Monday, January 19, 2009

The 2012 Enigma by David Wilcock



DivineCosmos.com

Musical Innerlube: Korn - 'Freak on a leash'

Reminiscent of the bullet that pierced the fabric of Greek society...

Iran says AIDS doctors among US-backed plotters

Iran said on Monday that two doctors jailed since June were among a group convicted of a US-backed plot to overthrow the Islamic republic by creating social upheaval, Fars news agency reported.

"Among the four key elements arrested in this case there were two doctors named Arash and Kamiar Alaei," said the counter-espionage director at Iran's intelligence ministry, who was not named.

"Four people in this case who have been confronted were key elements who knowingly cooperated with US intelligence people in the region and fully implemented their demands," the official said.

The two brothers, who have been in jail since June, were known for their pioneering work in HIV/AIDS. Iran announced last week the group had been sentenced to undisclosed jail terms.

"People such as (US Under Secretary of State) William Burns, (Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs) Goli Ameri, (US official) Ramin Asgar and some other people linked with the US intelligence service in the region had a direct involvement in this project," the official charged, claiming the United States had spent 32 million dollars on the plot.

The intelligence official said the group sought to "incite social crises, organise street rallies and interfere in ethnic issues."

The Iranian judiciary recently disclosed details on a series of cases involving charges against opposition groups, including those said to have links abroad.

Tehran accuses Washington and London of backing violent and non-violent actions against the state.

"The United States sought to create a network inside Iran under cover of academic work and wanted to pursue a colour revolution by connecting with the elite and effective people," the security official said.

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Progressive revolution: We can't afford to play small-ball and tip-toe around right-wingers anymore

From an article by Mike Wiley posted on Alternet:

Fear has been a staple of every generation of conservatives .... Fear of the democratic mob. Fear of the freed slave. Fear of the liberated woman destroying the traditional family. Fear of freethinkers destroying religion. Fear of communism. Fear of gays and lesbians. Fear of hippies, "free love," and the drug culture. Fear of the immigrant. In a bizarre twist, Social Darwinism gave us fear of the weak, and in the modern version of Social Darwinism, Reagan gave us fear of the poor on welfare. Post-9/11, you can now add in the ever-potent fear of terrorism. Sadly, while some of those fears have faded with the passage of history, many remain with us, still powerful.

Many conservatives still fear feminism, sometimes to a hilarious degree. Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes, from the inimitable Pat Robertson: "[Feminism] is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

I had no idea feminism was so comprehensive, but there you have it. Of course, many men who are threatened by strong women aren't quite so hysterical, but like threatened people everywhere, they love to mock. Rush Limbaugh, who coined the feminazi, has this definition of feminism: "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."

The prospect of empowered women isn't the only fear that conservatives have carried throughout the years of our nation's existence. They have always feared free thinking, which opens the door to a range of ideas and beliefs. The notion that their children might be exposed to any ideas or scientific theories that are different from what is being taught at home, as exemplified by the battles that are fought daily about public education, still scares conservatives a great deal. Read articles from any local newspaper about the nature of their resistance-to the teaching of evolution, the discussion of global warming, the assignment of certain books by English teachers, and so on-and you will see parents who are terrified that their own children might learn a way of thinking contrary to their own.

Fears of communism and welfare have faded somewhat in the last twenty years because of the fall of the Soviet Union and the passage of welfare reform, but they have been quickly replaced by conservatives' finding new things to scare voters with. Terrorism and immigrants have become the new hot-button excuses for pushing the political fear button. Or maybe I should amend that: terrorism, at least, is relatively new as a major fear for voters because until 9/11, people knew it could be a problem but didn't worry about it much. After 9/11, it became the biggest thing Americans were scared of. Immigration, on the other hand, is a very old fear that conservatives have been exploiting with renewed vigor in recent years.

In the early days of the United States, immigrants were generally quite welcome because the country had an ever expanding need for new workers, farmers, and pioneers to go out west. But by the 1850s, as more poor and working-class Irish journeyed across the Atlantic to settle here, the combination of anti-poor and anti-Catholic bigotry stirred up the vicious anti-immigrant movement called, appropriately enough, the Know-Nothings (the name came from the fact that their leaders swore an oath of secrecy about being involved in the movement, so that if asked about it, they said they knew nothing).

To join the organization of the original Know-Nothing movement, the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, you had to be white and male, be born in the United States, and not only be Protestant but have no family connection whatsoever to Catholicism. The Know-Nothing political party, called the American Party, won nine gubernatorial seats and controlled at least one branch of the legislature in six states during the mid-1850s. It ran former president Millard Fillmore as its presidential candidate in the 1856 election, and he received about a quarter of the votes. But the movement quickly faded because the slavery issue soon overwhelmed everything else.

Throughout the late 1800s, another conservative period in U.S. history, immigration was regularly featured in the American political debate. Concerns about Chinese immigrants in California and Irish immigrants in the east were a constant refrain in the arguments against voting rights and civil rights. Sadly, even the populist movement was tainted by anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as by its alliance with southern segregationists.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first major restriction on immigration. Passed in 1882, it prohibited most immigration from Asia and took away the right of Chinese immigrants to become citizens. However, it was after World War I that anti-immigrant zeal truly reached its peak. Fearing a wave of postwar refugees and gripped by the conservative frenzy of the times, Congress passed legislation, in 1921 and 1924, that restricted immigration. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 limited European immigration to 3 percent of the total population of each European nationality living in the United States as of 1910. The Immigration Act of 1924 went much further, limiting European immigration to 2 percent of each nationality living in the United States as of 1890.

Just as conservatives do today, back then they also used people's fear of immigrants to attack other progressive ideas and legislation. Congressional opponents of the 14th and 15th amendments, for example, worried that immigrants would take advantage of these new voting rights. In the 1920s and earlier, immigrant bashers were anxious about what kinds of communists, socialists, and anarchists might be coming over to contaminate our population.

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Brief article in defense of the anti-authoritarians

Published in the daily newspaper AVGI
Sunday, 14 December, 2008


by Thanasis Papakonstantinou

Every social group that possesses or desires power breeds and trains guard dogs. The state has the police and the para-state. Political parties have the so-called 'party-dogs'. Aggressive breeds are chosen and they are naturally trained to develop this tendency to the max.

On the other hand, various anti-authoritarian groups have no need of any such thing because they do not intend to seize power nor do they have a corral to guard. Thus they become more susceptible to provocation, but it is better to be free and vulnerable than enslaved and secure. Many hide their faces either for 'technical' reasons (protection from tear-gas as well as other paranoid implements of repression) or so that they will not be recognized when they commit illicit acts. It does not mean that whoever wears a hood is a coward. Is Subcomandante Marcos a coward, for instance?

I understand the violence of the weak who are rallying to defend human dignity - it has moral foundations. I fear, however, that whoever becomes infected by the virus of violence - even when the goal is a humanitarian one - shall ultimately fail. The means and the goal justify the result. Instead of violence I prefer the raising of consciousness and humanity as a means to a better life. Despite that, I consider the anti-authoritarians to be the most selfless and courageous segment of those engaged in social struggle, whether in our own recent incidents or in the remote past or in the future, locally or globally.

By way of an epilogue, perhaps capping off the above with something from my busking, I present the final two verses from my unreleased song 'San Michele had a rooster':

Tell me. Has the tub been found, where
I once bathed in sun and snow
or the lock of hair saved from my first haircut
by my mother who is still hanging up clothes?
Bakunin's cast iron spittoon,
comrades, has it been found
so I might spit in anger for the new ages
that make me look like a harlequin?

~ translated from the original Greek ~

Book bans never say die

From Interzone to Atlantis

Author of Naked Lunch, perhaps the last great banned book, William S. Burroughs shifted in a matter of decades from drugged-up obscurity, through counter-cultural iconicity, to outmoded cliché—that he should become the object of an exhibition at this country's most prestigious artistic institution, sponsored by a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company, is only the logical extension of an assimilative process that began with his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1983. Reviewing the RA exhibition on The Guardian's art blog, Jonathan Jones refers to Burroughs as '[t]he most overrated cultural icon of the late 20th century' and is not far off the mark.

And yet, there's a difference—a crucial one—between being an overrated cultural icon and an overrated writer. Jones disregards this, moving from a lazy comparison with Pynchon (junkie and paranoiac are far from interchangeable) to a general denunciation of Burroughs's work, but the distinction needs to be maintained. 'Burroughs is', according to Jones's sneering assessment, 'the modern writer adored by people who don't read enough modern writing'—an overcharged druggie stereotype, shooting smack and wives with equal abandon. A tendency to pop up in his own work certainly doesn't help matters—as Will Self puts it, 'there was never a writer like Bill Burroughs for self-mythologizing ...'

But what Jones seems to forget is the sheer visceral texture of Burroughs's junk-obsession. The whole point of his straight-dope grotesquerie is that it isn't some glamourized image: 'Since Naked Lunch treats this health problem [i.e. the problem of drug addiction], it is necessarily brutal, obscene and disgusting. Sickness is often repulsive details not for weak stomachs.' Burroughs's work points directly to a real critique of 'the pyramid of junk' which succumbs neither to government-sponsored anti-drug hysteria nor to the laminated heroin chic of the international catwalk. Years before postmodern theorists of destabilization and fragmentation appeared on the scene, Bill Burroughs was literally cutting up his manuscripts, splicing in newspaper clippings and extracts from his 'Word Hoard' in a deliberate blurring of text and context.


Good reading in Jan.: laughter, banned books

Some of her other enchanting titles are “Mama Get The Hammer There's A Fly On Papa's Head” and “Plant a Geranium in your Cranium,” which was written after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. However, my favorite book of Barbara's is “Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death.” The title says it all.

Barbara and Erma are no longer with us. These women wrote about the problems in their lives and found humor in their devastating situations. They left us with words that inspire us to find joy and laughter through the difficulties of life.

It is January. The sun isn't always shining, our noses are running and we seem to be skating down the sidewalk. If you have the January blahs, pick up one of these books or books by another author that will leave you rolling off of your bed or couch in laughter. If you are not a reader, find a book of cartoons that will leave you rolling off of your bed or couch in laughter.

Of course I could steer you to a few banned books. Don't gasp. Don't you want to read that which is banned? Of course you do. Just because curiosity killed the cat doesn't mean it will kill you. I have read many banned books in my time. Of course at the time I read them they were not banned, they were required reading for a class.

I have read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I have read “Catcher in the Rye.” I have read “Little House on the Prairie.” Yes, even “Little House on the Prairie” was banned in some school systems because of content. There is actually a Web site titled, The Forbidden Library: Banned and Challenged Books, where you can buy these books. Of course, you can buy them anywhere but this Web site points out that they have been banned and challenged by some institution, which makes them much more enticing.

I recommend the book that recently made headlines in Ankeny, Iowa. The book is called “And Tango Makes Three.” It is a children's book that some parents are trying to ban from the Ankeny school library.

This is Wikipedia's description of the book: “The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo who for six years formed a couple. The book follows part of this time in the penguins' lives. This book aims to send the reader the message that it is okay to be in, or know someone who has, a 'non-traditional' family.

“The pair was observed trying to hatch a rock that resembled an egg. When zookeepers realized that Roy and Silo were both male, it occurred to them to give them the second egg of a mixed-sex penguin couple, a couple which had previously been unable to successfully hatch two eggs at once. Roy and Silo hatched and raised the healthy young chick, a female named 'Tango' by keepers, together as a family.”


Bunny Suicides Beats Ban and Burning

Stepping up beside the likes of Voltaire's Candide and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Andy Riley's 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides (Plume) has narrowly avoided being banned at a Portland, Oregon school. From Oregon's Fox12:

"The Book of Bunny Suicides," by British humorist Andy Riley, follows 100 rabbits as they search for new ways to commit suicide. It has been the focus point of a long-running debate among the school board members since October, when parent Taffey Anderson threatened to burn the book after her 13-year-old son brought it home from school.
Back in 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides was one of those books that made it into the January Magazine stacks, but didn't make the cut for review. And why? Well, certainly not because we didn't want you to know about it. Honestly: the book just seemed too stupid to bother with. The kind of book -- hmmmm -- a 13-year-old boy might think was deeply funny.


Beulah school board to meet on banned book tonight

The Beulah School Board will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the board room in the high school to discuss last week's decision to ban a book from the high school library.

Board chairman Phil Eastgate said the book removal will be the only item on the agenda.

The board voted 4-3 Thursday to remove the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" from the school library.

The board was acting on a request and appeal made by Keith Bohn, a Beulah High School teacher, and Kathy Bohn, a school librarian, after their son brought the book home as part of accelerated reading program.

The Bohns said the book was unsuitably pornographic for a school library.


Newman trustees defer decision on banned book

After 70 people packed the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District meeting Monday to hear discussions about a banned book, trustees said they will decide next week whether to return it to the curriculum.

All but one speaker defended "Bless Me, Ultima," a book by Rudolfo Anaya about a Latino boy reconciling his thoughts about American Indian religious traditions and Roman Catholicism. Critics say it's anti-Catholic.

Tony Spears, president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said "I can't think of a book, I can't think of a newspaper article that's not offensive to some people."

In October, Superintendent Rick Fauss banned the book at Orestimba High School without reading it after one parent complained.

Banned book article excerpts

From Interzone to Atlantis

Author of Naked Lunch, perhaps the last great banned book, William S. Burroughs shifted in a matter of decades from drugged-up obscurity, through counter-cultural iconicity, to outmoded cliché—that he should become the object of an exhibition at this country's most prestigious artistic institution, sponsored by a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company, is only the logical extension of an assimilative process that began with his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1983. Reviewing the RA exhibition on The Guardian's art blog, Jonathan Jones refers to Burroughs as '[t]he most overrated cultural icon of the late 20th century' and is not far off the mark.

And yet, there's a difference—a crucial one—between being an overrated cultural icon and an overrated writer. Jones disregards this, moving from a lazy comparison with Pynchon (junkie and paranoiac are far from interchangeable) to a general denunciation of Burroughs's work, but the distinction needs to be maintained. 'Burroughs is', according to Jones's sneering assessment, 'the modern writer adored by people who don't read enough modern writing'—an overcharged druggie stereotype, shooting smack and wives with equal abandon. A tendency to pop up in his own work certainly doesn't help matters—as Will Self puts it, 'there was never a writer like Bill Burroughs for self-mythologizing ...'

But what Jones seems to forget is the sheer visceral texture of Burroughs's junk-obsession. The whole point of his straight-dope grotesquerie is that it isn't some glamourized image: 'Since Naked Lunch treats this health problem [i.e. the problem of drug addiction], it is necessarily brutal, obscene and disgusting. Sickness is often repulsive details not for weak stomachs.' Burroughs's work points directly to a real critique of 'the pyramid of junk' which succumbs neither to government-sponsored anti-drug hysteria nor to the laminated heroin chic of the international catwalk. Years before postmodern theorists of destabilization and fragmentation appeared on the scene, Bill Burroughs was literally cutting up his manuscripts, splicing in newspaper clippings and extracts from his 'Word Hoard' in a deliberate blurring of text and context.


Good reading in Jan.: laughter, banned books

Erma Bombeck was one of my favorite authors. If I wanted a good laugh combined with excellent wisdom that I could understand, I would pick up one of Erma's books. Erma was a columnist and published 15 books. I guess you could say that Erma inspired and still inspires me. I wish I had her wit and her humor. Because of Erma, I found the courage to write a column.

Some of the titles of Erma's books are “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank,” “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” and “Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.” As you can guess by the title of her books, Erma was not boring.

My favorite column of Erma's was one titled “I've Always Loved You Best.” Her words described what most of us couldn't put into words. We love each child best but differently. The key is making them each feel the “we love you best” love.

Another author whose books I pick up when I need a pick-me-up is Barbara Johnson. Barbara was a speaker at a Women of Faith conference that I attended many years ago.

I decided that someone who could write a book titled “Leaking Laffs Between Pampers and Depends” was my kind of woman. After all who can resist a chapter titled “I Finally Got My Head Together But Then My Body Fell Apart.”

Some of her other enchanting titles are “Mama Get The Hammer There's A Fly On Papa's Head” and “Plant a Geranium in your Cranium,” which was written after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. However, my favorite book of Barbara's is “Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death.” The title says it all.


Bunny Suicides Beats Ban and Burning

Stepping up beside the likes of Voltaire's Candide and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Andy Riley's 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides (Plume) has narrowly avoided being banned at a Portland, Oregon school. From Oregon's Fox12:

"The Book of Bunny Suicides," by British humorist Andy Riley, follows 100 rabbits as they search for new ways to commit suicide. It has been the focus point of a long-running debate among the school board members since October, when parent Taffey Anderson threatened to burn the book after her 13-year-old son brought it home from school.
Back in 2003 The Book of Bunny Suicides was one of those books that made it into the January Magazine stacks, but didn't make the cut for review. And why? Well, certainly not because we didn't want you to know about it. Honestly: the book just seemed too stupid to bother with. The kind of book -- hmmmm -- a 13-year-old boy might think was deeply funny.


Beulah school board to meet on banned book tonight

The Beulah School Board will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the board room in the high school to discuss last week's decision to ban a book from the high school library.

Board chairman Phil Eastgate said the book removal will be the only item on the agenda.

The board voted 4-3 Thursday to remove the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" from the school library.

The board was acting on a request and appeal made by Keith Bohn, a Beulah High School teacher, and Kathy Bohn, a school librarian, after their son brought the book home as part of accelerated reading program.

The Bohns said the book was unsuitably pornographic for a school library.


Newman trustees defer decision on banned book

After 70 people packed the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District meeting Monday to hear discussions about a banned book, trustees said they will decide next week whether to return it to the curriculum.

All but one speaker defended "Bless Me, Ultima," a book by Rudolfo Anaya about a Latino boy reconciling his thoughts about American Indian religious traditions and Roman Catholicism. Critics say it's anti-Catholic.

Tony Spears, president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said "I can't think of a book, I can't think of a newspaper article that's not offensive to some people."

In October, Superintendent Rick Fauss banned the book at Orestimba High School without reading it after one parent complained.

Secret societies: Forbidden knowledge

Part 1 of 5


http://www.gardinersworld.com

Philip Gardiner delves into a world that is hidden from our eyes to uncover the truth behind the world's secret societies. We are all searching for enlightenment in our own way, and that each person finds it in different ways hence the need for so many kinds of secret organisations. This has been called a void that we need to somehow fill, an emptiness within each one of us that calls out for a higher being or state of consciousness. Some psychologists believe that this is an evolutionary aspect of our lives, that within us there is a constant urge to improve and a deep-rooted hope. This hope makes us strive for more and thus we become the strongest and fittest of the species hence evolution.

But, there is a truth in this that has missed many. There is a void within us, quite literally. This void is the lack of the true enlightenment experience. There actually is a higher state of consciousness. If it were not so, then the feeling and emotions which drive people towards re-discovering it would not be so strong and so universal. It is not - and I have to state this each time - the kundalini, which itself is a troubled and yet beautiful human electro-bio-chemical reaction. To follow this ancient Hindu concept to the letter is in the first instance next to impossible because texts do not exist, and secondly it is highly dangerous and can easily lead to psychosis and other forms of mental problems. It is one aspect of the true inner wisdom, but not the aspect only.

The secret societies, and indeed, some religions of the globe have attempted over the millennia to bring us back to this state of consciousness, but they have more often than not utilised it for their own gain power. How do we know this? A quick study of the secret societies of the globe will show that the enlightenment experience has been used in every single occasion to draw people in and keep them.

From at least the 11th century an enigmatic group known erroneously as the Assassins emerged in Persia. They take their name from Hashish (hashish-im, hashish takers), a trance inducing drug thought by many to help the leaders control the minds of the subverts. The name was originally in fact an insult.

http://truth-tv.org

Social movement struggles for land and housing in post-apartheid South Africa

Amabhulu anyama
Asenzeli iworry
[The black capitalists]
[Are making us worry]
- Chorus of a contemporary protest song, sung in Xhosa

In the predawn hours of Saturday, September 13th, 2008, a devastating fire tore through the thousands of wood and zinc shacks that make up the Foreman Road informal settlement in Durban. Sparked by an unattended candle, the fire spread quickly and raged for hours.

With only one water tap serving nearly 8,000 tightly packed residents, there was little people could do but warn their neighbors and move to safety to watch their houses burn. It would take several hours to put out the fire. Among the smoldering debris, residents would later find the body of Thembelani Khweshube, 30, who had been asleep when his shack caught fire.

"I wish that somebody could save us from this misery," lamented Funeka Nokhayingana to a local reporter from the Durban Mercury amidst the charred zinc and the damp ash. "I have lost everything in the fire - my identity document, my children's birth certificates, uniforms and school books. It hurts me to raise my children in such conditions, but I don't have a choice because I have nowhere else to go."

Far from a rare occurrence, these shack fires have become an increasingly frequent phenomenon in post-apartheid South Africa, as the numbers of shack settlements have continued to grow. There have been an average of ten shack fires a day over the past five years, with someone dying in a shack fire almost every other day. In the eThekwini municipality where the Foreman Road settlement is located, there is roughly one shack fire a day.

Not long after the wreckage had finally begun to cool, the residents of Foreman Road held a community meeting to collectively assess their situation. Rather than accepting the city's offer of relocation, residents resolved to immediately begin rebuilding their shacks using whatever materials could be salvaged from the ruins. Working with others member of Abahlali baseMjondolo (Zulu for shack dwellers), a social movement based in more than 40 shack settlements, residents put out a press statement the same day, calling for emergency food, temporary shelter and building materials. At the same time, their statement also placed the destruction of more than 70 percent of their settlement in a broader political context:

"Shack fires are a crisis. They are not something normal. The government must stop blaming the victims every time there is a fire. We have to treat the fires as a crisis. We have to act against the real causes of the fires. The main cause is that people don't have electricity. Other causes are that people don't have enough taps or any fire hydrants to fight the fires. The short term solution is to electrify the shacks and provides taps, fire hydrants and access roads. The real solution is to upgrade the settlements with proper brick houses."

But far from assisting in rebuilding efforts, municipal officials instead arrived at the settlement with bulldozers the following day. In response, the Foreman Road AbM mobilized to halt the municipality's plans, threatening to blockade the entrance to the settlement Road and calling on legal advocates to halt this unlawful action. "Foreman Road is our home," reiterated AbM after threatening to destroy any bulldozers that entered the settlement. "We are urbanites. We live and work and school here. We will not be moved. If the City will not give us building materials we will rebuild the settlement ourselves. This land is ours."

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Daniel Dennett and 'Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind'

Click here to go to video.

Daniel Dennett throws some interesting questions about mind and solipsism.

My prime interest is philosophy of mind, and naturally I've been drawn into reading Daniel Dennett who is a proponent of presenting physicalist picture of mind. This audio was taken from "Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness".

Is it really love if the other boy or a girl you love has no way to conceive that you love him or her? Since there is no known mechanism of actualize our thoughts other than through physical medium, in order for the love you try to complete must be conveyed physically. Your prayers won't work. Dreaming about it won't work. Thinking about it won't work. You have to talk to that person.


Kinds of minds - 01 What kinds of minds are there?

Kashmir: Hanging Guru may disturb peace, comments Mehraj Hajni

India has never succeeded in evolving any sound and effective Kashmir Policy and this is the reason why Kashmir pot remained boiling and also during times it assumed the most alarming proportions. At the time of partition, when the Princely States were acceding to either of the two dominions according to the provisions of Indian Independence Act of 1947, the Congress Leadership of India ignored repeated advices of Lord Mountbatten not to visit Kashmir as it will give a wrong message that India is influencing Maharaja (the then ruler) on the question of accession of the state. Besides Maharaja of Patila, Kaporthala and Faridkot, the President of INC Acharya Kriplani and even Gandhi Ji paid visits to Maharaja. As a result of these visits Pakistan set aside the Stand Still Agreement which it had signed with the state. This was followed by Economic Blockade, Poonch Revolt and finally a Tribal Invasion.

Similarly to refer Kashmir issue to UNO in 1948 and file a formal petition in the Security Council under Section 35 of the Chapter VI which relates to the “Pacific Settlement of Disputes” and not under Chapter VII which deals with the “Acts of Aggression”, also proved highly counter productive. It is this UN petition which is a testimonial to the fact that Kashmir issue constitutes a dispute. The third mistake on part of India was that what ever the gains it achieved in 1971 War, were lost when she failed miserably to make Pakistan to accept the Cease Fire Line of Kashmir as an agreed International Border. Pakistani President Mr. Bhutto succeeded not only to get Pakistani territory vacated and their prisoners released,  but even kept the future of Kashmir wide open after signing the Shimla Agreement of 1972.

The betrayal of most popular nationalist leader of Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah who was highly influenced by the secular ideals and democratic values of Congress Leadership of India, the systematic and gradual erosion of autonomy of J&K granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the installation of unpopular governments through undemocratic methods, the suppression of people demanding their basic amenities and then labeling them as extremists and terrorists, resulted in the complete alienation of Kashmiris from the Indian Nation. This continuous and growing dissatisfaction ultimately burst into flames in 1990 and resulted in the complete mass upsurge against India. The situation reached a point that it became the question of re-establishing India's writ over Kashmir. Although the role of some other external internal factors can not be ignored in the emergence of Kashmir crises, yet it is mostly the result of that wrong policy of the government of India, were they always considered the instrument of “Accession of Kashmir” as an “Instrument of Their Conquest”,

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Dima Hamdan - The Third Intifada... Is it time to fight back with stones?

“Four deaths! Well the death toll in Operation Cast Lead today stands at 800 and the meter's still rolling,” I said to a friend over the telephone today. “… where is the Third Intifada?”

He said it was probably up to Khaled Meshaal to make a phone call “when the time is right” and mobilise people. But since when did the Palestinians wait for “orders” to start an uprising? They didn't wait for it in 1987, and in fact they took all the politicians, the PLO and all the factions, by surprise. Even in the Second Intifada, the initial revolt was a mass decision, not a response to orders from Arafat or anyone. Some might want to debate the legacy of the Second Intifada, but we cannot deny that the uprising of 1987 wasn't just a message to the occupation, but to the already-fragmented leadership that the people were united, regardless of their political affiliations.

No doubt the situation now is very different. Palestinians in the West Bank now have to deal with both the occupation and the Palestinian National Authority. There is also a greater risk that warring factions would want to make political gains out of popular actions. Ordinary civilians might be reluctant to march or chant under political banners. Palestinian cities are now cut off from each other which probably makes it difficult to organise a mass movement. But is silence really an affordable option now?

One might ask what gains can be made from another Intifada. Will it ultimately liberate Palestine? Well maybe not, but how is it acceptable that only one party, Hamas, is doing all the fighting, and only in the Gaza Strip? What's going on in the West Bank? More land confiscation, more settlements, and a slow and “quiet” ethnic-cleansing process is going on in East Jerusalem while the world is looking away.

I do not know when the situation will be “ripe” for a third Intifada, and whether it is still is a viable option to begin with. I must admit: I'm a Diaspora Palestinian who's never experienced the humiliation and oppression of the occupation. No one in my immediate family is at risk. Only Palestinians living in the occupied territories could say whether there should be a Third Intifada, but I think this is an urgent question that we must discuss, and I would love to hear from people within the West Bank… let's debate this.

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Children of the Left, Unite!

Financial behemoths have been nationalized. The government is promising to spend liberally to combat recession. There are even rumors of universal health care. Socialism is on the march! As we leave capitalism behind, the traditionalists among you may be wondering: Will they come for our children?

Too late. As Julia L. Mickenberg and Philip Nel document in Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature (New York University, $32.95), Marxist principles have been dripping steadily into the minds of American youth for more than a century. This isn't altogether surprising. After all, most parents want their children to be far left in their early years — to share toys, to eschew the torture of siblings, to leave a clean environment behind them, to refrain from causing the extinction of the dog, to rise above coveting and hoarding, and to view the blandishments of corporate America through a lens of harsh skepticism. But fewer parents wish for their children to carry all these virtues into adulthood. It is one thing to convince your child that no individual owns the sandbox and that it is better for all children that it is so. It is another to hope that when he grows up he will donate the family home to a workers' collective.

Mickenberg, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas, Austin, and Nel, a professor of English at Kansas State University, have nonetheless found 44 texts that attempt to attach children to social justice permanently. As they note in an introduction, the tentacles of the left reach deep. Crockett Johnson, creator of the innocuous-seeming “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” was an editor at The New Masses, a Communist weekly. Syd Hoff, known for “Danny and the Dinosaur,” wrote for The Daily Worker. Environmentalism is more or less explicit in such crowd pleasers as “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. In fact, so permeated is children's literature by progressive ideals that Mickenberg and Nel were forced to narrow their scope by focusing on texts that have fallen out of print. They group their rediscoveries according to such themes as economics, unionization and respect for individual difference.

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June 2009 European elections: everyone to the left!

'Enough is enough!' The new leitmotif of French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his comrades in the brand new Parti de gauche français (French left party) reflects the sentiment amongst the extreme left across Europe. It's no longer a secret – socialists are suffering from a massive, paralysing identity crisis. And there's worse! They are chummying up to the enemy. The modern left has to make compromises and accept a certain amount of flirtation with the right or centre-right, in order to gain power. It is not surprising then that certain more militant socialists no longer feel at home.

The internal quarrels infuriate those with a more extreme political stance, who are responding to the crisis by their own means, creating their own political groupings. Weakened by the fall of communism and the conversion to capitalism in former soviet bloc countries, parties of the extreme left have stayed in the shadows. But recently the winds have changed: with the 'no' to the constitutional treaty from the from the French and Dutch, the 'no' from the Irish to the Lisbon treaty and now the financial crisis, the far left is trying to take advantage of this situation and is taking on the revolt. With the current need for society to take action and disillusionment with the capitalist model mean this really is the moment for the left to take centre stage politically.

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Kashmir Grand Mufti issues edict against hops cultivation

Released by News Blaze on 13 Jan, 2009:

By Fayaz Wani

Srinagar, Jan 13: A day after the Indian liquor baron, Vijay Mallaya revealed his plan to revive the hops cultivation in Kashmir, the Grand Mufti of Kashmir issued an edict against it.

Reacting to the statement, the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-Din said "Setting up a liquor plant or even cultivation of hops is against Islam. The government should stop any such activity, otherwise there will be disastrous consequences awaiting the government".

While issuing the edi[c]t opposing the reviving of hosp cultivation in Kashmir, Grand Mufti of Kashmir said the youth would revolt against it as hops cultivation is against Islamic [Law]. "We will not allow any such cultivation and will oppose the project tooth and nail," he asserted.

Meanwhile, the Indian liquor baron's statement to revive the hops cultivation in Kashmir has drawn strong resentment from all quarters including the mainstream and separatist leaders.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Lawyers who can say no

From Jacob Sullum's report in The Washington Times:

The administration's legal positions portrayed a country perpetually at war with a shadowy enemy, a struggle in which the whole world was the battlefield, anyone could be a combatant, and illegal measures were not only permissible but mandatory. In light of this ongoing emergency, Mr. Bush's supporters implicitly argued, the checks and balances required by the Constitution were an unaffordable luxury.

Congress and the Supreme Court rejected key aspects of this perspective, but going forward much will depend on how Mr. Obama and his advisers understand the president's powers. As Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen notes in a 2007 University of California-Los Angeles Law Review article, interbranch rivalry must be supplemented by "internal legal constraints on executive power" because there are limits to the limits that judges and legislators can impose.

Now Ms. Johnsen, Mr. Obama's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, will have a chance to implement her vision of an OLC that is "prepared to say no to the president." Ms. Johnsen, who served in the office for five years under President Clinton, including two years as its acting head, emphasizes that OLC attorneys should view themselves not as the president's advocates, twisting the law to fit his preferred policies, but as intellectually honest advisers, offering guidance based on their "best understanding of what the law requires."

Ms. Johnsen has not been shy about criticizing Mr. Bush. She has condemned his "extreme view of expansive presidential authority during times of war and national emergency," his promiscuous use of signing statements reserving the right to disregard the law, his "arrogant disrespect for legal constraints and for the coordinate branches' constitutional authorities," and his excessive secrecy, which makes it difficult to know when and why the president is breaking the law.

Ms. Johnsen's critique cannot plausibly be dismissed as partisan sniping. The Bush administration's abuses of executive power were flagrant enough to draw criticism not only from Democrats but also from many conservatives and libertarians who were inclined to favor Republicans or supported neither major party. Even within the Bush administration, Ms. Johnsen notes, dissidents such as former OLC chief Jack Goldsmith and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey drew the line at policies they believed were clearly illegal.

Pakistan: Chaudhry Iftikhar pays glowing tributes to Lawyers’ struggle in his speech

Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has appreciated the lawyers' efforts for organizing grand ceremony to pay honor to him.

He said that lawyer's fraternity had nurtured the 'Lawyers Movement' with their precious blood for the independence of judiciary and it deserved r high respect and honor. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry further said that lawyers of Karachi also deserve great respect as they had rendered matchless sacrifices to lead the lawyers' movement forward. He also expressed his regret on 12th May 2007 tragedy and said that he was optimistic about to brought the culprits of 12th May incident to justice. But it was deliberately delayed. The judges of Karachi were punished for taking notice of the 12th May incident, he added. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry further said that some people did not like disbursement of justice to common people and had assaulted Judiciary just to extend their despotic rule.

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'Not so much an encounter as a clash between despotism and freedom'

From Thermopylae to the Twin towers - The West's selective reading of history

January 2009

By Alain Gresh

Shortly after the first world war, the French literary critic and historian Henri Massis (1886-1970) preached a crusade against the dangers threatening European values and thought – largely identified with those of France, in his mind. He wasn't entirely misguided: across the world, colonised nations were in revolt. He wrote: “The future of western civilisation, of humanity itself, is now under threat... Every traveller, every foreigner who has spent any time in the Far East agrees that the way in which the population thinks has changed more in the last 10 years than it did over 10 centuries. The old, easy-going submissiveness has given way to blind hostility – sometimes genuine hatred, just waiting for the right moment to act. From Calcutta to Shanghai, from the steppes of Mongolia to the plains of Anatolia, the whole of Asia trembles with a blind desire for freedom. These people no longer recognise the supremacy that the West has taken for granted since John Sobieski conclusively stemmed the Turkish and Tartar invasions beneath the walls of Vienna. Instead they aspire to rebuild their unity against the white man, whose overthrow they proclaim” (1).

These fears are resurfacing today in a very different context, also marked by a series of cataclysmic events: the end of the cold war, 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and above all the restructuring of the global order in favour of new powers, such as China and India. Various authors, many of them highly regarded, have picked up on the Manichean view of history as an eternal confrontation between civilisation and barbarism as they excavate the roots of what Anthony Pagden calls the “2,500-year struggle” now bathing the world in blood.

Pagden has taught in some of the world's most prestigious universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. The picture he paints of world history is a crude one: “A flame had been lit in Troy which would burn steadily down the centuries, as the Trojans were succeeded by the Persians, the Persians by the Phoenicians, the Phoenicians by Parthians, the Parthians by the Sassanids, the Sassanids by the Arabs, and the Arabs by the Ottoman Turks... The battle lines have shifted over time, and the identities of the antagonists have changed. But both sides' broader understanding of what it is that separates them has remained, drawing, as do all such perceptions, on accumulated historical memories, some reasonably accurate, some entirely false” (2).

Despite this minor reservation about “entirely false” memories, Pagden's vision is a binary one whose founding event was the confrontation between the Greeks and Persians as described by the Greek historian Herodotus.

According to Pagden: “What [Herodotus] is concerned to show is that what divided the Persians from the Greeks or the Asians from the Europeans was something more profound than petty political differences. It was a view of the world, an understanding of what it was to be, and to live, like a human being.

“And while the cities of Greece, and of 'Europe' more widely, were possessed of very different personalities and had created sometimes very different kinds of societies, and were all too happy to betray each other if it suited them, they nevertheless all shared the common elements of that view. They could all distinguish freedom from slavery, and they were all committed broadly to what we today would identify as an individualistic view of humanity.”

Paul Cartledge, professor of Greek history at Cambridge University, takes a similar view of “the battle that changed the world”: Thermopylae (480BC). “This clash between the Spartans and other Greeks, on one side, and the Persian horde (including Greeks), on the other, was a clash between freedom and slavery, and was perceived as such by the Greeks both at the time and subsequently... The battle of Thermopylae, in short, was a turning-point not only in the history of Classical Greece, but in the world's history, eastern as well as western” (3). In the mid-19th century, the economist John Stuart Mill described the battle of Marathon, fought some 10 years earlier, as “more important than the battle of Hastings, even as an event in English history”.

In his preface, Cartledge makes no secret of his ideological perspective: “The events of '9/11' in New York City and now '7/7' in London have given this project [understanding the significance of Thermopylae] a renewed urgency and importance within the wider framework of East-West cultural encounter.” Not so much an encounter as a clash between despotism and freedom.
 
'No prisoners!'

A popularised version of this academic view is presented in 300, a film depicting the battle, directed by Zack Snyder and based upon the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. The two-hour film, which was a hit at the US box office, resembles a video game in which chiselled musclemen, high on amphetamines, square off against effeminate barbarians (black or Middle Eastern in appearance) whose deaths nobody would regret. “No prisoners!” (4) shouts the hero, King Leonidas of Sparta, who has already killed the Persian ambassador at the beginning of the film: savages are excluded from humanity's most sacred laws.

So basically civilisation means exterminating barbarians. As early as 1898, the German political scientist Heinrich von Treischke stated what many of his contemporaries would have regarded as the obvious: “International law becomes meaningless when any attempt is made to apply its principles equally to barbarian nations. The only way to punish a black tribe is to burn their villages; it is the only sort of example they understand. For the German empire to apply international law in cases like this would not be either humanity or justice; it would be shameful weakness.”

The Germans showed no “weakness” between 1904 and 1907 when they exterminated the Herero in Namibia. This first genocide of the 20th century was one of a series of colonial policies that served as model and precursor to the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

According to Cartledge, there is no Persian source – no native Herodotus – for the Greco-Persian wars. But we now know enough about the Persian empire to modify traditional views. Touraj Daryaee, professor of ancient history at California State University, Fullerton, points out that slavery, widely practised in Greece, was rare among the Persians, whose women enjoyed higher status that their Greek counterparts (5). He also reminds us of the Cyrus cylinder, a document that the UN decided to translate into all its official languages in 1971; this first known charter of human rights was granted by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC and called for religious toleration, the abolition of slavery, the freedom to decide one's profession...

It is unsurprising that the Greeks – particularly Herodotus, who, to be fair, was less of a caricature than his literary heirs – should have presented their victory as a triumph over barbarism. As long as wars have been fought, the protagonists have draped themselves in idealistic principles. US leaders have similarly depicted their campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars of Good against Evil. But it may be worth asking why, 4,500 years later, we remain so obsessed by the Greeks.

According to Marcel Detienne of John Hopkins University in Baltimore: “In his Instructions, Lavisse (6) declared that what secondary-school pupils need to be taught, without their realising it, is that 'our history begins with the Greeks'. Our [French] history begins with the Greeks, who invented liberty and democracy and who introduced us to 'the beautiful' and a taste for 'the universal'. We are heirs to the only civilisation that has offered the world 'a perfect and as it were ideal expression of justice and liberty'. That is why our history begins – has to begin – with the Greeks. This belief was then compounded by another every bit as powerful: 'The Greeks are not like others'. After all, how could they be, given that they were right at the beginning of our history? Those were two propositions that were essential for the creation of a national mythology that was the sole concern of traditional humanists and historians, all obsessed with nationhood” (7).

Detienne continues: “It is commonly believed not only that both the abstract notion of politics and concrete politics one fine day fell from the heavens, landing on 'classical' Athens in the miraculous and authenticated form of Democracy (with a capital D), but also that a divinely linear history has led us by the hand from the American Revolution, passing by way of the 'French Revolution', all the way to our own western societies that are so blithely convinced that their mission is to convert all peoples to the true religion of democracy.”

A number of Anglo-Saxon writers, unpersuaded of Europe's “uniqueness”, have questioned the idea of a direct line of descent from classical antiquity via the Renaissance – a term invented by the historian Jules Michelet during the 19th century – to contemporary Europe. Their message has rarely reached French shores (8).

John M Hobson of Sheffield University has shown that it is impossible to understand world history without recognising the crucial importance of the East: “This marginalisation of the East constitutes a highly significant silence because it conceals three major points. First, the East actively pioneered its owns substantial economic development after about 500. Second, the East actively created and maintained the global economy after 500. Third, and above all, the East has significantly and actively contributed to the rise of the West by pioneering and delivering many advanced 'resources portfolios' (eg technologies, institutions and ideas) to Europe” (9).

China, the leading player

How many of us are aware that the first industrial revolution began in the 11th century, in Song dynasty China? This dynasty produced 125,000 tonnes of iron in 1078, seven centuries before Britain managed to produce 76,000. The Chinese mastered advanced technologies like iron casting and substituted coke for charcoal to prevent deforestation. During the same period they revolutionised transport, energy (the water mill), taxation, trade and urban development. Their green revolution attained levels of agricultural production that Europe did not match until the 20th century.

Until 1800, China remained the leading player in a global economy that some described as Sinocentric; India, too, was of enormous importance. Many Chinese technologies, ideas and institutions spread to Europe and helped bring about the rise of modern capitalism. The British industrial revolution would have been impossible without China's contribution. And the same is true of the great Muslim empires (see box).

According to John M Hobson: “Eurocentrism errs by asking wrong questions at the outset. All Eurocentric scholars (either explicitly or implicitly) begin by asking two interrelated questions: 'What was it about the West that enabled its breakthrough to capitalist modernity?' and 'What was it about the East that prevented it from making the breakthrough?'” But these questions assume that western dominance was inevitable, and lead historians to scour the past for the factors that explain it. “The rise of the West is understood through a logic of immanence: that it can only be accounted for by factors that are strictly endogenous to Europe.” East and West come to be regarded as distinct entities separated by a cultural Great Wall of China, which protects us from barbarian invasion.

Fear of barbarians

But who are these barbarians? Tzvetan Todorov questions Claude Levi-Strauss' definition of the barbarian as “the man who believes in barbarism” and suggests: “It is someone who believes that a population or an individual is not fully human and therefore merits treatment that he would resolutely refuse to apply to himself.” In his recent The Fear of Barbarians (10), Todorov develops an argument he presented in earlier works such as On Human Diversity (a thought-provoking book that deserves to be far more widely read). “The fear of barbarians,” he writes now, “is what is in danger of turning us into barbarians. And the evil that we do will far exceed what we initially fear.”

Only the individual who fully recognises the humanity of others can be called civilised. “For a long time,” Todorov continues, “the ideas of the Enlightenment served as a source of inspiration for a liberal, reformist tendency that fought conservatism in the name of universalism and equal respect for all. Things have changed now, and the conservative defenders of the superiority of western thought claim to be the heirs of the Enlightenment, battling against the 'relativism' that they associate with the Romantic reaction of the early 19th century. But they can only achieve this by renouncing the true Enlightenment tradition with its articulation of universal values and cultural pluralism. We must go beyond the clichés: Enlightenment thought should not be confused either with dogmatism (my culture must be imposed upon all) or nihilism (all cultures are equally valid). To use it to denigrate others, as an excuse to subject or destroy them, is simply to hijack the Enlightenment.”

But was the Enlightenment really hijacked, or did it go along willingly? Hobson argues that the construction of 18th- and 19th-century European identity allowed the affirmation of an “exceptionalism” that no other civilisation has ever asserted. “Ultimately, the Europeans did not seek to remake the world simply because 'they could' (as in materialist explanations). They sought to remake the world because they believed they should. That is, their actions were significantly guided by their identity that deemed imperialism to be a morally appropriate policy.” Many European supporters of the anti-colonialist struggle and the Third World rejected this vision, often in the name of the Enlightenment. The debate will no doubt continue.

~ Le Monde Diplomatique ~

Policeman 'aimed in direction of' Greek schoolboy

The bullet that killed a teenage boy, triggering the worst riots in decades in Greece, was deliberately aimed by a police officer and not fired as a warning shot, a ballistics report has revealed.

Six weeks after the fatal shooting, experts have concluded that special police guard Epameinondas Korkoneas fired "in the direction" of the schoolboy and not in the air, as he has vigorously maintained. Fifteen-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos died after the bullet ricocheted off a concrete bollard in a central Athens street and struck him in the heart.

The killing prompted thousands to take to the streets, calling for revenge and plunging the country into its worst civil unrest since the collapse of military rule in 1974. In the orgy of violence that followed, shops, banks, hotels, and cars were set alight.

There are now fears that the report could fuel further hatred for the police, who last week sought to boost their image by staging their own demonstration in Athens.

In a 9,000-word proclamation printed by an Athens newspaper, the guerilla group Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for two attacks on the police in the past month. Domestic terrorism was widely thought to have been eradicated with the dismantling of the notorious November 17 group in the run-up to the 2004 Olympic Games.

In its rambling declaration, Revolutionary Struggle warned it "could literally crush the police security, leaving unguarded the political and economic powers that be". "The cop's bullet fuelled a social combustion long in the making and presages far broader outbursts," it said.

Although the intensity of the protests has diminished, thousands of students continue to take to the streets. Occupations of university faculties, like the trade union unrest that is also growing, have piled the pressure on a government that is clinging to power with a wafer-thin majority of one.

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Bisky addresses Euro Left conf

Party of the European Left president Lothar Bisky addressed the European political grouping's extraordinary conference in Athens on Saturday, organised by the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party, where he extended his solidarity to those who demonstrated following the death of pupil Alexandros Grigoropoulos last month, while at the same time sternly condemning the violence of hooded vandals.

Bisky said that the young people's uprising in Greece clearly showed the social repercussions of the economic crisis of neo-liberal policy, adding that the neo-liberal parties have no effective model to present and the only model in which neo-liberal state authority invests in the face of uprisings is suppression.

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No-ransom policy stays in ICRC kidnapping - Gordon

Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday maintained that no ransom would be paid in exchange for the release of the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers who were abducted in southern Philippines last week.

In an interview with radio dzBB, Gordon, chairman of Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said that despite the absence of negotiation feelers, they would neither shell out money nor negotiate for the release of Swiss Andreas Notter, 38; Italian Eugenio Vagni, 62; and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, 37.

Gordon also declined to speculate that the captors of Notter, Vagni and Lacaba are members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

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US suspends munitions delivery to Israel

The Pentagon has suspended the delivery of a shipload of munitions to Israel after international concern that it could be used by Israeli forces in Gaza.

The German-owned cargo vessel, Wehr Elbe, under charter by the US Military Sea­lift Command, is currently in Greek waters with its transponder tracking turned off to prevent its location being identified.

Amnesty International has written to the foreign secretary, David Miliband, asking him to make "urgent approaches to the US, German and Greek governments to prevent this, or any pending or future shipments of weaponry until it can be verified that they will not be transferred to the Israeli Defence Forces or other parties to the conflict in Gaza.

"We urge you to ensure that no EU member state will allow their ports or other facilities to be used to transit these or any other weapons to any of the parties to this conflict."

The Wehr Elbe, owned by the Hamburg company Oskar Wehr, arrived outside the Greek port of Astakos on 1 January, where it was due to transfer its 1,000 containers to another vessel for delivery to Ashdod in Israel.

But after a two week stand-off, amid local protests in Greece, it moved out into the Mediterranean two days ago and disappeared off tracking websites.

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the contract for the munitions had been arranged last summer and approved in October. He said the munitions were due to be delivered to a US pre-positioning depot in Israel for US forces. But he added: "If the government of Israel requests munitions they can do so direct to the US government under the Foreign Military Sales programme."

He said the ship's journey had been delayed due to "safety concerns" about unloading the cargo at Ashdod and that other arrangements were being made by the Military Sealift Command's European office in Naples.


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Privilege on the Hudson

Interesting take on the recent aircraft near-disaster. More from The Exiled.

Bolivia to take Israel to The Hague

Bolivia is seeking to take Tel Aviv to International Criminal Court over the brutal atrocities the Israeli forces have committed in Gaza.

The Andean state says it is intended to make regional allies take a unified stance against "the Israeli political and military leaders responsible for the offensive on the Gaza Strip" and make it to stand trial at the international body in the Hague, said Sacha Llorenti, whose portfolio covers civil society.

Moves to begin the legal process will begin "probably next week," Bolivia's deputy justice and human rights minister Wilfredo Chavez told journalists during the visit to Geneva, AFP reported on Friday.

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President 'has four years to save Earth'

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.

Soaring carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. "We cannot afford to put off change any longer," said Hansen. "We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead."

Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming. Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.

Only the US now had the political muscle to lead the world and halt the rise, Hansen said. Having refused to recognise that global warming posed any risk at all over the past eight years, the US now had to take a lead as the world's greatest carbon emitter and the planet's largest economy. Cap-and-trade schemes, in which emission permits are bought and sold, have failed, he said, and must now be replaced by a carbon tax that will imposed on all producers of fossil fuels. At the same time, there must be a moratorium on new power plants that burn coal - the world's worst carbon emitter.

Hansen - head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and winner of the WWF's top conservation award - first warned Earth was in danger from climate change in 1988 and has been the victim of several unsuccessful attempts by the White House administration of George Bush to silence his views.

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For businesses big and small, it's lights out

"This is now an unprecedented time as far as how bad things have gotten," said Scott Peltz, managing director of RSM McGladrey, a consulting firm that helps turn around troubled companies.

The number of business bankruptcy filings rose sharply in 2008, with 31 percent more companies looking to liquidate -- instead of just restructure their debt -- in the third quarter than in the first.

They have little choice. Many companies are loaded down with debt amassed in the days of easy money. Servicing that debt is harder because of falling revenue. Lenders, facing their own troubles, are not as eager to refinance. And the buyers that can afford an acquisition right now are few and far between.

Circuit City, for instance, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November and tried to strike a deal with lenders while it also looked for a buyer. On Friday, just over two months later, it said that both of those efforts failed, and that it would close its remaining 567 locations, putting more than 30,000 people out of work.

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Robert Fisk: So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn't it time for a war crimes tribunal?

It was pathetic. When I asked Mr Ban if he would consider a UN war crimes tribunal in Gaza, he said this would not be for him to "determine". But only a few journalists bothered to listen to him and his officials were quickly folding up the UN flag on the table. About time too. Bring back the League of Nations. All is forgiven.

What no one noticed yesterday – not the Arabs nor the Israelis nor the portentous men from Europe – was that the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting last night was opening on the 90th anniversary – to the day – of the opening of the 1919 Paris peace conference which created the modern Middle East. One of its main topics was "the borders of Palestine". There followed the Versailles Treaty. And we know what happened then.

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Predictive programming in movies

From Predictive... What?

"Hollywood is the magician's wand (holly-holy) which has been used to cast a spell on the unsuspecting public. Things or ideas which would otherwise be seen as bizarre, vulgar, undesirable or impossible are inserted into films in the realm of fantasy. When the viewer watches these films, his/her mind is left open to suggestion and the conditioning process begins. These same movies which are designed to program the average person, can give the discerning viewer a better understanding of the workings and the plan of the world agenda. "Be-aware".

Predictive Programming - The power of suggestion using the media of fiction to create a desired outcome."

~Alan Watt

[ ... ]

"Thus, "science fiction" is a means of conditioning the masses to accept future visions that the elite wish to tangibly enact. This process of gradual and subtle inculcation is dubbed "predictive programming." Hoffman elaborates: "Predictive programming works by means of the propagation of the illusion of an infallibly accurate vision of how the world is going to look in the future" (205). Also dubbed "sci-fi inevitabilism" by Hoffman, predictive programming is analogous to a virus that infects its hosts with the false belief that it is:

* Useless to resist central, establishment control.
* Or it posits a counter-cultural alternative to such control which is actually a counterfeit, covertly emanating from the establishment itself.
* That the blackening (pollution) of earth is as unavoidable as entropy.
* That extinction ('evolution") of the species is inevitable.
* That the reinhabitation of the earth by the "old gods" (Genesis 6:4), is our stellar scientific destiny. (8)"

~ Phillip D. Collins

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www.arrestbush2009.com

Join 2000 of your closest friends at 3 AM on Tuesday, January 20th at the FBI Building
Use the 10th and E Street N.W. Security Checkpoint!

Party all night, Arrest Bush all day! We have drummers, we have music-- the only thing we need is YOU!

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From Demand justice Now

IS THE MOST IMPEACHABLE PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA GETTING AWAY WITH THE WORST CRIMES OF THE 21st CENTURY?

Demand justice Now

It's been close to 8 years since the crimes of 911 opened the doors to Regime-Change, in so many other places in the world today. The Decider and his Outlaws have been calling long and loudly for Regime-Change in country after country, wherever their greedy little gaze has come to rest.

All this time 'Justice' has remained blindfolded, gagged and chained, when it comes to any true probe into the events of September eleventh, 2001. Finally there's a video in blazing color that tells the whole sordid story, in just eighteen minutes and twenty seconds.

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[ via Impeach Bush at Yahoogroups ]

Greek-Australian writer enduring 'unspeakable suffering' of Thai justice

Greek-Australian writer Harry Nicolaides needs our help. Please let your nearest Thai embassy or consulate know that their government must uphold freedom of speech and release him. Their monarch must surely be more concerned by the corruption unearthed and the wellbeing of his subjects championed by Nicolaides than his Highness' image as a figurehead.


before:

Dummy cops leave child porn unchecked

Harry Nicolaides July 29, 2008

In a small dimly-lit room at the Burmese immigration office, on the border of northern Thailand and Burma, there is a large, luminous portrait of General Than Shwe, festooned with medals and ribbons.

His steely gaze surveys the hundreds of foreign tourists who cross the border bridge to visit the ramshackle, open air market at Tachilek each day. He is also the embodiment of the strict and relentless censorship of everything, from poetry to the latest Rambo film (set in Burma), controlled by his Orwellian regime.

Less than 50 meters away, under the bridge on the Burmese side, you can buy, for a little over a dollar, films depicting the sexual abuse and torture of British, American, European and Asian children. Some are aged as young as four while none is older than 12.

And unless you are a saffron-robed monk, you will not be searched on the way back across the border into Thailand.

While the market at Tachilek is notorious for fake designer goods, dubious precious gemstones, the teeth, skulls and skins of endangered animals and phony pharmaceuticals, the child pornography is real. The tears and shrieks are not the result of dubbing or digital manipulation.

The graphic footage of a five-year-old Cambodian girl having her arms strapped to her legs with electrical tape before being subjected to unspeakable violations is unrehearsed.


after:

Australian arrested in Thailand for lese-majeste

An Australian writer has been arrested in Thailand and faces a lese-majeste charge for publishing a novel deemed defamatory to the country's royal family, police and the Australian embassy said on Wednesday.

An embassy official identified the man as a 41-year-old from Melbourne and police named him as Harry Nicolaides, who was unaware there was an arrest warrant out for him when he tried to fly out from Bangkok to Australia on Sunday.

"An arrest warrant was issued in March for a book he wrote in 2005 deemed defamatory to the crown prince," Police Lieutenant-Colonel Boonlert Kalayanamit told Reuters.


Author Harry Nicolaides to plead guilty to Thai royal insult

An Australian writer who says he's endured "unspeakable suffering'' in a Thai jail will plead guilty to criminal charges of insulting the country's royal family in his 2005 novel.

A shackled Harry Nicolaides was led into Bangkok's Criminal Court for the opening of his trial on Monday, and told reporters he would plead guilty.

"I'm pleading guilty,'' said Nicolaides, 41, who has already spent five months in a Thai jail awaiting trial.

"I would like to apologise. This can't be real. It feels like a bad dream.''

The author was arrested in August at Bangkok's international airport as he was about to board a flight home to Melbourne, apparently unaware of a March arrest warrant issued in connection with his novel Verisimilitude.

According to the Nicolaides family, only 50 copies of the book were published and fewer than 10 sold.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws, mandating a jail term of three to 15 years for defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family.

Nicolaides, a Melbourne resident who lived in Thailand from 2003 to 2005 where he taught at the Mae Fah Luang University, has described his novel as a commentary on political and social life of contemporary Thailand.

"Tell my family I am very concerned,'' he told reporters, breaking down in tears.

He said he had endured "unspeakable suffering'' during his pre-trial detention but did not elaborate....

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