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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 01:34 am:   

... to all US writers, family and friends, if Ohio goes to Bush. I have a sofa-bed, a friendly dog, and a pub just round the corner that serves a mean Mojito. Glasgow's twinned with Havana, you know.

I'm sure I can crowbar some of the rest of the Glasgow SF Writer's Group into offering sanctuary too.
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jv
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 03:58 am:   

*sigh*. this continues to be the kind of nightmare you don't wake up from.

jeffv
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gary gibson
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 07:04 am:   

Well, the room I rent out to people in my house here in Glasgow, Scotland, is free from about May, and it's pretty cheap ...!

And just in case you felt like engaging in a little hollow laughter, has anybody read this? Can't remember where I found the link, but go to: http://www.livejournal.com/users/resonant8/71077.html

(excerpt: "A writer of "mainstream women's fiction" was working on an adventure novel set in Cambodia and involving terrorists. For research, she was buying books online, checking them out from the library, and looking at Cambodia-related websites.

Her home was raided and her writing material confiscated (including her computers, her files, her contracts, and even her music CDs). She still hasn't gotten most of her stuff back.")
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 03:50 pm:   

I just finished watching the third part of a fascinating BBC2 documentary series (reviewed on http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1327904,00.html) that cast the neo-cons in an entirely new light to me. I've heard people throwing about terms like 'Orwellian' for a while now in regards to Bushfeld Inc's approach to civil liberties; and I've been uncomfortable about that without being able to work out why. Now I think perhaps it's because that label dramatises - maybe even fantasises - the situation rather than actually examining it. But if the case in this series isn't being overstated then it looks like the US (and the UK to a lesser extent) have been royally fucked, shafted by the systematic deceits espoused in the philosophies of Leo Strauss. The deliberate creation of artificial enemies, myths of Good versus Evil, the exaggeration of threat, the use of fear as a method of social control. Makes PNAC look like the PTA. And it says something about the state we're in that three years of the War On Terror equates to three hours of reportage which actually went into these roots.

So at the risk of being thrown in leg-irons the next time I visit the US, I thought I'd use this thread to gather relevant links. Stories like the one Gary links to above. Leo Strauss. Team B's exaggeration of the Soviet threat during the Cold War. I'll post them as I find them. Please share.

Think of it as building your case for political asylum. Yes, hollow laughter indeed.
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al duncan
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 04:08 pm:   

Like this story of a ferry guard trying to confiscate some guy's roleplaying book "for your own safey", trivial and disturbing in a Kafka sort of way.
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Anna T
Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 07:00 pm:   

Al,
Here's another example of the Orwellian twist. I posted it a couple of days ago, but don't know if anyone saw it. This example is called the "New Freedom Initiative"

Over 5200 Concerned Adults Refuse to Comply with New Freedom Initiative for Mental Health Screening in the Schools
http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2004/10/emw168919.htm

and the background to this "Freedom Initiative"
http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2004/06/23/bush_to_impose_psychiatric_drug_ regime.htm

But we can't blame this only on the neocons. This sort of thing was alive before them, the "Free Trade Treaties", for example, being anything but.

And as for a couch for those in the US wanting to escape, Australia had an election result only a month ago that presaged the one yesterday, so you are welcome here but not as an escape. We'd be commiserating together.

Fear, selfishness, a rising Conservative Christian strain straight from the US, augmented with a powerfully strong Vatican stream that is prevalent in our government's leadership, were the running themes, and they won. The government now has a solid majority in both houses without having a separate executive branch, with new allies in the Senate in the form of a stealth Christian party called "Family First", all from a US-style Evangelical Church. We've gone right, alright. And the "left", partly because it has ceased to know what it stands for, got a drubbing.
The US Democrats deserved, unfortunately, to be beaten, because they acted like they didn't believe in anything during Bush's term. They acted like doormats during the lead-up to the war, and in the Commission, never recognised the failures of American policy abroad, but took the line, as the Republicans have, that the Middle East is full of mental defectives, and we only have to smile more and talk clearer, to win their hearts and minds.
Only one Senator acted heroically, and gave a speech for our time. William C. Byrd.
I am sorry that it is not the legacy that will stick.
Challenging Pre-emption
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1215-12.htm

Well, I've garbaged on enough. Sorry, but I'm as frazzled as a fried frog.
Here's Orwell on the English language:
http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/patee.html

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al duncan
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 02:21 am:   

Thanks, Anna. That's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. "New Freedom Initiative", indeed. Would that be a New Initiative aiming for Freedom, or an Initiative aiming for "New Freedom", do you think? Because, of course, we don't want any of that old-style freedom where people were actually, you know, free. Oh, no. We've got a new type of freedom, these days. You could say it's a somewhat radical interpretation of the term "freedom" but, hey, who cares? Most people will just look at you blankly, mouth the word "ra-di-cal", and say, "What? You mean liberal?". Just wait until the word "moderate" gets redefined to mean "godless faggot commie".

I found a nice little article on Leo Strauss. Some highlights:

"The Straussians [...] have reportedly been gradually, quietly infiltrating and taking over political-science departments..."

"...in [Allan] Bloom's famous (or infamous) book, [The Closing Of The American Mind] he only mentions his master once, and in passing, so that the vast majority of his readers remained blissfully ignorant of any connection... "

"The Straussians are pre-modern and anti-modern... The lesson of the trial and execution of Socrates is that Socrates was guilty as charged..."

"...philosophers should [...] keep their teachings secret, passing them on by the esoteric art of writing "between the lines.""

"Strauss believed that he alone had recovered the true, hidden message contained in the "Great Tradition" of philosophy from Plato to Hobbes and Locke: the message that there are no gods, that morality is ungrounded prejudice, and that society is not grounded in nature... "

"...a new regime could and should be created, by accepting, understanding, and harnessing men's lower, self-interested nature..."

And it looks like that new regime has been created on that basis. These motherfuckers actually believe that their wholesale deceit and manipulation of the mob is philosophically justified, and they've put that theory into practice.

I'm just waiting for the Protocols Of The Elders Of Islam to appear any day now.
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neilw
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 03:48 am:   

Al - I've been pretty much captivated by this series as well.

"The vast majority of those arrested as members of suspected terrorist cells in the US and UK have had their charges quietly dropped (apart from those whose concern is Northern Ireland, of course)?" Hmmm.

It's certainly a plausible argument.

In addition, I'd also be interested in seeing evidence to back up the assertion made in last night's show that a "dirty bomb" would, rather than killing thousands and making a large city an uninhabitable wasteland, harm only a few.
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al duncan
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 05:25 am:   

The dirty bomb study they seem to have been referring to looks like this one. More people would die "arguing over who has the right way", says the scientist who ran the study.
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al duncan
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 05:55 am:   

A brief overview of what Team B were up to back in the 70's:

"Team B accused the CIA of consistently underestimating the “intensity, scope, and implicit threat” posed by the Soviet Union... But [...] some of the CIA estimates critiqued by Team B were themselves exaggerations, particularly the estimates of Soviet military spending."

While I'm posting this... I've just come across someone who's transcribed the whole sodding first episode of that documentary (The Power Of Nightmares).

A wee sample:

Dr ANNE CAHN, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977-80: They couldn’t say that the Soviets had acoustic means of picking up American submarines, because they couldn’t find it. So they said, well maybe they have a non-acoustic means of making our submarine fleet vulnerable. But there was no evidence that they had a non-acoustic system. They’re saying, “we can’t find evidence that they’re doing it the way that everyone thinks they’re doing it, so they must be doing it a different way. We don’t know what that different way is, but they must be doing it.”

INTERVIEWER (off-camera): Even though there was no evidence.

CAHN: Even though there was no evidence.

INTERVIEWER: So they’re saying there, that the fact that the weapon doesn’t exist…

CAHN: Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It just means that we haven’t found it.
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neilw
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 06:12 am:   

Also, a favourite segment of mine:

VO: To persuade the President, the neoconservatives set out to prove that the Soviet threat was far greater than anyone, even Team B, had previously shown. They would demonstrate that the majority of terrorism and revolutionary movements around the world were actually part of a secret network, coordinated by Moscow, to take over the world. The main proponent of this theory was a leading neoconservative who was the special adviser to the Secretary of State. His name was Michael Ledeen, and he had been influenced by a best-selling book called The Terror Network. It alleged that terrorism was not the fragmented phenomenon that it appeared to be. In reality, all terrorist groups, from the PLO to the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, and the Provisional IRA, all of them were a part of a coordinated strategy of terror run by the Soviet Union. But the CIA completely disagreed. They said this was just another neoconservative fantasy.

MICHAEL LEDEEN , Special Adviser to the US Secretary of State 1981-1982: The CIA denied it. They tried to convince people that we were really crazy. I mean, they never believed that the Soviet Union was a driving force in the international terror network. They always wanted to believe that terrorist organizations were just what they said they were: local groups trying to avenge terrible evils done to them, or trying to rectify terrible social conditions, and things like that. And the CIA really did buy into the rhetoric. I don’t know what their motive was. I mean, I don’t know what people’s motives are, hardly ever. And I don’t much worry about motives.

VO: But the neoconservatives had a powerful ally. He was William Casey, and he was the new head of the CIA. Casey was sympathetic to the neoconservative view. And when he read the Terror Network book, he was convinced. He called a meeting of the CIA’s Soviet analysts at their headquarters, and told them to produce a report for the President that proved this hidden network existed. But the analysts told him that this would be impossible, because much of the information in the book came from black propaganda the CIA themselves had invented to smear the Soviet Union. They knew that the terror network didn’t exist, because they themselves had made it up.

MELVIN GOODMAN , Head of Soviet Affairs CIA, 1976-87: And when we looked through the book, we found very clear episodes where CIA black propaganda—clandestine information that was designed under a covert action plan to be planted in European newspapers—were picked up and put in this book. A lot of it was made up. It was made up out of whole cloth.

INTERVIEWER (off-camera): You told him this?

GOODMAN : We told him that, point blank. And we even had the operations people to tell Bill Casey this. I thought maybe this might have an impact, but all of us were dismissed. Casey had made up his mind. He knew the Soviets were involved in terrorism, so there was nothing we could tell him to disabuse him. Lies became reality.

VO: In the end, Casey found a university professor who described himself as a terror expert, and he produced a dossier that confirmed that the hidden terror network did, in fact, exist.
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neilw
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 06:13 am:   

If anyone wants to see the first two episodes it looks like if you go to the link Al posted for the transcription, someone has also provided a method of downloading the programme itself.
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al duncan
Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 11:05 am:   

Another little sign of the times: Screw free speech; let's just bring back the blacklists of McCarthyism.
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al duncan
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:00 am:   

More of that little-Hitlerism, courtesy of Boing Boing.
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al duncan
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:18 am:   

Which is a similar story to this guy's. Follow "link 1" to the Artist's Statement.
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AliceB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 06:30 am:   

You know, my husband's been pestering me to get US citizenship. The reason? "If they arrest you, they can throw you out of the country." These links make me think maybe I should--or perhaps work on getting him a Canadian visa.
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al duncan
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 09:12 am:   

Now another story of the abuse of anti-terrorist legislation. A Kentucky kid jailed for, at very most, daring to write down a revenge fantasy. If we take his word on it, it's just a fucking zombie story, but even if the kid's a nut-job daydreaming of a high school massacre, this is not terrorism.

Here's a question. Anyone seen the movie If...? Now imagine if you were a high school student and you wrote that same basic story. Let's imagine that your story had a clear political theme - which there's no indication of with the Kentucky kid - and that the end scene is an uprising, a bloody massacre of authority figures - teachers, parents, peers, the whole high school hierarchy. If the Kentucky kid is a terrorist threat then you are too... without a fucking doubt.

Jesus Fucking Christ, does this mean that any even remotely antagonistic attitude towards any aspect of the existing social order is fucking sedition?
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gary gibson
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 09:37 am:   

It does make you wonder, actually, if this is a good argument for a US-based remake of 'If ...'? That would certainly be something. *Really* something.
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al duncan
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 10:09 am:   

Part of me thinks "Wash your mouth out with soap and water, Mr Gibson! Hollywood remake of 'If...'! Can you imagine the travesty?"

But at the same time, I could imagine setting it in a present-day prep school in the US. Don't they have some sort of equivalent of the military training - OTC - you still get in that type of public school in the UK? You could theoretically make a very pertinent comment on the current NeoCon climate, future Captains of Industry being taught Straussian political philosophy.

Shit, that could be one powerful fucking movie right now.
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gary gibson
Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 12:16 pm:   

Precisely. US-based isn't automatically Hollywood.
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al duncan
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 05:28 pm:   

And then there's Tabby. Describes herself on her website as "[h]ighly active in the peace and justice movement, the animal rights movement, and the anti-globalization movement, Paints, Writes, does web design, Scifi geek, Pro-Domina, Vegan, and general all around bad-ass".

And apparently an ENEMY OF THE STATE!!!

"I saw Goody Proctor with the devil!"
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Neal Asher
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 04:20 am:   

I thought the title of this thread the best one to post on (since I've just been reading your blog). You know, that 'Eyah asher eyah' I've heard many times. Usually it's someone trying to attract my attention from across the pub.
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al duncan
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 04:56 am:   

*groan*

Or should I say "Ooyah, Asher... ooyah"?

But, aye, it does make perfect sense in that strange foreign language you guys speak down there, I suppose... that "Ingerlish" stuff.
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Neal Asher
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 06:46 am:   

Sorry about that -- editing boredom drives me to post too much on message boards.

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