discarded lies: tuesday, april 24, 2018 7:31 am zst
daily archive: 10/30/2005
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Prince Charles Needs A Change Of Pants
Prince Charles: Climate Change Terrifying
Prince Charles says he believes the pace of climate change is terrifying and people are becoming too dependent on technology.
Well, if I lived in England and the weather changed every three minutes I'd be bothered too. Not terrified, mind you, but bothered.
In a rare TV interview ahead of his official tour of the United States next week, Charles expressed concern that economic progress is "upsetting the whole balance of nature."

"You know, if you look at the latest figures on climate change and global warming ... they're terrifying, terrifying," Charles told CBS' "60 Minutes" in the interview aired Sunday.
Terrifying! Terrifying!
Charles, who will be visiting with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also said he was worried about the importance of technology in modern life.

"If you make everything over efficient, you suck out, it seems to me, every last drop of what, up to now, has been known as culture," Charles said in the interview, which was recorded last month in Poundbury, England.

"We are not the technology. It should be our ... slave, the technology. But it's rapidly becoming our master in many areas, I think," he said.
Charles's cellphone then gave him a near-lethal warning jolt and he whispered in agony, "I can't say more now, they're on to me..."
During the final leg of the tour, Charles and Camilla will meet homeless people in San Francisco.
Oh, so that's who his advisers are. Well, at least it isn't Al Gore. I'd take homeless bums over Al Gore-or Prince Charles for that matter-any time.
It's very easy to just dismiss anything I say.
Geez. Ya think?
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guest author: Meg in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Comments are back on
We got two comments like this:

author: whose9300@discardedlies.com

email address: whose9300@discardedlies.com

url: whose9300@discardedlies.com

comment body: whose9300@discardedlies.com

author: from1279@discardedlies.com

email address: from1279@discardedlies.com

url: from1279@discardedlies.com

comment body: from1279@discardedlies.com

They were posted to the entry id "0" (which doesn't exist) on entry blog id "0" (which also doesn't exist), so zorkie and I couldn't even delete them from the MT interface, as it wouldn't load them.

Shit! I knew then that someone was doing something malicious, so I shut off the comments engine to investigate his doings (plus make it impossible for him to post in the way that he was).

I connected to our database over the command line as root and grabbed the ip addresses he'd posted those two comments from. "grep" is a unix utility that searches through files for a string or regular expression that you specify (regular expressions are a syntax for searching text). I grepped through our Apache web server's log file (results here and here). The first very interesting thing I found was that his IP addresses were not only posting comment spam but also trying to post trackback spam repeatedly (although our trackbacks have been turned off ever since we moved off Hostmatters last month because I want to replace MT's spammer-friendly trackback script with a better-hardened one of my own devising). By the way, the IP addresses he's using are in Khartoum, Sudan and somewhere godforsaken in Utah-obviously he is using either zombied PCs or proxies. Anyway. The trackback spam attempts were coming with a different useragent string each time. The useragent string is your browser's signature. Here's a sample of the fake useragents he was sending:


NetCaptor 6.5.0RC1

compatible; MSIE 5.0; Mac_PowerPC; AtHome021


compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; iRider 2.21.1108; FDM

So he was sending every single spam attempt camouflaged as a different browser, to hide his signature from the unwary.

Here's what was really interesting:
His first comment (as opposed to trackback) POST request came with the following useragent:
"PEAR HTTP_Request class ( http://pear.php.net/ )"
You never see a spam request with that useragent, because it's an immediate tipoff that someone is using a script to access your site rather than a browser. PEAR is a community website for PHP programmers that contains prewritten code components-kind of like prefab construction materials that you can just snap together and get most of the way there. Someone was using a brand-new script, which they hadn't bothered to change the useragent on to cloak it as a legitimate web browser, to post those two comments, and that script was using a prefab component from PEAR that does HTTP requests (such as "POST" and "GET"). HTTP requests are what your browser issues to our server when you load a page or post a comment or a hippo link.

I quickly did another grep through our Apache web server log files to find anything with "PEAR HTTP" in it. Then I wrote a quick little throwaway bash script to loop through all the ip addresses and run a mysql query on our database looking for comments made from those addresses.


It was John from "Monaco Hotels". You may have seen the smoking craters after we nuked him here and here.

I'm pretty sure what happened is that the spamming scumbag got pissed off at our taunting, and commissioned one of his Russian s'kiddiot (script-kiddy idiot) buddies to find a way around our blacklist. And they thought they did. The only way they could get in was to post content-free comments, because if they tried to spam us with "monaco gambling hotels" or whatever, it wouldn't work. But the unacceptable fact was, my comment engine was trusting the user to submit a legitimate entry id and comment blog id and they weren't, making it impossible to delete the comments from within MT's interface (I can always go in the database and delete them manually, of course). So I turned off comments while I plugged that little loophole.

John. You and the little inbred principality of Monaco's entire army. Bring it on.

Who's the Internet Detective Agency now?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Agorot Are Evil
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guest author: Dances With Typos in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
No Freedom Of Belief
From Cairo Magazine - Guest Voice: Religious freedom and the riots in Alexandria:
For the past two years the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has monitored cases of freedom of belief. Our research clearly shows that to understand recent events, we must examine the security services’ jurisdiction over religious affairs and their treatment of these cases as an issue of national security. Bizarrely, they seem convinced that the best way to prevent sectarian clashes is to forcibly prevent people from converting to the religion of their choice. As a result, an increasing number of Christians who have gone to State Security with certificates of conversion from Al Azhar to register their new status have been denied official recognition as Muslims. Mature, intelligent adults are instead forcibly returned to their families or the Church (and while we’re on the subject, whatever happened to Wafa Konstantin?).

People who have converted to Christianity—even if they’ve been baptized in an Egyptian church—have been detained under the Emergency Law, despite the fact that no law exists forbidding conversion from Islam. Since the Interior Ministry’s Department of Civil Affairs refuses to register converts’ new religion, converts, if they’re not detained, are subject to a form of civil death, denied the right to marry, register their children, inherit assets or receive a pension.
Take the case of Metwalli Ibrahim Metwalli, a sheikh in his fifties with two degrees from Al Azhar in Islamic Religious Law and Arabic. A few years ago, he authored a research paper in which he applied what he knew of linguistics and jurisprudence, leading him to the conclusion (with which you can agree or disagree) that the commonly held belief that apostasy from Islam was a crime punishable by death was wrong. He based his argument not on secular ideas but on purely Islamic principles, thinking that by so doing he was serving Islam and defending it from ridicule and attack. He made copies of his paper and sent them to Muslim scholars and the embassies of certain Islamic states. Naturally, it didn’t take long for State Security to get hold of a copy. He was arrested and thrown in jail, where he has remained for the last two-and-a-half years without charge or trial. There have been six court orders to release him.

This is just one of many stories highlighting the Ministry of Interior’s role in quashing any attempt to defuse sectarian hatred and replace rationality with blind chauvinism when dealing with religious matters.

This is not to excuse society for its increasing bigotry or claim that the security services are the sole cause of sectarian tension. I have no trouble believing what Bilal Fadl wrote in Al Masri Al Youm last week—that his moderate Alexandrian family won’t buy medicine from a Christian pharmacist. My own highly educated relatives refuse to go to the Christian pharmacy despite the fact that it’s the closest one to our home. But the security services are responsible for heightening sectarian extremism.
The author focuses on the role of the security services but I think he underestimates the significance of the fact that "moderate" and "highly educated" Muslims refuse to shop at a Christian store.
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guest author: lawhawk in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: levi from queens in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Swirl Of Misinformation
The reports coming out of New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were shocking. Stories of murder, rape, and relief helicopters being fired upon raced around the world in the form of breathless headlines. Problem is, most of them were wrong.
Katrina Cock-Ups: Exaggerated Stories of Hurricane Chaos in New Orleans
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guest author: zulubaby in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: zulubaby in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: meh in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
The More Things Change...

This is a US military field guide to Iraq for soldiers deployed there.

In World War II.

To protect Iraq's oil from Hitler.

I had no idea we had ever had troops in the Middle East in World War II, I thought North Africa was pretty much it for Europe-adjacent, Islamic-majority theaters.

It's quite an interesting read, and a breezy one too. We fought our wars back then the same way we do now; the guide is full of admonishments to respect Iraqis, behave honorably and be culturally sensitive. The only thing that might be different is that I doubt the modern army would advise a soldier to hand out cigarettes-that might kill someone, you see-and I doubt it would mention where to find prostitutes either.

click for full size
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guest author: Dances With Typos in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: Dances With Typos in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
US economic & job growth:
TigerHawk says:
The American economy continued its relentless growth in the third quarter. The gross domestic product of the United States grew 3.8% July through September, up from 3.3% in the second quarter.


How unbelievable? The Euro zone, which did not suffer a single destroyed city all year, expects that its GDP will grow at substantially less than half the pace America set in the third quarter. Imagine how much faster the American economy might have grown had Europe's been stronger.
That's pretty damn funny right there, Tigerhawk. I'm not sure you were trying to be funny, but I was not expecting to read that sentence.

Meanwhile, QuickRob points out that we're finally creating jobs at pre-9/11 rates again. He has charts that he made himself, out of BLS spreadsheets (the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and they show impressive acceleration.
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guest author: annie in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: zulubaby in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Assad To Face Security Council's Wrath
UN turns screw on Syria over assassination riddle: whoa, nelly!
SYRIA could face far tougher demands than expected tomorrow to compel its regime to co-operate with a United Nations investigation into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who had opposed the presence of Syrian troops in his country.

Under the terms of a resolution being hammered out this weekend at UN headquarters, Syria would be required to turn over suspects to international justice or face the possible use of force.

Tape recordings of Syrian and Lebanese officials discussing the car bomb attack that killed Hariri were being cited by diplomats this weekend to put teeth into the draft resolution.

Last week Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the 15-member security council, said they would vote against sanctions. As the permanent members hold the power of veto, that could have put paid to a punitive resolution, but their opposition appeared to be crumbling yesterday.

Discussions were under way about whether any people identified in the inquiry by Detlev Mehlis, the UN prosecutor investigating the affair, should be subject to a travel ban and should have their assets seized.
This part is really funny-the Stalinist rulers of Syria tried to put on show demonstrations but only got less than 10,000 people to show up to mouth the party line. Didn't stop them from hyping it, of course.
Damascus tried to fight back last week by organising a series of protests, but they fell rather flat. Billed in the state-controlled media as a spontaneous outpouring of national pride by hundreds of thousands, television could not hide the fact that fewer than 10,000 people, mostly state employees or members of the Ba’ath party students’ union, took to the streets.

The protest was anything but spontaneous. “I am here to stand for my country against US pressure," said Lara Ali, a young sociology student and Ba’ath party member. Like other users of Syriatel, the mobile network owned by Rami Makhlouf, the president’s first cousin, she admitted that she had received a text message urging her to participate in “a demonstration supporting the national attitude".

Other demonstrators had an even more ambivalent attitude. “We hate America! We hate America!" shouted a fellow student, before he realised that the television footage might be shown in the West. “I love America! I love America!" he then shouted, to laughs from friends. With that kind of support from supposed regime stalwarts, Assad has a tough week ahead.
Hah! A thimbleful of cognac to Pooh for this one.
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guest author: unsigned in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: levi from queens in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: Dances With Typos in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: unsigned in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: zulubaby in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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