American irony

Regarding China's anger at Albania not handing over some asylum seekers who have recently been released from Guantanamo Bay:

"The United States held the men in Guantanamo for almost four years without charge or trial after they were captured as part of the U.S.-led campaign against extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Washington said it would not hand them back to China because they might face persecution there."

Story continues at China asks Albania to return asylum seekers.

Slight inconsistency in drug laws found

A legal drug: but why?A legal drug: but why?Well, it had to happen sometime, the only surprise it wasn't weeks ago. No, not the arrest of George Bush Jr for war crimes - yet - but rather an article about illegal drugs appearing on this website.

Whilst reading the Guardian last week, imagine the shock suffered by the Poorhouse upon discovering that the UK drug laws are apparently "riddled with anomalies". Yes, not only are the prohibitionist sides of the laws counter-productive and harmful, but even within the illogical and dangerous framework they exist in they make no sense.

September 11 - true or false?

September 11th 2001- the day the world changed in numerous ways, none of them good. We all know the story: evil Osama knocks down good ole USA buildings and causes much tragic death and destruction whilst doing so. But how much of what we know is fact, how much conjecture, and how much is downright misinformation?

The Poorhouse is reluctant to buy into many of the many "conspiracy theories" about who did what when on that day, including such zany gems as the hypothesis that the passengers in the flights are actually all secretly alive on some island somewhere, unaware of what has gone on. However, perhaps not all the alternative storylines can be written off as inconceivable, because it surely is true that some sort of cover-up type affair has happened. The "investigation" into the event didn't happen for over a year after pressure was applied, its findings are limited and secret and there are reportedly lot of questions it did not even address. It seems almost a level of investigation more suited to a missing bar of chocolate than one of the world's most awful terrorist incidents and the unprecedented international consequences it brought. It's the reason behind this inadequacy that's critical.

Identity theft is too easy

Identity theft- the "hi-tech" crime of our times. But is it actually remotely hard to do? Perhaps not. Take the following as an example of how ridiculously easy it can be.

Every home dweller is familiar with receiving a pile of bad-for-the-environment credit card applications you never asked for or wanted. You get a glossy leaflet about how much money it won't cost you, a prepaid envelope, a half-filled in form and, if you are especially lucky, a free pen. Sometimes it even says "Priority Application" or something equally as discrete on the envelope.

Beware drink-spiking - by the Government

Now and then you hear warnings about being careful to not like your drink get spiked by nefarious criminals, as indeed it is important to do. You don't hear so much about the crime being committed by MI6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service - home of the fictional James Bond et al.

However in an unprecedented, although relatively modest, payout, MI6 have had to pay compensation to "volunteers" who unknowingly were given LSD as part of some sci-fi-esque experiments done in the 1950s in the hope of learning techniques for mind control and finding a "truth drug". Nearly 50 years after one victim started attempting to investigate what had been done to them it turns out that under the guise of testing a cure for the common cold they were actually given LSD-laced water. This led to some nightmarish hallucinations in an era when the public hadn't even really heard of LSD. The experiments which it turns out subsequently had been officially described as " tentative and inadequately controlled" were stopped when they started finding it could produce suicidal tendencies. No explanation was ever given to the victims until now.

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