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War on Terror, the board game

TerrorGameStuck with no ideas for those hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list? Look no further than the War on Terror Board Game.

It's got suicide bombers, political kidnaps and intercontinental war. It's got filthy propaganda, rampant paranoia and secret treaties...

Here's some rapid play for you, in case you need some convincing:

The goal of War on Terror, the boardgame is to liberate the world, ridding it of fear and terrorism forever...

Everyone starts the game as an Empire, with a couple of free villages and they can settle anywhere in the world...

Empires then spread over the planet grabbing all available land, searching for the best oil and the most strategic borders. Some go for towns and cities, other spend their cash on extra empire cards, building up their political options. Maybe, if they're lucky, they'll get an early nuke...

Sooner or later someone takes a pop...

Empires soon strike up alliances and the propaganda war is in full flow...

Nice touch award: the Axis of Evil spinner in the middle of the board. 

The Brits behind the game got some flack from 7/7 survivors for including 'suicide bomber' cards when the game launched in September. The designers had this to say:

We accept that some people think this is in poor taste and may see it as puerile. But we would say that launching an illegal war on Iraq is in poor taste."

Hat tip: Boing Boing 

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Would Al Qaeda use a family share plan?

Cell Phone Smaller Since 2004, the FCC has collected data on cell phone carrier outages, but the agency refuses to make their findings public. Why?  Because they contend it could be useful to terrorists. Bob Sullivan at the MSNBC blog The Redtape Chronicles thinks the data could be useful to cell phone customers. His FOIA requests for the data were turned down both for security and for "competitive harm" reasons. So, Sullivan turned to Roger Cressey, the former chief of staff of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, and asked why the government might want to protect phone outage records from terrorists.
There is nothing mysterious behind it, it is corporate competition protection," said Cressey... "The only reason for the government to not let these records get out is then one telco provider could run a full-page ad saying 'the government says we’re more reliable.'"

Cressey added that he couldn't imagine a scenario where the reports would be valuable to terrorists.

Still, DHS contends that terrorists could exploit weaknesses in the network. Al Tompkins, a FOIA expert from the Poynter institute also weighs in:
I can't think of one problem that has gone away because it's kept a secret," he said.