The Null Device
50 suspicious things about the Nick Berg killing; from Berg's unusual circumstances (what he was doing alone in Iraq with an Israeli stamp in his passport, why he was travelling at night, his stated intention to leave, the 3 FBI visits he received whilst in custody), what exactly happened between his release from custody and capture by the killers (if he was handed over, that would have saved Osama Bin Laden from having to procure an orange jumpsuit for him), the timing of the release of the tape (which mentions the prison torture photos apparently before they were released), the increasingly implausible "al-Qaeda" assassins' builds, accents and hands, and even questions of whether the decapitated man was, in fact, Berg. Something's not what it seems. (via jwz)
P-P-P-Powerbook: a true story. Briefly, guy in Seattle tries selling a new PowerBook on eBay, finds a scammer trying to con him out of it using a dodgy escrow service, and posts to Something Awful. The SA Goons then collaborate to play an expensive prank on the scammer, sending them the P-P-P-Powerbook, a hand-decorated ring binder, valued for Customs at US$2,000. Meanwhile, goons in the UK track the scammer's address to a dodgy-looking barber shop in North London, whose proprietor (one Jean Climax) presumably takes delivery of items for various slippery customers, and observe as the scammer (a Romanian chap, by all accounts) takes delivery of his new P-P-P-Powerbook.
Bad news for the neo-conservative pipe dream of making Iraq the start of a domino chain of neo-liberal democracies across the Middle East, too busy eating Big Macs, watching MTV and monitoring their Halliburton shares to consider annihilating Israel or supporting international terrorism, thus ushering in a new age of peace and contented consumerism across the entire Middle East. The US Government have indicated that they will accept a theocracy emerging in Iraq. I'm sure John Ashcroft wouldn't object.
Meanwhile, two cities in southern California are designating themselves no-communist zones; very retro.