Fiction Versus Reality

There’s a new season of the spy show ’24’ currently running on telly. In it, the intrepid US security forces battle against yet another Hispanic super-baddie, bent on bringing death to millions.

This is the dominant theme of much current leisure media: the US government battling an unending war against drugs and for democracy. Whether it’s Jake 2.0 or Splinter Cell, the message is much the same.

And yet…

In the real world, what do we see? We see the US and UK governments using their security forces to do what? Why, to tap the UN’s Kofi Annan, of course.

In the real world, we’ve just taken part in the murder of 10,000+ Iraqis. Our pro-democratic, peace-loving governments simply had to kill them in order to save them from being oppressed. Makes perfect sense to me. Of course, they were being oppressed by the dictator our government set-up and supported with our tax money for years but let’s just try and forget about that, eh?

In the real world:
On July 2, 1986, 18 year old Carmen Gloria Quintana was walking through a Santiago slum when she and photographer Rodrigo Rojas were confronted by government security forces. According to eyewitnesses, the two were set ablaze by soldiers and beaten while they burned. Their bodies were then wrapped in blankets and dumped in a ditch miles away. Witnesses who spoke out about what they saw were beaten and arrested. Such events are not unusual since “Captain General” Augusto Pinochet seized power from democratically elected President Salvador Allende in 1973, and buried Chile’s 150 year old democracy. “Democracy is the breeding ground of communism,” says Pinochet. The bloody coup, in which Allende was assassinated, was carefully managed by the CIA and ITT, according to the Church Committee report. Tens of thousands of Chileans have been tortured, killed, and exiled since then, according to Amnesty Intemational. (Source: Friendly Dictators)

Speaking of Chile, surely games like Splinter Cell should be revised. Here?s a few scenarios I think would do well:

1. Operation Chile
There’s big trouble in little Chile: the locals have only gone and elected a democratic socialist government! You can’t have that! If your backyard has a socialist beacon, there’s no telling how uppity this will make your own working class. So, you have to infiltrate the country and stage a coup against the elected government, installing your puppet Pinochet. You take control of a crack team of CIA operatives. You get 100 extra bonus points for every 10,000 people machine-gunned to death in the football stadiums. (Note – if it does well, you could sell add-on packs for Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras…)

2. Iraq Attack
There’s big trouble in little Iraq! Your hand-installed puppet, Hussein, has gone crazy! You didn’t mind him gassing those Kurds (in fact, you did nothing) but now he’s openly defying you. Plus, he’s not playing ball over the oil fields, which is why you installed him in the first place. Your task is to assemble a team of top spin-doctors and manufacture enough evidence to make the tin-pot dictator of an impoverished country look like a global threat. Anything so you can go in and carpet bomb the population, teach ’em who the boss really is. Bonus points for every truck of severed Iraqi children’s body parts you keep off the TV.

Don’t the above scenarios sound more realistic? They certainly fit in with the PNAC and the current US government’s declared goal of fighting more wars to assure America’s dominance.

You see, that’s what feels strange to me. Every day on the news, I’m confronted with a new low in larceny from Tony Blair or George Bush, with another hyper-Orwellian nugget of uncontested bullshit. Take this pearler from Goering-wannabe Alastair Campbell, speaking about Clare Short’s attack on the Labour warhawks:

“I think it’s very sad that people who have been in position of influence and authority now behave in a way that just reveals a bitterness that is very very deep.

“I’m not going to waste too much breath on her. I just think people feel sad when people they may well have respected behave in away that is clearly very very bitter.” (Source: BBC News)

Really, Alastair? Are you sure that’s what people think? They’re saddened by an embittered minister?

Or do you not think they might be more worried that you and the New Labour high command falsified evidence, invented data, lied in Parliament and hounded Dr. Kelly to his death? All in support of an illegal invasion of Iraq, of a war crime. You did that, Alastair. The blood of those thousands of civilians is on your hands. Not that you seem to care, poncing around London still spouting off after your alleged retirement from politics. It must be great to have absolutely no conscience, to be able to assist in the murder of thousands and be completely, utterly sanguine.

This is the political reality, that the US and UK are governed by murderers, by war criminals.

And yet…

I’m sure we’ll see another round of summer Hollywood blockbusters where some square-jawed WASP hero battles evil Muslims/Yakuza/insert stereotype and once again saves the world for Mom, apple pie and the good ole US of A.

The disconnection is laughable. The gap between reality, between the brutal extermination of Iraqi civilians and the sanitised, fictionalised military is untenable.

We’ve just sat through a war in which an American sniper shot an unarmed civilian woman because “the chick got in the way.” Does that sound like the kind of hero you see in the stirring, gung-ho epics Hollywood churns out? He simply murdered a woman in cold blood and got away with it.

Imagine a transposition: imagine a film about a brave SS officer travelling to France and infiltrating the cold, dark heart of the evil terrorists known as the French Resistance. He alone, can save the Fatherland from their vicious bombing campaigns against the benevolent Nazi occupation government. Together with his Valkyrie girlfriend, he unravels a vast Jewish conspiracy against his beloved Reich.

Does that sound like hogwash to you? Well, in news terms, that’s just about what we?re being sold every day about occupied Iraq, if you replace ‘Jewish’ with ‘Arab’ and ‘Reich’ with ‘USA.’

The Iraqi resistance to occupation, to the installation of yet-another USA-appointed puppet regime is not billed as a fight against occupation, it’s reported as purely the action of ‘Saddam loyalists.’ How the reporters achieved this great feat of telepathy, I don’t know. But this framing, that the USK forces are of course the good guys so anyone against them is bad, is promoted unconditionally.

Is it true? What would you do if a foreign country bombed your country flat, killing your entire family? And then it invaded and the first thing it secured was anything connected to your oil resources. Would you throw flowers at the occupying army or bombs?

Fiction vs. reality: in fiction the FBI fight against the evil drug cartels. In reality, the FBI itself engaged in peddling drugs to defuse the civil rights movement.

Fiction vs. reality: in fiction our armed forces are decent guys always acting honourably, the enemy are evil, murdering terrorists. The reality is massacres like My Lai and now Iraq.

Fiction vs. reality: in fiction the Grisham courtroom sits in stunned silence as a politician is unmasked as a criminal and gets lead away to the cells. In reality, the government appoints stooges like Hutton and Widgery.

And the real baddies always escape justice…

Screamadelica 24/2/2004

I thought it’d be dead tonight because it was bloody freezing (again). Not even the frosty pavements put off the regulars. My car door was frozen shut!

I had great fun as usual and the best dance of the night was right at the start to Death Cab’s ‘Sound Of Settling.’ That’s just an ace pop song, it should be in the charts and DCFC should receive the mainstream exposure/groupies they deserve.

Click here for the pics!

Bless Playlist 23/2/2004

First of all…



The only downside of tonight was the smokiness – I now smell like an old man’s rancid leather tabaccy pouch. Yuk.

But apart from that, it was another top-hole night. I saw a lot of people enjoying themselves to Squarepusher, AC/DC and Jeans Team. Again, loads of requests, most of which I managed to fit in (hence the repeats).

Top old tune of tonight was supplied by hairy prog muthas Focus, the stupidly good ‘House Of The King.’ Top new tune was Chris Clark’s ‘Indigo Optimus.’

Youse bums wuz earwiggin’ :

Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair – Behold The Miracle
Chris Clark – Indigo Optimus
Shins – Fighting In A Sack
SLF – Suspect Device
Sepultura – Chaos AD
Louis Prima – Jump Jive An’ Wail
Outlandish – Gritty
Pixies – Dead
Jeans Team – Baby =+
Jarcrew – Paris + The New Math
Flogging Molly – Swagger
Pavement – Cut Your Hair
Ulrich Schnauss – On My Own
Slayer – Aggressive Perfector
Lou Reed – Hangin’ ‘Round
Reks – Crush You
NOFX/Rancid – Stickin In My Eye
Various – You’re No Good – The Swinging
Eu – Me
Far – Mother Mary
R.E.M. – Driver 8
Brand Nubian – The Return
At The Drive In – Pattern Against User
Anthony Newley – Bee-Bom
Throwdown ? Raise Your Fist
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Lucy’s Hamper
Death Cab For Cutie – The Sound Of Settling
Ellen Allien – Alles Sehen
The Jam – David Watts
The Kinks – Victoria
Ludacris – Stand Up
Fila Brazillia – Snakeskin Bib
Circle Jerks – Deny Everything
Squarepusher – My Red Hot Car
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Soft Cell – What
Venetian Snares – Einstein-Rosen Bridge
Focus – House Of The King
Sufjan Stevens – All Good Naysayers Speak Up!
ZAO – Resistance
De La Soul – Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)
Magnetic Fields – I Don’t Want To Get Over You
Pennies From Heaven Soundtrack- You And The Night And The Music
Jonathan Richman – Buzz Buzz Buzz

Rescue Rooms 21/2/2004

I think I’m getting a bit bored of the trog over to Nottingham. I know I’m more than bored with the gauntlet of monkeybrained pissheads that flank my path to the Rescue Rooms. But… when there’s nowhere to go in Derby on Saturday night, what choice do I have? Plus, the DJs still play some top tunes. As I just got there, they played Devo’s ‘Peekaboo’ which I’ve never heard in a club. Ever. Also top marks for playing non-obvious Pavement and Sonic Youth songs. It did make me a bit wistful hearing ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3’ again. A great pop song not often heard.

On the downside, if I have to suffer Jet, The White Stripes or the cocking Strokes one more time, I’ll saw my head off. It’d be nice to hear some new stuff like Xiu Xiu, The Poster Children, Chris Clark or even a bit of Venetian Snares. And please, for the love of God, give Debaser a rest…

Click here for the pics!

World Crisis Website

I found out about this site because Danny Dayus, the site’s creator, liked one of my antiwar rants (Click here to see it, together with an amazingly incoherent comment).

It’s a very well-organised site, one of the best resources I’ve seen in terms of political analysis. Well worth checking out if you want a broader view than my somewhat more personal antiwar ranting.

World Crisis Website

Our Wonderful British Bobbies!

“An inquiry into an alleged assault by an officer in Manchester, which was captured on CCTV, is to be supervised by the Police Complaints Authority.

Video footage played in court apparently showed an officer repeatedly kicking Delbo King while on the ground.”Source: BBC News

I’ve just seen the CCTV footage and there’s no apparently about it. You can clearly see a man on the floor, his hands cuffed behind him. Then you can see two of our brave, noble British bobbies holding him down while a third repeatedly kicks him in the back and head. Then a clip showed them bundling him into a van, deliberately banging him against the top of the doorway.

Doesn’t it make you proud? We’ve got the best police force in the world. Unless you’re black, of course. Then they’ll just beat the shit out of you even when you’re already handcuffed and on the floor. Oh, and they don’t like Asians much either. Or Irish. Or gays. Apart from that, you should be fine though.

There’s currently a particularly cloying and irritating series of adverts running, trying to encourage people to join our fine, “institutionally racist” police force. Here’s a new ad I’ve just written for them:

“Sometimes people just need a beating.
Blacks, Asians, Irish, queers. Not one-on-one of course: they might hit you back. So you need a couple of mates to hold the bastards down.
I don’t know if I could lay into a man as he lay, handcuffed on the floor, unable to defend himself. Could you?”

The British Police – fancy beating the shit out of people and getting away with it?

The Worst UK Serial Killer

“Police want to interview every serial killer in the UK in an attempt to better understand how they operated and to identify how early arrests can be made in future cases with other killers, it emerged today.”Source: The Guardian

So, the police wish to better understand the mind of serial killers? I can understand that: in their spare time between beating up black men for no reason, they might want to catch a few murderers.

But why are they trying to analyse the minds of those who kill ten or so people? What a piffling amount!

Here’s a free tip, coppers. Find your way to Downing Street, Number 10. You can’t miss it, it’s got a big, black shiny door. Knock and if it’s opened by a smiling bastard, you’ve now met the biggest serial killer alive in the UK. I’m sure he’d love to sit you down and explain how it was perfectly reasonable for him to order the murder of thousands of people who never did him any harm. Who he never even met. He’ll probably even say it was for their own good, seeing as how he’s a devout Christian and all that.

Yorkshire Ripper? Washinton Sniper? Pah!

Mere amateurs compared to our Tony…

772 Days Of American Terror

“Five of the nine Britons held without trial by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay are to be returned to the United Kingdom, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, announced yesterday.

As their families celebrated their release, international concern focused on the plight of up to 660 terror suspects, including a further four Britons, still being held in the high-security camp.”Source: The Independent

What do you call a group who kidnaps civilians for political reasons and holds them captive in conditions decried by Amnesty International?

I would call them a terrorist group.

I don’t care whether they’re drug-addled German students or the crypto-fascist clique now in control of the US government – they’re terrorists.

772 days and there’s not one shred of evidence that the British detainees have any terrorist connections. If there were, they wouldn’t be about to be returned. And what did David Blunkett say when asked about their ferociousness?

“…no one who is returned … will actually be a threat to the security of the British people”.

Great! Thanks for clearing that matter up, David! So why did you let the US terrorists hold them hostage for 772 days?

Imagine if your son or daughter, your wife or husband was seized by the government of, say, Korea and held captive for 772 days. When questioned, the Korean government simply replied that your loved one was a dangerous terrorist suspect. When asked to supply proof of this serious charge, even the barest atom of proof, the government replied that it did not have to since it was fighting to protect the freedom of the entire world. Can you imagine the outcry from the US? Can you imagine the blustering, righteous speeches from our own MPs? And yet, when the rogue nation is the USA, all international censure seems to fade and wither.

This is the arrogance of American imperialism: that the US government can simply do any damned thing it pleases and justify it on the grounds of the wind blowing a certain way or some invented WMD/terrorist link. It can illegally kidnap British citizens and hold them in a torture camp whose Orwellian logo includes the phrase ‘Defending Freedom’ and the British government just rolls over and whimpers affectionately.

The release of these detainees is not some sudden act of conscience by the US terrorists, it’s an act of political expediency:

“Clive Stafford Smith, the British human rights lawyer representing a group of detainees, has challenged the legality of the prison in Guantanamo Bay in the US Supreme Court. He said the decision was a “cynical” attempt to avoid embarrassment over the court’s likely ruling, which is expected in June – months before the US presidential election. “The US Supreme Court will say the Bush administration has been acting illegally,” Mr Stafford Smith told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme. “With the election set for November, George Bush doesn’t want that from the court that put him in office in the first place.”

The US government: peace by war, freedom by slavery, protecting life by murdering thousands.

And now, guilty until proved innocent.

BAFTA Interactive Festival

Last night I went to this:

The Future Of Sound (Part One)

Tuesday 17 February
The Princess Anne Theatre

A very big subject indeed? Sound is often regarded as the ?poor relation? in the field of the creative arts. Illustrious Company (Martyn Ware and Vince Clarke) are hosting a stimulating and imaginative event discussing the future of sound in all artistic and commercial fields, with the emphasis on collaborative opportunities.

Guest speakers already confirmed include Charlie Morrow (sound installation artist – New York), Jon Wosencroft (lecturer at the Royal College of Art in mixed media – runs the Touch recording label), Scanner (sound artist), Paul Gillieron (acoustician – PGAD), Raj Patel (acoustician from Arup Acoustics – New York) and Dave Ranyard (Sony Computer Entertainment ? Sound Design) – more to be confirmed.

There will be an opportunity to hear examples of the artist?s work (together with visual accompaniment) incorporating a demonstration of Illustrious? world-leading ?Heightened Reality? 3D surround sound technology.

Interactive multimedia artists Anna Hill and Jason Bruges will demonstrate examples of future possibilities for collaboration between different disciplines.

A Q&A session will follow.

Produced by Martyn Ware, Illustrious Company.

It was a very thought-provoking event and made me a feel a little stone-aged in my feeble attempts towards generating 3D soundscapes. Hey – I’m still working at perfecting my stereo mixing!

All the speakers were inspiring and obviously at the forefront of their fields but the geek in me was most seduced by Dave Ranyard. When he outlined the new tech and interactive possibilities Sony are due to come out with, I almost jizzed myself. Which would have been a grave insult to my seat, as it was endowed by John Mills (I was two seats down from the one endowed by Tommy Steele!)

Click here for the pics!