The Null Device
No War Font, a set of freely-distributable fonts of anti-war stencils (in German and English), images of politicians, radical-leftist agitprop and miscellaneous items. Suitable for everybody from churchgoing pacifists to Spartacist bampots. (via 1.0)
You've seen the historical images of the newly-liberated people of Iraq toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad? Well, claims have emerged that the whole thing was staged. Apparently the square was sealed off by US Marines, with the newly-liberated Iraqi people kept well away from the scene. The statue was pulled down by a US military vehicle. The celebrating Iraqis seen in the square were members of the militia of Ahmed Chalabi, Washington's favourite for Leader of Free Iraq. The whole thing was staged for the benefit of the media as a propaganda exercise. Mind you, people have said similar things about the moon landing. (via NWD)
Separated at birth?
So, after Iraq is pacified (or handed over to junior COW members to fix up), who's next? Let's take a look at the candidates:
- Syria. Its name has come up in Washington lately. They're sheltering Saddam and/or his WMDs (you know, the ones they couldn't find in Iraq), helping Palestinian bombers, and refusing to let McDonalds set up in Damascus. And besides they're not very nice.
- Iran. Similar reasons. Plus they're right between Iraq and Afghanistan. Not conquering them wouldn't look very good.
- North Korea. Rumsfeld's heart seems to be set on Syria, but if Kim Jong Il keeps jumping up and shouting "Me! Me! Pick me!", he may have to reprioritise. Business before pleasure and all that.
- Cuba. The presence of a fiercely anti-US Communist state a stone's throw from Florida makes a mockery of the Project for a New American Century's goals of full-spectrum dominance. How can they expect every government in the world to fear and respect the US, knowing that their fortunes, and indeed their very survival, hinge on the report card Washington gives them, when America can't even control its own backyard? Cuba has to go; and with no USSR backing it, it's only time before it gets its turn.
- Venezuela. Crucible of No Logo-style anti-corporate populism or creepy Cuban-like Marxist dictatorship in the offing (depending on whom you believe), either way, it doesn't belong in the New American Century. And they have oil too. To further sweeten the deal, some figures associated with the military-backed strike against the leftist leaders there have actually made claims of President Chavez giving money to al-Qaeda shortly after 9/11.
- Saudi Arabia. The monarchy is apparently tottering on the verge of collapse, with Islamic fundamentalists of the same stripe as made up most of the 9/11 hijackers set to take over. Backlash against the invasion of Iraq could be the push that sends it over, and invites intervention.
- Pakistan. See Saudi Arabia. And they have nukes too.
- France. Well, there are bumper stickers in the U.S. which read "First Iraq, then France", so someone must be for it.
- Canada. Because it's there. It's not heavily defended either; a quick conquest of Canada in the last 2 weeks of October 2004 should be enough to get Bush back with a landslide, even if the economy is fux0red.
So which will it be? Only time will tell.
Concorde, the 1960s-vintage supersonic airliner, is being retired. British Airways and Air France, the two operators of Concorde flights, have announced that they will be permanently grounding the planes, which have been troubled by technical problems and the decline in air travel. So now, supersonic air travel will cease to be a luxury for the super-wealthy or aviation obsessives and become another part of a bygone era, like passenger airships.
And quite a bit further down, another era is ending on the New York Subway, as the introduction of a new ticketing system brings to extinction a species of lowlife indigenous to the system: the token sucker:
The criminal carefully jams the token slot with a matchbook or a gum wrapper and waits for a would-be rider to plunk a token down. The token plunker bangs against the locked turnstile and walks away in frustration. Then from the shadows, the token sucker appears like a vampire, quickly sealing his lips over the token slot, inhaling powerfully and producing his prize: a $1.50 token, hard earned and obviously badly needed.
And deterrence, when dealing with someone willing to clamp his mouth to one of the most public surfaces in all of New York City, was next to impossible. "These guys were on their last legs," Officer McGarry said. "If they were going to jail, it was just an inconvenience for them." (In an interview with a reporter for The Los Angeles Times in the early 1990's, one token sucker acknowledged the depths of his desperation. "Hard times makes you do it," he explained, adding: "Anyways, I've kissed women that's worse.")
Oil is not the only commodity with which the Iraqi people can repay us for liberating them; a British firm wants to auction off .iq Internet domains, and promises to use the proceeds to pay for rebuilding Iraq's Internet infrastructure.