‘On the 11th of November a young lady named Anneli in Sweden wrote me a fan letter. The address she wrote on the front of the envelope was “The author Neil Gaiman. Lives in a big house of uncertain location in Minnesota USA”. On the 20th of November the United States Postal Service delivered that letter to me, care of DreamHaven Books, 912 W Lake St, Minneapolis MN 55408. And I picked it up the other night from DreamHaven when I got home from the UK.
1) The US Postal service (or, more probably, somebody working for it) is a lot smarter than I ever gave it credit for,
2) Sometimes very unlikely things happen.
And please, don’t try this at home. If you have something to send, then send it to DreamHaven at the above address.’
“A white-collar worker from Minnesota hacks two sites that published messages extolling recent terrorist attacks linked to al-Qaida. But he may have unwittingly botched the FBI’s ongoing surveillance operation.” Wired
The Music of Data Networks — “Listen carefully to the sound of the network, and you will hear the difference between congestion and the seamless flow of data.
So says a music professor who has applied his ear for subtle changes in pitch to the problem of delayed or dropped data on the Internet.” NY Times
monitors the global War on Terrorism and its implications for human rights, democracy and ecology. We scan the world media and Internet with a critical eye for distortions and propaganda. Our only loyalty is to the truth.
Every week, we cover the top stories in the War on Terrorism, as well as important stories overlooked by the mass media. Everything we report is sourced, and we endeavor to fact-check and probe deeper when something smells funny–whether it comes from the New York Times or a fringe web site. We annotate with historical, cultural and political context when it is relevant and overlooked by our source.
“Does my country really understand that this is World War III? And if this attack was the Pearl Harbor of World War III, it means there is a long, long war ahead.”
— Thomas Friedman, NY Times, 9-14-2001
When, in February, Rumsfeld was forced to abandon a then-recently-announced plan for an Office of Strategic Initiatives for the express purpose of providing disinformation to shape foreign public sentiment about the US, something seemed fishy about how quickly it all went away. Did we think the menacing shadows would clear out of our bedroom just because we rolled over and mumbled something half-intelligible before settling back down to sleep? I mean, when the government announces its intention to create an agency with the express purpose of lying to the world, you’re going to believe them when they tell you they’ve disbanded it? Here it is again, it would seem, without the name. NY Times In fact, in a November 18 press briefing in which he also comments on the scandalous Poindexter Total Information Awareness project, Rumsfeld said:
“And then there was the office of strategic influence. You may recall that. And “oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.” I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.”
Did you get that? The quote is in the first paragraph of the briefing transcript, but read the whole thing to get a sense of the audacity, the disdain for the niceties of the Constitution and public opinion, and the infantile grandiosity of the man appointed to fight our wars for us. There’s also this little exchange, admittedly out of context:
“Q: We are not making the Public comfortable here.
Rumsfeld: If I haven’t answered that I don’t have control of the English language.”
He said it, I didn’t, but it certainly raises the question, now that you mention it. To judge from these somewhat extemporaneous remarks, it would seem the man’s thinking is somewhat confused, imprecise and vague, when he isn’t behind a veil of carefully pre-scripted spin.
And here is what appears to be an unclassified version of the “classified” Directive 3600.1 for propaganda operations against US allies. [via cryptome]
More on the extent to which disingenuousness and deception are core instruments of current policy abroad. “Advertising maven Charlotte Beers is trying to sell the U.S. to the Muslim world, but nobody’s buying it.” Salon What do you expect when the State Department undersecretary for public diplomacy is a former Madison Ave. maven?