The strange case of Gheret Niyaz: shortly after last year’s Urumqi riots, a pro-Chinese Uighur journalist gives an interview (translated here) in which he echoes many of Beijing’s official views of the conflict.
Blogging about war and terrorism and fear and death and sadness. A hatred welled up inside me. I knew what it was. I knew where the hate and blackness came from and what it was about. But in the post 9/11 world I found a convenient way to project all the bile without turning it back toward myself. I fell in step with the people who were known then as the warbloggers. I fell in step with people who knew how to sling mud and spew venom. We had our common enemy: terrorism. We had our common targets: anyone who wasn’t gung ho about eradicating our enemy from the face of the earth. And all the while I was doing this, all the time I was calling for war and praising our dear leader and calling my former friends - all the people who took about ten steps back from me when I fell off the ledge - traitors and other horrible name, all that time I knew. I knew I wasn’t being myself. I knew I didn’t believe half of what I was screaming about. All I knew was I found a venue in which to scream and god damn I needed to scream.
via. I still think that in some respects the Iraq war was the product of this kind of mindset operating at a mass level and in government. Naturally, it attracted all kinds of policy entrepreneurs and outright conmen, and these brought in their train people who were inclined to believe whatever arguments for war were articulated. But that got things backward. There wasn’t a process of argumentation that led to war, but a desire for war which informed every argument. Any argument was a good one provided that it demonstrated the necessity for war; by making it you could develop within yourself a pleasing sense of strength, potency and decision. You could lose old friends and political allies you were bored with and reach across the aisle to make exciting new ones. If you were an old leftie you could revel in the thought of being on the inside for once, and convince yourself that the US marines were there to do your bidding. You could have all the excitement of a conversion experience. You could experience self-intoxication as moral clarity. They were weird days.
A lot of the same people muttered about lack of planning after the war and many are still muttering the same thing now. Of course there wasn’t any planning. The great example would be enough: the huge, cathartic act of violence that would wash away the shame and horror of 9/11. The new world would simply slot itself into place afterwards.
The United States is very interested in intelligence-gathering to monitor movements of submarines from the massive new People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) base near Sanya in Hainan, and to map the South China Sea floor to make the task of detecting and (in event of conflict) destroying Chinese subs more easily.
The primary point of friction is the surveillance vessel Impeccable, which lumbers across the South China Sea inside China's Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) towing sonar gear listening for Chinese subs and, apparently, employing active sonar to map the sea bottom.
The woman's husband affirmed that the midwife sealed his wife's rectum in retribution for their failure to come up with a more generous bribe; the midwife countered that she might have overstepped the boundaries as a midwife to tie up the patient's bleeding hemorrhoid, but by doing so she only meant to do good.
While I think Charli Carpenter and Joshua Foust might be overstating things a bit here about the immediacy of the threat, there’s no doubt that its bad form to just take a load of informant interviews from Afghanistan and throw them out on to the internet: there’s enough other stuff there to be able to do without them and still make the point wikileaks wanted to make. I don’t think you’d do that if your attitude to the lives and prospects of the individuals concerned wasn’t basically one of indifference. That doesn’t sit too well with all the MOHIG stuff Assange has been coming out with about war crimes.
I don’t think it’ll lead to extradition or anything. Iceland seems to have made itself into a kind of Digital Tangier from back in the interzone days, with Mr A as unofficial Minister of All Information and Datadump Plenipotentiary. But it does dovetail with some of the concerns I expressed earlier. If you make yourself into an open channel, which is what wikileaks seems to have done here, then anyone can use you, and I think wikileaks future spectaculars should be looked at in that light.
I’m pleased to say that Next Media Animation now has a blog containing videos from its NMA world Youtube channel, which I’m afraid lack some of the zest of the originals. The subtitles are useful, though they do tend to detract from that tantalising “what the fuck is THIS” frisson you get with the real thing. Though I did recognise this week’s story, which was something of a local cause celebre a while back. It happened in Wigan, I believe.
A north London grocery store is committing "wildlife massacre" by selling squirrel meat, an animal welfare group has claimed.
Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva) accused a branch of Budgens of supporting a "barbaric and needless cull" of grey squirrels.
An independently-owned branch in Crouch End has been selling the meat for four months.
Shop owner Andrew Thornton said he sold the meat for "sustainability reasons".
Mr Thornton, who buys his squirrels from a supplier in north Essex, said he sold about a dozen squirrels a week at about £3 or £4 each.
That’s a fair whack for a bony little creature. But Budgens isn’t exactly Waitrose, and it’s not the first attempt to accustom the British public to a local variant of bush meat. Once established as respectable, it has the potential to be a useful once a week protein infusion for the unemployed and underpaid, especially since people can go out and hunt their own. Why not? It’s a big society.
So the trick cyclists have decided that we’re all, in our several ways, a little bit mad. As Darian Leader points out, this is probably true. However:
Changes in drug legislation also played a part. Each new product had to define its active ingredients, the outcomes sought and the delivery period for attaining them. This meant a new kind of surface precision. Drugs would have to prove through expensive trials that they were more effective than placebo and did better than other drugs. It was the drug industry that created the new diagnostic categories. With each new category came a new medication.
Exacerbating this problem is the fact that in many parts of the US, a clinician will only receive reimbursement if they make a prescription, which means making a diagnosis. Like drugs themselves, clinical categories become objects in the marketplace, wielding economic power. The result is that the patient's underlying problems may well be neglected in favour of surface diagnoses that are both unscientific and misleading.
This is the kind of thing that pushes me towards homeopathy. If they’re going to diagnose us with illnesses that don’t exist, the least they could do is give us drugs that don’t work.