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Inventing the Internet

Back in the 1960s when transistor radios and pocket calculators were getting popular, most young people I knew speculated on a not very distant time when all kinds of fantastic gadgets would come into existence. True, those radios were tinny and basic, while calculators were capable of little more than simple arithmetic, but they worked, were portable and NEW. I remember, as a teenager, studying transistor logic gates, adders and complex switching circuits that formed the building-blocks of elementary computer processors. These developments among others promised a future with all kinds of amazing technologies. Most people I knew were involved with the sharp edge of some technical development or other, and regarded the coming information age as inevitable.

Some people couldn't see it. They'd make absurd statements like: "We'll never have flat-screen TV because no-one will ever make a blue l.e.d." or "Calculators will always cost more than £100!" But most young people who worked in a techno industry knew otherwise, and that the internet (or some kind of information highway) was coming - it was only a matter of when. And not just an 'internet': numerous prospective inventions floated at the edge of our consciousness in those days - things we knew would materialise once someone solved a few basic technical problems. I remember thinking-up all kinds of gadgets myself (as I still do) and then waiting for them to appear... never considering that I might take the initiative myself. That kind of thinking - taking the initiative - had been well-drummed out of us at school. A couple of decades ago on TV they showed a prototype all-singing-&-dancing 'mobile'-phone that was the size of a fridge... with the presenter declaring that it would take a mere couple of years to reduce it to pocket-size. Who could have doubted it?

All this is ancient history now. But unlike most people then - who 'invented' the net - I actually discovered it.... or rather, for a brief inspiring interval, thought I had. I explain that disappointing episode on another page HERE.


Inventing Games

I guess the same kind of reasoning applies to games.... I mean, who didn't invent 'Scrabble'? And what in life can't be interpreted as some kind of a game? In addition to what we invented/improvised for ourselves, us kids used to play all kinds of games.... age-old ones like Snakes-&-Ladders, Draughts, Ludo... etc., then as teens Monopoly and Chess, and later Wembley and Totopoly and Millionaire, eventually Cludo... and various 'intellectual' or 'adult' games like Dingbats, Libido and so on (actually I never got to play that last one, alas). But there were loads of them, and loads more doubtless invented since - some ingenious, some pathetic. And not just board games, most of which have more-or-less fallen into the deep dark chasm of history - does anyone still play 'Trivial Pursuit'?

These days we're swamped by ever more sophisticated computer or virtual-reality adventure/war-games, most of which themselves soon get revamped or superseded. So the only thing those old games seem good for now is nostalgia.

Despite all that, a few days ago I invented yet another game - by serendipity... as if another mad game is needed in the world. Is it new, though, I wonder? Almost certainly not, at least not in essence.

Anyone who remembers the original Avengers on TV might recall the idea of translating a weird kind-of board-game into life-size reality - a bit like Lewis Carol did for chess. This gave the game/plot a sharp Kafkaesque quality - absurdity entwined with impending menace. Lewis Carol's skill was to have a sceptical and perceptive Alice cut through the absurdity and transform menace into satire. My situation happened the other way around; and instead of zapping one's adversaries, as seems the vogue these days in video games, the skill for me was in avoiding or outwitting them.

I call the game - which I played for real - 'Battle Woods'. This is doubly appropriate: for one thing it took place in a big wood of that name (just east of the little town of Battle in East Sussex), and for another, the game is in fact a sort-of battle as well as taking place in a large wood.

Although I've been doing this for decades, and have always seen it as a kind of game, it hadn't occurred to me before to translate it into one that might be played on a board or screen. Only while underway and 'the chase was on', so to speak, did it dawn on me recently that I was engaged in a contest that could be so simulated.

Now I should confess I've developed a longstanding animosity or even phobia for people who own pestering dogs, and especially for the dogs.

Not that I dislike dogs - see THIS little treatise from way back. Though it's always the dog that's the pest, I blame the owners. A few weeks ago I even got bitten - though to be fair that was on a beach with all-round visibility for miles - so for a fiver off ebay (plus a quid for the battery) I bought an electronic 'Dog Repeller'. This brilliant device generates ultrasound that dogs find disturbing so they back-away. No longer do I get dog-saliva all over my legs or trousers, nor mud. Above all I don't get bitten. Even so, I sometimes forget to shove the repeller in my pocket. That's when I'm forced to play 'Battle Woods'. It's a very simple game - though one can build-in any amount of complexity. And instead of dogs, the menace could be yales or some other ferocious mythical beast.












This is roughly how it goes:

The aim is to get to the other side of the wood, or maybe just to cover a certain distance, or even to visit particular 'difficult' points.... Anyhow, there are people with dogs in the wood. As in reality, if there's a human there's also a dog. Contestants in the game, on the other hand, like me in real life, are without a dog. Suddenly there's someone approaching so even if you can't see it, you know there's a dog. At all costs you have to avoid the dog. It may not attack, but at first you can't tell for sure. So, because you'd lose time backtracking, you take a diversion. The diversion risks encountering other dogs, hence further diversions, and so on.

You carry a map (or follow your progress on a board), but in order to reduce your chances of meeting the same dog again you assess its most likely location, which - as in the real world - continually changes, though consistently with the real world.

The wood is thick but nowhere completely impenetrable. There are many interconnecting tracks - some broad, some narrow, some straight, some curved, some flat, some undulating (concealing what's ahead). All this is to imitate reality - at least, as I experience it. There are patches of quagmire, especially on narrow sections, but there are also frequent even narrower and unmapped (usually winding) routes around difficult spots.... every decision/diversion involves risk.

From one to several players compete. You choose (by some random mechanism such as dice, or electronically) how many dogs are in the wood, their size (speed) and temperament. A new network appears (unless it's printed on a board). And the dogs begin at random locations too, moving in random directions.

A dog can only be spotted when it's within line of sight - as in reality. So it must be close by or on a straight track, not hidden by undulations. If the distance between you and an encountered dog is, say, less than between the dog and its owner, then it will chase, but only for double the distance between you and its owner at the moment the dog appears. Some dogs, though, are capable of double your speed.... and so on... these variables involve assessing risk.

Although dogs with their owners might turn back the way they came, or take any route designated as track, they move consistently - as I say, they replicate reality: they can't jump or run or go faster than walking pace - except a dog when spotting and chasing a player. But players can run, though (as mentioned) no faster, say, than half the speed of the fastest dog..... and so on again....

There are many possibilities. Final rules need to be worked-out. The aim, though, is to get where you intend as quickly as possible with the least hassle or harm... though not all dogs attack; some are controlled, but might still disobey their owner. The game is solid with risk - the skill is in learning to assess that risk and get through. There would be score-gains for speed, losses for damage, etc.

At least, that's the kind of situation I found myself in on a superb sunny day in Battle Woods just before Christmas. Usually, there's only three or four cars in the car-park. That day there were about a dozen. And each car represents at least one dog. (My singular presence, as I say, is exceptional - never do I see anyone else without at least one dog.)

So whenever I saw someone (ie, a dog) approaching I'd take the next track off, sometimes coming 'dangerously' close to another dog before veering down another narrower track (probably overgrown and winding erratically with dense foliage close either side, and maybe a few puddles). I'd be going at full pelt too, of course, in an encounter like this. Usually the dog would get called back rather than continue to chase me. But then, who knows. I might also have to negotiate a patch of quagmire or another approaching dog..... etc., etc.

All this might sound positively traumatic to a novice. Yet, the truth is, it's GREAT fun; a tremendous, exhilarating experience. That day, I must have covered ~60 or 70% of the wood, which is pretty big. Despite the quantity of walkers, always (as I say) with their dog(s), once I realised I was 'in a game', as it were, I was able to avoid them all - at no time did I pass a dog and at no time was I forced to turn back. Every time a dog appeared, generally a good distance away, I managed to divert - sometimes by running at top speed towards the dog first, then darting down a side-track I knew... sometimes by risking a narrow winding path through dense foliage - and leaving several dogs bewildered.

True, I know that particular wood pretty well - even parts, I suspect, that locals never go on. Likewise for other woods around here. And I could list maybe a dozen elsewhere near where I've lived.... like Charmy Down (near Bath), Ashridge Park (Beds/Bucks), Kings Wood (Kent), North Downs (Surrey), Friston Forest (E Sussex)... plus a few others. That day at Battle Woods, though, I was there for >90-minutes and probably covered ~10-miles.

I've spent most of my life turning woodland/countryside wandering into a kind-of game, if only subconsciously: attempting to pass someone more than once by taking certain routes, moving at certain speeds, sprinting, dawdling, whatever - or making certain manoeuvres so as to avoid them... all kinds of predictions and strategies just for the fun of it, to transform an otherwise unexciting excursion into a quest, a challenge. Mostly, though, if the truth's known, I rarely ever met anyone until recent years. Nowadays, for some weird reason, wandering around woods seems to have become almost a new passtime, a new vogue. And the dog problem has escalated in tandem with that. I think it needed this menacing aspect of genuine risk from dogs to alert me to the idea that the situation could be played-out on a board or computer.

The great advantage of taking this approach is that it forces your brain into the moment. Not that you'd be dwelling obliviously on some mad preoccupation while wandering around some spledid woodland... but if you do then this offers a kind of escape, as in dangerous sports like rock-climbing, for instance. You're forced to focus on what you're doing rather than ruminating on trivia that can have the effect of dragging some people into a kind of mundane everyday tedium or worse - even when in a fabulous location like a wood or some other superb wild spot.

I don't play video games, nor these days board games for that matter. And I guess there are already games that resemble what I've described for 'Battle Woods', probably vastly more sophisticated and exciting. But, just as back in the 1960s I had no idea how in practice an internet might be created, I wouldn't have much idea now about how 'Battle Woods' might be translated into a virtual reality experience.... though these days I know there's kids creating far more dramatic and challenging screen-games than I can even begin to imagine.

Later today, I'll maybe charge out again to Battle Woods (or some other wood)... in reality, which for my money is by far the best way to play. Keeps the blood circulating, the brain awake, and it makes a day-out. This time though, like a trapeze artist remembering to rig the safety net, I'll remember to take the DOG-ZAPPER - Yelp!

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A STORY BY Rod (see also: 'King Horn')

Last November Rod sent me a story he'd written called 'The Trap' and asked me to edit it - ie, correct any obvious errors and delete the pap (as I always have to do with anything I write myself). Then, he said, maybe create a new ending that 'turns the tables'.

To preserve authenticity/originality/style etc., I did the absolute minimum of editing, but any grammatical/spelling errors that remain must be down to me (and any remaining pap or irrelevancies too... I'm no-way the most meticulous person on the planet). My brief additional ending that 'turns the tables', as it were, follows the stars * * * * *:



I’d been idling for 12 years with no regrets. Now I was waking-up around 9am, turning on Radio-4 as my eyes adjusted to the light creeping through the curtains. I’d arranged the whole house to make my life as pleasant and hassle free as possible. That had taken some time. But I was finally living the life that I dreamed of as a kid, engineered to be free from as much agro as possible: living alone, answering to no one, no responsibilities – as much freedom as anyone could hope for.

As I came down the stairs, I glanced at the empty bottle of whisky and Golden Virginia pouch in their perspex display box on the window sill. Seeing them made me smile, as they were gifts presented to me the day I retired from the school, 12 years ago. I remember it well, asking a class to quell the noise a bit, giving them the usual wry smile, when 2 pupils sidled up sheepishly and said:

'This is from all of us, we clubbed together and got you these. Just to say sorry that you are leaving, you've been brilliant'

That had meant more to me than any kind of ‘establishment’ golden handshake. And although whisky wasn’t my tipple of choice, that evening I certainly enjoyed it.

After a breakfast, I wandered towards the old town aiming for Derek's second-hand shop, expecting the Hay book festival chuck-outs to have arrived. Last year, there’d been some great bargains. But as I passed the amusement arcade I spotted a face I recognised. Hesitating briefly, I decided to approach the figure. He was staring into the demo screen of some wild video game. Tall with nervous darting eyes, as I remembered, he raised his head, took a pace back and said, 'Hello,' in a tone that suggested familiarity, which I thought odd.

'Hello', I replied cheerfully, 'I know I know you but.....isn't it Wright, Miles Wright?

'Yeah, Mr Davis.’ he said drowsily, ‘How's it going?’

That made me chuckle, not being called 'Mr Davis' like that for 12 years.

'I wondered if I would see you as I knew from Friends Reunited that you lived 'round here, but what are the chances eh?' Miles said slowly.

'The strangest things happen to me too. So how are you anyway?'

'Shit really, I just stepped in here out of the rain, I reckon it's going to pour down (delete: down) in 5 minutes.'

It was barely spitting and looked like clearing as the forecast predicted, but I didn't want to sound like a teacher again.

'Maybe, but how about a drink?’ I said,’ Might cheer you up. The pubs are just opening.'

'That would be good, but I don't have any cash.'

'No worries, I’ll get ‘em.'

Miles reached for a well-stuffed army style backpack he had rested behind one of the machines and we made our way in virtual silence. I was partly thinking up something positive to talk about, as well as trying to remember as much as I could about him as a person. He was, to me, just another kid from the dim and distant past, but he must have stood out for some reason or I would just have walked right past him. We settled into a corner of the Five Bones and after I bought a round, with some pork scratchings for Miles, the conversation started to pick up.

'I been living with my brother Sean for years now and just can't take any more', Miles told me. 'He is just evil, I mean seriously. If he wanted me dead, either he would do it or one of his dodgy mates would. I had to get the fuck away.'

'That sounds terrible', I said, 'how about work, do you have a job and somewhere to stay?'

'I just got on the train and left this morning. I decided last night I was going. I wasn't leaving no job behind - all I did was run bloody odd errands for Sean anyway and if I got pocket money fine, but often I didn't. God knows what I am going to do. I haven't got much stuff so I can just pitch-up anywhere. I'll keep moving so Sean won't find me'.

'All those years ago, I just would not have thought you would end up in this situation, and I bet you didn't either. But these things can happen to anyone. See it as a new start and remember some of the best people were free spirits with no ties at all.'
In truth, I was partly lying because as Miles was talking I suddenly remembered who he was. His predicament didn't entirely surprise me as he wasn't what I would class as bright, or even that interested in anything remotely academic. I never met his parents at 'parent-teacher' evenings but I knew they lived on a rough crime-ridden estate in the Hadenbrook area where a few of the kids came from. Miles always struck me as having two versions of himself. One where he would turn up at school, unpleasantly confident like an arrogant alpha male, and the other, where he was down-trodden and nervously shy. These were obviously influenced by his home environment. I always felt slightly protective of the shy Miles, as the other boys in his class would detect which Miles they had that day and bully him senselessly if he wasn't the alpha version. A sort of real double-whammy: you are shy and nervy because of something terrible going on at home, and then you come to school and pay the price there as well.

As we chatted and reminisced, Miles did mention something from the school that gave me a really unpleasant cold feeling all over. I had completely forgotten about it up until now, or chosen to push it far back in my mind, but at the time, some 12 years ago, it was a deadly serious matter that involved Mr. Farnsworth's car.

George Farnsworth was a bastard, and for some inexplicable reason was headmaster at the school. He apparently came from a rich family of investment bankers and I guess he was the black sheep. The other staff told me he entered the private school sector some years before, but was quickly asked to leave and ended up doing the comprehensive circuit. Most of the teachers at the school were frightened of him as he loved to throw his weight around. He used a psychological technique where he’d talk to you as if he was on the edge of an explosive rage, and should you say the wrong thing, you imagined it would unleash the dogs of hell! I never saw him fly off the handle with staff, but he certainly did it with pupils sent to his office. Farnsworth and myself understood each other - I kept out of his way and he knew his psycho-techniques would have no effect on me.

He drove to the school in a fairly modern gold jaguar, but on odd occasions would turn up in a priceless ,vintage Aston Martin. A family heirloom in immaculate condition that he would park behind shoulder-high locked gates, just low enough for the other teachers to see his status. He had the gates fitted at the schools expense, but nobody dared challenge him on the morality of such a spend. Initially there didn't seem to be a pattern when the Aston would make an appearance, but I made the connection that if there was some meeting, or visit from anyone of minor worth, then the Aston would magically appear to impress.

During the lunch times, I could often be found at the local pub by the sports field, along with some of the boys who managed to get in. The landlord was easy going and turned a blind eye to the odd pint sunk by a 14 year old. On one occasion, I was on my own and Miles turned up red-faced and almost in tears with two of his mates.
'Farnsworth got him' said one of his friends. 'Gave his the full works in his office'.

I was slightly stunned and was about to ask what 'the full works' exactly meant, but Miles came out with:

'I fucking hate him' with real hatred in his voice.

I decided to get them all a round of drinks to calm the situation and soon we were chatting and making jokes at Farnsworth's expense, all closely tucked around a round wooden table. During a lull Miles said in a low voice,

'We're are thinking of moving his car'

'Don't tell Davis, you idiot' said another.

'Don't worry about me' I said 'I'm on your side believe me'

Miles went on, 'Farnsworth has that bloody Aston behind those gates and we are going to put it just outside the gates to really piss him off.'

'God,' I said in an explosive chuckle 'that would certainly wind him up, but how are you going to do that, the gates are locked for a start?'

'That's no problem as we know the combination, but we need the immobiliser or we are fucked. It's like a black cartridge about the size of a fag packet. If we start the car without that in the slot, it will radio the police.'

'An immobiliser' I said 'how do you know about these things ?'

'We watched him remove it and looked up what it was. They cost over a grand to have fitted and there is a hidden transmitter in the car which radios out to the cops should it be moved. It's only put on the most expensive cars.'

'Well it's the sort of thing that might be in his office draw' I said. 'I don't really want to get involved but I could have a look for you and let you know'

'Yes do, that would be amazing' one of the others said.

After another round of drinks, I had been convinced that not only was I to look for this immobiliser, but I was also going to hand it to one of the boys for the 5 minutes it would take to shift the car. 
A week later the opportunity arose. There was a Governors meeting in the town Guildhall and naturally the Aston made a predictable appearance and was parked at the school behind the gates. Farnsworth would be at the Guildhall from late morning to early afternoon. I casually entered his office, which was always open to staff, and checked his desk draw. Just as expected the black cartridge was there and no attempt had been made to hide it. It was coming up to lunchtime, so I slipped it into my pocket and passed it to Miles's friend Max, in the school playground.

'I am going to the Goose and Duck now for lunch', I said, 'bring it straight over to me when you are done'

Max nodded enthusiastically. As I sat in the pub I was on my second pint and started to wonder where the boys had got to. I wasn't that worried, but 40 minutes had passed and I did want to put that cartridge back as soon as possible. As I sunk the last of the pint I got up to leave and Max came running in completely flustered.

'It's gone Mr Davis, the car has gone'

'What the Aston? What do you mean it's gone, where?'

'One of these blokes from the estate helped move it because we don't drive and he drove it out of the school and onto a trailer. It was all over in seconds and Miles is in tears. He doesn't even know who it was who drove it'

'Christ, I said 'this is going to cause a big problem. Now listen to me, say nothing about this and tell the others to admit to nothing, even if Farnsworth turns the thumb screws. Just act as if nothing has happened and I will do the same.'

Max nodded and ran back to the school to inform Miles and his friends. I was feeling nervous myself but I knew I could keep myself calm under pressure and hoped they all could as well.

Once Farnsworth had returned from the Guildhall and realized his loss, the place was swarming with police. All the staff were brutally interviewed over the coming days and a big article appeared in the paper. I had never thought about the value of that car, but it once belonged to the Princess of Monaco and was worth literally hundreds of thousands. The conclusion was that it was stolen to order in a well executed, planned operation with insider knowledge. Experts were convinced it would eventually make an appearance most probably in the middle east.

After all the excitement had died down and amazingly no one had pointed the finger at anyone, the school sort of got back to a vague normal. Farnsworth was even more intolerable and I think his constant presence was certainly a catalyst to make me leave the school and the teaching profession altogether. 

12 years later Miles had not worn well. A life of pork scratchings and similar bilge had no doubt taken it's toll, I thought. He was pleasant enough and hopefully had grown out of his dual personality traits. We must have spent an hour in the Five Bones chewing over various aspects of life and what it throws at us, but I desperately wanted to make my excuses and get along to Derek's tatty book shop.

'I really have to make a move', I said, 'it's been fantastic but will you be ok?'

'I reckon so', said Miles, 'it's has been really great to chat like this, I just don't meet people like you very often. I feel far more positive now. Out of interest, you don't have anyone you know who would put me up for the night do you?'

It was probably the alcohol, but I straight away came out with 'Well you can stay a night at mine if you really want to?'

'Fantastic, I won't be no trouble and I will pay you back when I get back on my feet. I better go and make a few phone calls now, could I bother you for a couple of quid as I lost my mobile'

I ended up giving him a tenner and said to get himself a sandwich and meet me late this afternoon around five. I would get some shopping and take him back to the house.

Having Miles in the house that evening wasn't too bad and he found my perspex presentation box highly amusing, with it's nostalgic booze and fag contents. I did find his relentless coughing through the night very disturbing and I hardly got any sleep. In the morning, regardless of where I was in the house, I could hear him snoring right up until midday, when he eventually surfaced and started coughing again. I was certainly looking forward to him getting out of the house. After I gave him a light lunch in total conversational silence, I asked him what he was going to do today. He didn't properly answer but muttered something about 'needing more time'. By now, I felt frustrated from lack of sleep and very hemmed-in. I ended up going for a walk to get the blood circulating, leaving Miles in the house. I returned late afternoon thinking he had gone, but he was still there, up in the bedroom whispering into the telephone.

He stayed another night, and then another, hardly saying a word to me, just taking food from the fridge up to his room. By the end of the week I knocked on his bedroom door and told him I have got family coming to stay next weekend and they will need the room.
'No way!' he shouted back.

I really didn't know how to answer this as it was the strangest response and came a bit of a shock to me. I then called my brother and made some excuse about it not being the best weekend to come and stay. By Sunday, I had had enough and was ready to have this out with him. I was feeling constantly frustrated and his presence in the house was on my mind permanently. The previous night I dreamt a nightmare that involved me being stranded, covered in excrement, with all my possessions heading off on a train into the distance. I waited all afternoon for him to come downstairs for his food supplies and then I blocked his passage in the hall.

'Just tell me Miles', I said firmly, 'when do you plan to go as I can't go on with this charade anymore ?'

Miles looked at me as if he didn't have a clue what I was talking about, then pushed violently passed me and shouted back down the stairs

'I will tell you tonight.'

Around 11.45pm he sauntered down the stairs from his room, said nothing but laid a CD on my desk and sat down upon the sofa.

'Am I supposed to play this' I asked crossly.

With his eyes closed sitting bolt upright on the sofa, I thought I detected a slight nod of the head. I put the CD in the computer and found a single file marked 'vidroom'. I double-clicked on it and stared at the screen. Up came a full frame video in clear black-and-white of an ornate desk filmed from the upper corner of a fairly posh office with a static camera. Then a character entered, hang on this character was me! You could very clearly see me reach, then slide open the desk draw and remove a small black box, then look furtively around and disappear off with it tucked into my pocket.

'Jesus Christ', I said as I slumped back into my chair. 'Where has this come from ?'

'The old caretaker gave us the tape for fifty quid about half an hour after you left the office, and he replaced it with a screwed-up tape so the police thought the recording had failed.'
'I never knew about those security cameras and anyway I don't care, this is long in the past and proves nothing'

'So in that case you don't mind if my brother emails the video to every newspaper, plus all the teachers at the school who were grilled by the police, plus a copy of this article ?'

Miles pulled out of his pocket a Daily Mail article from 5 months ago. A double page spread on the missing Grace Kelly car and how police were appealing to the public for renewed information.

'So what do you want' I said in a resigned monotone.
'My brother Sean is coming to live here as well, he needs to hide for a bit. I suggest you move out Monday, but keep fucking paying all the bills as we don't want any Bailiffs round.'
'For how long' I asked.

'Months, Years, who knows? Oh, and you can keep the CD, we have loads of those'

* * * * *

‘I see,’ I said, ‘Well, let me tell you, although it’s true there’s only really room for two in this place, I won’t be moving out.’

‘You will.’ He replied, ‘If not by choice, then the cops’ll get you.’

‘Since when has car-theft, and then only taking a small part in it, plus it being a first offence, and especially backdated 15-years… since when has such a minor crime led to a custodial sentence?’

‘For one thing that car was worth a fortune.’ He said, ‘And the theft has become famous.’

‘I’ll take that chance.’ I said, ‘And if your brother’s better looking than you he can share my bed because no way am I moving out. OK.’

‘You what?’ he snapped, ‘You touch my brother and I’ll sort you.’

‘I wouldn’t if I were you, unless you’re a black-belt.’

‘A what?’

‘Exactly…. ‘ I said, taking the posture of a judo wrestler, ‘Come on then, you want to try it.’

‘Christ!’ he mumbled, ‘I’m out of here.’

‘Already?’ I said, standing normally again, ‘Either way, if anyone approaches me about that video, then be sure I’ll catch-up with you…. Besides, I wonder why your brother needs to lie low?’

He gave me a black stare then collected his things and left. I haven’t seen him since.

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The Charlie Hebdo Affair

Another false-flag?

From wikipedia:

... the term "false flag terrorism" may even be used in those instances when violence is carried out by groups or organizations which, whether they know it or not, are being supported or controlled by the "victim" nation...

A few days ago in Paris THREE - just three - 'terrorists' murdered 17 people, most significantly 10 French satirical journalists/cartoonists. Two of the assassins claimed they were serving Mohammed and ISIS, while one claimed it was Mohammed and Al Quaida. ISIS and Al Quaida are enemies. The journalists' targets for ridicule had included ALL religions, politicians (esp those on the 'right') and other establishment figures.

The result: an unprecedented public outcry, joined soon after by more than 40 heads of state from around the world, plus millions more public, who assembled to pay tribute to the cartoonists and protest against such a brutal attack on free-speech. French politicians subsequently announced the deployment of 10,000 soldiers around France, 5,000 police to guard Jewish schools in particular (that alone should ring a few alarm bells), and their sponsorship of printing >1,000,000 copies of the next edition of the 'offending' journal - whose normal readership was <100K. Intelligence services receive new and increased powers despite the fact that they already held files on the attackers and associates.

Could this be reminiscent of 9/11 when exclusively on that morning the US air force grounded its fighter-jets, and at an earlier date relevant intelligence data/leads on the perpetrators was shelved by order from unspecified high authority?

And what politician would shed tears over the demise of Charlie Hebdo's best cartoonists whose job it was to discredit them? Could the hapless cartoonists have been what's referred these days to 'collateral' in another Mossad false-flag - a pretext to justify a variety of divisive acts/policies that are yet to be unveiled? (ie, as 9/11 was for invading Afghanistan and Iraq).

Those 40+ heads-of-state who leapt on the bandwagon of public outcry did so with astonishing alacrity. It appeared they couldn't get to Paris fast enough - not to mention the speed at which Monsieur Hollande arrived at the Charlie Hebdo office. If the attack wasn't some kind of a false-flag, these responses were truly impressive. But was this solidarity or stupendous hypocrisy?

A retweet by Glen Greenwald (who I follow):


What if Iraq, Syria or Libya... etc., launched a REAL attack on France, the UK, Israel &/or the US? ...even if in the piecemeal way the latter have dished out aggression in those countries, frequently killing in a single attack quite a few more than in Paris a few days ago.... yet who even notices?

To quote the late Peter Ustinov: "Terrorism is the war of the poor; war is the terrorism of the rich." And the 'foot-soldier' half-wit automatons (stuffed to the eyebrows with propaganda/religious-pap) who do the dirty-work, just blindly obey, while their BIG-shot rulers remain safely in their hideouts and palaces - except when summoned to march in lock-step solidarity - as in the above cartoon.

By some weird quirk, on 10th Jan I received a 'circular tweet' that appears to be from Will Self (who I don't follow): "Why after the Paris massacre Je Suis NOT Charlie Hebdo?" with a monochrome cartoon that says: "Though tweaking the noses of Muslims might be as permissible as it is now believed to be dangerous, it has never struck me as anything other than a vapid way to use the pen."

I replied: "ALL religion is NUTS and a potential menace. It's politicians who have loads to answer for, NOT cartoonists." (Instead of 'politicians' I guess I should have put 'Big Corp' - their controller).

Following 9/11 the US invasion of Afghanistan took just 26-days: ie, from wikipedia -

The U.S. government dismissed the request for proof as "request for delay or prevarication"; NATO commander George Robertson said the evidence was "clear and compelling". On 7 October, as the U.S. aerial bombing campaign began, President Bush ignored questions about the Taliban's offer and said instead "Full warning had been given, and time is running out."

Which means the US military must have been geared-up and ready well in advance in anticipation of (the 9/11) attack.

I just wonder what the hell the bastards have planned that these recent killings are meant to warrant/provoke? I'm writing this on 13th Jan 2014. Where are the West's war-ships parked or headed right now?

See youtube (<3mins): Coming Storm


Addendum -

Norman Soloman on Government & Press Freedom 11-min youtube

(Big Corp/CIA, Iraq, Syria... Paris attacks... it's all there in 11-mins)


According to a Jan 15 Press-TV report . (from ICH) by Finian Cunningham:

[One guy – a comedian, I believe] ...who declared "I am Kouachi" was arrested. Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech…

...A review of its past contents show that the publication is not the fearless champion of free speech that all the weeping millions of “Nous Sommes Charlie” supporters would have us believe. It has never, for example, given deserved criticism of Western-sponsored Zionist terrorism towards Palestinian civilians, human rights defenders, medical aid workers and journalists.

That’s because it is not the paragon of free speech and intelligent political satire that has been made out by Western governments and the mainstream media since the killings last week.

This article, together with numerous other details, suggests a significant Jewish element to the 'Charlie Hebdo' affair.... as too in 9/11. What does all this tell us?

One good 'on the-surface' response to that report went thus: put it in a nutshell, the issue about Charlie Hebdo is free speech on the one hand, and single-minded fanatics with a deep and medieval sense of outrage on the other hand. Western society has become increasingly irreligious, thank God. (!) By which I mean that conceptually bizarre crimes such as heresy and blasphemy have been stricken from the law book. Why should somebody die for making fun of a man-made construct such as religion? Why should people die for an idea anyway? Western society may have its faults, but they pale in comparison to the total intellectual domination demanded by the ideologies that the killers belonged to, ones that will have no truck with free speech. What I have saw of Charlie Hebdo was feeble stuff, artistically and intellectually, and the attack has given it more attention than it ever expected or deserved.

If only it was as simple and straightforward! As ever, though, Big Corp rules. Whatever serves their interest, is what goes - regardless. Nothing will stop it - short, maybe, of planetary destruction, from which nature will rebound, perhaps minus us humans and a few 'higher' animals.

It does seem that Israel somehow has half the world by the balls - more-than half of the West - and that Jews have earned a reputation for excessive greed in wealth and power. But such greed is not exclusive to Jews, and there are Jews - Einstein, Harod Pinter.... etc., etc., - to whom those traits would be anathema.

Either way, whoever they are, the psychopaths who serve that monstrous entity Big Corp, they are the real enemy. If only there was some way to defeat them... if only..........


Addendum-2 (19.1.15)

The Charlie Hebdo intrigue continues to expand. In an ICH posting from Paul Craig Roberts, who begins by describing curious evidence from several videos, there's a brief analysis of who-gains/who-loses (ie, motivation - crucial to any crime) for staging the Paris attacks:

...Police enter and turn to the right. Then Coulibaly appears from the same direction as the police entered. He is in a running stumble as if he has been pushed into the line of fire. There is no weapon in his hands, which appear to be tied together. He falls or is shot down at the door in front of the police, who then fire more bullets into the downed man.

It looks like an execution. It most certainly is not a gun fight. Coulibaly was down and could easily have been captured and questioned. Instead, we have reports of pre-recorded confessions to take the place of capture and questioning.

The connection between Muslim murderous ire against French cartoonists and Coulibaly’s alleged attack on a Kosher deli is asserted but not explained. If Coulibaly was incensed over cartoons drawn by French persons, why wasn’t he with the killers in the cartoonists’ office? Why pick on random patrons of a deli unrelated to the reason for the attack?

Once you look at this independently of the official news presentation, there are problems everywhere.

The terrorist attacks, if that is what they are, are extremely convenient for Washington and Israel. France had just voted with Palestine against the US/Israeli position. French President Hollande had just stated that the sanctions against Russia must end. Among Europeans sympathy was rising for the Palestinians, and support for Washington’s and Israel’s Middle East wars was declining. Now France is back under Washington’s foreign policy umbrella, and European sympathy has shifted from the Palestinians to Israel.
(My emphasis.) So the propaganda game/conspiracy of Israel/Washington/Westminster v US/UK/European public goes on - and the malignant ever-growing imperialist/BIG-CORP monster slithers and spreads ever-further....

-------- // --------



The UKRAINE issue:

"Distortions, Lies and Omissions...."

by Patrick Smith (21.1.15)

[Out-take from top of >3000 word article]:

A note arrived a few days ago from one of my best informants in Europe. He had just met across a hotel dining table with a senior German executive, and the topic quickly turned to the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions regime Washington has imposed on Russia.

I can do no better than give you the pertinent passage in the note:

“… I spoke … breakfast time in Europe… with the head of one of the largest companies in Germany. This declaration was one of the first items he mentioned. I took notes—because it is one of my clients—and here is what he said: ‘It is urgent for Europe to bring Obama and the people making the decisions behind him back to reality. If not, this will spiral first into a financial collapse, which will slam into all of Europe, and then who knows where it goes after that? Everywhere, far-right nationalist forces are building. Look at the last U.S. Congressional elections, and think what is coming. Will America ever have had a more nationalist Congress?  Le Pen would be right at home in this crowd. The course we are on now is folly.  Can’t they see that?’”

* * * * *

So begins Smith's comprehensive anaysis of the UKRAINE issue.

Someone called Randy in 'comments' responds:

Tremendously astute essay by a first rate American journalist and historian. 

Five years ago a friend in Kiev, an historian by training, warned me that fascism was rising in Western Ukraine, and that it was being funded and backed by the U.S. 

Regretfully, I dismissed his warnings as hyperbole. 

In March, shortly after the putsch, my friend had to flee Kiev with his family after receiving death threats. More importantly, he didn’t want his children to grow up living under a regime dominated by fascist thugs and neoliberal sociopaths. 

Now he’s unemployed, his savings gone, and he and his family are living under harsh conditions. At least he’s alive. 

Yet another victim of American Empire.

------------------ // -----------------




'FUCK-YOU!' - billionaire austerity brigade

AT LAST someone has the balls to defy the bastards/bankers/billionaires who stole all the dough. What was 'borrowed' to bail-out the banks who'd gambled it away (or rather, shifted it to other billionaires) shouldn't be public debt, but bank-debt. Let the billionaires & banks suffer the austerity they caused.

Hopefully now, that's precisely what Syriza will do: force the billionaires into 'austerity' (so what if they become millionaires or even destitute?).... and maybe with luck Spain and Italy will follow Greece's example and reject treacherous Big Corp toady politicians who NEVER serve those who elect them...

The whole of Europe needs a monumental political shift to the left so the billionaires are finally stopped in their increasingly brazen scams that enslave everyone who isn't well loaded.

Sadly it won't catch-on in the UK. The Brits are far too conservative and thick. So nothing will happen to make much difference here despite millions of underpaid workers needing food handouts while hundreds of idle billionaires play the London highlife with OUR dough....