Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why The Great British Bake Off Finally Has Some Minor Relevance In Our Lives

The insider trading and market distortions undertaken by BBC employees on the Final of the Great British Bake Off is more than just an idle piece of tomfoolery by a privileged elite (paid for by a private tax on the general public), it is in its own small way a fraud.

This entirely irrelevant show with its scary hyperreal presenters (with dayglo coloured contacts de rigueur) undertook to defraud the public by utilising private knowledge (

In a nutshell, the Final was shot three weeks before programme went to air allowing ample time for private gain.

So what?

1) If any of the £10,000 staked at Ladbrokes (plus significant sums at other bookmakers) was placed prior to the Final being held then we have a prime example of a fixed event.

This is identical to the West Ham United prank on the deliberate loss of the Nottingham Forest FA Cup tie (

The market was more inefficient prior to the Final being held hence yielding further value to any insider trade as the 'winner' would be markedly tempting at a longer price.
It is also common knowledge that the correct 'winner' needs to succeed in relation to the marketing purposes of the show. There MUST be a story.

If insider money was placed prior to Final, the individuals concerned should be sacked with immediate effect both for their sneaky-little-prank and for being dim enough to open the accounts in their own names - were any of these people actually interviewed prior to employment??

2) If the money was placed post-Final then the behaviour is still market distorting to the detriment of other punters. If Ms A is the winner and the insider trading sends her price from 11/5 to 4/11 then anybody backing Ms A thereafter is gaining less value than the illicit insider trading (admittedly on a certainty), while anybody tempted by the longer than realistic prices on any of the other finalists is gaining 'value' on a certain loser.

The market was rightly suspended by the bookies after a little bit of intermarket poker play.

A solution for Ladbrokes. Return monies to all punters who are not BBC employees connected with the show and share the £10K illicitly bet by those employees around the other market participants pro rata.

As the BBC tends not to take action against internal miscreants (Jimmy Savile), Ladbrokes could gain further good publicity by befriending the leisure punter against the beast of a boiler room scam.

Of course, the neohyperreality is that as soon as you connect a betting market to any competitive event, the event is tarnished (sometimes irreparably) by the requirements of the money in the marketplace...
... even if that event is merely an extravaganza of developed-world late-capitalism neuron-numbing inanity.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

BBC - The British Bias Consortium

The BBC is not fit for purpose.
The licence fee should be revoked and the institution forced into the competitive field of mainstream media rather than populating the rarefied heights of private school/private income state propaganda at our expense.

Political Commentary

It is not feasible for a media body to be unbiased if all primary level political commentators aren't balanced.
At the BBC there is no attempt at any balance at all as every single political commentator is on the right or, in some cases, the far right.

Andrew Marr with his Tory sychophancy wet dreams, John Humphrys who backs up his BBC income with cheques from the Daily Mail, Nick Robinson (a former president of Oxford University Conservative Association), David Dimbleby (Charterhouse and Oxford), Evan Davis (Oxford and Harvard), Jeremy Paxman (Cambridge) a man who employed Romanian cleaners below minimum wage... get the picture.

In the old days, the BBC only employed people who studied certain subjects at certain universities...
... not much appears to have changed.

The fact that the BBC hierarchy does not even resemble a meritocracy is only part of the point. These individuals bring their political biases and turn it into propaganda.

Consider the role of BBC's Nick Robinson in the Scottish Referendum, or the squashing of PigGate, or the reporting of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, or the suppression of news related to Jimmy Savile and senior paedophile politicians etc etc.

And prior to the last election, UKIP were given 25 features on the BBC Question Time programme.
They won only one seat but suitably split the Labour vote in England - the equivalent strategy wasn't required in Scotland as Jim Murphy singlehandedly destroyed the Labour Party north of the border.

This isn't balanced coverage...
... it is bias.

Right wing bias.

Rigging Of Markets

The BBC has a history of fictitious winners and insider production team voting on programmes such as Children In Need, Comedy Relief and Sports Relief between 2005 and 2007 (

You might think that these educated people might learn but NO! They are at it again with insider trading on that ludicrous piece of wastage of licence-payers' money - the Great British BakeOff.

BBC employees opened trading accounts with Ladbrokes and other bookmakers and bet on the winner in a certainty trade - the final show was recorded three weeks ago - but they didn't even alter their names or bet by proxy (

In financial markets this type of behaviour is regarded as insider trading and fraud.
People are sent to prison.


In 2006 the BBC Panorama programme focussed on the omnipresence of bungs in British football exposing Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp, Alex Ferguson, Frank Arnesen, Kevin Bond and Karl Oyston.
Ferguson and Allardyce refused to speak to BBC ever again once cover up was exposed.

How times change!
Allardyce is now a Match of the Day pundit alongside a former player about whom we have evidence of matchfixing while Redknapp regularly appears on BBC sporting programmes.

Mr Allardyce has a nice line in matchfixing events too (

And it should be remembered that Mr Redknapp only avoided prison because some individual at HMRC "messed up on the paperwork".
The links between BBC Sport and BT Sport are nepotistic as Allardyce, Redknapp and the man whose tax avoidance knows no bounds oscillate between the two media groups under the watchful eyes of those systemically corrupting English football.

The BBC are going to look foolish once again when this reality breaks as some of the individuals in their pay are matchfixers!

Treatment of Whistleblowers

Our network of whistleblowers and analysts were approached by BBC Radio 4 earlier this year over a programme on the gambling industry. Despite initial reservations, legal input persuaded one of us to be interviewed - the only input that we insisted on was that the only other people present at the interview would be the presenter Anna Meisel and technical staff unless we were informed in writing beforehand. 

On arrival at BBC Media City we were greeted by Meisel and a problematic individual with close links to some of the entities orchestrating corruption in British football. 
A decision was made to continue with interaction but to markedly rise the barrier of isolationism before making our complaints afterwards. Which we did.
The subsequent lies and mealy-mouthed distortions of reality from the editor of the show David Ross have persuaded us to take our complaints further to head of Radio 4 Gwyneth Williams (Oxford University).

The BBC lied. We know they lied. And they know that we know they lied.

But the BBC has an issue with whistleblowers as demonstrated by the one political commentator who isn't a rabid tory - Kirsty Wark. 
Check out her statist and vaguely homophobic interventions in the interview with Glenn Greenwald about NSA and GCHQ cyber-spying programmes leaked by Edward Snowden and Wikileaks (Newsnight October 2013). 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The 4th Estate Is A Part Of The Problem

When Margaret Hodge MP and the Public Accounts Select Committee were questioning senior management from HSBC yesterday, there was wonderful timing in that the grilling of Rona Fairhead (member of the HSBC Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee and Nomination Committee) coincided with BBC News at 16:00.
With Fairhead being chairperson of the BBC Trust, what would the BBC do?
Well, they simply cut to the studio so that Fairhead would not be shown to be complicit in the tax evasion schemes at the bank.

The Telegraph were even more economic with the truth giving no column inches at all online to the questioning of a bank that just happens to be a major advertiser at the newspaper.

Neither of these instances exhibit a real journalism but rather a filtered PR exercise on behalf of a sociopathic bank and its miscreant employees.
This is an example of the 'journalism' of the 4th Estate.

Worse still, Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint will not have to give any evidence to the Committee at all as Tory MPs have blocked such access despite Green being chairman of the HSBC bank at the time that money laundering and tax evasion became endemic.
Furthermore, the whistleblower who exposed crime at HSBC, Herve Falciani, has stated that hundreds of banks globally are illegally offering tax evasion and money laundering schemes to wealthy clients.

This corruption is systemic. 

In the words of Laurie Penny: "Why – let's be frank – isn't Parliament Square on fire?"

Mainstream media (msm) journalism fails miserably once it is the elite that needs bringing to justice.
The same is true of football journalism - so, individual editors, writers and talking heads at The Guardian, Sky Sports, BT Sports, The Telegraph, BBC, ITV have knowledge of or are complicit in matchfixing and insider trading in the sport and yet expose no truths as to the hyperrealities of corruption in British football.

One has to agree with Andrew Jennings that there are NO British mainstream sports' journalists worthy of the name!

The manufacturing of consent by these 4th Estate structures is the primary reason for the growth in 5th Estate journalism and the matrix has now reached a stage where there are gradations of openness external to the msm mass of mediocrity.

Estate 5.0 - Wikileaks, Anonymous, Occupy, Alexa O'Brien

Estate 4.75 - OpDeathEaters, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Heather Marsh, Gabriella Coleman, Sarah Kay

Estate 4.50 - Laurie Penny, Owen Jones, Advocacy Groups, Al Jazeera, Gary Younge

Estate 4.25 - NGO-Lite Groups, occasional forays by MSM journalists towards reality

Estate 4.0 - Top-down state propaganda, Establishment PR, creation of entirely fake narratives by BBC, ITV etc

In the chart above, any 'journalism' at Estate 4.25 or below is, at best, naive PR and, at worst, complicit in the corruptions at play.
But the systemic nature of so many of the abusive strategies in finance, law, government, msm, accountancy, military etc allows an array of different strategies to be developed to target the Untruths.

A combination of Estate 4.5 to Estate 5.0 brings about the biggest impact against systemic shenanigans as the strategic defence of the abusive structures are far more compromised by a concerted set of actions - direct action, ratcheting up libellous 'tensions' and aiming for a consensus leading to incremental change.

But when matchfixing, insider trading, institutional corruption, the internalised role of mafia groups and the associated money laundering that runs alongside is eventually exposed, we will have the footballing equivalent of Fairhead, Gulliver, Meares and Green saying how they were doing their jobs and had no idea etc etc etc blah blah blah.

Jean Baudrillard: "They are merely playing as they have been taught to play, speculating on the Bourse of statistics and images. This speculation is total, and immoral, just like that of the financial speculators. In the face of the idiotic certainty and inexorable banality of numbers, the masses are an incarnation, on the margins, of the principle of uncertainty in the sociological sphere. As the powers-that-be strive to organise their statistical order (and the social order is now a statistical order), so it falls to the masses to look, in clandestine fashion, to the interests of the statistical disorder."

Friday, 12 December 2014

Who Regulates The Regulators?

The Ponzi pyramid of self-justification that underpins all free market structures is always a part of the problem rather than a part of the cure.

Who guards the guardians?
Who governs the governors?
Who moderates the moderators?
Who regulates the regulators?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is not fit for purpose.
Nine out of 12 board members were simply parachuted across from the board of the disbanded FSA - that's the FSA that failed to suitably regulate the banks prior to and during the 2007/08 crash.
The FSA's regulatory style was so light touch as to be reiki.
Reiki regulation!

The FSA was a prime example of regulatory capture -a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

In response, the FCA need to be seen to be doing their regulatory role with the utmost integrity.
Some hope.
Bizarrely, the FCA created a false market in major insurers' shares after botching a press briefing - the share prices of major insurers plunged after the Telegraph published the story.
A 225 page report released this week goes further: "The strategy and manner in which [the media strategy] was pursued was... high risk, poorly supervised and inadequately controlled. When it went wrong, the FCA's reaction was seriously inadequate and fell short of the standards expected of those it regulates."
The regulator tilted the markets!

And the FCA response is to repay some executive bonuses received in an extended window of self-justification and to immediately rush out a long delayed report into the mis-selling of annuities in a blatant display of exactly the sort of public relations and branding that regulatory bodies should not be in business of needing to undertake.

But this the norm - other recent examples include OFWAT mistakenly overestimating water companies' capital costs when setting price levels and then refusing to impose London Stock Exchange disclosure requirements on non-stock market listed companies, or PricewaterhouseCoopers selling tax avoidance on an industrial scale with the strategy only coming to public knowledge via internal leaks.

Why is it nearly always whistleblowers and (Wiki)leakers and very rarely regulatory bodies and institutional self-policing that reveals financial miscreants?.

The big picture is one of pure Randian psychopathy - there is minimal red tape to act as obstacles for the steady flow of sociopathic outsiders who join the psychopathic insiders as cowboy capitalism races to the bottom of the barrel...
... but in the world of football, the situation is worse.

Nothing is regulated on any primary level of operation and there are supportive and corrupted flow networks integrated globally to prevent any hope of integrity.

All six of the primary bodies allegedly looking into football integrity and matchfixing are compromised in their purpose via their ownership.
Indeed, in certain cases, a more mottley crew of interested parties could not have been created even if one had set out explicitly with such purpose!
Fragmented cartels of corruption - self-justification and self-interest!

Football governance verges on the non-existent and, even at best, is merely a branding and self-justification process.

Certain entities and structures are systemically corrupt...
... in fact, I'll rewrite that sentence - there are very few bodies and networks in global football that are not systemically corrupt!
Regulation is invisible or malleable self-regulation that equates to no regulation at all - agents, dark pools, betting markets, insider trading, matchfixing, third party ownership, mainstream media compliance in a restricted narrative while, once again, whistleblowers and (Wiki)leakers expose, bottom-up, what any decent system would implement top-down.

Inversion capitalism - asset stripping and financial profiteeering from the monetising of a brand, tax avoidance and evasion, antisocial competition practices with minimal regulation (for self-justification) alongside state punishment for 5th Estate types who get in the way - the Obama administration has started more prosecutions against whistleblowers than all presidents combined over the last century.
20 whistleblowers have been murdered in India in the last five years.

FIFA, the FCA, UEFA, PwC, the Premier League, Barclays, the Glazers, the FA Sports Betting Integrity Unit, Gestifute, Goldman Sachs, all these oil companies from interesting geopolitical locations that are buying up British football teams, private equity, dark pools, the control of whistleblowing bodies by those who should be whistleblown, derivatives markets, offshore financial centres and markets, NGO-lite structures etc - pure neo-Bayesian corruption entities beyond the reach of economic theory that can only be reactive to this juggernaut of inversion free-marketry where there are no rules.

Who regulates the regulators?

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Spirit Of Terrorism - Jean Baudrillard

We have had many global events from Diana's death to the World Cup, or even violent and real events from wars to genocides. But not one global symbolic event, that is an event not only with global repercussions, but one  that questions the very process of globalization. All through the stagnant 90s, there has been "la greve des evenements" (literally "an events strike", translated from a phrase of the Argentino writer Macedonio Fernandez). Well, the strike is off. We are even facing, with the World Trade Center & New York hits, the absolute event, the "mother" of events, the pure event which is the essence of all the events that never happened.

Not only are all history and power plays disrupted, but so are the conditions of analysis. One must take one's time. For as long as events were at a standstill, one had to anticipate and overcome them. But when they speed up, one must slow down; without getting lost under a mass of discourses and the shadow of war ("nuage de la guerre": literally clouds announcing war), and while keeping undiminished the unforgettable flash of images.

All the speeches and commentaries betray a gigantic abreaction to the event itself and to the fascination that it exerts. Moral condemnation and the sacred union against terrorism are equal to the prodigious jubilation engendered by witnessing this global superpower being destroyed; better, by seeing it more or less self-destroying, even suiciding spectacularly. Though it is (this superpower) that has, through its unbearable power, engendered all that violence brewing around the world, and therefore this terrorist imagination which -- unknowingly -- inhabits us all.

That we have dreamed of this event, that everybody without exception has dreamt of it, because everybody must dream of the destruction of any power hegemonic to that degree,  - this is unacceptable for Western moral conscience, but it is still a fact, and one which is justly measured by the pathetic violence of all those discourses which attempt to erase it.

It is almost they who did it, but we who wanted it. If one does not take that into account, the event lost all symbolic dimension to become a pure accident, an act purely arbitrary, the murderous fantasy of a few fanatics, who would need only to be suppressed. But we know very well that this is not so. Thus all those delirious, counter-phobic exorcisms: because evil is there, everywhere as an obscure object of desire. Without this deep complicity, the event would not have had such repercussions, and without doubt, terrorists know that in their symbolic strategy they can count on this unavowable complicity.

This goes much further than hatred for the dominant global power from the disinherited and the exploited, those who fell on the wrong side of global order. That malignant desire is in the very heart of those who share (this order's) benefits. An allergy to all definitive order, to all definitive power is happily universal, and the two towers of the World Trade Center embodied perfectly, in their very double-ness (literally twin-ness), this definitive order.

No need for a death wish or desire for self-destruction, not even for perverse effects. It is very logically, and inexorably, that the (literally: "rise to power of power") exacerbates a will to destroy it.  And power is complicit with its own destruction. When the two towers collapsed, one could feel that they answered the suicide of the kamikazes by their own suicide. It has been said: "God cannot declare war on Itself". Well, It can. The West, in its God-like position (of divine power, and absolute moral legitimacy) becomes suicidal, and declares war on itself.

Numerous disaster movies are witness to this phantasm, which they obviously exorcise through images and submerge under special effects. But the universal attraction these movies exert, as pornography does, shows how (this phantasm's) realization is always close at hand -- the impulse to deny any system being all the stronger if such system is close to perfection or absolute supremacy.

It is even probable that the terrorists (like the experts!) did not anticipate the collapse of the Twin Towers, which was, far more than (the attack of) the Pentagon, the deepest symbolic shock. The symbolic collapse of a whole system is due to an unforeseen complicity, as if, by collapsing (themselves), by suiciding, the towers had entered the game to complete the event.

In a way, it is the entire system that, by its internal fragility, helps the initial action. The more the system is globally concentrated to constitute ultimately only one network, the more it becomes vulnerable at a single point (already one little Filipino hacker has succeeded, with his laptop, to launch the I love you virus that wrecked entire networks). Here, eighteen (dix-huit in the text)  kamikazes, through the absolute arm that is death multiplied by technological efficiency, start a global catastrophic process.

When the situation is thus monopolized by global power, when one deals with this formidable condensation of all functions through technocratic machinery and absolute ideological hegemony (pensee unique), what other way is there, than a terrorist reversal of the situation (literally 'transfer of situation': am I too influenced by early translation as 'reversal'?)? It is the system itself that has created the objective conditions for this brutal distortion. By taking all the cards to itself, it forces the Other to change the rules of the game. And the new rules are ferocious, because the stakes are ferocious. To a system whose excess of power creates an unsolvable challenge, terrorists respond by a definitive act that is also unanswerable (in the text: which cannot be part of the exchange circuit). Terrorism is an act that reintroduces an irreducible singularity in a generalized exchange system. Any singularity (whether species, individual or culture), which has paid with its death for the setting up of a global circuit dominated by a single power, is avenged today by this terrorist situational transfer.

Terror against terror -- there is no more ideology behind all that. We are now far from ideology and politics. No ideology, no cause, not even an Islamic cause, can account for the energy which feeds terror. It (energy) does not aim anymore to change the world, it aims (as any heresy in its time) to radicalize it through sacrifice, while the system aims to realize (the world) through force.

Terrorism, like virus, is everywhere. Immersed globally, terrorism, like the shadow of any system of domination, is ready everywhere to emerge as a double agent. There is no boundary to define it; it is in the very core of this culture that fights it - and the visible schism (and hatred) that opposes, on a global level, the exploited and the underdeveloped against the Western world, is secretly linked to the internal fracture of the dominant system. The latter can face any visible antagonism. But with terrorism -- and its viral structure --, as if every domination apparatus were creating its own antibody, the chemistry of its own disappearance; against this almost automatic reversal of its own puissance, the system is powerless. And terrorism is the shockwave of this silent reversal.

Thus, it is no shock of civilizations, of religions, and it goes much beyond Islam and America, on which one attempts to focus the conflict to give the illusion of a visible conflict and of an attainable solution (through force). It certainly is a fundamental antagonism, but one which shows, through the spectrum of America (which maybe by itself the epicentre but not the embodiment of globalization) and through the spectrum of Islam (which is conversely not the embodiment of terrorism), triumphant globalization fighting with itself. In this way it is indeed a World War, not the third one, but the fourth and only truly World War, as it has as stakes globalization itself. The first two World Wars were classic wars. The first ended European supremacy and the colonial era. The second ended Nazism. The third, which did happen, as a dissuasive Cold War, ended communism. From one war to the other, one went further each time toward a unique world order. Today the latter, virtually accomplished, is confronted by antagonistic forces, diffused in the very heart of the global, in all its actual convulsions. Fractal war in which all cells, all singularities revolt as antibodies do. It is a conflict so unfathomable that, from time to time, one must preserve the idea of war through spectacular productions such as the Gulf (production) and today Afghanistan's. But the fourth World War is elsewhere. It is that which haunts every global order, every hegemonic domination; -if Islam dominated the world, terrorism would fight against it. For it is the world itself which resists domination.

Terrorism is immoral. The event of the World Trade Center, this symbolic challenge is immoral, and it answers a globalization that is immoral. Then let us be immoral ourselves and, if we want to understand something, let us go somewhat beyond Good and Evil. As we have, for once, an event that challenges not only morals, but every interpretation, let us try to have the intelligence of Evil. The crucial point is precisely there: in this total counter-meaning to Good and Evil in Western philosophy, the philosophy of Enlightenment. We naively believe that the progress of the Good, its rise in all domains (sciences, techniques, democracy, human rights) correspond to a defeat of Evil. Nobody seems to understand that Good and Evil rise simultaneously, and in the same movement. The triumph of the One does not produce the erasure of the Other. Metaphysically, one considers Evil as an accident, but this axiom, embedded in all manichean fights of Good against Evil, is illusory. Good does not reduce Evil, nor vice-versa: there are both irreducible, and inextricable from each other. In fact, Good could defeat Evil only by renouncing itself, as by appropriating a global power monopoly, it creates a response of proportional violence.

In the traditional universe, there was still a balance of Good and Evil, according to a dialectical relation that more or less insured tension and equilibrium in the moral universe; - a little as in the Cold War, the face-to-face of the two powers insured an equilibrium of terror. Thus, there was no supremacy of one on the other. This symmetry is broken as soon as there is a total extrapolation of the Good (an hegemony of the positive over any form of negativity, an exclusion of death, of any potential adversarial force: the absolute triumph of the Good). From there, the equilibrium is broken, and it is as if Evil regained an invisible autonomy, developing then in exponential fashion.

Keeping everything in proportion, it is more or less what happened in the political order with the erasure of communism and the global triumph of liberal power: a fantastical enemy appeared, diffused over the whole planet, infiltrating everywhere as a virus, surging from every interstice of power. Islam. But Islam is only the moving front of the crystallization of this antagonism. This antagonism is everywhere and it is in each of us. Thus, terror against terror... But asymmetrical terror... And this asymmetry leaves the global superpower totally disarmed. Fighting itself, it can only founder in its own logic of power relations, without being able to play in the field of symbolic challenge and death, as it has eliminated the latter from its own culture.

Until now this integrating power had mostly succeeded to absorb every crisis, every negativity, creating therefore a deeply hopeless situation (not only for the damned of the earth, but for the rich and the privileged too, in their radical comfort). The fundamental event is that terrorists have finished with empty suicides; they now organize their own death in offensive and efficient ways, according to a strategic intuition, that is the intuition of the immense fragility of their adversary, this system reaching its quasi perfection and thus vulnerable to the least spark. They succeeded in making their own death the absolute arm against a system that feeds off the exclusion of death, whose ideal is that of zero death. Any system of zero death is a zero sum system. And all the means of dissuasion and destruction are powerless against an enemy who has already made his death a counter-offensive. "What of American bombings! Our men want to die as much as Americans want to live!" This explains the asymmetry of 7, 000 deaths in one blow against a system of zero death.

Therefore, here, death is the key (to the game) not only the brutal irruption of death in direct, in real time, but also the irruption of a more-than-real death: symbolic and sacrificial death - the absolute, no appeal event.

This is the spirit of terrorism. 

Never is it to attack the system through power relations. This belongs to the revolutionary imaginary imposed by the system itself, which survives by ceaselessly bringing those who oppose it to fight in the domain of the real, which is always its own. But (it) moves the fight into the symbolic domain, where the rule is the rule of challenge, of reversal, of escalation. Thus, death can be answered only though an equal or superior death. (Terrorism) challenges the system by a gift that the latter can reciprocate only through its own death and its own collapse.

The terrorist hypothesis is that the system itself suicides in response to the multiple challenges of death and suicide. Neither the system, nor power, themselves escape symbolic obligation -and in this trap resides the only chance of their demise (catastrophe). In this vertiginous cycle of the impossible exchange of death, the terrorist death is an infinitesimal point that provokes a gigantic aspiration, void and convection. Around this minute point, the whole system of the real and power gains in density,  freezes, compresses, and sinks in its own super-efficacy. The tactics of terrorism are to provoke an excess of reality and to make the system collapse under the weight of this excess. The very derision of the situation, as well as all the piled up violence of power, flips against it, for terrorist actions are both the magnifying mirror of the system's violence, and the model of a symbolic violence that it cannot access, the only violence it cannot exert: that of its own death.

This is why all this visible power cannot react against the minute, but symbolic death of a few individuals.

One must recognize the birth of a new terrorism, a new form of action that enters the game and appropriate its rules, the better to confuse it. Not only do these people not fight with equal arms, as they produce their own deaths, to which there is no possible response ("they are cowards"), but they appropriate all the arms of dominant power. Money and financial speculation, information technologies and aeronautics, the production of spectacle and media networks: they have assimilated all of modernity and globalization, while maintaining their aim to destroy it.

Most cunningly, they have even used the banality of American everyday life as a mask and double game. Sleeping in their suburbs, reading and studying within families, before waking up suddenly like delayed explosive devices. The perfect mastery of this secretiveness is almost as terrorist as the spectacular action of the 11 September. For it makes one suspect: any inoffensive individual can be a potential terrorist! If those terrorists could pass unnoticed, then anyone of us is an unnoticed criminal (each plane is suspect too), and ultimately, it might even be true. This might well correspond to an unconscious form of potential criminality, masked, carefully repressed, but always liable, if not to surge, at least to secretly vibrate with the spectacle of Evil. Thus, the event spreads out in its minutiae, the source of an even more subtle psychological (mental) terrorism.

The radical difference is that terrorists, while having at their disposal all the arms of the system, have also another fatal weapon: their own death. If they limited themselves to fighting the system with its own weapons, they would be immediately eliminated. If they did not oppose the system with their own death, they would disappear as  quickly as a useless sacrifice; this has almost always been the fate of terrorism until now (thus the Palestinian suicidal attacks) and the reason why it could not but fail.

Everything changed as soon as they allied all available modern means to this highly symbolic weapon. The latter infinitely multiplies their destructive potential. It is the multiplication of these two factors (which seem to us so irreconcilable) that gives them such superiority. Conversely, the strategy of zero death, of a technological, 'clean' war, precisely misses this transfiguration of 'real' power by symbolic power.

The prodigious success of such an attack poses a problem, and to understand it, one must tear oneself away from our Western perspective, to apprehend what happens in terrorists' minds and organization. Such efficacy, for us, would mean maximal calculation and rationality, something we have difficulties imagining in others. And even then, with us, there would always be, as in any rational organization or secret service, leaks and errors.

Thus, the secret of such success is elsewhere. The difference, with them, is that there is no work contract, but a pact and an obligation of sacrifice. Such obligation is secure from defection and corruption. The miracle is the adaptation to a global network, to technical protocols without any loss of this complicity for life and to the death. Contrary to the contract, the pact does not link individuals -- even their 'suicide' is not individual heroism, it is a collective, sacrificial act, sealed by demanding ideals (I'm a bit free here but I feel it corresponds better to what is meant by 'exigence ideale'). And it is the conjunction of these two mechanisms, born of an operational structure and of a symbolic pact, which makes possible such an excessive action.

We have no idea anymore of what is such a symbolic calculation, as in poker or potlatch, with minimal stakes and maximal result. That is, exactly what terrorists obtained in the attack on Manhattan, and which would be a good metaphor for chaos theory: an initial shock, provoking incalculable consequences, while American gigantic deployment ("Desert Storm") obtained only derisory effects -- the storm ending so to speak in the flutter of butterfly wings.

Suicidal terrorism was the terrorism of the poor; this is the terrorism of the rich. And that is what specially frighten us: they have become rich (they have every means) without ceasing to want to eradicate us. Certainly, according to our value system, they cheat: staking (gambling?) one's own death is cheating. But they could not care less, and the new rules of the game are not ours.

We try everything to discredit their actions. Thus, we call them "suicidal" and "martyrs". To add immediately that such martyrdom does not prove anything, that it has nothing to do with truth and even (quoting Nietzsche) that it is the enemy of truth. Certainly, their death does not prove anything, but there is nothing to prove in a system where truth itself is elusive -- or are we pretending to own it? Besides, such a moral argument can be reversed. If the voluntary martyrdom of the kamikazes proves nothing, then the involuntary martyrdom of the victims cannot prove anything either, and there is something obscene in making it a moral argument (the above is not to negate their suffering and their death).

Another bad faith argument: these terrorists exchange their death for a place in Paradise. Their act is not gratuitous, thus it is not authentic. It would be gratuitous only if they did not believe in God, if their death was without hope, as is ours (yet Christian martyrs assumed just such sublime exchange). Thus, again, they do not fight with equal weapons if they have the right to a salvation we can no longer hope for. We have to lose everything by our death while they can pledge it for the highest stakes.

Ultimately, all that -- causes, proofs, truth, rewards, means and ends -- belongs to typically Western calculation. We even put a value to death in terms of interest rates, and quality/price ratio. Such economic calculations are the calculation of those poor who no longer have even the courage to pay (the price of death?).

What can happen, apart from war, which is no more than a conventional protection screen? We talk of bio-terrorism, bacteriological war or nuclear terrorism. But none of that belongs to the domain of symbolic challenge, rather it belongs to an annihilation without speech, without glory, without risk -- that is, to the domain of the final solution.

And to see in terrorist action a purely destructive logic is nonsense. It seems to me that their own death is inseparable from their action ( it is precisely what makes it a symbolic action), and not at all the impersonal elimination of the Other. Everything resides in the challenge and the duel, that is still in a personal, dual relation with the adversary. It is the power of the adversary that has humbled you, it is this power which must be humbled. And not simply exterminated... One must make (the adversary) lose face. And this cannot be obtained by pure force and by the suppression of the other. The latter must be aimed at, and hurt, as a personal adversary. Apart from the pact that links terrorists to each other, there is something like a dual pact with the adversary. It is then, exactly the opposite to the cowardice of which they are accused, and it is exactly the opposite of what Americans do, for example in the Gulf War (and which they are doing again in Afghanistan): invisible target, operational elimination.

Of all these vicissitudes, we particularly remember seeing images. And we must keep this proliferation of images, and their fascination, for they constitute, willy nilly, our primitive scene. And the New York events have radicalized the relation of images to reality, in the same way as they have radicalized the global situation. While before we dealt with an unbroken abundance of banal images and an uninterrupted flow of spurious events, the terrorist attack in New York has resurrected both the image and the event.

Among the other weapons of the system which they have co-opted against it, terrorists have exploited the real time of images (not clear here if it is real duration, real time or images in real time), their instantaneous global diffusion. They have appropriated it in the same way as they have appropriated financial speculation, electronic information or air traffic. The role of images is highly ambiguous. For they capture the event (take it as hostage) at the same time as they glorify it. They can be infinitely multiplied, and at the same time act as a diversion and a neutralization (as happened for the events of May 68). One always forgets that when one speaks of the "danger" of the media. The image consumes the event, that is, it absorbs the latter and gives it back as consumer goods. Certainly the image gives to the event an unprecedented impact, but as an image-event.

What happens then to the real event, if everywhere the image, the fiction, the virtual, infuses reality? In this present case, one might perceive (maybe with a certain relief) a resurgence of the real, and of the violence of the real, in a supposedly virtual universe. "This is the end of all your virtual stories -- that is real!" Similarly, one could perceive a resurrection of history after its proclaimed death. But does reality really prevail over fiction? If it seems so, it is because reality has absorbed the energy of fiction, and become fiction itself. One could almost say that reality is jealous of fiction, that the real is jealous of the image... It is as if they duel, to find which is the most unimaginable.

The collapse of the towers of the World Trade Center is unimaginable, but that is not enough to make it a real event. A surplus of violence is not enough to open up reality. For reality is a principle, and this principle is lost. Real and fiction are inextricable, and the fascination of the attack is foremost the fascination by the image (the consequences, whether catastrophic or leading to jubilation are themselves mostly imaginary).

It is therefore a case where the real is added to the image as a terror bonus, as yet another thrill. It is not only terrifying, it is even real. It is not the violence of the real that is first there, with the added thrill of the image; rather the image is there first, with the added thrill of the real. It is something like a prize fiction, a fiction beyond fiction. Ballard (after Borges) was thus speaking of reinventing the real as the ultimate, and most redoubtable, fiction.

This terrorist violence is not then reality backfiring, no more than it is history backfiring. This terrorist violence is not "real". It is worse in a way: it is symbolic. Violence in itself can be perfectly banal and innocuous. Only symbolic violence generates singularity. And in this singular event, in this disaster movie of Manhattan, the two elements that fascinate 20th century masses are joined: the white magic of movies and the black magic of terrorism.

One tries after the event to assign to the latter any meaning, to find any possible interpretation. But there is none possible, and it is only the radicality of the spectacle, the brutality of the spectacle that is original and irreducible. The spectacle of terrorism imposes the terrorism of the spectacle. And against this immoral fascination (even if it engenders a universal moral reaction) the political order can do nothing. This is our theatre of cruelty, the only one left to us, -extraordinary because it unites the most spectacular to the most provocative. It is both the sublime micro-model of a nucleus of real violence with maximal resonance - thus the purest form of the spectacular, and the sacrificial model that opposes to historical and political order the purest symbolic form of challenge.

Any slaughter would be forgiven them if it had a meaning, if it could be interpreted as historical violence -- this is the moral axiom of permissible violence. Any violence would be forgiven them if it were not broadcast by media ("Terrorism would be nothing without the media"). But all that is illusory. There is no good usage of the media, the media are part of the event, they are part of the terror and they are part of the game in one way or another.

Repressive actions travel the same unpredictable spiral as terrorist actions -- none can know where it may stop, and what reversals may follow. At the level of the image and information, there are no possible distinctions between the spectacular and the symbolic, between "crime" and repression.

And this uncontrollable unraveling of reversibility is the true victory of terrorism. It is a victory visible in the underground and extensive ramifications of the event - not only in direct, economic, political, market and financial recessions for the whole system, and in the moral and psychological regression that follows; but also in the regression of the value system, of all the ideology of freedom and free movement etc... that the Western world is so proud of, and that legitimates in its eyes its power over the rest of the world.

Already, the idea of freedom, a new and recent (sic) idea, is being erased from everyday lives and consciousness, and liberal globalization is being realized as its exact reverse: a 'Law and Order' globalization, a total control, a policing terror. Deregulation ends in maximal constraints and restrictions, equal to those in a fundamentalist society.

Production, consumption, speculation and growth slowdowns (but not of course corruption!): everything indicates a strategic retreat of the global system, a heart-rending revision of its values, a regulation forced by absolute disorder, but one the system imposes on itself, internalizing its own defeat. It seems a defensive reaction to terrorism impact, but it might in fact respond to secret injunctions.

Another side to terrorist victory is that all other forms of violence and destabilization of order favor it: Internet terrorism, biological terrorism, anthrax terrorism and the terrorism of the rumor, all are assigned to Ben Laden. He could even claim natural disasters. Every form of disorganization and perverse exchange benefits him. The structure of generalized global exchange itself favors impossible exchange. It is a form of terrorist automatic writing, constantly fed by the involuntary terrorism of the news. With all its consequent panics: if, in that anthrax story, intoxication happens by itself, by instantaneous crystallization, like a chemical solution reacting to the contact of a molecule, it is because the system has reached the critical mass that makes it vulnerable to any aggression.

There is no solution to this extreme situation, especially not war that offers only an experience of deja-vu, with the same flooding of military forces, fantastic news, useless propaganda, deceitful and pathetic discourses and technological deployment. In other words, as in the Gulf War, a non-event, an event that did not happen...

There is its raison d'etre: to substitute to a real and formidable, unique and unforeseeable event, a repetitive and deja-vu pseudo-event. The terrorist attack corresponded to a primacy of the event over every model of interpretation. Conversely, this stupidly military and technological war corresponds to a primacy of the model over the event, that is to fictitious stakes and to a non-sequitur. War extends/continues the absence at the heart of politics through other means.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

"Nothing to Limit the Illusion of Absolute Liberty"

The Economist kindly informs us that a whole society might labour under the illusion of liberty while being manipulated by forces outside of the frame.

Does this extend to the politics of the Nobel Peace Prize (NPP)?

In 2009 Barack Obama was awarded the NPP, for what one cannot be sure although his behaviour since has been revealing.
And we're not talking here about the massive extension of drone executions or the murderous justice meted out to former collaborators like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi or the militaristic spread into China's backyard or the numerous illegal skirmishes orchestrated by marines and mercenaries, the latter lately renamed security contractors to avoid comprehension.

No, we choose to look at two other aspects of Obama The Warmonger.
The pulling of pledges to help the poorest, effectively signing a death warrant across the bottom slices of the pyramid globally and his attitude to torture.

Millions of people, very very poor people, are now at risk of death over the next decade due to President Obama and his Wall Street Priorities.
Obama's Global Class War is demonstrated fully by the below piece by Jeffrey Sachs from The Huffington Post - a bit like The Guardian only a newspaper.

"The wonder of our world is that scientific knowledge is now so powerful that we can save millions of children, mothers, and fathers from killer diseases each year at little cost. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria has mobilized that knowledge over the past decade to save more than 7 million lives and to protect the health of hundreds of millions more. Yet now the Global Fund is under mortal threat because of budget cuts approved by President Obama and the Congress.

The Obama Administration had pledged $4 billion during 2011-13 to the Global Fund, or $1.33 billion per year. Now it is reneging on this pledge. For a government that spends $1.9 billion every single day on the military ($700 billion each year), Washington's unwillingness to follow through on $1.33 billion for a whole year to save millions of lives is a new depth of cynicism and recklessness.

As a result of US budget cutbacks, and me-too cutbacks by other countries, the Global Fund this week closed its doors on providing new funds to impoverished nations. It was supposed to accept proposals next month from the poorest countries for an 11th round of disease-control funds. Instead, it has scrapped any new funding until 2014 at the earliest, and will only fund the continuation of the coverage of existing programs. US officials will prevaricate, noting that the US spends this amount or that amount. History will treat such excuses with the scorn they deserve.

Millions of people are now at risk of death in the coming years as a result of Obama's lassitude and neglect. Hundreds of thousands of children who would have been saved will now die of mosquito bites. They will die because they live in poor tropical environments where a mosquito bite kills, and where their impoverishment makes it impossible for them to afford a $5 bed net, $1 diagnostic test, $1 dose of anti-malaria medicine, or access to a clinic. Countless others will die because they cannot get AIDS or TB treatments to stay alive.

If you think that money spent on the Global Fund is money down the drain, think again. The Global Fund was created a decade ago because the world needed to respond to the uncontrolled epidemics of AIDS, malaria, and TB. It has been a historic success, proving the skeptics wrong. The Global Fund keeps alive 3.2 million people on anti-retroviral treatment. It has financed 8.2 million courses of TB treatment and the distribution of 190 million insecticide-treated nets.

The Global Fund money has reached millions of people in need. When its programs have been hit by corruption, audits have paused the funding and reoriented the programs. The result of this practical approach is great success in many of the world's poorest places. Malaria has come down sharply, averting an estimated 400,000 deaths per year in Africa compared to the baseline path as of the year 2000. Yet there are still around 700,000 malaria deaths each year that can be prevented if the Global Fund has the means.

Reorienting less than 1 day's military budget to help save millions of lives (in conjunction with the efforts of other countries) is not only a great humanitarian step but also the most cost-effective step we can take for our own security. Countries like Yemen or Somalia are falling apart because they cannot meet their most basic needs. We send in drone missiles -- each one at the cost of at least 20,000 bed nets -- but we will find no real security until we help address the problems of disease, poverty, and hunger that destabilize these regions.

It is painful to recall the campaign promises made by Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. Both promised that they would step up the fight to control AIDS, TB, and malaria. Empty words. President Obama's aides tell him that foreign assistance is bad domestic politics and he listens. On this issue even George W. Bush knew better.

The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is not quiet. She is an aggressive and outspoken foe of foreign assistance, pretending to her constituents that cutting a $1 billion to the Global Fund is the way to balance the budget. Great, we're now 0.001 of the way there.

The United States Government, I noted earlier, is not alone in the collapse of morality, decency, and common sense. Each government that once contributed to the Global Fund takes refuge in the budget cuts by the US and the others. The apparent belief of the politicians is that there is safety in numbers if they all starve the Global Fund together.

We live in a country where the Federal Government doesn't think twice about the fate of impoverished and dying people. Such a government won't act to save your life or mine. Politicians so brazen and irresponsible need to be voted out of office. In the meantime, I will join the efforts around the world to find new means and new leaders to continue the struggle against the killer diseases. I hope that you will do so too."

Or take Robert Fisk on torture: "The Abu Ghraib pictures – US torturers taking over the role of the Iraqi thugs in the very same prison in which many of the earlier Saddam videos were shot – had perhaps the same purpose. Lynndie England saw nothing particularly wrong with them. That was what Iraq was like, wasn't it? And we must forget, of course, that other American pictures from Abu Ghraib, which Obama the Good has decided we must not see, show the rape of Iraqi women and boys."

Or take Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the remarkable recipient of the 2011 NPP.
In Liberia, her core competencies would seem to be electoral fraud, ordering the police to fire on opposition supporters the day prior to a general election (only the actions of Nigerian UN soldiers prevented more than two deaths), and generally adapting all the most negative attributes of the typical African Strongman Leader to her style of government.
But, you see, America's aid programme to Liberia is its second largest in Africa and a brand spanking new US Embassy is being built to prop up Sirleaf's mandateless government.

You really couldn't make this up so we haven't...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Malarkey And Shenanigans

You Must Do Without Hospitals And Education So That We Might Have War

John Pilger on the fake remembrance of the carnage at Gallipoli: "...this year some 8000 flag-wrapped Antipodeans listened, dewy-eyed, to the Australian governor-general Quentin Bryce, who is the Queen’s viceroy, describe the point of pointless mass killing. It was, she said, all about a “love of nation, of service, of family, the love we give and the love we receive and the love we allow ourselves to receive. [It is a love that] rejoices in the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And it never fails”.

Of all the attempts at justifying state murder I can recall, this drivel of DIY therapy, clearly aimed at the young, takes the blue riband. Not once did Bryce honour the fallen with the two words that the survivors of 1915 brought home with them: “Never again”."

My grandad was pockmarked from Gallipoli.
He could never even talk about it.

Fake Media Following A Fake Marketing Campaign

Just who is Clegg?
Does he really believe that, just because he is a Tory and the media, en masse, have decided that we have a Tory government, the membership of his party and the left of centre norm among his MPs will support a right wing racist disgrace of a party?

This is Railroading Democracy - a very British version of the Florida strain of electoral distortion.

And why was Theo Guardian telling all the Lunching Ladies and their neutered appendages that backing the LibDem's was the way forward... what? A Tory government.

But how many less well informed people voted for the only left of centre main party thinking that they were standing up to the Big Two when actually they were simply supporting yet another state takeover by the Public School Elite.


Dark Pools And Their Perturbations

We have received several responses to our assertion that the non-regulated underground markets were responsible for the shenanigans in the public markets last week.

The most interesting was the following from Dave Robinson in the Cayman Islands: "I met a long-time email and phone contact who works out of Chicago and vacations in Cayman, for a beer the other night. We were just chatting about the markets and the way the Obama and Brown administrations were reading the same cards in different ways. He suddenly started dropping hints about Dark Pools (his words) gaming the markets. Either I've unwittingly contacted a fellow 'dietro-traveller' or the word is out. Which is it?"

Dark Pools are like Jupiter.
Other celestial bodies are happily orbiting the Sun while experiencing mild perturbations from other similarly sized bodies that pass in their vicinity when, suddenly, the Solar Systemic Black Swan contorts and captures their world.

The parallel with Asian dominance of global football in the nineties is astounding.

Sicilian Piss Taking

It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean...
Well, two patterns actually.

Firstly the one relating to late season Catania matches being rigged in extremis.
And, secondly, the one relating to no reaction from any authorities.

In the third of the series, Bologna and Catania drew yesterday in a match that very few market makers would go anywhere near. The price on the Draw was as short as 1.50 (1/2) at the off.
As with the agreed draw against Chievo, Giannoccaro was the referee.
There were no challenges.
No bookings.
And the game ended one apiece.

There is nothing like competitive sport.

Pricing Pickle

How could the markets price Chelsea at 1.08 (1/12) for the match and at 1.09 (1/11) for the Premier League title prior to the final round of theatre?

Think about it!

Scudamore Shows Stalinesque Side To His Psychopathy

Rate The Ref is an excellent website where referees may exchange their views on the state of officiation in the game.
The site has been a persistent critic of the manner in which the Premier League and the Professional Game Match Officials Board deals (literally) with the Select Group of match referees in the EPL.

When Theo Guardian isn't working towards a Tory government, giving three (3!!) articles to Louise Taylor on FC Twente, it gives column inches to Our Great Leader to spin his deceptions.

Scudamore has effectively closed this website down by demanding the ludicrous seven and a half grand that the EPL extort from anybody who wishes to name a future fixture in their media.

The purges, the purges...

Silly Science And Some Slick Stuff Too

Academics are never able to do the holistic otherwise they would not be academics.
But they are top notch for micro-focus cause and effect types of configurative contortions.

Take the following for starters from the Soccerway site...

FAKING A FALL: How can you tell when a player is diving? One telltale is the "archer's bow," says British psychologist Paul Morris. This is when a player falls with both arms in the air, with open palms, chest thrust out and legs bent at the knee, like a sprung archery bow. "This occurs in many dives but biomechanically it does not occur in a natural fall," says Morris. "Instead, instinctively the arms go down in an attempt to cushion the fall or out to the side for balance."

NOW IT'S OFFICIAL: Those who say football is the world's most exciting game can take comfort in statistics. Footy beat four other major sports (American football, ice hockey, baseball and basketball) for "upset frequency" when the underdog won, according to data crunchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Mexico, whose 2006 study pored over top club results dating back to 1888. American football was the most predictable. Its "upset frequency" was a whopping 25 percent less than soccer.

STOPPAGE TIME: Unhealthy men should beware when watching a penalty shoot-out. Hospital admissions for cardiac arrests in England and Wales rose by 25 percent when England lost to Argentina on penalties on June 30 1998 and on the following two days after their World Cup tie. In the 1996 European Championships, the death rate in the Netherlands from heart attack or stroke went up by around 50 percent on the day when Holland were knocked out by France on penalties. In both cases, the sharp increases were only seen among men, not women.

HIGHS AND LOWS: High-altitude countries are known for the advantage they have when playing at home, when low-altitude opponents struggle in the thin air. Less well known: they retain an edge when playing away. A 2007 paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) looked at a century of results among international matches in 10 South American countries. In the case of two teams from the same altitude, the probability of the home side winning was 53 percent. This rose to 82 percent for an altitude difference of +3,695 metres (12,008 feet), as when high-altitude Bolivia were at home to sea-level Brazil. But it fell to 21 percent when the altitude difference was -3,696 metres (12,008 feet), such as when Brazil were at home to Bolivia.

NO NET GAINS: Three common beliefs about patterns in goal scoring are false, according to football statisticians gathered at a workshop at Germany's University of Mannheim in 2006. 1) There is no evidence that players who scored in a previous match are any likelier to score in their next game; 2) a goal scored just before half time has no greater impact on the outcome of the game than a goal scored earlier in the first half; and 3) teams that have just scored are not especially more vulnerable to conceding a goal than at other times.

HOME AND HORMONES: Could biology explain home advantage? British researchers Sandy Wolfson and Nick Neave took levels of testosterone from players before a home game, an away game and at a training session. Levels were much higher before a home game. The male hormone is linked with dominance, confidence and aggression, which implies the lads psyched up to defend their territory.

SEEING RED: Football clubs with red team strips are more successful than rivals with other colours, according to a 2008 analysis of post-World War II English league data by experts from the universities of Durham and Plymouth. Red-wearing teams (such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal) won more often, while teams wearing yellow or orange fared worst. The theory: there's a psychological boost from wearing red, a colour which is often associated in nature with male aggression and display.

HOW IT'S SPUN: Remember Roberto Carlos scoring "the Impossible Goal," a swerving spot kick against France in 1997? How did he do it? Some say it's because Carlos is Brazilian. Physicists, though, point to a combination of the Magnus force and Bernoulli's principle. Just after a kick, a spinning ball moves forward at relatively high velocity, and the air flows irregularly over it. When the ball slows -- specifically, when it is between 29-37 kilometres (18-23 miles) per hour -- the airflow becomes smooth, or "laminar," which instantly boosts the air's braking effect, sometimes by as much as 150 percent. This drastically brakes the forward movement of the ball and enhances a curving movement derived from the ball's spin. So Carlos' goal initially dipped to the right of the defensive wall and then suddenly swerved into the net, leaving the French dumbfounded.

DIGITAL FUTURE: Punters looking for a tip on this year's World Cup winners might be advised to take a close look at players' hands. John Manning from Britain's University of Liverpool suggests there is a link between the lengths of a footballer's fingers and his ability as a player. Looking at British players, Manning found that the footballing elite had longer ring fingers compared to their index fingers. Manning's theory is early exposure to testosterone in the womb is a key to heart formation and spatial judgement and finger length, which is why digits can be a telltale, but not a prediction, of prowess.

ALE'S OUT: Those who contend that drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages helps post-match recovery are addled, say medical researchers. In a New Zealand study published in January in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports, volunteers carried out strenuous exercise, which was followed by a meal. Some drank orange juice, while the other drank OJ and vodka, the equivalent to around eight standard alcoholic drinks. The guinea pigs were measured a day and a half, and then two days and a half, after exercise. The alcohol group had 15-20 percent less muscular force than the non-alcohol group, and also reported more soreness. "Even moderate amounts of alcohol" are out."

So, the winners of the 2010 World Cup will be a cheating, surprising, altitudinal, goal-scoring, red shirted team with a free kick specialist and enjoying home advantage.
And with uncommonly long fingers.
With the Barmy Fucking Army, could this be the Sassenachs?
The penalty shootout nerve-racking bit and the beer will see to that...

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