Hiding in plain sight

As I'm sure you all do, when not being able to sleep the one time in weeks that you decide to go to sleep before midnight, I am reading (skimming would be the appropriate word, perhaps) this year's Country Reports on Terrorism issued yearly by the United States State Department.

So far, I've reached Chapter 3 on "Terrorist Save Havens". According to this, "The Celebes Sea" (I did my Undergraduate thesis on the development of piracy in this region--yes, even then, I couldn't find "serious" subjects to work on) is apparently one of those safe havens. I'm not quite sure how that works--do the terrorists float about in sturdy boats, hoping to land on a populated land mass and commit their nefarious deeds? Or do they have underwater cities in which they live in? Facetiousness aside, I'm not sure you can have a Sea as a safe haven. Wouldn't it be very simple to detect terrorists crossing water even if it's not easy to find them on solid ground?

The chapter (I have yet to read the rest of the Report) also has some great lines on the Internet. Apparently,

"Like many others, terrorists view the Internet as the most powerful and inexpensive form of communication yet developed."

How is it that we have such a great understanding of these terrorists' viewpoints on the Internet? Notice how it doesn't say "Most terrorists" but simply "terrorists". Sloppy writing, indeed.

More follows: "The Internet also has empowered the enemy with the ability to produce and sustain its own public media outlets and to present its own distorted view of the world to further its agenda. Terrorists are placing encrypted messages in electronic files to hide photos, maps, and messages on innocent third-party websites*, chat rooms, and bulletin boards."

Oh, that poor Internet. If only it could defend itself. Maybe we can help it out, eh? But, wait, isn't this pretty much what we are doing too? Now, I'm even more confused.

Off to read some more of this stuff. If only my academic readings were half as entertaining...

* Let me assure you, dear readers, that E and I police PTSD with an eagle eye to ensure nothing of such nature could ever make its way here.

ETA at 3am: If the Report is not holding your attention, do as I did and wander over to Cosmic Variance, where they are discussing a clip of Ali G interviewing Noam Chomsky. Funny, yes, but not as much as Borat's singing performance or Ali G at a anti-abortion rally in Washington (both videos are recommended in the comments to their post)

3:30am: E, I wouldn't mind something like this (but with RFD, of course) as a present. Just a hint. In case you are wondering what you could get me if/when I defend. Or, even for my next birthday. Or Xmas. Or anything, really. Please?


At 5/01/2006 11:12 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Nope. I take no part in any kidnapping of the Man Who Isn't Eccleston.

At 5/01/2006 11:33 PM, Blogger Priya said...

The screencaps are brilliant--s/he'll probably be into kidnapping RFD.

Btw, your new acronym makes DIB to be MWIE (sounds like diabolical laughter)

At 5/03/2006 4:34 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Works for me. I love the screencaps, maybe even as much as I love New Earth itself.


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