US creates “shadow” networks for dissidents and revolutionaries

In one of the most ambitious developments, the State Department and Pentagon spent at least $50 million on the creation of an alternative cellphone network in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from shutting down mobile connections in the country.

To accomplish this, cellphone towers have reportedly been installed at protected military bases across the country.

The independent network allows cellphone users to communicate when local Afghani networks are shut by the Taliban. The disruptions typically occur between 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., so that the Taliban can conduct their operations unreported to security forces.


In times that include the Patriot Act and Echelon routinely monitoring domestic email and telephone communications, times that see Homeland Security agents interviewing school-children for allegedly making terrorist and/or seditious remarks in class after being reported for same by their teachers, times that see global airline passengers routinely strip-searched and subjected to pointless and invasive body scans, the United States is encouraging foreign citizens to communicate outside their own countries’ infrastructure and legislation.
I have to wonder if this is an opt-out of totalitarianism or a defacto opt-in to US Secret Service’s information gathering network, feeding the beautifully poetic fear of terrorism and justification for further military intervention.

Please juxtapose the linked article with the following two pieces, the first a news report, the second an editorial piece:

From the recent archives…

First read this:
A man is accused of flashing at a 15 year old in a clothes shop.  He was denied bail.

Now read this:
A man is charged with raping a woman twice.  He is granted bail.

So much is badly wrong with our justice system.

From the recent archives…

First read this:
A man is accused of flashing at a 15 year old in a clothes shop.  He was denied bail.

Now read this:
A man is charged with raping a woman twice.  He is granted bail.

So much is badly wrong with our justice system.

Airline passenger conversations to be monitored under EU project – Telegraph

So Brussels is finally bending their knee to the USA in this too.
Flying is by a huge percentage less dangerous than twenty years ago, which was in turn a huge percentage less dangerous than twenty years before that, yet the culture of fear and dependence that the US Government, closely aped by the major EU powers, is insisting we live in would have us see the world in a state of deadly terror under constant but non-specific threat of annihilation.

“We are encouraging the world of social and behavioural science to share their ideas and expertise with us to do this. Academia and industry may be able to provide invaluable assistance and advice in helping to prevent terrorist attacks.”

We must learn from the software industry that this kind of knee-jerk, cure-all, attack-the-symptoms thinking simply forces those few would-be wrong-doers into more and more devious exploits, much like the ever-narrowing gaps between new anti-piracy measures being launched and cracked versions of new software appearing on torrent sites.
It’s like MRSA – hyperfocus on wiping out a threat and the threat develops immunity and becomes stronger.

Why don’t authorities see that dealing with terrorism effectively means dealing with root causes, like disaffection, isolation and demonisation?
Are there no obvious lessons to be learned from, for example, Northern Ireland? Is Politics so concerned with saving face that it cannot acknowledge that the foreign and domestic policies of sovereign governments can cause adverse reactions both within and outwith that country and that addressing this can only start with both admitting and ceasing to make mistakes?

From the archives: EU visitors to have fingerprints taken – Times Online

I was gonna publish this with some comments last year when this article was new, but in waiting for a follow-up, it slipped between the cracks.

Given now that the various security database and mandatory ID measures threatened by the UK government have been all but abandoned, I now wonder if this issue has been revisited by the press, and whether, now that the U.S. government have had their way and forced RFID chips into most nation’s passports and invasive disclosure into everyone’s airport experience, have these plans also been shelved?

The Peanut Butter Kiss kegacy

As I’ve written previously, anaphylactic shock was not what killed this girl. Turns out it was asthma.
Poor boyfriend, receiving judgement from the world.

CNN have helpfully (also curiously) deleted their coverage from their website.

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Katie Holmes embraces Scientology


“LONDON, England (AP) — Katie Holmes says she’s converting to the Church of Scientology, embracing the religion of her boyfriend, Tom Cruise.

Holmes, in London to promote her new film, ‘Batman Begins,’ said Monday that she’s excited about her lessons in Scientology, a religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.”

What the fuck? Is celebrity religion the thing to wear on your sleeve tihs season?

Vatican petitioned over rape girl

Vatican petitioned over rape girl
From BBC World NEWS


More than 25,000 people in Spain have asked the Roman Catholic Church to excommunicate them.
Their move is in support of a Nicaraguan couple who were thrown out of the Church for allowing their young daughter to have an abortion after she was raped.


I’ve been following this case since it was in the originally news through disbelief that the state were going to force a nine year old rape victim to keep the baby to resigned head-shaking that the same state only backed down when she was four months pregnant and both she and the unborn child were in danger of painful death.
I was dully unsurprised when the Vatican excommunicated the girl, her family and the doctors. In a part of the world where excommunication still has some meaning, you can rely on it being used as a weapon of revenge at every opportunity.


The headline above is incredible: 25,000 saying a big fuck you to the Holy Roman Empire. It’s like voting with your feet.