Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pakistan's retired military officers embark on mea culpa

In an extraordinary development, unprecedented in the annals of Pakistan's troubled history, almost a hundred retired senior military officers, including former chiefs of staff, met Jan 31 in Islamabad and denounced President Pervez Musharraf - till recently the chief of army staff - and described him as the "main obstacle to democracy" in the run-up to the Feb 18 national elections.

This is the second such meeting of the group, which calls itself the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen's Society (PESS), and in their first meeting on Jan 22, they collectively exhorted the beleaguered president to step down, given the increasing turbulence within the country and the resentment against him that was building up. Lt Gen (rtd) Faiz Ali Chisti, leader of the Society who was part of the Gen Zia ul-Haq regime (1977-88), added: "He (Musharraf) should resign his office of the president. This is in the supreme national interest and makes it incumbent on him to step down."

But the provocation for the second meeting and the strong denunciation of Jan 31 were the intemperate remarks by Gen Musharraf during his recent tour of Europe. In a media interview (The Financial Times), when asked about the emerging criticism from the retired 'fauj', Musharraf replied dismissively: "They are insignificant personalities...Most of them are ones who served under me and I kicked them out. They are insignificant. I am not even bothered by them". This is extreme both by way of accuracy and the protocols that govern relationships within the uniformed fraternity in a state like Pakistan.

Many of the officers who raised their voices the first time around are far senior in service to Gen Musharraf, such as Air Marshal Asghar Khan, Gen Aslam Beg, Lt. Gen Talat Masood et al, and hence the question of their being 'kicked out' is an absurd claim. And for all Musharraf's personal foibles, lack of basic courteousness to his own 'biradri' (fraternity) has not been one of them - till now. And the straw that may have broken the camel's back was that he chose to be so derisive of his seniors and peers in distant Europe.

The riposte has been dramatic. Gen Musharraf is now being cast as the 'main obstacle' to democracy and more ominously for the Pakistani president, the Society has decided to support the ousted Supreme Court judges, lawyers and journalists in their demands. This stand by the retired fauji community comes in the wake of yet another extraordinary development - former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry writing an open letter (Jan 30) to the US secretary of state and other heads of government, where he has described President Musharraf as someone who 'claims to be the head of state'. In a detailed rebuttal of the public charges levelled against him, Chaudhry has cautioned the West against falling for the 'charm offensive' of the commando general and to save Pakistan from further Musharraf machinations.

Reports suggest that PESS has also decided to 'apologise' to the Pakistani people for their role, while being in uniform, in imposing martial law over the last 60 years and preventing the nurturing of a true democracy and people's power. If this show of belated but welcome contrition gains support in Pakistan, it would indeed be the third extraordinary development - a mega mea culpa in the South Asian context. The Daily Times, a leading Pakistani daily, in a feisty editorial (Feb 1) has listed the many apologies that are due from the more significant members of PESS going back to 1956, when then Major Abdul Majid Malik assisted Gen Ayub Khan in the first military coup of Pakistan.

It adds sagely: "The biggest crime to which many retired generals must confess, and then apologise for, is the policy of seeking 'strategic depth' in Afghanistan because the consequences of this policy are now threatening to actually spell the end of Pakistan itself. In fact, some of these retired generals are too tainted for mouthing principles that the civil society of Pakistan has decided to uphold. They should keep their zip up unless they are ready to give up what they have enjoyed over the years and are still enjoying at the cost of the nation."

 
 

Cow urine to lessen dependence on antibiotics?

The Uttarakhand Government has started an ambitious programme to buy cow urine through milk cooperative societies and sell it to Ayurvedic pharmacies or to be used in making Ayurvedic medicines.
 
The state Government already has a demand lying with it for 5,000 litres of cow urine from Swami Ramdev’s pharmacy at Haridwar, sources said.

The first phase of the programme to buy cow urine at the rate of Rs 5 per litre was started at Kalsi in Chakrata tehsil of Dehradun this month. “We will be starting the next phase from Srinagar Garhwal soon,” said Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. A total of 1,900 active milk cooperatives would be engaged to collect cow urine, later to be sold to the Ayurvedic pharmacies or to be used in making Ayurvedic medicines.

“We do not have the facilities to make concentrate of cow urine, so we are buying cow urine that we can process,” said Rawat. Apart from this, the state Government is also keen to start a Cow Research Institute. Rawat himself visited Kanpur recently to study the upkeep of ‘goshalas’(cow sheds) being run in Uttar Pradesh.

A team of officials also visited Jaipur for evaluating the work being done in Rajasthan. “We wanted to collect all the information, so that we can have an excellent research facility in the shape of the proposed Cow Research Institute,” said Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Earlier, the Government decided to set up a Cow Science and Technology Institute in Chamoli district. A provision of Rs 3 crore was made for the proposed institute in the first budget presented by the state Government. The institute, a first of its kind in the country, will do research on the various breeds of indigenous cows. It will also conduct research on the medicinal values of cow urine and cow dung.

The institute is also supposed to develop various medicines made from cow urine that would reduce dependency on anti-biotic medicines. The Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, has prepared a blueprint for the proposed institute. A sum of Rs 20 crore would be spent on the institute that will be spread over an area of 20 acres.

According to officials, research to improve the milk-giving capacity of various breeds of indigenous cows namely ‘Badri’, the red small cow of the hills, ‘Sahiwal’, ‘Thar’ and ‘Sindhi’ would also be undertaken. Officials believe that the urine of ‘Badri’ has a unique quality to treat cancer.

The institute is a brainchild of Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former RSS parcharak. Meanwhile, the state had also enacted an Act to protect cow progeny. “These measures will help the small hill farmers who are very poor,” Rawat claimed.

~ Link ~

 

The Ludic Revolution

Bob Black calls it The Ludic Revolution. It's the only revolution
which ever will, or can, work.

Revolution cannot be accomplished by violence. I see nothing morally
or essentially wrong with using violence against the economic and
political powers that be. If using violence were an effective means of
bringing about revolution, I'd be all for it. I do not respect, or
even acknowledge, any right to life and property on their part in the
least. When they arrogated our rights to life and freedom they
forfeited their own, and I am convinced that no one has the right to
private property.

I do not advocate violence against the economic and political powers
that be simply and only because violence against them won't work.
They are better at violence than we.

Moreover, and this is terribly important to understand, as Gustav
Landauer wrote, so very insightfully:

"One can throw away a chair and destroy a pane of glass; but those are
idle talkers and credulous idolaters of words who regard the state as
such a thing or as a fetish that one can smash in order to destroy
it.  The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human
beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other
relationships, by behaving differently toward one another - One day it
will be realized that socialism is not the invention of anything new
but the discovery of something actually present, of something that has
grown; We are the state and we shall continue to be the state until we
have created the institutions that form a real community and society
of men". - Gustav Landauer

"Schwache Stattsmδnner, Schwacheres Volk!" ("Weak Statesman, Weaker
People!")
Der Sozialist, June 1910

The economic and political powers that be derive their powers from us
- from the permission we granted them to usurp our basic rights. They
are the distillation of the very worst in us. Violence will not be
effective against them. They are far more effective at terrorizing us
than we them because it was our fear that created their dominion in
the first place.

HR 1955 (S 1959) is legislature aimed at preventing the use of force
or violence to effect social change. All legislation designed to
regulate and control behavior is centered on the prohibition of force
and violence.

Have you ever heard of legislation against laughter?

Love and LAUGHTER conquer fear. They are both orders of magnitude more
powerful than fear and when we love and laugh, fear is displaced in
us. We become more expansive. We become more creative. We become
vastly more powerful.

The economic and political powers that be do not deserve our love. As
the ancient Jewish teaching has it: "Those who are compassionate
toward the cruel will, in the end, be cruel to the compassionate." The
history of Christianity bears out just how true this maxim is.

They are deserving of nothing but our ridicule. They deserve to be
laughed at.

We can diminish anything with our laughter.

There is a higher level of laughter than sardonic ridicule and, if we
are to effect a revolution, we must reach that level of laughter.

When we can laugh at their funny money; when we can look at their
concentration camps and at the double-decker trains equipped with
chains and shackles and laugh; when we can laugh at the electronic
turnstiles and the cement floors and the barbed wire and the gas pipes
and the furnaces they've installed in some of the camps and laugh;
when we can laugh at the horrible images the threats of "mental
health" camps in Alaska that can hold 2 million people conjure up in
our minds; when we can laugh at the fear and disgust they try to
induce in us with all the talk of them practicing occult and satanic
practices (the photos of the ceremonies they conduct really are
ludicrous), when we can laugh *at death itself* - we will have
conquered our own minds and emotions and, in so doing, destroyed their
hold on us entirely.

The economic and political "powers" are nothing but the reification of
the horrors in our own minds and the emotions they arouse. When we
conquer our minds and those emotions that hold us prisoner, then and
only then will we be free.

Life and death are just a game, but the name of the game is life and
death. Those who have understood this, really understood it, were all
set free by the understanding. Until the moment we realize this, we
are all the slaves of anyone who has more control over their minds and
emotions, and thus our minds and emotions, than we do.

Long live The Ludic Revolution!

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

Turkey, Russia worst human rights offenders: Euro court table

Turkey and Russia were easily the worst offenders in a league table of the European Court of Human Rights judgments for 2007, released Wednesday by the European court's president.

Some 319 judgments finding at least one violation were issued against Ankara, eight of which concerned "torture" and 23 "inhuman or degrading treatment," according to the court's report.

Moscow ranked a clear second with 175 violations, followed by Ukraine with 108 and Poland with 101.

The majority of Russian complaints concerned war-torn Chechnya.

Russia's refusal to ratify a package of measures aimed at filtering off inadmissible complaints, termed Protocol 14, was also hampering caseload reduction, said President Jean-Paul Costa.

The growth of litigation, as well as European Union enlargement, has seen the number of complaints filed increase dramatically since the European court's inception in 1959.

The overall number of complaints filed in 2007 rose by 15 percent to 103,000, of which almost 42,000 were taken up, resulting in some 1,500 arrests.

That is "a sharply reduced figure" from the previous year due to "the desire of judges to concentrate on [only] the most complex cases," said Costa....

 

~ Read more... ~

 

Greek judge on hunger strike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jglCyU8TPJw

'War Pigs' - Black Sabbath

U.S. military breaks ranks

" ... But military officers say that the American public should not be fooled: the relative quiet in Iraq - and it is, after all, only a "relative quiet" - does not mean the "surge" has worked, or that the problems facing the US military have somehow magically gone away. Quite the opposite. For while the American public is consumed by the campaign for the presidency, the American military is not. Instead, they are as obsessed now, in January of 2008, with the war in Iraq as they were then, in 2003 - except that now, many military officers admit, the host of problems they face may, in fact, be much more intractable.

First contact
"Don't let the quiet fool you," a senior defense official says. "There's still a huge chasm between how the White House views Iraq and how we [in the Pentagon] view Iraq. The White House would like to have you believe the 'surge' has worked, that we somehow defeated the insurgency. That's just ludicrous. There's increasing quiet in Iraq, but that's happened because of our shift in strategy - the 'surge' had nothing to do with it."

In part, the roots of the disagreement between the Pentagon and White House over what is really happening in Iraq is historical. Senior military officers contend that the seeming fall-off in in-country violence not only has nothing to do with the increase in US force levels, but that the dampening of the insurgency that took hold last summer could have and would have taken place much earlier, within months of America's April 2003 occupation of Baghdad.

Moreover, these officers contend, the insurgency might not have put down roots in the country after the fall of Baghdad if it had not been for the White House and State Department - which undermined military efforts to strike deals with a number of Iraq's most disaffected tribal leaders. These officers point out that the first contact between high-level Pentagon officials and the nascent insurgency took place in Amman, Jordan, in August of 2003 - but senior Bush administration officials killed the talks.  ... "
 
 

Harlequin Announces Creation of Paranormal Romance Blog

Harlequin Enterprises Limited announced the creation of Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog a blog dedicated solely to paranormal romance novels, one of the fastest growing romance fiction categories in the world.

Created and hosted by the editors, authors and other personnel behind Harlequin's various imprints, ParanormalRomanceBlog.com is the first such site dedicated solely to the genre. "There are blogs dedicated to paranormal fiction and others committed to romance novels but there was no forum devoted strictly to paranormal romance. Now there's somewhere a fan can go to discuss the love a woman might have for a vampire or alien or werewolf," says Jenny Bullough, Manager of Digital Content and Interactivity. "We created the blog because we are all avid fans of paranormal romance novels-it just so happens that we work or write for a publisher. It may be called Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog but we encourage posts, comments and discussion about paranormal romances by any author or publisher."

Editors, authors and readers exchange ideas and opinions and engage in friendly, passionate discussions about the paranormal romance genre. Editors and authors explain the allure of the supernatural and the forbidden-such as the eternal magnetism of vampires. Readers are encouraged to weigh in to the discussions with their likes and dislikes about paranormal romance books and- as some of the individuals writing and shaping the stories are hosting the blog-perhaps even help shape the plots and themes of future paranormal romance novels.

Paranormal romance is one of the fastest growing genres in fiction. In October 2006 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. Launched Silhouette Nocturne, a new romance series dedicated to paranormal romance. To date Nocturne has enjoyed tremendous success, with two Nocturne titles appearing on the NYT Bestseller list, in addition to numerous bestselling paranormal romance novels by prominent authors such as Brenda Joyce, Gena Showalter, and Susan Krinard from their HQN and MIRA imprints.

~ more info ~

 

 

18 Ways To Stop The Bomb

Spend time with who and what you love. Surrounding ourselves with love should help us to remember the beauty of life.

Learn to filter and recognize propaganda. It is corporations that profit from wars, not individuals. Always apply the filter: ‘Ownership determines content.’ “If we accept that it is desirable for individuals to practice moral agency as fully as possible, then we should seek to create a different kind of media system.”

Your body, your voice, your mind, and your spirit are required at peace rallies for us to reach critical mass. Additional information at the following news sources: CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Raging Grannies, ANSWER Coalition, Stop War, United for Peace, Move On, Anti War, Common Dreams, bellaciao, PEJ News, OpEd News, Information Liberation , Project Censored , Information Clearing House , Global Research , Prison Planet , The Raw Story , Gush Shalom, and Truthout

Stop watching corporate news on TV, they do not provide information, just propaganda. Frequent legitimate unbiased news sources such as: The Real News Network, Democracy Now!, International News Net, Sub Media TV, Free Speech TV, Link TV, and Alternative Radio: Audio Energy of Democracy.

Stop supporting corporate education and entertainment. Learn about your rights, how society functions, what we have done, and are doing toeach other and the planet. Watch and learn from movies and documentaries such as: Earthlings, America: Freedom to Fascism, A World Without Cancer, Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre, Chemtrail: Aerosol Crimes, The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror, The Future of Food, Liquid Crystal Vision, Marcus Garvey: Look for me in the Whirlwind, The Doomsday Code, Iraq For Sale, Plan Colombia, The Revolution will Not be Televised, Freedom Downtime: The Story of Kevin Mitnick, Zeitgeist, and Loose Change.

Learn about the financial institutions that have been established to profit from the ultimate consuming machine known as war. Watch and share: ZEITGEIST, The Movie: Part 3 of 3 (47:05), and the animated Money As Debt (47:07).

Stop supporting mass media that has been the voice of government and corporate propaganda and the driving force behind the recruitment, promotion,and continuation of the war agenda. Begin to acquire your news from actual people blogging and reporting on the true nature of life. News blogs such as: What Really Happened, Ya Ya Canada, Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches, Desert Peace, Daily Kos, plus countless others available on the Internet.

Write, call, and personally contact your representatives in government ( US and Canada), demanding that they begin to represent you and your family, not corporate money. Realize that most of our representatives have not even begun to grasp the “terminal” path that we are on.

Not only should you be consuming less and locally, but also producing locally. Corporations over the years have destroyed the infrastructure of local economies, but it is time for us to rebuild. Additional information at Post Carbon Institute, People and Planet , BALLE, 100 Mile diet and numerous other sources available on the Internet.

Reduce your dependency on oil by using public transportation and or alternative means of transportation. See Critical Mass for additional information.

Downsize your car and/or convert to hybrid transportation. The sooner you do this the better. This will not only save you money on fuel, it will also allow you to sell your large gas-guzzler before the rise in fuel prices reduces the value of your car to nothing. And you better hurry, because the waiting lists for hybrid cars are long and used models are selling for more than the new cars.

If you are working for an organization which is actively supporting war then try to find a different occupation which does not require of you to promote the destruction of humanity.

Begin to invest in yourself instead of Stock markets who launder money while profiting from war. Additional information for Canada at Stop Pension Plan Investments in War!

Begin to work with nature and not against it by learning about natural resources available in your area. Additional information at: World Changing, Planet Friendly network, and NI Business Info.

Make healthy eating choices. Studies have found that most bankruptcies are due to medical bills, and since the passing of the Bankruptcy Bill you will no longer be cleared of your debts if you declare bankruptcy in the US, which means that you will become a slave to the banking institutions. This will take away your freedom and force you to abide by their agendas, the main agenda of which is war.

Support artists against the war and boycott those that support the war. There are many artists who have officially spoken out against the war and are proactive in their attempts to bring us peace. Some of these artists are: Immortal Technique, System Of A Down , Ben Harper, Dead Prez , Dixie Chicks , Serj Tankian , Anti-Flag, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Charlie Sheen , Susan Sarandon, Rose O'Donald, Banksy, Carlos Latuff , Ben Heine, Simon Regis, and even Sean Penn.

Participate in civil disobedience. Peace organizers are now advocating “people in the antiwar movement to move from protesting to performing acts of civil disobedience that ‘get in the way of the war machine.’”

Understand that we are one people occupying one planet, and that we are and will be held accountable for the actions of our governments. Learn about our history by reading books such as: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, A People's History of the United States, Hegemony or Survival, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, Mass Psychology of Fascism [PDF] , Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope, The Shock Doctrine, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, and War Is a Racket written by America's most decorated general US Marine Corp Major General Smedley Butler.

~ Link ~

 

'I asked Wali Ali about love'

" ... I asked Wali Ali about love.

“Sufism has been called the school of love, but it is not a school where it is particularly important to conceptualize what love is,” he said. “What is essential is to make it more and more a reality in one’s life, to realize it in all one’s relationships.

“Ultimately one may come to feel, as (the Sufi poet) Rumi has said, that the Beloved (God) is all in all, and the lover but a veil over the Beloved. It is a universal phenomenon that pulses through every particle of the universe and connects everything.” ... "

~From 'Sufism a school of mystical love' ~

 

Greek Cyprus watches Kosovo's move

" ... Now the Serbian presidential election is over, the unilateral independence of Kosovo is likely to be declared within a matter of weeks. It may be a tiny, remote, poor and mountainous land, but the consequences of the move will spread far beyond its Balkan borders.

Although the great majority of Serbs remain strenuously opposed, Kosovo’s independence will swiftly be recognised by the US, followed by leading members of the European Union, including the UK, France and Germany. It will be a de facto recognition, not a de jure one. Russia is blocking any United Nations resolution, both out of loyalty to Serbia and from a more fundamental objection to the principle of self-determination.

Several EU member states also remain deeply hesitant, fearful of the precedent set by allowing an ethnic minority to declare independence without winning agreement from the country it is leaving. Spain is one such, fearing the encouragement it will give to Basque secessionists. Slovakia is another, Romania the third. They will delay any recognition as long as possible.

Of all the EU members, however, the most hostile is the republic of Cyprus. Speaking in Helsinki last week, Erato Markoulli, the Greek Cypriot foreign minister, said her country “cannot and will not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence. This is an issue of principle, of respect for international law, but also an issue of concern that it will create a precedent in international relations.” ... "

~ Read more... ~

 

'Adultery' sisters to be stoned to death in Iran

Two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the supreme court upheld death sentences against them, Iranian media have reported.
 
The two sisters were found guilty of adultery - a capital crime in Iran - after the husband of one of the pair presented a video showing them in the company of other men while he was away.
 
The penal court of Teheran province had already sentenced the sisters, identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar, to stoning, the newspaper said.

The Etemad newspaper quoted Jabbar Solati, their lawyer, as saying that the sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and had received 99 lashes. However, they were convicted of "adultery" in a second trial for the same incident.

The pair admitted they were in the video but argued there was no adultery as no scene on the video showed them engaged in a sexual act.

~ Link ~

 

Call it High Jewish Gonzo

Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)

Words & Music by Carl Sigman & Herb Magidson
Recorded by Guy Lombardo, 1950
You work and work for years and years, you're always on the go;
You never take a minute off, too busy makin' dough.
Someday, you say, you'll have your fun when you're a millionaire --
Imagine all the fun you'll have in your old rockin' chair.

Refrain:
Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think;
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink.
The years go by as quickly as a wink --
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

You're gonna take that ocean trip, no matter, come what may;
You've got your reservations but you just can't get away.
Next year, for sure, you'll see the world, you'll really get around --
But how far can you travel when you're six-feet under ground?

Your heart of hearts, your dream of dreams, your ravishing brunette;
She's left you and she's now become somebody else's pet.
Lay down that gun, don't try, my friend, to reach the great beyond;
You'll have more fun by reachin' for a redhead or a blonde.

Repeat Refrain:

You never go to nightclubs and you just don't care to dance;
You don't have time for silly things like moonlight and romance.
You only think of dollar bills tied neatly in a stack;
But when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn't kiss you back.

Repeat Refrain:

http://www.theguitarguy.com/enjoyyou.htm

Google
 

image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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