by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing in the series where I purge my old unposted material form the drafts folder. This one comes from January 2011]

“We need to always remember that we aren’t North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren’t second chances for those who don’t defend themselves. You were fighting for your lives – I saw it, and I heard it from your commanders.” – Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, 2 June 2010,

This time last week we had near universal denunciation of Israel for the “massacre” on the Mavi Marmara. I noted a few days later that the real story was not that extremists had tried to break the Gaza blockade, or that they tried to murder Israeli soldiers, or that they ended up dead. All of that was grimly inevitable. The real story is Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism and Prime Minister Erdogan and his AK party’s ties to Islamists and terrorism.

Today I see that the Washington Post agrees. In an op-ed yesterday (5th June) titled “Turkey’s Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco” the newspaper has joined the growing ranks of media outlets that have reversed their position on the Gaza Flotilla incident and now are pointing an accusing finger at Turkey.

WESTERN GOVERNMENTS have been right to be concerned about Israel’s poor judgment and botched execution in the raid against the Free Gaza flotilla. But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.

On the opposite page today, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the “European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor” who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

The relationship between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the “Union of Good,” a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the “humanitarian” supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization.

Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. “All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Mr. Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah’s Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.

The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history,” Mr. Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year’s fraudulent elections, but he called Israel’s actions “state terrorism” and a “bloody massacre” and described Israel itself as an “adolescent, rootless state.” His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that “this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey” — an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed.

Mr. Erdogan’s crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil’s president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions. What’s remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan’s behavior be without cost?

The article touches on the hypocrisy in the Muslim world. The blockade of Gaza is a joint Egyptian/Israeli venture. There is no mention of this anywhere.

Yesterday on the BBC’s Dateline they had house loon Abdel Bari Atwan ranting at left-wing Israeli journalist XX.When the moderator XX sked him about the Egyptian blockade he launched into spittle spreading rant about how Israel was forcing the Egyptians to do it.

He can shout this on British News Channels, whilst on the 20 May 2010, on his own website, he wrote:

“We are well aware that the Palestinian National Authority [PNA] in Ramallah colludes with the current blockade of the Gaza Strip, and participates directly in Arab and US efforts to incriminate Hamas’ right to govern and dismiss it as null and void. So much so that the PNA’s envoy to the United Nations in New York approved an Israeli bill submitted to the UN Security Council which categorized Hamas as illegal.”  From “Hamas’ inexcusable demolition of Gaza homes” .

Thus is the man who calls the killing of 9 violent Turkish Islamist activists a massacre, yet would dance in trafalgar square if Israel were nuked.

Well now.

Israeli sponsored Aid Flotilla to Kurdistan

Imagine an aid flotilla from Israel headed for Bat’umi in Georgia to resupply Kurdish rebels. A Turkish naval blockade is in force. They board the Israeli ships and lightly armed Turkish marines are attacked by an Israeli mob. The Turkish troops open fire to save their colleagues. What do you think the world and Turkish reaction would be? Mobs on the streets of Istanbul burning Israeli flags, the BBC insisting Israel is supporting terrorism, a UN resolution denouncing Israel.

Complexities of Turkish politics and the 2011 election

From the comments of the Biased BBC site’s article on “Activist Revisionism“:

1)      For the past few years Erdogan has been fighting a very public battle of wills against the Turkish military. This is why he is (Like Stalin did) pruning the upper echelons of the military with rumours of a coup. This is why when he visited Greece the other month, the military sent Turkish planes into Greek Airspace while he was trying to talk peace and this is why he has (like all Islamic nations) started a set too with Israel so as to galvanise the public but more to the point the military into supporting his Islamic party.

2)      He is now facing a much stronger political opponent in the form of   Kemal Kilicdaroglu who became leader of the CHP party the other week. His predecessor was seen as keeping Erdogan in power due to his vetoing of necessary reforms needed to move the party forward. However the AKP  (ruling party) which aired the video of him having an affair and thus forcing him to resign ,(which the bBC reported on, but not on Kilicdaroglu replacing him) may have scored something of an own goal when opinion polls days after Kilicdaroglu took office showed the CHP leading in the Polls.

3)      Lastly who is the ruler of Turkey? According to the bBC you would think it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he is only the Prime Minister, the leader of Turkey is actually Abdullah Gul. While a member of the AKP party he is less bombastic than Erdogan and actually has a decent head on his shoulders. Now this is where it gets complicated. You see the President of Turkey used to be elected by the party. However when Abdullah Gull stated that he would fight to remain as President a little turf war came into play between him and Erdogan (think Brown and Blair) Erdogan using his much bigger public supporter base had the law changed in which the public picked the next President and there lies one of the reasons why Erdogan has been publically attacking Israel for the past few years.

Other recent slanders

Israel planned to supply Apartheid South Africa with nukes. Not.

Reuters remove bloody weapons*******_Photo_Deletes_Another_Knife_-_And_a_Pool_of_Blood

Israel got “Serbed”

From Gray Falcon:

It should be obvious by now that the “Gaza flotilla” was a trap. Israel walked right into it. Fortunately for the Israelis, they too were filming the whole thing, and knew how to use blogs and YouTube, so they may have even come out ahead in the propaganda skirmish that followed. But there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the whole flotilla operation was designed from the start to be a propaganda stunt. The “activists” (is that what they are called these days?) aboard those ships were armed and ready. They wanted to be stopped and boarded, so they could scream to high heaven about being abused by the Israeli “pirates” on the high seas. It almost worked, too.

…the entire strategy employed by Hamas seems to be a reprise of Sarajevo. So the Israeli presence on its borders becomes a “siege”, the legitimate blockade of a hostile polity becomes “strangling”, and Israeli raids in response to missiles fired from Gaza become “terror.” Israel is dubbed an occupying power even though it unilaterally retreated from Gaza in 2005, leaving it as a de facto independent city-state. And Israeli inspections in international waters, though legal, become “piracy.”

Hamas routinely fires missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians across the border. They see nothing wrong with this – remember, to Hamas, Israel has no right to exist, and needs to be obliterated. But if Israel retaliates, whether by assassinating Hamas leaders or sending tanks into Gaza to destroy missile launchers, or by enforcing a perfectly legal blockade to deny Hamas weapons and ammunition, while allowing food and other civilian supplies in – ah, that’s nothing short of “genocide,” then!

Israel has a powerful conventional army, navy, air force, and most likely even nuclear weapons (though not officially acknowledged). It has defeated Arab armies on numerous occasions in open warfare, and has successfully fought terrorism and insurgency through special operations. So those who wish it destroyed came up with a way of turning that strength into a weakness: cast themselves as innocent, unarmed, helpless victims and howl as loud as possible about being abused by that very Israel whose strength no one can dispute.

There are two recent examples of this approach being enormously successful. In Bosnia, the government of Alija Izetbegovic (revered in the Muslim world as an ideologue of jihad and Islamic revolution, but still believed in the West to have been a multicultural democrat) provoked an armed confrontation with the Serb and Croat populations, then raised hell in the media about being a victim of “aggression” and “genocide.” European and American public were steadily bombarded with the most outlandish claims of atrocities, courtesy of legions of “advocacy journalists” stationed in Sarajevo, who somehow never saw thousands of armed Muslim troops in the city, or their artillery, but only “helpless civilians.” Likewise, they never saw any of the Serb civilians killed by Muslim fire on the other side of the line; oh no, every Serb in Bosnia was a drunken, bearded savage with a machine gun in one hand, a bottle of brandy in the other, and a bloody knife in his teeth.

This distortion of reality went so far as to actually exaggerate the military strength of the Serbs, in an effort to make them seem even more formidable (and their enemies that much more innocent/unarmed/endangered). In this kind of 4th-generation warfare, weakness was an asset, and strength became a liability.

Not only was the Muslim (and Croat) version of the war propagated as gospel truth in the West, the Serbs were prevented from saying anything in their own defense through the second-worst regime of UN sanctions in history (the worst being what was imposed on Iraq). By the time the sanctions were officially lifted, the Serbs had been so thoroughly demonized, few dared question the official story when NATO attacked Serbia itself and occupied one of its provinces in 1999. Once again, the world was told of the Evil Genocidal Serb Aggressors wantonly killing and abusing innocent “Kosovarian” civilians, which was obviously so egregious that it required NATO to violate its own charter and that of the UN to launch a “humanitarian” intervention.

Here was identity politics brought to its logical extreme: a situation in which the designated victim could literally get away with murder (Izetbegovic, the KLA) yet be seen as innocent and virtuous, while the designated culprit (the Serbs) could be slandered with impunity, and anything they did would be perceived as purely evil. It isn’t just about delegitimizing one’s means of defense, but delegitimizing one’s right to exist at all.

The problem with trying to explain this to people is that this sort of demonization has so far been practiced only against the Serbs. Even Iraqis, who have suffered horrifically, were not singled out as a nation (rather, the hatred was focused on the persona of Saddam Hussein, and the odium largely dissipated after his execution). Only a few careful observers have seen it as a general trend, applied beyond the Balkans. As a result, no one in the world really believes they could one day get “Serbed” (for lack of a better term) themselves.

But as we see from the flotilla incident, some folks have taken the lessons of Bosnia and Kosovo to heart, even if no one else has. Not surprisingly, the organizer of the propaganda stunt is a Turkish “NGO” first formed to provide aid to the Bosnian Muslims. Among the “activists” detained on the ships were a Syrian with Bosnian citizenship and the “President of Muslim Forum of Kosova” (sic). There are Balkan connections all over – all but guaranteeing that the mainstream press in the West won’t say a word about any of them. Because, as we know, the Balkans is a sacred cow and the pure, innocent victimhood of “Bosnians” and “Kosovars” must and shall not be brought into question. Ever.

Why, even the Israelis won’t say anything about it, so as not to hurt their own cause. Can’t allow oneself to be associated with those Evil Serbs, right? That’s how thorough the demonization has been. But if it can happen to the Serbs, it can happen to anyone. The real question is, who is next?


David Sloan Wilson and Howard Bloom

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing the series where I post the backlog from my drafts folder. This one is from June 2009 ]

David Sloan Wilson & Howard Bloom both argue cults can be good including Scientology. “A religion that makes Hollywood starts soner up and send thank you notes cannot be all that bad”


See also

David Sloan Wilson (Darwin’s Cathedral) –




Strange fruit

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

Whilst purging old posts from my drafts folder, I was led to this weird (now defunct) blog, apparently about Jupiter…


Seems to be related to this guy called Jake.

If anyone can explain this weirdness, shoot me a mail.




Anacyclosis and OODA Loops

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing on the purge of my drafts folder, here are the notes for another post whose point and purpose are long forgotten, from June 2009]

# Monarchy – tribal rule based on brute force

# Kingship – virtuous rule by one man

# Tyranny – wicked rule by one man

# Aristocracy – virtuous rule by a few men

# Oligarchy – wicked rule by a few men

# Democracy – virtuous rule by the many

# Ochlocracy – wicked rule by the many (mob rule)

via The Ring of Truth « The Committee of Public Safety.

[Sadly this blog is also now gone, but there is an archive at]


Kevin Kelly on design and the Scientific Method

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[I noticed I had 36 posts in the drafts folder some dating back years. It can be quite fascinating to see what had your attention years ago. This one, last edited in March 2009, is just collection of notes for a post, but there were some gems from Kevin Kelly]

Totally engrossed in the subject of resources and pipeline management, information design, intermediate technology and dashboard design

“n-Dimentional gigantic hypercube of all the possible solutions to how to design the things and we are just wondering around trying to find the best one.” –  Stack Overflow podcast

How do committees invent?

In a discussion on Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Kevin Kelly made this observation:

Consider a parallel with software design:

* Statement of requirements
* [ architect/design
* [ implement/test
* deliver

That is, Scientific Method consists of a statement of the
problem, followed by a repetition of: generate hypotheses
and perform experiments to test hypotheses, followed by
From Pirsig’s description of Scientific Method:

* Statement of problem
* [ hypothesis
* [ experiment
* conclusion

a conclusion. Software design can be considered to be a
Statement of requirements, followed by a repetition of:
generate a proposed design then implement and test it;
followed by delivery of the final system.

Now, Pirsig goes into the fact that what seems like it
should be the hardest part–generating viable hypotheses–
in practice turns out to be the easiest. In fact, there’s
no end to them; the act of exploring one hypothesis brings
to mind a multitude of others. The harder you look, the
more you find. It is an open, not a closed, system.

I would suggest that this correspondence holds: that
the set of possible designs to meet the requirements is
infinite; that the act of generating a design brings to
mind multiple alternatives; that generating a design
increases, rather than decreases, the set of possible
alternative designs.

This is argument by analogy and therefore not particularly
forceful, but I feel certain, myself, that it holds. It
certainly feels right, intuitively. I think it ties in
with Goedel’s work on decidability: that any sufficiently
complex system–which any programming language is–is able
to say more than it can prove. Thus there’s always another
hypothesis that might give better answers; there’s always
another design that might solve the problem better. There’s
always room for an architect that can pull the magic out
of the clouds.

That last bit ties in to a point I’d like to expand on. That
is, that all formalisms, or design methodologies, are in
some way limiting. By adhering strictly to a particular
design process, you forego the gains that come from
inventing a new, better process.

Admittedly, you also ‘forego’ the time lost on ideas
that don’t work out.

Process or methodology is a means of getting a Ratchet Effect,
or Holding The Gains. It’s a way of applying
a pattern of development to other, related, projects.
There needs to be a way of allowing for new developments
and ideas, though.

“There’s no one more qualified to modify a system than
the last person to work on it”. That seems counter-
intuitive; one would think that the people that created
it understand it best. However, they’ve moved on to
other things, while the later maintainers got the
benefit of all the original designers’ work plus,
in addition, all that was later learned about the
system, such as how it reacts to the customers, and
how it responds to maintenance.

Software design is made up partly of flashing new insights,
and partly of routine solutions that have been invented over
and over again. Codifying patterns is a way of ratcheting
the whole community up to near the level of the leaders, at
least in terms of the routine solutions.

It’s still necessary to allow for the insights, though. A
lot of the big-company emphasis on process ignores this, assuming
that nothing is ever new, and that the answers of yesterday
are good enough for tomorrow.

(this is turning into a pretty good rant, but I think I’ll
cut it off for now)

— KevinKelley –

[Dec 2014: Sadly is not working, and has no archive of this page]


Listening is an act of compassion

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

Studs Terkel,  the oral historian on This American Life and Public Radio Redux, was a lovely person.

I really like this On Being piece, “Life, Faith and Death“.

See also:





Evolution speeding up

by Limbic on December 6, 2014

Last-Minute Changes – Scientific orthodoxy says that human evolution stopped a long time ago. Did it? –

10,000 Year Explosion –

Howard Bloom –

And, of course A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History by Nicholas Wade


Atomic Overlook by Clay Lipsky

by Limbic on October 4, 2014

Via I Need a Guide and BoingBoing


Judas Goat

by Limbic on October 1, 2014

Heard about these curious creatures on RadioLab’s Galapagos feature.

According to Wikipedia:

A Judas goat is a trained goat used in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and onto trucks.


One of the most effective uses of Judas Goats was in the Galapagos islands, where they were trying to eradicate them as an invasive species. They did so by shooting the goats from helicopters…

After endless planning and meetings, we commenced project Isabella…In under a year, through an aerial attack [by helicopter], we ended up wiping out 90 percent of the goats on Isabela. But to give an example of the nature of this business, its relatively easy to remove 90 percent of a goat population from an island. As they become rarer and rarer, they become harder to detect. The become educated. So the goats start hiding. You end up flying around in an expensive helicopter not finding any goats.

So the way we deal with that is an interesting technique called Judas goats. Goats are gregarious and like being in groups. They’re herd animals. The technique we would use was you fire up the helicopter, capture goats live, take them back to base camp, unload them, put a radio collar on them, and then throw them back on the island. Instinctively, that goat will go find other goats. A week, two weeks go by. You fire up the helicopter and…start tracking the Judas goats until you spot it with other goats. And then everyone gets shot except the Judas goat. And then they do it again. Every two weeks for a year.





Digital Militias

by Limbic on October 1, 2014

The term digital militias is usually used to refer to online social media fighters, often paid, who agitate on behalf of their chosen cause.

Every conflict has cadres representing both sides who slug it out in forums, on twitter and Facebook .

I have another idea about digital militias. It stems from my observation that ordinary end-users do not stand much of a chance against contemporary online threat actors.

There are so many attack vectors, so many software vulnerabilities, such well resourced criminals with cleverly designed social engineering campaigns. The ordinary tech unsavy user is wide open to compromise, exploitation,  blackmail, data and identity theft.

What I see happening us that they  tend to seek out a lord of their technical domain. Someone to help and protect them. Someone to troubleshoot, clean up viruses and advise on technical matters.

Like so many professional and journeyman technologists, I find myself in this role. I am responsible for a host of computer, tablets and phones belonging to family, friends and neighbours. It goes beyond helping elderly parents with technical support. I host their websites on my server. I harden and maintain their computers and devices. I clean up the mess when they nailed by bad guys. They call me when they have a suspect a link, or need help when stumped by a technical problem.

Of course I do this all completely for free. It is a pleasure to help friends and family in this way. I almost see it as a duty. In a sense I am a one man digital militia protecting and fighting back where law enforcement is completely absent. I have often wondered where this might end up. Maybe people will start to pool resources to defend themselves online. Entire neighbourhoods who have a pooled network with a firewall and paid system administrator patrolling the virtual wall.

We’ll see. maybe the wild west days of the internet are over. The bad guys have had such an advantage for so long, one imagines there must be a corrective due. Until them, the vulnerable will huddle under the protection of the (relatively) strong but as dozens of hacked celebrities embarrassingly discovered, no one is safe.