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Brutal Times 01

Friday, September 30th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — “You’re not haunted by the war, Dr Watson. You miss it.” Yes, this will be a series. ]



Part of what’s interesting about the upper image above, the one of a woman (presumably) wearing a burqa and holding a gun, is the number of times it has been used by the Daily Mirror — in articles on such topics as:

ISIS bans the BURKA after ‘veiled female assassin’ kills two terrorist commanders in Iraq
Desperate ISIS commanders now sending female fighters to die in combat
See US army taunt ISIS with special message in footage of coalition airstrike
Hundreds of ISIS brides sent for COMBAT TRAINING in Libya after being ‘promoted’ from role as wives

The legend under that last one reads “ISIS is using hundreds of women on the frontline in Libya” — which might lead one to believe the photo was taken there, in Libya. Why, then, would it also be applicable to two pieces about ISIS in Iraq?

That image is a glorious stimulus for hatred, though, which seems to mean it bears frequent repetition. And guess what, it might have been shot with a model, a male model for that matter, in Brixton, not Libya or Afghanistan (where blue burqas are common) or Iraq…


Um Hanadi (the cook, whom you’ll notice, lower image above, does not wear a burqa) is on Facebook, CNN reports:

After listing all the attacks against her, and all the loved ones lost to ISIS, Um Hanadi said: “I fought them. I beheaded them. I cooked their heads, I burned their bodies.”

She made no excuses, nor attempted to rationalize this. It was delivered as a boast, not a confession.

“This is all documented,” she said. “You can see it on my Facebook page.”

So we checked. Among many pictures of her with her dead husbands, fighters and generals, there was a photo of her in the same black combat fatigues and headscarf holding what appeared to be a freshly severed head. Another showed two severed heads in a cooking pot. In a third photograph, she is standing among partially-burned corpses. It’s impossible to verify whether the photos are authentic or Photoshopped, but we got the point.

Two questions for moralists / ethicists:

  • Is a woman killing ISIS militants morally or ethically any different from a man doing so?
  • Is a woman who cooks the heads of her and our deceased enemies a desirable ally?
  • **

    Hey, that Express piece about the “veiled female assassin” who killed two ISIS militants even gets to offer you this tasty view, with the accomnpanying legend “A woman wears a veil, which is now being banned in parts of northern Iraq”:


    Now, is that hot, or what?



  • Iraqi News, Veiled woman kills 2 ISIS militants in Mosul
  • CNN, The Iraqi housewife who ‘cooked the heads’ of ISIS fighters
  • The issue of women as sex-slaves in current news

    Thursday, August 4th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — why grokking is an important quality in analysts and diplomats, policy-makers and journos ]

    Update on the long-running diplomatic snafu between S Korea and Japan:

    Welsh imam explains why sex slavery is okay:


    And here we are in 2016 CE.

    I keep, keep, keep saying this: whether we’re dealing with Japan in WWII or ISIS today, we need to understand that worldviews differ, that the differences matter — and that knowing that intellectually is not enough, we need to be able to know it in the holistic, visceral-to-intellectual way Heinlein’s character Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land called “grokking“.

    Pat Robertson & Orlando, just to be clear

    Sunday, June 12th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — fict that aligns with expectation is more popular than fact that doesn’t, d’oh! ]

    Just so we’re clear about this, left, right, atheist, believer, whatever, let’s quash this rumor:

    DQ Robertson Snopes Orlando 600 75

    You may believe Pat Robertson said it, you may wish he had — but he didn’t, and I’m pretty sure Snopes knows better than the British tabloid The Mirror.


  • Mirror, Orlando shootings are ‘God’s punishment’ for same-sex marriage, claims .. Pat Robertson
  • Snopes, Standing Pat
  • Istigkeit, approximately

    Saturday, April 16th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — classification, impropriety, and a concept pretty much unique to Meister Eckhart ]

    First, here’s what I call a DoubleTweet, juxtaposing two tweets for the resonance between them — and juxtaposing two thoughts for the resonance between them is about as simple a way of demonstrating the whole being greater than the sum of its parts as I can think of.

    Take 1, Obama is slippery with words:

    Take 2, the Europeans outbid and finesse him:

    I don’t actually know if you can outbid and finesse while playing Bridge, but you can in metaphor.


    There was also a DoubleQuote that sprang to mind, but Patti Brown got to it first, so I’ll just copy her tweet here:

    Lawyers — the Clintons & POTUS.

    Compare philosophers, poets, native speakers, natural language processors.


    Also worth taking into consideration here:

  • Mark Stout, War on the Rocks, Were Hillary Clinton’s emails classified? Where you stand depends on where you sit:

    the uproar about the Clinton email server ignores the reality that, for very good reasons, the CIA and the State Department have different approaches to classification and classified information. These different approaches result from the different functions of the agencies.

  • Cory Bennett, The Hill, Clinton emails reveal murky world of ‘top secret’ documents:

    The watchdog [IG] said it found a number of Clinton’s emails that currently contained “classified intelligence community information.” But the State Department has said it did not consider that language classified at the time those emails were sent.

    Both sides can be correct, said several former officials.

  • And that’s enough hipbonish excitement for one post.

    Serpent bites tail, or Genesis revisited

    Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — serpent, dragon — take your pick ]

    I’ve been interested in the form of the serpent that bites its own tail at least since I was in Oxford and wrote the poem:

    dragon eats self reference bd

    Putting it in a circle-with-tail like that, however, was a much later business, dating to a time when I was figuring out how to annotate recursion in a HipBone game move, and suddenly realized I’d tumbled on the smallest HipBone game board in the process..

    Recursion is a key indicator, as Douglas Hofstadter explained in Godel Escher Bach, and as the Cretan philosopher Epimenides knew, with St Paul echoing him at Titus 1.12:

    One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.


    SPEC Westboro Baptist

    The God Hates Fags church protesting Kim Davis, the Rowan (Kentucky) County Clerk who fasted, prayed, and then refused to issue licenses to gay couples who wished to marry, is surely a serpent bites tail moment..


    Unless, perhaps, publicity is your god, your sole aim and glory.



  • HuffPo, Kentucky Clerk Says She ‘Prayed And Fasted’ Before Deciding To Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses
  • HuffPo, Westboro Baptist Church Picketed Kim Davis For ‘Enabling Fag Marriage’

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