February 26, 2015
Recommendations are made about immigration, suggesting policies and legislative changes “necessary to support decisions to grant or revoke an initial visa, subsequent visas, and citizenship.” This came in light of the assessment that “in the same circumstances, Monis would likely be granted entry to Australia and citizenship if he presented in 2015”.
Immigration processes had to “reflect changing national security considerations” – a desperate admission of post hoc ergo propter hoc. The Monis who presented himself at the Lindt Café was not the same man who arrived in Australia in 1996. Reading between these lines, the report is expecting immigration officials to be skilful clairvoyants. The more likely outcome will entail exclusionary rules.
Then come the “programs”. Emphasis is made on expediting “work on a Countering Violent Extremism referral program, including ensuring it is appropriately resourced”. This suggests that Monis, deemed mentally ill on the one hand, and a radicalised agent of Islam on the other, could be the beneficial subject of such panaceas. The very idea is tinged with more than a touch of ludicrousness, given the nature of the man’s disposition to begin with. Oscillating between forms of sectarianism, idealism and philosophical costumes, he was arguably beyond the reach of any such recipe for action. What the Martin Place Siege report suggests is a sweetly targeted delusion: that radicalisation programs necessarily work in their theoretical and practical scope, and that Muslim communities must be strongarmed into being agents of the cause.
As a final point, the report uses the incomprehensible verbiage of the modern bureaucrat analyst, centred on such organisational gibberish as “prioritisation” models. There are “Lead Prioritisation Categories”, schematised as “High Priority Lead”, “Medium Priority Lead” heading down to “No Priority assigned” which are, incidentally, those “Leads not relating to imminent threat and with few security indicators.” A cardinal rule of security policy: make it unintelligible.
February 18, 2015
I don't read newspapers anymore — I just lie to myself and cut out the middleman, but I think it's important to note that the press themselves are not actually outraged by what they report on as being offensive. No tabloid journo — whose life is invariably a shattered kaleidoscope of prostitutes, gambling, cocaine, self-loathing, literally going through a stranger's bins, erectile dysfunction and cocaine — is genuinely offended when some students dress up as the Twin Towers for Halloween.Frankie Boyle, not writing for the Independent.
Outrage just makes good copy. It's easier to write, and simpler to understand. A tabloid hack knows that their average reader can barely read and they're not going to try to communicate anything like ennui in the vocabulary of a ten year old.
Offence is often simply an attempt to deny reality. Avant-garde film makers get attacked for saying things that are avant-garde; comedians get attacked for making jokes and footballers get attacked for being stupid. Nowadays offence is taken symbolically. It even gets translated into symbolic terms. Imagine if I did a joke along the lines of...
"The thing about that paedophile ring at Westminster is that they weren't even the worst MPs. There were people in Parliament who were to the right of MPs that STRANGLED KIDS. And they actually did more harm than paedophiles. I mean, the nonces tried to do harm in their own little way, but Thatcher fucked ALL the kids."
Not my finest work, but it doesn't matter because if it started a shitstorm, the joke itself wouldn't be printed. I would be in trouble because I'd joked about abused children or made a sick joke about a dead pensioner. The joke itself would be translated into these terms so as to maximise offence and minimise its message. I would be adjudged to have transgressed on a symbolic level, like some gibbering 13th Century Heretic.
February 01, 2015
Cornered by the Horde
I recall this scene from any number of zombie movies...
...but never this adorable.