Thursday, April 10, 2008

China suspends multiple-entry visas, slows visa processing in Hong Kong

Chinese authorities have stopped issuing multiple-entry visas to foreigners and slowed visa processing in Hong Kong, a major gateway for travel to the mainland, in restrictions that will last until after the Beijing Olympics, travel agents said Tuesday.

The restrictions come amid criticism of China's human rights record from abroad after its recent crackdown on anti-government riots in Tibet. Protesters tried to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Paris and London this week.

Travel agent Luk Tak said Chinese authorities are now only issuing single- or double-entry visas to foreigners in Hong Kong, scaling back a program that used to issue multiple-entry business visas that lasted up to three years.

An official at another travel agency, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the best visa his agency can currently obtain is a double-entry visa valid for three months.

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'A survey of sex therapists concluded the optimal amount of time for sexual intercourse was 3 to 13 minutes'

Maybe men had it right all along: It doesn't take long to satisfy a woman in bed. The findings, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, strike at the notion that endurance is the key to a great sex life.
If that sounds like good news to you, don't cheer too loudly. The time does not count foreplay, and the therapists did rate sexual intercourse that lasts from 1 to 2 minutes as "too short."

How Trials Operate in the New Torture Regime

What purpose does a trial serve when it's conducted by a state claiming the power to torture confessions from a suspect, or "evidence" from a witness?

Obviously, an exercise of this kind isn't carried out in the interest of establishing the truth beyond a reasonable doubt: Torture is a very effective means of compelling someone to submit to an official story, but entirely unreliable as a method of learning the truth. Thus it follows that a legal system in which torture is practiced is devoted to protecting and glorifying a ruling elite than in pursuing justice in any sense of the expression.

In the Military Commission system created by the Bush Regime, "evidence" can be obtained through torture -- whether in the form of testimony or confessions. The prosecution is permitted to introduce sealed evidence, and to insulate "expert" witnesses from impeachment by the defense. Defendants are presumed guilty; indeed, the entire exercise is defined by the assumption that those tried in such forums are guilty by definition, the "worst of the worst." With guilty verdicts a foreordained conclusion, the default sentence is death.
 
 

India, Russia, China form regional cooperation forum

Move over BRIC. RIC or the troika of Russia, India and China are taking over. A regional formation will take up international issues like the reform of the UN and the Security Council, according to Konstantin V Vnukov, director, first Asia department, Russian foreign ministry, and head of delegation for trilateral cooperation between India, Russia and China, on a visit to the capital for the seventh ministerial of the troika.
[ ... ]
As Brazil is another rising Economy, the troika will coordinate with the Latin American nation although it is not part of the region.
The reason behind RIC formation is that it has 40% of the world's population and occupies 20% of its surface, but less than 10% of its GDP.

Bloomberg: 'Warhol Tops Picasso as Hottest Artist, Artprice Says'

Andy Warhol has overtaken Picasso as the world's most actively traded artist, said the French-based art-market database, Artprice, in its annual report on trends.

Warhol led the 2007 table of the world's 500 most auctioned artists with $422.3 million in sales, more than doubling the year- earlier $199.6 million, Artprice said. Seventy-four Warhol works sold for more than $1 million, led by the hammer price of $64 million paid for ``Green Car Crash'' at Christie's International, New York, in May. Christie's is based in London.
 
 

Petraeus admitted sectarian cleansing played a role in decreasing violence

Petraeus admitted that "sectarian hardening" has played a role in reducing violence. Spencer rightly points out that when saying "hardening," Petraeus really means ethnic cleansing. Walling off neighborhoods and the ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods is usually critical in reducing violence levels in ethnic conflicts.
 
 

Clinton Calls On Bush to State Iraq Endgame

 
Today while speaking in Aliquippa, PA Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on President Bush to use his speech tomorrow to talk about the endgame for the Iraq war. "I have two requests of President Bush for his speech on Thursday. First, I call on the President to answer the question that General Petraeus did not. What is our end game in Iraq given the failure of surge to achieve the objective that the president outlined for it? Second, I call on President Bush to pledge to the American people, who have sacrificed greatly for this effort that the United States Congress will have the chance to review and vote on any long-term security agreement he has negotiated with the Iraqis," Clinton said.

New spurt in Cyprus reunification agenda - and a kosher wine from the isle of Aphrodite

From CNN :
Cyprus' two communities agreed on Tuesday the agenda of five working groups and technical committees, which will help pave the way for full-fledged reunification talks expected by the end of June.
[ ... ]

A total of 13 working groups and technical committees will be established by the two sides. The working groups will focus on substantive issues like power-sharing, security and property while the technical committees concentrate on day-to-day matters.

Leaders of the two communities agreed last month in a breakthrough to revive the long-stalled talks for the reunification of the east Mediterranean island which has remained divided since 1974.

On Thursday, a key commercial street bisected following inter-communal violence in the 1960s in old Nicosia was opened, which was viewed as a highly symbolic step on the road toward possible reunification of the divided island.

Meanwhile, the JTA reports on the First kosher wine from Cyprus
The tiny Jewish community on Cyprus made its own kosher wine.

The first 12,000 bottles of Yayin Kafrisin recently rolled out of the Lambouri Winery in Kato Platres, a 300-year-old boutique winery. The Cabernet Sauvignon-Grenach Noir blend was named after the Cypriot wine mentioned in the Talmud as a necessary ingredient for burning incense in the Jerusalem Temple, according to Rabbi Zeev Raskin, the co-director of Chabad on Cyprus.

Raskin approached the Cypriot winery with the proposal that it make a kosher wine, and he supervised every step of the production.

Cyprus Jews must import 90 percent of their kosher food.

World's Biggest H.U.G

The second annual Community Help Unity Grow, or H.U.G., event is set for 10 a.m. April 19 at Belleville High School.
The Community H.U.G. goal is to unite the surrounding communities of Belleville, Van Buren, Sumpter, Romulus, Canton, and Ypsilanti and encourage unity. The secondary goal is to break the record for world's largest hug of 7,000 individuals joining together by holding hands. This year's subtext is Protecting Everyone's Access to Community Education or P.E.A.C.E.
[ ... ]
At 10 a.m., everyone will move to their places around Belleville High School to clasp hands. It is recommended to bring folding chairs to sit in while they are waiting for everyone to move into position. Shortly after that, an aerial photograph is planned to be taken of our community with hands joined around the school property.

After the hug has been recorded, everyone will be dismissed to go to the school of their choice in the Van Buren Public Schools District to support a PTO celebration project. The PTO projects vary from building to building, but will include everything from yard work to repairs. Volunteers are needed at all schools, time commitments are flexible.

The Community H.U.G. is a powerful way to say our community stands together to Protect Everyone's Access to Community Education, according to a press relase. Schools and community should be a safe place to live and learn. Last year more than 800 community members, students, and teachers joined together to affirm that our schools and community are a safe place to live and learn. The H.U.G was an unprecedented event in the Van Buren Public Schools District that was initiated by Open Arms Lutheran Church.

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Newsworthy '13'

In random order:
ZHELEZNOGORSK. March 22. KAZINFORM. In compliance with the latest amendments to the federal space program for 2006-2015 an extra thirteen Glonass-M satellites will be made this year for the orbital global navigation system GLONASS, the first deputy general designer of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems plant, Viktor Kosenko, told the media on Friday after a meeting of the chief designers of Russia's space industry. The original intention was to launch six navigation satellites.

Thirteen Hundred Fifty Bucks, Illinois Corn Flake Auction
Would you pay thirteen hundred dollars for a corn flake that sort of looks like the state of Illinois if it were posted on an online auction? Are people now scouring their boxes of breakfast cereal searching high and low for corn flakes that look like California or Florida? Perhaps they should as copycat items are already popping up on eBay.

Thirteen Sahrawi families exchange new HCR-led family visits
Thirty-two people from seven families from the southern province of Smara flew to the Tindouf camps in the morning, while thirty-six members of six families traveled from these camps to Smara, in the eleventh visit exchange in 2008, a press release of the Moroccan Office of Coordination with MINURSO said.

Thirteen Mobylette fans take their bikes to the Sahara and back
Thirteen fans of the classic Mobylette 49 cc moped from Arroyo de la Miel, Málaga, yesterday completed a challenge they had set themselves of riding their machines from Málaga to the Sahara. They have successfully covered 1,800km and have ridden through snow, rain, cold and wind in their ten day there and back trip to the village of Merzouga some 20 kms into the dunes of the Sahara.

Build a Big Fence: Big Fences Make Good Neighbors
The border fence being installed near Columbus, NM is more than sixteen feet high and recent reports suggest it is working. On the other hand, the fence near Naco, AZ is only thirteen feet high and reports suggest it is not working.

Thirteen Tonne Theory
The singer. That's how he refers to himself in Thirteen Tonne Theory, the title coming from the size of the truck needed to get the band's gear around. It's a bitter, disconnected book at times. Seymour asks: how could a band so good fail so often? It's a universal question, but also very specific. I was just the singer, he says. A little bloke running across the stage ranting about girls.

Thirteen arrested in Tibet for March 10 protest by monks
Tibet authorities have arrested 13 people for taking part in a protest with "reactionary" slogans and a banner on March 10 in the regional capital Lhasa, the Tibet Daily reported on Tuesday.

Vote: Do you agree with the Olympic torch protests?
The torch is scheduled to visit 13 more countries after its trip Wednesday to San Francisco, but those plans might be under review.

MSG Net takes big bite of N.Y. Emmys
Actress Lynn Redgrave was honored for her role as program host/moderator of Thirteen/WNETs "Thirteen Setting the Stage."

13 Maoists surrender in Vizag
Thirteen Maoists including four dalam members and nine militia members surrendered before the Visakhapatnam Superintendent of Police Akun Sabharwal here today.

Thirteen million of London's working hours lost each year to tardy tradesmen
A recent YouGov survey[i], sponsored by leading London-based property maintenance company, Aspect Maintenance (www.aspect-maintenance.co.uk), has uncovered that over thirteen million working hours are lost in London each year[ii], while company employees wait in for property maintenance engineers to turn up.

Thirteen held in VAT fraud raids
Thirteen people were arrested in raids by officers investigating allegations of a multi-million pound VAT fraud. About 280 police and customs officials swooped on 20 premises in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Midlands.

Thirteen Ukrainian coal miners injured in underground explosion
Thirteen Ukrainian coal miners were injured in an underground explosion on Monday, an official from the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The apparent accident took place in a shaft in the eastern Donetsk region. Rescue workers evacuated 57 people from the pit.

Thirteen added to Derby entry
A record 13 horses have been added to the field at the first supplementary stage for the Vodafone Derby at Epsom on June 7.

Thirteen hits lead Miracle to 9-3 drowning of Threshers
Thanks to a five-run second inning and a season-high 13 hits, the Fort Myers Miracle were able to pick up their second straight win over the Clearwater Threshers by a final score of 9-3 on Wednesday night.

Documents present picture of brutal past
According to the Thirteen and Sixteen laws - the Tibetan feudal legal codes that were compiled in the 17th and 18th centuries and were applied until 1959 - Tibetans were divided into three social strata within nine grades:

In the upper stratum, the King of Tsang and other rulers belonged to the upper grade; Geshes, teachers of morals, abbots, high-ranking officials, or "headmen who had more than 300 attendants and servants", the middle grade; while "the independent bachelors, servants doing odd-jobs in government offices" were relegated to the upper grade of the lower stratum; "blacksmiths, butchers and beggars who had permanent residence and paid taxes", to the middle grade of the lower stratum; and "women, beggars, butchers and blacksmiths" to the lower grade of the lower stratum "whose life-price was a straw rope".

Thirteen held in drugs swoop
Police arrested 13 people in a joint operation to combat drug crime on the south coast following an increase in drug-related offences in Sussex.

Thirteen Europe-bound migrants die off Algeria
Algerian coastguards recovered the corpses of 13 illegal migrants who drowned off Algeria's coast while trying to reach Europe, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Brazilian police arrest 13 mayors accused of corruption

Brazilian Federal Police arrested 13 mayors accused of looting 117 million dollars in public money, authorities said Wednesday. According to an official report issued in Brasilia, 11 mayors from Minas Gerais, Brazil's second-wealthiest state, and two from the state of Bahia were arrested.

How Jerry Garcia rescued 'The Manuscript Found in Saragossa'

A friend of mine recently recommended the Polish writer Jan Potocki's bizarre, digressive masterpiece The Manuscript Found in Saragossa (find out just how digressive by checking out the table of contents here). I was unaware until today that this early-nineteenth-century work was resurrected in the 1960s as a black-and-white Polish-language film by Wojciech Has. The film might have been short-lived, according to Grady Hendrix in today's New York Sun, had Jerry Garcia of all people not "bought a print which he gave to the Pacific Film Archive on the condition that they would screen it for him whenever he asked." It's a fittingly odd episode in the book's long, strange trip to the present:

NRA Opens New Charlton Heston Carnival Game (Satire)

FAIRFAX, Va. (CAP) - In an effort to bolster sagging revenue and spur increased fervor among gun enthusiasts, the National Rifle Association has announced a new attraction at its national museum in Fairfax, Virginia where visitors will be invited to literally attempt to pry firearms from the cold, head hands of the corpse of former spokeman Charlton Heston.

"The kids are just going to love it," said NRA official Buckshot McQuarters. "But, let me warn you, it's not as easy as looks."

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A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn



Empire or Humanity?
What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire
by Howard Zinn
Narrated by Viggo Mortensen
Art by Mike Konopacki
Video editing by Eric Wold

TomDispatch: American Grand Delusions

Their President makes a habit of regularly telling other countries what they "must" do. "At the same time," he said recently, "the regimes in Iran and Syria must stop supporting violence and terror in Iraq." It's especially important to him and his officials that other nations not "interfere" in situations where, as in Iraq, they are so obviously "foreigners" and have no business; no fingers, that is, are to be caught in other people's cookie jars. Their Vice President made this point strikingly in an exchange with a TV interviewer:

"Q: So what message are you sending to Iran, and how tough are you prepared to get?

"Vice President: I think the message that the president sent clearly is that we do not want them doing what they can to try to destabilize the situation inside Iraq. We think it's very important that they keep their folks at home."

A range of other countries, all with a natural bent for "interference" or "meddling," must regularly be warned or threatened. After all, what needs to be prevented, according to a typical formulation of their President, is "foreign interference in the internal affairs of Iraq."

None of this advice do they apply to themselves for reasons far too obvious to explain. Wherever they go -- sometimes in huge numbers, usually well-armed, and, after a while, deeply entrenched in bases the size of small towns that they love to build -- they feel comfortable. They are, after all, defending their liberties by defending those of others elsewhere. Though there are natives of one brand or another everywhere, they consider themselves the planet's only true natives. Their motto might be: Wherever we hang our hats (or helmets) is home.

Others, who choose to fight them, automatically become aliens, intent as they are on destroying the stability of that planetary "home." So, for years, their military spokespeople referred to the Sunni insurgents they were battling in Iraq as "anti-Iraqi forces." It mattered little that almost all of them were, in fact, Iraqis; for the enemy is, by nature, so beyond the pale as to be a stranger to his or her own country or, just as likely, a cat's-paw of foreign forces and powers. Only when the very same "anti-Iraqi forces" suddenly decided to become allies were they suddenly granted the title, "concerned citizens," or even, more gloriously, "Sons of Iraq."

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Skulls. Black cats. A naked woman riding a killer whale. Grim reapers...

...Snakes. Swords. Occult symbols. A wizard with a staff that shoots lightning bolts. Moons. Stars. A dragon holding the Earth in its claws.
 
No, this is not the fantasy world of a 12-year-old boy.

It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon's classified, or "black," budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms.

"It's a fresh approach to secret government," Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said in an interview. "It shows that these secret programs have their own culture, vocabulary and even sense of humor."

One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. "To Serve Man" reads the text above, a reference to a classic "Twilight Zone" episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. "Gustatus Similis Pullus" reads the caption below, dog Latin for "Tastes Like Chicken."

Military officials and experts said the patches are real if often unofficial efforts at building team spirit.

The classified budget of the Defense Department, concealed from the public in all but outline, has nearly doubled in the Bush years, to $32 billion. That is more than the combined budgets of the Food and Drug Administration, the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Matthew Diaz - The man who told the truth

 
So, late one night in January 2005, he logged onto a secure internal database, bringing up prisoners' names a hundred at a time. For two weeks, contemplating the risks to his career, he kept the list of 551 names and corresponding serial numbers locked in his office safe. On January 14, the night of his farewell party, he enclosed the documents in a Valentine's Day card and mailed it to a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Diaz hoped that his actions would help lawyers file habeas corpus petitions on the prisoners' behalf. But after consulting with a judge, the attorney to whom Diaz mailed the list was instructed to turn it over to a federal agent. The card was traced to him, and he faced up to 24 years in prison (if convicted of all charges) for wrongful and dishonorable transmission of classified documents. In May 2007, a jury of military officers convicted him on four of five charges, sentenced him to six months' confinement and stripped him of his pension. The Navy subsequently decertified him as a JAG officer. Currently, he is on active duty without pay; his case is on appeal and should be heard later this year. Diaz's license to practice law has also been temporarily suspended. The prisoners' names were finally released—not when he sent the anonymous card, but 14 months later—due to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Associated Press.

Heroes of America - an anti-war anthem

Brian Eno - Pink Floyd - Thomas Easaw antiwar videos

Brian Eno - Banned Anti-War Demo in London


Pink Floyd: Welcome to the Machine


The Request by Thomas Easaw

'A raging debate over torture and interrogations' among healers

 
Imagine, a candidate for president who, a year or so ago, no one would have considered electable. Now the person is the front-runner, with a groundswell of grass-roots support, threatening the sense of inevitability of the Establishment candidates. No, I'm not talking about the U.S. presidential race, but the race for president of the largest association of psychologists in the world, the American Psychological Association (APA). At the heart of the election is a raging debate over torture and interrogations. While the other healing professions, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, bar their members from participating in interrogations, the APA leadership has fought against such a restriction.

Frustrated with the APA, a New York psychoanalyst, Dr. Steven Reisner, has thrown his hat into the ring. Last year, Reisner and other dissident psychologists formed the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology in an attempt to force a moratorium against participation by APA members in harsh interrogations. During the initial phase of this year's selection process, Reisner received the most nominating votes. He is running on a platform opposing the use of psychologists to oversee abusive and coercive interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo, secret CIA black sites or anywhere else international law or the Geneva Conventions are said not to apply.

The issue came to a head at the 2007 APA annual convention. After days of late-night negotiations, the moratorium came up for a climactic vote. We saw a surreal scene on the convention floor: Uniformed military were out in force. Men and women in desert camo and Navy whites worked the APA Council of Representatives, and officers in crisp dress uniforms stepped to the microphones.

Military psychologists insisted that they help make interrogations safe, ethical and legal, and cited instances where psychologists allegedly intervened to stop abuse. "If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die!" boomed Col. Larry James of the U.S. Army, chief psychologist at Guantanamo Bay and a member of the APA governing body. Dr. Laurie Wagner, a Dallas psychologist, shot back, "If psychologists have to be there in order to keep detainees from being killed, then those conditions are so horrendous that the only moral and ethical thing to do is to protest by leaving."...

'The war will become illegal on Jan. 1, 2009' (As if it isn't already)

 

Despite protestations to the contrary, Congress clearly understood that it was authorizing the president to intervene militarily when it passed its joint resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq in October 2002. But it did not give him a blank check. It allowed for the use of force only under two conditions.

The first has long since lapsed. It permitted the president to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." This threat came to an end with the destruction of Saddam Hussein's government. It makes no sense to say that it continues today, or that our "national security" is "threatened by" the Iraqi government headed by Nouri al-Maliki.

Instead, U.S. military intervention is authorized under the second prong of the 2002 resolution. This authorizes the president to "enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq." This has allowed the Bush administration to satisfy American law by obtaining a series of resolutions authorizing the United States to serve as the head of the multinational force in Iraq.

But here's the rub. The most recent U.N. resolution expires on Dec. 31, and the administration has announced that it will not seek one for 2009. Instead, it is now negotiating a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government to replace the U.N. mandate.

Whatever this agreement contains, it will not fill the legal vacuum. That's because the administration is not planning to submit this new agreement to Congress for its explicit approval. Since the Constitution gives the power to "declare war" to Congress, the president can't ignore the conditions imposed on him in 2002 without returning for a new grant of authority. He cannot substitute the consent of the Iraqi government for the consent of the U.S. Congress.

This simple point hasn't yet gained the attention it deserves. While the presidential candidates debate whether we should be in Iraq for the next two years or the next 100, nobody is focusing on the next few months...

 

Pharmakos - a purification ritual

From Wikipedia :

In ancient Athens, the ritual of the pharmakos was used to expel and shut out the evil (out of the body and out of the city). To achieve this, the Athenians maintained several outcasts at public expense. In the event of any calamity, they sacrificed one or more than one outcasts as a purification and a remedy. The pharmakos, the 'scapegoat', the 'outsider' was led to the outside of the city walls and killed in order to purify the city's interior. The evil that had infected the city from 'outside', is brought out and returned to the 'outside', forever. But, ironically, the representative of the outside (the pharmakos) was nonetheless kept at the very heart of the inside, the city, and that too in public expense. In order to be led out of the city, the scapegoat must have already been within the city. 'The ceremony of the pharmakos is played out on the boundary line between the 'inside' and the 'outside', which it has as its function ceaselessly to trace and retrace'. Similarly, the pharmakos stands on the thin red line between sacred and cursed, '... beneficial insofar as he cures - and for that, venerated and cared for - harmful insofar as he incarnates the powers of evil - and for that, feared and treated with caution'. He is the healer who cures, and he is the criminal who is the incarnation of the powers of evil. The pharmakos is like a medicine, pharmakon, in case of a specific disease, but, like most medicines, he is, simultaneously, a poison, evil all the same. Pharmakos, Pharmakon: they escape both the sides by at once being and not being on a side. Both words carry within themselves more than one meaning, that is, conflicting meanings.

Pharmakos does not only mean scapegoat, It is a synonym for pharmakeus, a word often repeated by Plato, meaning 'wizard', 'magician', even 'poisoner'. In Plato's dialogues, Socrates is often depicted and termed as a pharmakeus. Socrates is considered as one who knows how to perform magic with words, and notably, not with written letters. His words act as a pharmakon (as a remedy, or allegedly as a poison as far as the Athenian authority were concerned) and change, cure the soul of the listener. In Phaedrus, he fiercely objects to the evil effects of writing, which, obviously, is what makes Derrida so interested in this book. Socrates compares writing to a pharmakon, a drug, a poison: writing repeats without knowing, creates abominable simulacra. Here Socrates deliberately overlooks the other meaning of the word: the cure. Socrates suggests a different pharmakon, a medicine: dialectics, the philosophical form of dialogue. This, he claims, can lead us to the truth of the eidos, that which is identical to itself, always the same as itself, invariable. Here Socrates again overlooks the 'other' reading of the word 'pharmakon': the poison. He acts as a magician (pharmakos) - Socrates himself speaks about a supernatural voice that talks through him - and his most famous medicine (pharmakon) is speech, dialectics and dialogue leading to ultimate knowledge and truth. But, ironically, Socrates also becomes Athens's most famous 'other' pharmakos, the scapegoat. He becomes a stranger, even an enemy who poisons the republic and its citizens. He is an abominable 'other'; not the absolute other, the barbarian, but the other (the outside) who is very near, like those outcasts, who is always-already on the inside. He is at once the 'cure' and the 'poison', and just like him, the Athenians chose to forget one of those meanings according to the need. And, at the end, Plato put Socrates in what he considered to be the vilest of all poisons: in writing, that survives to this day. Phaedrus and Socrates both stand as a metonym [very significantly meaning "beyond names"] for the whole contest between speech and letters, for the central (if such inappropriate word can be excused) theme of the Derridian project. The interplay between the words pharmakon-pharmakos-pharmakeus is another example of Derridian 'Trace'.

Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo Independence, and the New World Order



Camp Bondsteel and America’s plans to control Caspian oil


Camp Bondsteel, the biggest “from scratch” foreign US military base since the Vietnam War is near completion in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. It is located close to vital oil pipelines and energy corridors presently under construction, such as the US sponsored Trans-Balkan oil pipeline. As a result defence contractors—in particular Halliburton Oil subsidiary Brown & Root Services—are making a fortune.

In June 1999, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Yugoslavia, US forces seized 1,000 acres of farmland in southeast Kosovo at Uresevic, near the Macedonian border, and began the construction of a camp.

Camp Bondsteel is known as the “grand dame” in a network of US bases running both sides of the border between Kosovo and Macedonia. In less than three years it has been transformed from an encampment of tents to a self sufficient, high tech base-camp housing nearly 7,000 troops—three quarters of all the US troops stationed in Kosovo.

There are 25 kilometres of roads and over 300 buildings at Camp Bondsteel, surrounded by 14 kilometres of earth and concrete barriers, 84 kilometres of concertina wire and 11 watch towers. It is so big that it has downtown, midtown and uptown districts, retail outlets, 24-hour sports halls, a chapel, library and the best-equipped hospital anywhere in Europe. At present there are 55 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters based at Bondsteel and although it has no aircraft landing strip the location was chosen for its capacity to expand. There are suggestions that it could replace the US airforce base at Aviano in Italy.

According to Colonel Robert L. McClure, writing in the engineers professional Bulletin, “Engineer planning for operations in Kosovo began months before the first bomb was dropped. At the outset, planners wanted to use the lessons learned in Bosnia and convinced decision makers to reach base-camp ‘end state’ as quickly as possible.”

Initially US military engineers took control of 320 kilometres of roads and 75 bridges in the surrounding area for military use and laid out a base camp template involving soldiers living quarters, helicopter flight paths, ammunition holding areas and so on.

McClure explains how the Engineer Brigade were instructed “to merge construction assets and integrate them with the contractor, Brown & Root Services Corporation, to build not one but two base camps [the other is Camp Monteith] for a total of 7,000 troops.”

According to McClure, “At the height of the effort, about 1,000 former US military personnel, hired by Brown & Root, along with more than 7,000 Albanian local nationals, joined the 1,700 military engineers. From early July and into October [1999], construction at both camps continued 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”...

Mike Gravel’s Introduction to the Pentagon Papers

A 'must read' from Babblemur.
 
" ... For twenty years this nation has been at war in Indochina. Tens of thousands of Americans have been killed, half a million have been wounded, a million Asians have died, and millions more have been maimed or have become refugees in their own land. Meanwhile, the greatest representative democracy the world has even seen, the nation of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, has had its nose rubbed in the swamp by petty war lords, jealous generals, black marketeers, and grand-scale dope pushers.

And the war still goes on. People are still dying, arms and legs are being severed, metal is crashing through human bodies, as a direct result of policy deecisions conceived in secret and still kept from the American people.

H. G. Wells, the English novelist and historian, once wrote:

The true strength of rulers and empires lies not in armies or emotions, but in the belief of men that they are inflexibly open and truthful and legal. As soon as a government departs from that standard, it ceases to be anything more than "the gang in possession," and its days are numbered. ... "

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