Hypermodern International Congress 2175

Remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.


The Usual Suspects

From an AP article that ran today--solid work by the defense department.

through interviews with justice and police officials and detainees and their families, and by using reports from human-rights groups and local news media, The Associated Press was able to track 245 of those formerly held at Guantanamo. The investigation, which spanned 17 countries, found:

- Once the detainees arrived in other countries, 205 of the 245 were either freed without being charged or were cleared of charges related to their detention at Guantanamo. Forty either stand charged with crimes or continue to be detained.

- Only a tiny fraction of transferred detainees have been put on trial. The AP identified 14 trials, in which eight men were acquitted and six are awaiting verdicts. Two of the cases involving acquittals--one in Kuwait and one in Spain--initially resulted in convictions that were overturned on appeal.

- The Afghan government has freed every one of the more than 83 Afghans sent home. Lawmaker Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the head of Afghanistan's reconciliation commission, said many were innocent and ended up at Guantanamo because of tribal or personal rivalries.

- At least 67 of 70 repatriated Pakistanis are free after spending a year in Adiala Jail. A senior Pakistani Interior Ministry official said investigators determined that most had been "sold" for bounties to U.S. forces by Afghan warlords who invented links between the men and Al Qaeda. "We consider them innocent," said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

- All 29 detainees who were repatriated to Britain, Spain, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Bahrain and the Maldives were freed, some within hours after being sent home for "continued detention."


Great Chapters in Hating

I used to worry that I spent too much time hating on things, but recently I've taken steps toward accepting and celebrating the hate. With this in mind, here is the first of what I hope will be a "best-of" series with hating as its subject matter.

Gang of Four, "Entertainment!"

One of the best ways to exasperate your peers in American society is to hate on consumerism, which is the ideological foundation of our country. Our forms of self-expression, from punk to gangsta to the girl at my office who wants a $1,000 Gucci bag for Christmas, are so tied to what we buy that only the most priggish haters would devote an entire album to railing on the identification-through-consumption that we enact every day. Of course, that's just what Gang of Four did on "Entertainment!" The album portrays day-to-day life in a Western capitalist democracy as a nonstop purgatory of alienated tension. Best piece of hating: "Love'll get you like a case of anthrax/ And that's something I don't want to catch," from the song "Anthrax."


N.C.A.A. Psyop

Published: December 10, 2006

In March, the University of California at Berkeley men’s basketball team played its final home game against the University of Southern California, whose team was led by its star guard, Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt was in the midst of a terrific year for U.S.C., averaging about 17 points a game, and for Cal, as the U.C. Berkeley team is known, the game was a must-win if it was to get a bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament. Cal needed to figure out a way to keep Pruitt from having another monster outing.

The solution to how to neutralize Pruitt came not from a game plan of X’s and O’s but from military-style psychological operations. In the week leading up to the game, members of Cal’s Rally Committee, who earlier obtained Pruitt’s Instant Messenger screen name, created an I.M. account for a fictional U.C.L.A. coed named Victoria. “Victoria” began flirting with Pruitt, sending him photos of herself (pictures of a very attractive woman that the Cal students had taken off the Internet) and telling him that she and her friends wanted to party with him and his teammates back in L.A. after the game against Cal. Pruitt responded in kind, writing, “You look like you have a very fit body” and “Now I want to c u so bad,” and eventually giving her his phone number and agreeing to get together when he returned from the game.

On game day, when Pruitt went to the foul line for the first time, Cal students began chanting: “Victoria! Victoria!” and reciting Pruitt’s phone number. Pruitt, a 79 percent free-throw shooter on the season, missed both shots and had one of his worst games of the year, shooting 3 for 13 from the field. Cal won the game by 11 points and went on to the N.C.A.A. tournament.

After the loss, Pruitt said of the Psyop tactic: “I’ve never seen anything like that, that big. It’s up there.” He then added, “My dad got a kick out of it, but he kind of told me to be careful.”

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