Friday, September 30, 2005 


Moses' Pet Dinosaur
Moses' Pet Dinosaur

Honestly, is there anything more ridiculous than the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement? Apart from being a thinly-disguised front for Christian creationists seeking to undermine the teaching of the theory of evolution, that they have to pack school boards in order to bypass what we might perhaps refer to as a credibility test (as part of their 'Wedge strategy') speaks volumes for the utter lack of scientific basis for their 'theory'.

Inevitably enough, we suppose, ID is also to be found being hawked at Tech Central Station, a home for other quote-unquote "scientific" musings such as on the deadly effects of breast-feeding. (Though the news that Mark Steyn is being unusually coy on whether or not he believes in Intelligent Design certainly brightened up morning coffee-break here in Free Stater HQ, let me tell you.)

The latest 'proof' being offered by ID'ers for Biblical Creationism Intelligent Design is that penguins exist.

No, seriously.

(Kudos to Red Rover for inspiring the title of this post)


Apocalypse Retro

Iraq has become the new Vietnam. Anyone still in denial of this harsh reality is, quite frankly, living in cloud-cuckoo land. Apart from the continuing deaths and maiming of countless Iraqis, Americans and others, the US is steadily re-establishing the same reputation for atrocity it had last time round, in South-East Asia.

This is (to put it mildly) not making the world a better place, nor does it make America safer. Instead, it has provided a valuable source of recruits and blooding for associates of Al Qaeda, as well as inflaming hatred of the US among those not otherwise receptive to Osama bin Laden's words. The Pentagon and US Army will go on assuring us that victory is just around the corner till kingdom come, but no-one's going to believe them if things continue as they have been. A pro-US Western-style democracy - the presumed point of all this - isn't likely to be the end result at this point, which leads us back to John Kerry's famous question: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?".

Those paying close attention at the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal breaking last year will recall that only a handful of the photos were shown to the world, the rest being deemed too horrific by the American government to be put before the world. Well, the worst are now going to be released.
"What is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon has blocked from release? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images, "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe." They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.

A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of "rape and murder." Rumsfeld then commented, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse.

The photos were among thousands turned over by the key "whistleblower" in the scandal, Specialist Joseph M. Darby. Just a few that were released to the press sparked the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year, and the video images are said to be even more shocking.


"'The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience,' Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 'We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.'

"A report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba on the abuse at the prison outside Baghdad says videotapes and photographs show naked detainees, and that groups of men were forced to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped. Taguba also found evidence of a 'male MP guard having sex with a female detainee.'

"Rumsfeld told Congress the unrevealed photos and videos contain acts 'that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman.'"

The military later screened some of the images for lawmakers, who said they showed, among other things, attack dogs snarling at cowed prisoners, Iraqi women forced to expose their breasts, and naked prisoners forced to have sex with each other.

In the same period, reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention: "Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok? Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men ... . The women were passing messages saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened.'

"Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out." "
Before the usual apologists over here crank up the reliable A Few Bad Apples excuse, they could perhaps explain this to us (via Crooked Timber):
"As it happens, I was in Germany in the spring of 2004 at roughly the same time that MG Fay was there interviewing soldiers and officers with V Corps MI units. Having some contacts with these units, I took the time to speak to a number of NCOs and officers to get a sense of just how Fay was conducting his investigation. What I heard was consistent and very disturbing. Fay repeatedly warned soldiers that if they were involved in incidents, they would be put up on charges. And if they had seen things and not reported them, they would be up on charges. Then he asked if the soldiers had anything to report. One soldier told me that when he began to describe an incident to Fay, he was stopped and told “Son, you don’t want to go there.” This process was constructed to stop soldiers from coming forward with evidence about what had happened—the opposite of a fair or critical inquiry. But I stress that among the twelve investigations conducted, the Fay/Jones report was one of the best. One wonders what it would have netted had proper investigatory technique been used."
Or, how about this gallery of horrors (via AMERICAblog)? And, courtesy of the New York Times, a new term is about to enter the lexicon of horrors from the US war in Iraq: PUC. As in, apparently;
"Soldiers referred to abusive techniques as “smoking” or “fucking” detainees, who are known as “PUCs,” or Persons Under Control. “Smoking a PUC” referred to exhausting detainees with physical exercises (sometimes to the point of unconsciousness) or forcing detainees to hold painful positions. “Fucking a PUC” detainees referred to beating or torturing them severely. The soldiers said that Military Intelligence personnel regularly instructed soldiers to “smoke” detainees before interrogations.

One sergeant told Human Rights Watch: “Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport… One day [a sergeant] shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy’s leg with a mini Louisville Slugger, a metal bat.” "

Eamonn Fitzgerald opines loftily that this is a "low, dishonest decade". He's right, but not about who's being dishonest. His fellow Hitchens-the-liar enthusiast, US ex-pat journo Dick Delevan, provides the example in this tripe, from a piece entitled "IRAQ: The Only Way Out is Through":
"It is terrible to see what's happening on the ground. But "cut and run" -- in Lebanon in 1983, in Somalia ten years later, all the way back to the limp-wristed US response to the Tehran hostage crisis in 1979 -- is in large measure what got us into this mess in the first place. It may prove necessary in the end, but the stakes are still enormous -- and the doomsayers are eager to avoid any whisper of Afghanistan."

I somehow doubt that Iraqis would share Mr. Delevan's enthusiasm for their sacrifice on the altar of policies set by a faraway Western Christian superpower. The refusal to face the reality of an 'unwinnable' (at least, as the Bush administration originally intended it) situation is what led to these kind of casualties. Must we forget the lessons of the past?

(Note: post-edited a little for too much verbosity.)


We Pine for Jean

P. O'Neill may find it of interest to note that the latest Bush appointee to the Phoenix Park is inevitably another crony, too.


Confuddling the Yankees

Has Kieran Healy no shame?


Robert Jordan - blogger?

See here (word of warning - KoD spoilers in his comments). There seems to be a trend developing...


IRA Decommissioning

Right, can we please, finally, accept that the PIRA's war is over, no matter how much certain elements of Unionism (both in the North and in the South) clearly wished otherwise? Thank you.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 


No, I haven't emigrated or anything like that, though I have been abroad to a couple of interesting locales in the past month... (more on that anon). In the meantime, my co-bloggers over at FI Fie Foe Fum have been keeping up the good work, I see.

Normal service will resume soon, promise.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 

Scammers already taking advantage of Hurricane Katrina

No, I'm not referring to my earlier Pat Robertson post. These are the fraudsters not subject to official Bush administration approval.

"Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2005 02:47:22 +0300
From: "Brian Shapiro"
Subject: Katrina, Donate to the relief effort.
X-Mailer: KMail [version 1.2]

Donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. -

Or, if you are worried about the legitimacy of this email, feel free to:

Goto and click "Donate Now"

(Copy and paste the above URL's, If you cannot click them) also has a listing of organizations that accept cash donations as well as materials/voluneer contributions: .

A little bit, can go a long way.


The link to "donate" goes to a clearly faked American Red Cross page. It's always shocking to see these sort of scams coming out of the woodwork to make money out of someone else's misfortune.

It really, really angers me to know that there are scum that would sink to this level. The problem is, that decent people (like the vast majority of those reading this post) just can't comprehend the level of sheer wickedness, the utter lack of conscience needed to do something like this in the face of so much death and misery.

Speaking of which, one would think that the authorities would now be evacuating New Orleans in a fair manner, irrespective of race and class. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.
"At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday.

"How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, near the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome. The Hyatt was severely damaged by the storm. Every pane of glass on the riverside wall was blown out."

Disgraceful. (hat-tip to Atrios)


Best. Irish. Blog. In. Existence.

Shouldn't someone really be paying this guy (warning: profanity) good money to write a newspaper or magazine column, or something?

Just look in comparison at the talentless hacks and D4 layabouts Tony O'Reilly chooses to employ on the Sunday Independent and the Evening Herald. I rest my case.


"a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S."

Sidney Blumenthal in Der Spiegel:
"A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation." "

Too bloody true. And go read the rest of the above article.

Friday, September 02, 2005 

Bush administration funnelling donations to Robertson

Be careful who you donate to, and I'm not talking about the innumerable Web and email scams undoubtedly springing up right about now.

American blog Sploid discovered that the US FEMA disaster relief agency has been giving preferential status for receiving donations (towards the relief of New Orleans and surrounding areas) to a charity called "Operation Blessing". This 'charity' was initially listed (out of order) in second place on an alphabetical list at the FEMA website, right after the American Red Cross.

Just what is "Operation Blessing", then? Well, it turns out that it's a Pat Robertson front operation. The FEMA page in question has (since DailyKos learned of it) been moved to another URL, but Operation Blessing is still linked to at the new location, in addition to some new trickery with the order of precedence.

This Robertson scam is also linked to by Instapundit, on the page being used by the US right for their donation efforts. So, what was all that guff over the last number of days about how this fundamentalist fraud wasn't close to the Bushies...?

(hat-tip to DailyKos)

Update: The original preferential treatment towards Robertson's organisation can be seen in a FEMA press release here. (And in case that also disappears down the memory hole, I've saved a screengrab)

Thursday, September 01, 2005 

The Internet returns to its roots a disaster-proof method of communications (see Wikipedia). The New Orleans Times-Picayune hasn't been able to put out a print edition for the past number of days, for obvious reasons. Instead, in a show of resilient spirit they've moved to Internet-only in order to continue reporting on their beloved city. (See here, too)

It's not much use to people in the disaster area itself, left without electricity and communications, but it's still some small sign of hope for the future.


iTunes Phone coming to Ireland?

Perhaps. Appleinsider (quoting the London Times) claims that Motorola and Apple have signed O2 on to become a carrier for the ROKR, the first iTunes-enabled mobile phone.


New Orleans

Everyones' thoughts and prayers are going out now to the people of New Orleans and the surrounding countryside (Billmon of Whiskey Bar has the most interesting piece of journalism I've seen today). Please, give to the Red Cross if you can.

The evidence of reckless negligence makes me very, very angry indeed (though no-one should be surprised by anything that this most corrupt and incompetent of US administrations does). As does this, and this inevitable Fundie religious crap. And don't get me started on what Jonah Goldberg has been proclaiming, and what he then followed up by saying.

Yes, I'm venting. I'm sorry. But the sight of rich, privileged right-wing shits like Goldberg or Limbaugh sneering at the poor of New Orleans - a lot of whom are now dead - is nauseating to watch.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)


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