December 29th, 2004

fashionable

The Ghost Jet.

The Washington Post is finally covering something that many of us already knew when it was reported by the European media months ago -- the government has a Gulfstream V turbojet which is being used to disappear people.

Here's a link to the full article in the Washington Post. (You may want to use this Bugmenot link to avoid registration on their site, though.) More info on this issue is available here.

What's particularly interesting is that the plane's owner of record, Premier Executive Transport Services Inc., lists directors and officers who exist only on paper. The company's supposed directors and officers all have recently issued Social Security numbers and P.O. boxes for addresses. Presumably, this operation is being run by a bunch of toddlers who like their anonymity.

Meanwhile, here's a trivia question for all of you. Out of the thousands of people that the U.S. has detained for interrogation post 9/11 -- both Americans and foriegners alike -- how many of those people have been convicted of a terrorist offense?

I'll give you one guess... and a big hint. More of these people have died in U.S. custody during their interrogations than have been convicted of any terrorist offense.

And by the way, do you remember Jean Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected leader of Haiti? Didn't he claim to be abducted by U.S. troops in a mysterious white jet too? Er...why, yes. Yes he did.
fashionable

Stingy or not stingy?

Was it stingy of the Bush administration to initially offer up only $15 million to help Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and other countries after earthquakes and tsunamis killed over 60,000 people and destroyed whole cities?

Let's see... India pledged $30 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and offered to write off most of their $1 billion dollars in Iraqi debt.  Thailand sent 443 soldiers to Iraq as a member of the coalition, losing two in the process. They also sent doctors, engineers, and humanitarian aid.  Indonesia has also sent doctors and humanitarian aid, despite their huge debt woes. Sri Lanka is a poor country, but has supplied a considerable amount of the contract labor needed for Iraq. They've had their people kidnapped and killed, and yet they have quietly helped the U.S. by not taking any significant action to prevent their people from working in  a war zone.

Considering that we are talking about a great degree of generousity from some of the world's poorest nations when we asked for it in Iraq, stingy just doesn't seem like the right word to describe our initial offer of assistance.

(Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Scrooge, would it?!)
fashionable

Pop the champagne for SuprNova?

Despite recent bad news, this might turn out to be a very merry new year for SuprNova.org and for p2p file traders in general.

It was recently reported by numerous major news organizations that suprnova.org was taken offline by its creator due to legal pressure from the MPAA... but the news of suprnova's death may be a tad premature.

Suprnova.org is back online, and their site says:

Greetings everybody


It has been more then a week since SuprNova.org went down. We are sorry that we have not updated the site with more recent news, but we have been very busy. Anyway, we will soon be making an announcement. Announcement will be made on NovaStream.org radio on 30th December around 10 PM CET (9 PM GMT, 4 PM EST).
Also, everybody is still welcome to join us on irc (irc://irc.suprnova.org/suprnova.org) or on forums (www.suprnovaforums.net), but please remember, we are no longer offering torrents. You will not find any on IRC or on our forums.
Thanks,
Sloncek & the rest of the SuprNova team.


What does this mean?! Well, PacketFour.com, a p2p news site, says:

"it appears that the site, or its rumored project "Exeem", may be making an appearance. . . Back on the 1st of December, Slyck ran an article about SuprNova working on a project to decentralize BitTorrent. Well, this is it. The project was apparantly under heavy, yet closed-to-the-public beta-testing at the time of the site's closure, and due to recent MPAA action against many BitTorrent file sites, SuprNova has clearly moved onto Phase B... by ditching their central servers. Sounds like the torrent sites are going to be giving the movie companies even more of a headache now... yet this time, they're one step ahead."

If this is true and BitTorrent is truely decentralized (and hopefully quite anonymous) it's a whole new ballgame. One that the RIAA and MPAA arguably can not win. The fall of mighty empires starts in about another nineteen hours, presumably.

d0 u ph34r p33r-2-p33r?!
fashionable

Class act!

Apple computers is using their entire homepage to raise funds for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunamis. Feel free to drop by, help out, and maybe buy something while you're there.

Other sites following suit include Amazon and Google. Microsoft, however, is still Microsoft. They'll probably do something eventually though... after their marketing department has had several meetings on the subject in order to best determine what empathy and human compassion should look like.

Remember 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'? Microsoft are the Golgafrinchams -- the ones who couldn't decide what color to paint the wheel.

**UPDATE: Microsoft has finally decided what empathy and human compassion should look like.

"Pink??!" I thought.

I'm a little colorblind, so I asked iceblink for her take on it. "Well, it's sort of peach, or flesh colored. Almost breast colored, really... The text is where the nipple should be." **
fashionable

U.S. troops ambushed in Mosul.

A suicide bomber detonated a fuel truck outside of a house in Mosul occupied by U.S. troops. U.S. troops responded to the blast, only to get ambushed by a human bomb and approximately 50 insurgents with rifles, RPGs, and mortars. Close air support was called in, which allowed U.S. troops to beat off the attackers and evac the wounded.

Initial reports claim 25 Iraqis were killed and that 15 U.S. soldiers were wounded -- apparently seriously. Al Jazeera says that none of the U.S. wounded have been returned to active duty.

Given that the traditional ratio of Iraqi-to-US casualties has got to be something like ten-to-one if not more, this sounds like a fairly effective ambush to me -- a brutal, violent form of attrition. Given that the soldiers just went through the bombing of their camp just last week, it must be a particularly damn intense time to serve in Mosul right now. Pain, sorrow, anger, and paranoia. I haven't heard any chatter online from those soldiers I do know who are in Mosul -- I hope they are ok -- so all I can assume is that they've shut down the internet on base while family of those wounded (or killed) in the ambush are notified.

Many of those soldiers are going to be nervious and frustrated. Many of them are going to want serious payback, too. I have a feeling that things could get real ugly real soon.

*Update - Reuters confirms at least one U.S. soldier killed in the attack, and includes further details on the assault. *