Friday, December 10, 2010

More Videos From 6 December Athens Riots










Was John Lennon's murderer Mark Chapman a CIA hitman?...

...Thirty years on, there's an extraordinary new theory

By Tony Rennel, Daily Mail

...He felt betrayed, personally insulted. He stalked and shot his erstwhile hero out of a weird sense of retribution — coupled with a desire to be famous for something.

So the story went. But, with the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death next week, a theory has resurfaced that challenges this long-held conventional view.

Though seemingly far-fetched, if true it would startle and appal the millions of fans who still idolise Lennon.

In a new book, author Phil Strongman claims that Chapman was a stooge. Lennon’s real assassin was the CIA — at the behest of Right-wing fanatics in the American political establishment.

He gets to this controversial conclusion by contesting many of the so-called ‘facts’ about the case — including the basic assumption that Chapman was a Beatles and Lennon fan.

Strongman writes that, until the weekend before the killing: ‘Chapman, the supposed Lennon “obsessive” and “fan of fans”, did not own one Lennon single, book or album. Not one. Some “fan”, some “obsession”.’

He dismisses the often-made claim that Chapman had 14 hours of tapes of Lennon’s songs in his rucksack on the day of the shooting. ‘They have never been photographed or produced for the simple reason that they do not exist.’

So Chapman wasn’t just a celebrity stalker who went too far. Nor, says Strongman, did he kill Lennon for 15 minutes of fame.

‘If he was an attention-seeker, then why did he turn down the chance of what would have been the trial of the century? By pleading guilty, Chapman missed all of this attention he was supposedly seeking. Why?’

It is the killer’s calmness after the shooting that Strongman sees as the key to what really happened, providing evidence for his theory that Lennon’s death was a state-sponsored conspiracy.

If Chapman looked like a zombie, as he hung around after the killing and waited for the police, it was because that was exactly what he was.

Chapman, he suggests, had been recruited by the CIA and trained by them during his travels round the world, when he mysteriously pitched up in unlikely places for a boy from Georgia.

How strange, for example, that Chapman should visit Beirut at a time when the Lebanese capital was a hive of CIA activity — and was said to be home to one of the agency’s top-secret assassination training camps. Another camp
was supposedly in Hawaii, where Chapman lived for a number of years.

And who funded the penniless young man’s round-the-world trip in 1975, which took in Japan, the UK, India, Nepal, Korea, Vietnam and China?

Money never seemed to be a problem for Chapman, but no one has ever explained where it came from. The distinct possibility remains, in Strongman’s opinion, that the secret service was his paymaster...

~ more... ~

Hans Ulrich Obrist - In Conversation With Hakim Bey

Hans Ulrich Obrist: To begin at the beginning, how did you start writing?

Hakim Bey: I always wanted to be a writer, an artist, or possibly a cartoonist. Or a pirate. Those were my ambitions. But I didn’t have enough talent for cartooning. And I’ve discovered that art is very hard to do when you’re not sitting in one place. I don’t know if everybody finds this to be true. But when I took up a life of travel in the 1960s, I gave up art because writing is so much easier to do when you’re traveling. But I always felt equally called to all of these things. It’s a question of fate. Fate made me a writer more than anything else.

HUO: And how did you begin traveling?

HB: Well, when I was a child I was of course fascinated by adventure stories, figures like Richard Halliburton and other world travelers who wrote books for children, and National Geographic magazine—I inherited a whole closet full of National Geographic issues going back to 1911 from a friend. And then when I grew up, I became interested in Eastern Mysticism, the way everybody began to be in the 1960s. I specifically wondered whether Sufism was still a living reality or whether it was just something in books. There was no way of telling at that time. There were no Sufis practicing in America, or at least none that we could discover. I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and then we had May ’68, and that revolution failed. It clearly wasn’t going to happen. So I decided to make my trip to the East and discover whether Sufism was a living reality or not. And, of course, it turned out that it was. And so were a lot of other things that I hadn’t even anticipated, like tantric Hinduism, which I also became fascinated by while I was in India. So that all lasted from 1968 to 1980 or ‘81, when I went to Southeast Asia. I also went to Indonesia for a short, but very influential, trip. And after 1970 I lived in Iran, where I wrote criticism for the Shiraz Festival of the Arts. That’s how I got to meet Peter Brook and Robert Wilson and all the people that I later worked with or was influenced by. I also met an Indonesian artist named Sardono Kusumo, who I later found again in Jakarta when I was traveling in Southeast Asia. He gave me the names and addresses of all these uncles everywhere in Java who were all involved in dance, puppetry, or mysticism; a fantastic family. So I traveled around Java from uncle to uncle, and performance to performance. And they have a special kind of mysticism there called Kebatinan, which is kind of like Sufism but not quite. It’s different, and it would take a long time to explain why.

[ ... ]

HUO: Or Sweden in the 1960s when Pontus Hultén was head of Moderna Museet. Around ‘68, ‘69, and ’70, basically everything happened at the Moderna Museet, to the point where if there was nothing happening late at night, the guards would begin to wonder whether something had gone wrong. It wasn’t the other way around.

HB: We can find examples in Scandinavia during that brief decade or two of social democracy. It would be hard to find other examples—I certainly don’t think we’re going to find any in modern capitalist America or England. But now, you have an advantage. You can tell people you’re a curator and that what you’re doing is an art exhibition. And then they understand it in a certain way, say, as a temporary project. But if you told people that you’re founding an institution, then their reactions are going to be very different, right?

HUO: Exactly, and the other question is whether the establishment of institutions runs counter to the notions of autonomy—even if they’re your own institutions.

HB: That’s right. So you can use this notion of a permanent revolution—I mean, I did work for many years at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado. It was founded by Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa. At a certain point, it looked to me like they were headed for that moment when the institution begins to change, to stiffen up. And I told them that that was the moment they should have a revolution—get rid of all these buildings, fire all the bureaucrats, split off from the other departments, go up into the mountains, live in tents, do something weird. But of course they couldn’t do it. They were already getting old enough to worry about their health insurance and retirement pensions. And when that kind of thinking starts, forget it. It’s over.

HUO: How do you see the future? Do you think civilization will survive the next century?

HB: I don’t have a very good record with the crystal ball, and I don’t know what to predict exactly. Obviously one of the worst predictions you can make is that things continue as they are, only becoming more and more intensified, like a J. G. Ballard-type future where the whole universe is one big shopping mall. That would be the worst. Any catastrophe might be a relief compared to that. But on the other hand, catastrophes are bad for you and me, and we don’t want to get caught in one. It might be good for history, but would be awful for individuals, especially artists, who never had that much going for them in the first place. I’m not one of these people waiting for the big ecological catastrophe. I don’t want to see it happen. I’m still hopeful. And in the end, what else can you do? You have to have, as Ernst Bloch said, revolutionary hope.

~ more... ~

Student Protesters Set Fire to Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

Via Demotix:

Student protesters attempted to burn down the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree which is given to Britain annually by Norway as a gift. Protesters jumped over the barriers surrounding it and set fire to surrounding plastic banners, cones to try and set the tree alight. Eventually the tree caught fire and riot police quickly moved in to attempt to put out the growing flames.

~ photos ~ tumbles ~

U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

Verily the universe has a sense of humor...


From the site of the Department of State:

Press Statement

Philip J. Crowley

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC

December 7, 2010

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.

The Newseum will host the first two days of events, which will engage a broad array of media professionals, students, and citizen reporters on themes that address the status of new media and internet freedom, and challenges and opportunities faced by media in our rapidly changing world.

The State Department looks forward to working with UNESCO and the U.S. executive committee spearheaded by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation and the many civil society organizations they have brought together in support of the organization of events unfolding in Washington.

For further information regarding World Press Freedom Day Events for program content, please visit the World Press Freedom Facebook page http://www.connect.connect.facebook.com/WPFD2011

Musical Innerlube: Sepultura - Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos


Sepultura - Revolusongs (2002).

Original song by Public Enemy:

London Battleground & Barricades: Anger as Student Fees Hike Approved


The British parliament has just approved a bill to raise university tuition fees in England. The vote came amid mass demonstrations by thousands of students and trade unionists. It turned out the largest in a string of rallies against sweeping austerity measures and budget cuts across Europe. RT's Laura Emmett is in London with the latest developments from the streets.

Why The Rich Are Meaner Than The Poor

Ally Fogg comments in The Guardian:

So Messrs Maude, Hunt and Willetts think "it's startling that the richest third of donors in Britain give less, as a proportion of their income, to charity than the poorest third." I suppose the Tory doyens have been a bit busy of late to be browsing the current psychology journals, but had they done so, they might not have been quite so surprised.

Michael W Kraus, of the University of California, San Francisco, is one of a number of social psychologists who have recently been busy demonstrating that lower socioeconomic status (SES) is intricately linked to all sorts of prosocial behaviours. Everything else equal, the less wealth, education and employment status we have, the more charitable, generous, trusting and helpful we appear to become. In interactions with strangers, poorer people are more likely to use polite, attentive, respectful gestures. Most recently, in a paper just published in the prestigious journal Psychological Science, Kraus et al report that lower SES subjects show significantly greater empathy than their richer, better educated counterparts. He argues that this tendency to empathise may at least partly explain the other observations of prosocial behaviour.

The tests used in the latest experiments recorded subjects' ability to read emotions in the faces of others, which is considered a reliable signifier of broader empathic skills. As expected, using both pictures and human interactions, SES was inversely correlated with empathic accuracy. Empathic emotions are central to compassionate and prosocial tendencies, and Kraus argues that these cognitive processes are necessary for survival; human beings who find themselves in a high-status position are more likely to believe that they can control their own destinies, able to use their power, authority or wealth independently to keep themselves safe and secure. Those further down the social pecking order are more vulnerable, and so more likely to need to co-operate to survive.

~ more... ~

Students Attack Prince Charles' Car After Fee Hike

In Britain's worst political violence in years, furious student protesters rained sticks and rocks on riot police, vandalized government buildings and attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, after lawmakers approved a controversial hike in university tuition fees.

Demonstrators set upon the heir to the throne's limousine as it drove through London's West End shopping and entertainment hub. Protesters who had been running amok and smashing shop windows kicked and threw paint at the car, which sped off.


Charles' office, Clarence House, confirmed the attack but said "their royal highnesses are unharmed."
Police said it was unclear whether the royals had been deliberately targeted, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The couple arrived looking composed at the London Palladium theater, where they were attending a Royal Variety Performance. Their Rolls Royce limousine was left with a badly cracked rear window and was spattered with paint.
Protesters erupted in anger after legislators in the House of Commons approved a plan to triple university fees to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year.

~ more... ~

Liu Xiaobo - Nobel Peace Laureate



Liu Xiaobo, one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese government, spent a year and a half in prison after the 1989 Tiananmen Square peaceful protests, and in 1996 was imprisoned for three years for criticizing China's policy toward Taiwan and the Dalai Lama. Last year, he was sentenced to a further 11 years for co-authoring Charter 08, a petition to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A former university professor, Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Human Rights Watch honors Liu Xiaobo for his fearless commitment to freedom of expression and assembly in China.

ANON OPS: A Manifesto





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