31 July 2005


The connections to the London bombing may spread much further than Italy. One of the alleged suspects, Osman Hussain, who said to have made a call to someone in Saudi.

The fact that he may have been calling someone in Saudi Arabia should not come as a surprise to any of us.

Now The Sundays Times suggests there is a third terrorist cell at work.

30 July 2005

A Scary Prospect

This month's Prospect runs an interview with Hassan Butt, a British Jihadist, who says:

Butt: Every Muslim must work for the Shari’a to be implemented as a political way of life. They can do that physically, by involving themselves in revolutionary coups, or through political means. As long as they don't attack or compromise other Muslims who are doing something different from them, I have no problem with any of these ways of establishing the Shari’a."


The second part is here.

"Taseer: What’s the position of the radical Islamic movement in Britain today? Is it growing or declining?
Butt: I do believe that support is growing. In the public eye it seems as though only a tiny number of Muslims are making this noise, but the fact is that only a tiny number have the courage to speak out. The rest won't, simply because they're worried about being persecuted by the government."

"Taseer: You're looking forward to death? Butt: Absolutely. As long as it's done properly. I'm terrified of dying normally, growing old, grey."

"Butt:..you know as well as I do that London has more radical Muslims than anywhere in the Muslim world. A bomb would jeopardise everyone’s position. "

That says alot.

Interesting, but Not Sure Yet

People with Gmail accounts should be able to use them as as a virtual 2 Gb drive with GMail Drive , as they state:

"GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google Gmail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your Gmail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag'n'drop files to."

I have not tested it yet but seems a smart idea.

29 July 2005

Peace In Our Time?

Yesterday's statement by the provisional IRA to give up the armed struggle in favour of the political process is certainly a monumental step.

Since the initial meetings of Hume and Adams in 1988 there have been slow, faltering and sometimes obstructed steps towards the political path, rather than the Armalite and bullet.

Leaving aside the technicalities of disarmament for the moment, the stumbling block is the attitude and actions of the DUP, and the broader loyalist community.

Can they acknowledge the significance of the provisional IRA giving up the armed struggle? Or will they seek to rub salt into the wounds? Will they be willing to disarm the loyalist paramilitaries?

Lingering resentment, as embodied by Ian Paisley, will be an impediment to resolving the conflicts between the nationalist and loyalist communities.

Clearly Britain wishes to divest herself of Northern Ireland but the question is how?

If some funding arrangement can be organised from Europe which takes up the annual British subsidy that may go a long way to resolving any economic issues.

The Republic will need to invest time, money and diplomacy to avoid excessively alienating the loyalist communities, and it may have to modify Ireland’s constitution to enshrine some explicit safeguards for loyalists.

The questions remains: can the people of the North rid themselves of age old hatreds? How will they disarm the loyalist paramilitaries?

28 July 2005

Class or Privilege

David Ignatius makes some interesting observations about the background of many Jihadists:

"..it's a far more deadly revolt of privilege. But people who were students in the 1960s will remember the phenomenon: The kids from elite public and private schools who went to college, felt guilty about their comfort amid a brutal world, and joined the Progressive Labor Party to ally with oppressed Third World workers. There is a cult aspect to this jihad – an extreme version of the logic that has always drawn disaffected kids to self-destructive behavior."

What will stop this revolt of privileged Muslims? One possibility is that it will be checked by the same process that derailed the revolt of the rich kids in America after the 1960s – namely, the counter-revolt of the poor kids. Poor Muslims simply can't afford the rebellion of their wealthy brethren, and the havoc it has brought to the House of Islam. For make no mistake: The people suffering from jihadism are mostly Muslims.!

Site of the Week 7

Never much read Julie Burchill until I got her bio second hand a few years back but she has mostly good instincts.

Some of her recent work at The Times can be found here.

Therefore, site of the week is the "unofficial" Julie Burchill

The Theology of Nails

Newly released pictures from ABC News confirm what many of us had suspected, a wider and more concerted effort by the 7th of July terrorists.

Nail bombs and additional explosives have been found, with one of the ABC News Security experts, Robert Ayers, commenting:

"You see what is bulging on the sides of the bottle are nails. Many, many nails. And the nails are put there so that when the bomb goes off, the nails will tear tissue and kill people in the area. Bombs don't kill by concussion. Small bombs, they kill by the blast effects of fragments of glass or metal, and this is designed to kill people."

27 July 2005


The BBC analysis programme on The Theology of Terrorism is very interesting and can be listened to here.

26 July 2005

Insurgents or War Criminals

The savagery of the Iraqi 'insurgents' defies description but Amnesty International has released a report on them, which classifies their actions as warcrimes.

I could not agree more, remembering the fate of Margaret Hassan and the reaction of Iraqis to her kidnapping and subsequent beheading.

Site of the Week 6

Anyone interested in history or current affairs should find
The Avalon Project at Yale Law School very helpful.

I would recommend the studying The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials pages.

25 July 2005

A Day to Remember

26th July 1945:

Clement Attlee is elected as Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The Labour Government of 1945 heralded the creation of the British welfare state and the NHS, in dire circumstances and six short years. Atlee's government achieved more for ordinary people than governments before or since have.

Fold the CPU cycles

A worthy project for using up all of those spare CPU cycles is Folding@Home Distributed Computing.

It works on a similar basis to the SETI project, providing a distributed client which downloads small chunks of data and processes them across 100,000s of PCs, using the spare cycles on the CPUs.

As they explain:

"Folding@Home is a distributed computing project which studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. We use novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing, to simulate timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved. This has allowed us to simulate folding for the first time, and to now direct our approach to examine folding related disease."

Get on your cycles!

24 July 2005

Blame the Mullahs?

The question of suicide bombers, their origin and intent, has been preoccupying people's minds for the last few weeks.

There is one helpful insight into the origins of suicide bombers from the Iranians web site: the Persian Journal.

In an article, it goes on to suggest that Khomeini's desire to win in the Iran-Iraq wars led to the Islamic reinterpretation of suicide bombing as a 'glorious act of martyrdom', and so it spread across the Middle East:

he origins of suicide bombing lie in the battlefields of the 1980-1988 Iran/Iraq war when Iranian child soldiers strapped bombs to their chests and blew up Iraqi tanks."

The ancient Islamic prohibition against suicide was re-written and suicide bombing was reinterpreted as a glorious act of martyrdom.

From that moment onwards, the cult of suicide bombing invaded hearts and minds across the Islamic world."

23 July 2005

Poem from the Past

Thinking on the previous entry, I reflected how the poem attributed to Martin Niemöller is apt, if slightly revised:

They attacked the Iraqis civilians, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't an Iraqi civilian;

They attacked the Iraqis aidworkers, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't an Iraqi aidworker;

They attacked Gays, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't Gay;

They attacked women, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't a woman;

They attacked London, I finally objected and

I realised - they must be stopped and how

wrong I was before to ignore all of the warnings signs;


Who Knew's Root Causes - Death Threats Against Gay Rights Group is worth reading, and think of the implications.

Outrage covers the issue as Terrorist danger to gay venues:

"Gay venues could be bombed by Islamic terrorists. All gay bars and clubs should introduce bag and body searches. Muslim fundamentalists have a violent hatred of lesbians and gay men. They believe we should be killed. Our community could be their next target. This is no time for complacency."

22 July 2005

Mandy Does it Again?

Mandriva Linux (formed by combing Mandrake and Conectiva) have released a new beta: Mandriva Linux 2006 Beta 1. It still seems to be making its way to the mirrors, so initially downloadable from Warwick

21 July 2005

Firefix again!

Just as 1.0.5 of Firefox was released problems were found on the API and 1.0.6 is here to fix them!! Beat that M$

SafeXp Update

SafeXP is useful but the recommended setting might need adjusting, as it turns on automatic update and tidies up the Start Menu a bit too much for my taste.. Other than that, SafeXP is very useful.

20 July 2005

Handy Software

Updating my previous post on Crap Cleaner: very handy tools, it does the job and removes a lot of unnecessary rubbish. The Issues function is very useful for rectifying minor discrepancies on XP systems.

But care should be taken to un-click the Cookie, if the setting on your favourite web sites vanish (they are mostly kept in local cookies on your machine), not a major problem.

I would run with the standard settings (remove all cookies) and then visit your favourite sites, allow cookies and then un-click the remove all cookies function again , that way you get the best of both worlds, tidy machine but enough cookie to make your life easier.

Another candidate for utility of the week is: Autoruns from Sysinternals

Autoruns beats MSconfig hand down and indicates the host of programs that run on start-up and clog up many systems.

19 July 2005

Get Rid of the Bad News Blues

Some days the news is only bad, then a good news day comes along.

Such a day is when a nasty tin-pot wannabe Hitler: John Tyndall, kicks the bucket.

The sun comes out and all the bad news seems to disperse, for the moment.

Update: picture of Tyndall and Co. in Nazi uniforms

Yellow Liver

Following on from my previous post concerning Milk Thistle, I thought I had better elaborate on it.

One of the major problems taking vitamin supplements is knowing if they work, and do they do any good?

In one respect, Milk Thistle answers this question as it works primarily in one area: the liver.

Therefore, its efficaciousness can be scientifically determined by examining improvements in liver functions.

A number of studies and anecdotal evidence have been conducted on Milk Thistle which suggests it can be helpful in countering the effects of drink on the liver.

I have also found it handy as a hangover cure!

17 July 2005

This Day in 1937

On the 17th of July 1937 Buchenwald concentration camp opens in central Germany.

16 July 2005

Half Sozzled

Christopher Hitchen's gives an amusing performance here, even half sozzled and I think the key part of the exchange with Ron Reagan is:

" If you make the mistake that I thought I heard you making just before we came on the air, of attributing rationality or a motive to this, and to say that it's about anything but itself, you make a great mistake, and you end up where you ended up, saying that the cause of terrorism is fighting against it, the root cause, I mean."

(Hat tip: DSTPW)

Whilst I rarely ever agree with Hitchen, he is amusing and intelligence, although I wish he would try some milk thistle before his liver gives out.

Site of the Week 5

Continuing our theme of Germany and the 1930s, but with an added twist concerning of the Middle East

The site of the week is: Tell the children the truth

The site looks at the "Nazi roots of today's Jihad", and documents the activities of Amin al-Husseni, Mufti of Jerusalem.

The photo section is very good.

15 July 2005

Sind Against

The Pub Philosopher raises an interesting point about the relationship between ethnic groups within Islam:

Arab racism and assumption of superiority is an underlying feature of the relationship between Arabs and other Muslims.


Islam was a vehicle for Arab cultural supremacy. "

I am not sure I agree 100% with this point of view but it certainly does raise some questions, and might help to explain some of the nihilism which seems to dominate parts of the Middle-East

Exculpate the Jihadists

Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR have excelled themselves with an entry on Ideological primacy and Jihadists, and in particular:

"Short-term objectives may indeed arise from time to time, but these are always presented as peremptory demands. They are forms of blackmail (do this or else) rather than policy (do this for such and such reasons), and where they conflict with long-term ideological objectives they are easily set aside. Jihadists are idealists in the very worst sense of that word, and their fantasies have nothing in common either with sane political thinking and calculation, or with materialist crtique of the conditions for such thinking and calculation."

I am not a fan of the war in Iraq, but I am much less keen on the whining apologists for the bombers' supposed 'grievance', of which we can ONLY speculate, as they are dead.

I think it is futile of people to project their own concerns on to the actions of these vile terrorists and, in part, exculpate them in the process

Interesting, but Take Care

Another interesting piece of freeware is SafeXP

I will test it and see what happens.

14 July 2005

Suicide Bombing

James Hamilton's piece on the Psychology Behind Suicide Bombing makes interesting reading and in particular his conclusion:

"There is a phrase if you want one, for this kind of imposition of our political views on other people: intellectual colonisation, and there is no sign yet that we are willing to bring an end to it."

Facts, Terrorism and Interpretation

Every conceivable pundit has a view, even without any documentary evidence or facts to back it up, blame is being placed squarely at the feet of George Bush and Tony Blair, everything from Western policies in the Middle East to the invasion of Iraq are the supposed causes of the London bombings.

Sadly, little space is given to consider the pathology of suicide bombings and the mentality behind them.

Instead we are told that the invasion of Iraq CAUSED the London bombings, as if there was some inexplicable and mechanical link between the two, push one lever for the invasion of Iraq and another lever moves the bombings to London.

Intelligent people are left to ask: how does that stand up to analysis and the facts?

Very badly, as it seems clear that Bin Laden was planning to attack Britain soon after 9/11, irrespective of any actions by Tony Blair or his government:

“Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden ordered a strike on Heathrow airport months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., the London-based Sunday Times reported in its latest edition, citing transcripts of interrogations of an al-Qaeda operations chief."

But let's be clear Bin Laden's justification requires no action from anyone else, he and his kind will commit bombing irrespectively. Bin Laden's mind is set in the past of the 12th century when he talks of the "tragedy of Andalucia"

Nothing short of a Caliphate and full capitulation, mass conversion to Islam would 'save' anyone, in Bin Laden's eyes. Even then it is questionable, Bin Laden and his kind are quite happy to kill Muslims when it suits them.

Why do we always blame ourselves for someone else's murderous actions?

Did we provoke Hitler? Of course not, and yet if you look material from the period many people try to suggest that Hitler's demands: the dismantling of the Treaty of Versailles, Munich, etc were justified.

Now, of course, we appreciate the magnitude of those errors. The error is a way of thinking, not to fully appreciate the motivation and dynamic of these people, be it Hitler or Bin Laden. As they cause mass murder across the world they will seek justification, but it is foolish to believe them as their statements are merely pretexts.

Facts show that Bin Laden and Co. were planning to attack London, long before the invasion of Iraq. Would changing policy satisfy him?

No, like Hitler, Bin Laden has an apocalyptical view of the world, therefore, there no reasoning with him or his kind.

So, let's not kid ourselves Bin Laden had decided to do these attacks years ago and then he looked for some feeble pretext to justify it, but sadly people are more concerned with believing his lies than considering his character and murderous intent.

Ultimately this is a battle of ideas and as such we should not give any ground to these nihilistic throwbacks.

PS: If you are asking yourself the obvious question: did he support the invasion of Iraq? No, I was very anti-war and still think it was a mistake.

However, I have studied Fascism far too long to appreciate that such people (Bin Laden, etc) mingle half-truths, lies and falsehoods to win over support of the naive or unsuspecting, therefore, I think we should oppose them wholeheartedly.

Informed Comments

The recent comments by Khalid Mahmood are instructive:

"We have to recognise these people are in the equivalent of a religious cult. They are brainwashed. Many of them go into higher or further education where they have a thirst for knowledge and religion, and are seized on by these people. They are a cult in just the same way as some of these American cults that end up suffocating one another.

"The extremists have no negotiating demands. They are not like Hamas or the IRA. They don't have a foreign policy agenda save hate and some kind of revolution. These organisations are not just operating in Britain. They are in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have been operating well before the invasion of Iraq. Many of the organisations that get hold of these youngsters are involved in criminal network though corruption or credit card fraud. We need more people to confront these organisations and challenge their thinking. It is too easy to go [with] the flow, so all Muslim leaders have a responsibility.

"We also have a big problem with much of the religious education that goes on in mosques after school. It is totally unregulated and much of it is of low quality. None of the teachers are subject to any normal child protection regulation, yet this is where many people's minds start to be shaped."

(Hat tip: DSTPW)

13 July 2005

Clean Out the Crap

Keeping an XP system clean and tidy is chore, so anything that helps is always welcome.

CrapCleaner (ccleaner) is handy utility for cleaning out the crap that accumulating on an XP system. Recommend.

Firefox 1.0.5 Now available for Download

Firefox 1.0.5 has just been released here, with some security fixes

12 July 2005

Thoughts after 7/07

My thoughts are still developing on the background and nature of the threat posed by the perpetrators of the atrocities in London, but I am intent on reading Bernard Lewis’ What Went Wrong and Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism.

10 July 2005

SUSE 9.3 Initial Thoughts

No joy yet in finding the full DVD ISO, but this page suggets it will be released (as opposed to the mini DVD and network install):

“The 32 bit verion (sic) is available on 5 CD ISO images or on a single DVD ISO image. The 64 bit version is available on 1 DVD ISO image only.”

Anyways, it is not too time consuming to install the 5 CDs, about 1-2 hours, depending on machine.

You can break up the installation and get a cuppa, as it is largely automated after the first CD.

My initial thoughts are:

  • Hardware detection is improving
  • Smoother and all necessary goodies are installed (media players, etc)
  • The new text-to-speech modules in Gnome and KDE look promising.


I am still reflectioning on the recent terrible events and have been reading Paul Berman's Philosopher of Islamic Terror.

09 July 2005

Site of the Week 4

The current events in London made me reflect on Germany and the historical similarities.

Therefore, for this week's site I have chosen the German Propaganda Archive

08 July 2005

From Iraq via London

Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions's comments hit the nail in the head:

"These are unprovoked attacks, which lack any justification whatsoever.

We Iraqis know very well the sorrow Londoners are going through at the moment and feel their pain as Iraq today battles against extremism for democracy and human rights in a federal and united Iraq.

The perpetrators of these vile acts of barbarism must be brought to justice and receive the deserved punishment."

Sum It All Up?

Taking in the various and diverse reactions to the bombing in London yesterday, I was struck by one in particular, from the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR, which expresses it so well.

Juan Golblado's comments:

“I have a request to make of certain members of our society. Without anger, hatred or vengeance, I call for every single organization that could possibly be identified with these mass murderers to come out and say unequivocally, formally, and publicly: "This is murder. Those responsible are criminals." I want them to say this without uttering a single unsympathetic word about the victims or our societies, our politicians or our soldiers.

It's stupid to attribute mass murder to any grievance.

I want every single mosque in the UK to hang a sign outside saying, "We condemn the mass murder in London on 7/7! The people who did it are criminals! We condemn these mass murderers!"

I want every single iman in the UK to issue a fatwa ruling that these attacks are against his idea of religion and condemning them and their perpetrators unequivocally.

I want every single leftwing political party and interest group that has condemned the war on terror to hang a sign outside its headquarters and run an ad saying, "We condemn the mass murder in London on 7/7! The people who did it are criminals! We condemn these mass murderers!"

07 July 2005

This Day Many Years Ago

My memory went back to events a long time ago, on the 7th of July 1933 “.. a Reich decree eliminated Social Democrats from the Reichstag and from the governing bodies of the provinces and municipalities.”

Another attack on our freedom and we know where that led to: 12 years of Fascist rule in Nazi Germany and a world war.

Reaction to Atrocities in London

Most people's first reaction to today's bombing in London would be shock, then worry, concern, anger and finally blame.

Who is to blame for these atrocities? It is unclear at the moment but looking at the wider issue:

• Was it the perpetrators of the murders?

• Could it be the actions of Western governments?

• Or some nebulous abstract?

It beggars belief that anyone sensible would even try to rationalise down on these vile acts and yet they do.

In my view, there are no excuses for these acts of terror, any more than they were excuses for Baader Meinhoff or Black September.

We shouldn't fool ourselves into believing every excuse, rationalisation and justification for these wanton acts of violence.

The perpetrators of these acts made a conscious choice to commit mass murder, for whatever, political, religious or psychopathic self serving justification.

The perpetrators of these bombs are to blame, just as much as Hitler was. Or should we believe his contemptible excuses about the Treaty of Versailles? Or blaming International 'Jewry' for WW2?

It speaks volumes that the likes of Galloway and the SWP can not resist making cheap shots at this time.

Political Capital

In light of the bombing of London recently, I expect Tony Blair's government to push through the ID card scheme without too much opposition.

The ID card scheme is dependent upon the ability of the government to set up and manage the computer systems that underlie it.

I expect the cost of each card to be considerably more than the rumoured £90 or so, probably in the order of £200-300.

No doubt, the IT systems will take years to implement and run over budget, as do most HMG projects.

Blair’s government will use the political capital from these terrible bombings to their own advantage.


Some 9 weeks after the offical release of SUSE 9.3 , Novell have started the process of mirroring it across the web, the CD version is available but the full ISOs are still 'hidden'.

When I have found them I'll try and update.

06 July 2005

Doctored Saddam

Saddam Hussein, George Galloway's old friend, is revealed for all to see by his own physician, Dr Ala Bashir, in the Torygraph today.

Dr. Bashir is fairly restrained in his comments, but give an insight into such vile dictators:

"The man who terrorised and tortured his subjects for decades could not bear the slightest physical discomfort or impairment."

His a forthcoming book is: The Insider: Trapped in Saddam's Brutal Regime' by Ala Bashir, published by Abacus.

Zoom Along

As a fan of alternative media players, I recently came around the latest incarnation of the Zoom Player Standard, which looks good.

You might also want to download DirectVobSub, the add-in Subtitling component, as well.

Most formats should be useable when combined with the Codecs from K-Lite's Mega Codec Pack

Oh, Real Alternative is now up to 1.42

05 July 2005

The Bleeding Obvious

Today's Torygraph has a piece on Government IT projects stating:

"Nearly one in three high-risk government computer projects is not checked properly for budget and system failures, a spending watchdog reports today."

Why the PAC is so shocked is anyone's guess?

For the last 10 or so years the computing press has been reporting the same failure of HMG IT projects year in year out.

You’d think they’d remember? Nah

Even the Guardian covers it

Peer Pressure

The current crop of new peers contains a fine list of political has beens, greasy pole climbers and fake radicals.

The Guardian reports amongst this collection is Tony Banks, “Outspoken London MP and briefly sports minister. Led the campaign to ban foxhunting.”

I can hear the spinning of ermine graves as ex-peers look down from on high at the dismal crop.

Yesterday's radicals become tomorrow's ennobled windbags, Neil Kinnock is a fine example.

Why do politicians even go through the pretence of trying to reform the House of Lords? When it comes down to it, they nearly all just want a peerage or a barony.

04 July 2005

I confess

I confess, as an atheist, I rarely have much time for organised religion and the recent Anglican Consultative Council's actions only confirm that.

Instead of the endless posturing that seems endemic in many Western countries, you might think they would take a slightly different approach attitudes towards problems in the Middle East but no.

Still some bloggers are keeping them on their toes: Christian aid watch and his hall of shame is worth considering

WW2 Memories

This one seems most appropriate nowadays.

60 years on it seems only appropriate to remember some of the vivid images which helped win World War II, defeating Nazi Germany and her allies.

The art of politics has a section dealing with Allied propaganda during World War II.

Too Many Offices?

OpenOffice.org has just released a new beta (Snapshot Build 1.9.m113) of the up and coming version 2.0 of OpenOffice

Whilst not fully up to M$ Office level just yet, it is still very good and shows great promise.

03 July 2005

Hands do the Work

RSI has been for many years a problem, along bad posture and back complaints. Many computers users become so engrossed in their work or computer-based activities that they forget to get up and stretch their limps, which leads to progressively worst problems

An aid to combating RSI or related conditions is Workrave which can be downloaded from here

It is open source and works across a number of platforms.

I confess I use an old egg timer instead but give Workrave a try.

Site of the Week 3

The Internet is full of wacky site and spooky 'facts', therefore it is useful to know where to find good quality historical web sites and Best of History Web Sites is an excellent place to start.

02 July 2005

Codec Pack All in 1

Codec Pack All in 1 has been updated and can be downloaded from here

01 July 2005

Sued Underpants

It is reported that Saddam Hussein wants to sue The Sun over pictures of him in his underpants.

I think that such dictators should be routinely humiliated or worst.

They live and thrive on power so the more embarrassment the better and NO they are not victims, after murdering millions they are war criminals and deserve whatever they get.