Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I'm sorry I couldn't help myself

It won’t have escaped the attention of anyone running into this blog over the last few weeks that I’m more than a little preoccupied with the recent terror attacks in London. Frankly, I’ve turned into a bore.

But how could I not be? I live slap bang in the middle of it, the media covers little else and there are police everywhere. On top of all of that, I have time on my hands and have developed this annoying habit of thinking about things.

And I’m not happy about what’s going down.

To me, it’s patently obvious that we’re being misled wholesale about the whys and the wherefores of what has happened, and is still happening. I also appreciate that it’s equally obvious to the majority of people out there that my concerns are misplaced. I’ll return to the whole subject of what constitutes obvious another time.

I’ve deliberately kept my concerns in check though and haven’t gone so far as to advocate any alternative theories to explain the bombings or their consequences.

The ‘alternative media’ can’t help itself though and the conspiracy theories are proliferating. Sadly, as soon as more than one alternative theory is formulated the result is that the majority of alternative explanations must logically be incorrect. Even if one of those alternative explanations is bang on the money, it will inevitably be lost in static and bullshit. It’s a bit like organised religion. At the very most, only one of them can be ‘right’.

And let’s think about this a little bit. If there are shadowy forces at work out there, it would make sense that they would spend their lunch breaks posting their own lunatic conspiracy theories onto the web just to confuse the situation even further. If Dixons or Dell have thought about paying underutilised staff in call centres to post up fake customer satisfaction ratings onto the Internet I’m sure the CIA, Mossad and MI6 have cottoned on to the idea too.

My attitude to conspiracy theorists is the same as I have to peace or anti-poverty campaigners. I share their sentiments and believe they have a point but their methodology is so deluded and ineffective I'm left shaking my head at the lameness of it all.

Ladies and Gentlemen in the left hand corner I give you a bunch of underfunded, poorly organised idealists who couldn't agree on what day of the week it is. And in the right hand corner I give you the combined forces of global capitalism, richer than God and ruthlessly united by their single-mindedness of purpose. Seconds out, Round-a One ...

Another habit conspiracy theorists have, aside from coming up with conflicting conspiracy theories, is their fondness for making shapes out of clouds. They will spend hundreds of hours poring over clips of vague shapes hitting the Pentagon or pictures of the Moon landings looking for that one killer clue which will bring the entire rotten edifice down.

As it happens, I too spend enormous amounts of time staring at digitised photos. Usually because I buggered the exposure up when taking them, not because I’m looking to reveal any global conspiracies. And one thing I have learned is that all digital pictures look pretty fucking dodgy when enlarged 500%.

Predictably, several conspiracy sites and blogs on the Internet have been scrutinising those few images that have been issued by the police after the London bombings. In particular, the single frame of the four supposed bombers walking into Luton station on 7th July. One site has managed to find over a dozen tell tale errors in that single image.

And I have to agree, the picture doesn’t feel right. But the problem is the level of ‘not rightness’ is well within the bounds of what could conceivably happen to a frame from a CCTV camera processed and resized for web use.

One quirky aspect of the picture does stand out from the others though. Here’s a crop from the central part of the Luton picture. If you open it up and have a look at the guy in the middle at the back, something odd seems to be going on with that metal bar that appears to be passing across the front of his stomach.


Of course, the effect could be ‘one of those things’. And besides, why would anyone doctoring the image be stupid enough to leave such a howler in it? Unless, cue the dramatic music, someone is secretly trying to tell us something?

Fuck knows what's going on.

One thing that would sort this out would be a second frame from the video or, even better, the entire clip. While we’re at it, how about the CCTV clips from Kings Cross on 7th July and also the attacks last week? After all, the police keep telling us they want our help in tracking those four dangerous bombers down. So, why are they not releasing the material that would enable us to recognize them? To me, that’s a much more interesting question that whether someone pissed about with the Luton image.

At the press conference yesterday the police spokespeople spent roughly five minutes describing a particular type of plastic food container they wanted more information on. That was roughly five minutes longer than they spent describing the bombing suspects they’re supposedly frantically looking for across London.

Or doesn’t anyone else think it strange that they haven’t issued descriptions or artist’s impressions to supplement those laughable pixellated images?


Update - Case solved

The second unidentified bomber is, of course, Craig David - thanks Rahid

No, wait. Oh shag, maybe it's Robert De Niro ...


rahid said...

A few more frames of cctv footage would not go amiss (how many fps does LU cctv run at anyway?) - at the mo i'm just left thinking the non-terrorising terrorist at Shepherd's Bush is Craig David. Although... having said that, i was never a fan.

Stef said...

By golly, I think you're onto something

www.wma.com/craig_david/ imgs/Craig_David_main.jpg

Stef said...

PS frame rates are user configurable depending on the write speed and storage capacity of the media used - could be 1fps could be 30

Northun Munki in Oxford Circus said...

I find it increadibly strange that there aren't more images. We're under constant CCTV footage in this country. The authorities must capture at least 100 images of me on my way to work and back each morning, there are cameras every 20 metres or so down on the tube platforms, apparently on the trains, in the streets, at railway stations. That's not to mention the amount of bleeding TV cameras that get pointed at me and all the tourist photos I must now be in!

Maybe Al-Quida have special 'predator' invisibility suits?

Also - did anyone catch the news last night. There seemed a sudden shift in Mr Blair's language, he seemed very flustered, appears to no longer believe 'it's not linked to Iraq' and started harping on about how 'no matter what ideas they had, there was no justification for suicide bombing', I wish I was at that press conference - I could have made the point -
"Excuse me Mr Blair but I'm a little confused. What exactly is the legal justification for turning up in someone elses country and blowing away members of their population - just for the record?"

rahid said...

I'm sorry I couldn't help myself either, more time on my hands than is rational, but
I have a problem...

Stef said...

@rahid: fantastic! - you should be working for the met

@nm: Yes,I enjoyed that press conference immensely - especially the part where Blair started talking about twisted logic

the whole cctv thing is most curious - those guys must have known they'd be picked up on like 100 cameras so what's the deal here?

and as for the pictures that have actually been released - how obvious was it that we were going to be hearing more about the bloke on the bus or his Ethiopean mate rather than the others?

I've just heard that one of the suspects has been arrested in Birmingham, with a stun gun no less - maybe we should have a few of those in south london