Back at Work

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 04 Apr 2003 13:00:00 GMT
I'm still nursing my cold, but I felt well enough today to come into the office, thanks to some cough medicine that keeps me from hacking uncontrollably. Not too many other people here, though. All the schools are closed due to freezing rain up north, so many parents are staying home with their kids.

From Chuck Muth's News & Views:

"Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that President Bush committed a 'breach of trust' in the eyes of many United Nations members by going to war with Iraq, creating a diplomatic chasm that will not be bridged as long as Bush remains in office. 'What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States,' Kerry said in a speech at the Peterborough (N.H.) Town Library. Despite pledging two weeks ago to cool his criticism of the administration once war began, Kerry unleashed a barrage of criticism as US troops fought within 25 miles of Baghdad." -- Boston Globe, 4/3/03 - Axes of Evil - cartoon commentary on recent home-grown evils. Too true to be funny.

Hart Seely at Slate - The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld - hehe. [brianf]

The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious,
What you can buy off the Internet
In terms of overhead photography!

A trained ape can know an awful lot
Of what is going on in this world,
Just by punching on his mouse
For a relatively modest cost!

--June 9, 2001, following European trip

Google Phone Book - Google has an address and phone lookup feature. Type in a phone number, or a name and city/state, or a name and zip, and it shows you the address with a link to get a map. You can remove your phone and address information from their database here. [birdman]

Robert Fisk at The Independent - The monster of Baghdad is now the hero of Arabia - America may win the war, but they've already lost the ideological battle, if there ever was one. [birdman]

Sitting in Baghdad, listening to the God-awful propaganda rhetoric of the Iraqis but watching the often promiscuous American and British air attacks, I have a suspicion that what's gone wrong has nothing to do with plans. Indeed, I suspect there is no real overall plan. Because I rather think that this war's foundations were based not on military planning but on ideology.

Long ago, as we know, the right wing pro-Israeli lobbyists around Bush planned the overthrow of Saddam. This would destroy the most powerful Arab state in the Middle East -- Israel's chief of staff, Shoal Mofaz, demanded that the war should start even earlier -- and allow the map of the region to be changed forever. Powell stated just this a month ago. False intelligence information was mixed up with the desires of the corrupt and infiltrated Iraqi opposition.

Fantasies and illusions were given credibility by a kind of superpower moral overdrive. Any kind of mendacity could be used to fuel this ideological project -- 11 September (oddly unmentioned now), links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden (unproven), weapons of mass destruction (hitherto unfound), human rights abuses (at which we originally connived when Saddam was our friend) and, finally, the most heroic project of all -- the "liberation" of the people of Iraq.

Paul Craig Roberts at - Iraq Invasion Dooms Saddam -- But Also Bush, Blair, GOP, Neocons - hopefully, Americans will wake up before the 2004 elections (will the war be over by then?) and boot out Bush. Not that there will be anybody running against him that will do better, with the possible exception of the Libertarian candidate. [birdman]

Muslims see the invasion of Iraq not as liberation but as conquest and re-colonization. Samir Ragab, the staid chairman of the hitherto moderate Egyptian Gazette, editorialized on March 27: "The U.S. and Israel are one and the same thing. Their common objective is to enfeeble Arabs and tear their nation to pieces."

"It is genocide to me," says Cairo Times reporter Summer Said. Even Christian Arabs have turned against us: George Elnaber, a 36-year-old owner of an Amman supermarket says, "Bush is an occupier and terrorist. We hate Americans more than we hate Saddam now."

Similar sentiments are being expressed millionsfold throughout the Middle East and Muslim Asia. They reflect the overnight radicalization of the Muslim world, which will affect politics. On March 31 Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said: "When it is over, if it is over, this war will have horrible consequences. Instead of having one bin Laden, we will have 100 bin Ladens."


If there is to be a silver lining to this military adventure, perhaps it will be the realization among the American public that the neoconservative agenda of conquest of the Muslim Middle East is beyond our available strength, thus diverting America from a disastrous course which would consume our blood and treasure.

Kevin Poulsen at Security Focus - Fear of a Million Big Brothers - The 13th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference had a small invitation-only group discussing the danger of government privacy invasion via web server log files. [smith2004]

It's with that vision of a million tiny surveillance logs growing like weeds that the informal "User Log Data Management Working Group" had that first day-long meeting Tuesday. "We got as far as discovering the extent of the problem, and some sense of who had an interest in it," says Jeff Ubois, the workshop's organizer. Among the 18-odd attendees, which included Doherty and Smith, the meeting drew Internet archivist Brewster Kahle, FTC consumer-protection attorney Laura Mazzarella, and John Young, curator of the controversial full-disclosure cryptography and intelligence site Young, who himself has received at least one broad subpoena for usage log information, takes pride in deleting his logs on a daily basis.

Nobody expects Yahoo or to delete their logs every day. But attendees say the workshop concluded that companies of all sizes need to become more familiar with the implications of their routine logging. The group plans to launch an education campaign to dispel the notion that Internet surfing is anonymous by default. "If it becomes widely believed that IP addresses are personally identifiable, that has implications for businesses that are logging them," says Ubois.

The group is also working on specifications for a free open-source tool that would allow administrators to easily trim unwanted information from their logs. Smith, who occasionally moonlights as a forensic crime fighter, admits that Web server logs can serve a valuable purpose in tracking down bad guys. But he says webmasters should know the significance of the data they routinely collect. "Most of this is about educating people that this could leave them in the legal line of fire," he says.

Aaron Zelman at JPFO - Would You Sound The Alarm? - an impassioned ad for JPFO's new booklet, Gran'pa Jack #8, Is America Becoming a Police State? [jpfo]

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