Seven Months.

July 30, 2010

Me and Ash are seven months old today. And as most of the people who read this are aware, I (being from England) am staying with Ash (being from Australia) over here on the over side of the World, for ten weeks. I absolutely adore waking up next to her each morning, hearing about her day, learning to cook from her, exploring the World she knows with her. These 6 weeks so far, have reaffirmed my initial reaction upon meeting her back in December, that I want to spend my life with this girl. Completely one in a billion.

I have met all of her family now, and they have been amazingly welcoming. I already feel at home here. I have met the people she hangs out with; Gianna; a rather cool carefree Aussie who should have been this age during the 1980s (Aussies seem to love the 1980s, as opposed to us Brits, who like to pretend it didn’t happen), she seems to have a magnetism that people appear drawn too, which intrigues me. Kerry; a friend of Ash’s with an awesome sense of humour and gets TV rage at bad mums on awful yet strangely mesmerising reality TV shows. Mark; a kind of gentle giant who happens to be able to cook pretty fantastic food. And Kerry’s boyfriend (I forget his name, Ged, I think); very knowledgeable chap which is great for political discussions, with a quick wit, a very friendly aura, and a camera buff for all my photographic needs.

Ash now needs to meet my friends.

For our One year anniversary, Ash will be over in England. We plan to spend New Years in Paris, and then onto Florence, Venice and Rome. I know Rome pretty well, and Ash knows and adores Paris, so it’ll be an exciting few days, and a particularly spectacular way to spend a one year anniversary.

Anyway, here are a few photos of Ash, me, and a few people who have made my trip a happy one

This first one, is us in Surrey in December 2009.

This second one, in eerily similar fashion to the one above, is in Melbourne, July 2010.

This is me and Ash in my bedroom back home in Leicester, in December 2009, complete with my Abbey Road picture, Vettriano and Doisneau works languishing pointlessly in the background.

This is a rather awesome photo of Mark, Ash and me, at a bar in Melbourne. We should be a band. Except, I can’t sing or play any form of instrument.

This is me and Kerry’s boyfriend (I still forget his name, Gene, I think).

This is me teaching REAL football to Ash’s little brother, on their land in Tasmania.
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This is us on a rather beautiful beach, on the South coast of Australia, last weekend.

This is Ash’s dad and her step mum, at their BBQ in June.

Kerry, drinking an ENTIRE jug of alcohol to herself. Okay that might be an exaggeration.

A KOALA!!! IN THE WILD!!! A FUCKING KOALA!!!!!

In a little over five months time, I will be posting a similar blog, full of photos of Ash, my friends, and European exploring, entitled “One year”.
Fun times.

GEOFF!!!! That’s the one!!!

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The Way of the idiot

July 28, 2010

The Way of the Master is a US Christian TV show, in which two curiously insane yet perfect representations of Christian America, presenters, attempt to tell people why belief in a God is logical, rather than a ludicrous puerile fantasy about a magical sky man and his immortal zombie son.

The show is so popular with easily manipulated people, that the viewers of the Christian Broadcasting Network have voted it the People’s Choice show of the year in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The presenters say that the large amount of viewers, and the awards bestowed upon the show are significant because:

In it, we teach Christians how to talk to the lost about the Savior, so the fact that viewers are responding to it so favorably is thrilling. We truly thank God for allowing us to make this program.

That’s right. Those of us that are ‘lost’ should thank the show for reminding us, just how excruciatingly dangerous these fundamentalists really are. Like every other Christian, they offer no evidence for their claim that I’m doomed unless I accept Jesus as my homoerotic secret boyfriend. saviour. They offer no historical evidence for what they believe in. And they spend a lot of time trying to prove Atheism is a logical failure, and that those of us who do not succumb to their bullshit are simply ‘lost’.

But it’s okay, because Atheists have God on their side. See, Atheism is a belief that a higher being doesn’t exist. Since God is all knowing, he doesn’t need belief. He knows. And since there is no higher being than God, it stand to reason that God cannot possibly believe in a higher being, and so God is Atheist. Not only that, but because God sees and knows everything, including the past, present and future, without any limits on his knowledge, he knows I am not going to believe in him, he knew it before I was born, and so I cannot possibly be punished for something I had no control over. So, I can now enjoy my life without feeling guilty that a bearded sky man and his 2000 year old son are watching over me with disapproval. See how logic is easily manipulated? No? Okay, maybe you need further evidence of bad logic. Here is a clip from The Way of the Master in which the presenters attempt to prove the existence of a God, using a banana.

So, God made a Banana perfect for humanity, yet he put George Bush in the White House. This magic sky man has his priorities mixed up.

Curiously, a Banana is also a great sex toy for homosexuals. And from the way it fits in that guys hand and the smile on the other guys face; they know it.

Far be it from me to suggest that these guys don’t have the first clue about what it is they’re trying to prove, but I’d have to question the motives of a God who can make a piece of fruit perfect for humans, yet still insists on giving children to abusive parents. Seems a little unbalanced. The Banana itself is of course, not created by God for the purpose of being perfect for human consumption. If he did, i’d like to know why he fucked up so badly with the Pineapple. Biologist Robert Alison, a man who isn’t mad, and knows exactly what he’s talking about, because he has pesky evidence and years of study to back it up, says:

When humankind first encountered this fruit thousands of years ago we were probably not impressed by the almost inedible giant wild bananas. Historic mutations, rare and accidental, produced seedless bananas through chromosome triplication. Ancient humans focused on these seedless, pollen-less mutants to generate progressively more edible crops. Eventually, edible banana flesh retained only a few vague traces of the viable seeds once carried in the ancestral wild stock.

Ancient plant breeders grew edible bananas by grafting sterile mutants onto wild stems. This process was repeated for thousands of years to produce the emasculated, sterile — and defenceless — plantation banana that currently feeds millions of people globally.

In the tropics, you can still find other, less desirable banana varieties, mainly grown as a starchy food staple rather than a sweet treat. But these tropical bananas aren’t much like their commercial cousins in North American supermarkets. They taste bland. Their texture is often fibrous and mealy. North American consumers would probably find them quite unpalatable compared to the Cavendish, which is sweeter and smoother-textured.

I think I will choose believe the biologist on this one.
The Way of the fucking mental Masters’ website claims that:

150,000 people die every day…. most without the Saviour

Grotesque piece of manipulation there, but nevertheless the suggestion here is that most people will go to Hell, because they haven’t converted to this particular cult, out of the thousands of available cults in time to be saved from eternal flames. Which suggests to me, that Hell is the place where all the cool, friendly, logical and rational people are currently dwelling. If Heaven is full of the viewers who voted The Way of the Master as TV show of the year three years running, i’m quite happy to bypass Heaven entirely.

The worrying thing is, America is run by Christian maniacs who aren’t too keen on logic, reason, and any form of intelligent thought. What a unnerving place the World is.


U.S Afghan leak

July 27, 2010

It is ridiculously rich of the U.S today, to call the release of the Afghan files via Wikileaks, a “criminal act” given the nature of the documents. I wonder what other little gems of terrorism the U.S is hiding. Latin America must have it’s very own building, filled with reports of U.S backed terror operations. Despite the scale of the atrocities in Afghanistan, committed by U.S forces, I guarantee, the “international community” will not condemn the U.S, but will condemn the leak. The “international community“, usually means those who support the U.S. To call the leaks a “criminal act“, from a bunch of malicious criminals, is a little bit rich.

The leak is the biggest in U.S history, and is a political storm waiting to happen. The extent to which the U.S has mislead the public (the documents are from the Bush era, unsurprisingly) should surely result in prosecutions at the very top level of the old regime in Washington? At the very least, it has to be the start of a far more transparent era for U.S foreign policy, which for too long has smashed it’s clenched fist across the World, and condemned anyone who stood in their way.

The log shows:

  • Coalition forces have killed at least 195 Afghani civilians, and injured 174 more, between 2005 and 2009. Many are the result of Coalition troops shooting unarmed and innocent people, simply because they looked a bit dodgy. And yet Republicans will still insist that this ridiculously pointless war is not in anyway adding to the problem of extremism.
  • French troops machine gunned a bus full of children, wounding eight.
  • An operation to kill a Libyan extremist named Al-libi resulted in the deaths of seven children.
  • U.S troops fired on a bus full of innocent people, killing 15.
  • Civilian amputations as a result of Coalition troops bombing or shooting the wrong people, so far is huge in number.
  • The U.S believes that Pakistan is funding and training extremists. Pakistan strongly denies it.
  • That a secret unit of American forces, is hunting down and killing suspects, without a trial.
  • That the Taliban have not only acquired surface to air missiles, but have escalated their roadside bomb campaign, and have killed almost 2000 people so far as a result. All covered up by the U.S, who are pretty much failing entirely, much like they did with Vietnam.

    One man, called Shum Khan was a deaf and dumb man, living in Malekshay. Out of nowhere, a heavily armed U.S truck rolled into his town, at which point he ran away scared. The War Logs reveal:

    ”ran at the sight of the approaching coalition forces … out of fear and confusion”

    The U.S CIA paramilitaries on board the truck, shouted at him to stop. He couldn’t hear them because he was deaf. He was running away from them, so posed no threat. So to deal with the problem, the paramilitaries shot him. He was wounded but survived. Villagers explained the problem to the troops, who then said they were entitled to shoot him under ”escalation of force” provisions of the US rules of engagement, which i’m pretty sure the shot and injured deaf man did not agree to. The log ends with the U.S not treating the man for gunshot wounds, but paying compensation (known as solatia). The log says:

    ‘Solatia was made in the form of supplies and the Element mission progressed.”

    Such nonchalance. Not a care in the World. Shoot a disabled man, give him a bit of food and clothing, and then move on to the next town.

    On March 4th 2007, U.S Marines narrowly escaped a road side bomb, just outside of Jalalabad. The Marines ran away, and shot anyone in their path. This included young girls playing in a nearby field, and a few old men walking along the street, hundreds of metres away from the explosion. Nineteen innocent people were killed, and fifty wounded. The Marines in their reported omitted all of the details, other than the bomb attack and the sound of gunfire. An hour later, an investigative team of U.S soldiers came back to the area, to inspect. They tore cameras away from Journalists and photographers, demanding they delete any photos. A reporter for Tolo TV said that an American soldier had told him, of the photos and film he’d taken of the site: “Delete them, or we’ll delete you.” The soldiers lied, the Marines lied, a subsequent investigation that found no wrong doing lied, and only now, three years later, has it emerged that they lied. The Afghan Human Rights Commission then held its own investigation into the shootings and concluded that a 16 year old newlywed carrying grass had been repeatedly shot and killed, followed by a 75 year old man, who was just walking. The findings prompted a US army colonel to say that the shootings were a “terrible, terrible mistake“, and give the families of the victims just $2000 in compensation. The Marines were unhappy with the Colonel for insulting there competence, and so held their own investigation which cleared them of all wrong doing and said that they acted “appropriately”. No charges were brought, and so killing innocent people including young girls and old men, is apparently perfectly fine. Apparently the deaths of innocent Arabs is less important than the careers of a few trigger happy Marines.

    The U.S didn’t apologise for the dead children, or the innocent people they have mutilated over the past five years, or the disabled people they’d shot for no reason. Instead, they chose to go on the defensive, and do what America does best; blame someone else:

    We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security

    What this actually means is:

    We strongly condemn anyone who tries to stand in our way of establishing ourselves as the moral authority of the World, regardless of how evil the means are to achieving that end. We blame Castro.

    Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, instead of apologising and begging for forgiveness for the atrocities committed by her pathetic excuse for a Country, simply said:

    I ask the Secretary of Defence to launch a major investigation and bring the individual or individuals responsible for this to account.

    Even in the midst of evidence that their Country is a vile terrorist Nation, the US officials cannot bring themselves around to admitting just how fucking awful they actually are. She is suggesting, indirectly, that leaking important information surrounding cover ups and murders is punishable by criminal charges, yet overseeing, directing and participating in the deaths of hundreds of innocents and the mutilation of hundreds more, is perfectly okay. America never fails to amaze me.

    It isn’t surprising. The details are nothing surprising. It is simply a matter of “we told you so”. Those of us who are a little skeptical of everything the U.S tells us, know that the massacre in Fallujah“in 2003 was not going to be an isolated incident. We know that the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have very little to do with protecting the American or British people, and very much to do with securing oil supplies and enriching Arms Companies and Defence contractors. War is a private business now. We know that. So in that respect, the leak does not show us anything we didn’t already know. What it does do however, is show conclusively that the U.S is not the special force for good it attempts to paint itself as, by highlighting individual cases of abuses. These are important documents. Documents that governments like to cover up and claim that releasing them would be a matter of National Security, rather than the fact that they don’t want to embarrass themselves, and maybe face criminal charges. What it shows is that the U.S and Coalition forces have embarked on another Vietnam; an unwinnable war that threatens to get worse, after almost a decade of destruction. Thousands dead. Thousands more mutilated and without homes. An increase of a threat from extremists who now justifiably hate the U.S and allies beyond recognition. And no date for handover or withdrawal. A complete failure. And as the Guardian’s editorial puts it, the war effort and the U.S showed”:

    A casual disregard for the lives of innocents. A bus that fails to slow for a foot patrol is raked with gunfire, killing four passengers and wounding 11 others. The documents tell how, in going after a foreign fighter, a special forces unit ended up with seven dead children. The infants were not their immediate priority. A report marked ‘Noforn’ (not for foreign elements of the coalition) suggests their main concern was to conceal the mobile rocket system that had just been used.

    Wikileaks is not the enemy in this. Wikileaks has simply done what the Pentagon refuses to do, because it is hugely embarrassing to itself, and its delusions of grandeur. Wikileaks, and whomever leaked the information, should be knighted.

    Hopefully, this will get the peace activists out and applying as much pressure as possible on the U.S and coalition forces, to withdraw as soon as possible. Maybe right winged Americans will accept that spending their taxes on a decent healthcare system is a far more justifiable way of using it, than on a war that has left thousands dead for absolutely no reason. Perhaps paying Lockheed Martin, the weapons manufacturer $65mn a day, every day of the year, from the US Treasury isn’t the right way to go about obtaining peace. Maybe accepting that the U.S military machine, and the private defence contractors that benefit from war, are the root of the problem. Hopefully the term “war crimes” will be used, because I’m pretty certain that if an Afghani man shot a deaf American in the middle of New York City, after scaring him and then yelling stop, before shooting him; he wouldn’t get away so lightly.


  • Australian Debt

    July 26, 2010

    There is an election here in Australia, whilst I am still here. The choice is between the Aussie Labour Party, whom are currently in power with Julia Gillard as PM, and the Aussie Liberal Party, headed by a man whose head seems to be deflating whilst his ears remain untouched; Tony Abbott. The Liberal Party are the Australian Conservatives.

    What i’ve noticed from watching the PM and the opposition, is that the same empty rhetoric is used here, as it is in the UK. Gillard keeps using the phrase “hard working families“. Abbott keeps whinging on about “Labour’s debt“. It is the same bullshit. However, unlike the UK, the Australians don’t seem to be falling for the “WE MUST CUT THE DEBT NOW!!!!” nonsense put forward by Tony Abbott. In fact, Abbots’ own website points out that Labour are putting the debt up by $100,000,000 a day, every day.

    One of the issues that both the UK and Australians don’t seem to want to deal with, is the amount of easy credit available which has, over the past twenty five years in the UK caused much of the issues we’re now faced with. Essentially, what happened during the Thatcher years, was that her “trickle down theory” was an absolute failure. Whilst the wealth of the top 1% increased dramatically, the wealth did not trickle down. Wages stagnated, and have done ever since. The problem with that is, wages create the disposable income, and so if wages are not increasing, then eventually the wealth of the very few was going to hit a brick wall. The answer to that problem, was easy credit. Here have a piece of plastic with the River Island logo on it. You now have an easy £250 that you don’t have to pay back for two entire years! Have a credit card with a low interest rate. Have a house, and pay very little back. Until crises hit, because people couldn’t afford to pay it back. Suddenly, personal debt is at an all time high, no body has any money, the Government has to step in to stop the further abuses of banks and other places offering easy credit, and prop up a failing economy, and suddenly Conservatives are blaming the Government for the problems for not regulating private business affectively enough, whilst quite confusingly here in the UK electing a government dedicated to deregulation and further freeing up private business and banks to be as greedy as they so wish, which is exactly the reason we are in this mess. To cut a long story a little bit shorter……….. never ever elect Conservatives/Liberals/Republicans/Right wingers of any kind. Individual debt now accounts for a massive amount of the debt crises, across the World.

    Australia hasn’t been free either, from the adverse affects of banking deregulation. Deregulation in the 1980s in Australia, seemed to have allowed Banks the freedom to offer ridiculous loans, lower their rates, whilst at the same time reducing the security they needed to back the loans. So, when rates suddenly shot through the roof across the financial sector in 2007-8, the banks ran up losses into the billions. Deregulation failed the banking industry and so failed the consumer. It isn’t a surprise either, given that in 1991, an Aussie Parliamentary Inquiry into the Australian Banking Industry chaired by Stephen Martin found that freeing up the financial sector had not delivered the promised benefits to average Australians.

    Australia hasn’t escaped the easy credit problem. In 1980, the average Aussie Household had debts of around 40% of their income after tax. Today, it is 158% average debt. Which suggests that easy credit has become the norm in Australia too. Which means, lower interest rates don’t make much of a difference, and feel just as harsh as they would have felt when they were higher, in the 1980s.

    Back to National debt.

    The UK is not in a position to need to cut the deficit immediately, as suggested by the Tories, because we are the fifth largest economy in the World, we have a triple A credit rating, the third largest reserve currency in the World, and if we have enough money to spend £888m on subsidising the arms trade and a further £6bn a year on a 20 year old paranoia deal with Trident, we aren’t about to suddenly go horrendously bankrupt. The Tories are simply waging ideological warfare, there is no other reason.

    The Liberals in Australia are mounting the same attack on Australia, for ideological reasons. Australia is not in a debt crises by a long shot. National debt as a percentage of GDP for Australia, stood at 17.6% at the end of 2009. That puts Australia below every European Country with the exceptions of Estonia and Bulgaria, as well as below the USA, the UK, South America, Canada, and most of Africa. In fact, they stand at the 108th out of 129 in the ranks of worst Government debt as a percentage of GDP. That is pretty amazing. No Australian banks collapsed during the crises, and they came out of it pretty strongly, given that by May 2010, unemployment peaked in Australia, at 5.3%. In the UK, in May 2010, unemployment hit 7.8%. In the USA in May 2010, unemployment hit 9.3%.

    Australia, is not in a debt crises. It does not have to submit itself to deep cuts and years of misery. Its growth forcasts are excellent in comparison to the rest of the World. It didn’t have to bail out half its banking system, and it is well below the average debt to GDP ratio. Labour has not left Australia in a mass of unsustainable debt. The State of Victoria has a AAA credit rating. New South Wales has a AAA credit rating. In fact, Australia as a whole is 10th in the list of the least risky countries to invest in. It ranks above the UK, and the USA, as of March 2010. The Country Risk Survey studies the economic and political risks for investors wishing to invest abroad, out of 185 Countries. Australia, is the tenth best place in the World to invest in, according to the Survey.

    Australia can afford to spend money to secure a strong recovery, and to provide necessary funding to keep key infrastructure strong. When an economy is struggling a little, we cannot rely on the private sector to provide the education and the healthcare and the levels of policing required to deal with a down turn in economic fortunes, even though it is the private sector that will inevitably benefit from the protections and social infrastructure put into place. Australia can afford it. It can afford to do this, because when Australia is fully recovered from the financial crises, it will remain one of the best countries on the planet to invest in, which will inevitably increase revenue across the board, which can be used to bring down the deficit and then the debt steadily and responsibly rather than deep cuts to key services that are needed the most during difficult economic times.

    The Liberal Party Website describes how they are committed to a strong free market economy. Yet, at the same time, and rather contradictory, the website tells me they are committed to lowering the immigration rate to 1.4% annually. Surely a free market system, requires an outright destruction of all National boundaries; after all, National boundaries are simply left overs from the protectionist days of colonialism, and so it is hugely contradictory to be tightening immigration, yet pledging an era of an economy based on the principles of a free market system.

    The moral of the blog is; do not believe the nonsense right wingers throw at you. Watch their eyes sparkle with joy when they can unload their ideological crap and blame government and the Left for problems caused by the very same people they themselves set out to protect, every time they gain a little power. Australia doesn’t need a Thatcher.


    The London Bombings

    July 22, 2010

    I am not one for conspiracy theories. I don’t buy the theories that the 9/11 attacks were inside jobs; I merely think the Bush administration were incredibly weak and moronic and did not bother to read up on the intelligence they were getting. They then needed to appear strong, and made the international terrorism problem 100 times worse, by waging illegal wars on the basis of lies, for which both Bush and Blair should be in prison for right about now.

    I do not want to come across as a sensationalist, when it comes to theories. I should let it be known, that I have no theory of my own on this particular subject, merely that I find certain pieces of the official story to be somewhat contradictory and inaccurate. The Government’s refusal to accept calls for an independent inquiry into this subject, is dubious in itself.

    That being said, i’ve been reading up on the profiles of the men responsible for the London 7/7 bombings, and in particular, the apparent ring leader, Mohammad Sidique Khan, whom exploded the bomb on the Tube train that had just departed Edgeware Road Station, and I can’t quite seem to accept the official line that he was a crazed Muslim extremist hell bent on destroying the West. I know that the video shows him denouncing the West and our atrocities across the World, and that we deserve to be punished. But it still doesn’t seem to add up. Across his community, he was considered a role model, and didn’t seem to care too much about his religion. And yet, the Home Office described him as “serious” about his religion.

    The official line, from the Government inquiry is that the bombers boarded the 7:40am train from Luton to London on 7/7/05. The problem was that the 7:40 was cancelled that day. The Government inquiry clearly didn’t inquire very substantially. After concerns about the timings were raised, the official line changed, and the Government then said the bombers caught the 7:25am train. This caused a new issue, because they had just released the CCTV footage showing the bombers with heavy back packs outside Luton station with the time frame saying 7:22am. This means that for the report to be accurate, the bombers, with heavy back packs, casually strolled through Luton Station unaware that their later train was cancelled, then when they realised it was cancelled, ran to the ticket desk, bought all of their tickets, and got onto the train, all within about two minutes. Having done that same thing at Leicester station, which is considerably smaller than Luton, I can promise, it’s not a plausible scenario. The only other train from Luton to London on that morning, was the 7:30, which arrived in London, according to Luton Station reports, at 8:39 because of massive delays, by which time the Tube trains that were to be bombed, according to the Tube reports, had left the stations. The timings of the train, is one of the most intriguing parts of this entire story. The Home Secretary at the time, John Reid had to admit the official report was wrong in front of the entire House of Commons, and revise its original findings to this new set of just as implausible timings, which sees the bombers enter the station, buy tickets, cross the platforms and board the train, all within two minutes. Either way, it’s all we have, so we have to assume it is correct.

    They then made it into London at 8:23am, and made it through hoards of commuters at Kings Cross from the Thameslink line station within three minutes to arrive at King’s Cross at 8:26am. A group calling for an independent inquiry has noted that on a clear day with very little people, it takes at least seven minutes to get from Thameslink to King’s Cross. No CCTV has been released to prove the Government line is the correct one. We just have to accept it.

    In fact, the only CCTV image of the bombers, is a hazy screenshot, in which the bombers are all wearing baseball caps, you can’t make out it is them, entering Luton Station earlier that morning. Given that London is the most watched city in the World, I would have expected at least one CCTV image or video to have been released showing they were exactly where the inquiry tells us they were. But no, no CCTV footage from London has ever been released, even though it remains one of the most horrendous attacks on British soil. I am not going to give any credit to the suggestion made by conspiracy theorists that the bombers were not on the tube, and that they were tricked and part of a larger conspiracy, and killed later that day; although I still can’t figure out why the bombers all bought return tickets to London, when they didn’t plan on coming home. What I will say is that if such easy mistakes were made by the official Government line, it suggests the inquiry was flawed, and the public deserve a full clear and honest account of the day’s events. Why are the Government refusing to allow an independent inquiry?

    The Luton Station CCTV footage, here, shows the four bombers outside the station. It also shows the bomber with the white cap, apparently with the third bar down, of the railing behind him, cutting through his mid-section.

    And here is a zoomed in version.
    Now whilst I’m clearly suggesting the picture could have been tampered with, I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case. I accept that that pictures like this, go through a lot of compression and processing before they are released. The image may have been touched up to help identify the suspects. I accept that. My main issue, is that this is the only CCTV picture of the bombers on that day. Given that anyone can be tracked throughout their day in London, from the shop, to their front door, it strikes me as amazing that this is the only image of the bombers, and that it isn’t even in London. Their is a slight curiosity to that, which I’d like to have cleared up.

    One theory I quite like, but have no proof for, is intriguing whilst pretty far fetched. A year before the attacks, almost a year to the day in fact, the BBC showed a documentary about what would happen if London were attacked, and bombs exploded on the Tube and on an above ground vehicle. They used Muslims who were well known in their communities, to advise them on how they’d cope with the aftermath within Muslim communities. The documentary showed a post-bombed London, and the panic on the streets. A year later, it came true. Almost identically. The theory says that the four bombers were told another documentary was to be made, and they were to be enlisted as helpers and advisors for the day. The credit behind this theory, is that Peter Power, the former Scotland Yard detective, said that there were plans being made for a mock terrorist attack on London………. on that very day, 7/7/05. What are the chances of that? Power himself is a little bemused by the situation, stating:

    ‘At half-past nine this morning we were running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.’

    The theory then continues. The anti-Western video that Khan was on, so the theory goes, was made for the documentary they were told about, to make it seem real. The BBC had just shown a similar documentary about the day George Bush was assassinated. It included very realistic videos. The theory states that all of this, was done so that the bombers thought they were part of a documentary. Hence the return tickets. In fact, it wasn’t a drill or a documentary, it was the real thing. The problem is, the theory doesn’t suggest who then might have been behind the attacks if it wasn’t the Khan clan. There is no evidence, except the very circumstantial. And so whilst I like the theory, and whilst it is filled with holes; so is the Government’s line. I take neither seriously.

    The apparent ring leader, Mohammed Siddique Khan is a very intriguing man. On the day of 7/7/05, Khan’s wife stated that he did not seem any different from any other day. He didn’t bid her and their daughter a fond farewell, he didn’t wish them well, he didn’t cry or do anything out of the ordinary. He said he was just going out with his friends for the day. For all intents and purposes, he acted like he would be home later. He then bought a train ticket, to be home later that day.

    According to documents released recently, Khan was on an MI5 watch list, as early as 2003. American intelligence apparently thought he was planning to blow up Synagogues on US soil, and FBI banned him from entering America because they were worried he actually might carry out his threat. Not only that, but they suspected he had traveled to Israel and planned attacks there too. That is the media line, and that’s the story were all know. Sidique Khan in this version of his life, was a maniac, that America thought too dangerous to let enter the USA, yet the UK just kind of ignored. Surely if he was that great a threat, the UK would have monitored him a little?

    However, that wasn’t Mohammad Sidique Khan. All of that intelligence, all of that worry and paranoia, all of that scare tactics actually turned out to be against a man named Mohammad Ajmal Khan; a British born Muslim involved with a Jihad movement in the USA, and whom is currently in prison in the UK. There was suggestion that Sidique Khan’s movements and correspondents had been traced to a Jihad movement in the USA. Again, it turned out to be Ajmal Khan, who admitted that he provided funding and weapons to a group called Lashkar-i-Toiba, whom were fighting against India in Kashmir.

    There is absolutely no evidence, that links Sidique Khan to any Muslim extremist organisation. He was not banned from America. He was not on an MI5 watch list, and he had not planned attacks in Israel.

    On Radio 4, a few months after the attacks on London, Khan’s friends were interviewed. Both of them were White Brits and considered good friends of Khan. They told Radio 4 that Khan was a half-arsed Muslim, who didn’t really frequent his Mosque, and was obsessed with all things American; music, film, TV, dress etc. They told Radio 4 that Khan actually liked to be called by a Western name; Sid. His friend Ian Barret said:

    “The other Pakistani lads would have to go mosque because their families would say ‘You’re going to mosque.’ But Sid didn’t go,” says Ian. “He didn’t seem interested in Islam and I don’t ever remember him mentioning religion.””

    Another friend, Rob Cardiss said:

    “He was very English. Some of the other Pakistani guys used to talk about Muslim suffering around the world but with Sidique you’d never really know what religion he was from.”

    It doesn’t sound like a man who suddenly decided, out of the blue, that he was going to blow up 53 people and injure hundreds more in a senseless act of extreme violence. Khan worked for Youth programs, helping young people with problems get back on the right track. His job application for a Youth program was published by the Independent regarding a potentially dangerous situation, it read:

    “I have an excellent rapport with the youth community so … I targeted the ringleaders and spoke to them, calming them down and offering sympathy as well as empathy. We then approached the teachers and as a large group casually walked together up Beeston Hill which defused the situation.”

    According to The Times, the head teacher at a school at which Khan volunteered as a mentor, said:

    “He was great with the children and they loved him. He did so much for them, helping and supporting them and running extra clubs and activities.”

    Whilst at that school, Khan produced a leaflet on the dangers of drug use. According to a few friends who helped with the project, Khan had insisted that, and they quote: “The British flag must be part of it. I was born here and I am proud to be British.

    When Khan and his wife moved house, they became friends with their local MP. This happened, because Khan started working at a new school, and the head teacher was married to the local MP. They were invited around the Houses of Parliament as a guest of the MP John Trickett. Whilst living here, Khan made a positive impact. The Guardian states:

    “Few men were more popular on the streets of Beeston than the 30-year-old family man. Recognised by his sensible sweaters and neat, coiffeured hairstyle, Khan’s respectability peaked nine months ago when he visited Parliament as the guest of a local MP. There he was praised for his teaching work. Even now, those who hang about Cross Flatt’s Park describe him as their mentor. He remains the man who coaxed them back into the education system; the bloke who took them on canoeing and camping trips to the nearby Yorkshire Dales; the man who bought them ‘loads of extra bullets’ when he took them paint-balling. Hussain and Tanweer were among those who idolised Khan from his days as a youth worker in Beeston when he had nurtured their love of cricket and football.”

    After the attacks the Home Office reported that Khan had worked at the school, but had not been reliable in the slightest. They say:

    “More problematic was his increasingly poor attendance record. ”

    Yet, the head teacher of the school, after the 7/7 attacks said of Khan:

    “Sidique was a real asset to the school and always showed 100% commitment.”

    A Freedom of Information request recently showed that between early 2001 and mid 2003, Khan’s attendance was perfect. He later resigned because he had taken an unauthorised absence in December 2004, but between mid September 2004 and November 2004, he took sick leave and provided adequate documents as to why. He seems to have resigned, because he didn’t know when he’d be able to be back 100%.

    Khan handed in his resignation, in writing, to the school, on December 7th 2004. That is what the headteacher, and the school have reported. Yet, the Home Office, in paragraph 43 of its report stated that Khan left the country on November 19th, returning to the UK on February 8th 2005. So, whilst Khan was apparently in Pakistan receiving crazed Jihad training, and also being monitored by US intelligence agents who were in fact actually monitoring a totally different Khan, he was also in the UK penning his resignation letter. What is clear, is that the week following his resignation, Khan traveled to Pakistan, citing family reasons. The Home Office report has absolutely no proof, and offers absolutely no evidence to suggest he was receiving militant training. The report simply states that they “assume” and “we have no firm evidence” before suggesting reasons why Khan was in Pakistan. The report does admit that trips to Pakistan among British Muslims, to where extended family live, is very very common. Khan had family in Pakistan.

    The BBC then reported, after a lenghty investigation apparently, that Khan had traveled to Malaysia and the Philipines, and had met with high ranking Muslim terrorists responsible for the Bali bombings, and received training along the way. They suggest that his work as a care assistant was merely a “strong cover” for his extreme activities elsewhere. The problem is, the Home Office report stated that:

    “There were media reports soon after the attacks that Khan had visited Malaysia and the Philippines to meet Al Qaida operatives. These stories were investigated and found to have no basis.”

    According to a man named Martin Gilbertson, who worked with Khan, and had also worked with Muslims who are very radicalised, in the area he lives, Khan was:

    ……..the one who had to be ‘re-converted’ or ‘reverted’ – as they say – back to Islam first….. he wasn’t the ranting type; what he seemed to want was kudos within the group, and among people on the street outside. Khan’s way was to be a ‘cool dude’; it was all about kudos in the Muslim community”

    In another interview, with the Guardian, Gilbertson appears to reveal new information, and totally ignores the suggestion, that Khan was actually a well respected man in his community, by saying that he first met Khan in 2001, at a “at a party in Beeston to celebrate the September 11 attacks.” Gilbertson then claims he was forced to make anti-Western literature and videos for extremists including Khan, when they all worked at a book store together. Not only that, but Gilbertson claims that a 16 year old boy named Tyrone Clarke was stabbed to death because he insulted islam, by one of the bookstore associates and fellow 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer who was then questioned by police in 2004 over the killing. However, Tanweer’s father absolutely denies 100% that his son was questioned, and sources within the police force told the Yorkshire post, that neither Tanweer or Khan were questioned nor even suspected of the killing. Out of nowhere, and totally contradictory to everything his friends had said about him, and totally contradictory to his mannerisms and his actions over the years preceding 7/7, Khan is now being painted as very religious, very anti-western, and a Jihadist. It just doesn’t add up. It seems like a bit of a smear campaign, backed up by absolutely no evidence.

    It is amazing, that this man, who apparently traveled to Pakistan for sinister reasons, was partying to celebrate 9/11, and was hanging around with known crazed anti-Western Muslims, was not so much as glanced at by the security services. In fact, the Yorkshire Post discovered in June 2006, that whilst security services were trying to convince us that Khan was actually known to them, Khan’s car had been bugged by security services…..after 7/7. Khan’s family, according to the Telegraph wanted a second post mortem on his body, by an independent pathologist. The request was turned down, on the basis that tests have already been done to establish how he died, and what kind of explosives he used, and no new information could possibly be found now. Yet, the Home Office is still, to this day, five years later, clueless as to what explosives the bombers used, still believing them to be cheap homemade explosives.

    The two conclusions I’m lead to come to, are either:
    1) Khan and the others were part of something far larger, and given that they brought return tickets that day, and given that Khan especially seemed a very Westernised man; thought they were all going to come home again that day. They did not give their families one last goodbye, and they all bought return tickets from Luton. They were easy targets, because they were Muslim.
    2) Khan was a very very clever terrorist agent. He had a brilliant cover working for disadvantaged youths. He used his money to fund this attack, which would have had to have been planned years in advance, given the expense needed for the training and the equipment. He deceived his closest friends and family. He adopted Western mannerisms, and acted as if he loved our culture, whilst all the time plotting an horrendous and grotesque attack against Britain. If that were the case though, why did he use shit home made devices? And why not a bigger target? If you have spent years planning, traveling between continents training, spending every last penny you have, and you’re a muslim extremist who wishes to cause as much damage and casualty and panic as possible, surely you would aim higher than less than 100 deaths? You would aim for a 9/11 of your own, or even bigger, surely?

    What I would like to see, is an independent inquiry that focuses on the exact movement of the bombers, that interviews people they knew, family, friends and associates, that tracks their movements on CCTV, that unearths incompetencies within the security services and the mistakes made by the government inquiry. Only that way will the public be satisfied, and only that way can steps be made to tighten security around those who are suspected of terrorist involvement. The inconsistencies and the unanswered questions should have been a priority to answer. They weren’t, and that is overwhelmingly shaming for the previous government.


    Side

    July 20, 2010

    According to dictionary.com, the word ‘side’ means: “one of the surfaces forming the outside of or bounding a thing, or one of the lines bounding a geometric figure.” It does not say that ‘side’ should refer to one specific place. We English have taken this description very very seriously.

    Side, is an English concept apparently. The Aussies have no idea what I’m talking about when I say something is on the side. They look at me, as if I’ve said “Oh hi, I was just wondering if I could tweak your nipples for a second or two?” Their minds cannot comprehend the complexity of ‘side‘. Side, to us Brits is like Narnia. We know it exists, because we have seen it. But no one else understands it.

    Let me elaborate; when someone in the house asks a simple question such as “where are the keys?” and you know that the keys are on the bench next to the cooker, the answer is “they’re on the side“. If the very same person were to ask; “okay, I have the keys, where is my phone?” and you know that the phone is on top of the set of drawers in the bedroom on the right hand side of the bed, the answer would be “they’re in the bedroom, on the side“. If they are then looking for their hand held mirror, which Ashlee was looking for this morning, and you know it is in the bathroom on the bench next to the dryer, you would say “it’s in the bathroom on the side“.

    Here is an example. I shall use Jesus and the virgin Mary as key characters in this, because they still seem to be quite popular.

    Jesus: “Oi, shitface, where’s my phone? And you can’t punish me for calling you shitface, because i’m Jesus, i’ll turn your bathwater into the terrified screams of unbelievers.”
    Mary: “It’s on the side, love.”
    Jesus: “Magdelene keeps ringing, tellin’ me she’s all pregnant and that the kid is mine. Fuck that. Ima kick off in the temple today, fake my death to avoid paying child support, and become what i’ve always wanted to be; a gay atheist democrat. I’m sure no harm will come from it, and I’m almost certain that the idea that I’ve had a child will in no way spawn the writing of an incredibly shit novel followed by an even worse film rendition of it, followed even further by the same author raping the very concept of literature, and metaphorically pissing all over greats like Shakespeare and Milton, by writing even more atrocious novels. Thanks for my phone, it was on the side, your water is safe.”

    See! Even Jesus knew what side was.

    We Brits know exactly what side we are talking about, when we answer with “side“. If someone were to ask us “oh cool, you found the keys, where were they?” and you found the keys on the small table that the phone sits on, you would say “they were on the side“. Side is a generic answer, for when something is on the work bench, or on top of the bathroom cupboards, or the bedside table. However, side is NEVER to be used to describe a bed, a couch, a dining room table, a bookshelf, a child’s head, or the floor. That would just be ridiculous.

    I have tried today to limit my use of ‘side’ when Ash asks where something is. This morning, as explained earlier, she asked where her mirror was. I answered, knowing that the use of ‘side’ was very much off limits, with: “It’s on the …….. bench……. with the clothe……… with the jumper thing….. next to the…….erm………. It’s on the side“. I couldn’t help it, side is just a far more simple way of explaining the location of a given object at any particular time.

    So now we have cleared that up, here’s a pretty picture of mine for you to look at, in an attempt to make it seem like this was a worthwhile blog at all. It was taken in Melbourne at the weekend. I have uploaded a few more prints that are now for sale, at http://jme2007.deviantart.com/prints if you are interested. That’s right, my transformation into a dirty Capitalist is well underway. I will be lobbying Western governments to invade poorer Nations and create awesome photo opportunities at the expense of the local population, in no time.


    The logic of incentive

    July 16, 2010

    According to our financial experts, the reason we couldn’t punish bankers, and curtail the bonus culture, or slap a tax on banking bonuses or transactions in the UK was because the “best people for the job, will leave the country“. We were told that the market system dictates that if you take away the incentive, no matter how unjustifiably large those incentives are, the best people will all flee the country to some fucked third World country, where oversight and regulation and taxes are low. It encompasses the entire scope of human nature, and sums it up by telling us that monetary incentives are what ultimately drive us, and anything else would be evil socialism and that government should be off our backs but big business should be allowed to stab as many backs as they wish, because it’s capitalism, so it’s okay. I think that pretty much sums up Friedmanite economic theory.

    The utterly ridiculous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson claimed recently that a 50p top tax rate, and an extra levy on non-doms would force 9000 bankers in Britain to flee the country. Boris’ office said:

    Boris is determined to highlight to everyone, including George Osborne, that this [bonus] tax is already having an adverse impact and should it become a more permanent feature of our tax system it would have an extremely devastating impact on London’s long-term prosperity.

    What interests me, is that Boris, along with every other Conservative both here and America seem unable to admit that London’s long-term prosperity was not attacked by the idea of a bonus tax, but instead by the free ride that the Conservatives gave to bankers, allowing them to gamble horrendously, for twenty five years. Why are they unable to admit that their precious free market system failed miserably? Their logic no longer applies. Johnson should therefore be ignored on this one. Especially given that the Tories matra has been that we are “all in this together“.

    The article goes on to say that Goldman Sachs would consider moving their offices abroad because of a super tax suggested by Alistair Darling, the then Chancellor, earlier this year. This is the same Goldman Sachs who were forced to settle $60million out of court to stop an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General into whether or not Goldman promoted drastically unfair and impossible home loans across the State. This is the same Goldman Sachs that stands accused of selling dodgy packaged mortgages that they knew were going to fail, to investors, and then betting against them, making a fortune through it, prompting an ex-Goldman worker involved in the scandal to write the book “How I caused the credit crunch“, the same scandal that lead to Goldman Sachs paying a record $550million settlement after being sued by the SEC for fraud. Why are we all allowing ourselves to be held to ransom, by a bunch of criminals? Incidentally, when the 50p top rate of tax finally came into force in April 2010, Goldman did not make good on their threat. They still do business in the UK. Goldman didn’t leave. The 9000 bankers didn’t leave. The Tories, as ever, were wrong.

    Now, ignoring the logistics of moving to another country so quickly, upping your family out of the place they call home, simply because you now only make 1.2million instead of 1.5million in bonuses each year; the apparent science that offering higher rewards will improve performance, is actually flawed and realistically cannot be called a science. It is a manipulation more than anything. A threat. Keep paying us unjustifiably high amounts of money, or we’ll leave, and your country is screwed. It is why politicians are effectively useless, because they have very little say over economic matters. We all know these bankers will not leave the country in one huge banking emigration day.

    A group of economists working out of M.I.T and the University of Chicago conducted an experiment using a number of students. They gave the students a number of assignments, including mathematical and scientific problems to solve. They offered the first group a very small amount of money as an incentive to complete the assignments. They offered a second group a higher amount, and they offered a third group a large amount of money. The theory put forward by the defenders of market principles, or those with free-market-failure-denial would argue that those offered the most amount of money, would perform the best. The reality was different. The students offered the highest incentive, failed miserably. The students offered the medium amount and the students offered the lowest amount both ended up with similar results. Both beating the students offered the most.

    The economists then took the experiment to Madurai, in India, with higher incentives, fearing that maybe there wasn’t enough difference in incentive when the experiment was conducted on students in the US. In India, they offered the first group a weeks wages, they offered the second group; a months wages, and the third group; two months wages. The stakes in India for such rewards, would be far higher than at M.I.T. Again, those offered the smallest incentive performed pretty much identically to those offered the medium sized reward. Those offered the top incentive, did the worst again. So, the higher the incentive, the lower the performance. Why? Firstly, we now have to accept that free market theory is just that; a theory, and whilst some of it is relevant and works well, there is much of it that has failed recently, and analysing the entire process in this way, can only be a good thing.

    It is true that if you don’t give people the money they clearly deserve for the work they have done, they will not perform highly, they will be unmotivated and annoyed. So yes, money as an incentive does work to an extent. The experiment showed that when you give someone a simple task and tell them they will be paid a certain amount for completing that task, the incentive works. But when you give people a difficult task, which requires long term thought, creativity and problem solving skills of the highest calibre, the incentive doesn’t work. I’d suggest the reason for this, isn’t simply ‘human nature’, it is mainly because our society and our universal culture rewards greed and excess and so that trait of greed which exists in all of us, becomes amplified. Human nature is so vastly complex, to sum it up in such a simple way and create an economic system around it, is a problem. And so a highly problematic task, is rewarded in three ways according to the research, and those three ways are personal from than simply the need for money. Those three things are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

    Autonomy states that if you want a difficult and complex task completed, self direction is better. Figuring it out for yourself is far more rewarding than having someone tell you how it’s done, it is far better than having a demanding manager micro-managing your every move. Leave your workers to do the job their way. Social commentator Dan Pink points out that the Australian software company Atlassian tell their employees that on one day of the second quarter, they can spend the next 24 hours working on whatever project they want, with whomever they way, and any way they want, they have to then show their results the following day at a staff meeting filled with drinks and cakes. That one day has lead to huge advances in software fixes and new ideas and creations. This did not involve a promise of a bonus or any extra money. They performed to the best of their ability, without the need for more money.

    Mastery means improving and understanding what we are doing, far better than when we started. I read a lot of history books, not because it is economically valuable, but because I enjoy it, and I like to know that I can debate and talk about historical events with a degree of mastery. People add to opensource, in their spare time for no money reward, but because the work is autonomous, and they improve and learn as they go. What they create, then becomes free, they do not sell it. It is not economically valuable for the individual. Evil Communism at work again.

    Purpose, is pretty self explanatory. A company without its eye on a purpose, becomes pretty dangerous. Now, right winged economics would have us believe that a primary motive for any company should be profit making. This isn’t true. Look again at Goldman Sachs. They took their eye off their purpose to provide sensible mortgages and a helpful responsible banking service, and instead kept their eye firmly on profit, which has been catastrophic. Profit and purpose should be interlinked. Purpose should serve the community, and not just shareholders. There must be a reason for people to want to improve.

    Now, what this all means is that when you combine the three, it is interesting to note that our motives, are based almost firmly on concepts that don’t involve money. Money certainly plays its part, we all want to feel secure, but once we have a degree of security, we are not just consumers nor economic statistics, we have personal reasons for the work we do. If we leave people to it; dress in what makes you feel comfortable, talk in a way that isn’t imposed on you from those above, create, innovate and at the same time laugh and talk, instead of simply saying “look, if you do this, you get $2000, but do it my way. Oh and there’s a really important person coming through the office later, when you see him, make sure you bow and call him Sir, for he is above you.“, you will almost always see better results. Once the boss is off your back and the carrot made out of gold has been put away, and employees are treated like people rather than cogs in a money making machine, you will almost always see better results. The logic is now based on quite strong research. Free market obsessives can no longer claim their way is the only way, and this makes me happy.