Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Sectarian Bloodlust 2.0

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  • Hebe,

    Great post. The Twitbot app explains why when I searched Kenyan trends for location details (a friend lives in Kenya) the tweets were endlessly repetitive.

    As an aside, some tweets mentioned that 'the white widow' was seen nearby very recently -- a fine trigger for hysterical UK red-tops' coverage.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But that presupposes that news organisations will also sign up to a campaign of not reporting news: news they’re given in a constant, multimedia stream.

    And let's be cold about it -- "news" they face precisely no legal or reputational sanction for publishing. Unlike, say, breaching a suppression order to publish graphic evidence in a murder trail or child abuse case. It's not like anyone in Iraq is going to lay complaints with regulators, provide celebrity testimony to Lord Levison or retain the services of Sue, Grabbit & Runne.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Unlike, say, breaching a suppression order to publish graphic evidence in a murder trail or child abuse case.

    That hadn't occurred to me, Craig -- it's a very interesting point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    ” they face precisely no legal or reputational sanction for publishing.

    This is, of course, the same morally bankrupt media culture that in this far flung iteration decided that Cameron Slater is blogger of the year.

    See, people love that stuff. My flatmate can’t get enough of it on live leak, and he is by no means alone – in fact, I would say he is in the majority. The sheer number of people who spend their lives alternating between the gruesome, unedited highlights of death live leak style and similar online sites and the (to me) incomprehensibly popular CI channel seems to me to adequately explain the enduring influence of people like Garth McVicar.

    it is a form of pornography, and since no one can do much about that I can’t see how we can stop people flocking online to watch the latest hideous ISIS video execution.

    Ratings, dear boy, ratings.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What I find sad, ironic and ultimately a bit terrifying is that the terrorists are using the height of modern technology and science to extend a culture that promotes and glorifies ignorance.

    And no I'm not saying that all of the sects have such an agenda, just the ones committing the obscene violence in Arabia and Africa.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Four hundred years ago, many of our ancestors were engaged in continuous violent religious conflict (that killed up to 40% of the population in some areas, way more than in any modern war).

    We got over it. The people of the Middle East will, eventually. The best thing we can do is to avoid selling them arms and find alternative energy sources so we don't fuel the conflict buy buying oil.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    Why wouldn't "terrorists" use modern devices to spread their message and propaganda?

    Next the cunning buggers will use it to spy on us
    Or impose internet filters to protect us from badies
    oh

    One has to hand it to ISIS's solution to their messaging - so much easier and cheaper than trying to keep embedded journalists on message

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 538 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish N00nan,

    Also interesting to read Scott Long's piece on the fake viral photos not coming from ISIS.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    We got over it.

    Well, sort of. The Thirty years war ended. But that was not the end of sectarian violence in Europe, not by a long shot. I don't think I'd look to Europe as the centerfold of peace on earth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    I was thinking of the date we (mostly) got over it, at least within Europe as somewhere in the early 21st century. Possibly.

    But the wars of the 20th century were mostly non-religious (except in a few crannies like Northern Ireland and Bosnia).

    My point really is that, left to their own devices, people will pursue a slow, lumpy course to a less violent and more liberal society.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    My point really is that, left to their own devices, people will pursue a slow, lumpy course to a less violent and more liberal society.

    Sounds about right. When the whole ISIS/ISIL thing started making the news, the first word on my mind was 'blowback'.

    One of the more infamous examples was the overthrow of Iran's Premier Mossadegh in 1953, on the pretext he was too cozy with the Soviets, when more likely it was a case of butt-hurt reprisal on behalf of the company now known as BP. Going even further back, there was the artificial border drawing of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which I first read about after seeing the restored Lawrence of Arabia.

    Sadly all this is bunk for the usual neo-con neo-Crusader crowd, who refuse to learn from history and continue to insist on getting a bigger and more explosive hammer. Just as they believed Vietnam was lost because they thought that not enough napalm was dropped, so too do they seem to think Iraq is being lost for the same reason.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5419 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Sadly all this is bunk for the usual neo-con neo-Crusader crowd, who refuse to learn from history and continue to insist on getting a bigger and more explosive hammer. Just as they believed Vietnam was lost because they thought that not enough napalm was dropped, so too do they seem to think Iraq is being lost for the same reason.

    Ironically, it could be argued that the precondition for intervention that was never filled before the 2003 invasion -- proximate catastrophe -- might be being filled now.

    Otoh, it's no accident that that the people of Tikrit are welcoming the Sunni jihadis. They've presumably been treated even worse than most Sunnis have by the current Iraqi government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    My point really is that, left to their own devices, people will pursue a slow, lumpy course to a less violent and more liberal society.

    Well, from what I understand, violence generally has been trending down over time, but more liberal? Like UKIP, Front National, Tony Abbott....?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Going even further back, there was the artificial border drawing of the Sykes-Picot Agreement,

    Funny, ISIL (or EIIL in French) has been drawing the same connection.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    UKIP < Mosley; Front National < Petain; Abbott < Bligh (William, rather than Anna).

    and notably, Putin > Yeltsin < Gorbachev < Brezhnev = Khrushchev < Stalin, mostly.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hamish N00nan,

    Also interesting to read Scott Long’s piece on the fake viral photos not coming from ISIS.

    That is an interesting piece.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Bill Bennett,

    Has there been any research on the effect social media has on rebel strategy and tactics? I mean in general rather than specifically to do with Isis.

    If not, I suspect it would make a good Phd topic and would answer questions like: "what is the Twitter equivalent of bombers dropping propaganda leaflets before ground troops more in?"

    Auckland • Since Apr 2012 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewH,

    It's also hard not to agree with this blogger who calls BS on a US security apparatus which can surveil the planet and yet not read and respond to the self-published ISIS annual plans!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    banal thought that they should have done it in in landscape format.

    It was good that the subtitles weren't comic sans eh.

    The 'friend' who is the enemy of my enemy's enemy is indeed a friend in need..... but hang on....wasn't I fighting them last week?

    Jesus! Allah! What a ballsup this whole world is.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I'm not convinced. Especially given how quick so many nominally on the left are to jump onto anti-globalisation/nationalist/protectionist/dirty foreigners bandwagons.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has targeted the campaign in a more direct way: by trying to shut down the communications infrastructure that was supposed to be the pride of post-invasion Iraq. Internet services have been cut off completely in several districts and the government is trying to block Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Viber and Skype from Iraq altogether.

    China tried the same in Xinjiang following ethnic/separatist riots out there back in ummmm.... 2009? I think it was, just plain turning the internet off for the better part of a year. I'm sure it helped short term, in that people had to work much harder to either spread rumours or organise, but given the recent apparent spike in violence, including taking the terror to previously uninvolved parts of China, seems to suggest it's not much of a long term strategy. And then, of course, you have to wonder about the opportunities lost by turning off the internet.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Ballsup, alright. It seems the situation in Iraq is only getting more complicated. And now Buddhist on Muslim violence in Sri Lanka - and something tells me the situation for the Rohingya in Burma is still a long way from improving.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bill Bennett,

    I'm not sure if dropping propaganda leaflets served any useful purpose besides providing the enemy with bog paper and kindling.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Well, from what I understand, violence generally has been trending down over time, but more liberal? Like UKIP, Front National, Tony Abbott....?

    Or should that be il-liberal?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5419 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    What I find sad, ironic and ultimately a bit terrifying is that the terrorists are using the height of modern technology and science to extend a culture that promotes and glorifies ignorance.

    I have to say, I find this kind of idea - which is surprisingly prevalent in techie circles - pretty amazingly unsophisticated.

    I've been racking my brains for a fair while now, trying to think of any technology that has an inherent morality attached to it. Ok, assault rifles are pretty much designed to kill people - but I've seen their use justified for deer hunting. Vaccines have saved millions of lives, but the same techniques are used for "weaponised" germ warfare. The International Space Station wouldn't be there without ex-Nazi V1/V2 rocket technology.

    Yes, the intent for creating a technology may have a moral dimension for its inventor. But to assume any technology user has the same moral view is really naive. Not to mention oblivious to a fair amount of human history.

    And it doesn't matter how new and shiny the technology is - the biggest prediction you can make is the more powerful a technology is seen to be, the more others are going to want to bend it to their own purposes. This benefits the "good guys" as well (however you define them) - we wouldn't have GPS, teflon, the Internet, or space flight in their current forms without the US military.

    Of course, if they'd invested some more of those billions in creating cool stuff and not building so many better bombs, perhaps we would have had modern computer networks in the 1970s. But technology is created and used by people (and their agendas); technology cannot create a moral imperative of itself.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

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