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back to article 'U-turn' West: MI5 watching 'great' terror plot right now

Everyone's favourite knockabout security minister, Lord Alan West of Spithead, has said that the UK security services are aware of "complex plots" - in particular "another great plot" by jihadi terrorists - "building" in the UK. Lord West was speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday following peers' rejection on Monday of …

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Ash
Stop

"jihadi terrorists"

Are these Eurasian or Eastasian?

Seriously. The GB public couldn't give HALF a shit about terr'rism. When it gets too much for us to take, we'll let you know.

Probably by some kind of attrocious behaviour ourselves.

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Dead Vulture

You missed a possibility

"About the only way it wouldn't be a horrifying operational gaffe would be as part of a disinformation strategy to discourage terrorists unknown to the government."

I thought you were about to nail it but then, no.

About the only way it wouldn't be a horrifying operational gaffe would be as part of a disinformation strategy to help push more draconian legislation through e.g. 42 days.

It worked for Bush.

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Pirate

Lord West

Lost a RN ship in the Falkland's war AND THEN lost a RN HD: THEN get promoted in UK gov.

If that works as a way of promotion, then I have a HD full of BT customer information...

... hang on there is a knock at the door...

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Black Helicopters

Hmmm...

(yet) Another terror plot... sounds like someone is about to announce a new multi-billion pound "national security" project.

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Not at all handy then

Sounds like a petulent foot stamp to me......his side were shot down (put the dissenting Lords in custody for 42 days...oh wait, he can't!) so he comes out with the usual ammo used by this and the Bush Government whenever they're either (a) in trouble or (b) need to get a law passed....

there shan't be any more terrorist attacks of that scale in the UK, ever! Unless things go decidedly dicely for certain suited individuals that is...

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Stop

Enough of these cretins

I am sure they are making these legislations so that they can be hailed as heroes in some future discussion.

We the British public, or at least most people I know are scared of terrorism. Which is fine but most of us are of an age where we experienced a constant and very real threat, the IRA and its enemies and groups throughout the UK. We were strong enough then and we are strong enough now to take these threats sensibly without signing off on any kind of privacy law abandoning my right to a private phone call. Sure if I did (which I wouldn't of course) starting to plot then I understand my phone would be tapped.

These kind of databases do not work, what happened to the talk after 7/7 of intelligence not being an exact science? Why would it be now? It's like a race with the Americans to have the biggest data collection in whole world.

And aren't databases just the governments answer to everything, lets think out of the box people!

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Black Helicopters

I may be but if...

He says...

"However, another great plot is building up again, which we are monitoring ... the threat is building — the complex plots are building."

It's hard to see how this can be considered a threat then really, after all if they're monitring it, then it stands to reason that they can prevent it in good time to avoid any attrocities.

So any way you slice this it doesn't do his cause any favours at all.

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Coat

monitoring the known knowns..

As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don`t know we don`t know.

I believe Donald Rumsfield put this very well, about how not to say anything about anything in order to support something...

Perhaps we Proles should present ourselves naked in the street at morning and evening roll call in order to further assist the great fight against Eastasia terrorists.

I for one would welcome a telescreen with Jaquie Smith watching all the time to ensure I had nothing to hide!!!

Nurse! fetch me my Pills, I need a lie down

Mines the coat I won't be allowed to use as I may be hiding something.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ash : "jihadi terrorists"

>Are these Eurasian or Eastasian?

What does their race matter?

@George

>We the British public, or at least most people I know are scared of terrorism.

Eh? I'm not. It'd be utterly irrational, you'd be scared of all sorts of things if

something as unlikely as terrorism is scaring you.

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Silver badge

First Sea Lord

No matter how petty, trivial, or insignificant the UK becomes; you guys have absolutely the best military titles. I mean "First Sea Lord", how cool is that? I'd like to be First Sea Lord, how much does it cost and where do I sign up?

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Happy

I know why they're targeting AC...

@AC: If that works as a way of promotion, then I have a HD full of BT customer information...

They're after you 'cause you've got Phorm, then?

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Coat

We'd like to make the details public ...

but they were on a USB key which was given to EDS for safe-keeping, and nobody's seen it since.

Mine's the one with the portable drive in the pocket

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Anonymous Coward

Starve them of media coverage

The only way to beat terrorists is to publicly ignore them. The more UK.gov (and the US) keep fuelling the fire of fear, the more the few cells that maybe do exist will feel they are having an impact. The only terrorists I am scared of are the cocks in government. As for a bunch of camel jockeys with a grudge... who cares?

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Coat

More of the same...

They are throwing everything at us lately.

And this guy is a tool, he flip-flops around until his master G-Brown tells him what to think.

Then tell us that we need 42 days because there is a massive plot happening which the security agencies are watching - but wouldnt that mean that they have alot of evidence already and if they need to bring them down they could do so with the current laws, so it dismisses the fact that we need to hold them for 42 days. (and why 42 days? why not 40? never really understood there reasoning with that number, sure its something someone somewhere came up with after their dinner break from the pub.)

And even some of the past 'threats' pointed out in the article like the liquid bombs - turned out not to be true, but doesnt stop them using such things to create artifical panic.

Even this new story about this guy in Exter smells funny. They go on about how he was radicalised and how he has admitted that he is guilty and then quickly go over this point as if its not that important.

quote from the bbc website

"as he was thought to have a mental age of 10 and suffered from mental illness."

Thats right people we just sent a mentally retarded person to prison. We get us an electric chair and we could twin ourselfs with Texas - YeeeHaaa! Boy! YeeHaaa!

*\. Mines the one with the lonestar on the back.

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Home Office lost 42 days

But they can't wait to be in a position to tell us 'look what happens when you don't trust the government'.

And you can be sure Jacqui Smith and her acolytes won't be satisfied with a mere 42 days detention if there is (imaginary bearded bloke forbid) another terrorist attack in the UK.

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@JonB

Firstly, you need to read 1984 (by George Orwell)

Secondly, people are frequently irrationally scared of things. Like spiders or the great outdoors. Or elected governments - hang on, that doesn't seem so irrational these days :(

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Happy

another great plot is building...

"Another great plot is building..."

Is that "great" as in "entertainingly inept", which seems most typical of these would be terrorists.

Also, if we are monitoring some people putting together a conspiracy to kill British citizens, presumably arrests and charges will follow shortly as such conspiracies are illegal. I won't hold my breath.

Happy face because I'm not scared of terrorism either.

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Bronze badge

@JonB

>>Are these Eurasian or Eastasian?

>What does their race matter?

I suggest you read a rather excellent novel called Nineteen Eighty-Four. It's by a chap called Eric Blair but he used the pen name of George Orwell.

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West of Spithead?

Navy men do not welch on navy men. You, Sir, are a cad.

Even if it does sound as if this fellow should be put in the nursury - perferably in the same playpen as Whacky Jacqui. At least at the end of the day there will be only one room to refurbish, not an entire bloody country.

First Seal ord indeed.

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Coat

@ richard Johnson - entertainingly inept

A few comments point out how ineffective terrorists have been. It has probably taken HMG a while to come up with a suitable matching response.

no, the string vest, please, not the coat...

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Re: Jihadi terrorists

>> Are these Eurasian or Eastasian?

> What does their race matter?

That was Ash's whole point: It doesn't, providing we're perpetually at war with someone. As long as they have some entity to threaten "us" with to allow them to grab other powers, they're quite happy. Just because you can think your way past the bullshit, doesn't mean the lowest common denominator (such as Daily Mail or Sun readers who would have to climb a step-ladder to raise their collective IQ) can.

Mob rule. That's all democracy really is and, if you can persuade enough thickies (since they're more abundant) that there's a threat, you have an instant mandate to take whatever liberties with private people's lives you find necessary. If you then make laws that nobody can help but break (link to uber-database here), double-plus good. That way, those who disagree are too cowed to complain, leaving you or your successors effectively in control in perpetuity.

I'm tempted to say this is the reasoning behind warning labels on everything, Health and Safety law, signs, guards and other such tripe: They're preventing Darwinism from working properly and removing these easily led liabilities from the gene-pool.

You really need to brush up on your 1984, too, otherwise you're going to be hearing those "WHOOSH" sounds a whole lot more in the current climate.

But we're at war with the... oh, crap, who is it this week, Ash? Eastasians? Looks like a trip to room 101 for me. Arachnids again, no doubt...

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Happy

@Brutus

Firstly, I actually have read 1984, probably unlike most of those that cite it.

Secondly, yes, alas people are irrational, doesn't excuse them though. The ability to overcome our instincts should be a more valued aspect of being human. Everyone's showing their emotions, and opening their minds these days, the stiff upper lip has become flaccid and dribbles.

<-- Happy face, he's keeping his stiff, are you?

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Silver badge

trust me, I'm a politician

Maybe we'd be more inclined to believe there was a credible threat - that actually needed to keep innocent people in the slammer for 6 weeks, if all governments in living memory hadn't used every opportunity to lie, spin, decieve, mislead, leak, deny, regenge, divert and corrupt every major event - from "peace in our time" through "weapons of mass destruction" right up to "no more boom and bust".

The tragedy is, that there may well be some reasons where prolonged incarceration of the general public, with neither charge nor the opportunity to defend themselves, is necessary for the greater good. Sadly hwoever, no right-minded voters would ever trust either party with such powers, given their parlous history of misuse and exploitation in the past.

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Stop

IRA

Until someone can explain why we didn't need this legislation to deal with the many more bombs the IRA exploded, I'm not buying any of it. They got Lord Mountbatton and even hit Downing Street - no emergency legislation passed...

OK, computers now have encryption and you might need a little time to decrypt something, but MI5 / MI6 will work with the NSA and break it in hours, not months.

The fact that the IRA sometimes telephoned in advance rather than using suicide bombers is irrelevant.

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agree with AC

"The only terrorists I am scared of are the cocks in government."

.... my sentiments exactly.

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Joke

another great plot is building

Phew. I'm glad I read about this. I thought we were all being so careful and that the powers that be were none the wiser about our plans. I guess we'll have to go to ground and consider trying again in a few months when things have calmed down. Or maybe forget about getting back together. After all, we've achieved some of our goals of confusing the infidels, wasting everyone's time and showing up the establishment as the paranoid, incapable, fascist lap-dogs that they are. Eh, lads?

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Silver badge

Of course there is a plot building

And it is huge, complex and potentially very damaging for the people of Britain.

It is called `winning the next election´by Nullabour.

Detonating a Zeppelin sized thermobaric device above the Houses of Parliament would do less damage to Britain than one more year of GB and JS in power.

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Silver badge

@ Solomon Grundy

re: "I'd like to be First Sea Lord, how much does it cost and where do I sign up?"

I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,

And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

I polished up that handle so carefullee

That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

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Black Helicopters

Of course there's a plot!

There's a plot to turn this country into a dictatorship where anyone can be held without charge indefinitely, and everyone is spied on at all times.

And it's not the "MUSLIM TERRORISTS!!!!!" who are plotting it.

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Joke

I'm going to kill you, Brian

That pun damn near killed me.

AAAARRRGGHH! There's nowhere to put the bleach to wash away the knowledge!

Or, as Futurama put it: You watched it, you can't UN-watch it!

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CTG
Happy

Gaffes

That's almost as good as the dickhead MP who, at the height of the Falklands conflict, asked if GCHQ were still able to crack the Argentine encryption... to which the only possible answer was "not any more" :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Hey, when did anyone accuse him

of saying we were safer from terrorism?

I haven't been affected by terrorists, nor have most of the people I know, in fact I cannot think of one person who has been affected by terrorism.

What we all have been affected by is in loss of liberty due to faux terrorism hysteria.

You know people have often remarked on how great a lover I am, but I tell 'em it is all in the wrist.

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Flame

Condemned by his own words: Either a liar or a traitor.

There's no two ways about it[*]. Either he made the whole thing up, in which case he is a liar, or it's true, in which case he has given aid and succour to the enemies of the state, by which definition he is a traitor.

Which do you suppose it is?

Let's lock him up for 42 days and waterboard him to find out!

(Of course, I'm going too easy on him. If he is lying, it is in order to promulgate the overthrow of the democratic constitutional order in this country and its replacement by a police state. In which case he's /also/ a traitor by my book, although in legal terms that probably only makes him a "gluteus maximus".)

[*] - On further reflection, there's at least[**] one more way about it: maybe he has been given this information in some security briefing and genuinely believes it to be true, but it is not. In which case he is merely a common criminal in breach of the Official Secrets Act, which I have no doubt he must have signed at some point in his career....

[**] - On further further reflection, there's at least one /more/ way about it: maybe he has been given this information, not at any security briefing nor in any official capacity, but has merely been told it by some passing lunatic he has met in the street or down the pub, and believed every single word of it. In which case he is a gullible moron of the first water, but at least that's not a crime[***].

[***] - However, if it is the /best/ he can say about himself, he should still shrivel up and die of embarassment, and not be trusted with a position of reponsibility such as he has been[****].

[****] - And if that /is/ the case, what does it say about the people[*****] who put him there?

[*****] - I use the term "people" advisedly[******].

[******] - But "twunts" would be better[*******].

[*******] - There is no footnote #7[********].

[********] - Oh, wait a minute, there is. But there certainly won't be another one.[*********]

[*********] - Blew it again. Sorry all!

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Alert

@JonB

>"Firstly, I actually have read 1984, probably unlike most of those that cite it."

ORLY? Well they all spotted the reference to Eastasia / Eurasia, which was one of the major points in the book, and you missed it totally. So either they've got some damn good ESP, or maybe they not only read it, but took it in a whole lot better than you to boot.

"We've always been at war with Eastasia".

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

terror fear-mongering

I'm going to steal a couple of lines from Bruce Schneier's current crypto-gram newsletter which I think sums up something that the UK administration doesn't seem to grasp or want to admit, but I think they may grudgingly have to accept as fact before too long:

> 'You know, it's just fearmongering and you should be ashamed.' Terrorist fear mongering seems to be working less well.

Just a couple of side notes on posting as AC or under a pseudonym... 1) even though I'm not using my real name here, it's not so hard to get behind the pseudonym, and 2) I sometimes use AC to post as well, and I've even authored one of the above AC posts. I suppose the point I'm trying to make I suppose is that I've made it easy enough for any Stasi-style system to find me and identify my thoughtcrimes, but if I'd wanted to I could have made it quite difficult. I'm not alone in my non-radical opposition to these sorts of systems, but people like Jacqui Smith would do well to realise that the internet is full of people like me who may be mild today, but could really put a big spanner in the works if the fancy took us. The choice that people like her face, whether they know it or not, is either show yourself as the fascists we all think you are (and do it properly by coming down HARD rather than relying on technology to sneak it in by degrees) or admit you don't have a fucking clue about how the internet, cryptography or technology works in the modern world and stand the fuck aside. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time, and those of us who are not fooled are not best amused ... for now we're all pals, but you've only yourself to blame if the sham of NuLabor persists in bringing things where it looks like they're headed.

One final point... if MI5/MI6 is interested in hiring me as a consultant, you're welcome to contact me.

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PT

I knew a bloke once ...

... when I lived in Portsmouth. Commander West, he was called. Our kids went to the same schools. He seemed quite rational to me, even a bit conservative. He can't possibly be related to this "Lord West of Spithead" I keep reading about in Lords Hansard, who sounds like a propaganda tape loop. Though I do recall one thing he said that I believed:

(Lord West of Spithead): ... I feel scarred by this ... there is a firm of chauffeurs that refers to a U-turn as an Admiral West, which I find rather difficult. (LH, Dec 6 2007)

Resign, Alan, while there are still have people who remember you once had integrity.

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Anonymous Coward

@Frumious Bandersnatch

> "One final point... if MI5/MI6 is interested in hiring me as a consultant, you're welcome to contact me."

No, thanks. But we do know a good psychologist that we could recommend to you ....

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Bronze badge

Chicken Lickin - a salutory tale

"The threat is huge ... There are large complex plots."

Perhaps their Lordships who are associated with the Admiralty and the Security Services will be aware of the fable of Chicken Lickin. Although perhaps no more than a simple story for children, its moral may nevertheless be worthy of consideration in these troubled times.

http://fairytales4u.com/story/chicken.htm

... and for a real life version from the heyday of early cold war paranoia in 1954

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,890881-1,00.html

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Pirate

More suicides than terror deaths...

... so logically we should all be locked up to protect us from ourselves!

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Anonymous Coward

@AC : >"We've always been at war with Eastasia".

Uh Duh...

You're quite right, I'm obviously not fully conscious these days.

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Black Helicopters

Have I got this right?

This government mouthpiece is saying that the Security Services are secretly watching the Bad Guys plotting to interrupt Truth, Liberty, and the Ameri^H^H^H British Way with some dastardly secret plot?

Not very secret, is it then? The plot, or that the SS (oops, wotta acronym! Bet whoever decided to drop the old "MI5/MI6" department names hoped nobody else spotted that little gaffe!) are watching the plotters.

Kinda fucks up the old gag "Nobody expects the Inquisition", don't it.

What sort of donkey void do you lot elect over there anyway?

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Joke

@JonB

You should go into politics. You get called on not recognising a book reference, and swiftly dodge admitting it by saying most other people haven't even read the book anyway.

I can practically hear Gordon Brown at PMQs when asked questions about the Government's cockups, ignoring them and saying how the Tories would of eaten Children instead.

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@N1AK

That smiley face was the one he was trying to save... :)

73 de Chronos (not played radio for soddin' ages due to the idiocracy, assuming that is a callsign)

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Flame

Oh no another fiendish plot by...

Fu Man Chu . Cant wait till they drag him into it. Hooray for us we've foiled another fiendish plot. We are so good , we cant tell you a lot about it cos its a matter of State Security, but honest we have, cross our hearts and hope to die in a cellar full of rats.We really did do it ask that man over there in the beard. But can we have another database please cos it would help us so much to keep tabs on innocent people .. Oh sorry terrorists.

Yawnnnnnnnnnnn Yes Pinochio we believe you NOT

Jaquie you're so bloody thick it hurts to think about it.

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Thumb Up

@Frumious re {ano,pseudo}nymity

I don't for one second use it to try and protect myself from government, spies, or even libel cases; I'm not posting through Tor and I'm sure there are server logs at El Reg. No, I want to stand up for our democratic freedom to express our beliefs and opinions and if anyone's going to try and shut it down then I *want* them to come after me so I can fight it.

I use it solely so that my arguments and views can stand or fall on their own strengths, rather than be drawn into arguments about who said what and what kind of person they are, which always devolve into nothing but appeal-to-authority and other ad/pro-hominems. Because all things considered, I reckon that flame wars are very very common and massive government crackdowns on freedom of speech very very rare, so it's the first that I take into consideration in my posting style, not the second. Simple optimisation of effort on my behalf!

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Happy

@JonB

>"obviously not fully conscious these days."

Big of you to say so. :-) I recommend moar coffee befoar poasting!

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Black Helicopters

terrorism ?

Surely the whole point of terrorism is the terror bit.

One would think that its the terrorists job to make us frightened.

As we all have seen the terror events tend to focus around London and other major centres of population.

I live 100's miles from any of those such places and I am not terrorised in the least.

If someone gets killed by a bomb or whatever that is very sad but it doesn't frighten me at all.

Now if the terrorists have the ability to make people who live in the target areas a bit concerned, who is going to frighten the rest of us?

Well that's easy, the Gov't, that way we can all be part of the fear - well that's what they would like.

In some ways I think I would like to be a terrorist, but I would be a clever one and spread my actions around the country a bit more. The last thing I would do is blow my self up. What's the fun in that?

The countryside is full of soft targets, I could drive around the back lanes away from all the CCTV stuff and blast people in small towns.

Now that would really start to spook people.

I would like to make it clear that I am not a terrorist or have any terrorist intentions, (just in case the SS are reading this and come looking for me :-( )

The point of my rant is that the terrorists are far less scary than the govt who are much more likely to cause me harm.

Black helicopters - cuz i suspect I'll be followed by one on my way home from work on my getaway moped.....

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Pirate

@Chronos

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a smiley face— forever!

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