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Corrupt BANBURY police, UK, paedophilia network?

I would like to share my experience of a time when I wrote for an 'undercover magazine'(before the pleasures of the internet) back in 1996, in a small bland market town called Banbury in north Oxfordshire, UK. At the time the town was very conservative, the local council wouldn't allow 'pound shops' or similar and the social housing was sub-standard with coal fires and single-pane windows. Was a good, safe (if boring) place to be if you had money, and many people in the town did commute to London, hence earning a large wage. House prices have always been extortionate there.
Without identifying too much, and for certain reasons I can't, I came into contact with a young lady just out of her teens who in her words, had been let down by the police and felt a cover-up was going on, but just couldn't piece the jigsaw together. She was living in near poverty after escaping an abusive home situation and was malnourished but was drug-free, intelligent and sharp and I remember thinking the local PC Plods would see her as a threat. I should add that at the time the local constabulary did not exactly have much work to do, and laughed when a methadone bus came to visit the few drug dealers in town (some sort of trial run), the drug problem was about to mushroom and explode, but they let it happen. Now it's still posh and expensive but frequently called a drugs den. But I digress, this post is NOT about illegal drugs, just painting a picture for you.
So we come to the second half of 1996. I need to give this young girl and a false name to make the story easier to read, let's call her 'Natasha'. Natasha had been in an extremely abusive relationship with a part-time farmhand and lorry driver called Martin who was much older than her. Wanting free board and lodgings, and probably a bit more, he had made friends with her and moved himself into her tiny unheated studio flat. In no time at all Martin banned her from having friends, began seriously assaulting her, resulting in physical injury, often making her sit still on the sofa for upto eight hours, while still demanding his dinner be ready for when he walked through the door. He would tell her she had mental health problems and everyone hated her, and after leaving for work at 5am would repeatedly drive past the studio flat to check the curtains were open - she had to get up at 5am also. She fell pregnant with his child, he yelled at her to have an abortion but she refused. Then he said he was yelling to make sure she didn't want an abortion. I think it's clear who had the mental health problems and it wasn't her. Martin was openly cheating on her, every time she told him not to come back he'd come back anyway, throw his bags of clothes at her and shout at her to unpack them. She received upto 100 silent phone calls a day from him and his ex-girlfriend, who he was obviously still seeing on the side, until he broke her phone while she was trying to call the police (her one luxury, it was a landline phone she used to call her adoptive grandparents). He dictated what she wore, both clothes and shoes and despite being a pretty, petite, skinny girl he would make fun of her figure.
After one particularly brutal assault which carried on for half a day, she ran barefoot out of the flat, and flagged down a taxi to take herself to hospital. The driver was so shocked he refused to take any money from her. 5 minutes into the journey Martin's car pulled in front of the taxi making it veer offroad, and Martin proceeded to jump on the bonnet of the taxi and threaten to kill the driver. The driver continued driving 'til Martin rolled off, took Natasha to hospital and said he would be happy to give a police statement. The hospital staff didn't check Natasha over or look for the baby's heartbeat, but did call the police as he had turned up at the hospital refusing to leave, apparently they sat him down in the glass-walled office opposite Natashas bed and gave him a cup of coffee while he stared at her! It was a small old fashioned hospital and didn't/doesn't exactly rank among the best in Britain, it's safe to say!
Now this is where the strange bit begins, thank you for your patience in sticking with us so far..... the PC (police constable) sent out that night to interview Natasha was called PC Jim Davies. (He later became the most hated officer in Oxfordshire for other reasons and left the force but not before suing them for a lot of money. How he pulled that off is suspicious in itself, he must have had a lot of info on some very top ranking people...) Jim Davies proceeded to have a cosy chat and a laugh with Martin, nobody knows the content of that conversation, he went over to Natasha's bed and demanded to know why she was pregnant if she hated Martin, demanded to know why she wasn't on the pill, bizarrely asked if she was a prostitute, and wanted the exact time the assault started, proclaiming 'I bet it was just a slap'. The problem was, this assault had gone on for hours and it was late at night, she was exhausted, she couldn't give an exact time. He pressured her and said it was essential. She couldn't remember. He persevered, so she gave a random time to get rid of him. Big mistake. The case came to court, Martin was given water and asked if he was okay, Natasha was treated like an inconvenience, but she was clever enough to take a lady from Victim Support (a British charity) with her, as the police hadn't given her any support whatsoever. It was Victim Support who realised that Jim Davies was supposed to have collected evidence from the taxi driver and hospital staff, but he hadn't bothered. He had also 'forgotten' to arrange for photos to be taken of Natasha's injuries and bruises! Martin had a huge array of loud-mouthed friends sat in the court who all swore he couldn't have assaulted her as he was with them. They walked out laughing. The elderly judge was deaf, and only said he 'couldn't hear' Natasha's evidence when the case was almost over. Natasha asked for a restraining order but it was refused, although Martin was fined £150.
The next day Natasha started bleeding and was in pain, which became extremely severe. She miscarried her baby in hospital and had a D&C operation. She was 16 weeks pregnant. She rang Martin at work (rather than his personal number) and asked for her flat keys back, naturally she wasn't feeling safe. Martin told Jim Davies that Natasha 'was phoning him' and Jim Davies rang Natasha and said 'Don't bother asking for our help again.'
It then transpired that Martin had a cabinet full of firearms and a licence to hold them. This should have been removed because 1) The cabinet had to be locked, and mounted on a wall in his own home and 2) people who commit violent assaults are not usually allowed to keep their firearms license. The police knew he had a license, this would come up on the computer as soon as they typed his name in. It was ONLY taken away when his ex-girlfriend, the child victim's mother, annoyed that he had stopped giving her money, dumped it in the police station foyer herself. Martin was so angry he visited Natasha, blamed her, and headbutted her. Natasha called the police, she had days and times written down that Martin had been round shouting and threatening her. Jim Davies came out, took the piece of paper and ripped it up in front of her.
In the summer of 1997 Martin committed another assault, this time on a lady living in the countryside near a farm he kept old vehicles at. He had roughly twelve old cars he paid to store in outbuildings, and was revving engines at 5am some days, waking this lady's children up. Naturally she asked him to stop, he pushed her down the lane, hitting her. Her husband called the police but absolutely nothing was done, by which I mean nothing at all. It's believed Martin knew the officer who came out to investigate. The farmer did tell Martin to clear his cars out and find somewhere else as he was attracting 'too much attention'. It has since come to light that Martin was a frequent visitor to Coventry's red light district, but was never arrested unlike other men.
Victim Support were so puzzled and outraged at her treatment they organised a meeting between a top Banbury police officer and Natasha to ask why these 'mistakes' had been made, although she was never going to receive an apology. Shortly before this meeting, two social workers visited Natasha. They had been alerted by the hospital very shortly before Natasha miscarried her baby. They bought with them a huge file and asked her to read it..... it very clearly detailed a case back in the early 1990's (Natasha thinks it was 1991-92) of a three year old female child who was sexually and physically abused by Martin. This child's mother was aware, although it was a friend of the mothers who actually reported concerns to the police; there had been a full investigation and Martin only received a caution. He continued living with the child and her mother, bizarrely, and paid her a lot of money. The female social worker said to Natasha 'the police won't help you but we will'.
At the police meeting, and this would have been some time in the first half of 1997 but nobody can be sure of the month, Natasha asked why she had not been told of the abuse, and if it was a confidentiality rule, why were the police refusing to arrest Martin anymore, even for the firearms breach or assault on the lady in the country, when they could see he was actually a paedophile? Why were they creeping round him and letting him dictate the law? The police officer's reaction was odd, at the very least. At the mention of child abuse he panicked, pulled a face (as if to say shut up) and talked loudly over her. We now think the meeting was being taped by the police. Nothing came of it, she received no apology only an assurance that Jim Davies would be disciplined for his actions.
Natasha later moved away from the town, yet strangely many years later when she had some garden ornaments stolen (there had been a spate of thefts on the street) the policeman who came round to ask questions took her name and date of birth, as is procedure, and came back a few days later, seemingly knowing who she was. He was unfriendly and over the next week she saw him drive round her area (the police were not often seen) staring at her. She had not been in any trouble, had not been arrested, and this police force was 30 miles from Banbury.
I personally believe this case stretches to the top of the constabulary and further, we know something is covered up...but cannot piece it together. There is so much more but Natasha blocked a lot of it out, understandably, particularly regarding Jim Davies behaviour. We'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has a similar experience in Oxfordshire.
I do have permission from Natasha to post this, and the national media has already named Jim Davies.
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A history of the Peckham Boys - from the Giggs era to Zone 2/Hitsquad (Part 1)

Part 1 of the history of Peckham in south London. From the early Peckham Boys era to Zone 2.
Peckham is one of the most legendary ends in London, and probably had the biggest impact on UK Rap music from the 2000s onwards. The history of the Peckham Boys goes back decades, and everything posted here barely scratches the surface of their history.


The Peckham Boys gang originated in the estates of Peckham (SE15), in the borough of Southwark.
A large area of Peckham - between the town centre and Burgess Park - is dominated by council estates (public housing complexes). The main cluster is called the 'Five Estates' and consists of the North Peckham Estate, Gloucester Grove Estate, Willowbrook Estate, Camden Estate and Sumner Estate:
Nearby are the Goldsmith Estate, Bells Gardens Estate (Yellow Brick), Acorn Estate, Friary Estate, Ledbury Estate, Southampton Way Estate and several others. The Peckham 'frontline' is the area around Peckham High Street, including local landmarks like Peckham Pulse and the Crackerjack store.
The estates of Peckham were notorious and suffered from problems like underinvestment, deprivation, unemployment and crime. The area was termed 'Vietnam' due to the level of violence there, which is the origin of the hood nickname 'Pecknarm' (Peckham + Vietnam).


Evolution of the Peckham Boys
Originally, several of the major Peckham estates had their own individual sets: the Peckham Grove Boys, the North Peckham Boys, the Gloucester Boys, the Yellow Brick Massive, the Outlaws and the Acorn Boys. The earliest sets date back to the 1970s, and are the origins of the Peckham Boys gang.
By the 1990s those sets had evolved, and the two main sets in Peckham were the Firehouse Crew and the Younger Peckham Boys - also known as Pecky Man Soldiers. Other groups of Peckham included the yardie sets the Sunrise Crew and the Spanglers. Collectively these sets were known as the 'Peckham Boys' . There was sometimes friction between the Peckham sets but it was never deep, and they were united whenever opposition tried to slide on Peckham territory.
Alliances and rivalries
Peckham's main war was with the Ghetto Boys, a gang headquartered in New Cross and controlling Lewisham borough. Their other major conflict was with Brixton. The decades-long Peckham v Ghetto and Peckham v Brixton conflicts were some of the longest and bloodiest gang wars that London has seen. Peckham's main allies were Dulwich (Circle Crew) and Walworth (Wooly Road), and they often used to roll as one.
Legendary members
YPB/PMS members included the boss Mad X, Tipsy, Timer, Splash, Joker, Titch, Timer, Rampage, Rage, Temps, Twitch and others. Firehouse Crew members included Rhymer, Mixer, Major, Beans, Breaker, Player, Skipper, Fame and many others. Peckham yardies included the likes of Kirk, Bigga and a bag of others. The Peckham-Circle linkup included names like Mad Danny and Big Lee, legends in both Peckham and Dulwich. It goes without saying that there's many more names from that era of Peckham legends.

Early 2000s

In the early 2000s the Peckham Boys had consolidated as a single gang and its sets were structured by age. The most active sets by now were:
Prominent PB members included Knuckles, Raver, X-Fighter, Crimer, Rocker, Giggler, Breaker, Glamour and many others. Prominent YPB members included Killa Ki, Diamond, Timmy, Tiny Ryder, Young Snap, Motion, Taz and many others. Below are very brief examples of what went down in Peckham during this period.

Peckham nightclub shootings
Peckham had been notorious for gang violence for decades, and this reputation continued into 2000s. National headlines were made in July 2000 when up to 9 people were shot outside the Chicago's nightclub on Peckham High Street:
Six months later, a man was shot dead in a double shooting outside the same nightclub:
The nightclub was shut down soon afterwards. Giggs refers to this nightclub in the 2007 track Greaziest Freestyle: "Don't think I'm coming here to rave if you see me 'round the back, big strap inside Chicagos"

Death of Damilola Taylor
Peckham made international headlines in November 2000 with the murder of Damilola Taylor, a 10-year old boy that lived on the North Peckham Estate. He was stabbed to death by two 16-year old brothers & members of the Untouchables, a small but old set within Peckham:
Nine days before Damilola's murder, a 17-year old guy was also stabbed to death on the North Peckham Estate:
The schoolboy murder, plus the general level of gang activity in the area, put a hard media focus on the amount of senseless violence in Peckham:

2003 Peckham Civil War
Even though the Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys were involved in a multi-generational war, there were some instances of Peckham and Ghetto members that fw each other. The most prominent example at that time was Spender from Peckham (a younger brother of Giggler) and Younger Kraver from Ghetto (a younger brother of Kraver) - they used to roll together and make money. That type of association was rare though, as the two gangs remained at war with each other.
In 2003 the first 'civil war' in Peckham kicked off because the Peckham Boys were divided over the presence of Mender. Mender was from Lewisham sides but defected from the Ghetto Boys and started rolling with Peckham. Some YPB members trusted him and some didn't - claiming that he was still rolling with the Ghetto Boys and even robbed a Peckham member. This caused tension between Peckham members, including stabbings. In September 2003, Mender was stabbed to death while posted outside the Old Kent Road McDonald's by some YPB members:

Death of Tipsy
Peckham legend Tipsy was released from prison after doing 3 years of a 10 year sentence for firearms offences. Soon afterwards in July 2004 he was rammed off his motorcycle by gunmen on Camberwell High Street, who then stood over him and gave him five headshots. His murder remains unsolved to this day:

Shootout in the financial district
In October 2004 the Urban Music Awards was held at the Barbican Centre. Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys members were local and had a shootout outside the venue, in which 18 shots were fired. This was the first ever shootout within London's 'Square Mile' financial district, one of the world's financial centres:


The Peckham Boys were also known as Black Gang due to the gang's association with the colour black. From the mid-2000s, the main Peckham sets also began going by other aliases:

Giggs release from prison & first SN1 mixtape
In early 2005, SN1 member Giggler - now shortened to Giggs - was released from Brixton Prison after serving a couple years for firearm possession. He had dabbled in music in the past, but his jailtime made him determined to take music seriously. Not long afterwards, SN1 released their first project: the 'Bloody Raw' mixtape.
At this time Giggs took part in an SN1 block freestyle in Peckham for the Rap DVD. During the clip Giggs raps verses from the 'Bloody Raw' mixtape. The footage is famous for handguns being shown, and for Giggs not flinching when a handgun is fired:
In this era Giggs also released tracks on other people's mixtapes, a couple examples:
At a time when Grime was the dominant sound of music on the streets, Giggs's style was very different for its time.

Death of Ruthless
In August 2005, four YPB members aged between 14 and 16 - Bertz, Tiny Ryder, Timmy and Diamond - stormed a christening on the Wood Dene Estate in order to rob the attendees (and pay back a debt to Big Larry, a Peckham older). During the robbery Bertz shot his gun in the air, and a ricochet bullet hit a woman in the head killing her:
A couple of weeks later, Bertz ambushed Ruthless (an 18-year old high ranking female in Peckham) and stabbed her to death for disrespecting him. Bertz was given a 30-year prison sentence for the two murders. Ryder, Timmy and Diamond were given indeterminate manslaughter sentences for the christening incident, and were deported after their sentences:
Ruthless was a loved person in Peckham. In this 2006 cameraphone footage you can see young Peckham members pay their respects at her grave. In early 2008, Giggs released the 'Ruthless Freestyle' titled in her honour (but more on that track later).


SN1 drop 'The Beginning' mixtape
In early 2006, Giggs and other SN1 members dropped the 'SN1: The Beginning' mixtape. This is the first mixtape in which production was handled by their in-house production team at Unit 10 Studios. Their dark sound would go on to have a large impact on the future of UK Rap. A few classics:
Another classic SN1/Unit 10 track from the same period:

Hot September for Ghetto v Peckham
In September 2006, a group of up to 40 Shoot Instant (YPB) members went on a rideout to the Woodpecker Estate in New Cross - the main Ghetto Boys block. A brother of Ghetto members Smiley and Kraver ended up getting shot and stabbed to death. Another man was attacked in nearby Deptford but survived:
That murder on Woodpecker remains unsolved, as did five other murders on the Woodpecker Estate within the past 5 years at the time (5 unsolved murders in 5 years on a single block - when people say the 2000s in London was hot, they aren't lying):

Ghetto v Peckham war causes Peckham schools to be evacuated
Later in September 2006, police received 'specific intelligence' that the Ghetto Boys would carry out drive-by shootings at Peckham schools at the end of the school day (in order to smoke YPB members as they left). Police decided to immediately evacuate Peckham Academy and Harris Girls Academy in the middle of the school day, before the plot could be carried out. The schools reopened in the following week:

Giggs drops the 'Hollow Grind' mixtape
In 2006, Giggs and brother Joe Grind dropped the 'Hollow Grind' mixtape. This is the first of four collaborative mixtapes that Giggs dropped between 2006 and 2009. The mixtape includes several classics:
SN1 and OTB (Wooly Road) collaborated on the track 'Up In The Shoobz', and released a music video for the song. The video was shown on Channel U (a channel for underground music videos) but was blocked from the mainstream channels like MTV Base:
By this time, Giggs and the SN1 movement had a buzz in the streets of London. Giggs was trying to make moves in the music industry but he was blackballed by radio and television (thanks to the police) because of his gang ties/content. He refused to water-down his content in order to blow. Giggs released his frustration on Hollow Grind in 'Fuck Da Industry':

Peckham Boys acknowledged by Time Out Magazine
In November 2006, Time Out magazine named the Peckham Boys as one of the 100 most influential people or organisations in London: Time Out Magazine - London's 100 top movers and shakers 2006
Time Out magazine is a major international publication, with a circulation of millions, so their inclusion of the Peckham Boys was a big deal. A good demonstration of how 'big' the Peckham Boys were, even in mainstream society.


At this point, prominent members of Shoot Instant (YPB) included Snap Capone, Killa Ki, Nuttie, Butch, Blacks, Billy Da Kid, Taz, Prover, Tem, Capo, Ross etc.
Prominent members of PYG (YYPB) included Shocks, Tiny Boost, Young Spend, Young Lap, Jim Jones, Young Killa, Young Butch etc.
PYG members looked up to SI, and both sets looked up to the SN1 bosses. From 2007 onwards, SI and PYG started to become very active in music.

Deaths of Javarie Crighton and Michael Dosunmu
In February 2007, 21-year old Javarie Crighton and 15-year old Michael Dosunmu were murdered in internal Peckham dispute over money. Members of a group that had successfully pulled off bank robberies were arguing about the split of the proceeds. Michael Dosunmu was shot dead in his bed in a case of mistaken identity, the gunmen had meant to get his older brother (who they believe didn't give them their fair share):

Giggs drops the 'Hollowman Meetz Blade' mixtape
In early 2007, Giggs dropped the 'Hollowman Meetz Blade' mixtape in collaboration with Blade Brown. This mixtape continued to advance Giggs' buzz in the streets, and included several classic UK gang/rap tracks. The mixtape is considered a classic in the UK scene:
Sidebar: 'Hollow Meetz Blade' and 'Sink A Boat' were referenced by 67 in their 2016 track 'Lets Lurk': "Like Hollow Meetz Blade, manaman got guns that'll sink down a boat".

Peckham boss Raver jailed
In July 2007, Raver (SN1) was caught in possession of a Mac-10 submachine gun, 3 handguns, 2 silencers, 379 rounds of ammunition and thousands of pounds worth of drugs. Raver was a Peckham boss and very close to Giggs. Raver is referred to as "Carlton" in Giggs' lyrics. He received a minimum 10-year sentence:

Young Spend jailed for shooting
In October 2007, 14-year old member Young Spend (PYG) shot a man in Peckham for disrespecting him. He was convicted of attempted murder the following year and jailed on an indeterminate sentence:
Young Spend appeared in one track in 2007 before being arrested:

New Cross shootout changes UK legal history
In October 2007 there was a shootout widely reported involve Ghetto Boys and Peckham Boys members. During the shootout, a Polish nurse was hit by a stray bullet and died:
The police caught Ghetto member Toner - one participant in the shootout - but they didn't catch the person who actually fired the fatal shot. Toner did not snitch on the person he was having a shootout with. The Supreme Court of decided to convict Toner of murder as if he fired the fatal shot, even though he didn't. In English law, this landmark ruling is known as Regina v Armel Gnango
At the same time in SE London, the Woolwich Boys shot dead a man in his car - because he answered "Peckham" when they asked him where he's from:
In Greenwich Borough, Woolwich were beefing heavily with Thamesmead (allies of Peckham).

Shoot Instant & PYG drop the 'Blackgang Broadway Vol.1' mixtape
In 2007, Shoot Instant and their youngers PYG dropped their first project together: the 'Blackgang Broadway Vol.1' mixtape. With SN1 (Peckham bosses) making noise in the music game, this is the first time that their youngins made their mark. Two tracks from the mixtape:

Giggs drops the 'Ard Bodied' mixtape
In December 2007, Giggs (SN1) dropped the 'Ard Bodied' mixtape in collaboration with Dubz. The mixtape included 'Talking The Hardest' and 'Pain is the Essence', which are considered all-time UK anthems, alongside multiple hood classics. A selection of classic Ard Bodied tracks:
Ard Bodied is generally considered the most influential mixtape to drop in the UK scene. It was the first time that UK 'gang' rap (Road Rap) broke into the mainstream, and marked the shift in general popularity from Grime to UK Rap:
It's hard to underestimate the impact Ard Bodied had on the culture. It had youngins in every block wanting to rap that gang shit and rep their block through music. From this point, UK 'gang' rap (Road Rap) - the foundation of the UK Drill scene - started to take off in London.


In 2008 the Shoot Instant set split into two branches:
S.I. and OPB moved as two different sets within the Peckham Boys, but they were all still brothers.

End of the Peckham Boys v Ghetto Boys war
For a few years the Ghetto Boys had undergone major internal divisions, including the murder of leader Sparkz in 2006 by another Ghetto member. These events caused a big shift in the street politics of South London, with Lewisham dividing and fighting amongst itself.
By 2008 the decades-long beef between the Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys was over. The end of the beef was publicly 'announced' by Giggs when he dropped the 'Ruthless Freestyle' in early 2008:
That was a major moment in South London street history, with maybe the bloodiest gang war London has seen officially coming to a close. From that moment, it became safe to play Giggs's music publicly in Lewisham 😂

Giggs drops the 'Best of Giggs 2' compilation mixtape
In early 2008, Giggs released the 'Best of Giggs 2' mixtape. The mixtape is a compilation of classic Giggs verses from 2005-2007, alongside some new releases. The last track is one of Giggs' best freestyles:

Giggs is banned by police from Lil Wayne concert
The Metropolitan Police were determined to stop Giggs career in music. Despite being the hottest artist in the streets, venues weren't allowed to book him, and television & radio were pressured not to play his music.
In early 2008, Lil Wayne was arguably the hottest rapper in the world, and in March he had a headline concert in London. Giggs was booked as the opening act for Lil Wayne, and the sold-out crowd were there to see Giggs as much as they were to see Wayne. At the last minute, the police blocked Giggs from performing. The crowd was so angry that they started moving unruly. Lil Wayne was hit with a bottle and stormed off stage, cancelling the show. This footage making shockwaves around the rap world:
Giggs then addressed these incidents by releasing the freestyle 'Banned from Lil Wayne':

SI, OPB and PYG drop the 'Blackgang Broadway Vol.2' mixtape
In 2008, SI/OPB and PYG continued making movements in music, releasing the 'Blackgang Broadway Vol.2' mixtape. The mixtape included the classic track 'Gunshot Riddim', which included 8 Bar verses from 10 different members:
Two other music videos were made for tracks on the project:
In the summer Shoot Instant members released classic music video filmed on their block (Aylesbury Estate):

Peckham 'Gunshot Riddim' v Brixton 'Bullet Riddim'
With the war between Ghetto and Peckham over, the war between Brixton (OC/GAS) and Peckham (SI/PYG) started cracking in 2008.
That summer there were back-and-forth shootings between OC and SI members. In one incident, OC rode out on Walworth Road and caught Snap Capone (SI) and Butch (SI) slipping. Snap and Butch ran into the Costcutter store and OC shot at them from the outside, but ended up killing a civilian. That made big media headlines:
Not long afterwards, OC/GAS released a response track to SI/PYG - Gunshot Riddim in which OC members mocked Snap and Butch for running in the above incident: "remember what we flew in Wooly Road" ... "had you running in the shop like you're buying suttin" ... "my dargs only run when they see the riot van" (etc): OC/GAS - Bullet Riddim
Gunshot Riddim v Bullet Riddim was the start of the back-and-forth diss music videos between Brixton (OC/GAS) and Peckham (SI/PYG). Cracking on the streets and over Youtube. As I stated before, this era was the origins of what we now call the UK Drill scene.

SN1 and Boomblast release 'Welcome 2 Boomzville' mixtape
In the run-up to Giggs' debut album, SN1 released the 'Welcome 2 Boomzville' mixtape - entirely produced by SN1 producer Boomblast. The mixtape included various street classics:
SN1's allies OTB (Wooly Road) released their first project: the 'Woolyhood' mixtape:

Giggs releases his debut album
On 4 August 2008, Giggs released his debut album 'Walk In Da Park' through his independent label SN1 Records. The album cemented the rise of Giggs within the UK scene after his run of mixtapes (Hollow Grind, Hollow Meets Blade & Ard Bodied) made him king in the streets.

Ghetto Boys and Peckham Boys linkup
In August 2008, Killa Ki (OPB) arranged the linkup of Peckham Boys and Ghetto Boys members for the Notting Hill Carnival. Up to 180 members from both gangs linked up and started making their way to the carnival, but the police stopped them before they could reach it:
Killa Ki addressed the Ghetto-Peckham linkup in the track Krept & Konan feat. SI (Killa Ki, Snap Capone, Nuttie) - Let Em Ave It: "I organised Ghetto linking Narm, I made history. Darg I'm a boss in the Narm. It was a South East Link Up, anyhow we got Carni it would've been nuts"
The following video includes news reports and footage of the Ghetto-Peckham linkup:

Flying squad detain Peckham robbery members
It was previously mentioned that Javarie Crighton and Michael Dosunmu were murdered in 2007 during a dispute between members of the Peckham armed robbery team. In September 2008, the police arrested seven members of the gang, including the likes of Moaner.
Police suspected them of committing 120 robberies and called their criminal enterprise "prolific". It took 150 police officers to conduct the raids on the Peckham Boys and arrest 7 members:

Giggs becomes first ever winner of the 'Best International Act' at the BET Awards
In Autumn, Giggs was nominated for as 'Best International Act' at the BET Hip hop Awards alongside grime artists Skepta, Chip and Ghetts (much more established/mainstream artists):
Fans voted for the winner and Giggs won, becoming the first ever artist to win the 'Best International Act'. This was a big deal, because despite the police applying serious pressure to stop Giggs, he was still able to rise to the top. It was also another demonstration of the fall of Grime and the rise of UK Rap. Here's a video of Tim Westwood congratulating Giggs for the win:
Even though Giggs won the BET Award, when he came back to the UK the pressure applied by the police intensified. In frustration, Giggs released the 'Last Straw' freestyle in which he directly dissed Ray Paul (BBC executive) and Jasmine Dotwala (MTV executive):

Death of Termz
In October 2008, 20-year old SN1 member Termz was shot dead as he left his house by Brixton olders. This further heated up the Brixton and Peckham beef at the time:
Termz made one music video before his death:

Younger PYG members start releasing music
In late 2008, the younger generation of PYG members started releasing music videos. The young members included Tiny Snap, Young Size, M1, Stigs, CS and others. Most of the bars at this time were disses towards Brixton's OC (now 410) and GAS (now 150/GBG):


From 2009 onwards, the beef between Peckham (SI/PYG) and Brixton (OC/GAS) became the biggest story on roads and in the UK Rap scene. For the Brixton perspective, check The History of 410.
Part 1 is a demonstration of how Peckham gained the notorious reputation it has, and the environment that PYG and Zone 2 members grew up in. The next part covering the PYG and Zone 2 eras will drop in one week.
I'll cover Peckham from 2009-present in Part 2 - including what happened to SN1/SI/PYG members and the rise of the Zone 2 generation.
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Claws out: my adventure in the court of the Tiger King (FULL ARTICLE)

Louis has written this article for The Times. Unfortunately, it's behind a paywall, but I've C&P the full article for you all :-) (CONTAINS TIGER KING SPOILERS)
For the past week or two, the strange saga of a group of American big cat owners, told in a seven-part documentary called Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has been whatever the equivalent of a water-cooler talking point is in this post-Covid world. The series has captivated viewers in the millions with its colourful cast of characters, vast menageries of animals, details of cult-like polyamorous domestic arrangements and, at its heart, not one but two possible murder-for-hire storylines.
I too binge-watched the series over successive nights, marvelling at the weird twists, unexpected deaths and super-abundance of exotic megafauna. But Tiger King had an added interest for me. In 2011, I made a documentary about exotic pet owners in America. I know several of the key players in the series. In fact, over three separate trips, I spent the best part of a week with the Tiger King himself.
Joe Maldonado-Passage, né Schreibvogel, and known to most as Joe Exotic, is a skinny, high-voiced good old boy with a dyed blond mullet, a row of rings in his ear, a couple more in his nipples and (so we are told) a “Prince Albert” in the end of his penis. Joe is one of those larger-than-life characters who screams “made for TV” and, indeed, seems to have dedicated much of his life to a continuous audition to play the lead in a reality series. Not content with running his zoo, he has a side-hustle as a country-and-western singer, complete with moody music videos (the biggest mystery of the series, to my mind, is not who plotted to kill who, but whether Joe is the one singing on those records: his vocals sound nothing like his speaking voice). He has also been at various times a stage magician, a pet shop owner and a police officer, and is — through most of the series — the mainstay of a domestic arrangement with two much younger men, neither of whom, apparently, is gay.
When I met him, on a blustery May day in 2011, what stood out, apart from the blond mullet and the nervous energy, was the blue eyeliner tattooed on the rims under his eyes. He was a strange mix of butch and femme signifiers. He carried a gun, which never left his side, and handcuffs, but there were also the aforementioned piercings and an air of heightened emotion. He wore what appeared to be a police uniform, including sergeant’s stripes and a badge, which was very official-looking, except it said: “animal rescue.” Evidently he still had some nostalgia for his time as an officer of the law — though what kind of cop he made was hard to imagine, other than a pretty odd one. Altogether, though, Joe struck me as likeable and friendly. I warmed to him, and his ridiculousness was endearing rather than annoying.
Joe’s zoo, the GW Exotic Animal Park, lay just off Interstate 35, in south central Oklahoma, not far from the Texas border. It has been characterised over the years as a “roadside zoo” — the phrase suggests overcrowding and slack management — but the facility was more salubrious than I’d expected: large, basically clean and solidly built. That first encounter was memorable because we‘d had word that a tornado was bearing down on the area — we were in the tornado belt in tornado season. The day before, a twister had ravaged the nearby town of Joplin, killing 158 people. Our first four or five hours of filming were taken up documenting the spectacle of Joe locking down his cages and us all contemplating the possibility that freak weather might be about to set loose 200 semi-tame tigers — and 1,200-odd other animals — on the townsfolk of nearby Wynnewood.
In the event, the tornado passed us by, but an atmosphere of incipient catastrophe never quite let up the whole time I was with Joe. He seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis, constantly on the verge of financial ruin, handling low-level bites and maulings, and being hounded by “animal rights people”, as he put it. Joe was a figure of notoriety even back in 2011. He had been the subject of undercover filming by Peta in 2006. He was in the animal rights people’s crosshairs for many reasons: his alleged treatment of the animals in his care; just the fact of having all those animals; but above all for his practice of breeding tigers.
Breeding is the defining hypocrisy of a certain kind of animal sanctuary. Sanctuaries notionally exist to provide homes for creatures that need them, not to breed new ones. But it was also the case that one of the few dependable ways for outfits such as Joe’s to make money was to charge large sums for people, usually children, to take photos with tiger cubs. He did this at his park and also in a roadshow that travelled around malls in the ever-decreasing number of states in which the practice was not yet banned.
Though his facility was a non-profit, Joe had high overheads: a lot of tiger and lion-sized mouths to feed, not to mention water and electricity bills and staff costs. The flaw in this strategy — leaving aside the ethical issues involved in taking tiger cubs from their mothers on their first day of life and trucking them around suburban parking lots to be cuddled by children for photos — was not hard to spot. Those tiger cubs were money- makers for a matter of months. There then followed another 20 years of life, during which they would be aggressive to the point of potentially killing any human within pouncing distance. At Joe’s facility, they joined the vast number of surplus beasts consuming cast-off cuts of meat donated by Walmart in cages at the back of the property.
This practice is well explained in Tiger King. One of the supporting players, Tim Stark, the owner of a self-styled “sanctuary” in Indiana, alleges that he has heard that Doc Antle, another zoo owner, is routinely involved in killing tigers that are too old to be used in photos. It is a claim that Antle denies.
Joe had about 150 tigers back then, though I have no idea how many of them were grown-up “photo babies”. Still, as awful as the practice is, and despite the many compromises and cruelties entailed in Joe’s running of the GW zoo, it was hard to dislike the man himself, maybe because he seemed neither to be hiding many of his misdeeds nor to take himself too seriously, not to mention that his emotional volatility — laughter, tears, kindness, paranoia, all in quick succession — inclined me to be a little protective of him.
Joe’s emotional frailties, combined with his flamboyance, may also help explain his apparent romantic success. In Tiger King we see him married to two much younger men, both quite good-looking, though one of them, John Finlay, is somewhat lacking in teeth. When I knew Joe he was also in a three-way domestic arrangement, with John and a different third person, Paul, who was in his twenties. In the film we made only a brief mention of Joe’s love life, in a scene in Joe’s kitchen in which he explained, regarding jealousy, that love-making only happened with all three involved. “It works awesome,” he said, then laughed and added: “Because we’re all too tired to have sex.”
Soon after, we were bottle-feeding Joe’s latest white tiger cub. “I fed him from the minute he was still wet,” Joe said, pulling the tiny tiger from a fold-up cot. “Would it make more sense to prioritise preserving habitats in the wild?” I asked. “There’s people working on that,” Joe said airily, “but unfortunately we have more powers higher than us destroying the habitat.” Joe’s house seemed always to be full of mewling cubs. One of the most affecting scenes in the Netflix series shows Joe dragging a new-born cub out of a cage, then complaining that he can’t sleep for the noise it makes.
And yet for all his questionable qualities, Joe was far from the only — or even the strangest — oddity I met in the exotic animal world in 2011. On a second filming trip, while at Joe’s zoo for a “wild animal expo” and “monkey banquet”, a fund-raising dinner at a local convention room, I ran into another future cast member, Tim Stark. Tim appears intermittently, providing commentary on aspects of the business and insight into Joe’s character. Towards the end of the series he throws his lot in with Joe’s successor at GW zoo, his nemesis, Jeff Lowe.
Though they were friends, Tim was cut from different cloth to Joe. Where Joe’s style could be called hillbilly razzmatazz, he affected a kind of Vietnam vet chic, decked out in camo, head shaved, with a handlebar moustache. His exotic animals seemed an extension of a certain attitude of unapologetic masculinity. When I visited him, within a few short hours in front of the cameras he’d got into a punch-up with a bobcat, tussled with a white tiger on a leash in a rainstorm and garlanded me with a pungent 50lb baboon with an alarmingly protuberant butt-hole called Tatiana (the animal, not the butthole), who seemed to take a shine to me, picking hairs from my neck and, at Tim’s prompting, soliciting a kiss.
Tim had a weird theory, expressed in the film, which in many respects encapsulates the attitude of many exotic animal owners. He had just climbed into an enclosure with a pair of grizzly bears called Obadiah and Eli. I’d noticed the bears had been pacing neurotically, showing signs of the stereotypic behaviour sometimes termed “zoochosis”.
“What about people who say, ‘These are wild animals. You are going against their intrinsic nature by penning them up’?” I asked.
“The reason they have that natural territory out in the wild is not because that animal chooses to travel that distance,” Tim replied. “That animal has to travel that distance.”
He cited the example of bears in national parks hanging around humans for free food — “beggar bears”, as they are sometimes known. “Their natural instinct is to survive, but they’d much rather survive by having food handed to them,” Tim said. “They’re not stupid.”
The strangeness of imagining that a bear’s needs might be met simply by providing food — not stimulation, not space, not freedom — left me momentarily speechless.
Much of Tiger King deals with the feud between Joe and Carole Baskin, another self-styled big cat protector and proprietor, along with her goofy-looking husband, Howard (at one point he is depicted on all fours on a leash for a comical photo).
Carole’s facility, near Tampa, Florida, is called Big Cat Rescue. It does not breed and, in fact, Carole had campaigned for years against Joe’s cub photo roadshow, persuading some states to outlaw the practice. In the series, Joe accuses Carole of hypocrisy — evidently, she had been a breeder — though the real issue for Joe, one suspects, is the effect the bans are having on his bottom line.
Joe’s grudge against Carole preoccupied him when we filmed. He would rant about her, mentioning his belief that she’d had one of her husbands killed. Tiger King spends the best part of an episode digging into the allegation that Carole murdered — or arranged the murder of — the husband, before (allegedly) putting him through a meat grinder and feeding her to her animals; or possibly (in Joe’s view) just throwing the body into the enclosure to be chomped up, bones and all.
In the series, the allegation of her misdeeds is thrown together with Carole’s various fashion crimes involving leopardprint. She moons around her refuge in slow motion and one draws the conclusion, perhaps unfairly, that whether or not she killed her husband there is something not quite right about someone who manages to mysteriously lose a husband and makes a living out of providing room and board for a relatively small number of rescued animals while wearing flower-child accoutrements in late middle age.
I should confess here, if it isn’t already clear, that I greatly enjoyed Tiger King, my pleasure only slightly attenuated by a sense of envy and missed opportunity that I wasn’t involved in what has turned out to be a global smash (I just went online and saw that OJ Simpson has posted a review with his own theories about the crimes involved). I do recall that, having made our documentary, which came out as America’s Most Dangerous Pets, I felt there was probably some kind of longer-form series to be made about that world, though I had no idea Joe would end up caught up in a murder-for-hire case and I really can’t claim any kind of prescience other than noticing that it is pretty weird for Americans to be keeping multitudes of large exotic animals in small cages.
Among other things, the pathologies on display in Tiger King are symptoms of a condition known as “living in Oklahoma” — a state that ranks 46th in America for healthcare. The backdrop to the Joe Exotic sections of Tiger King is a community brought low by reduced opportunity, rampant meth and opioid use, and high incarceration rates. Many of Joe’s volunteers had a whiff of desperation about them: waifs and strays, getting by on tiny wages and the free room and board (the same Walmart leavings donated to animals). With facial piercings and expressions of bewilderment, they would wander about the zoo like kids on their gap year, waiting for someone to tell them what to do. One of the more touching scenes shows a desperate woman at a bus station weeping because Joe has offered her a place to stay.
If I have a quibble with the series, or maybe just a cautionary note, it’s that the carnival of human folly it depicts should not blind us to the pressing, and less amusing, animal issues at its heart: playthings of a more powerful predator, kept in captivity because of human acquisitiveness, ostentation and control. In the name of preservation of species, many of the owners I met paid scant regard to actual safeguarding of habitats. “The wild?” they would say. “There’s no ‘wild’ left.” Meanwhile the animals they ostensibly protected and fed and kept penned up were pale simulacra of the real thing. Hand-raised tigers are something closer to living taxidermy: deprived of their tiger nature, incapable of surviving outside captivity, living out their days in a state of enforced dependency.
And, by the way, I have written so far mainly about tigers. Though not touched on in Tiger King, the issues around primate captivity — melancholy apes, demented chimpanzees — are if anything even more troubling, involving as they do creatures of higher intelligence and longer lifespan that are more prone to frustration, lack of stimulation and mental illness.
Now — spoiler alert — Joe is behind bars, in a cell that is probably smaller than those he provided for his tigers. At trial he was given 22 years, having been convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire and some animal abuse offences. As I write, he is said to be in isolation with Covid-19, brought low, ironically, by a creature many times smaller and much less physically impressive than a tiger, but altogether more deadly.
Apparently he hasn’t yet seen the series that bears his moniker in the title but is said to be pleased by all the attention. At the same time, word comes that the missing person case of Carole Baskin’s husband is being reopened. She is not named as suspect, but it is not out of the question that Baskin too may one day be confined to a cage, though, to be honest, the prospect seems remote. They are two humans. I can’t speak for the 200-plus tigers that were at Joe’s zoo, but it is a safe bet that if they aren’t dead they are in a small cage somewhere, utterly oblivious to their new-found fame.
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‘They are us’ – an urgent, uncomfortable call to action

"By Morgan Godfery | Contributing writer March 13, 2020
A proper reckoning with March 15 2019 demands that we take up a generations-long struggle to destroy all the exclusions that make up our society and produce the conditions we know as racism. An essay by Morgan Godfery.
This work is made possible by Spinoff Members.


I was cleaning out the garage the other day and found an old Crusaders jersey. If I remember right it’s their team kit from 2005, the white knight sewn into the chest and the old Ford logo printed in the centre. The jersey itself is still as fresh as new paint, a novelty purchase from when we were passing through Christchurch on our way to Christmas in Oamaru. I was a year 9 in school and a Super 12 jersey was the kind of item you had, just so you could say you had one. This is about the same time it was still acceptable to whisper things like how the white players in the Crusaders were responsible for their team’s championship success, playing their footy with brains, and the problem with mid-table finishers like the Blues were too many brown boys who only knew how to throw their weight around.
I’m not quite white-passing, but my upper middle-class accent, generally preppy affect, and not-quite-pasty-not-quite-brown skin makes me ethnically ambiguous enough that people are happy to share their thoughts about big Polynesian units, Asian immigrants, Muslim terrorists, and the Jews. The first time I remember running into entirely casual racism was in Christchurch, on the way back from that Christmas in Oamaru, when a retail worker caught up with me on the street apologising for short-changing me in store. I didn’t realise or particularly care, but years later I thought about his apology. “Sorry, I just Jew-ed you”.
At the time it was nothing to me. In high school and later in my flat at Victoria that was just what people said. “Jewing” someone was a verb for ripping them off, taking an advantage, or just a way to give someone a bit of stick. In my experience it was especially popular with the Christ’s College boys, which probably has something to do with the city’s private schools inheriting their culture from Britain’s public schools. “A Jewish boy at a public school almost invariably had a bad time,” wrote Orwell in 1945. Things probably aren’t that much better in 2020. The other day I read an old mate – a private schooler too – on Facebook joking about how Jews are useless at sport.
I suspect for good liberals this is probably shocking. This isn’t language that ever sneaks through our circles. But outside of our cosy hermetic world words like coconut, boonga, fob, wog, gook, curry muncher, towelhead, the hundred variations on the N word, and “Jew” as more than a noun are common currency. The stains from that vocabulary seep into every part of the culture and society, and nothing much has ever been done to wash it out. The first time I remember encountering deliberate, menacing racism is on the rugby paddock when a white coach was yelling at my mate on the wing “run you BLACK bastard”. I thought about that moment when spectators in Christchurch were caught vilifying Fijian player Sake Aca in 2015, screaming from the stands “black cunt”.
Fandoms like to imagine their sports, multicultural rugby especially, as pure and independent realms (“a level playing field”) absent race, politics, or any disadvantage other than skill. It’s a seductive argument, I’ll concede that much, but it’s so self-evidently false it still surprises me every time someone insists on it earnestly. Sport? Not racist? In 2012 talkback callers and trolls went after then Blues coach Pat Lam and his family for the great crime of simply being Polynesian. In 2010 former All Black Andy Haden was put through the wringer for telling media the Crusaders only recruit a maximum three “darkies”, presumably to preserve the team’s famous brain-brawn balance.
Even in the laudatory histories New Zealand rugby was, and probably remains, a notorious nexus for down home conservatives, know-nothing administrators, and out and out racists. In 1960 the rugby union sent the All Blacks on tour to Apartheid South Africa, waving the team off without any Māori players or officials in a remarkable sop to the country’s colour bar. In 1976 the national team were sent back, this time defying international calls to cut sporting ties with the racist state. In protest at the tour more than twenty African countries led a boycott at that year’s Olympics, a moral stand that should perpetually shame New Zealand Rugby. Not racist? As if.
In an ideal world the Canterbury Crusaders would study this history, carefully considering whether their decision to retain the team name is another brick in rugby’s wall of shame. The managers might consider how “deus vult”, meaning God wills it, a battle cry from the first Crusade, and “Acre 1189”, a reference to a siege in the third Crusade, are URL shorthands and postscripts for white supremacist users constructing a historiography for their neo-fascist movement. The managers might also reflect on how real-life white supremacists in countries like Brazil, Norway, and Australia are adopting the Knights Templar, the Christian warrior monks who made up the crusading hordes, and the literal white knight that was formerly the Canterbury team’s logo, as their saints.
As it happens the team’s managers, after kicking the issue to a “market research” firm shortly after March 15, made the call to save the name. It’s an unconscionable decision, for obvious reasons, but the team bosses seem cognitively incapable of reasoning through the issue and its implications beyond mere “branding”. In a statement announcing the name-stay the team’s PR people wrote “for us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community,” as if it’s possible to just reframe the holy war using a press release. It’s a cretinous thing to do when not even a year earlier an alleged shooter undertook a massacre at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques as part of his own “crusade”.
A28-year-old man is before the High Court facing 52 murder charges relating to the events of March 15. What we know about his life is little, save the things he was curating about himself online, which in this essay I treat with caution and scepticism. But it seems clear enough the Australian citizen was an obsessive for the Crusades, scribbling references to the religious war for the Holy Land across the weapon police accuse the man of using to carry out the massacre. Investigative reports note in his pilgrimage to Europe the 28-year-old – who pleaded not guilty to all charges – made particular visits to Christian-Muslim battlegrounds in the former Ottoman Empire, apparently as a tribute to the crusading warmongers he was so keen to match.
To outsiders the obsession with this particular historical episode is probably bizarre, if not creepy. But in the nether world this man and his neo-fascist comrades inhabit they imagine they’re acting out the thesis and title in Samuel P Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations. In his 1993 essay the American political scientist argues that in the immediate past global conflicts were between warring ideological factions – capitalism and communism – but post-Cold War conflict will centre between clashing civilisations. The West vs the rest. Christianity vs Islam. The Crusades II.
In Huntington’s telling, and in the alleged shooter’s head, the West and the Islamic world are fated to compete. Yet that competition won’t centre over economic issues like stable oil supply lines, or even political issues like the territorial integrity of Western allies in the Middle East, instead the clash is meant to happen over Islam’s apparently regressive values and the West’s progressive tradition. It’s a striking thesis, especially for the generals and politicians who were hunting for cover for their military adventures in the Middle East and East Africa in the late 80s and early 90s. But it was always a notion that was impossible to apply, reducing the Islamic world to a series of stereotypes (it never had its enlightenment) and setting it against an equally reductive West (it did have its enlightenment).
The late Edward Said, the Palestinian scholar, cut right to the heart of Huntington’s argument in identifying it wasn’t an argument at all – rather, he was “a partisan, an advocate of one so-called civilisation over all others” who maps billions of people into “vague” and “manipulable” abstractions and then presents it as a true account of the world. “Thus to build a conceptual framework around the notion of us-versus-them is in effect to pretend that the principal consideration is epistemological and natural – our civilisation is now and accepted, theirs is different and strange – whereas in fact the framework separating us from them is belligerent, constructed, and situational.”
In other words, the thing separating the Christian us from the Islamic them, to the extent a clean separation is possible at all, is history – of colonialism, of Cold War power politics – and not immutable categories like “the West” or “the East”. That the categories exist at all are a function of history and political convenience, not a universal law stipulating conflict as the only end. Yet for the neo-fascists like the alleged shooter every thought they cherish orbits this particular rock: that the entire Islamic world is one dirty blob of terrorism, rape, and invasion, and that all its more than one billion members act with a single purpose and co-ordination unknown in the entire history of humanity.
But why commit to a dichotomy so obviously stupid at all? The 28-year-old grew up in Grafton, a waterway town in northern New South Wales, and in his time on the Eastern seaboard it seems unlikely he ever actually met many Muslim people at all. In his own family’s account they were just ordinary Aussies. It’s impossible to interrogate the claim – every family thinks itself the norm and we can’t penetrate their private lives to investigate how true it is – yet the family were probably ordinary in one sense. They were unremarkable. Just another white family. The alleged shooter’s parents were in traditional jobs. Mum a teacher. Dad a rubbish man.
The people who were closest to him – cousins, old school mates – pinpoint his OE to Europe as “the moment”. As RNZ reports in his manifesto the alleged shooter recounts his trip through North Korea and Pakistan, paying tribute to the locals’ kindness and hospitality (noticing the contradiction he explains he doesn’t hate the yellows and blacks who stay in their own “homelands”). Eventually he lands in Europe, road tripping France. In one passage he despairs that he can’t seem to find an all-white town or city. In another passage his travels take him, quite conveniently, to a cemetery for the European dead of the world wars. “I broke into tears, sobbing alone in the car,” he writes, mourning the apparent Islamification of Europe. “Why were we allowing these soldiers deaths to be in vain?”
He didn’t realise that the dead he mourned died trying to kill people like him.
In 2018 I wrote (presciently, without claiming too much credit for an insight this awful) that “white nationalism is, for the basement dwelling 4chaners, mouth breathing Redditors, and Youtube philosopher kings, nothing more than a desperate search for an alternative fatherland”. That search is what drove the alleged shooter from his Australian home. “The origin of my language is European, my culture is European, my political beliefs are European… most importantly, my blood is European”. To the alleged shooter his actual home was irredeemable. “What is an Australian but a drunk European?”
In each claim is a desperate narcissism, reaching for an imaginary identity when your existing accomplishments don’t match your personal ambitions. It’s tempting to extend that psychoanalysis. The alleged shooter’s fetish for imaginary “whites” is a cover for the trauma of being a nothing, disembodied. Or maybe the urge to order and rank the world into competing civilisations is a neurosis, like stacking your knives and forks in a row. Perhaps the pleasure he takes in trolling is jouissance, a momentary transgression in the service of briefly feeling. Yet those readings are weightless if they stand alone. The alleged shooter’s interior life is relevant, certainly so for a conviction on murder, but studying the actually existing politics that shaped his positions and actions seems more important than base speculation.
In The Invention of Tradition the historians Terence Ranger and Eric Hobsbawm argue that traditions, far from the ancient wisdoms of old, are often nothing more than recent beliefs that help foster a common identity when – to borrow from Said – “organic solidarities” like the family or village break down. The inventions are easy to spot in the courts and parliament where British ritual connects the two institutions to a pedigree and past that their move half away across the world broke. In the neo-fascist movement the inventions are slightly more subtle, taking actual historical happenings like the Crusades and pick-and-mixing the symbols (Knights Templar), battles (Acre 1189), and language (deus vult) that they can contort around the various anti-Muslim bigotries.
The idea that traditions are a kind of stand-in where old connections break down seems especially apt in settler colonies where the relationship to the past and a present community often amounts to nothing more than a shopping list of shared habits and references. Gumboots as culture. I appreciate that description could come across as banal, or even malicious, but it gets close to the impulses apparently guiding the alleged shooter: the search for meaningful political connections and political community. As he saw it Australia had no identity to offer. Instead he found his connection in an “imagined community” – in violent European nationalisms – and online.
“I am a racist”, the man writes in his manifesto. His neo-fascists comrades were too.


One of the first inspirations he cites is Luca Traini, a 28-year-old Italian neo-Nazi who, with a 9mm glock, went on a drive-by shooting injuring six African migrants in Macarata in 2018. The racist rampage lit a fuse under that year’s Italian general election. The left went after Matteo Salvini, the League Party leader, the same party in which Traini stood as a mayoral list candidate, for inspiring his violent work. In an ordinary election a political leader would make an immediate climb down, condemning Traini and his crimes. But Salvini, best known in the English-speaking world for closing harbours to refugees crossing the Med, was surprisingly consistent. He said the left had “blood on its hands” for packing the country with “illegal migrants”. The unspoken implication: Traini was doing his patriotic duty.
The alleged shooter, watching on from another hemisphere, found a brother in arms. The two men had built their identities around all the same hatreds and had clothed their boogeymen in all the same threads. One stitch for migrant “invaders”. Two stiches for liberals and Marxists, and a needle for the “race traitors” among them. But where the twin gunmen’s hatred really met, transforming from online big noting to a real-life passion, was in protecting “their” women. Traini undertook his crime as an apparent act of revenge against the three Nigerian refugees in court for killing 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro.
In his manifesto the alleged shooter offers a similar provocation, taking 11-year-old Ebba Akerlund’s death as his red pill. In his self-mythologising, the Stockholm truck attack, a deadly terrorist attack that took Akerlund’s and four other lives, was his waking moment. “It was another terror attack in the seemingly never-ending attacks that had been occurring on a regular basis throughout my adult life,” he wrote. “But for some reason this was different”. What was that difference? Akerlund. An innocent. It’s a vile misuse – he doesn’t care for anyone or anything beyond himself – but the narrative demands an affect, the shooter turning in his coward’s rags for a knight’s armour.
For neo-fascists it’s essential to tell their origin stories through the opposite sex. For aspiring movement leaders like the alleged shooter it’s the fight to protect the “virtue” of “our women” against “Muslim rapists” that forces their hand. For lurkers, shitposters, and like-avores it’s the feminists and “Staceys” who never recognise the genius and vigour of their own race (plain meaning: “women don’t want me”) who lead them into fascism. Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger, a martyr for beta males, undertook his crimes and suicide as an apparent act of “retribution” against women for denying him the sex and love he thought of as his by right.
This, not the customary declarations of love for the race, or even the thrill of sharing the same enemies, is usually the heart of online fascism – it’s a reaction against women.
In Male Fantasies the German sociologist Klaus Theweleit argues the fascist men who fought against the Weimar Republic from 1918 to 1933, and who went on to prominent positions and a political home in the Nazi regime, were in their heads and hearts afraid of women. For the “Freikorps” there were two womanly classes: White Women, “the nurses” representing order and servitude to men and country; and Red Women, “the communists” representing disorder, whoring, and the end of patriotic men. The latter were the women the paramilitary movement were under an obligation to kill. In one speech a general complains that when “a few old girls get blown up the whole world starts screaming about bloodthirsty soldiers”.
“As if women were always innocent,” he said.
This is why every fascist movement purges women first – metaphorically and actually. In Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema the American historian describes how films under the Duce’s regime “remove the Italian woman from the colonial space”, portraying the colonies as where men might find purpose through trans-national thuggery, and attacking women’s emancipation at home as a “corrupting” force and a check on the people’s success. The alleged shooter undertook his killings with similar illusions. That he could forge a new identity in gun fire and blood, and that liberated women (and Jews) were responsible for his personal and racial decline. In his manifesto the opening line is “it’s the birth rates”, repeated three times.
It’s easy to diagnose the same pathologies in his comrades. Game developers Zoë Quinn, Brianna Wu and media critic Anita Sarkeesian – the victims in 2014’s Gamergate troll – were made targets for harassment for no other reason than they were women crossing the border between a man’s stuff (the spacies) and a woman’s role (sex and housework). In New Zealand the death threats against Golriz Ghahraman, our first MP who arrived in New Zealand as a refugee, are so frequent Parliamentary Services ensures special protection for the Green MP. The critics go after Ghahraman for everything from fakery (her “CV” is a lie, she isn’t a “real refugee”) to acting as part of a globalist conspiracy to wipe out the white race. It’s impressively stupid, of course, but the point isn’t the truth in the charges. It’s that an Iranian-born woman sits in our parliament.
The same trolls go for the prime minister on Twitter’s #TurnArdern hashtag too, condemning Jacinda as a lazy woman (#parttimePM) who coasts along on nothing more than her femininity (“she’s a pretty communist”). That’s hardly out of the ordinary, of course. In the 2000s print commentators were comfortable enough to throw equally chauvinist slurs at Helen Clark, using “Helengrad” for Clark as the controlling woman and “political dominatrix” for ball-breaking the men around her. The difference is today’s trolls serve their sexism with Islamophobia on top. Last year activist Rangi Kemara found a telling correlation between tweeters of Turn Ardern and tweeters of Islamophobia. The Christchurch man selling MAGA hats – “Make Ardern Go Away” – on TradeMe once wrote he would destroy “mosque after mosque till I am taken out”.
Give me the misogynist, to corrupt an old saying, and I’ll show you the Islamophobe.
Simone Weil, the French philosopher, would recognise in the turn to Europe – and the turn against women – a classic “uprooting”. In almost every country material comfort and security often rely on cutting the cord between a person, the past, and a present community: removing Indigenous people from their land; separating citizens from their homes and families in one place for work in another; and reducing people to their supposedly “innate” categories (race, gender, etc). These uprootings, in Weil’s words, are a “sickness of the soul” that leave men especially vulnerable to demagoguery. In their search for past and present connections they turn to “false conceptions” like patriotism and national greatness, and at the core of each in 2020: hatred for and fear of women.


What’s notable about this neo-fascist movement isn’t necessarily its reach but its mode. Online, yes, but more importantly: politically free. Other than finance, the alleged shooter had no political or bureaucratic restraints. He could post all the tell-tale things he apparently did, and it seemed neither the police nor the spy agencies would ever flag it. He could acquire the semi-automatic weapon the Crown charge him with using with nothing more than a gun licence – and the seller was under no obligation to log the purchase. And he could move between Australia and New Zealand’s practically open borders with only a passport and a straight face for the eGate.
I hope you register the irony in this. Borders were the very thing the alleged shooter was desperate to enforce against the Muslim hordes. After moving to New Zealand, ostensibly to plan an attack back home, the 28-year-old found instead that “the invaders were in all of our lands”. Even at the bottom of the world in formerly lily-white Christchurch. “Nowhere was safe”, he wrote. The alleged shooter, in a bonfire of pomposity and self-regard, actually did think himself at the centre of a civilisational struggle between the out-bred West and Islam. In the mind of the manifesto writer, massacring Muslims would enforce the borders the supposed sell outs in government wouldn’t.
But in allegedly killing the innocent people he did he wasn’t taking on a powerful soon-to-be majority. Rather, on one side is the 28-year-old with all his political and social freedoms, and on the other are the shooting’s victims who were living their lives under significant political and social restraints. The spy agencies were dedicating their resources to “Islamic terrorism”, not the alleged shooter’s terrorism. Police commit more resources to “street gangs” – that is, Māori – and barely even bother with the alleged shooter’s brothers and sisters in white power. The immigration department, as any anecdote can confirm, focuses disproportionate attention on non-white entries, and the only people who move freely between borders are people like the 28-year-old.
In short: non-white people live their lives under scrutiny and surveillance.
The government’s official response to the Christchurch shooting is to extend that scrutiny and surveillance to, well, white people. Jacinda Ardern is leading reforms to gun laws and the rules governing how online users share violent, racist, and other objectionable material. Last month the country’s top spies told a parliamentary select committee that they’re keeping watch on dozens of suspect characters. Police, even a year on, are still making home visits to destroy illegal weapons and otherwise interview lurkers and posters. The changes, taken together, rightly remove the freedom and options the alleged shooter had, and make it almost impossible for his comrades to organise.
Yet as good and necessary as those changes are some of the structural conditions that produce the racial distinctions the alleged shooter holds so dear are left intact.
In organised debating one of the famous moots is the “balloon debate”. In it each speaker, usually arguing on behalf of someone famous, proposes why the others shouldn’t toss him or her over the side of a hot air balloon in order to save the others. It’s a riveting hypothetical, placing six people in disaster’s mouth and exercising the collective choice to doom one and rescue the others. But for anyone who understands how it feels to have their apparent merits and demerits subject to “debate”, with someone else drawing up a balance sheet in red and black, it’s horrendous. The idea is we’re born equal, but after that all bets are off. This is what women, takatāpui, Māori, Muslims, and other deviations from the “norm” deal with most days.
Are we worthy?
It’s the same principle that organises immigration to New Zealand: who’s worthy? In our system the government literally attaches “points” to the world’s hopeful according to their potential for improving the lives of the hosts. Good English? Points. A tertiary qualification? Add to the tally. Assets? You’re basically in. The system’s political champions admire this approach for its rationality. Unlike the US where immigration sometimes relies on a lottery – eg the American Diversity Immigrant Visa – or just keen racism – i.e. the Muslim travel ban – New Zealand immigration is hassle-free and non-discriminatory.
It’s a self-serving argument, of course, because an immigration system where the purpose and function is defining inclusions and exclusions (who’s in and who’s out) is never neutral. When Winston Peters calls for tighter English language requirements, for example, that’s really an argument for conferring an advantage on applicants from the Anglosphere over people with equivalent skills or greater need from other parts of the world. This isn’t explicitly discriminatory, at least in the sense the exclusionary threshold doesn’t depend on a person’s race, but the impact is racist in that one group of people (mostly white) enjoy an advantage over another group (mostly non-white) thanks to nothing more than the great good fortune of being born an English speaker.
It’s a perversity. Yet this is what border systems, including our points system, do: they force you to think about inners and outers. The threshold between the worthy and the unworthy. This is one reason the refugee-led campaign to end the “family link policy” was so important. In removing the rule barring African and Middle Eastern refugees from settling in New Zealand (unless their family were already here) the campaigners saw to one of the worst racial exclusions our border system made. If you’re an optimist you might hope the other racist exclusions in our border laws – like The Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act, the legislation stripping Samoans of their Privy Council-confirmed New Zealand citizenship – are but a campaign away from abolition.
I’m a pessimist.
I suspect most people imagine borders as objects, a line in the ground demarcating our country from theirs. Yet the American southern border, as one example, is notable more for “the Wall’s” absence than its presence. The northern border is even less dramatic, a largely wide-open space with fences here and there to pen in the farm animals. In New Zealand airlines usually enforce the country’s borders thousands of kilometres from our actual line on the map. Under the Advance Passenger Screening programme carriers only board passengers with the appropriate documentation.
It’s another marvellous technocratic achievement, appointing airline staff as de facto border patrol agents. But like the points system the screening programme’s impacts can end up perverse and racial making it almost impossible for refugees and asylum seekers from “non-visa waiver countries” (i.e. the developing world) from ever making it far enough to lodge a claim for protection in New Zealand. The programme, more than anything else, exposes borders for what they really are – a list of biased inclusions and exclusions – and the structural violence borders perform are in whom they include (the English-speaking, the educated, the wealthy) and who they exclude (the desperate, the poor, the mostly brown and black).
The alleged shooter and the neo-fascist movement understand a struggle is happening over the nature and function of borders. This man recognised new borders – the “balkanisation of the US” – as the only way to guarantee “the future of the White race on the North American continent”. His comrades, like the neo-Nazi who went on a stabbing riot on a train in Oregon, claim their end goal is smashing the US into competing ethno-states. For them – and their king in President Trump – reconfiguring the borders, whether as policy changes to the inclusions and exclusions or new border lines entirely, is the best way to guarantee their political supremacy this century.
Are borders by their very nature racist?


I took my last trip to Christchurch a month and a half after March 15. I had a speaking engagement with Network Waitangi Otautahi, the local tauiwi Treaty group. I thought about putting it off. Post-March 15 the only conversations that seem urgent and necessary are about March 15. Taking up space felt wrong, and even stepping off the plane felt intrusive. The city was grieving. Even the affect was off. People were unusually quiet in public spaces. In private one person I spoke to was literally in tears. We weren’t talking about March 15 at all but she was thinking about it every day. Even that felt like I was taking up space. Am I here to grieve too? I thought about Sam Neill breaking down in a taxi when the news broke, openly weeping, and how he took comfort from his Muslim driver.
I spoke, in the end. Not entirely comfortably, but an intervention of one kind or another felt right after the racism debate went from “individual hate” to “firearms access” to “the internet”. Each is its own valid connection, sure, but it felt as if all the most important connections were missing. In the English-speaking world it’s fashionable to name private, individual acts as “racist”. The intolerant, unfair, or simply racial things that fall out of people’s mouths. Like “cheeky darkies” on the 7pm telly. But it’s unfashionable, of course, to name racist systems. Instead bureaucrats and opinion-makers opt for euphemisms like “unconscious bias”, reducing racism to a state of mind and not a systemic design.
This is why I thought it important to issue a reminder, in the very small way that I could: racism is a social relation. It’s the principle governing the relationship between coloniser – the people who took this land and built the institutions to control and profit from it – and colonised, the people from whom the land was taken and the institutions built to protect and exploit the founding theft. The same principle shapes the relationship between citizens – people who enjoy all the rights the state confers – and non-citizens, outsiders who must prove their worth through their contribution to citizens.
These are the systemic conditions that produce racism – unequal power relations – and it’s what makes it so easy to condemn the Māoris or the immigrants or whoever else. When one people are up and the other are down, and the scales are apparently resistant to any remedial attempts to balance them with Treaty settlements or an increase in the refugee and asylum seeker quota, it makes it seem as if their disadvantage is a state of nature and not a centuries-long project to exclude certain people from prosperity. To the alleged shooter his victims were by their very nature irredeemable, abusing the West’s generosity, and he understood himself as enacting the same permanent exclusions his ancestors made, from the Crusades to the war on terror.
In this sense, the alleged shooter was an individual racist. Of course he was. But in another sense he was taking our exclusionary systems to their logical end.
Is there any response to savagery like this? The government’s reforms are one. I entirely support them. And yet they fall so short. People will still define their identity in different nationalisms, just like the alleged shooter did, so long as there are racist border system to enforce them. Neo-fascists will still define their identities against women as long as there is an unequal “domestic sphere”, an unequal workplace, and a society where one group – men – accumulate and exercise disproportionate power over another – women, trans people, non-binary people. That makes the struggle against the alleged shooter’s politics longer than his trial, his probable conviction, and his probable imprisonment. It’s a generations-long struggle to destroy all the exclusions that make up our society and produce the conditions we know as racism.
On my read Simone Weil’s original, vital insight is that as people and communities we find our identities in the obligations we owe – and in the obligations owed to us. In those reciprocal relationships we find meaning and purpose. In the give and take, in its delights and frustrations, and in the everyday work of making a home in these islands. This is where we find our roots, connecting to each other in different ways – whether as Māori or women or Muslims – but never excluding. “They are us” is an inclusion. They are us is an affirmation. They are us is also an urgent and uncomfortable call to action. As New Zealanders, it’s our responsibility to take on every exclusionary system, whether it’s racist borders or enduring gender roles. The memory of those who lost their lives on March 15 demands no less."
submitted by lolpolice88 to Maori [link] [comments]

Mockingbird X.0

Imagine if there was one desk that all stories could cross so that, at 4am, a media plan could be decided upon and disseminated where all news outlets coordinated to set the goalposts of debate and hyper focused on specific issues to drive a narrative to control how you vote and how you spend money; where Internet shills were given marching orders in tandem to what was shown on television, printed in newspapers and spread throughout articles on the World Wide Web.
In the past, we had Operation Mockingbird, where the program was supremely confident that it could control stories around the world, even in instructions to cover up any story about a possible “Yeti” sighting, should it turn out they were real.
If, in 1959, the government was confident in its ability to control a story about a Yeti, then what is their level of confidence in controlling stories, today?
In fact, we have a recent example of a situation similar to the Yeti. When Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch met on the TARMAC to spike the Hillary email investigation, the FBI was so confident it wasn’t them, that their entire focus was finding the leaker, starting with searching within the local PD. We have documentation that demonstrates the state of mind of the confidence the upper levels of the FBI have when dealing with the media.
The marriage between mainstream media and government is a literal one and this arrangement is perfectly legal.
But, this problem extends far beyond politics; the private sector, the scientific community, even advice forums are shilled heavily. People are paid to cause anxiety, recommend people break up and otherwise sow depression and nervousness. This is due to a correlating force that employs “systems psychodynamics”, focusing on “tension centered” strategies to create “organizational paradoxes” by targeting people’s basic assumptions about the world around them to create division and provide distraction.
In this day and age, it is even easier to manage these concepts and push a controlled narrative from a central figure than it has ever been. Allen & Co is a “boutique investment firm” that managed the merger between Disney and Fox and operates as an overseeing force for nearly all media and Internet shill armies, while having it’s fingers in sports, social media, video games, health insurance, etc.
Former director of the CIA and Paul Brennan’s former superior George Tenet, holds the reigns of Allen & Co. The cast of characters involves a lot of the usual suspects.
In 1973, Allen & Company bought a stake in Columbia Pictures. When the business was sold in 1982 to Coca-Cola, it netted a significant profit. Since then, Herbert Allen, Jr. has had a place on Coca-Cola's board of directors.
Since its founding in 1982, the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference has regularly drawn high-profile attendees such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Johnson, Andy Grove, Richard Parsons, and Donald Keough.
Allen & Co. was one of ten underwriters for the Google initial public offering in 2004. In 2007, Allen was sole advisor to Activision in its $18 billion merger with Vivendi Games. In 2011, the New York Mets hired Allen & Co. to sell a minority stake of the team. That deal later fell apart. In November 2013, Allen & Co. was one of seven underwriters on the initial public offering of Twitter. Allen & Co. was the adviser of Facebook in its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February 2014.
In 2015, Allen & Co. was the advisor to Time Warner in its $80 billion 2015 merger with Charter Communications, AOL in its acquisition by Verizon, Centene Corporation in its $6.8 billion acquisition of Health Net, and eBay in its separation from PayPal.
In 2016, Allen & Co was the lead advisor to Time Warner in its $108 billion acquisition by AT&T, LinkedIn for its merger talks with Microsoft, Walmart in its $3.3 billion purchase of, and Verizon in its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo!. In 2017, Allen & Co. was the advisor to in PetSmart’s $3.35 billion purchase of the online retailer.
Allen & Co throws the Sun Valley Conference every year where you get a glimpse of who sows up. Harvey Weinstein, though a past visitor, was not invited last year.
Previous conference guests have included Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren and Susan Buffett, Tony Blair, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Allen alumnus and former Philippine Senator Mar Roxas, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Quicken Loans Founder & Chairman Dan Gilbert, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, financier George Soros, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, BET founder Robert Johnson, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, NBA player LeBron James, Professor and Entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun, Governor Chris Christie, entertainer Dan Chandler, Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, Diane Sawyer, InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur Wences Casares, EXOR and FCA Chairman John Elkann, Sandro Salsano from Salsano Group, and Washington Post CEO Donald E. Graham, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Oprah Winfrey.
George Tenet, with the reigns of Allen & Co in his hands, is able to single-handedly steer the entire Mockingbird apparatus from cable television to video games to Internet shills from a singular location determining the spectrum of allowable debate. Not only are they able to target people’s conscious psychology, they can target people’s endocrine systems with food and pornography; where people are unaware, on a conscious level, of how their moods and behavior are being manipulated.
"The problem with George Tenet is that he doesn't seem to care to get his facts straight. He is not meticulous. He is willing to make up stories that suit his purposes and to suppress information that does not."
"Sadly but fittingly, 'At the Center of the Storm' is likely to remind us that sometimes what lies at the center of a storm is a deafening silence."
Tenet joined President-elect Bill Clinton's national security transition team in November 1992. Clinton appointed Tenet Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council, where he served from 1993 to 1995. Tenet was appointed Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. Tenet held the position as the DCI from July 1997 to July 2004. Citing "personal reasons," Tenet submitted his resignation to President Bush on June 3, 2004. Tenet said his resignation "was a personal decision and had only one basis—in fact, the well-being of my wonderful family—nothing more and nothing less. In February 2008, he became a managing director at investment bank Allen & Company.
We have the documentation that demonstrates what these people could possibly be doing with all of these tools of manipulation at their fingertips.
The term for it is “covert political action” for which all media put before your eyes is used to serve as a veneer… a reality TV show facade of a darker modus operandum.
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever costs. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated means than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.
Intelligence historian Jeffrey T. Richelson says the S.A. has covered a variety of missions. The group, which recently was reorganized, has had about 200 officers, divided among several groups: the Special Operations Group; the Foreign Training Group, which trains foreign police and intelligence officers; the Propaganda and Political Action Group, which handles disinformation; the Computer Operations Group, which handles information warfare; and the Proprietary Management Staff, which manages whatever companies the CIA sets up as covers for the S.A.
Scientology as a CIA Political Action Group – “It is a continuing arrangement…”:
…Those operations we inaugurated in the years 1955-7 are still secret, but, for present purposes, I can say all that’s worth saying about them in a few sentences – after, that is, I offer these few words of wisdom. The ‘perfect’ political action operation is, by definition, uneventful. Nothing ‘happens’ in it. It is a continuing arrangement, neither a process nor a series of actions proceeding at a starting point and ending with a conclusion.
CIA FBI NSA Personnel Active in Scientology:
When you consider the number of forces that can be contained within a single “political action group” in the form on a “boutique investment firm,” where all sides of political arguments are predetermined by a selected group of actors who have been planted, compromised or leveraged in some way in order to control the way they spin their message.
The evidence of this coordinated effort is overwhelming and the “consensus” that you see on TV, in sports, in Hollywood, in the news and on the Internet is fabricated.
Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting. It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.'
Thus the uninformed reader will most likely develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped. However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'
When you find yourself feeling like common sense and common courtesy aren’t as common as they ought to be, it is because there is a massive psychological operation controlled from the top down to ensure that as many people as possible are caught in a “tension based” mental loop that is inflicted on them by people acting with purpose to achieve goals that are not in the interest of the general population, but a method of operating in secret and corrupt manner without consequences.
Notice that Jeffrey Katzenberg, of Disney, who is intertwined with Allen & Co funds the Young Turks. He is the perfect example of the relationship between media and politics.
Katzenberg has also been involved in politics. With his active support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he was called "one of Hollywood's premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party's top national fundraisers."
With cash from Jeffrey Katzenberg, The Young Turks looks to grow paid subscribers:
Last week, former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile entertainment company WndrCo was part of a $20 million funding round in TYT Network, which oversees 30 news and commentary shows covering politics, pop culture, sports and more. This includes the flagship “The Young Turks” program that streams live on YouTube every day. Other investors in the round included venture capital firms Greycroft Partners, and 3L Capital, which led the round. This brings total funding for Young Turks to $24 million.
How Hollywood's Political Donors Are Changing Strategies for the Trump Era:
Hollywood activism long has been depicted as a club controlled by a handful of powerful white men: Katzenberg, Spielberg, Lear, David Geffen, Haim Saban and Bob Iger are the names most often mentioned. But a new generation of power brokers is ascendant, including J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, cited for their personal donations and bundling skills; Shonda Rhimes, who held a get-out-the-vote rally at USC's Galen Center on Sept. 28 that drew 10,000 people; CAA's Darnell Strom, who has hosted events for Nevada congresswoman Jacky Rosen and Arizona congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema; and former Spotify executive Troy Carter, who held three fundraisers for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous (Carter also was a fundraiser for President Obama).
Soros Group Buys Viacom's DreamWorks Film Library:
Viacom, after splitting off from Les Moonves Les Moonves ' CBS , still holds Paramount Pictures, and that movie studio in December agreed to acquire DreamWorks SKG, the creative shop founded by the Hollywood triumvirate of Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg (a former exec at The Walt Disney Co.). DreamWorks Animation had been spun off into a separate company.
Now it's time for Freston to make back some money--and who better to do a little business with than George Soros? The billionaire financier leads a consortium of Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Entertainment II LLC, which together are buying the DreamWorks library--a collection of 59 flicks, including Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, and American Beauty.
The money you spend on media and junk food and in taxes goes to these groups who then decide how best to market at you so that they decide how you vote by creating a fake consensus to trick into thinking that you want something other than what is best for you; but will inevitably result in more money being funneled to the top, creating further separation between the super rich and the average person. The goal will be to assert creeping authoritarianism by generating outrage against policies and issues they hate. Part of manipulating your basic assumptions is also to use schadenfreude (think canned laughter on TV) against characters who support the cause that might actually do you the most good (which reaffirms and strengthens your confirmation biased along predetermined political lines).
We have a population being taught to hate socialism and love capitalism when the truth is no country is practicing either. These terms are merely disguises for political oligarchies where the collection of wealth is less about getting themselves rich and more about keeping everyone else poor.
What can you guess about the world around you if it turned out that every consensus that was forced on you was fake?
How much money would it take to make it look like 51% of the Internet believed in completely idiotic ideas? Combine shill operations with automation and AI’s, and the cost becomes a good investment relative to the return when measured in political power.
Even the people who are well intentioned and very vocal do not have to consciously be aware that they are working for a political action group. A covert political group will always prefer an unwitting tool to help push their agenda, so that they can remain in the shadows.
FDA Admonishes Drug Maker Over Kim Kardashian Instagram Endorsement
The OSS files offer details about other agents than famous chef, Julia Child; including Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, major league catcher Moe Berg, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and actor Sterling Hayden.
USA Today: Businesses and organizations may refer to it as a tool for competitive advantage and marketing; but make no mistake
Shareblue accounts caught in /politics posting links to Shareblue without disclosing their affiliation
Psy Group developed elaborate information operations for commercial clients and political candidates around the world
Top mod of /Mechanical_Gifs tries to sell subreddit on ebay for 999.00 dollars.
Shill posts picture of a dog in a hammock with the brand clearly visible without indicating that it's an ad in the title of the post
Arstechnica: GCHQs menu of tools spreads disinformation across Internet- “Effects capabilities” allow analysts to twist truth subtly or spam relentlessly.
Samsung Electronics Fined for Fake Online Comments
Discover Magazine: Researchers Uncover Twitter Bot Army That’s 350
Times of Israel - The internet: Israel’s new PR battlefield
Time: Social Media Manipulation? When “Indie” Bloggers and Businesses Get Cozy
Content-Driven Detection of Campaigns in Social Media [PDF]
the law preventing them from using this in America was repealed
Redditor who works for a potato mailing company admits to being a shill. He shows off his 27 thousand dollars he made in /pics
Screenshot of post since it was removed.
Just thought I'd contribute to this thread
CNN: A PR firm has revealed that it is behind two blogs that previously appeared to be created by independent supporters of Wal-Mart. The blogs Working Families for Wal-mart and subsidiary site Paid Critics are written by 3 employees of PR firm Edelman
Vice: Your Government Wants to Militarize Social Media to Influence Your Beliefs
BBC News: China's Internet spin doctors
BBC News: US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
Wall Street Journal: Turkey's Government Forms 6
Fake product reviews may be pervasive
USA Today: The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted that he was behind a series of websites used in an attempt to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor.
ADWEEK: Marketing on Reddit Is Scary
BBC- How online chatbots are already tricking you- Intelligent machines that can pass for humans have long been dreamed of
BBC news: Amazon targets 1
BBC: More than four times as many tweets were made by automated accounts in favour of Donald Trump around the first US presidential debate as by those backing Hillary Clinton
Fake five-star reviews being bought and sold online - Fake online reviews are being openly traded on the internet
Bloomberg: How to Hack an Election [and influence voters with fake social media accounts]
"Internet Reputation Management
Buzzfeed: Documents Show How Russia’s Troll Army Hit America
The Rise of Social Bots
CBC News- Canadian government monitors online forums
Chicago Tribune: Nutrition for sale: How Kellogg worked with 'independent experts' to tout cereal
DailyKos: HBGary: Automated social media management
Meme Warfare Center
Shilling on Reddit is openly admitted to in this Forbes article
Forbes: From Tinder Bots To 'Cuban Twitter'
Huffington Post- Exposing Cyber Shills and Social Media's Underworld
The Independent: Massive British PR firm caught on video: "We've got all sorts of dark arts...The ambition is to drown that negative content and make sure that you have positive content online." They discuss techniques for managing reputations online and creating/maintaining 3rd-party blogs that seem independent.
New York Times: Lifestyle Lift
New York Times: Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online
NY Times- From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg
NY Times: Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation
PBS Frontline Documentary - Generation Like
Gamers promote gaming-gambling site on youtube by pretending to hit jackpot without disclosing that they own the site. They tried to retroactively write a disclosure covering their tracks
Raw Story: CENTCOM engages bloggers
Raw Story: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people
Salon: Why Reddit moderators are censoring Glenn Greenwald’s latest news story on shills
The Atlantic: Kim Kardashian was paid to post a selfie on Instagram and Twitter advertising a pharmaceutical product. Sent to 42 million followers on Instagram and 32 million on Twitter
The Guardian: Internet Astroturfing
The Guardian: Israel ups the stakes in the propaganda war
Operation Earnest Voice
The Guardian: British army creates team of Facebook warriors
The Guardian: US military studied how to influence Twitter [and Reddit] users in Darpa-funded research [2014]
The Guardian: Chinese officials flood the Chinese internet with positive social media posts to distract their population
Times of Israel: Israeli government paying bilingual students to spread propaganda online primarily to international communities without having to identify themselves as working for the government. "The [student] union will operate computer rooms for the was decided to establish a permanent structure of activity on the Internet through the students at academic institutions in the country."
USA Today: Lord & Taylor settles FTC charges over paid Instagram posts
Researcher's algorithm weeds out people using multiple online accounts to spread propaganda - Based on word choice
Wired: Powered by rapid advances in artificial intelligence
Wired: Clinton Staff and Volunteers Busted for Astroturfing [in 2007]
Wired: Pro-Government Twitter Bots Try to Hush Mexican Activists
Wired: Microsoft
Wired: Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’
Wired: Air Force Releases ‘Counter-Blog’ Marching Orders
Reddit Secrets
Reddit Secrets
"Once we isolate key people
GCHQ has their own internet shilling program
US also operates in conjunction with the UK to collect and share intelligence data
Glenn Greenwald: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate
Glenn Greenwald: Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet
Here is a direct link to your image for the benefit of mobile users
Reddit for iPhone
Why Satoshi Nakamoto Has Gone
What I learned selling my Reddit accounts
Artificial intelligence chatbots will overwhelm human speech online; the rise of MADCOMs
How Reddit Got Huge: Tons of Fake Accounts - According to Reddit cofounder Steve Huffman
Whistleblower and subsequent investigation: Paid trolls on /Bitcoin
Confession of Hillary Shill from /SandersForPresident
Why do I exist?
Already a direct link?
Here's the thread.
/netsec talks about gaming reddit via sockpuppets and how online discourse is (easily) manipulated.
Redditor comes clean about being paid to chat on Reddit. They work to promote a politician
Shill whistleblower
Russian bots were active on Reddit last year
The Bush and Gore campaigns of 2000 used methods similar to the Chinese government for conducting “guided discussions” in chatrooms designed to influence citizens
source paper.
or Click Here. Alleged paid shill leaks details of organization and actions.
Shill Confessions and Additional Information
Corporate and governmental manipulation of Wikipedia articles
Ex -MMA fighter and ex-police officer exposes corrupt police practices
User pushes InfoWars links on Reddit
Some websites use shill accounts to spam their competitor's articles
User posts video using GoPro
Fracking shill whistleblower spills the beans on Fracking Internet PR
Directorate of Operations
October 16, 1964
Subject: After action report of
Operation CUCKOO (TS)

1) Operation CUCKOO was part of the overall operation CLEANSWEEP, aimed at eliminating domestic opposition to activities undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency's special activities division, in main regard to operation GUILLOTINE.

2) Operation CUCKOO was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense and the office of The President of the United States as a covert domestic action to be under taken within the limits of Washington D.C as outlined by Secret Executive Order 37.

3) Following the publishing of the Warren Commission, former special agent Mary Pinchot Meyer (Operation MOCKINGBIRD, Operation SIREN) also was married to Cord Meyer (Operation MOCKINGBIRD, Operation GUILLOTINE) threatened to disclose the details of several Special Activities Divisions' operations, including but not limited to, Operation SIREN and GUILLOTENE.
4) It was deemed necessary by senior Directorate of Operations members to initiate Operation CUCKOO as an extension of Operation CLEANSWEEP on November 30th. After Mary Pinchot Meyer threatened to report her knowledge of Operation GUILLOTENE and the details of her work in Operation SIREN from her affair with the former President.

5) Special Activities Division was given the green light after briefing president Johnson on the situation. The situation report was forwarded to the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of staff, who both approved of the parameters of the operation, as outlined under article C of secret executive order 37 (see attached copy of article).
6) 8 members of the special activities division handpicked by operation lead William King Harvey began planning for the operation on October 3rd, with planned execution before October 16th.

7) The (?) of the operation was set as the neighborhood of Georgetown along the Potomac river, where the operators would observe, take note on routines, and eventually carry the operation.

8) After nothing Meyer's routines, Edward "Eddy" Reid was picked as the operation point man who would intersect Meyer on her walk on October 12th, with lead William King Harvey providing long range support if necessary from across the Chesapeake and Ohio canal (see illustration A for detailed map).

9) Edward Reid was planned to be dressed in the manner of a homeless black man, due to his resemblances to local trash collector (later found out to be Raymond Crump) who inhabits the AO and the path that Reid was planned to intersect Meyer.
submitted by The_Web_Of_Slime to Intelligence [link] [comments]

I've just completed the Hershel Layton Hexology. Here are my thoughts on each game.

Last year, I decided that I was going to replay all the Professor Layton games in order to fully appreciate the story and narrative. I'd played CV close to launch, as with DB - but then I didn't pick up another one for years. I'd watched LPs of the few other games but never managed to finish them. So I went out and completed my collection and decided to replay them.
I intend to play PLvAA - I watched an LP of that years ago, and I loved the AA franchise like a son when they were releasing too. I also intend to play the Katrielle (daughter) game after that, which I'm going into blind - so please, no spoilers on Katrielle*. And no, I didn't save scum for max picarats. I just used a guide. Sad truth is, I'm an adult now and I don't have the free time to play story games without assistance because I don't have hours of time to spare anymore. I solved most of them on my own then checked the answer to see if I was right - judge as you want.*
Anyway, a good gentlemen doesn't keep Reddit waiting. and also, spoilers for the series.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

I first played this game around its launch - maybe a bit later. 2009? And it absolutely blew me away. The story was great, the puzzles were great (for the most part. Those block sliding ones and the "Calculate this math" ones I'm not keen on.
And the mystery was great too. The plot twisted and turned at every point, yet it all still made sense and was easy to follow. And it was very unlikely you would figure out the mysteries until Layton did too - which is something I've noticed the later games struggled with.
It might have seemed a little left field to have a town filled with robots, and for Layton to leave the town to it's own devices - but you have to remember this comes straight off the heels of Azran Legacy, timeline-wise. And if you're familiar with how that ends, then it makes perfect sense for Layton's character.
Things that are great about CV in particular:
The music - I'm willing to bet good money you can still hum this games puzzles' theme. I imagine the xylophone-chiming is still stuck in your head.
The minigames - sorting furniture out for Layton and Luke was a fun, if easy puzzle. The painting was likewise fun, especially when you've assembled most of it and you realize it's upside down. Gizmo the dog was fine, too. More of a "collection" that the later games would focus on.
Final verdict:
CV is a great game. And I don't think it's fair many people put it on the bottom, or near-bottom, of their ranking lists. I think this game suffers heavily from first game syndrome - just because it's vanilla doesn't mean it's bad. Vanilla is tasty.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Pandora's Box

In the UK, it's called Pandora's Box, but I'm calling it DB for clarity and ease. Also, why not just the Elysian Box? That's the name of the bloody thing.
Another great Layton game I played around its launch. It's exactly what fans wanted - more of the same, elsewhere. I don't enjoy this game as much, as I feel the first half wants to both rush you out of Dropstone to Folsense yet drag along so you don't miss the important story foreshadowing. It's an awkward pace - like when you're trying to overtake someone.
And again, you couldn't predict the main mystery too early - even though it made sense once it was explained. Although some of the smaller mysteries (if they deserve to be called that) are pathetic, in my opinion. That "missing little baby"? I knew it was a dog the minute I saw the woman - you could just tell the game was setting up a bait-and-switch. Layton immediately assuming it was a boy was not only fallacious (considering his previous experience - he's solved four mysteries at this point) but entirely out of character.
And so was him missing Flora's Team Rocket Disguise, yet calling her out on it later on. The only reason I can think these mysteries are as simple as they are is so they didn't exclude the people who heard Layton was good and picked up Game 2 before Game 1. I get it - but I don't like it.
Anton was great though. That whole final bit escaping the castle was just as tense as the first time, and I knew what was coming. Bloody brilliant character - and it's a shame he only got so much screentime. More could have been done with his character and relationship with Sophia.
Things that are great about DB in particular:
The tea minigame - I like the Danny DeVito hamster. His minigame isn't fun but he is. The camera minigame is... fine. But the tea minigame was great. Figuring out which teas are worth a damn, figuring out who wanted what drink. It was great. The only thing this needed was a way to offer people tea without having to wait 'til they were thirsty. Otherwise, it's perfect.
The setting - Folsense, in particular, is fantastic. While it feels a bit awkwardly paced as most of the story seems to take place over one night, it nevertheless feels great to explore. I remember where most everything is in Folsense all these months after beating it.
Final verdict:
I like DB. I like DB more than I like CV, if I'm honest. But I don't think it's better. I think a lot of people rank this above CV only because it does more with the setting. Some of the puzzles are harder, more taxing - which is great for returning players, but the newbies who might have joined the bandwagon wrong will likely get frustrated with some of them. Yet, if they should be playing CV first then this one, why have the easy bloody mysteries at the beginning? It just seems weird to me. Of course, that's just my opinion, and you might have a different opinion, well then:

Professor Layton and the Lost Unwound Future

In the UK, it's called Lost Future, but I'm calling it UF for clarity and ease. Lost Future makes more sense, but Unwound Future just sounds better.
I missed this one at launch. I watched an LP of it around 2013 and yes, this game is exactly as good as people make it out to be. Layton gets a letter from a Future Luke Triton, who invites him to the London of tomorrow where Hershel Layton has become the Crime Boss, the MVP, the man to fear, of London.
It's a great story that deserves to be experienced blind. It really is. Every character completes their character arc in this game - some I didn't realise had arcs set up. The game a a bit of a letdown in the minigame department this time round - I didn't like the car game much - just a reskin of the hamster one. The picture book one, I enjoyed a little. Don't like the parrot one, though. But the game made up for those with strides in regards to the story. I think it speaks for itself, and there's nothing I can add that hasn't already been set.
Things that are great about UF in particular:
The story.

\"You don't have to say anything at all.\"
The setting - Future London is nifty, but navigating it is a bit odd. It's nice to be able to explore London, though, for once. Layton games take place in a weird futuristic Victorian era bubble where everyone drives around in Model T's but they've landed on the moon? That's one puzzle I've never figured out. But it's nice that they expanded it as I imagine many players were waiting to see it in game - and the fast travel options are a lot nicer for end-game puzzle-hunting, too. Not needed, but welcome none-the-less.
Final verdict:
I can see why people think of this as the best game in the series. I'm inclined to agree, but there's something in my heart telling me that some of the goodwill I feel to this game is peer-pressure from everyone else. It's longer, meatier and better than both the previous games. I think it does deserve the title of Best Layton game, honestly, even if I can't put my finger on why.

Professor Layton and the Last Spectre's Call.

In the UK, it's called Spectre's Call, but I'm calling it LS for clarity and ease. I don't care either way in terms of the names.
I imagine someone here has taken umbrage with my opinion that Diabolical Box is worse than Curious Village. Those people should stop reading.
In my own, personal, absolutely infallable opinion which if you disagree with well then that's anti-soviet behavior and the courts find you guilty and sentence you to be shot - I like Professor Layton and the Last Spectre's Call more than Unwound Future.

[Actual screencap of my inbox right now.](
Maybe that's not objectively true. The story in LS is far weaker than UF. But I don't love this game for the story, if I'm honest. No, what UF is to plot, LS is to characterisation, in my humble, irrefutable opinion. It's nice to see how Luke met Layton. It's nice to meet a cast of new characters. I like Aldus more than Stachenscarfen - he's funnier and it's nice to see a tutorial character break the fourth wall by essentially pulling a Tuxedo Mask "My job here is done," "But I already knew that.". It fits the series humour. Emmy is great. She's probably my favourite character of the series at this point - she's essentially a mix of Layton and Don Paolo's best traits. And her humour is damn near spot on for the series. Layton has his moments but being a gentleman he won't do anything beneath a gentleman. Luke also has his moments, but they're only so many times a child squaring up like he's ten fucking men only to hastily back out on the raise is funny.
Emmy, on the other hand, is exactly what the Layton duo needed. She sees herself as Layton Lite but is more than willing to stoop to Luke's level.
Emmy: Professor, this reminds me of a puzzle... from an insane asylum.

Layton: Emmy, please don't do that. I don't want to explain to Clark that we broke down his son's door because we couldn't solve a puzzle.

Emmy: Put the back of the back back so that the back's back is facing back. Professor, I think my brain just exploded.
She's the breath of fresh air this game needed, considering it's now the same gameplay four times in a row. I honestly think gameplay fatigue weighs heavily on people's minds here, as the incremental improvements to the game begin to slow down quite a bit. What the writers did to her in Azran Legacy should be considered a war crime - they had two games to write her out of the corner they knew they were in, and what they went with was awful. A heroic sacrifice, to explain why she was retconned. Or maybe she was injured in the finale of AL, so she had to sit out the original CVDBUF trilogy. Something that didn't irredeemably betray her character, seeing as she spent two and a half games built up as a pseudo-sister to Luke and pseudo-daughter to Layton. It just saddens me, honestly.
Also fantastic is Descolé - I realize it's not accented, but it should be, really. Anyway, Descolé. What a magnificent bastard he is. He's mysterious, charming, suave - he's a foil to Don Paolo, who was quite hot-blooded and impulsive. Descolé is cold, calculating, and although he does have some "heart-of-gold" moments, he's very clearly on the side of Descolé. Sometimes that opposes Layton, sometimes it doesn't - it just depends on what Targent are up to. More on them in a bit.
The story's a lot more bog-standard this time round - it's weaker than Curious Village, and that's the game where they were just finding their feet with plots. That Loosha whale thing was an ass-pull that existed only for a teary moment at the end I couldn't help but laugh at. Seamus actually being a young man in costume, like the dog in DB, was a twist so blatantly sodding obvious I sincerely hope no one was expected to take it seriously. Also, what was up with his fucking accent? I promise you now, not one human being alive on this earth talks like that, and certainly not in England. And again, some of the story beats don't really seem to go anywhere. The witch storyline, the corrupt cops, I don't know. There's a lack in the payoff, that's for sure.
The minigames are also lackluster, again. Which is a shame. The train one was good, but the puppet show one was boring, and I ended up giving up with it until the very end. when I had the words. Fish one was again, just... there. And the mice game. What was up with that? Is it a little bit of fun? Yeah. But awarding 100 points per mouse max, and wanting me to get 1,000,000 points by grinding again and again? fuck off, mate.
Things that are great about LS in particular:
The music.
Misthallery's Many Canals.
Puzzle Theme.
A Strange Story.
The Black Market.
Foggy Misthallery.
The Train Theme.
Descole's Theme.
The Final Battle.
The Golden Garden.
Final verdict:
Layton has always had some stellar songs, but LS certainly has the highest density of absolute bangers. This game's music, as well as it's characters, absolutely rise above the story. Not to the heights of UF, no. But that was a tough act to follow - be a new UF, AND set up a new trilogy? You try it.
I honestly don't think the game deserves the rap it gets. Alright, no one says they hate it - but I really do think things like fatigue and UF weigh on people's judgement of the game, especially if you're shotgunning through the series like I did.

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

This is the bit of the trilogy where you get to watch Eternal Diva, spoiler free. It's fantastic, although I didn't this time round because I wasn't able to find the DVD I bought. I have seen it, and it's great. All the VA's return, and it really does capture the spirit of the games while also throwing in all sorts of references for the fans. I don't remember much of the story, as I thought it was a little confusing, but that's not really the film's fault. Video game films can be good - Eternal Diva proves it. Get it cheap on eBay or Amazon or somewhere. I wouldn't pay more than a few bucks/quid for it, though. $10/£10 seems fair. If you're a fan of the cutscene bits in Layton, you'll love this. And also, it helps flesh out Descolé, which is a nice plus.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

The series moves to 3DS for it's fifth installment.
I own a DS but not a 3DS. Is it worth picking one up for these two games?
Yes, it is. Get a 2DS, because the 3D effect is nice, but only really adds a bit of depth in the cutscenes. Also, 2DS is cheaper. They're essentially the same console, except you can fold one of them. And many games never ended up doing anything with the 3D after 2012 anyway.
The jump to 3D improves the series substantially - no longer is movement awkward and fiddly (did you know you can drag the shoe and suitcase across the screen, if you're lefthanded? I didn't. But I kept bloody doing it in DB, UF and LS.) but instead you click the spot on the map you want to travel to. The graphics improve, with Layton, Luke and Emmy as well as the other characters sporting 3DS models. They look great, and would be improved on again in AL, even though I thought they were good in MM.
I think there's something charming about MM's models - but AL's do look nicer.
Anyway, this time around the Masked Gentleman is running around and destroying the city of Monte D'Or, where we get to learn more about Professor Layton's backstory. We meet characters like Angela and Henry LeDore, who both knew Layton as a teen with best buddy Randall Ascot, who tragically disappeared in the Akbadain Ruins when he and Layton explored them years ago.
Series veterans, at this point, will likely be able to see some of the big reveals coming, which only gets more and more subtle (spelled with sledgehammers) as the climax approaches. I enjoyed the story, and some of the mysteries were intriguing. The shop minigame was interesting, and the robot one was fine. I didn't much like the rabbit play one, though - it was too much trial and error if you chose the wrong move, and considering how some of the hints are worded, that was infuriating. The horse one, likewise, was good but infuriating when going after all the flags. Don't bother - I didn't.
Once again, the characters are funny and likeable - Aldus makes his return, and Emmy continues to bring much needed levity to the darkening plot begining to unfold. Like the bit where she sees the comment cards in the town hall:
Emmy: I'm tempted to write silly things on them!
Layton: I would advise agai— Oh, she's already started. [pulls hat over his eyes]
Or the bit when they go to the theme park.
Luke: Look, Professor! Families get thirty percent off all the rides!
Layton: Yes, Luke. Emmy. I know what you're thinking.
And she's more than willing to kick down the fourth wall for us fans to have a good laugh.
Luke: A ferris wheel chasing people around? That's just silly, Emmy!
Things that are great about MM in particular:
The puzzle design really improves in this game - the 3DS gives it much more in way of options for the puzzles. That trek through Akbadain was great for someone who never got to play LS's London Life. Who the fuck thought getting rid of that for Multiple language support was a good idea? You've already released the game in six languages, just have one language per game you shitheads, I bought the English version of the game for fuck's sake so I'm not exactly looking to play it in hablo Espanol am I? Cunts.
The daily puzzles were great, too, and I definitely prefer these batch to AL's, even though half of them end up in that game anyway.
Final Verdict:
The story's far better than LS. It's a bit predictable, it's a bit Friendship is Magic, but it's also exactly what you'd expect from Professor Layton. It ends on a happy note, which might not fit with the events that unfold in the climax, or the tragedy of the story before the ending, but I'm okay with that. I'm reminded of the last lines in Harry Potter Six, where it goes something along the lines of:
Tomorrow, Harry will have to begin his search in earnest. He will have to confront his fears, his past, Voldemort. He will have to leave everything he loves behind. But that was for tomorrow. Today, was for Harry to enjoy. The tears would come tomorrow.
I may have butchered that. It's been a long time since I read that book. All in all, I don't really have a lot to say about MM since most of my time was spent with the Daily Puzzles - it's all sort of blurred together, like an artist mixing paints until it all goes a bit grey.
Also, am I the only one who thought it was odd the ending credits had steel drums solos and other island-themed music for a game set solely in a desert? Not complaining - the song is cheery and good to listen to if you need to perk up. Just seems a bit out of place.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

And here we are - the end of the hexology. Azran Legacy does for the world of Professor Layton what UF did for London - expands the world and the lore and makes it feel a more complete universe. Many new characters are introduced, but many are forgettable as a result. There's this one guy, Mackintosh, who I only remembered because I thought he looks a bit like Where's Waldo:

Which made it all the more funnier later on when he goes fucking missing.
Aurora was fine, but again, we've all seen the monotone, dead-eyed little girl tropes before. Her arc was an unexpectedly expected reveal, and her story ties back into the plot of Curious Village in a nice way (that bookend of the drive to St. Mystere was brilliant and I loved it). Bronev, and Targent on a whole, however, was quite a bit of a letdown for me - Bronev shows up out of nowhere at the climax of MM, and he's nowhere to be seen or heard about in LS (as far as I know). He's foreshadowed very poorly through the trilogy and while I like the idea of Layton-Descole-Bronev all sharing a past, it certainly isn't built up enough. Again, like with UF, I don't want to spoil the story as I feel you really deserve to see it for yourself if you haven't.
The only thing I'll fault the ending on is, as I said, what they did to Emmy's character. Her being a double agent feels like an ass-pull the series writers of HIMYM came up with. All her characterisation, undone in an instant. I really hope they write a repention arc in for her in the Katrielle game but don't tell me if they do - no spoilers.
Things that are great about AL in particular:
Desmond Sycamore! My god, and I thought Emmy was a breath of fresh air!
If you paid attention to the ending of MM then the big twist regarding Sycamore should be apparent. And yet, unlike the other predictable twists, it doesn't feel forced. In fact, noticing that Descolé's pal Raymond is the same guy as Sycamore's servant feels more a reward for paying attention, especially when you imagine the year gap between releases. Sycamore is just a great character - he's essentially Descolé but in the Layton party. Some of his moments are absolutely fantastic, but I really wish they let his snarky comments land with the NPCs if not the party. Also the name is great - Desmond Sycamore. Des Sycamore. Des-ca...more. Descolé. That's what tipped me off the first time I watched an LP of this game. Also the fact they're both voiced by Walter Rego.
Also, the Daily Puzzles are back! And they're great. Almost perfect! Apart from this one little achievement they've got where you have to do at least one daily puzzle every day for fifty days which can fuck off from wherever the people who ruined Emmy and thought London Life would flop in Europe fucked off to. I did it. It took me four fucking hours to reset my 2DS time every five minutes, more if you count the time I forgot to save on a 29-day streak so essentially did 80 days of constant puzzle solving for a shitty little flute.
Also, the minigames in particular were a let down this time around. The flower one was interesting at first, but the squirrel one was just a rehash of the same car one I've beaten three, maybe four times now.
Final verdict:
Azran Legacy was great, as were all of these games. Getting to see different locales was brilliant, seeing as I often got cabin fever towards the end of the other five games seeing the same areas over and over again. It was also nice you could visit them out of order, although why would you want to, honestly? That of course meant the puzzle difficulty levels off for a long time, but for younger or more casual fans thats fine. Someone below has made the argument that AL doesn't build towards a grander theme because of scattered locales, but I think for one game it's a nice change of pace. Layton ain't an exploration game by design so getting to explore felt like a reward for sticking with the series. I'm glad I did this.
Edit: I forgot to mention this in the original review, but I also immensely enjoyed the idea of daily puzzles in the last two games. Often, when I wasn't in a story mood, it was nice to fall back on getting the last few trophies for my collections in MM and AZ. I liked the idea of weekly puzzles in the first four games, and did most of the ones I had downloaded way back when, but these were like an Italian chef kissing his fingers for me. Simply sublime.

View the review for the Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright game here.

Edit as of 01/08/2020: I will not be reviewing Katrielle and the Millionaire's Conspiracy as first planned. I have finished three cases of that game and my initial impressions soon fell apart as I realized the game was simply... not for me, to put it diplomatically.
My thoughts on Katrielle are as follows: Play this Layton game first, but absolutely do not play it last. I played the 3DS version, maybe the switch is better, but I found it incredibly fiddly when writing in answers because a tap on the screen did a "pond-ripple" effect rather than writing, and I had to double-tap just to write.
I just... I just didn't like it, and I honestly don't expect it to get better. I figured the bird ate the camera roll... but the fact it SHIT ON THE ROLL, and Sheldon Cuntflaps was too proud to run the tape through the machine and cut it away shouldn't be lauded... it shouldn't even be laughed at. He should be fired for a) destruction of property and b) bringing an animal into work even though it was already against the rules.
That was when I said "fuck this, I'm out", which was a shame. Also, the names were all over the place this time. Lowonida, the Celtic word for London and also "Law and Order"? Contrived but damn clever. But Sherl O. C. Kholmes?
No. First time I heard that I think I actually, audibly retched. He even stumbles saying it in his puzzle victory speech. "They don't call me Sherl O. C. Kholmes for nothing." Maybe the O. C. stands for OC, like "My Sonic the Hedgehog OC DO NOT STEAL".
What was wrong with "Watson"? Or, like Earnest says, "Shirley"? Sherlock Basset, Shirley Basset for short. There you go - that's a name everyone can fucking enjoy.
submitted by JunpeiHarry to ProfessorLayton [link] [comments]

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