The Null Device
One feels one must applaud the refreshing honesty of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe; after all, while many in his profession swear up and down to be champions of freedom, he's one of very few to equate himself to Hitler in his own statements.
"Hitler in Zimbabwe has one objective - sovereignty for his people, recognition of their independence and their rights to freedom. If they say I am Hitler, let me be Hitler ten-fold and that's what we stand for."
Mugabe, who sports a toothbrush mustache, made these remarks as his government clamped down ruthlessly on dissent, detaining and torturing hundreds of dissidents. (via Die Puny Humans)
(I seem to recall that some other African tyrant, back in the 1970s, idolised Hitler and put statues of him in all his cities.)
A bill has been introduced in US Congress that would require postwar Iraq to use CDMA mobile phones, based on US patents and technology, rather than GSM phones whose licensing fees flow to places like France and Germany. Oh, and CDMA networks have built-in FBI-compliant surveillance technologies, which will make keeping order a lot easier for the colonial administration. The fact that neighbouring countries all use GSM is, of course, irrelevant; that's the old Middle East. (via Techdirt)
Remember Anything Box? They shared the lofty heights of the synthpop pantheon with such giants as Boxcar and Seven Red Seven. In other words, they were one of the countless synthpop bands who did not have a Bizarre Love Triangle or an Enjoy The Silence in them, but instead churned out bland major-key songs with drum machines, sequencer lines, uninspiring lyrics and predictable verse-chorus-verse structures. Anyway, if you're a synthpop fanatic, they've released a retrospective compilation in downloadable MP3 format, with PDF artwork. Some of the songs are better than others, though a lot of them have a certan saccharine quality; often the beginnings and endings are better than the songs themselves, and the singer sounds a bit too boy-band. IMHO, it'd be on a par with a CD by a Tennessee synthpop outfit named Otherness which came unbidden in a bootleg CD-R order, and whose only memorable feature was the instrumental closing track comprised entirely of sequencers, drum machines and Gillian Anderson samples. (If anybody wants that CD, btw, make me an offer.)
I had somewhat of a Tanya Headon reaction to 8.mp3, which asserts that there are "too many songs about bitches and ho's, too many songs about pimpin'", but "not enough songs about love". Au contraire, there are too many songs about love, and most of them are unmitigated shite.
In the Islamic world, former moderates are calling for jihad against Western forces, seeing them as "crusaders". So Bush and Blair have achieved what Osama bin Laden could not do, unifying the Islamic world in holy war against the West and radicalising countless former moderates, securing decades of war and terrorism to come. Nice one, guys. I hope you get a Nobel Peace Prize out of this.
Veteran Communist dictator turned anti-globalisation movement hero and World's First Punk Statesman, Fidel Castro hails the Internet as a weapon against communications monopolies, by which he probably means the evil Yanqui capitalist propaganda engines. Given that this is coming from a despot who keeps a draconian grip on all means of communication and organisation in his prison-state (even the Cuban Government's overseas propaganda publications are banned at home, because ordinary Cubans are forbidden from knowing the details the government's propagandists have to put in to give them credibility to McWorlders), I must say this rings a little hollow. Though he probably said it for the benefit of the Nu Marxists in the protest movement. (via TechDirt)
(Btw, is there anybody like Salam Pax in Havana, somehow managing to keep a blog and avoid the attentions of the secret police? (I mean anyone who isn't a transparent propaganda ploy by one side or the other?))