ME and Ophelia

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Has the Guardian gone stark, staring, raving mad?

One has to ask, if the person in charge of Guardian UK has gone stark, starting, raving mad?

I'm lost for words that anyone in the British media can openly call for the assassination of anyone.

The Guardian are lunatics. And dangerous ones too. How dare they OK such a thing?

It's appalling. I am disgusted. They should withdraw their report and issue a public apology - immediately.

Someone should sue the pants off them. Or close them down.

Here's the closing paragraph of the report:,,1333748,00.html

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Note Brothers Judd post WHEN THE BRITS WONDER, "WHY DOES AMERICA HATE US?" - and reactions from readers at Threads2 on Dumb Show - The Guardian [UK] report by Charlie Brooker.
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UPDATE on Saturday: I cannot get back into Guardian report to provide a live link here. Whole site is down now. Here's another reason why: the following is a copy of a report by Matt Hines CNET October 22, 2004.

UK paper's anti-Bush ploy gets hacked, sacked

The Guardian, a London-based newspaper, ended a letter-writing campaign aimed at defeating U.S. President George W. Bush after a Web site hosting the promotion was attacked by hackers.

Ian Katz, an editor at the British newspaper who thought up "Operation Clark County," said in a letter posted to the company's Web site on Thursday that despite garnering an overwhelming response from the public, the project was being scrapped. The campaign asked for non-American volunteers to pen letters to undecided voters in Clark County, Ohio--which the Guardian had identified as a crucial region in a battleground election state--urging them to vote against Bush in next month's presidential election.

According to Katz' letter, more than 4,000 people visited the Guardian's Web site to be matched with Clark County voters during the first 24 hours after the campaign was launched on Oct. 13. By the next day, the total had risen to 7,000, and by last Sunday some 14,000 individuals had volunteered to write to the U.S. voters.

However, Katz said the Guardian's Web site came under attack on Sunday, by "presumably politically inspired" hackers. The editor said he and 53 members of the newspaper's staff were also buried under an onslaught of more than 700 spam e-mails each, many of which promoted conservative political causes.

Katz wrote in his letter that the effort was launched as something of a joke, but took on a more serious tenor as angry letters began flooding into the Guardian from Americans incensed by the plan. Despite taking the turn for the worse, the editor said his project still had its intended effect, provoking discussion of the election.
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UPDATE on Sunday: Al-Guardian's report is back up. Here below is a copy in full. Nowhere does the piece make clear it is not the view of the Guardian or the British people. Overseas readers and those whose first language is not English will take the words of piece literally, one man's opinion will be taken as fact, any twisted humour will be lost in translation and because the piece has been endorsed by the Guardian, it will be seen as being the view of a large number of British people. (Which is why the Guardian hasn't pulled it down - they want people to think its a majority view in order to terrorise Blair and Bush).

Up until now, the Guardian has not been a two-bit rag. It's one of Britain's national newspapers. It's name carries weight around the globe from here to Australia and Japan. For it to launch a campaign that aims to influence American voters - and cosy up with the BBC to join in with subsersive attempts at getting Tony Blair out and Gordon Brown in - just goes to show that, along with Brooker's nasty and dangerous piece, it is the Guardian whose "behaviour goes beyond strange, and heads toward terrifying."

No doubt many British fans of the Guardian will think nothing wrong of the report - they'll probably find it hilarious and be more than satisfied with national press that engenders anti-British feelings and incites hatred. Let's hope the Guardian's management and personnel will get their come uppance when they want to visit the USA. They could find themselves on the list of undesirables that incite hatred, violence and murder - and, in the interest of Homeland Security, be refused entry - or even arrested.

Think of it this way: if a leading U.S newspaper with global readership and fans on the far left, openly calls for the British Prime Minister to be assassinated, would you welcome its editors and personnel into Britain?

Dumb show

Charlie Brooker, Saturday October 23, 2004, The Guardian

Heady times. The US election draws ever nearer, and while the rest of the world bangs its head against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!", the candidates clash head to head in a series of live televised debates. It's a bit like American Idol, but with terrifying global ramifications. You've got to laugh.

Or have you? Have you seen the debates? I urge you to do so. The exemplary BBC News website ( hosts unexpurgated streaming footage of all the recent debates, plus clips from previous encounters, through Reagan and Carter, all the way back to Nixon versus JFK.

Watching Bush v Kerry, two things immediately strike you. First, the opening explanation of the rules makes the whole thing feel like a Radio 4 parlour game. And second, George W Bush is... well, he's... Jesus, where do you start?

The internet's a-buzz with speculation that Bush has been wearing a wire, receiving help from some off-stage lackey. Screen grabs appearing to show a mysterious bulge in the centre of his back are being traded like Top Trumps. Prior to seeing the debate footage, I regarded this with healthy scepticism: the whole "wire" scandal was just wishful thinking on behalf of some amateur Michael Moores, I figured. And then I watched the footage.

Quite frankly, the man's either wired or mad. If it's the former, he should be flung out of office: tarred, feathered and kicked in the nuts. And if it's the latter, his behaviour goes beyond strange, and heads toward terrifying. He looks like he's listening to something we can't hear. He blinks, he mumbles, he lets a sentence trail off, starts a new one, then reverts back to whatever he was saying in the first place. Each time he recalls a statistic (either from memory or the voice in his head), he flashes us a dumb little smile, like a toddler proudly showing off its first bowel movement. Forgive me for employing the language of the playground, but the man's a tool.

So I sit there and I watch this and I start scratching my head, because I'm trying to work out why Bush is afforded any kind of credence or respect whatsoever in his native country. His performance is so transparently bizarre, so feeble and stumbling, it's a miracle he wasn't laughed off the stage. And then I start hunting around the internet, looking to see what the US media made of the whole "wire" debate. And they just let it die. They mentioned it in passing, called it a wacko conspiracy theory and moved on.

Yet whether it turns out to be true or not, right now it's certainly plausible - even if you discount the bulge photos and simply watch the president's ridiculous smirking face. Perhaps he isn't wired. Perhaps he's just gone gaga. If you don't ask the questions, you'll never know the truth.

The silence is all the more troubling since in the past the US news media has had no problem at all covering other wacko conspiracy theories, ones with far less evidence to support them. (For infuriating confirmation of this, watch the second part of the must-see documentary series The Power Of Nightmares (Wed, 9pm, BBC2) and witness the absurd hounding of Bill Clinton over the Whitewater and Vince Foster non-scandals.)

Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides, in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you? [end of report]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 10/23/2004
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