Saturday, 23 June 2012

Gove us a clue

Discussing the leak, to the Daily Mail, of the plan to bring back the O Level exam to British schools, Ken Clarke claims he does not believe Michael Gove was responsible for the leak. Clarke cannot resist a smirk however, and stumbles over his words, wrong-footed. Most tellingly, when Andy Burnham (Labour) comments 'Michael Gove is the best leaker in Whitehall', Clarke immediately replies 'Yeah' before swiftly seeking to blame Liberal Democrats instead. Who knows if it was Gove or a Lib Dem, but interesting that Clarke seems to agree that Gove leaks and leaks often.

Anyone got any information on Michael Gove's record on leaking? If so, please let us know by commenting below.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Golden Dawn Rituals

One of the leading politico-economic stories of the year has been Greece's general elections, and the wider 'debt crisis' involving the Euro, austerity, and all that jazz, in which they have been situated. Last year, Russia Today's Keiser Report featured an interesting interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, and I was struck by her analysis that Europe does not have a 'debt crisis', rather it is a plan to restructure government according to the needs of the "financial coup d'état":
Yet this situation creates unusual, unpredictable consequences for electoral party politics, particularly in Greece where the establishment parties have lost ground: notably to the 'coalition of Marxists, ecologists and feminists' Syriza, but also to the openly fascist Golden Dawn. The party achieved international notoriety during the election campaign, I would say chiefly for two things: their pledge to attack hospitalised immigrants in Greece, and for a GD MP's physical attack on two left-wing politician on live TV. Here is that moment, with English subtitles:
In a clear display of either paranoia or deliberate obfuscation, Golden Dawn leader Ilias Kasidiaris claimed he was set up, deliberately provoked. According to the Guardian, reporting on the incident
The party's image has been severely dented by continuous replays of footage of the 31-year-old Kasidiaris, a former army commando, striking the middle-aged Communist party deputy Liana Kannelli three times.
Oh yeah? Well, in fact Golden Dawn's share of the vote was only very slightly dented after the incident, its share down from 6.97% to 6.92%. In other words, support for the party has held firm. Clearly, the manufactured economic 'crisis' can be blamed. For our purposes, we note how little the GD spokesperson's public loss of control on TV affected the party's electoral results. What do you think? Was the incident manufactured, not by the TV show but by Golden Dawn itself, a fake loss of control designed to maximise publicity for the group and appeal to a pro-violence tendency in humanity? Or was it a genuine loss of control, spun by the party to portray Kasidiaris as a victim of political correctness? Here's a sharp analysis of the election results to ponder in the meantime. Also, in a thematically related incident from America, here's a video about an alleged assault on Ron Paul by another Republican politician that seems to have been imagined.
My take? Rather than an physical assault, this in fact seems to be an example of a psychological assault using body language commonly employed in the society of power to express seniority and hierarchy within that society. By the way, in the interests of balance I should point out that T-mobile are one of the many networks implicated in the Carrier IQ spyware story.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Obama on technological represssion

Back in April, on Holocaust Memorial Day, President Obama made an halting speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In the video below, at 1:33, Obama makes a slip regarding technological surveillance and repression. He's  talking about his administration's intent to 'institutionalise the focus' on the issue of potential genocides today. In particular, Obama talks about the current crisis in Syria, and announces new sanctions on those who 'abet' Syria 'for using technologies to monitor and track and target citizens for violence'. A finger wag comes in at 1:20, as Obama says the word 'today'. Then, as he begins to talk about the new sanctions, his hand makes a pincer gesture, as if to dramatise sanctions closing around the Assad regime, but the gesture continues, to emphasise the monitoring, tracking and targeting of citizens for violence. Then comes the Freudian slip: raising his finger once more, to emphasise the point, Obama states 'these technologies should not be used to empower...' and then he stumbles as he realises his mistake. As he moves to correct the statement, his hand once more makes the encircling gesture, as he says 'technologies should be in place to empower citizens not to repress them'.

 What are we to make of this? I want to hear your views. Is this a revealing slip, a politician stating his real, if unconscious view, on the era of technological surveillance Internet-based technologies have brought to bear? In particular, does the body language add a particular layer of interpretation to this parapraxis?


 We can possibly detect a little suppressed smile as Obama corrects his slip, almost as if the accidental meaning of his statement triggers a brief moment of amusement for him. Here's an animated gif showing the moment he realises his mistake and corrects his statement.

One final point: earlier on in the speech, Obama mentions new technologies, stating 'we will strengthen our tools across the board...and create new ones'. He states that they will work with technology companies to this end. He states 'alert channels will ensure information about unfolding crises, and dissenting opinions, quickly reach decision makers - including me'. In other words, technology will be used to funnel information to the government. I'm interested in theories as to why Obama feels the need to add 'dissenting opinions', which he does rather quickly, to this stipulation. Dissenting from who? Presumably, the President is expressing the need for a diversity of information about 'unfolding crises' to reach his ears, not just the standard view. It's a fine point, but why could it not be implicit in the phrase 'information about unfolding crises'? In other words, maybe the purpose of these new technologies will be to monitor 'dissenting opinions' in general? Here's the video capturing that moment, so you can judge for yourself.

search publicslips