The computer virus turns 25 this month, according to The Register.
The virus, “Elk Cloner”, was the first self-replicating piece of malware to spread in the wild. It infected Apple II computers via infected floppy disks. It is thought to have been the work of Rich Skrenta, a 15-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, who released it in July 1982.
As malware goes, Elk Cloner wasn’t particularly malevolent – its payload was just a couple of verses of poetry. Mostly harmless. But it marked the beginning of a stream of viruses infecting the Apple II, BBC Micro and, later, early PCs… getting ever more virulent and malicious, until today, when we have malware that can crash webservers and steal money from our bank accounts.
If only today’s malware was as innocuous as Elk Cloner…
(Hell, am I really being nostalgic about the malware of yesteryear? Someone kill me, please!)
Seems to me that being prime minister is now like being a mini-pope or some such crap. Remember how Tony Blair went to see the (real) Pope in the dying days of his premiership? Like he was after the Big Yin’s stamp of approval on his achievements? (Not that it worked – the Papa wasn’t best pleased with Tony’s crusading achievements in Iraq!)
Well now Gordon Brown’s playing the holy moral card.
He started off by telling the BBC that he’s the son of a Church of Scotland minister – like that’s meant to impress us all – then followed up by putting the kibosh on the plans for Manchester’s super-casino. This last he did without telling the Cabinet, it seems, which has aroused some ire. Forget all his pious “servant”-style bullshit in his first speech as party leader – he’s obviously going to be as “presidential” as Blair ever was.
(Which kind of reminds me… when Blair became prime minister, he too went on about how the Labour Party had been voted in, not to lead, but to serve… a bunch of shit that lasted about 10 minutes as I recall…)
Brown’s trying to regain some of the “moral” ground that he lost when the Mail and the Telegraph applauded the Tories’ plan to give married couples extra tax credits (in other words punishing the children of unmarried parents).
But we don’t want a prime minister who’s obsessed with morality and piety and sucking the Pope’s cock. We want a prime minister – a government – that’s going to return to the Labour Party’s core values, support the working people, tax the rich appropriately, save public services…
Well, that’s what most sensible folk want. The Tories, and, it seems, those high-up in the Labour Party, want to carry on screwing everyone else.
And me, I want rid of the lot of them: Tory, Labour, Liberal, all the “democratic” politician scum. Vive l’Anarchie!!!
Shit, sorry… got a bit carried away there…
The defendants that the jury did manage to convict: (clockwise) Hussain Osman, Muktar Said Ibrahim, Ramzi Mohammed and Yassin Omar – 2 more “alleged terrorists” were not found guilty despite the police’s best efforts to “stitch them up”.
So, 4 of the 6 have been found guilty – pending appeals – and the jury failed to come to a decision about the other 2 – Manfu Kwaku Asiedu and Adel Yaha. This strongly suggests that the CPS’s so-called “strong evidence” if full of crap. The judge has ordered the prosecution to decide by tomorrow if they want to retry Asiedu and Yaha. This implies that the judge, Mr Justice Fulford QC, knows too damn well how weak the case is.
After decisions have been taken tomorrow, I’ll be able to give a fuller account of this trial. But for now, heed these words: everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And often, even those who are found guilty are soon revealed to be innocent, the result of police and prosecution fit-ups.
Alistair Campbell, former Labour Party spin-doctor, has released extracts from his diaries which go some way to showing that Tony Blair really is a psycho who heard God telling him to go to war with Iraq.
There are extracts from the time just before the invasion of Iraq. Campbell writes about a tense Cabinet meeting: he says that John Reid and John Prescott “looked physically sick.”
“All of us, I think, had had pretty severe moments of doubt,” Campbell writes. That partly contradicts the impression we were given at the time that the Cabinet were all 100% behind the war plan – but it’s only to be expected really. Making a decision to go to war with another country is bound to be difficult!
But he then goes on to say that Blair, alone amongst his colleagues, didn’t have any doubts – “or if he had he had hidden them even from us.” That’s got to be down to God telling him it was the right thing to do. The guy obviously was hearing voices telling him what to do!
On the other hand, it seems that Blair really was the calming influence on America that he was painted as at the time. Apparently, George Bush and Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, were split over whether to go back to the United Nations to seek a new security council resolution in the run-up to the Iraq war. At talks with Mr Blair at Camp David, Mr Bush said Mr Cheney wanted an immediate invasion. “As we left, Bush joked to me ‘I suppose you can tell the story of how Tony flew in and pulled the crazed unilateralist back from the brink’,” Campbell reveals.
He also writes about Blair’s bizarre political stance too – telling how Blair was never a real Labour Party man, and was in fact a real Thatcherite! “TB said it was important I understood why parts of Thatcherism were right…’What gives me real edge is that I’m not as Labour as you lot’.”
By releasing the diaries at this time, Campbell is deliberately trying to weaken Brown’s position. Campbell has edited the released extracts to remove stuff that’s critical of Brown – but he’s made a point of saying that the critical material exists! “What I’m not going to do is publish a book that allows David Cameron to think he’s got a goldmine to use against the new Labour prime minister,” Mr Blair’s former spin doctor said disingenuously.Mr Campbell, a former political editor of the Daily Mirror who joined Mr Blair as press secretary in 1994, accepted that his initial intention had been to publish the diaries once Tony Blair and Mr Brown had left office. “It’s true that initially I thought, well I’ll just wait, I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years, and then just put them all out there,” Mr Campbell said in a BBC interview.
But he decided it was “a bit a waste for that just to sort of sit there and we just wait until frankly, Tony, I, and the rest of us are just, you know, people are no longer thinking that much about us”. So, his motive was just vanity, huh? I don’t think so. This guy knows all about publicity, and saying stuff without actually saying it. He released this now to screw Brown. Ouch!
Omar Altimimi, an Iraqi asylum seeker, has been jailed for 9 years. Why? Had he carried out any terrorist atrocities? No. Had he planned any such attacks? Seemingly not. This guy has been sentenced to a lengthy spell in prison because he possessed “manuals on how to carry out car bomb attacks” and “recipes for explosives”. Oh, and he had so-called terrorist links – meaning that he knew individuals who were “involved” in terrorism.
I guess that an Iraqi asylum seeker, all alone in a strange country, probably would gravitate towards places where other Iraqis hung out and make friends with the people he met there. There was obviously no proof that he had been involved in any terrorist planning or activity, otherwise he would have been prosecuted for that. As it was, he faced six charges of “possessing terrorist material”.
Apparently, files on his computer contained “detailed information about how to set up terror cells in the UK, ways to make explosives, and instructions on how car bombs could be detonated at the entrances to buildings by remote control.” In other words, the kind of stuff downloaded every day by teenaged boys. The kind of stuff written by wannabe commandos and urban guerrillas. Joke files. I’ll bet that Altimimi had amongst these downloads the Anarchist’s Cookbook – a well-known file circulating on the internet that contains instructions on how to make explosives – instructions that don’t actually work.
From the comments made by the judge and the police, it’s obvious that Altimimi wasn’t involved in anything. Judge Maddison said that he was clearly “a sleeper for some sort of terrorist organisation”, though the learned m’lud failed to identify the evidence that made this clear.
“It is not known, when, if and how you might have been called upon to play your part,” the judge said – in other words, it was quite likely that Altimimi would never have done anything with this forbidden knowledge that he acquired.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter, head of Greater Manchester’s anti-terrorism unit, said that Altimimi was potentially a key figure in terrorism planning who “posed a threat to the UK”. Note the use of the word “potentially”. We all have potential. It doesn’t mean we’re actually going to do anything.
“He had recipes for bomb-making, making of detonators, details of how to develop and maintain a terrorist cell and infrastructure – put that in context with his connections with known terrorists, known convicted terrorists, [and] that makes this man a very serious player indeed,” Detective Chief Superintendent Porter added. All supposition – if there was any proof that Altimimi was involved in anything, or even planning anything, he would have been prosecuted for that. As it is, he has been imprisoned for knowing things.
The notion of “forbidden knowledge” and “banned texts” is a medieval idea – when you could be burned as a heretic for having the wrong edition of the Bible. To be imprisoned for possessing certain books – or computer files – strikes me as absurd… and dangerous. Remember, these files are widely available on the internet, and there is no reason why possession of them should be illegal. Sure, if Altimimi also had plans of attack on certain targets, or if he had kept certain VIPs under surveillance, then these computer files would have a sinister aspect. But there was no evidence of planning – otherwise, he would have been prosecuted for it.
The UK government has made knowledge illegal. Reading a computer file that isn’t obscene can make you a serious criminal deserving of years of imprisonment. The anti-terrorism hysteria is making the very contents of our minds criminal. In his novel 1984, Orwell wrote of thoughtcrime. Another of his dark premonitions has come true.
It’s nothing new, we’ve seen George Bush jr’s double standards before. Remember when Dickhead Cheney shot someone in a “hunting accident”? Anyone else would have been in big trouble. But not Cheney – Bush’s friends can do whatever they want, no comeback guaranteed.
And now we’ve got another example: The Bushbaby has commuted Lewis “Scooter” Libbey’s prison sentence for lying in court. Normally Bush is a hard-liner on law and order – you commit the crime, you do the time: lots of time. But if you’re one of the boys, you’ve always got a “Get Out Of Jail” card to play.
Bush agreed that the US justice system relied on people telling the truth in court. But he still kept Scooter out of jail. It wouldn’t have been a real prison in any case – he’d have been sent to one of those minimum security “country club” establishments where no one would shank him in the showers or make him their “bitch”. But even the country club would have been too much for poor little sensitive Scooter. Aww!
One of the reasons Bush cited for his action was the effect Scooter being shipped upstate would have on his wife and kids. This is the same Bush who, as Governor of Texas, was happy to order the slaughter of prison inmates regardless of the weeping families.
But hey! Georgie-boy didn’t pardon Scooter , he only commuted the prison sentence. Scooter still has to pay a $25,000 fine. As if that’s going to cause him any difficulty! He could probably find that down the side of his sofa!
Harry Reid, Democratic leader in the senate, called Bush’s action as “disgraceful”. AndDemocratic senator Charles Schumer said: “As independence day nears, we’re reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle.”
There was a time when presidents had to be discreetabout doing shit like this. But I guess that when Georgie-boy got away with blatantly rigging an election, he figured he could do anything. And it looks like he was right.
I don’t live in the USA. But if I did, I’d want to do something about getting rid of the bastard. So I urge all Americans to get up off your asses and do something.
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