warfare, or of the herds of buffalo they wiped out to starve them. Oh, these people have a long history of this and it's not pretty.

Tuesday 8 April 2003- don't shoot the messenger, shoot the press

Now the journalists get it. Several have been targeted, especially Al Jazeera and now several killed. Claims that someone was firing from the Palestinian Hotel have been shown to be false and therefore no justification even in the hard eyes of the military. This was a blatant attack on the press by a tank firing into the middle of a hotel known to be occupied by the press, who have been remarkably uncritical in the most part, but who have clearly upset the megalos by not trotting along quietly and lamely to be 'embedded' with military minders. The Pentagon spokescreature made it quite clear font 'war is a dangerous place, they shouldn't be there'. The UK's pathetic politicians refuse to allow any criticism of their big friend as they wait for it to go away. But murder is murder and people won't let it drift into fog and forgetting quite that easily.
I can't get the face of Ali, the little lad who lost all his family and both his hands courtesy of the land of the free, out f my mind, the pain from his appalling injuries joining with the emotional pain. Anyone who supports this butchery should watch that film a few times and, if they aren't overwhelmed with pity and sadness should be taken out and shot for being a waste of protein.

Monday 7 April 2003 - bad vibes

I think it's down to bad vibes bouncing off people and proliferating in a built-up area. If they could all just take a deep breath and think about what they're doing. All those involved from the generals to the medics feel part of a whole, and the whole determines their action and reaction, so they go along with it and add to the whole, which is bad vibes. And bad vibes beget bad vibes and killing begets killing. Just as in Israel. If only they could all tune into the same radio station and it was playing nonstop Bach, we might be in with a chance. Everyone needs to chill out and regain their humanity and sense of beauty. And stop eating red meat.
It is, however, hotting up, so no Bach available then. Seems journalists are being targeted now - no right to be there giving the reception-end view to the world, should have pulled out with all the American news teams and returned with the conquerors with sanitised newscasts. Neat and tidy.
I'm surprised it takes four bunker busting super bombs to hit a restaurant which may have had Saddam in. Do Baghdad restaurants have bunkers? Otherwise how would they know it was him, there can't be very much left of anything after that. Like, atomize all the evidence then do a search. Is there a secret reason why the US administration don't want to find any evidence? Curiouser and curiouser.
Reading about antiwar sites being attacked by hackers and defaced or worse. Can't these people take criticism? Michael Moore comes in for some of course, but it's mostly incoherent redneck stuff. I guess the Pentagon's and related pro-war sites are so heavily defended that a hackers system would implode as soon as [s]he got on. They're coming up with all kinds of crazy weapons, some electronic, some just nasty. Starship Troopers wasn't prescient though, Heinlein was a right wing nut so probably a must read for the think tanks.

Sunday 6 April 2003 - running around like headless chicken

The media seem to have lost it. It's perhaps understandable for those 'embedded' journalists to have absorbed military through their skins, living, eating and breathing with the soldiers, but there's no excuse for those in the studio who should be bringing a calm, analytical view. Instead, they seem worse, ignoring any expressed views and going off on their own fantasy.
The latest is the '200 body remains in a warehouse' case. Despite the military officer in charge stating that they were old, could not be associated with any recent conflict and he could not speculate where they were from, the TV news studios, starting with Sky and followed closely by the BBC, had no such inhibitions and decided that it was a horror discovery ... signs of executions, chilling remains blah blah blah. Then the Sunday papers, ever the rabid sensation mongers, chimed in with claims that this justified the war, which of course is the reason all were so keen to leap to the worst conclusion seeing that no justification has yet been found.
It was obvious to anyone with a brain that the remains were carefully catalogued and kept, new coffins had been lined up to receive them, and, being very old were likely to be from a previous conflict and either newly discovered and disinterred, or returned by a third party. As Iraq had a war with Iran, it was likely this was the origin of the remains. Iraqis at the site said they had been recently returned by Iran, duh? The remains were wrapped in bits of military uniform, and books catalogued the identities along with pictures - albeit gruesome ones but death is rarely pleasant.
Considering the lengths the UK and US go to return the remains of citizens killed abroad, I would have thought it more natural to assume that Iraqis feel the same way. But an insidious effect of this war is the racism and demonising of the Iraqi people, so that the assumption of normal human emotions and habits is no longer extended to them. Claims that 'blood' at the scene links with the remains is of course nonsense, there's no way blood would still be in evidence given the obvious age of the bones. Talk about headless chicken, and we rely on these half-wits for our news.

Saturday 5 April 2003 - they seek him here ...

I saw a field gun burning and I wondered what there was to burn on a field gun. It didn't look like something on the outside burning off like fuel, it seemed as if the mass of the thing was burning fiercely as if made of wood. How much of the Iraqi equipment is made of wood? It would help the clear up of course, but I think the scrap metal business is going to be healthy for some time, but possibly dangerous considering the depleted uranium which has been spread everywhere. Maybe the Americans won't want to hang around too long. The welcome that some citizens in the streets are giving could turn sour once the leukemia rates rise.
The journalists have had a good war and will have tales to tell for many years. It won't have done their careers any harm either. And another generation gets blooded into the killing game. We've had a graphic illustration of the inequality of a battle between tanks and cars. As with every other aspect of this war it's been a David and Goliath scenario, a weak country pulverised by a duo of might. And no WMDs found, the justification for the whole thing. They're cutting up Kalashnikovs with a mobile circular saw, which seems a long winded way of going about it.
Surely a mobile smelter could have been arranged with fresh steel for the rebuilding job that lies ahead, something creative. The walkabout Saddam was a double I've decided. Too chubby cheeked, too much of a smile. Compared to the bunker Saddam we saw two weeks ago who looked drawn and shaken, this one was on an outing he hoped he survived and glad there were so many civilians clustered around him. Would anyone in their right mind take that risk if he had a double he could order to do it, he may be mad but he's clearly not stupid. The real Saddam may already be out of the country, or deep in a bunker, or somewhere in the countryside. I can't see a Saddam criminal trial at the Hague.

Friday 4 April 2003 - Geronimo!

An entertaining press conference from the Iraqi information minister, in clean, pressed uniform [so they must have their laundry sorted] and exuding confidence and a cloaked menace. He was so confident and expansive that one was led to believe either that they had a surprise up their sleeve for the US troops at the airport, or he was on drugs, probably cocaine. I imagined thousands of Iraqis hidden in the sand [just like Geronimo in that old movie with Jeff Chandler in the lead, a white man] and in the dead of night they emerge to take their revenge. Or maybe it's an Iraqi version of psy-ops; bad smells will drift over the troops as they sit, bug-eyed, strung out and jumpy waiting for the 'unconventional attack', donning gas suits at the slightest whiff 'can't breathe man!'.
Last night we were entertained by the vanishing American airport task-force which, it was announced, had taken the airport. Reporters rushed to the airport and found nothing. No sign of a tank, no explosions anywhere near, no sounds
of fighting, peaceful and quiet, the road to the airport almost deserted. Even a few travelers in the terminal with their hand luggage looking for a taxi, but too quiet. One reporter was visibly confused, having had the news that the airport had been taken and rushing to report on the action. It then turned out that they were 'close to the outskirts' of the airport. With the limited water they can carry, the first thing they did on getting control of the airport was to have a wash.
There have been a few times when it seemed the two sides were fighting a different war from the varying accounts. Interview with the doctor who treated private Lynch, he seemed to have become quite fond of her and referred to her as Jessica, and to the fact that she had wanted the war to end and for her to go home to her parents.
Then the seals had to 'rescue' her from the hospital in a 'daring nighttime raid' and all of a sudden she's a hero who fought bravely against being captured until all her ammunition was spent. Reporters started asking if she had been tortured or had witnessed executions but, careful not to be put in a situation of confirming something that was later revealed as spin, the general refused to discuss it. It all seemed miles away from the mild mannered doctor, and the obvious medical attention she had received. All that fuss just to transfer a patient to a different hospital. But if you've got seals you just have to use 'em.
And now Saddam appears in the streets surrounded by a growing crowd of adoring fans. But is it the real Saddam or a fake Saddam. Is the real Saddam really a fake Saddam? Will they ever know if they've caught him, or will he join Binny in the mountains of Pakistan? All the US media networks withdrew the day before it started, so what kind of picture is being fed the great American public? Of course, this is the first 24-hour media war ever and there's bound to be some conflicting stories, but this is pretty basic stuff no one can get wrong. The fog of disinformation makes it an interesting event on several levels. If you ignore the severed limbs, crushed bodies, hands blown off and body parts scattered. If you can shut all that out and not feel for the Iraqi people having to suffer their country being chosen for the mega world war games, then I guess ...

Thursday 3 April - 2003 - 'don't take a weather man to tell which way the wind blows'

"This will be no war-there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention. The president will give an order. It will be rapid, accurate and dazzling ... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on." Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair, JAN 28, On January 28 I knew it was going to be long drawn out, messy and would reverberate for decades and the political repercussions for the UK and US would be enormous. I just wish Vanity Fair would employ me instead.
The killing of the seven women and children in a van was clearly an American tit-for-tat episode. Historically Americans have always indulged in this, from way back when there was an Indian attack where the cavalry suffered losses, they would destroy a handy Indian village and murder all its inhabitants, mostly old people, women and children. Four Americans had been killed by a suicide bomber and they were gonna kill 'em some in exchange. Bad luck there was a reporter within hearing distance and revealed all. Will we hear of the US dealing with this???
The boycotts are gathering apace and appear to be part of a worldwide movement. One Web site, ["> calls for boycotts of 27 top American firms from Microsoft to Kodak while another, ["] urges the "millions of people against the war" to "Boycott Brand America."

Wednesday 2 April - closing in or closing down

It continues, the barbaric onslaught right in the cities, trashing even the road surface as the tanks roll around. I wonder when the molotov cocktails will appear. It's not over yet. Talk radio is a wonderfully incontinent medium. People shoot their mouths off, claiming the most outrageous things and displaying such aberated attitudes. People all over the country must be shouting at their radios and [TVs] as those 'in charge' fail to contradict. Two UK soldiers who had returned home because they questioned the legality of killing civilians have apparently disappeared without a trace. Their existence denied by their commanding officer. I smell a cover-up, no way do they want that subject to surface even in a court marshall.
If only commentators could understand that it's about oil, they wouldn't waste their time talking about things like 'profits from oil for Iraqis' and Iraqis should run the country' after liberation. This war is seriously blocking web traffic. At certain times of day - around 4pm onwards - it's almost impossible to get online. Engaged tones on ISPs means only one thing. By continually dialing you're bound to slip through at some point, but it can take up to 30 minutes. Oh for broadband. This is about as bad as it was for Belgrade-based websites at the height of their bombing. And I still can't get any Arabic language sites, or is that just me?

Tuesday 1 April 2003 - fool's day

Major computer system melt down [the April 1st bug?], that's the last time I ever get involved with Windows cleanup utilities. Had to reinstall everything and it's taken all day. The war marches on and nothing surprises really, perhaps every generation has to have a war, maybe it's an integral part of our DNA.
I wonder who's doing the laundry in this war. All those smart new uniforms must be pretty stained and smelly by now, we don't hear about the laundry run though. Of course they have to look disheveled or people would suspect they'd been skiving, but what about all the underwear changes? I worry about these things.
Saw a dog trying to do his job and defend his home, but he was only small and the thugs were big and didn't give him a thought as they smashed through his door. Hope they didn't shoot him out of hand after the camera moved on just for being a nuisance, or for need of something to kill. Iraq is looking distinctly trashed, buildings turned to rubble, streets strewn with bricks, dust and grime, air of desolation, the colour draining from life itself along with the monochrome armies of aliens to whom you are only allowed to be subservient or they put a bag over your head.




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