The Null Device
Various leftist troublemakers are claiming that the invasion of Iraq has accelerated the spread of Osama bin Laden's anti-US ideology among once-local Islamic movements, increasing the danger to the US and its allies. Um, hang on, it's not leftists making the claim, it's the CIA and the U.S. State Department.
Islamic militant organisations in places such as North Africa and South-East Asia, previously focused on changing their local country leadership, "have been caught by bin Laden's vision, and poisoned by it... they will now look at the US, Israel and the Saudis as targets", a senior intelligence official said last week. "That is one manifestation of how bin Laden's views are expanding well beyond Iraq," he said.
Since attacks in East Africa, on the USS Cole, and on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, al-Qaeda has lost its sanctuary in Afghanistan. Its once top-down control of terrorist operations now is in the hands of less-experienced people.
A Seattle laptop-bag manufacturer has added an apology for their president to the French translation of the care instructions on their bags. The extra lines translate as "We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him." (via bOING bOING)
They're embedding web servers in a lot of things these days; like, for example, frogs. (via 1.0)
A picture is emerging of the Madrid bombers (most of whom are believed to have killed themselves with a bomb when besieged); and it appears that they gave no clue to being Islamic fundamentalists:
Neighbours who lived near Fakhet, and many of the other suspects, had little reason to think that they were militants with a fundamentalist agenda. Many of them appeared westernised and integrated into the Spanish community, with a liking for football, fashion, drinking and Spanish girlfriends, say Spanish press reports.
Ahmidan is also said to have seemed happily integrated in Spanish society, whose Spanish friends are said to have included women who sported crop tops, tattoos and piercings.
Which is a sobering thought; the "brigades of death" could be among us, not merely keeping quietly to themselves whilst catching your bus or working in your office, but popping Es at your favourite nightclub, barracking for your footy team, and discussing the finer points of your favourite reality-TV show with you over a beer; right up until the end when they cast off the façade of their normal life and kill you and your loved ones.
Either that or the right-wing talk radio jocks are right and people with tattoos, piercings and countercultural leanings are in league with the terrorists.
A DIY enthusiast in Sheffield spent weeks building a guillotine, with which he decapitated himself. Kevin Brunie, 42, told relatives that his secret project was a toy car. He was unemployed and was thought to have recovered from depression, and was reported to have been in good spirits days before he died. (A lot of suicides are reported to have been uncommonly cheerful just prior to doing themselves in; take Ian Curtis, for example.) (via Die Puny Humans)