Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Rethinking the Rhetorical Situation

A constitutive rhetorical text is Bitzer's 'The Rhetorical Situation', which has given many a student of Rhetoric a 'Wow-experience'.

But however insightfull and pleasing the article is, its age begins to show.

Here is an article that shouts: 'Bitzer, move over'. Not the first of its kind but Rethinking the Rhetorical Situation from Within the Thematic of Differance, a response to Lloyd F. Bitzer's essay on the rhetorical situation, re-working the arguments of Richard Vatz from the perspective of Lacan and American appropriations of Derrida by Barbara A. Biesecker takes post-modernism seriously:

"Critiques bring to the analysis of rhetorical events various assumptions about the nature of symbolic action. Yet almost invariably they share common presuppositions about the constituent elements of the rhetorical situation and the logic that informs the relations between them."


Reporting Wars

A new course at KCL by Dr. Peter Busch (who supervised my dissertation on Danish Persuasive Information Operations) is using a blog as an teaching tool. Nice to see that - so far it seem that it mainly has been an American phenomenon.

Looks interesting. I should have stayed in London for that one!

Reporting Wars

Open Source and Shellfish

OSINT has been a bit downplayed on this blog for a while, but now it is coming back with a vengance.

I had a funny experience once. Being in contact with an Intelligence service I came to wonder how much could be gathered from electronical evidence available open source on the internet on that particular service. Didn't find any hidden files, but rather a quite bizarre and blurry connection from the Service to a shellfish-farmer. Still puzzles me.

On the excellent IWAR forum there is an article on OSINT and the internet: Corporate Open Source Information Leakage.


Al Qaeda the Aid Organisation

Today the Danish paper Politiken reports that the ideological leader of Al Qaeda Al Zawahiri is urging for help to the earth-quake stricken population of Pakistan. Politiken observes that this urges comes 'despite Pakistan having close links to Al Qaeda's sworn enemy the US' and thus illustrating a complete dufus* grasp of the political aims and methods of AQ.

Because the urge is not surprising considering a number of observations:

* AQ is mainly going for the US as they support those regiemes that are AQ's main enemy.
* Islamic militants have a close connection to Islamic Aid Organisations. As an example AQ started out in the logistical work surrounding the Mujaheedin movement in Afghanistan. Hamas, the Palestinian organisation, has a militant arm, but more importantly a very strong social aid organisation.
* The principles of Islam stresses aiding the poor - It is actually one of the five pillars of faith, called the Zakat: The Prophet said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ' He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do good.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'

Thus it is not very surprising, really, that Zawahiri would come with such a call.

* Don't know if you can say 'dufus' like that, but I like the word, so hereby it is instituted.

Viceværtens skræk

Efter en blød morgen med kæreste, æg, bacon, morgenavis, solskin og blæst i min parks gule træer udenfor ødelægger Politikens Netavis min viceværts-tilværelse ved at forudsige en frygtelig og iskold vinter.


Danish Rhetoricians actually publishing...

Wuhu! Finally. The young Rhetoricians at University of Copenhagen gets into character and rectifies the abysmal lack of international publications from the oldest and most established full university education in rhetoric in Northern Europe.

Perhaps that can make the rest of us a bit more cockish.

Philosophy and Rhetoric, Volume 38, 2005: "Rhetoricians Identified: A Call to Interdisciplinary Action and How it Resonated in the Field of Rhetoric" by Christiane Isager and Sine Nørholm Just.


'I am the president of Iraq. I do not recognise this court'

Status or Stasis are rhetorical heuristics for illuminating a case of law. It is questions of 'Did he do it?', 'Was he right to do it?' etc.

Today the Guardian prints a clean example of the the rather rare Status Translativus argument, as presented by former president and dictator Saddam Hussein, when he asserts that 'the court is not the right one' and that he thus shouldn't be tried.


Quote of the day

The Shia branch of Islam is a very fascinating religion. While reading Elias Canetti's 'Mass and Power' I fell over this beautiful quotation - and, yeah, a bit macabre as well:

'For a Shiite it is impossible not to cry. His heart is a living grave, the real grave for the beheaded martyr's head.'

For general ignorants about Islam like myself, this quote might throw some illumination on the yearly processions in the Iraqi Town of Kerbela, where the heir to Muhammad Hussain was killed, beheaded and trampled down into the earth by horses. And you thought the Catholics were melancholic!

By the way, the murder was perpetrated in the month of muharram, on the tenth day, ashura. The legend goes that if you are buried in the holy town, you won't be questioned on the day of reckoning and go directly into paradise. Therefor quite a large industry of burials evolved in Kerbala. In that aspect it seems quite similar to the Indian city of Varanasi.

Elias Canetti, 'Masse og Magt' (København: Samlerens Bogklub, 1996)


The Russian Gambit

The attack on Naltjik is a classical example of revolutionary warfare. Hoping to spread the sticky seeds of war, the insurgents sacrifice quite a lot in a military campaign that is doomed beforehand.

Hopefully they won't be able to strike that spark which can set Caucasus off...


Danish soldier dead in Iraq

A Danish soldier has been killed in Iraq. That is the first casualty of enemy fire since the start of the war.

This might reignite a debate over why Denmark is in Iraq. But also the more basic on about what we should use the Army for?