Vaccination. What’s the big deal?

My son is now just a few months shy of turning three years old and he’s a happy, boisterously healthy, young chap. When it came to his vaccinations I didn’t hesitate for a moment, I’d done my research based on wanting to know more about the rampant fear mongering among the alternative media crowd and soon realised it’s all just the usual white noise.

Whenever I’ve approached this topic I’m always presented with very similar ‘evidence’ that vaccinations are essentially the devil’s tool.

1) Drug companies are evil ergo vaccinations are poison.

Well, I do agree to a certain degree when  it comes to drug companies. They do indeed vastly overcharge for certain drugs, they do have less than ideal business practices (understatement alert!), and I can’t ever shake off the idea they’d rather have a treatment over a cure any day of the week but that doesn’t mean what they sell is automatically evil. How many people’s lives are vastly improved because of medicines? Think about it.

2) Child A died / developed autism after inoculation.

There is absolutely no credible proof that vaccinations are linked to autism, none whatsoever. At best there is anecdotal evidence from understandably distraught parents but nothing substantial. Think about the numbers involved here. If two children die following complications related to a reaction to the contents of a vaccine but millions don’t the numbers might logically suggest it’s not a direct cause we should all be alarmed by.

3) Being ill builds up a child’s immune system. It’s against nature to vaccinate.

I’ve often said a child comes out of Polio vastly improved, wouldn’t you agree? It’s also ‘against nature’ to live the life you do but that doesn’t stop you. Get off your computer and get out there hunting down a mammoth with your spear in order to support your family, it’s the natural way. Of course, polio might make it tricky but you’re okay with that I imagine.

One recent article was linked to a Dr Sherri Tenpenny who is experiencing some difficulty in being allowed to lecture on the harm vaccines do down in Australia. My initial response is that it seems odd a doctor would be barred from talking about such things. Naturally it turns out this ‘Doctor’ is actually an osteopath, in other words a quack. Now, I’m sure an osteopath can make for a good placebo if you’ve got a sore neck but do you really want them giving advice on protecting your children from disease? If you answered ‘yes’ you probably shouldn’t breed. Of course I don’t actually think they should block her from speaking, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it should be framed as the opinion of someone who is not – IN ANY WAY – a qualified physician with medical experience of vaccines or their contents.

I’m not saying vaccines are 100% safe because very few things are (I was going to suggest knitting but I’m sure a Google search would provide some bizarre knitting related death for me to read about). There are margins for safety and a one in several million chance of an adverse reaction far outweighs the possibility of a child catching TB or the like. Refusing to vaccinate your children is your right I suppose but it’s generally bloody ignorant.

The conspiracy of hate.

It’s been a couple of months since I last wrote on the site and, oddly enough, I feel kind of bad about that. I’ll post more later or tomorrow about what I’m up to right now – for those who care – but for now there’s something else that’s been grinding my gears for a while. Why is the “alternative media” so full of boorish, hateful, morons?

Last year a journalist wrote that my blog site was curmudgeonly and I can’t find fault with that description, it’s pretty much on the money. This same journalist also said it was very much in the mode of a (and I have to paraphrase here, I don’t recall exactly and I refuse to Google myself) “you’re all sheeple” type affair and that I take issue with. I don’t believe myself to be any kind of great sage and nor do I believe I have the inside track on events. It’s not who I am so if I have come across in that manner frequently on this site please put it down to my decidedly average writing skills rather than a genuine belief on my part.

You see, I don’t know what happened on 9-11. I know some planes flew into some buildings and the buildings came down, that much I do know for sure. Is there more to it? I might think so, I might harbour suspicions, it might just be I’m confused by the lack of real information in the 9-11 report, but I don’t know anything beyond that. How could I? There’s no proof of an inside job and no matter how many alternative media ‘fans’ claim otherwise there’s no proof Israel was involved. There’s no knowing, there is only theorising. Now, I love a good conspiracy theory, they’re interesting and often a good cerebral exercise, but until proof comes along they’re nothing more than that.

Immediately after the recent attacks in Paris the “FALSE FLAG, IT’S A FALSE FLAG” brigade were out in force. Why was it a false flag? Well, it looked like they missed when they tried to shoot the prone police officer in the head. Wasn’t it convenient that someone was filming but stopped? One of my favourites was “Jihaddist’s don’t wear Nike trainers”. Each of these apparently makes it as plain as the nose on your face that it was an inside job concocted by the Israelis / some race of lizard people. Of course, should you question it then you’re going to have at least one disgruntled ‘truth seeker’ on your case.

You’ll be told you’re ‘stupid’ that you should ‘keep drinking the kool aid’ (which is one of my favourites, they can’t even get the drink right in their Jonestown accusations!). You’ll be told that you’re a ‘sheep’ and that ‘if you can’t see this is true from the evidence I’ve shown then there’s no hope for you’. Problem is, there’s rarely – or never – any bloody evidence. It’s always some cherry picked, and often inconclusive / insubstantial, fact which is blown out of all proportion whilst other aspects are completely ignored or my personal favourite the link to a YouTube video posted by some other nimrod who tells you ‘if you can’t see this is a fact you’re asleep’ or similar. Said videos are often two hours long and hosted by a presenter with all the personality of plankton. You have to watch it right to the end though otherwise you’re a sheep with a poor attention span.

To the people who act this way I can only say fuck you. Fuck you and your desire to cripple any genuine truth movement with your utter stupidity and childish behaviour. Fuck you for putting someone like Ken O’Keefe on a pedestal whilst looking down at the morons who stick poorly spelled Britain First posters all over Facebook. You’re no different to them, you just have a different flavour of stupid hate. Any truth movement should be about questions and that doesn’t mean only questions you’re comfortable with. Question everything! And most assuredly you should be questioning anyone who tells you they know ‘the truth about 9-11 / whatever’ because they’re invariably morons who can’t quite separate fantasy from reality and desperately need to be seen as someone more ‘awake’ than the rest of us.

The hate is boring, the hate is self destructive, and don’t bother ever putting your nose in the air when discussing the general public’s acceptance of mainstream news when you guys will swallow whatever bollocks your chosen prophet vomits out online this week. For everyone else, keep fighting the good fight I guess.

Ted Cruz and why he’s a congenital moron.

Anyone who has read my blogs or watched my live streams will know I’m not terribly fond of politicians in general. I tend to find they’re the people most ill equipped to actually work for the good of society but the most well equipped to stab enough backs to reach their positions of power. Every once in a while though one will make me face palm just that little bit harder and this week it’s Ted Cruze the junior United States Senator from Texas.

I was tagged in a post regarding a recent comment by Mr Cruz regarding Net Neutrality, it seems this Texan “firebrand” decided it was high time to focus on something new having already voted against such evil legislation as the violence against women act and supporting socially beneficial ideas like privatising Social Security (what could go wrong there?). Yes, it was time to make sure the government kept their pesky hands off the Internet and left it in the hands of those best placed to care for our information superhighway, the corporations. Here’s what Mr Cruz Tweeted:

“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

No, really. He Tweeted that. The Internet is not making this shit up. Net Neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. Let that sink in for a minute. Obamacare is a good idea (universal healthcare) mired in a sea of filth regularly topped up by hideously corrupt insurance corporations and an equally disgusting ‘for profit’ medical system. Not to mention the inept and downright deceitful politicians involved. Net neutrality is all about protecting a level playing field for the Internet. That’s all. Making sure the little guy has every chance of becoming the big guy. It’s like the American dream for the digital age. But not for Mr Cruz.

Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions on the good name of Cruz. I’m sure in his heart of hearts he genuinely believes Net Neutrality is exactly like a universal healthcare scheme. I mean it’s government sticking their oar in where it doesn’t belong isn’t it? Setting aside the myriad issues of Obamacare for now it’s plain to see universal healthcare is nothing more than a pinko, commie ideal taking the bread out of the mouths of hard working corporations with offshore bank account and dubious tax planning abilities. Why wouldn’t he think such a thing? I mean, it’s not as if he’s ever accepted a generous donation from…let’s say…Comcast, is it? Oh, he did? No, I’m sure that has nothing to do with his opinion on this matter. To even think that lobbying and donations could sway a politicians opinion is ridiculous. Apart from the fact it isn’t.

If Mr Cruz can get his head out of the corporate arse for more than a moment it might do him some good to look at the benefits of net neutrality. Let’s take a poll, which do you think generates more tax dollars for the US economy? A. E-commerce and all that good, internetty stuff. or B. The entertainment giants? Did you answer ‘A’? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. Not that I’m saying for one moment large corporations avoid paying the tax they really should as they milk their host nations as dry as they possibly can.

Net neutrality protects the entrepreneurial spirit that is the backbone of any great nation. It allows humans one place, one piece of digital ground where they truly can achieve anything, reach any giddy level of success. The people grinding out their living online are pumping money back into the economy via taxes and purchases of both goods and services. Do the corporations really do that?

Mr Cruz, I realise that as a politican the idea of doing what’s right for the people is a little hard for you to get your tiny pea brain around but take it from me, nobody remembers the slimy chancers who hitch up to whatever dinner wagon is passing. Not in any meaningful way. Live up to your oath, do what is right for your people, and for the love of all things holy save your epic brain farts for a private conversation rather than vomiting your stupidity all over Twitter.

We want it now and we want it FREE!

I’ve been talking about decentralisation for quite some time now. My belief that smaller networks of interconnected sites would be far more welcome – and far harder for corporate entities and governments to control – in this age of massive corporate behemoths such as Facebook. I’m currently putting my money where my mouth is and after being introduced to a couple of wonderful people by a mutual friend things are rolling. I’m not going to go into great detail here right now. Needless to say the success of these networks will greatly influence where I go next.

The main issue with the idea is, as with many ideas, that of monetisation. Now, with professionally linked networks it’s slightly less of a problem. People will pay for a service that actively helps them in their profession. Don’t believe me? Check out the cost of Linked IN premium sometime. I’m thinking further down the line and how the small webmaster with his one uber cool niche site that gets just a little too much traffic to be a pocket friendly project. How can we change our attitudes to support what the net truly needs?

Charging for access to sites is almost seen as a dirty thing these days. The net flourishes on a monetisation model based on getting as much traffic as you can and hoping your ad-provider of choice will cough up enough cash at the end of the month to prevent your host switching off your server. This is okay, it’s not an evil model, but it only supports those with high traffic expectations. If you’re aiming lower it’s not that you’ll simply get less from this form of advertising, you’ll pretty much get nothing.

The side effect of this model has been our ever growing sense of entitlement. We expect it all for free and not only that people complain about ads on sites too. Granted there are some sites which do serve malicious ads but how many of them do the majority of people cruise by in any given day? On LiveLeak I’ve seen people bragging that they use adblock, they’re quite pleased that not only do they get their entertainment and whatever else for free they can help make sure the site earns no money. It’s a strange and bitter attitude that I find quite awful and I’d find it equally awful if I weren’t involved in a site which depended on advertising to survive.

So, what would YOU pay? I mentioned earlier I wasn’t referring to professional sites here and not to sites which surely can thrive on high traffic advertising models. Would you pay a pound a month? Imagine, if a site only had 100 members and they all paid a pound the webmaster slaving away to provide you with whatever that site provides could do so safe in the knowledge it won’t financially hurt him or her to entertain or inform you. One pound isn’t much is it?

But what if you really like 20 small sites? That’s £20 a month. Granted you probably spend more than that on coffee or satellite TV but you don’t want to go without those. And you then have to keep track of them all. Funny thing is though, if you look at your average person’s internet habits they tend to surf the same few sites each day rather than go exploring to any great degree.

Of course, we then have to consider site discovery and destroying any will for people to go on a grand expedition Online if they hit a paywall every five minutes. How would we foster an overwhelming approach of trust and contribution as opposed to the current atmosphere of ‘GIVE IT ME NOW AND DON’T YOU DARE WANT SUPPORT OR SOME KIND OF FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FOR YOUR EFFORTS!”. Tricky, but worthy of investigation I think given the dire thought that Facebook now has over 1.2 Billion members. How many of those now just sit on there all day instead of visiting other sites, simply posting short inane comments and sucking up advertising? We need to expand our horizons and support one another  on a grass roots level, and we need to do it soon.

 

Meet the press.

In this day and age of ‘Just add water’ celebrity status and everyone wanting their fifteen minutes of fame you think I’d adore the press I’ve been doing recently wouldn’t you? For a few years we didn’t really accept any interview requests on LiveLeak because I’d gotten rather tired of it all. Always being invited to defend the indefensible gets tedious before too long and add into that the fact some folks aren’t exactly over endowed in the scruples department and you can quickly find yourself jaded. However, despite all this I’ve actually agreed to a few interviews recently, mostly due to the the the majority were with publications we’ve never spoken to before. The problem now is that the goal posts appear to have shifted.

In ye olden days (2006-2008 which was when we pretty much gave up doing many interviews) it was all about the site and videos on the site and despite the odd horror show such as the Panorama interview – and what a shower of arseholes they were! – mostly it just rumbled along with me talking to someone who clearly wanted to be talking to someone far more important. Naturally there were exceptions with some outstanding people I enjoyed talking to but it really was mainly a case of going through the motions. My fall out with the press was equally a result of boredom combined with them trying to offer people directions to where I lived when the whole Fitna deal kicked off. When you’re getting death threats, pretty hairy ones, what you really don’t need are newspapers you’ve turned down interviews with printing “Hayden Hewitt of East Manchester (which is where I lived at the time)” and any other info they had on me. It felt a little like they wanted a far juicier story, possibly involving me in a video of my very own wearing a fetching orange jumpsuit although I’m sure that wasn’t the case.

Anyway, after years of refusing most I decided to accept a couple but – as I mentioned at the head of this ramble – the goal posts appear to have changed. Now I’m being asked about me, a lot more about me. Whereas previously nobody really cared, and rightly so in my opinion, all of a sudden I appear to be interesting and for someone as oddly private and uncomfortable talking about himself as me this is very odd. I realise that among a very small group of people online I am ‘known’ and that’s cool because for the most part I consider an extended, dementoid family I enjoy hanging out with but I cannot fathom why some grumpy, bald, overweight Mancunian would be of interest. This isn’t false modesty, I really mean it. I mean, I wouldn’t want to read about my life story.

As a result I find myself trying to wriggle out of the questions to some extent. The last interview I gave was with Newsweek and the chap interviewing me seemed like a good sort (his name is Cole Stryker, he’s an author, clearly plugged into the online culture, and made my list of ‘Seems like good people’ which isn’t that easy. You can read the interview HERE) but if you read the interview and you know me then you can tell I was a touch stilted. I still answered with a smile on my face because you don’t want to appear evasive or make someone’s job harder than it needs to be but it’s all so bloody strange.

When you add to this I rejected an e-mail interview because it was very close to being:

1) What’s your favourite food?

2) What’s your favourite beer?

3) What’s your favourite band?

Who on earth needs to know that stuff? The folks that might be interested already talk to me about things like that, surely? I’ve even been asked if I could supply a high resolution photo of myself. I had to fail on that task simply because I don’t have such a thing. I mean, who does? I have photos but they’re normally me with my family and I couldn’t imagine a day will come where I’ll share those with the wider world.

I suppose I fail miserably at being a media whore and self publicity has certainly never been my strong point. Maybe I need to try harder? Oh, and if any journalists are reading this (and i know you do, you crafty buggers) Steak, Old Peculiar, Iron Maiden circa 1982 – 1990. If you REALLY want to get me talking about myself buy me the one in the middle and we can talk. I mean, I know I’m underneath the lowest rung on the celebrity ladder but surely I can achieve ‘He’s worth the price of a pint’ status? Maybe.

For the record I know this blog was even more rambling than usual but I’m poorly again. I’m rarely ill so to have ebola only a few weeks ago and then find myself having some illness so terrible it doesn’t have a name yet (the doc says it’s tonsillitis but what does he know?) is disturbing so I need to distract myself given actually working is turning out harder than I thought.

When misinformation becomes disinformation. MSM and the conspiracy theorist.

I’m currently toying with the idea of putting together a larger piece on the Conspiracy Theory / Truther movement. This may, or may not, see the light of day depending on time and attention span constraints but while doing some more research it did occur to me that one interesting tool in the kit of any good truther is the mainstream media and how misinformation can very quickly become disinformation when it comes to using the former to ‘prove’ a conspiracy theory.

Continue reading “When misinformation becomes disinformation. MSM and the conspiracy theorist.”

Emma Watson nudes! Oh…not really.

4chan-9557-1920x1200IF YOU LOOK AT LEAKED PHOTOS OR WATCH LEAKED SEX TAPES YOU ARE A RAPIST! Do you remember that floating around with increasing frequency during that whole ‘The Fappening’ event? I do, po-faced celebrities and hangers on, mean spirited feminists, and other anti-people threw that claim out there without a care in the world. Never mind it’s probably just a little offensive to actual rape victims who have had their lives torn apart by an act of utter savagery. No, they’re clearly no worse off than some media sponge who was too stupid to keep whatever nude pictures or videos they had locally. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with storing private images and videos on the cloud when you’re famous? Right?

So, it was all blamed on 4chan anyway and it was all blowing over. People stopped caring, possibly when they discovered the well kept secret that nudity and sex are actually freely available on the Internet anyway (I know, MIND BLOWN!). But then the Emma Watson nude rumours began and it all seemed to kick off again.

Yes, that actress who was in Harry Potter and who was apparently the object of affection for many a repressed paedo, had allegedly been the next victim of this cyber rape. And who was blamed? Why, 4chan of course. Not only was the site mentioned as the culprit behind emmayouarenext.com (a countdown to the release of said nudes) it was also pointed out the denizens of 4chan were doing this because of the fragrant Ms. Watson’s speech at the U.N. The media ate this up. A site offering a countdown to nudity of some actress, a speech at the UN, and a website full to the brim of cyber criminals with an axe to grind regarding young ladies promoting equality…PHWOAR! Quick question, did any of these lazy “journalists” visit 4chan? If so, what gave them the impression the /b/ board was full of political activists pushing for less equality? I’ve been to /b/ to have a look and that’s not really the vibe I caught there if I’m honest.

Anyway, it turns out that emmayouarenext.com was actually the work of a “company” called Rantic. Rantic are pretty much Internet bottom feeders.  They churn out lowest common denominator dross to get hits and cash, simple. It works too, doesn’t it! But this time they’re white knighting this situation. Yes, they’re going to get 4chan shut down! Apparently their services have been retained by various publicists of celebrity morons to push more more censorship of the Internet and the destruction of 4chan. Not to mention they get noticed by so many millions more people now. A win win, right? Granted, they kind of leaked the story it was all because of 4chan (naughty!) and they might have used a ton of sock puppet accounts on Twitter to get it out there (LAME!) and now they’re attacking the very culture they’ve grown fat feeding from. I doubt anyone has retained their services for anything, this stinks of a self serving situation. Viral marketing at its best…or worst.

Hell, they even have an open letter to President Obama on their site. Apparently censoring the Internet and destroying 4chan will have measurable effects on suicide statistics. Not to mention children will be protected from seeing vile things they shouldn’t be looking at, doubtless once this distraction is dealt with said children can go back to murdering prostitutes for money in a video game which is obviously far more healthy than looking at a human body.

There’s no history of Rantic actually existing outside of this situation, btw. There is talk of previous altercations with 4chan folks over such things as GTAV possibly being scrapped for the PC or some other such nonsense but there’s precious little of substance.

Now, I don’t support the hacking and releasing of private images or videos. I simply don’t like it and I do feel it’s an invasion of privacy and generally pretty low. It’s not rape, it’s not an attack on women, it’s people wanting to see naked images of someone who has made a living objectifying themselves to one degree or another. The actions of the celebrity don’t warrant such things happening to them but it’s pretty obvious why it happens. Add to that the clear stupidity / naivety of the celebrities concerned and something was bound to give. I also don’t really support 4chan. It’s not a site I visit or particularly care about. That being said I know an attack on the Net we all love when I see one and while I couldn’t possibly condone illegal activities or hacking sites out of some sense of revenge it’s a fair bet something will likely befall Rantic or its people and I can’t help but think they actually have brought it upon themselves and deserve it for this lousy scam which is wrong on quite a few levels. Clearly this is a concern for Rantic too given they claim they are seeking to employ ex-government IT people. Personally I wouldn’t waste my time applying for that position, doesn’t seem like there’ll be a great deal of job security there. Obviously I would advise against such things as they’d simply play into the clammy hands of Rantic anyway but 4chan is no more responsible for telling its members what to do than any other large site.

In closing, we have an unfortunate situation which has been pounced on by some grubby marketing company trying to big itself up. As for the publicists being up in arms and wanting to censor the planet to protect their clients, I’ve never met a publicist yet who wouldn’t rub their hands in glee where this sort of publicity is concerned. Nude videos = bad, client successfully sold as akin to a rape victim thus getting lots of column inches = AWESOME!

The people behind “Rantic” are obviously vile opportunists only too happy to throw others under the bus. The funny part is so many people will be supporting this “company” and their endeavours without once knowing what’s actually going on. The people behind Rantic have collected millions of hits off this. Have a think about what the goals actually are here.

PANIC! Terror levels and what they really mean.

The terror level in the UK has now been set to…SEVERE! At first I freely admit I was a little confused. I mean, isn’t terror pretty severe anyway? Was it like a weather forecast and would some attractive young lady appear on the television in front of a map predicting sever terror in the South with light, scattered angry shouting in the North West and the possibility of a blustery fatwah in Yorkshire? Apparently not, it seems the government are jolly serious about their terror levels so I went to investigate further. After an exhausting 12 seconds on Google I had my answers and all was clear so I present to you the UK terror levels and their actual meanings.
Continue reading “PANIC! Terror levels and what they really mean.”

Anatomy of a beheading video.

The recent video reported as showing the beheading of James Foley has caused controversy and outrage since its release last week. On the one hand it shows a level of media savvy no other Middle Eastern terror group has managed to achieve before in terms of addressing a Western audience but on the other hand it’s not a beheading video. The purpose of this article isn’t to go too deeply into the mechanics of beheading and nor am I going to start regaling you with conspiracy theories as to what might have been because they are just noise. Let’s stick to what we have clearly seen.

Before we get to the video itself we need to look at the reactions from our politicians and – more importantly – our media. Firstly the video itself is often referred to as  “the beheading video” despite the fact the video at no point actually shows any form of beheading. On the news it was also frequently reported that the video was too graphic to broadcast, too violent yet the video itself contains only one graphic still image at the very end. This image is indeed graphic, it shows James Foley’s severed head resting on his back and you can understand why it’s not suitable for mainstream media but given our news reports have been full of images and video showing – for example – horribly mutilated children from the Israel / Gaza conflict you have to wonder which parts of the video were actually “too graphic”.

I’d seen these reports over and over on the television and I have no doubt whatsoever it’s this description which drove so many people to take a look from themselves. No matter how people like to portray their sensitivities many do have a streak of morbid interest. Whatever the reasons for viewing, and there are many, people were titillated by the media into taking a look for themselves. Along with this the leaders of both the UK and the US returned from their holidays to voice their outrage before returning to whatever it was they were doing on their jollies. It’s worth pointing out that, at this time, I’ve already heard of certain websites who have had their sites taken offline while they are being encouraged to remove the video despite having far, far stronger content available. I suppose that’s a case of the authorities wanting to be seen to be pro-active. This has been predominately in Europe as far as I am aware.

The police in the UK hinted that it may be an offence to even view the video (it isn’t) and this was run with by various outlets online to further stir up the levels of interest and fear. Yet all along there was nothing here in terms of graphic content which was shocking. Since the outbreak of the war in Syria videos have emerged of both sides carrying out horrific acts and quite literally since the inception of IS they have been releasing documented evidence of the most awful slaughters yet nobody really seemed to care in the wider world, we only started paying attention when the mainstream media decided to cover the fate of the Yazidi people. The ‘world’ still didn’t get too worked up until a certain video emerged, a video in which nobody was actually killed.

Now to the video itself. I’m going to work from the premise that James Foley was indeed murdered. The image at the end shows no artefacts I can see which would indicate it was faked and until those far more experienced than myself can prove otherwise it’s reasonable to assume he is no longer alive. As I said at the top of the article, I want to deal with what we can see not what people suspect because those suspicions often bear ever more ludicrous fruit. Let’s break down some of the anomalies present in this video alongside some of the more common questions which have lead to conspiracies flying around.

James Foley seems remarkably calm in the video.

He does seem remarkably calm for a man about to be killed doesn’t he? I wouldn’t say relaxed, there are clear signs of stress and discomfort during his speech but there’s little in the way of terror. Some are claiming it’s because he’s an actor but I would suggest an actor would insert more terror into that situation. I believe a more likely explanation is that he, along with other hostages held with him, was subject to several mock executions. It would be very interesting to hear how these mock executions were carried out but it’s hardly unreasonable to assume that after a few of these your mental condition could very possibly collapse into one of miserable acceptance. Each time you think it could be the time it happens but each time it doesn’t your mind must convince you the next time won’t be either. Many have commented on how victims of beheadings rarely struggle, try to escape, or simply make it difficult. I believe this has a lot to do with a collapsing mental state and a belief that ‘this won’t happen to me’.

There is another video from a decade ago we can draw parallels with and that is the video of Ken Bigley. In his execution video he was reasonably calm and the content of the speech was a lot more ‘positive’ than that of James Foley. Mr Bigley sounded like there was still a possibility of his life being prolonged. He’d already given more than one speech kneeling in front of his captors, perhaps he thought this would be another time that he would give a speech before being returned to confinement. Perhaps it was the same for Mr Foley. There is another similarity with the Ken Bigley video but we will come to that later.

The Knife in “Jihaddi John’s” hand didn’t match the knife in the image at the end of the video.

This much appears to be true from what I can see. There have been beheading videos before where one man has started the execution but another has finished it due to the first man being incapable. Is that the case here? I personally don’t believe so but it’s important to consider all possibilities which have been previously evidenced rather than leaping to the first conclusion you come up with.

Why would they cut away rather than show the full execution?

Many have claimed this is without precedent and this is not the case. There have been several ‘lower profile’ beheadings in recent years which haven’t shown the full act although almost all show the beginning of the act and even there you can see a marked difference. In the Foley video the victim appears to have his neck sawn at around nine or ten times (I haven’t slowed the video down to count) without any obvious signs of damage. This is completely inconclusive with any other video of its kind. The only higher profile video which didn’t show the act that I can recall was, once again, the Bigley video. In that they cut away as Bigley was rolled onto his side. At the time this lead to people theorising they might have killed him in some other manner. I couldn’t say, I wasn’t there, but you have to keep in mind one important fact which has been documented, quite often the people carrying out these beheadings get it wrong. Horribly so. But would they show it anyway? I suppose that would depend on the intention of the videos.

There is one final thing which I want to address which does cast a great deal of doubt that the video we saw was actually the video of James Foley’s execution. Only one of his captors appeared in the video. In every video shown of this type there is never a single murderer. There are normally at least two more people with them (often more) and they often have to help subdue the victim who, naturally enough, often tends to struggle once the murder has begun. In this video we see one reasonably calm victim and one of his captors. Nobody else is in evidence. In all of the videos I have been unfortunate to have watched I have never seen only one assailant.

Does this mean it’s all a fake? Not really, no. To my mind it seems very much as if they released a video of a mock execution. This would explain the relative calmness of the victim who was probably mentally brutalised enough at that point to be pliable. It would also explain the single captor being in the video as well. There is one important thing though, one massively important thing. If you accept that James Foley is indeed dead, and there is no reason not to, the validity of the video is pointless next to the fact a man is dead. Murdered for a religious ideology.

So what conclusions can we draw before falling down the conspiracy rabbit hole of CIA dirty tricks and a way of getting boots on the ground in Syria? What I can conclude is that IS are incredibly media savvy. They’ve released a relatively calm video which has inflamed the west. Sensational headlines screaming about something nobody saw happen. Sensational wording describing events nobody saw happen (unless you were there or a part of the company responsible for the editing and distribution of said video I suppose). They’re already playing the world’s media (social and mainstream) like a violin and that’s something I don’t want any part in. I’ve no doubt that their current stockpiling of hostages might well lead to far more graphic examples of execution but I feel they’ll still all be wrapped in this cynical, slick packaging and our media will eat it up like sweeties whilst all the while practically ignoring the many other atrocities being carried out by IS.

It would be remiss to not point out that given that James Foley was most likely murdered it doesn’t actually matter that the assailant in the video might not have carried out the murder himself. He’s still guilty and if the authorities are correct in identifying him then when he is caught he has earned whatever comes his way be it a trial and imprisonment or an undramatic ending via a bullet somewhere in the Syrian / Iraqi wilderness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media bias, media manipulation, and a small war in Israel.

I was going to submit a far longer piece on the Israel / Gaza conflict but in the end chose against it. I’ve been a little quiet on this blog for a while which has in part been down to my refusal to allow anything to cut into my family time, in part down to work commitments, and in part due to being a little burned out on this whole issue. Yes, I know there are plenty of other things to write about but this one nags at me like a rotten tooth. Not so much the conflict itself, that’ s an inevitable and depressingly regular occurrence. Instead it’s the reaction this time around and the way it has been used that nags almost constantly.

Let’s take a very simple statement of what’s happening.

Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Israel in retaliation for Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza. In response Israel started shelling rocket launch sites and attempting to dismantle the tunnel network which leads out of Gaza into Israel. As a result of these actions many Palestinian civilians have died.

No history, no right or wrong, nothing but exactly what’s happening. If you think you can dispute the above statement then you’re misleading yourself and looking to gild the lilly in order to justify the actions of either side. As I have said, I don’t want to touch the rights and wrongs of it just the here and now.

The press response to this has been interesting to say the least. I’ve been informed on many occasions that the press is provably pro-Israel. Apparently it can be easily proven. Nobody shows me how easily apart from a bit of research into talking heads but I digress. I’ll take their word for it as it matters not. Thing is, I’m not really seeing it this time no matter how much a variety of light entertainment talking heads agree. In fact, I’m seeing the opposite for the most part as I believe Hamas are playing a very clever media campaign this time around. You can accuse me of being a “Zionist” or “Pro-Israel” at this point if you like, we can talk about the West Bank another time and the other side will get a chance to tell me I’m anti-Israel.

No reporter has so far mentioned the fact they are under strict reporting restrictions by Hamas. Now, you might think “So what?” but it’s actually incredibly important. in every previous situation I can recall if there were restrictions the reporter would mention them thus informing the people watching that they might not be getting a terribly balanced view of how things are on the ground. Instead we have a stream of images showing injured or dead women and children – rarely men you might notice – and reports of civilian death tolls but never how many Hamas fighters might have been killed. There is also only at best a cursory mention of rockets being launched and almost none at all of tunnels being used. We’re shown an indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinians by Israelis. This plays directly into the following:

The Israelis are guilty of genocide. They are indiscriminately murdering Palestinians in a disproportionate response to rockets which are almost harmless.

The Israelis are shelling residential areas in revenge.

Neither of those statements is true (I know, I know it isn’t hearts and flowers in Gaza. Believe me I know, but have a little patience). However the media we are being fed directly plays into that. Do I believe the media is purposely playing into the hands of Hamas? No, but only because I don’t want to think that. I think it’s more of an effort to feed the British hobby of supporting an underdog. Well, supporting an underdog if we’re told to.

The lack of information from the media and the lack of desire on their part to put forward an honest and accurate assessment of what’s going on is genuinely terrible. I don’t say this to exonerate the Israelis, far from it in fact as I see the Israeli government as a partner to Hamas in prolonging the misery of people on the Gaza strip, but to point out the repercussions. This is directly feeding an ever-growing anti-Semitic movement here in Europe. We downplay it and that’s to our detriment. Every time we fail to arrest a Muslim male who shouts that all Jews should be killed we embolden those who would say the same against Muslims. There is a normalisation of anti-Semitism going on and we simply don’t know what to do. Combat it and we make the opposite side even more annoyed, allow it and we’ll probably see more innocent Jewish people of various countries suffering as a consequence of the Israeli government’s actions. Hardly fair is it?

The media are feeding this with a never-ending parade of dead children without perspective. Why were these children there? How many children did Hamas force back into certain areas? How many people do Hamas risk by launching rockets from the most densely populated areas? It’s about honesty, it’s about telling the truth, and it’s about not whitewashing either side and certainly not being used as a propaganda mouthpiece for an organisation that actually has support for the murder of a religion in its charter. Hamas don’t harbour any love for the Palestinian people, don’t be fooled.

One last thing I want to leave you with and it’s something you cannot dispute and you’ll see it yourself if you look. When it comes to news media the amount of innocents killed is not in the least relevant. They’re selling you product. Here’s a simple formula.

Jews killing Muslims = Massive news. Mention it constantly.

Muslims killing Christians = If the whole “jews killing muslims thing” dies down then we should focus on this and get some outrage going.

Muslims killing muslims = Meh, who cares? Only run with this if it’s something sensational and there are no better stories such as “cat stuck in tree” to run on the news.

Our media has ignored horrors in the Middle East lately, at best they’ve earned a small mention. Thousands upon thousands injured, murdered, raped and mutilated. How much did you hear of that while Israel and Hamas have been having their regular head butting competition?  Heard much about Libya on the news lately? No? Must be going pretty well over there since we helped topple Gadaffi, right? Right?

Don’t be fooled guys, we care about that which we’re told to care about. You have all the information at your fingertips and yet we’re still being led around by the nose. If you want the final piece of proof wait until this current conflict is over. See how quickly nobody cares about the Palestinian people again. If that doesn’t depress you nothing will. Do your own research, read even that with which you disagree, read the propaganda from both sides, and then make your mind up. Even at that point you should remain flexible, there’s always more to any situation than the obvious after all.