Friday, November 30, 2007

bargain: 164 euros per day to lease Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicles

" ... Greece plans to sign a 60-month lease of more than a hundred German-made tanks to replace ageing armoured vehicles

YES, and it’s only 164 euros a day. No, this is not an ad for the newest super-luxury SUV, although it could be. And what an SUV it would be too!

The price quoted refers to the price offered to the Hellenic Army for leasing more than a hundred Marder 1A3 Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicles (AIFV) for 60 months. The offer comes from leading Germany-based weapon system manufacturer Rheinmetall.

Even though leasing is well-established in civilian industries throughout the world, it has never before been adapted for weapon systems.

A recent example is the German army’s NH90 transport helicopter pilots’ training centre.

Based on this experience, the Rheinmetall Defence Group of Companies is officially announcing the submission of a leasing proposal for 164 Fully Operational Armour Infantry Fighting Vehicles MARDER 1A3s to the Greek government.

According to the company, “the vehicles are fully operational, immediately available (Turn Key) to the Hellenic Army and may be used either within the Greek territory or outside the Greek borders, whenever the Greek government desires, without any political, operational, functional or legal restrictions whatsoever.” ... "

http://cyprustribune.com/politics/the-goverment-is-renting-tanks/

Thursday, November 29, 2007

'Impeachment as a remedy'

Impeachment Must Happen

"...Elections will not prevent a president Clinton from declaring you an enemy combatant and shipping you off to Guantanamo. They won't prevent a president Obama from sweeping up Americans and holding them indefinitely on his word alone. They won't prevent a president Guiliani from illegally and immorally murdering millions of Iranians for no legitimate reason. They won't prevent a president Romney from seizing your home and assets because he alleges you are impeding operations in Iraq. It won't prevent a president Thompson from exempting himself, his entire administration and his political supporters from the rule of law. It won't prevent any president from leaving the nation unprotected by ignoring or rewriting the intelligence to suit his or her political agenda. Elections won't guarantee that anyone you elect to lead or represent you has to tell you, the congress or the judiciary the truth.

Under the Constitution, we have the right to know if our elected leaders are doing their jobs or abusing the power of their office.
When serious allegations are made, it is our right to have public investigations that are immune to state secrets and executive privilege. We have a responsibility as citizens to act on that information.

There is no more important work for congress to do. You cannot build anything on a weak foundation. Unscrupulous men and women have damaged the very foundation of our nation; the Constitution which is the very bedrock upon which the order and legality of our nation rests. These same people have suspended the rule of law by which we govern ourselves. They assert that the government is theirs to do with as they wish. We cannot let that stand.

The genius of the Constitution is that it contains the remedy for its own healing, it's own restoration. That remedy is impeachment. Not elections. Impeachment..."

~ read full post ~

 

'Ex-PLO bomber visits Belfast to explain how he turned to peace'

27 Nov 2007
By Victoria O'Hara

An ex-PLO terrorist turned peacemaker last night travelled to Belfast to reveal how he transformed his life of violence.

Walid Shoebat (47), who was brought up in Bethlehem as a Muslim, became a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as a teenager and was involved acts of terror and violence against Israel.

Walid, who yesterday visited a synagogue in north Belfast, said he was raised to hate Jews - but now is the founder of an organisation that seeks to combat anti-semitism and promote peace in the Middle East.

Following this change in ideology he has received death threats from his own family.

"I was very much anti-Israel growing up," he said.

"I never understood the plight of the Jewish people, never understood the Holocaust.

"When I grew up, every aspect of my life, the social, the religious, education, music and arts was very anti-semitic.

"So that in itself produces a terrorist."

During his youth he was involved in the attempted lynching of an Israeli soldier and was later imprisoned in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem's central prison after he was caught during a botched bombing attempt.

After his release, he continued his life of violence and rioting.

However the course of Walid's life changed when his parents sent him to the United States to get a better education.

"I've seen members of my family killed and I've seen blood on both sides.

"I decided in 1993 to put an end to it.

"My wife was a great influence as she sparked the things that I needed to think about when I tried to convert her to Islam - she was a Mexican American.

"She asked me to show her what the problems are in the Bible, because she asked me why should she leave her basic Christian heritage.

"I said I don't know what the problems are, I've never read the Bible.

"She asked me, 'Do you always criticise things before reading it?'"

"That sentence sparked the idea of me reading it and finding the problem.

"But by the time I finished reading it I found my problem.

" That was a revelation for myself."

However his decision to convert to Christianity led to Walid being disowned by his family.

" I got threats from my family," he said.

"My brother called my wife he told her, 'Tell your husband we know what you are doing against Islam and we know where you live'."

Despite the threats and loss of family Walid says he has not changed his beliefs.

" You'll never wash away the struggle that you go through, you can't put a closure to it, because my family are still living and I love them," he said.

"And I love the Palestinian people.

"A lot of people would think that if somebody changes the way they think they hate their own past. That's not true."

Walid added that he believes in order for peace to be achieved speaking the truth is vital.

"But I believe in the truth, and everything that I've said since '93."

 

'Omelettes into eggs' by Uri Avnery

As the well-known saying has it, one can make an omelette from eggs, but not eggs from an omelette. Banal, perhaps, but how very true

I was awakened from deep sleep by the noise. There was a commotion outside, which was getting louder by the minute. The shout of excited people. An eruption of joy. I stuck my nose outside the door of my Haifa hotel room. I was told enthusiastically that the United Nations General Assembly had just decided to partition the country. I went back into my room and closed the door behind me. I had no desire to join the celebrations.

November 29, 1947 — a day that changed our lives forever.

At this historic moment, how could I feel lonely, alienated and most of all — sad?

I was sad because I love all of this country — Nablus and Hebron no less than Tel-Aviv and Rosh-Pina. I was sad because I knew that blood, much blood, would be shed. But it was mainly a question of my political outlook.I was 24 years old. Two years before, I and a group of friends had set up a political-ideological group that aroused intense anger in the Yishuv (the Hebrew population in Palestine). Our ideas, which provoked a very strong reaction, were regarded as a dangerous heresy.

The “Young Palestine Circle” (“Eretz-Yisrael Hatz’ira” in Hebrew) published occasional issues of a magazine called “ba-Ma’avak” (“In the Struggle”), and was therefore generally known as “the ba-Ma’avak Group”) advocating a revolutionary new ideology, whose main points were:



* We, the young generation that had grown up in this country, were a new nation. Our language and culture meant we should be called the Hebrew Nation.

* Zionism gave birth to this nation, and had thereby fulfilled its mission. From here on, Zionism has no further role to play.

* The new Hebrew nation is indeed a part of the Jewish people — as the new Australian nation, for example, is a part of the Anglo-Saxon people — but has a separate identity, its own interests and a new culture.

* The Hebrew nation belongs to the country, and is a natural ally of the Arab national movement. Both national movements are rooted in the country and its history, from the ancient Semitic civilization to the present.

* The new Hebrew nation does not belong to Europe and the “West”, but to awakening Asia and the Semitic Region — a term we invented in order to distance ourselves from the European-colonial term “Middle East”.

* The new Hebrew nation must integrate itself in the region, as a full and equal partner.



With this world view, we naturally opposed the partition of the country.

Two months before the UN partition resolution, in September 1947, I published a pamphlet called “War or Peace in the Semitic Region”, in which I proposed a completely different plan: that the Hebrew national movement and the Palestinian-Arab national movement combine into one single national movement and establish a joint state in the whole of Palestine, based on the love of the country (patriotism, in the real sense).

This was far from the “bi-national” idea, which had important adherents in those days. I never believed in this. Our vision was based on the creation of a new, joint nation, with a Hebrew and an Arab component.

The moment the UN resolution was adopted, it was clear that our world had changed completely, that an era had come to an end and a new epoch had begun, both in the life of the country and also in the life of every one of us.

I am proud of my ability to adapt rapidly to extreme changes. The first time I had to do this was when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and my life changed abruptly and completely. I was then nine years old, and everything that had happened before was dead for me. I started a new life in Palestine. On November 29, 1947, it was happening again — to me and to all of us.

As the well-known saying has it, one can make an omelette from eggs, but not eggs from an omelette. Banal, perhaps, but how very true.

The moment the Hebrew-Arab war started, the possibility that the two nations would live together in one state expired. Wars change reality.

I joined the “Haganah Battalions”, the forerunner of the IDF. As a soldier in the special commando unit that was later called “Samson’s Foxes”, I saw the war as it was — bitter, cruel, inhuman. First we faced the Palestinian fighters, later the fighters of the wider Arab world. I passed through dozens of Arab villages, many abandoned in the storm of battle, many others whose inhabitants were driven out after being occupied.

It was an ethnic war. In the first months, no Arabs were left behind our lines, no Jews were left behind the Arab lines. Both sides committed many atrocities. In the beginning of the war, we saw the pictures of the heads of our comrades paraded on stakes through the Old City of Jerusalem. We saw the massacre committed by the Irgun and the Stern Group in Deir Yassin. We knew that if we were captured, we would be slaughtered, and the Arab fighters knew they could expect the same.

The longer the war dragged on, the more I became convinced of the reality of the Palestinian nation, with which we must make peace at the end of the war, a peace based on partnership between the two peoples.

While the war was still going on, I expressed this view in a number of articles that were published at the time in Haaretz. Immediately after the fighting was over, when I was still in uniform convalescing from my wounds, I started meeting with two young Arabs (both of whom were later elected to the Knesset) in order to plan a common path. I could not have imagined that 60 years later this effort would still not be over.

Nowadays, the idea appears here and there of turning the omelette back into the egg, of dismantling the State of Israel and the State-of-Palestine-to-be, and establishing a single state, as we sang at that time: “from the sea to the desert”.

This is presented as a fresh new idea, but it is actually an attempt to turn the wheel back and to bring back to life an idea that is irrevocably obsolete. In human history, that just does not happen. What has been forged in blood and fire in wars and intifadas, — the State of Israel and the Palestinian national movement — will not just disappear. After a war, states can achieve peace and partnership, like Germany and France, but they do not merge into one state.

The ideas of the “Ba-Ma’avak group” were indeed revolutionary and bold — but could they have been put into practice? Looking back, it is clear to me that the “Joint State” idea was already unrealistic when we brought it up. Perhaps it would have been possible one or two generations earlier. But by the middle of the 40s, the situation of the two peoples had changed decisively. There was no escaping from the partition of the country.

I believe that we were right in our historical approach: that we must identify with the region we are living in, cooperate with the Arab national movement and enter into a partnership with the Palestinian nation. As long as we see ourselves as a part of Europe and/or the USA, we are not able to achieve peace. And certainly not if we consider ourselves soldiers in a crusade against the Islamic civilisation and the Arab peoples. As we said then, before the partition resolution: the Palestinian people exists. Even after 60 years, in which they have suffered catastrophes which few other peoples have ever experienced, the Palestinian people clings to its country with unparalleled fortitude. True, the dream of living together in one state is dead, and will not come to life again. But I have no doubt that after the Palestinian state comes into being, the two states will find ways to live together in close partnership. The walls will be thrown down, the fences will be dismantled, the border will be opened, and the reality of the common country will overcome all obstacles. The flags of the country — the two flags of the two states — will indeed wave side by side.

The UN resolution of November 29, 1947, was one of the most intelligent in the annals of that organisation. As one who strenuously opposed it, I recognise its wisdom.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist who has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He served three terms in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), and is the founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc)
 
~ from Pakistan's Daily Times ~

Paul Craig Roberts on the 'Impending Destruction of the US Economy'

28 Nov 2007
 
Hubris and arrogance are too ensconced in Washington for policymakers to be aware of the economic policy trap in which they have placed the US economy.  If the subprime mortgage meltdown is half as bad as predicted, low US interest rates will be required in order to contain the crisis.  But if the dollar’s plight is half as bad as predicted, high US  interest rates will be required if foreigners are to continue to hold dollars and to finance US budget and trade deficits. 
Which will Washington sacrifice, the domestic financial system and over-extended homeowners or its ability to finance deficits? 
The answer seems obvious.  Everything will be sacrificed in order to protect Washington’s ability to borrow abroad.  Without the ability to borrow abroad, Washington cannot conduct its wars of aggression, and Americans cannot continue to consume $800 billion dollars more each year than the economy produces.
A few years ago the euro was worth 85 cents.  Today it is worth $1.48.  This is an enormous decline in the exchange value of the US dollar.  Foreigners who finance the US budget and trade deficits have experienced a huge drop in the value of their dollar holdings.  The interest rate on US Treasury bonds does not come close to compensating foreigners for the decline in the value of the dollar against other traded currencies.  Investment returns from real estate and equities do not offset the losses from the decline in the dollar’s value.
China holds over one trillion dollars, and Japan almost one trillion, in dollar-denominated assets.  Other countries have lesser but still substantial amounts. As the US dollar is the reserve currency, the entire world’s investment portfolio is over-weighted in dollars.
No country wants to hold a depreciating asset, and no country wants to acquire more depreciating assets.  In order to reassure itself, Wall Street claims that foreign countries are locked into accumulating dollars in order to protect the value of their existing dollar holdings.  But this is utter nonsense.  The US dollar has lost 60% of its value during the current administration.  Obviously, countries are not locked into accumulating dollars.
The reason the dollar has not completely collapsed is that there is no clear alternative as reserve currency.  The euro is a currency without a country.  It is the monetary unit of the European Union, but the countries of Europe have not surrendered their sovereignty to the EU.  Moreover, the UK, a member of the EU, retains the British pound.  The fact that a currency as politically exposed as the euro can rise in value so rapidly against the US dollar is powerful evidence of the weakness of the US dollar.
Japan and China have willingly accumulated dollars as the counterpart of their penetration and capture of US domestic markets.  Japan and China have viewed the productive capacity and wealth created in their domestic economies by the success of their exports as compensation for the decline in the value of their dollar holdings. However, both countries have seen the writing on the wall, ignored by Washington and American economists:  By offshoring production for US markets, the US has no prospect of closing its trade deficit.  The offshored production of US firms counts as imports when it returns to the US to be marketed. The more US production moves abroad, the less there is to export and the higher imports rise. 
Japan and China, indeed, the entire world, realize that they cannot continue forever to give Americans real goods and services in exchange for depreciating paper dollars.  China is endeavoring to turn its development inward and to rely on its potentially huge domestic market.  Japan is pinning hopes on participating in Asia’s economic development.
The dollar’s decline has resulted from foreigners accumulating new dollars at a lower rate.  They still accumulate dollars, but fewer.  As new dollars are still being produced at high rates, their value has dropped.
If foreigners were to stop accumulating new dollars, the dollar’s value would plummet.  If foreigners were to reduce their existing holdings of dollars, superpower America would instantly disappear.
Foreigners have continued to accumulate dollars in the expectation that sooner or later Washington would address its trade and budget deficits.  However, now these deficits seem to have passed the point of no return. 
The sharp decline in the dollar has not closed the trade deficit by increasing exports and decreasing imports.  Offshoring prevents the possibility of exports reducing the trade deficit, and Americans are now dependent on imports (including offshored production) for which there are no longer any domestically produced alternatives.  The US trade deficit will close when foreigners cease to finance it.
The budget deficit cannot be closed by taxation without driving up unemployment and poverty.  American median family incomes have experienced no real increase during the 21st century.  Moreover, if the huge bonuses paid to CEOs for offshoring their corporations’ production and to Wall Street for marketing subprime derivatives are removed from the income figures, Americans have experienced a decline in real income.  Some studies, such as the Economic Mobility Project, find long-term declines in the real median incomes of some US population groups and a decline in upward mobility.
The situation may be even more dire.  Recent work by Susan Houseman concludes that  US statistical data systems, which were set in place prior to the development of offshoring, are counting some foreign production as part of US productivity and GDP growth, thus overstating the actual performance of the US economy.
The falling dollar has pushed oil to $100 a barrel, which in turn will drive up other prices. The falling dollar means that the imports and offshored production on which Americans are dependent will rise in price.  This is not a formula to produce a rise in US real incomes.
In the 21st century, the US economy has been driven by consumers going deeper in debt.  Consumption fueled by increases in indebtedness received its greatest boost from Fed chairman Alan Greenspan’s low interest rate policy.  Greenspan covered up the adverse effects of offshoring on the US economy by engineering a housing boom.  The boom created employment in construction and financial firms and pushed up home prices, thus creating equity for consumers to spend to keep consumer demand growing.
This source of US economic growth is exhausted and imploding.  The full consequences of the housing bust remain to be realized.  American consumers lack discretionary income and can pay higher taxes only by reducing their consumption.  The service industries, which have provided the only source of new jobs in the 21st century, are already experiencing falling demand.  A tax increase would cause widespread distress.
As John Maynard Keynes and his followers made clear, a tax increase on a recessionary economy is a recipe for falling tax revenues as well as economic hardship.
Superpower America is a ship of fools in denial of their plight.  While offshoring kills American economic prospects, “free market economists” sing its praises.  While war imposes enormous costs on a bankrupt country, neoconservatives call for more war, and Republicans and Democrats appropriate war funds which can only be obtained by borrowing abroad. 
By focusing America on war in the Middle East, the purpose of which is to guarantee Israel’s territorial expansion, the executive and legislative branches, along with the media, have let slip the last opportunities the US had to put its financial house in order.  We have arrived at the point where it is no longer bold to say that nothing now can be done.  Unless the rest of the world decides to underwrite our economic rescue, the chips will fall where they may.
Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration.  He is credited with curing stagflation and eliminating “Phillips curve” trade-offs between employment and inflation, an achievement now on the verge of being lost by the worst economic mismanagement in US history.
 

'The Mystery of Minot'

The Mystery of Minot: Loose nukes and a cluster of dead airmen raise
troubling questions


by Dave Lindorff


Global Research, 25 Nov 2007
atlanticfreepress.com/

The unauthorized Aug. 29/30 cross-country flight of a B-52H Stratofortress
armed with six nuclear-tipped AGM-29 Advanced Cruise missiles, which saw
these 150-kiloton warheads go missing for 36 hours, has all the elements of
two Hollywood movies. One would be a thriller about the theft from an armed
weapons bunker of six nukes for some dark and murky purpose. The lead might
be played by Matt Damon. The other movie would be a slapstick comedy about a
bunch of bozos who couldn't tell the difference between a nuclear weapon and
a pile of dummy warheads. The lead might be played by Adam Sandler, backed
by the cast of "Police Academy III."

So far, the Pentagon, which has launched two separate investigations into
the incident, seems to be assuming that it is dealing with the comedy
version, saying that some incredible "mistake" led to nuclear weapons being
taken inadvertently from a weapons-storage bunker, loaded into launch
position on a bomber, and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana.

To date, more than a month after the incident, Pentagon investigators have
completely ignored a peculiar cluster of six deaths, during the weeks
immediately preceding and following the flight, of personnel at the two Air
Force bases involved in the incident and at Air Force Commando Operations
headquarters.

The operative assumption of the investigations appears to be that an Air
Force decision to store nuclear, conventional, and dummy warheads in the
same bunker and one mistake by weapons handlers initiated a chain of errors
and oversights that led to the flight.

On Sept. 23, the Washington Post, in a story based upon interviews with
military officials, many of them unidentified, suggested that the first
known case of nuclear warheads leaving a weapons-storage area improperly was
the result of two mistakes. The first, the article suggested, was a decision
by the Air Force to permit the storing of nuclear weapons in the same highly
secure and constantly guarded sod-covered bunkers -- known as "igloos" -- as
non-nuclear weapons and dummy warheads (something that had never been
allowed in the past).

The second was some as yet unidentified mistake by weapons handlers at Minot
to mount six nuclear warheads onto six of the 12 Advanced Cruise Missiles
that had been slated to be flown to Barksdale AFB for destruction. Those
missiles and the six others, part of a group of 400 such missiles declared
obsolete and slated for retirement and disassembly, should have been fitted
with dummy warheads also. The Post article quotes military sources as saying
that once the mistake was made, a cascade of errors followed as weapons
handlers, ground crews, and the B-52 crew skipped all nuclear protocols,
assuming they were dealing with dummy warheads.

The problem with this theory is that dummy warheads don't look the same as
the real thing. The real warheads, called W80-1's, are shiny silver, a color
which is clearly visible through postage-stamp-sized windows on the nosecone
covers that protect them on the missiles. In addition, the mounted warheads
are encased in a red covering as a second precaution.

Apparently the nukes (which can be set to explode at between 5 kilotons and
150 kilotons) were easily spotted by a Barksdale AFB ground crew when they
went out to the plane on the tarmac hours after it landed. If the Barksdale
ground crew, which had absolutely no reason to suspect it was looking at
nuclear-tipped missiles, easily spotted the "error," why did everyone at
Minot miss it, as claimed?

Clearly, whoever loaded the six nukes on one B-52 wing pylon, and whoever
mounted that unit on the wing, knew or should have known that they were
dealing with nukes -- and absent an order from the highest authority in
Washington, loading such nukes on a bomber was against all policy. The odds
of randomly putting six nukes all on one pylon, and six dummies on the
other, are 1:924. And how curious that the pilot, who is supposed to check
all 12 missiles before flying, checked only the pylon containing the dummy
warheads.

Various experts familiar with nuclear-weapons-handling protocols express
astonishment at what happened on Aug. 29 and 30. After all, over the course
of more than six decades, the protocols for handling nuclear arms have
called for at least two people at every step, with paper trails, bar codes,
and real-time computer tracking of every warhead in the arsenal. Nothing
like this has been known to have happened before. Air Force Gen. Eugene
Habiger, who served as US Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, told
the Post, "I a have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware
of any incident more disturbing."

Philip Coyle, a senior advisor at the Center for Defense Information who
served as assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration,
calls the incident "astonishing" and "unbelievable." He says, "This wasn't
just a mistake. I've counted, and at least 20 things had to have gone wrong
for this to have occurred."

Bruce Blair, a former Air Force nuclear launch officer who is now president
of the World Security Institute, says that the explanation of the incident
as laid out in the Washington Post, and in the limited statements from the
Air Force and Department of Defense, which call it a "mistake," are
"incomplete." He notes that no mention has been made as to whether the nukes
in question, which had been pre-mounted on a pylon for attachment to the
B-52 wing, had their PAL (permission action link) codes unlocked to make
them operational, or whether a system on board the plane that would
ordinarily prevent an unauthorized launch had been activated. "For all we
know, these missiles could have been fully operational," he says.

The Air Force and Department of Defense are refusing to answer any questions
about such matters.

Meanwhile, there are those six deaths. On July 20, 1st Lt. Weston Kissel, a
28-year-old B-52 pilot from Minot, died in a motorcycle accident while on
home leave in Tennessee.

Another Minot B-52 pilot, 20-year-old Adam Barrs, died on July 5 in Minot
when a car he was riding in, driven by another Minot airman, Stephen
Garrett, went off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire. Airman Garrett was
brought to the hospital in critical condition and has since been charged
with negligent homicide.

Two more Air Force personnel, Senior Airman Clint Huff, 29, of Barksdale
AFB, and his wife Linda died on Sept. 15 in nearby Shreveport, Louisiana,
when Huff reportedly attempted to pass a van in a no-passing zone on his
motorcycle, and the van made a left-hand turn, striking them.

Then there are two reported suicides, which both occurred within days of the
flight. One involved Todd Blue, a 20-year-old airman who was in a unit that
guarded weapons at Minot. He reportedly shot himself in the head on Sept. 11
while on a visit to his family in Wytheville, Virginia. Local police
investigators termed his death a suicide.

The second suicide, on Aug. 30, was John Frueh, a special forces weather
commando at the Air Force's Special Operations command headquartered at
Hurlburt AFB in Florida. Hurlburt's website says, "Every night, as millions
of Americans sleep peacefully under the blanket of freedom," Air Force
Special Operations commandos work "in deep dark places, far away from home,
risking their lives to keep that blanket safe."

Frueh, 33, a married father of two who had just received approval for
promotion from captain to major, reportedly flew from Florida to Portland,
Oregon, for a friend's wedding. He never showed up. Instead, he called on
Aug. 29, the day the missiles were loaded, from an interstate pull-off just
outside Portland to say he was going for a hike in a park nearby. (It is not
clear why he was at a highway rest stop as he had no car.) A day later, back
in Portland, he rented a car at the airport, again calling his family. After
he failed to appear at the wedding, his family filed a missing person's
report with the Portland police. The Sheriff's Department in remote Skamania
County, Washington, found Frueh's rental car ten days later on the side of a
road nearly 120 miles from the airport in a remote area of Badger Peak.
Search dogs found his body in the woods. His death was ruled a suicide,
though neither the sheriff's investigator nor the medical examiner would
give details. What makes this alleged suicide odd, however, is that the
sheriff reports that Frueh had with him a knapsack containing a GPS locator
and a videocam -- odd equipment for someone intent on ending his life.

Of course, it could be that all six of these deaths are coincidences -- all
just accidents and personal tragedies. But when they occur around the time
six nuclear-tipped missiles go missing in a bizarre incident, the likes of
which the Pentagon hasn't seen before, one would think investigators would
be on those cases like vultures on carrion. In fact, police and medical
examiners in the Frueh and Blue cases say no federal investigators, whether
from DOD or FBI, have called them. Worse still, because the B-52 incident
got so little media attention -- no coverage in most local news -- none of
those investigating the accidents and suicides even knew about it or about
the other deaths.

"It would have been interesting to know all that when I was examining Mr.
Blue's body," says Virginia coroner Mike Stoker, "but no one told me about
any of it or asked me about him."

"If we had known that several people had died under questionable
circumstances, it might have affected how we'd look at a body,a? says Don
Phillips, the sheriff's deputy in Washington State who investigated the
Frueh death. "But nobody from the federal government has ever contacted us
about this."

"Certainly, in a case like this, the suicides should be a red flag," says
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear-affairs expert with the Federation of American
Scientists. "It's wild speculation to think that there might be some
connection between the deaths and the incident, but it certainly should be
investigated."

Award-winning investigative reporter Dave Lindorff has been working as a
journalist for 33 years. A regular columnist for CounterPunch
(www.counterpunch.org), he also writes frequently for Extra! (www.fair.org)
and Salon magazine (www.salon.com), as well as for Businessweek, The Nation
and Treasury & Risk Management Magazine. In the late 1970s, he ran the Daily
News bureau covering Los Angeles County government, and in the mid-'90s,
spent several years as a correspondent in Hong Kong and China for
Businessweek. Over the years he has written for such publications as Rolling
Stone, Mother Jones, Village Voice, Forbes, The London Observer and the
Australian National Times.

Dave Lindorff is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7441

PBS documentary 'The Secret Government'

The Secret Government:
The Constitution in Crisis
A PBS Documentary


“The National Security Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation’s security that we’re always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something we invented in 1947."
-- U.S. Navy Admiral Gene La Rocque in PBS Documentary "The Secret Government" (view free)


In the revealing 22-minutes of the PBS documentary The Secret Government available for free viewing below, host Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of a secret government much more vast that most people would ever imagine. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected top military, intelligence, and government insiders reveal both the history and secret objectives of powerful groups in the hidden shadows of our government.

If you take time to watch this engaging documentary and further explore some of the vast amount of reliable, verifiable information on WantToKnow.info, you will very likely come to the conclusion that there is a powerful shadow or secret government which manipulates global politics behind the scenes. Government bureaucracies are known for their inefficiency, yet it is their very well-organized and hierarchical military and intelligence services through which those involved with the secret government are able to implement their secret plans.

The text of "The Secret Government" is also provided below for your convenience. Please help to strengthen democracy and educate others by spreading this important information. For suggestions on how each of us can work towards a better way, click here. Together, we can and will build a brighter future for us all.


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8536707153900925247 - "The Secret Government" (22 minutes)

If the above link does not work, go to Google Video and search using "The Secret Government"

http://www.pbs.org/now/series/billmoyers2.html - PBS website gives brief bio of Bill Moyers


For another powerful, highly revealing documentary on the manipulations of the secret government produced by BBC, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/powerofnightmares (view free at link provided). The intrepid BBC team clearly shows how the War on Terror is largely a fabrication. For those interested in very detailed information on the composition of the shadow or secret government from a less well-known source, take a look at the summary at: http://www.drboylan.com/shadgovt2.


Transcript

THE SECRET GOVERNMENT – The Constitution In Crisis

Bill Moyers, Secret Government, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) 1987

Moyers:The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of our Constitution. Just imagine that William Casey’s dream came true. Suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating organization. Suppose they decided on their own to assassinate Gorbachev or the leader of white South Africa. Could a President control them and what if he became the enterprise’s public enemy Number One? Who would know? Who would say no?”

“The history of our secret government.”

“World War II was over. Europe lay devastated. The United States emerged as the most powerful nation on earth. But from the rubble rose a strange new world, a peace that was not peace and a war that was not war. We saw it emerging when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe. The Cold War had begun.”

Winston Churchill: “An Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.”

Moyers: “The Russians had been our ally against the Nazis, an expedient alliance for the sake of war. Now they were our enemy. To fight them we turned to some of the very men who had inflicted on humanity the horrors of Hitler’s madness. We hired Nazis as American spies. We struck a secret bargain with the devil.”

Erhard Dabringhaus: “One that I know real well is Klaus Barbie. He was wanted by the French as their number one war criminal and somehow we employed a man like that as a very secretive informant.”

Moyers: “Erhard Dabringhaus was employed in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and assigned to work with Nazi informants spying on the Russians. One of them was Klaus Barbie, the ‘Butcher of Lyon', who had tortured and murdered thousands of Jews and resistance fighters. The Americans did not turn Barbie over to the French when they finished with him. They helped him escape to Bolivia. Other top Nazis were smuggled into the United States to cooperate in the war against the new enemy.”

“So began the morality of the Cold War. Anything goes. The struggle required a mentality of permanent war, a perpetual state of emergency. It had met a vast new apparatus of power that radically transformed our government. Its foundations were laid when President Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947.”

Admiral Gene La Rocque: “Now that National Security Act of 1947 changed dramatically the direction of this great nation. It established the framework for a national security state.”

Moyers: “Admiral Gene La Rocque rose through the ranks from Ensign to become a Strategic Planner for the Pentagon and now heads the Center of Defense Information, a public interest group.”

Admiral Gene La Rocque: “The National Security Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation’s security that we’re always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something we invented in 1947. The National Security Act also gave us the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Moyers: “This is the house the Cold War built – the CIA. The core of the new secret government. Its chief legitimate duty was to gather foreign intelligence for America’s new role as a world power. Soon it was taking on covert operations, abroad and at home. As its mission expanded, the CIA recruited adventuresome young men like Notre Dame’s 'All American,' Ralph McGehee.”

Ralph McGehee: “I look back to the individual that I was when I joined the agency. I was a dedicated Cold Warrior who felt the agency was out there fighting for liberty, justice and democracy and religion around the world. And I believed wholeheartedly in this. I just felt proud every day that I went to work because I was out at the vanguard of the battle against the international evil empire – international Communist evil empire.”

Moyers:Iran, 1953: the CIA mounted its first major covert operation to overthrow a foreign government. The target was the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq. He held power legitimately, through his country’s parliamentary process and he was popular. Washington had once looked to him as the man to prevent a Communist takeover. But that was before Mosaddeq decided that the Iranian state, not British companies, ought to own and control the oil within Iran’s own borders. When he nationalized the British run oil fields, Washington saw red.”

“The Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles and his brother Alan, Director of the CIA, decided with Eisenhower’s approval, to overthrow Mosaddeq and reinstate the Shah of Iran. The mobs paid by the CIA, and the police and soldiers bribed by the CIA, drove Mosaddeq from office.

Newscaster: “Crown Prince Abdullah greets the Shah as he lands at Baghdad airport after a 7-hour flight from Rome.”

Moyers: The King of Kings was back in control and more pliable than Mosaddeq. American oil companies took over almost half of Iran’s production. U.S. arms merchants moved in with $18 billion of weapons sales over the next 20 years. But there were losers.”

Kenneth Love (former New York Times reporter): “Nearly everybody in Iran of any importance has had a brother, or a mother, or a sister, or a son, or a father, tortured, jailed, deprived of property without due process. I mean an absolutely buccaneering dictatorship in our name that we supported. SAVAK was created by the CIA!

Bill Moyers:SAVAK, the Shah’s Secret Police, tortured and murdered thousands of his opponents. General Richard Secord and Albert Hakim, whom we met earlier, were among those who helped supply the Shah’s insatiable appetite for the technology of control. But the weapons and flattery heaped by America on the Shah blinded us to the growing opposition of his own people. They rose up in 1979 against him. “Death to the Shah!” they shouted. “Death to the American Satan.”

Kenneth Love: “Khomeni is a direct consequence and the hostage crisis is a direct consequence, and the resurgence of the Shi’a is a direct consequence of the CIA’s overthrow of Mosaddeq in 1953.”

Moyers: “Guatemala 1954. Flushed with success America’s Secret Government decided another troublesome leader must go. This time it was Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Philip Roettinger was recruited from the Marines to join the CIA team.”

Colonel Philip Roettinger (Ret.) U.S. Marine Corps: “It was explained to me that it was very important for the security of the United States that we were going to prevent a Soviet beach-head in this hemisphere, which we have heard about very recently of course, and that the Guatemalan government was Communist and we had to do something about it.”

Moyers:President Arbenz had admired Franklin D. Roosevelt and his government voted often with the American position at the United Nations. But in trying to bring a new deal to Guatemala, Arbenz committed two sins in the eyes of the Eisenhower administration. First, when he opened the system to all political parties he recognized the Communists too.”

Roettinger: “Well, of course there was not even a hint of Communism in his government. He had no Communists in his Cabinet. He did permit the existence of a very small Communist party.”

Moyers: “Arbenz also embarked on a massive land reform program. Less than 3 per cent of the land owners held more than 70 per cent of the land. So Arbenz nationalized more than 1 ½ million acres, including land owned by his own family and turned it over to peasants. Much of that land belonged to the United Fruit Company, the giant American firm that was intent on keeping Guatemala, quite literally, a banana republic. United Fruit appealed to its close friends in Washington, including the Dulles brothers, who said that Arbenz was openly playing the Communist game. He had to go.”

Roettinger: “This was sudden death for him. There was no chance of him winning this fight because of the fact that he had done this to the United Fruit Company. Plus the fact, that he was overthrowing the hegemony of the United States over this area. And this was dangerous, it [would] not be tolerated. We couldn’t tolerate that.”

Moyers: “From Honduras, the same country that today is the Contra staging base, the CIA launched a small band of mercenaries against Guatemala. They were easily turned back. So with its own planes and pilots the CIA then bombed the capital. Arbenz fled and was immediately replaced by an American puppet, Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas.”

Roettinger: “He overturned all of the reformist activities of President Arbenz. He gave the land back to the United Fruit Company that had been confiscated. He took land from the peasants and gave it back to the land owners.”

Bill Moyers: “The CIA had called its covert action against Guatemala, Operation Success. Military dictators ruled the country for the next 30 years. The United States provided them with weapons and trained their officers. The Communists we saved them from would have been hard pressed to do it better. Peasants were slaughtered. Political opponents were tortured. Suspected insurgents were shot, stabbed, burned alive or strangled. There were so many deaths at one point that coroners complained they couldn’t keep up with the work load. Operation Success.”

Roettinger: “What we did has caused a succession of repressive military dictatorships in that country and has been responsible for the deaths over 100,000 of their citizens.”

Moyers: “Success breeds success, sometimes with dreary repetition. Mario Sandoval Alarcon began his career in the CIA’s adventure in Guatemala. Today he’s known as the Godfather of the Death Squads. In 1981, after lobbying Ronald Reagan’s advisors for military aid to Guatemala, Sandoval Alarcon danced at the Inaugural Ball.”

“Richard Bissell, another veteran of the Guatemalan coup, went on to become the CIA’s Chief of Covert Operations. I looked him up several years ago for a CBS documentary. Cuba, 1961, seven years after Operation Success in Guatemala, Bissell was planning another CIA covert operation.”

Newscaster: “The assault has begun on the dictatorship of Fidel Castro.”

Moyers: “On April 17, 1961, Cuban exiles trained by the CIA at a base in friendly Guatemala landed on the southern coast of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs. The U.S. had promised air support, but President Kennedy cancelled it. The invaders, left defenseless, surrendered. Seven months after the disastrous invasion, Kennedy delivered a major foreign policy address.”

President John F. Kennedy:We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crisis.”

Moyers: “The President was not telling the truth. Even as he spoke, his administration was planning a new covert war on Cuba. It would include some of the dirty tricks the President said we were above. The Secret Government was prepared for anything.”

Moyers interview with Richard Bissel: “At one time, the CIA organized a small department known as Executive Action, which was a permanent assassination capability.”

Bissel: “Well, it wasn’t just an assassination capability. It was a capability to discredit or get rid of people, but it could have included assassination.”

Moyers: “And it did. There were at least eight documented attempts to kill Castro. He says there were two dozen. And there was even one effort to put LSD in his cigars. To help us get rid of the Cuban leader, our Secret Government turned to the Mafia just as we once made use of Nazis. The gangsters included the Las Vegas Mafioso John Roselli, the Don of Chicago, Sam Giancana, and the Boss of Tampa, Santo Traficante.”

“If I read you correctly you are saying it is the involvement in the Mafia that disturbed you and not the need or decision to assassinate a foreign leader.”

Bissel: “Correct.”

Moyers: “It is a chilling thought made more chilling by the assassination of John Kennedy. The accusations linger. In some minds, the suspicions persist of a dark unsolved conspiracy behind his murder. You can dismiss them, as many of us do. But knowing now what our Secret Government planned for Castro, the possibility remains. Once we decide that anything goes, anything can come home to haunt us.”

“Vietnam, 1968: American soldiers are fighting and dying in the jungles of Southeast Asia. But the Vietnam War didn’t start this way. It started secretly off the books like so many of these ventures that have ended disastrously. The CIA got there early, soon after the Vietnamese won their independence from the French in 1954. Eisenhower warned that the nations of Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes if the Communists, led by Ho Chi Min, took over all Vietnam. To hold the line, we installed in Saigon a puppet regime under Ngo Dinh Diem. American-trained commandoes were used to sabotage bus and rail lines and contaminate North Vietnam’s oil supply.”

“President Kennedy sent the Green Berets to Vietnam and turned to full scale counter-insurgency. He had once said that Vietnam was the ultimate test of our will to stem the tide of world Communism. By the time of his death, there were 15,000 Americans there. They were called “Advisors.” The secret war was leading only to deeper involvement and more deception.”

President Lyndon Johnson: It is my duty to the American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to order the military forces of the United States, to take action and reply.”

Moyers: “This President was not telling the truth either. The action at the Gulf of Tonkin was not unprovoked. South Vietnam had been conducting secret raids in the area against the North and the American destroyer, ordered into the battle zone, had advanced warning it could be attacked. But Johnson seized the incident to stampede Congress into passing the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He then used it as a blank check for the massive buildup of American forces.”

“April, 1965: Two battalions of Marines land in South Vietnam. The first of more than 2 ½ million Americans to fight there with no Congressional declaration of war. The dirty little war that began in secret, is reaching full roar. Free-fire zones, defoliation, the massacre at My Lai, napalm, and the CIA’s Operation Phoenix to round up, torture and kill suspected Viet Cong.”

Ralph McGehee: “We were murdering these people, incinerating them.”

Moyers: “Ralph McGehee was there for the CIA and helped set up South Vietnam’s secret police.”

McGehee (Notre Dame "All American"): “My efforts had resulted in the deaths of many people and I just – for me it was a period when I guess I was – I considered myself nearly insane – I just couldn’t reconcile what I had been and what I was at the time becoming.”

Moyers: “Many of the secret warriors in Southeast Asia had no such doubts or regrets. Some of the team that later joined the Iran-Contra enterprise, helped to run the secret war in Laos. As General Richard Secord later put it, 'Laos belonged to the CIA.' Looking back, it is stunning how easily the Cold War enticed us into surrendering popular control of government to the National Security State. We’ve never come closer to bestowing absolute authority on the President. Setting up White House groups that secretly decide to fight dirty little wars, is a direct assumption of the war powers expressly forbidden by the Constitution.”

Not since December, 1941, has Congress declared war. Since then, we’ve had a police action in Korea, advisors in Vietnam, covert operations in Central America, peacekeeping in Lebanon and low intensity conflicts going on right now from Angola to Cambodia. We’ve turned the war powers of the United States over to, well we are never really sure who, or what they’re doing, or what it costs, or who is paying for it. The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy too?”

Congressional hearings: “A shellfish toxin – "

Moyers: “In 1975 as the war in Vietnam came to an end, Congress took its first public look at the Secret Government. Senator Frank Church chaired the Select Committee to study government operations. The hearings opened the books on a string of lethal activities. From the use of electric pistols and poison pellets, to Mafia connections and drug experiments. And they gave us a detailed account of assassination plots against foreign leaders and the overthrowing of sovereign governments. We learned, for example, how the Nixon administration had waged a covert war against the government of Chile’s president, Salvador Allende, who was ultimately overthrown by a military coup and assassinated.”

Senator Church: “Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the President of the United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be – if in the wake of Vietnam, I can no longer send in the Marines, then, I will send in the CIA.”

Moyers: “This remains for me the heart of the matter. The men who wrote our Constitution, our basic book of rules, were concerned that power be held accountable. No party of government and no person in government, not even the President, was to pick or choose among the laws to be obeyed. But how does one branch of government blow the whistle on another? Or how do the people cry foul when their liberties are imperiled, if public officials can break the rules, lie to us about it, and then wave the wand of national security to silence us?”

“Can it happen again? You bet it can. The apparatus of secret power remains intact in a huge White House staff operating in the sanctuary of presidential privilege. George Bush has already told the National Security Council to take more responsibility for foreign policy which can of course be exercised beyond public scrutiny. And a lot of people in Washington are calling for more secrecy, not less, including more covert actions. This is a system easily corrupted as the public grows indifferent again, and the press is seduced or distracted. So one day, sadly, we are likely to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world it can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends. I’m Bill Moyers. Good night."


Special Note: The above text and videos are excerpts of the full 90-minute version of "The Secret Government." To see the entire broadcast, click here or search for the 90-minute version here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the Literary Review's Bad Sex award 2007

Contest heats up for Bad Sex awards

" ... Ian McEwan may have been passed over for the Booker, but he may yet end the year with a gong in his hand. Although the climax of On Chesil Beach revolves around the fact that it is, in fact, an anti-climax, it is enough to garner him a nomination for the Literary Review's Bad Sex award.

He is joined on the longlist of what the organisers call Britain's "most dreaded literary prize" by Jeanette Winterson with a passage about robotic sex from The Stone Gods; Ali Smith for Girl Meets Boy, and Gary Shteyngart with an athletic description of his crass hero from Absurdistan bedding one of his many conquests ("Her vagina was all that, as they say in the urban media - a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon, the breezes of the local sea, and the sweaty needs of a tiny nation trying to breed itself into a future").

The late Norman Mailer makes a posthumous appearance with a passage from The Castle in the Forest in which the male protagonist's "Hound" is described as "soft as a coil of excrement". More poetic bawdiness is on offer from Christopher Rush's life of Shakespeare, told in the Bard's "own words", and his maritime-themed description of coitus with Anne Hathaway, in which "I clung like a mariner to her heaving haunches, the deep keel of her backbone dipping and lifting through July, through the green surge of growth ... Our vessel ran shuddering onto the rocks, a wave of wetness ran through us, the air was rent with screams and I became aware that the bank on which we lay drenched and grounded was journey's end, love's end, the very sea-mark of our utmost sail."

Now in its 15th year, the prize, which only targets literary fiction, aims "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it." The winner, who will be announced on November 27 at the In & Out Club in London, is awarded a semi-abstract statue representing sex in the 1950s and a bottle of champagne, if he or she turns up.

In 2005, Tom Wolfe was one of the very few recipients to fail to attend; he later criticised the judges for failing to recognise the irony contained in the winning passage from I Am Charlotte Simmons. Last year's winner was Iain Hollingshead, whose award was presented by the rock singer Courtney Love. Previous presenters have included Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Sting and Germaine Greer. ... "

 
 
also see: Bad Sex Award 2007 shortlisted passages
 
 

Norman Mailer Posthumously Wins Bad Sex Award

November 27, 2007
By Kimberly Maul

The winner of the dreaded Bad Sex Award was announced today at the In & Out Club in London: the late Norman Mailer, The Guardian reported. Mailer's The Castle in the Forest beat out seven other shortlisted titles, all with cringe-worthy sex scenes.

"Then she was on him," Mailer wrote on the offending excerpt from The Castle in the Forest. "She did not know if this would resuscitate him or end him, but the same spite, sharp as a needle, that had come to her after Fanni's death was in her again. Fanni had told her once what to do. So Klara turned head to foot, and put her most unmentionable part down on his hard-breathing nose and mouth, and took his old battering ram into her lips. Uncle was now as soft as a coil of excrement."
 
"It was the excrement that tipped the balance," said Philip Womack, assistant editor of the Literary Review, which judges the annual prize, according to the Guardian. "That, and the line about Alois [the male character] being 'ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety'. That was pretty awful."

The award was launched in 1993 by Auberon Waugh, who was then the editor of the Literary Review, in order to "draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it." This is the first time the award has been given posthumously.

The award's shortlist, the Guardian reported, included Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods, Ali Smith's Girl Meets Boy, Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan, Clare Clark's The Nature of Monsters, David Thewlis' The Late Hector Kipling, Richard Milward's Apples, and Christopher Rush's Will.
 
~ link ~

experimental PTSD therapy with MDMA

" ... THE CAPSULES RESIDE IN A SAFE, armed with an alarm and bolted to the floor of Mithoefer's office, a 1950s-vintage cottage on the road between downtown Charleston and Sullivans Island. It's been tastefully remodeled to create a softly lit, high-ceilinged sanctuary in the back, scattered with art and furnished with, among other things, the ever-so-slightly inclined futon where Donna got crooked.

The elaborate security is occasioned by what is inside the capsules: MDMA, a synthetic compound that is a chemical cousin to both mescaline and methamphetamine. Unabbreviated, MDMA is a real mouthful -- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- but it is far better known by its street name, ecstasy, millions of doses of which are synthesized in criminal labs from the oil of the sassafras plant. At one point, Mithoefer recounts, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, there to inspect the security arrangements, inquired about the therapist who rents the office adjoining the safe room.

"I guess they were concerned she might drill through the wall into the safe and steal the MDMA," Mithoefer says. "Though there's such a small amount in there, and it's so readily available on the street in such large quantities, I don't see how that would be worth the effort, even if she were so inclined."

Mithoefer became a psychiatrist in 1991, after a decade as an emergency room doctor -- he had found himself less interested in the bodily traumas his patients suffered than the psychological traumas that so often preceded their appearance in the emergency room. He's got that mellow, empathic vibe that they just can't teach at therapy school. He always seems moments away from a sympathetic chuckle, an understanding murmur or a sage observation. A fit 61, with a brown ponytail and relaxed dress code, Mithoefer has become the accidental point man of a movement to revive medical research into psychedelic drugs. His Food and Drug Administration-approved PTSD study that began with Donna Kilgore in April 2004 is now nearly completed, with 18 of 21 subjects having undergone the double-blind sessions. Two Iraq veterans with war-related PTSD, the study's first, are cleared to begin. Close behind are similar studies in Switzerland and Israel. At Harvard's McLean Hospital, researchers are set to evaluate MDMA therapy as a way to alleviate acute anxiety in terminal cancer patients. In Vancouver, Canada, the effectiveness of an ongoing program to treat drug addiction with another potent psychedelic drug, ibogaine, is under scrutiny. There is a proposal, based on case histories, to study the ability of LSD to defuse crippling cluster headaches.

All of these studies are directly or indirectly funded by a surprisingly robust organization whose roots stretch back 40 years to the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. Before Harvard lecturer Timothy Leary started channeling aliens and urging college kids to turn on and drop out, an intense cadre of doctors and researchers had come to believe that psychedelic drugs would revolutionize psychiatry, providing those with a wide spectrum of psychological problems -- or even just ordinary life difficulties -- the ability to, basically, heal themselves.

But Leary's bizarre career, which morphed from doing research on psychedelics to cheerleading their widespread abuse, obscured whatever medical potential the drugs may have had. Instead, authorities focused on the risks, and often exaggerated them. Richard Nixon famously called Leary "the most dangerous man in America." After a slow start, regulators and legislators cracked down hard. Millions of dollars in enforcement efforts were unable to end abuse of psychedelic drugs, but they effectively stamped out sanctioned research into their healing potential.

A small group of psychedelic researchers and therapists willing to break the law continued their work clandestinely. A much larger group did not flout the law, but waited in the wings and is now emerging. Experience had convinced these therapists that psychedelics, along with significant risks, had potential for even more significant benefits.

This may have been especially true of MDMA.

Mithoefer states the case in an article he wrote for a book of scholarly essays, Psychedelic Medicine: Social, Clinical and Legal Perspectives:"The reported results [of early therapeutic use] include decreased fear and anxiety, increased openness, trust and interpersonal closeness, improved therapeutic alliance, enhanced recall of past events with an accompanying ability to examine them with new insight, calm objectivity and compassionate self-acceptance."

In short, a therapist's dream. Or is it a hallucination?

THE PROMISE OF A BLOCKBUSTER TREATMENT, one that doesn't just address symptoms but defuses underlying causes, is a particularly seductive vision right now. A report issued last month by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine emphasizes the uncertain effectiveness of current PTSD treatments, and the urgent need of returning soldiers who will suffer from it.

To a non-scientist, the very preliminary results of Mithoefer's study would suggest that MDMA might be just what the doctors ordered. Of the subjects who have been through both the MDMA-assisted therapy and the three-month post-experiment follow-up tests, Mithoefer reports, every one showed dramatic improvement.

But scientists are a cautious lot. "It's potentially nice to hear those things," says Scott Lilienfeld, an associate professor of psychology at Emory University. But until results are statistically analyzed and peer-reviewed for publication, "you can't really judge them. The plural of anecdote is not data." Especially with a drug that has considerable risk, Lilienfeld cautions, it pays to be skeptical.

A.C. Parrott, a psychologist at Swansea University in Britain who has devoted a large part of his career to studying the dangers of MDMA, is far more than skeptical. "MDMA is a very powerful, neurochemically messy and potentially damaging drug," he says. The government "should never have given it a license for these trials. Certainly I would not give it a license for any further trials."

But one of the nation's premier PTSD researchers, Roger K. Pitman, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, disagrees. Morphine is a powerful, potentially damaging drug, Pitman says, "and we use it to treat the pain of cancer patients. Sound medical reasons should trump."

Current treatment for PTSD is "partial at best," he says. "There's a lot of room for improvement, and we need to be looking for novel treatments."

Though Pitman calls the MDMA study "a fringe hypothesis" -- "I've never heard anybody talk about it at any PTSD meeting I've ever attended in 25 years" -- he also observes that, based solely on a description of the preliminary results, "this seems worth further study. A lot of new ideas meet with rejection and skepticism, and we need to be careful not to be prejudiced against something just because it seems wacky. If it has a 5 percent chance, or even a 1 percent chance, of being effective in treatment of PTSD, it's worth pursuing." ... "

~ read full article... ~

The Ghosts in our Machines

" ... Since the early days of the phonograph, telephone and camera, there have been reports of unexplained phenomena associated with our communications devices. German physics professor Ernst Senkowski coined the term "instrumental transcommunication" (ITC), to refer to the use of modern technical devices such as audio recorders, radios, and televisions to communicate with realms outside of our known physical realm. Unknown to most, a huge body of experimentation and scientific study has taken place in this area.

ITC is best known in its most basic form, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) - when voices of unknown origin, generally uttering short, faint phrases, speak on audio recordings. EVP appeared occasionally on early phonograph recordings but became more widely known after showing up on personal tape recorders in the 50s and 60s. In the 60s and 70s, it became popular in Europe to capture EVP voices on home tape recorders. Samples can be found all over the web, and EVP is often employed for a plot twist on ghost-hunting TV shows.

The levels which ITC has reached, far beyond EVP, are, surprisingly, little known. There is a large body of clear, well documented, scientifically observed audio, video and text transmissions from beyond that have been received through telephones, radios, televisions, computers, fax machines, and a custom-built device called the Spiricom. I will briefly touch on a few key developments in the field, from documentation at worlditc.org, and offer some of my own results.

Marcello Bacci of Grosseto, Italy began receiving spirit voices through his vacuum tube radio in the 1950s. To this day, he holds sessions at his home where visitors are often addressed by their departed loved ones, through this same radio. In addition to spoken voice, he has also recorded choirs singing.

In the late 70s, Americans George Meek and William O'Neil developed a device called Spiricom which established the first known instrumental two-way conversations with the beyond. It was a combination of radio technology with a tone generator that, after much iteration over years, allowed O'Neil to speak with his contact on the other side, Dr. George Mueller, a deceased NASA scientist. Mueller's came through as a robotic sounding voice-modulated tone, similar in sound to the vocoder used in pop music where a human voice is combined with a keyboard or guitar sound. Hours of conversation were recorded and a few files are available at worlditc.org.

German Klaus Schreiber pioneered video ITC. In the mid-80s, he experimented with a technique whereby he would point a video camera at a TV set and feed the output back into the set, creating a feedback loop. The resulting visual randomness would sometimes form into indisputably human faces. At times it formed recognizable ones like Albert Einstein. In 1994, Adolf Homes received the first color picture transmission, directly to his TV set. It was an image of EVP pioneer Friedrich Juergenson and was received at the same time as a printout on Homes' computer, which read:

"This is Friedel from Sweden. I am sending you a self-portrait... The projection since January 17, 1991, has been in the quantum of spacelessness and timelessness. All your and our thoughts have their own electromagnetic reality which does not get lost outside the space-time structure... Consciousness creates all form..."

Maggy Harsch-Fischbach and husband Jules Harsh in Luxembourg received the most mind-boggling ITC transmissions known. They started with EVP, as is often the case, and moved on to achieve radio contacts. In 1986 they began to be addressed by a high-pitched synthetic sounding voice. When asked for a name, it offered "Technician", and it revealed itself to be the facilitating energy behind their transmissions. When asked "who are you?” the response was:

"We are what we are. It is difficult to explain to you, but I am not an energy being, not a light being, I was never human, never an animal and was never incarnated.... neither am I God! Humans make the mistake of imagining god as a single person. You know the picture of two children walking across a bridge. Behind them is a being that protects them. This is what I am to you, but without wings. If you insist on giving me a name, call me technician. You already confused me with a human technician at the beginning of our esb [Eurosignal Bridge] contacts. Yes, I am a technician but in a different manner than you imagine."

Ernst Senkowski, a physics professor and former military radio specialist, worked closely with the group and analyzed the experiments from a scientific perspective. In 1987 he wrote: "The possibility of faking or manipulating the voices or television pictures for the involved lay people is practically zero...[The material] is convincing and forms new steps whose significance for most people is inconceivable and points far into the future!"

The Luxembourg contacts continued into the 90's and included hundreds of phone calls, television images, computer files, and faxes conveying messages and images from the afterlife. INIT, International Network of Instrumental Transcommunication, was formed by experimenters in Europe and the United States. Conferences were held and simultaneous contacts in different locations took place. This positive alliance was thought to strengthen the "contact field" as it came to be known. Sadly, it was difficult to maintain harmony in a group spread across the globe, trying to find their way in this strange new field. Infighting ensued and relationships were damaged. The amazing contacts received by the members of INIT ceased in the late 90s. Results of that level have not been heard of since.

While there are currently no reports of faxes from beyond, there is a great deal of interest in ITC, and the Internet is an ideal medium for publishing results. Marcello Bacci continues to receive radio contacts. Mark Macy, a founder of INIT and unofficial American ambassador of ITC, is doing interesting work using photography and a device called the Luminator.

One of my favorite ITC messages was sent to the INIT group by nineteenth-century chemist Henri Ste. Claire and speaks of the purpose of ITC: "It is our job as well as your job to set fire to minds – to set fire to minds in your world, and in that moment to try to master time." ... "

'Has first evidence of another universe been seen?'

 By William Atkins    Sunday, 25 November 2007
 
Astronomers announced in August 2007 the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Since then, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton and colleagues have claimed it is an “unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own.”
 
 The article entitled “Astronomers Find Enormous Hole in the Universe” discusses the August 2007 discovery of the hole. It is located at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory website.

Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

The hole is estimated to be almost one billion light-years across, where one light-year is about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.9 trillion miles) and is located within the constellation Eridanus.

The Mersini-Houghton team states that the hole is another universe at the edge of our own universe. Such an explanation, if true, would be the first experimental evidence of such an exo-universe, or a universe outside of our own universe.

Several teams of astronomers have used data from the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to make examinations of this large hole. The hole first showed up in images of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the radiation left over from the formation of the universe (what we call the big bang).

In images made by WMAP back in 2004, the volume of the hole showed up as being of a colder temperature than surrounding volumes of space because of less energy being ejected from the region.

The hole is not actually devoid of matter, only has far fewer galaxies and galactic clusters than normally found in a comparable volume of space. It is estimated that the hole has about 20 to 45% less galaxies than normal, which contributes to it being colder than other volumes of space.

Not knowing how far away the hole was located astronomers then began looking at the Sloan data to make comparisons with galaxies. They found that the hole was about 900 light-years across and about 8 billion light-years away. This hole is the largest one ever found, and is difficult to explain, with current models of the universe, as to why it exists. Standard cosmology theory says that such a large void in space is exceedingly unlikely.

Several teams have made claims at to the explanation for this hole. Some cosmologists say that large hole in space is a “topological defect,” a large knot in space.

The Mersini-Houghton team, however, says it is another universe at the edge of our own. They looked at string theory for the explanation. In string theory, 10500 universes (or string vacuums) are described, each with unique properties. They contend that the largeness of our universe is due to its vacuum counterbalancing gravity. This counter-gravity of the vacuum keeps our universe very large (rather than shrinking due to gravity)—larger than the other multitude of universes. The team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of this interaction they are seen by us.

The team predicts that another giant void will eventually be found. The already found void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.

Cosmologists are mixed as to the conclusions from the Mersini-Houghton team. Some call it very interesting, while others call it very speculative. Future tests will be made that will probably validate or reject their conclusion.

This article is based on the New Scientist article “The void: Imprint of another universe.” [subscription required]. It is a very interesting article and, if you have access to it, should provide you with some very thought-provoking reading.

~ link ~

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday Impeachment Cards

http://impeachforpeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

Seasons Greetings!
This holiday season you can give your friends and family the gift that keeps on giving. You can help them deck the halls of congress with colorful impeachment petitions! Impeach for Peace has created holiday impeachment cards that allow your friends and family to initiate the impeachment process. Impeach for Peace created the Holiday Impeachment image, and researched a company that will allow you to send jumbo sized postcards along with a personalized message using your web browser. The first card you send is free! The cost of sending additional holiday greetings ranges from $1.11 to $1.87/card depending on how many you send. (Impeach for Peace receives no funds from these holiday greetings.)

Great for Christmas, Quanza, Haunakha, or Solstice.

http://impeachforpeace.org/images/DIYPostcard.jpeg

block amnesty for telecoms

A Second Chance to See "Spying on the Home Front"

Posted by Rebecca Jeschke

As Congress gears up to debate giving amnesty to telecoms involved in illegal spying, the terrific Frontline documentary "Spying on the Home Front" will be rebroadcast Tuesday on many PBS stations across the country. This program examines just how far the government has gone with its surveillance program, and features EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn discussing EFF's ongoing case against AT&T for its illegal collaboration with the NSA. AT&T whisleblower Mark Klein also tells his compelling story about his discovery of a "secret room" diverting AT&T network traffic to the NSA.

But our case is only part of the story. As Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald put it, the documentary "powerfully dramatizes the severity of privacy erosion at the hands of a federal government operating largely in the dark."

Check your local listings for times, or you can always watch the program on the Frontline website. Then tell lawmakers to stop the spying and to block amnesty for telecoms that broke the law.

~ source ~

Google
 

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

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