Sunday, November 30, 2008

Government suppression of health research is scandalous

Australian governments -- federal, state and territory -- often mislead the public about important health issues by suppressing the results of research.

That's the conclusion of what is thought to be the first formal study of government suppression of information in the health sector.

When University of Western Australia researchers asked 302 public health academics in 17 institutions whether they had seen research findings suppressed by governments, they were told of 142 such incidents occurring between 2001 and 2006.

Twenty-one per cent of academics had personally experienced such a problem over that period.

Governments most commonly suppressed research through sanitising reports, or delaying or prohibiting publication.

The effect of the suppression was, not surprisingly, to protect the interests of government by, for example, keeping potentially damaging information about health services under wraps.

The researchers found that 87% of attempts to suppress information succeeded "and, consequently, the public was left uninformed or given a false impression".

~ more... ~

 

“People have never thought that way about breast cancer"

Dr. Kaplan and his colleague, Dr. Franz Porzsolt, an oncologist at the University of Ulm, said in an editorial that accompanied the study, "If the spontaneous remission hypothesis is credible, it should cause a major re-evaluation in the approach to breast cancer research and treatment."

The study was conducted by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a researcher at the VA Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vt., and Dartmouth Medical School; Dr. Per-Henrik Zahl of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; and Dr. Jan Maehlen of Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo. It compared two groups of women ages 50 to 64 in two consecutive six-year periods.

One group of 109,784 women was followed from 1992 to 1997. Mammography screening in Norway was initiated in 1996. In 1996 and 1997, all were offered mammograms, and nearly every woman accepted.

The second group of 119,472 women was followed from 1996 to 2001. All were offered regular mammograms, and nearly all accepted.

It might be expected that the two groups would have roughly the same number of breast cancers, either detected at the end or found along the way. Instead, the researchers report, the women who had regular routine screenings had 22 percent more cancers. For every 100,000 women who were screened regularly, 1,909 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over six years, compared with 1,564 women who did not have regular screening.

There are other explanations, but researchers say that they are less likely than the conclusion that the tumors disappeared.

The most likely explanation, Dr. Welch said, is that "there are some women who had cancer at one point and who later don't have that cancer."

~ more... ~

 

The 30 greatest conspiracy theories - part 1

1. September 11, 2001

Thanks to the power of the web and live broadcasts on television, the conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11 - when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington - have surpassed those of Roswell and JFK in traction. Despite repeated claims by al-Qaeda that it planned, organised and orchestrated the attacks, several official and unofficial investigations into the collapse of the Twin Towers which concluded that structural failure was responsible and footage of the events themselves, the conspiracy theories continue to grow in strength.

At the milder end of the spectrum are the theorists who believe that the US government had prior warning of the attacks but did not do enough to stop them. Others believe that the Bush administration deliberately turned a blind eye to those warnings because it wanted a pretext to launch wars in the Middle East to usher in another century of American hegemony. A large group of people - collectively called the 9/11 Truth Movement - cite evidence that an airliner did not hit the Pentagon and that the World Trade Centre could not have been brought down by airliner impacts and burning aviation fuel alone. This final group points to video evidence which they claim shows puffs of smoke - so-called demoliton squibs - emerging from the Twin Towers at levels far below the aircraft impact zones and prior to the collapses. They also believe that, on the day itself, the US air force was deliberately stood down or sent on exercises to prevent intervention that could have saved the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

Many witnesses - including firemen, policemen and people who were inside the towers at the time - claim to have heard explosions below the aircraft impacts (including in basement levels) and before both the collapses and the attacks themselves. As with the assassination of JFK, the official inquiry into the events - the 9/11 Commission Report - is widely derided by the conspiracy community and held up as further evidence that 9/11 was an "inside job". Scientific journals have consistently rejected these hypotheses.

2. The assassination of John F Kennedy

The 35th President of the United States was shot on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas at 12.30pm . He was fatally wounded by gunshots while riding with his wife - Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy - in a motorcade. The ten-month investigation of the Warren Commission of 1963 to 1964, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) of 1976 to 1979, and other government investigations concluded that the President had been assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald - who was himself shot dead by Jack Ruby while in police custody.

But doubts about the official explanation and the conclusion that Oswald was the lone gunman firing from the Texas Book Depository overlooking Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was hit surfaced soon after the commission report. Footage of the motorcade taken by Abraham Zapruder on 8mm film supported the growing belief that at least four shots were fired - not the three that the Warren Commission claimed. The moments of impact recorded on the film also suggested that at least one of the shots came from a completely different direction to those supposedly fired by Oswald - evidence backed up by testimony of several eye witnesses. Many believed that several shots were fired by gunmen hiding behind a picket fence on a grassy knoll overlooking the plaza.

The assassination is still the subject of widespread speculation and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories, though none of these has been proven. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. The HSCA also concluded that there were at least four shots fired and that it was probable that a conspiracy existed. However, later studies, including one by the National Academy of Sciences, have called into question the accuracy of the evidence used by the HSCA to support its finding of four shots.

~ more... ~

 

Legislators taking hard look at oil trading

Democrats, who led the charge for increased oil market regulation, will return to Washington in the new year with solid majorities in Congress, a friendly White House and the determination to tighten regulation across America's financial markets. They will likely take another look at oil.

"This will remain an issue," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who introduced oil market legislation this year. "Because when the price of oil has gone from $50 to $147 and back, it's clear to me and everyone else that this has nothing to do with supply and demand. It has to do with speculation."

In addition, the investment banks that have opposed oil market regulations in the past have far less clout than before.

"The banks are in a much weaker position right now, and they were the ones really fighting this," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group.

President-elect Barack Obama even made cracking down on oil speculation part of his energy platform during the campaign. But he offered few specifics and gave the issue far less attention than he gave to renewable power and alternative fuels.

Among possible changes, Congress may try to assert more authority over unregulated oil swaps that don't take place on any formal market. Limits on the number of oil contracts a speculator can hold could be extended to cover those swaps as well as trading on electronic exchanges and overseas markets.

There's still disagreement over how much speculators influence oil's price.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a federal agency that regulates much of the American oil market, tends to downplay the role of speculators. A commission task force concluded that the tight worldwide balance between petroleum supply and demand caused the price spike, not speculators.

Plenty of oil analysts disagree. Many factors helped shove prices higher, including the growth of China's economy and the decline of the American dollar. But oil kept rising even as gasoline sales fell in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer. That wouldn't have happened if supply and demand really were driving the market, many analysts say.

"The entire move from $70 (per barrel) to $147 was people fleeing the dollar and looking at oil as an asset class," said Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy research fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute. "It was speculators, so when they exited the market, we went right back to $70."

~ more... ~

 

The 10 worst corporations of 2008

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of Multinational Monitor's annual list of the 10 Worst Corporations of the year.

In the 20 years that we've published our annual list, we've covered corporate villains, scoundrels, criminals and miscreants. We've reported on some really bad stuff - from Exxon's Valdez spill to Union Carbide and Dow's effort to avoid responsibility for the Bhopal disaster; from oil companies coddling dictators (including Chevron and CNPC, both profiled this year) to a bank (Riggs) providing financial services for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; from oil and auto companies threatening the future of the planet by blocking efforts to address climate change to duplicitous tobacco companies marketing cigarettes around the world by associating their product with images of freedom, sports, youthful energy and good health.

But we've never had a year like 2008.

The financial crisis first gripping Wall Street and now spreading rapidly throughout the world is, in many ways, emblematic of the worst of the corporate-dominated political and economic system that we aim to expose with our annual 10 Worst list.

~ more... ~

 

Can George W. Bush 'self-pardon' himself?

So -- can Bush do it? Can he pardon himself before leaving office?

According to attorneys whom I asked, there is no definitive legal answer.There is no case law on the subject and not even much legal analysis of the possibility. All there seems to be are three law review articles that analyze the self-pardon power with arguments for and against its legality. (I am convinced by the arguments against its legality, but given the present Supreme Court, who knows?).

You might be interested in a much less troublesome -- and perfectly legal -- route that Bush can take to avoid prosecution.

He can simply pardon Cheney (and everyone else) and immediately resign. Cheney then becomes president and pardons him. Short, sweet, and -- after consulting with an attorney -- perfectly legal.

Would the entire country freak out over such brazen self-dealing? No doubt. Would Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al., care? Not a bit. After all, given the choice between a trial for high treason and murder (resulting in a possible death sentence) versus millions of people thinking badly of them (which 82 percent of the public already does), the answer is obvious.

~ more... ~

 

conspiracy vs. Conspiracy in American History

The notion that the parliamentary democracy of the industrial nations is a sham, and that the real power lies not in the hands of the people (or their elected representatives) but in the hands of a small, ruling elite is a view most closely associated with Karl Marx. This is one meaning of the word "conspiracy": the ruling class knows what its interests are, and it acts to protect them. In this sense of the term, conspiracy is equivalent to elite theory, because the implication is that the ruling class acts with a unified consciousness. Indeed, Marx argued that the emergence of conflicts within the ranks of the elite was a sign that the system was ripe for revolutionary overthrow.

Elite theory, then, holds that the people (or masses) are under the illusion that through their vote they control the direction of the ship of state, whereas the real captains of the ship–the captains of industry, the eminences grises–are not themselves on the ballot. The public does not get to vote for them, but rather for their paid representatives. Thus the post-election euphoria in the United States over Barack Obama is nothing more than a bubble, an illusion, because the lion's share of the $750 million he collected in campaign contributions (according to the Australian journalist John Pilger) came from Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and the huge hedge fund Citadel Investment Group. These corporations, it hardly need be said, do not have the welfare of the American people as their top priority; and it is also the case that having invested in a president, they expect a return on that investment once he takes office. And if history is any guide here, they are going to get it. It is for this reason that what we have in the United States, according to Harvard political scientist Michael Sandel, is a "procedural democracy": the form, the appearance, is democratic, but the actual content, the result, is not. As the eminent sociologist C. Wright Mills put it in 1956,

"In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the political order, that clue is the decline of politics as genuine and public debate of alternative decisions….America is now in considerable part more a formal political democracy than a democratic social structure, and even the formal political mechanics are weak."

While it is undoubtedly true that elites occasionally act in a deliberate and concerted way, it was Mills in particular who pointed out that the reality was significantly more nuanced than this. For the most part, it is not that the rich or super-rich get together in some corporate boardroom and ask themselves, "Now how can we best screw the workers and the middle class?" No, said Mills, what in fact happens is that they socialize together, in an informal sort of way, and recognize their class affiliations:

"Members of the several higher circles know one another as personal friends and even as neighbors; they mingle with one another on the golf course, in the gentlemen's clubs, at resorts, on transcontinental airplanes, and on ocean liners. They meet at the estates of mutual friends, face each other in front of the TV camera, or serve on the same philanthropic committee; and many are sure to cross one another's path in the columns of newspapers, if not in the exact cafés from which many of these columns originate….The conception of the power elite, accordingly, does not rest upon the assumption that American history since the origins of World War II must be understood as a secret plot, or as a great and co-ordinated conspiracy of the members of this elite. The conception rests upon quite impersonal grounds."

We are not, in short, talking about some sort of organized brotherhood, some quasi-Masonic financial clique, as it were. However–and this is the crucial point–in terms of concrete outcome, we might as well be.

~ more... ~

 

NYC churches ordered not to shelter homeless

City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people.

With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week -- or not at all.

Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.

He said hundreds of people now won't have a place to sleep.
 
 

GM crops 'to be grown in secret'

Trials could also be conducted away from the public in the Government's Porton Down military research site in Salisbury, Wiltshire, it is claimed.

There are currently no GM food trials underway in the country and the more than 50 that have been conducted since 2000 have been affected by vandalism. Opponents of GM benefit from current rules, which dictate that all trials must be disclosed on a Government website.

However, a review of security arrangements for trials has been ordered by Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary and Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary.

The Independent reported that ministers are preparing to scrap the disclosure rule.

A Government source told the newspaper: "We need to review the security arrangements. The rules are a charter for people who want to stop the experiments. A lot of information has to be put in the public domain and that makes it very easy for people to trash them."

Mr Benn said: "We need to see if GM foods have a contribution to make, and we won't know the answer about their environmental impact unless we run controlled experiments. It's important to go with the science."

Lord Mandelson acted to loosen rules on GM licensing in his previous job as EU Trade Commisioner, and it is thought he favours a relaxation of the conditions in Britain.

~ more... ~

 

Aldous Huxley - The Mike Wallace interview

Aldous Huxley, social critic and author of Brave New World, talks to Wallace about threats to freedom in the United States, overpopulation, bureaucracy, propaganda, drugs, advertising, and television.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


THE MIKE WALLACE INTERVIEW
Guest: Aldous Huxley
[18 May, 1958]

WALLACE: This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. A searing social critic, Mr. Huxley 27 years ago, wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us. We'll find out why, in a moment.

(OPENING CREDITS)

WALLACE: Good evening, I'm Mike Wallace. Tonight's guest, Aldous Huxley, is a man of letters, as disturbing as he is distinguished. Born in England, now a resident of California, Mr. Huxley has written some of the most electric novels and social criticism of this century.

He's just finished a series of essays called “Enemies of Freedom,” in which he outlines and defines some of the threats to our freedom in the United States; and Mr. Huxley, right of the bat, let me ask you this: as you see it, who and what are the enemies of freedom here in the United States?

HUXLEY: Well, I don't think you can say who in the United States, I don't think there are any sinister persons deliberately trying to rob people of their freedom, but I do think, first of all, that there are a number of impersonal forces which are pushing in the direction of less and less freedom, and I also think that there are a number of technological devices which anybody who wishes to use can use to accelerate this process of going away from freedom, of imposing control.

WALLACE: Well, what are these forces and these devices, Mr. Huxley?

HUXLEY: I should say that there are two main impersonal forces, er... the first of them is not exceedingly important in the United States at the present time, though very important in other countries. This is the force which in general terms can be called overpopulation, the mounting pressure of population pressing upon existing resources.

WALLACE: Uh-huh.

HUXLEY: Uh... this, of course, is an extraordinary thing; something is happening which has never happened in the world's history before, I mean, let's just take a simple fact that between the time of birth of Christ and the landing of the May Flower, the population of the earth doubled. It rose from two hundred and fifty million to probably five hundred million. Today, the population of the earth is rising at such a rate that it will double in half a century.

WALLACE: Well, why should overpopulation work to diminish our freedoms?

HUXLEY: Well, in a number of ways. I mean, the... the experts in the field like Harrison Brown, for example, pointed out that in the underdeveloped countries actually the standard of living is at present falling. The people have less to eat and less goods per capita than they had fifty years ago;

and as the position of these countries, the economic position, becomes more and more precarious, obviously the central government has to take over more and more responsibility for keeping the ship-of-state on an even keel, and then of course you are likely to get social unrest under such conditions, with again an intervention of the central government.

So that, I think that one sees here a pattern which seems to be pushing very strongly towards a totalitarian regime. And unfortunately, as in all these underdeveloped countries the only highly organized political party is the Communist Party, it looks rather as though they will be the heirs to this unfortunate process, that they will step into the power... the position of power.

WALLACE: Well then, ironically enough one of the greatest forces against communism in the world, the Catholic Church, according to your thesis would seem to be pushing us directly into the hands of the communists because they are against birth control.

HUXLEY: Well, I think this strange paradox probably is true. There is, er..., it's an extraordinary situation actually. I mean, one has to look at it, of course, from a biological point of view: the whole essence of biological life on earth is a question of balance and what we've done is to practice death control in the most intensive manner without balancing this with birth control at the other end. Consequently, the birth rates remain as high as they were and death rates have fallen substantially. (COUGHS)

WALLACE: All right then, so much, for the time being anyway, for overpopulation. Another force that is diminishing our freedoms?

HUXLEY: Well another force which I think is very strongly operative in this country is the force of what may be called of overorganization. Er... As technology becomes more and more complicated, it becomes necessary to have more and more elaborate organizations, more hierarchical organizations, and incidentally the advance of technology is being accompanied by an advance in the science of organization.

It's now possible to make organizations on a larger scale than it was ever possible before, and so that you have more and more people living their lives out as subordinates in these hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracy, either the bureaucracies of big businesses or the bureaucracies of big government.

WALLACE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Now the devices that you were talking about, are there specific devices or er... methods of communication which diminish our freedoms in addition to overpopulation and overorganization?

HUXLEY: Well, there are certainly devices which can be used in this way. I mean, let us er... take after all, a piece of very recent and very painful history is the propaganda used by Hitler, which was incredibly effective.

I mean, what were Hitler's methods? Hitler used terror on the one kind, brute force on the one hand, but he also used a very efficient form of propaganda, which er... he was using every modern device at that time. He didn't have TV., but he had the radio which he used to the fullest extent, and was able to impose his will on an immense mass of people. I mean, the Germans were a highly educated people.

WALLACE: Well, we're aware of all this, but how do we equate Hitler's use of propaganda with the way that propaganda, if you will, is used let us say here in the United States. Are you suggesting that there is a parallel?

HUXLEY: Needless to say it is not being used this way now, but, er... the point is, it seems to me, that there are methods at present available, methods superior in some respects to Hitler's method, which could be used in a bad situation. I mean, what I feel very strongly is that we mustn't be caught by surprise by our own advancing technology.

This has happened again and again in history with technology's advance and this changes social condition, and suddenly people have found themselves in a situation which they didn't foresee and doing all sorts of things they really didn't want to do.

WALLACE: And well, what... what do you mean? Do you mean that we develop our television but we don't know how to use it correctly, is that the point that you're making?

HUXLEY: Well, at the present the television, I think, is being used quite harmlessly; it's being used, I think, I would feel, it's being used too much to distract everybody all the time. But, I mean, imagine which must be the situation in all communist countries where the television, where it exists, is always saying the same things the whole time; it's always driving along.

It's not creating a wide front of distraction it's creating a one-pointed, er... drumming in of a single idea, all the time. It's obviously an immensely powerful instrument.

WALLACE: Uh-huh. So you're talking about the potential misuse of the instrument.

HUXLEY: Exactly. We have, of course... all technology is in itself moral and neutral. These are just powers which can either be used well or ill; it is the same thing with atomic energy, we can either use it to blow ourselves up or we can use it as a substitute for the coal and the oil which are running out.

WALLACE: You've even written about the use of drugs in this light.

HUXLEY: Well now, this is a very interesting subject. I mean, in this book that you mentioned, this book of mine, “Brave New World,” er... I postulated it a substance called 'soma,' which was a very versatile drug. It would make people feel happy in small doses, it would make them see visions in medium doses, and it would send them to sleep in large doses.

Well, I don't think such a drug exists now, nor do I think it will ever exist. But we do have drugs which will do some of these things, and I think it's quite on the cards that we may have drugs which will profoundly change our mental states without doing us any harm.

I mean, this is the... the pharmacological revolution which is taking place, that we have now powerful mind-changing drugs which physiologically speaking are almost costless. I mean they are not like opium or like coca... cocaine, which do change the state of mind but leave terrible results physiologically and morally.

WALLACE: Mr. Huxley, in your new essays you state that these various "Enemies of Freedom" are pushing us to a real-life “Brave New World,” and you say that it's awaiting us just around the corner. First of all, can you detail for us, what life in this Brave New World would you fear so much, or what life might be like?

HUXLEY: Well, to start with, I think this kind of dictatorship of the future, I think will be very unlike the dictatorships which we've been familiar with in the immediate past. I mean, take another book prophesying the future, which was a very remarkable book, George Orwell's “1984.”

Well, this book was written at the height of the Stalinist regime, and just after the Hitler regime, and there he foresaw a dictatorship using entirely the methods of terror, the methods of physical violence. Now, I think what is going to happen in the future is that dictators will find, as the old saying goes, that you can do everything with bayonets except sit on them!

WALLACE: (LAUGHS)

HUXLEY: But, if you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled, and this they will do partly by drugs as I foresaw in “Brave New World,” partly by these new techniques of propaganda.

They will do it by bypassing the sort of rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, and so, making him actually love his slavery.

I mean, I think, this is the danger that actually people may be, in some ways, happy under the new regime, but that they will be happy in situations where they oughtn't to be happy.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you this. You're talking about a world that could take place within the confines of a totalitarian state. Let's become more immediate, more urgent about it. We believe, anyway, that we live in democracy here in the United States. Do you believe that this Brave New World that you talk about, er... could, let's say in the next quarter century, the next century, could come here to our shores?

HUXLEY: I think it could. I mean, er... that's why I feel it so extremely important here and now, to start thinking about these problems. Not to let ourselves be taken by surprise by the... the new advances in technology. I mean the... for example, in the regard to the use of the... of the drugs.

We know, there is enough evidence now for us to be able, on the basis of this evidence and using certain amount of creative imagination, to foresee the kind of uses which could be made by people of bad will with these things and to attempt to forestall this, and in the same way,

I think with these other methods of propaganda we can foresee and we can do a good deal to forestall. I mean, after all, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

WALLACE: You write in Enemies of Freedom, you write specifically about the United States. You say this, writing about American political campaigns you say, "All that is needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look sincere; political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the candidate, the way he is projected by the advertising experts, are the things that really matter."

HUXLEY: Well, this is the... during the last campaign, there was a great deal of this kind of statement by the advertising managers of the campaign parties. This idea that the candidates had to be merchandised as though they were so-called two-faced and that you had to depend entirely on the personality.

I mean, personality is important, but there are certainly people with an extremely amiable personality, particularly on TV, who might not necessarily be very good in political... positions of political trust.

WALLACE: Well, do you feel that men like Eisenhower, Stevenson, Nixon, with knowledge aforethought were trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public?

HUXLEY: No, but they were being advised by powerful advertising agencies who were making campaigns of a quite different kind from what had been made before. and I think we shall see probably, er... all kinds of new devices coming into the picture. I mean, for example, this thing which got a good deal of publicity last autumn, subliminal projection.

I mean, as it stands, this thing, I think is of no menace to us at the moment, but I was talking the other day to one of the people who has done most experimental work in the... psychological laboratory with this, was saying precisely this, that it is not at the moment a danger, but once you've established the principle that something works, you can be absolutely sure that the technology of it is going to improve steadily.

And I mean his view of the subject was that, well, maybe they will use it up to some extent in the 1960 campaign, but they will probably use it a good deal and much more effectively in the 1964 campaign because this is the kind of rate at which technology advances.

WALLACE: And we'll be persuaded to vote for a candidate that we do not know that we are being persuaded to vote for.

HUXLEY: Exactly, I mean this is the rather alarming picture that you’re being persuaded below the level of choice and reason.

WALLACE: In regard to advertising, which you mentioned just a little ago, in your writing, particularly in “Enemies of Freedom,” you attack Madison Avenue, which controls most of our television and radio advertising, newspaper advertising and so forth. Why do you consistently attack the advertising agencies...

HUXLEY: Well, no I... I think that, er... advertisement plays a very necessary role, but the danger it seems to me in a democracy is this... I mean what does a democracy depend on? A democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest, in any given circumstance.

But what these people are doing, I mean what both, for their particular purposes, for selling goods and the dictatorial propagandists are for doing, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground.

WALLACE: Of course, well, maybe... I... you have just answered this next question because in your essay you write about television commercials, not just political commercials, but television commercials as such and how, as you put it, "Today's children walk around singing beer commercials and toothpaste commercials." And then you link this phenomenon in some way with the dangers of a dictatorship. Now, could you spell out the connection or, have... or do you feel you've done so sufficiently?

HUXLEY: Well, I mean, here, this whole question of children, I think, is a terribly important one because children are quite clearly much more suggestible than the average grownup; and again, suppose that, er... that for one reason or another all the propaganda was in the hands of one or very few agencies, you would have an extraordinarily powerful force playing on these children, who after all are going to grow up and be adults quite soon. I do think that this is not an immediate threat, but it remains a possible threat, and...

WALLACE: You said something to the effect in your essay that the children of Europe used to be called 'cannon fodder' and here in the United States they are 'television and radio fodder.'

HUXLEY: Well, after all, you can read in the trade journals the most lyrical accounts of how necessary it is, to get hold of the children because then they will be loyal brand buyers later on. But I mean, again you just translate this into political terms, the dictator says they all will be ideology buyers when they are grownup.

WALLACE: We hear so much about brainwashing as used by the communists. Do you see any brainwashing other than that which we’ve just been talking about, that is used here in the United States, other forms of brainwashing?

HUXLEY: Not in the form that has been used in China and in Russia because this is, essentially, the application of propaganda methods, the most violent kind to individuals; it is not a shotgun method, like the... the advertising method. It's a way of getting hold of the person and playing both on his physiology and his psychology until he really breaks down and then you can implant a new idea in his head.

I mean the descriptions of the methods are really blood curdling when you read them, and not only methods applied to political prisoners but the methods applied, for example, to the training of the young communist administrators and missionaries. They receive an incredibly tough kind of training which may cause maybe twenty-five percent of them to break down or commit suicide, but produces seventy-five percent of completely one-pointed fanatics.

WALLACE: The question, of course, that keeps coming back to my mind is this: obviously politics in themselves are not evil, television is not in itself evil, atomic energy is not evil, and yet you seem to fear that it will be used in an evil way. Why is it that the right people will not, in your estimation, use them? Why is it that the wrong people will use these various devices and for the wrong motives?

HUXLEY: Well, I think one of the reasons is that these are all instruments for obtaining power, and obviously the passion for power is one of the most moving passions that exists in man; and after all, all democracies are based on the proposition that power is very dangerous and that it is extremely important not to let any one man or any one small group have too much power for too long a time.

After all what are the British and American Constitution except devices for limiting power, and all these new devices are extremely efficient instruments for the imposition of power by small groups over larger masses.

WALLACE: Well, you ask this question yourself in “Enemies of Freedom.” I'll put your own question back to you. You ask this, "In an age of accelerating overpopulation, of accelerating overorganization, and ever more efficient means of mass communication, how can we preserve the integrity and reassert the value of the human individual?" You put the question, now here's your chance to answer it Mr. Huxley.

HUXLEY: Well, this is obviously... first of all, it is a question of education. Er... I think it's terribly important to insist on individual values, I mean, what is a... there is a tendency as a... you probably read a book by Whyte, "The Organization Man", a very interesting, valuable book I think, where he speaks about the new type of group morality, group ethic, which speaks about the group as though the group were somehow more important than the individual.

But this seems, as far as I'm concerned, to be in contradiction with what we know about the genetical makeup of human beings, that every human being is unique. And it is, of course, on this genetical basis that the whole idea of the value of freedom is based.

And I think it's extremely important for us to stress this in all our educational life, and I would say it's also very important to teach people to be on their guard against the sort of verbal booby traps into which they are always being led, to analyze the kind of things that are said to them.

Well, I think there is this whole educational side of... and I think there are many more things that one could do to strengthen people, and to make them more aware of what's being done.

WALLACE: You're a prophet of decentralization?

HUXLEY: Well, the... yes... if it... it's feasible. It's one of the tragedies, it seems to me. I mean, many people have been talking about the importance of decentralization in order to give back to the voter a sense of direct power. I mean... the voter in an enormous electorate field is quite impotent, and his vote seems to count for nothing.

This is not true where the electorate is small, and where he is dealing with a... with a group which he can manage and understand... and if one can, as Jefferson after all suggested, break up the units, er... into smaller and smaller units and so, get a real, self-governing democracy.

WALLACE: Well, that was all very well in Jefferson's day, but how can we revamp our economic system and decentralize, and at the same time meet militarily and economically the tough challenge of a country like Soviet Russia?

HUXLEY: Well, I think the answer to that is that there are... it seems to me that you... that production, industrial production is of two kinds. I mean, there are some kinds of industrial production which obviously need the most tremendously high centralization, like the making of automobiles for example.

But there are many other kinds where you could decentralize quite easily and probably quite economically, and that you would then have this kind of decentralized, like after all you begin to see it now, if you travel through the south, this decentralized textile industry which is springing up there.

WALLACE: Mr. Huxley, let me ask you this, quite seriously, is freedom necessary?

HUXLEY: As far as I am concerned it is.

WALLACE: Why? Is it necessary for a productive society?

HUXLEY: Yes, I should say it is. I mean, a genuinely productive society. I mean you could produce plenty of goods without much freedom, but I think the whole sort of creative life of man is ultimately impossible without a considerable measure of individual freedom, of initiative, creation, all these things which we value, and I think value properly, are impossible without a large measure of freedom.

WALLACE: Well, Mr. Huxley, take a look again at the country which is in the stance of our opponent anyway, it would seem, anyway it would seem to be there, Soviet Russia. It is strong, and getting stronger, economically, militarily, at the same time it's developing its art forms pretty well, er... it seems not unnecessarily to squelch the creative urge among its people. And yet it is not a free society.

HUXLEY: It's not a free society, but here is something very interesting that those members of the society, like the scientists, who are doing the creative work, are given far more freedom than anybody else. I mean, it is a privileged aristocratic society in which, provided they don't poke their noses into political affairs, these people are given a great deal of prestige, a considerable amount of freedom, and a lot money.

I mean, this is a very interesting fact about the new Soviet regime, and I think what we are going to see is er... a people on the whole with very little freedom but with an oligarchy on top enjoying a considerable measure of freedom and a very high standard of living.

WALLACE: And the people down below, the 'epsilons' down below...

HUXLEY: Enjoying very little.

WALLACE: And you think that that kind of situation can long endure?

HUXLEY: I think it can certainly endure much longer than the situation in which everybody is kept out; I mean, they can certainly get their technological and scientific results on such a basis.

WALLACE: Well, the next time that I talk to you then, perhaps we should investigate further the possibility of the establishment of that kind of a society, where the drones work for the queen bees up above.

HUXLEY: Well, but yes, but I must say, I still believe in democracy, if we can make the best of the creative activities of the people on top plus those of the people on the bottom, so much the better.

WALLACE: Mr. Huxley, I surely thank you for spending this half hour with us, and I wish you God speed sir.

HUXLEY: Thank you.

WALLACE: Aldous Huxley finds himself these days in a peculiar and disturbing position: a quarter of a century after prophesying an authoritarian state in which people were reduced to cyphers, he can point at Soviet Russia and say, "I told you so!" The crucial question, as he sees it now, is whether the so-called Free World is shortly going to give Mr. Huxley the further dubious satisfaction of saying the same thing about us.

Stay tuned for a preview of next weeks interview. Till then, Mike Wallace. Good night.


~ Harry Ransom Center ~

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Musical Innerlube: Pardon Me - Incubus

Acoustic live...

'Maybe Napolitano needed to get out of her office a little more'

More than a decade ago, Napolitano was in a position to help curb Arpaio's excesses. As a U.S. attorney in 1995, she was put in charge of a Justice Department investigation into atrocious conditions in Arpaio's "tent city." Napolitano carried out her task with what can best be described as reluctance, going out of her way to protect Arpaio from flak almost before the probe had started. "We're doing this with the complete cooperation of the sheriff," she told the Associated Press. "We run a strict jail but a safe jail, and I haven't heard from anyone who thinks that this is a bad thing."

[ ... ]

The Justice Department's final report, issued about two years later, confirmed a list of disgraces, including excessive use of force, gratuitous use of pepper spray and "restraint chairs" (since blamed for at least three inmate deaths), and hog-tying and beating of inmates. It also said Arpaio's staffing was "below levels needed for safety and humane operations."

The Justice Department filed suit and settled with the sheriff the same day after Arpaio agreed to administrative changes, including limiting the use of pepper spray and improving inmate grievance procedures. Napolitano stood with Arpaio at a press conference in which she, according to the Arizona Republic, "pooh-poohed her own lawsuit as 'lawyerly paperwork.' " Arpaio called the result a vindication.

"Let me say this for the people of Maricopa County," he told the Republic. "The chain gangs stay. The tents stay. The pink underwear stays. All my programs stay. … This has nothing to do with my policies and programs."

~ more... ~

 

Ecuador seeks to commercialize rainforest

Ecuador is the first country in the world to announce plans to leave the oil reserves beneath its rainforests in the ground. The country wants foreign businesses, including German companies, to compensate it for making this sacrifice.
 
[ ... ]
 
Until now, the West's appeals to developing countries to get involved in the fight against global warming and protect their biodiversity have fallen largely on deaf ears. The temptation to follow conventional paths to wealth is too great. And now one of South America's poorest countries is calling upon industrialized nations to pony up so that its fossil fuel wealth can remain in the ground.

"The crude oil under Yasuni National Park is worth many billions of dollars," says Aguiñaga. In the summer of 2008, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa made a first attempt to protect the rainforest and resources. He proposed that Western and Ecuadoran taxpayers each foot half the bill for the decision not to tap crude oil reserves in the environmentally sensitive area. But the initiative never bore fruit.

Now Correa is under pressure to give in to the oil companies after all. Hoping to prevent this from happening, Aguiñaga submitted a new, and final, offer during a trip to Europe: that Ecuador be compensated mainly by Western companies, which could then sell the Yasuni oil in the virtual form of CO2 certificates.

~ more... ~

 

Afghanistan drug production up 150% since 2001

Opium production in Afghanistan has increased by 150% since a NATO-led security and development mission entered the country in 2001, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service said on Thursday.

"Afghanistan has become the absolute leader in narcotics production, producing 93% of the world's entire opiates... Afghan drug dealers have in two years set up the successful production of cannabis [marijuana, hashish] with over 70,000 hectares of land being cultivated, taking Afghanistan into second place in the world behind Morocco in terms of the cultivation of such drugs," the service said in a statement.

Since the Taliban regime was overthrown in the 2001 U.S.-led campaign, Afghanistan, with almost all its arable land being used to grow opium poppies remains the world's leading producer of heroin.

According to the UN, Afghanistan's opium production increased from 6,100 tons in 2006 to 8,200 tons in 2007.

The narcotics trade has become an acute problem for the Central Asian republics due to a continual flow of illegal drugs from Afghanistan.

~ Ria Novoxsti ~

 

Deepak Chopra blames Washington for Mumbai terrorist attacks

Chopra: What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time, and the war on terrorism and the attack on Iraq compounded the situation. What we call "collateral damage" and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay. Now the worst thing that could happen is there's a backlash on the Muslims from the fundamental Hindus in India, which then will perpetuate the problem. Inflammation will create more inflammation.

CNN: Let me jump in on that because you're presuming something very important, which is that it's Muslims who have carried out these attacks and, in some cases, with Washington in their sights.

Chopra: Ultimately the message is always toward Washington because it's also the perception that Washington, in their way, directly or indirectly funds both sides of the war on terror. They fund our side, then our petrol dollars going to Saudi Arabia through Pakistan and ultimately these terrorist groups, which are very organized. You know Jonathan, it takes a lot of money to do this. It takes a lot of organization to do this. Where's the money coming from, you know? The money is coming from the vested interests. I'm not talking about conspiracy theories, but what happens is, our policies, our foreign policies, actually perpetuate this problem. Because, you know, 25% of the world's population is Muslim and they're the fastest growing segment of the population of the world. The more we alienate the Muslim population, the more the moderates are likely to become extremists.
 
 

No label will tell you it's Beettlejuice

Cochineal is the name of both crimson or carmine dye and the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the dye is derived.
[ ... ]
A deep crimson dye is extracted from the female cochineal insects. Cochineal is used to produce scarlet, orange and other red tints. The colouring comes from carminic acid. Cochineal extract's natural carminic-acid content is usually 19–22%. The insects are killed by immersion in hot water (after which they are dried) or by exposure to sunlight, steam, or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different colour which results in the varied appearance of commercial cochineal. The insects must be dried to about 30 percent of their original body weight before they can be stored without decaying. It takes about 155,000 insects to make one kilogram of cochineal.

There are two principal forms of cochineal dye: cochineal extract is a colouring made from the raw dried and pulverised bodies of insects, and carmine is a more purified colouring made from the cochineal. To prepare carmine, the powdered insect bodies are boiled in ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution, the insoluble matter is removed by filtering, and alum is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium salt. Purity of colour is ensured by the absence of iron. Stannous chloride, citric acid, borax, or gelatin may be added to regulate the formation of the precipitate. For shades of purple, lime is added to the alum.

As of 2005, Peru produced 200 tonnes of cochineal dye per year and the Canary Islands produced 20 tonnes per year. Chile and Mexico have also recently begun to export cochineal. France is believed to be the world's largest importer of cochineal; Japan and Italy also import the insect. Much of these imports are processed and reexported to other developed economies. As of 2005, the market price of cochineal was between 50 and 80 USD per kilogram, while synthetic raw food dyes are available at prices as low as 10–20 USD per kilogram.

[ ... ]

When used as a food additive the dye must be included on packaging labels.[14] Sometimes carmine is labelled as E120. An unknown percentage of people have been found to have allergies to carmine, ranging from mild cases of hives to atrial fibrillation and anaphylactic shock. Carmine has been found to cause asthma in some people.[14] Cochineal is one of the colours that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of hyperactive children. Natural carmine dye used in food and cosmetics can render it unacceptable to vegetarian (or vegan) consumers, and many Muslims and Jews consider carmine-containing food forbidden (haraam and treif) because the dye is extracted from insects.

Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colourants that resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural colourants and is even more stable than many synthetic food colours.[15] The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine; the insoluble form is used in a wider variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be coloured in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets. The average human consumes one to two drops of carminic acid each year with food.[15]

Carmine is one of the very few pigments considered safe enough for use in eye cosmetics.[16] A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes.[15] A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too.[8] The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to colour pills and ointments.



If you like Yoplait strawberry yogurt, Tropicana grapefruit, orange-strawberry juice, or Hershey's Good & Plenty candies, chances are you will be sucking on the red coloring extracted from the female cochineal beetle and her eggs. These insects live on cactus plants in Peru and the Canary Islands.

According to the best-selling book by Eric Schlosser, Chew on This, the female bug feeds on cactus pads, and color from the cactus gathers in her body. The bugs are collected, dried, and ground into a coloring additive. It takes 70,000 of the insects to make a pound of carmine dye, as it is known. The Food & Drug Administration doesn't require that this cochineal be identified in the ingredients. Manufacturers simply identify it as an "artificial color."Whites of Their Dioxides
The next time you use Betty Crocker icing to frost your cake, or Kraft Cool Whip, remember the bright-white color doesn't come from vigorous whisking of cream and egg whites. Rather it comes from titanium dioxide, a mineral that is also used in house paints.

Yolk's on You
Like your eggs sunny-side up? What about the color?do you like them yellow or orange? You might not know it, but when farmers buy chicken feed for egg-laying hens, they have their pick from a color chart that goes from Nos. 1 to 15, coinciding with colors that change the yolks' shades from yellow to red. The yellow color comes from xanthophyll and carotenoids in the feed, which is absorbed through the hen's intestine, metabolized, and deposited in the egg yolk.

In an article, R. Scott Beyer, a poultry specialist from Kansas State University, noted that maximum color will be present 10 days after the hens are placed on feeds for yolk color.

What's Shakin'?
Jell-O is the comfort food of generations. It's made of gelatin, which goes into making other products like yogurt and ice cream. Not many people know it, but it's made from a protein that is derived from prolonged boiling of animal skin, tissue, and bones.
Heady Stuff
Wonder why the foam in your beer stays that way? It's the propylene glycol alginate, of course! Cheers.


Are there beetle guts on your lips? If you are wearing lipstick, there just might be. You might have even eaten beetle guts today! "No, I would never eat beetle guts." you say. Maybe not on purpose, but chances are you have.

Carmine and cochineal extract are natural dyes that are added to many cosmetics, shampoos, food products and medications to give them a pink, magenta or red color. What is carmine and cochineal extract made out of? They are both made out of dried female cochineal beetles. It takes approximately 70,000 beetles to make one pound of carmine or cochineal extract. There you have it, beetle guts!


"Beetlejuice" is more than just a movie name -- foodmakers regularly use crushed female cochineal beetles to dye food, particularly certain yogurts, juices and candy, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

While shocking, it's perfectly legal, the paper reports. Foodmakers don't have to list the bug-based ingredient, because beetles are part of nature. Only man-made dyes, like FD&C Red No. 40, have to be listed.

But that may change soon. The Food and Drug Administration may recommend that companies list beetle additives as "carmine" or "cochineal."

Why? Using beetles in food proves problematic for vegetarians, people who keep kosher and for those with certain food allergies.

The public health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest has long asked the FDA to change the requirements for food labels so that they more clearly state ingredients that could conflict with people's diets or trigger allergies.


- More cool how to projects

Outsourcing: before and after the Mumbai attacks

Poll for Computing.co.uk:
 
Will the terrorist attacks in Mumbai affect your offshoring plans?
 
Is India becoming a risky destination?

* Yes – Outsourcing to India is becoming too much of a risk

* Maybe – It's too early to understand the implications

* No – India is still the best location for offshore IT services

 
Before the attacks:
 
Indian call-center workers suffer abuse
 
Debalina Das, 22, a computer help-line agent in the city of Hyderabad in south India, punched the button last winter for a call from the United States.

The caller greeted her with a torrent of racial and sexual slurs, accused her of "roaming about naked without food and clothes" and asked, "What do you know about computers?"

The diatribe ended with the comment:"This company is just saving money by outsourcing to Third World countries like yours."

Such telephone tirades are fueled by outrage over outsourcing, which is expected to move 3.4 million U.S. service-sector jobs overseas by 2015, according to the consultancy Forrester. Most of the work comes to India, where young, low-cost employees now handle a range of American tasks -- they draw cartoons, interpret heart scans, adjudicate insurance claims, reserve flights and chase debtors.

Das, who quit the job after four months, said she learned to dislike Americans. "Rarely, there are people who are good," she said by e-mail, "but then others remind me that all they believe in is cursing, and they don't have respect for others."

Her opinion is not uncommon among many workers in India's burgeoning call-center industry.

Relations between India and the United States have grown closer in recent years. India now sends more students to American colleges than any other country.

Indians form the wealthiest and one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States. And in the last decade, American companies have increasingly sought Indian customers and employees.

Not everyone is happy about the growing ties between the two nations. An anti-outsourcing movement has drawn wide support as layoffs continue to mount at such U.S. companies as IBM, which is cutting 13,000 jobs in Europe and the United States and adding 14,000 in India, according to the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers.

In the first three months of this year, state legislators proposed 112 bills to stanch the exodus of American jobs, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

Some opponents of outsourcing, often fired workers themselves, have rechanneled their rage at job-slashing CEOs toward India. On the Web forum Is Your Job Going Offshore? (isyourjobgoingoffshore.com/forums/) contributors variously describe India as depraved, as a haven for terrorists, a "giant leech" and a nation of "back-stabbing cowards."

It is this kind of commentary that has shaped a perception among India's customer-care workers that Americans are intolerant. "Everybody thinks like that," said Samik Chowdhury, assistant manager at an IBM office in northern India. "Every time, it's racism only."

This attitude is not typical of most urban Indians, who tend to admire the United States for its strength and entrepreneurial spirit. In a recent 16-country Pew poll, India had the highest percentage of citizens with a favorable opinion of the United States, 71 percent.

The less favorable view, though, is beginning to seep into Indian popular culture. The scripts for a new sitcom called "The Call Center," scheduled to air this winter on the leading channel NDTV, depict Westerners as arrogant, immoral and comically rude.

 
 
The youth of India seem to have fallen out of love with the call centre industry.

Even before the impact of the economic crisis could be felt on India's $11bn business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which gets 70% of all the outsourced work from the US, it was in the grip of a crisis of its own.

Several companies, mostly smaller ones unable to maintain international standards, have shut down in Mumbai and Delhi.

[ ... ]

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, author of a new book - Who Moved My Job - and the director of the UK National Outsourcing Association, believes there are several factors at play in India.

He says the rapid growth in other sectors in India is making different industries attractive for young graduates.

Another factor is the changing nature of the call centre industry, he says.

"The requirement for companies to answer their consumers by phone, e-mail, or IM on a 24/7 basis has never been so critical - consumers demand rapid service now and a lot of companies are recruiting locally instead of internationally."

He also said that salaries in the call centre industry had fallen.

The industry has tried hard to make it lucrative for young people by creating cool recreational facilities and improving infrastructure, but that has failed to stop them from leaving for greener pastures.

"Where's the time to use their damn gym or cafeteria or other facilities?" says Ms Pavaskar.

Some call centres have lowered their recruitment standards to solicit young people.

Several companies, faced with a paucity of graduates, are spreading their net wider by hiring under-graduates.

As a result, experts say, the standards are falling and they are losing outsourced work from the US.

Has the industry, which hopes to hit the $50bn mark by 2012, peaked?

 
 
From the "Life Copies Mike" department: the slug from the email in which Mike sent his article predicting trouble in India/Pakistan. You may see for yourselves that he did indeed write it hours prior to the attacks in Mumbai:

For Blog -- COMMENTING ON SOME TERRIFIC COMMENTS
Date: 11/26/2008 3:22:59 AM Eastern Standard Time


Of course something had to happen over Thanksgiving. The activist can never blink. It's precisely when our minds are elsewhere - on the secret ingredient for stuffing - that the enemy pounces.

Thanksgiving, 2001 or 2, FEMA closed their services for Lower Manhattan residents. Over Christmas, 2002, the EPA closed its hotline for a cleanup.

In the heart of August, 2003, when everyone was at the beach not reading the newspaper, the EPA Inspector General's Report was released revealing evidence that lies were told compromising the lives or health of thousands, for the express purpose of reopening Wall Street ASAP.

The purpose of the timing was to minimize the exposure of an embarrassing event. By contrast the attacks in India seek maximum exposure. But the lesson remains: Someone needs to be on active duty at all times.

Meanwhile, I watch the various squabbles unfold on the blog and am constantly reminded that the left is notorious for self-destructing. The powerful keep their eye fixed on the goal. It is close enough that they can smell it so they focus like a dog in chase.

The left have no such prize within grasp so they claw at each other.
 
 
After the attacks:
 
 
"It is sad that this has happened, but we are confident that India will bounce back to normalcy," said Vidya Natampally, director of strategy at Microsoft Research India.

The terrorist attacks will not change Microsoft Research's plans in India. " We are committed to staying on in India," Natampally added.

Dell has issued a travel advisory to its staff, advising caution and due diligence when traveling to India, said a spokeswoman for the company. "That is the only measure we have taken," she added.

A large number of technology companies including Oracle, Microsoft, and Dell run large software development and call center operations in India. But ever since the threat of terrorism increased since last year, these companies have tightened on security at their facilities.

"For a long time now, we have tightened on security at all our facilities," the Dell spokeswoman said.

Indian outsourcing companies and Indian operations of multinational technology companies were not affected by the attacks, though the disruption of train service in Mumbai on Thursday could affect the movement of staff.

 
 
 
However with its colonnades of shops stuffed with the world's most expensive brands, what Bombay's rich set consider the ultimate in cosmopolitan luxury, would equally be perceived by Islamist ideologues as a symbol of Western decadence.

Over the years guests have included The Queen, the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser and the Beatle John Lennon, to name but a few of the notable personalities to have checked in to the magnificent old wing.

More recently the hotel hosted the guests for Bombay leg of Liz Hurley's two-week extravaganza of a wedding, with guests dashing straight from the front door to waiting motor launches to take them to the privacy of waiting super-yachts in the harbour beyond.

To have pictures of burning Taj Hotel broadcast around the world will have a deeper impact than even perhaps the terrorists intended, striking a blow against a symbol of Indian wealth and progress and sending shivers down the spine of some of the richest and most powerful people on the planet.

 
 
 
Rating agencies and foreign investors do not see any impact on the prospects of the economy because of terror attacks in the financial
capital. The meltdown in the global financial markets is still a larger concern.

Past experience has shown that markets have reacted only temporarily to such extraordinary events. Although some reports do not make a reference to the terrorist strikes, the event is likely to have been factored since the report includes India's Q2 GDP numbers, which were released on Friday.

Edelweiss Securities: The immediate impact of past terrorist attacks on equity markets has not been significant. The indices have shown falls of less than 0.75% in most instances with only 1 or 2 instances of a fall of over 1%. In the current instance, we do not expect anything different.

However, the general weakness in the markets may cause some downward pressure. We expect both, tighter anti-terrorist laws and more stringent security measures to come out of this; this should again be positive in the medium to long term.

Macquire Research: Terrorist attacks, communal violence and natural calamities are not unheard of in India, though the country and its people have been known to recover quickly (recall the infamous floods in 2005, that brought Mumbai to a standstill for several days).

Based on our current assessment, the negative effects of the current attacks on tourism (winter months are the peak tourist period), investor confidence, rupee and equities will probably turn out to be temporary. However, the gravity of the latest attack could potentially have two lasting negative effects.

One on foreign investment and the second on tourism, both of which will be partly a function of how strongly the government responds to the rising threat and the increased reach of terrorism.

Standard and Poor's: Based on the scenario that these attacks were an isolated case, we don't expect there would be negative implications on India's macro-economic activities, or on the government's fiscal position.
 
 
 
The terrorist attack on the country's financial capital has not impacted the services rendered by outsourcing firms as work at their delivery centres- located at least 30 km from the epicentre of the crisis- continues unhindered.

Even if the current crisis worsens, off-shoring firms are confident that their customers will not be impacted; vendors say that they can move their customers' processes to other cities within the country in a span of hours.

Most IT & BPO companies have their delivery centres in places such as Mahape, Malad and Andheri which are in the suburbs of Mumbai. This terrorist attack was largely focused on the Southern part of Mumbai. Moreover, local trains – which are considered to be the lifeline of the city - were largely unaffected by the stand off between terrorists and the security establishment. Though people were apprehensive of using public transport, employee turnout was quite high.

About 80 per cent of the employees of mid-tier company Hexaware Technologies turned up for work in the morning shift. "During the course of the day, this figure improved as employees kept coming in. Hence, none of our delivery operations were impacted," a Hexaware spokesperson

TCS offices closed

Three offices of IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in South Mumbai remained closed on Thursday. "We do not provide services to clients from these three centres," a company spokesperson said. TCS has at least three more offices in Mumbai. Moreover, employees from these three offices in South Mumbai were either asked to work from home or from the company's other offices in the city, the spokesperson said.

BPO companies such as Firstsource Solutions had asked several of its employees working in the night shift to stay back for the morning shift fearing low turn out of employees. However, absenteeism was not as bad as the company expected it to be as public transport was largely functional, Firtsource's spokesperson said. Firstsource has delivery centres in Malad (Mumbai).

Since a majority of companies in Mumbai were closed, IT firms that garner a large chunk of business from the domestic markets had a fairly lean day.

"Eighty per cent of our customers were not working today. Hence, we encouraged our employees to leave home early," said Mr Atul Hemani, Managing Director, Omnitech Infosolutions.

 
 
 
India is the most popular destination for offshore outsourcing. High-tech companies including Microsoft, Accenture and Cisco have labs in India and many UK companies use Indian outsourcers like Tata Consulting Services, for offshore software development.

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, a board director at the NoA, said, "There is a period of unrest in India due to the build up to the next general election, which takes place in a few months. India is a safe place, but there has always been violence in places like Kashmir. I would think twice about travelling to India at the moment."

The attack probably has not damaged India's reputation as a destination for outsourcing.

Sridhar Vedala, the lead from Global Sourcing Practice at Equaterra, said, "While Mumbai is still tense I don't see that this [attack] will have serious impact on outsourcing in terms of business continuity, although the perception of India as a sourcing destination overall might have been affected in the longer term."

 
 
 
by

Michael C. Ruppert

(c) Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved. Michael C. Ruppert

(Send it. Use it. But leave my name on it and don't change it. -- Especially you, Gore Vidal.)

Thanksgiving, Nov. 27,2008 – 00:30 PST – (After my last post I'd better start putting a time sig on these.)

I do not know how many other corporations are affected; but they will be many, if not most of the Dow 30 and the Fortune 500. And I can tell you that on Friday morning, any customer or client of Citigroup, Symantec or Hewlett-Packard will be unable to get customer assistance over the phone. Warranty service for these corporations will stop. I know that because I have been through that horrible grind with all of them in the last year or so. All of their calls are taken in Mumbai, by Indians. Nothing is working in Mumbai and there can be no certainty when anything will be working. Because the attacks included the premier hotels in the financial district, no multi-national will ever trust the city again. The risk is too great. I can almost bet that the multinationals are all well prepared for attacks on their own facilities, but were totally unprepared for an attack that pulled the city out from under them.

I think many corporations also have data processing and IT centers there are well.

The Achilles tendon of globalization has just been severed.

Ordinarily, I would go out and start researching to see how bad the exposure is but I already know that it is catastrophic. The markets will do all our research and reporting very quickly for us. Citigroup will be devastated. Its CEO Vikram Pandit, is Indian.

I am certain that this was the intended outcome of the attacks.
[ ... ]
 
The analytic construct for Mumbai I have is this:

It is clear that the United States is imploding and that its economic, military and political influence are dying. As with all empires, it was the power of the state; whether economic, cultural, or military, which held the divergent parts together. In many cases enemies were bound next to enemies like two cats tied so tightly in a wet burlap sack that they could not move. But if the sack were to loosen, weaken…and expand? What if six wet cats were in the sack as it started to rend?

Our present, publicly-acknowledged cats include India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Now throw in Russia and Chechnya… Shake and stir.

Is it sinking in how dangerous this is?
 

I want to live: Captured terrorist Azam

His swaggering image as he walked around Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus dispensing death was captured by Mumbai Mirror photo editor Sebastian D' souza, and was the first glimpse of the terrorists who have held Mumbai hostage over the last 48 hours.

Now we can also tell you who this man is and how he has become the vital link for investigating agencies to crack the terror plot.

His name is Azam Amir Kasav, he is 21 years old, speaks fluent English, hails from tehsil Gipalpura in Faridkot in Pakistan, and is the only terrorist from this audacious operation to have been captured alive.
 
 
 
Terrorist's confession reveals strong Pak link
 
In another disclosure made by Ajmal Amir Kasab, he said that all 10 terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special
course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike into a specialized raid by commandos.

Battle-hardened ATS officials are surprised by the details of the training the terrorists were put through before being despatched for the macabre mission. This amounted to an offensive from the sea, said a source. Ajmal has revealed the name of his fellow jihadis — all Pakistani citizens — as Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bara) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota).

The account of Ajmal also strengthens the belief that powerful elements in the Pakistani establishment may have been involved. According to him, the group set off on November 21 from an isolated creek near Karachi without the deadly cargo of arms and ammunition they were to use in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition on board a large Pakistani vessel which picked them up the following day. The vessel, whose ownership is now the subject of an international probe, had four Pakistanis apart from the crew.
 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Chomsky: What Next? The Elections, the Economy, the World

28 Nov, 2008
Speech by Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
America's most influential public intellectual Naom Chomsky gave a speech to a packed house in Boston on November 24th, his first public address since the US presidential elections. What follows is the full text of his remarks.

Well, let's begin with the elections. The word that the rolls off of everyone's tongue is historic. Historic election. And I agree with it. It was a historic election. To have a black family in the white house is a momentous achievement. In fact, it's historic in a broader sense. The two Democratic candidates were an African-American and a woman. Both remarkable achievements. We go back say 40 years, it would have been unthinkable.

So something's happened to the country in 40 years. And what's happened to the country- which is we're not supposed to mention- is that there was extensive and very constructive activism in the 1960s, which had an aftermath. The feminist movement, mostly developed in the 70s--the solidarity movements of the 80's and on till today. And the activism did civilize the country. The country's a lot more civilized than it was 40 years ago and the historic achievements illustrate it. That's also a lesson for what's next.

What's next will depend on whether the same thing happens. Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below. And the answer to what's next depends on people like you. Nobody else can answer it. It's not predictable. In some ways, the election-the election was surprising in some respects.

Going back to my bad prediction, If the financial crisis hadn't taken place at the moment that it did, if it had been delayed a couple of months, I suspect that prediction would have been correct. But not speculating, one thing surprising about the election was that it wasn't a landslide. By the usual criteria, you would expect the opposition party to win in a landslide under conditions like the ones that exist today. The incumbent president for eight years was so unpopular that his own party couldn't mention his name and had to pretend to be opposing his policies. He presided over the worst record for ordinary people in post-war history, in terms of job growth, real wealth and so on. Just about everything the administration was touched just turned into a disaster.

[The] country has reached the lowest level of standing in the world that it's ever had. The economy was tanking. Several recessions are going on. Not just the ones on the front pages, the financial recession. There's also a recession in the real economy. The productive economy, under circumstances and people know it. So 80% of the population say that the country's going in the wrong direction. About 80% say the government doesn't work to the benefit of the people, it works for the few and the special interests. A startling 94% complain that the government doesn't pay any attention to the public will, and on like that. Under conditions like that, you would expect a landslide to a opposition almost whoever they are. And there wasn't one.

So one might ask why wasn't there a landslide? That goes off in an interesting direction. And other respects the outcome was pretty familiar. So once again, the election was essentially bought. 9 out of 10 of the victors outspent their opponents. Obama of course outspent McCain. If you look at the-and we don't have final records yet from the final results, but they're probably going to be pretty much like the preliminaries a couple of months ago. Which showed that both Obama and McCain were getting the bulk of their financing from the financial institutions and for Obama, law firms which means essentially lobbyists. That was about over a third a few months ago. But the final results will probably be the same. And there is a-the distribution of funding has over time been a pretty good predictor of what policies will be like for those of you who are interested, there's very good scholarly work on this by Tom Ferguson in Umass Boston, what he calls the investment theory of politics. Which argues essentially that elections are moments when groups of investors coalesce and invest to control the state and has quite the substantial predictive success. Gives some suggestion as to what's likely to happen. So that part's familiar. The-what the future is as I say, depends on people like you.

The response for the election was interesting and instructive. It kept pretty much to the soaring rhetoric, to borrow the cliché, that was the major theme of the election. The election was described as an extraordinary display of democracy, a miracle that could only happen in America and on and on. Much more extreme than Europe even than here. There's some accuracy in that if we keep to the West. So if we keep to the West, yes, it's probably true. That couldn't have happened anywhere else. Europe was much more racist than the United States and you wouldn't expect anything like that to happen.

On the other hand, if you look at the world, it's not that remarkable. So let's take the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti and Bolivia. In Haiti, there was an election in 1990 which really was an extraordinary display of democracy much more so than this.

In Haiti, there were grassroots movements, popular movements that developed in the slums and the hills, which nobody was paying any attention to. And they managed, even without any resources, to sweep into power their own candidate. A populist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. That's a victory for democracy when popular movements can organize and set programs and pick their candidate and put them into office, which is not what happened here, of course.

I mean, Obama did organize a large number of people and many enthusiastic people in what's called in the press, Obama's Army. But the army is supposed to take instructions, not to implement, introduce, develop programs and call on its own candidate to implement them. That's critical. If the army keeps to that condition, nothing much will change. If it on the other hand goes away activists did in the sixties, a lot can change. That's one of the choices that has to be made. That's Haiti. Of course that didn't last very long. A couple of months later, there was military coup, a period of terror, we won't go through the whole record. Up the present, the traditional torturers of Haiti, France, and the United States have made sure that there won't be a victory for democracy there. It's a miserable story. Contrary to many illusions.

Take the second poorest country, Bolivia. They had an election in 2005 that's almost unimaginable in the West. Certainly here, anywhere. The person elected into office was indigenous. That's the most oppressed population in the hemisphere, those who survived. He's is a poor peasant. How did he get in? Well, he got in because there were again, a mass popular movement, which elected their own representative. And they are the source of the programs, which are serious ones. There's real issues. And people know them. Control over resources, cultural rights, social justice and so on.

Furthermore, the election was just an event that was particular stage in a long continuing struggle, a lot before and a lot after. There was day when people pushed the levers but that's just an event in ongoing popular struggles, very serious ones. A couple of years ago, there was a major struggle over privatization of water. An effort which it would in effect deprive a good part of the population of water to drink. And it was a bitter struggle. A lot of people were killed, but they won it. Through international solidarity, in fact, which helped. And it continues. Now that's a real election. Again, the plans, the programs are being developed, acted on constantly by mass popular movements, which then select their own representatives from their own ranks to carry out their programs. And that's quite different from what happened here.

Actually what happened here is understood by elite elements. The public relations industry which runs elections here - quadrennial extravaganzas essentially - makes sure to keep issues in the margins and focus on personalities and character and so on-and-so forth. They do that for good reasons. They know - they look at public opinion studies and they know perfectly well that on a host of major issues both parties are well to the right of the population. That's one good reason to keep issues off the table. And they recognize the success.

So, every year, the advertising industry gives a prize to, you know, to the best marketing campaign of the year. This year, Obama won the prize. Beat out Apple company. The best marketing campaign of 2008. Which is correct, it is essentially what happened. Now that's quite different from what happens in a functioning democracy like say Bolivia or Haiti, except for the fact that it was crushed. And in the South, it's not all that uncommon. Notice that each of these cases, there's a much more extraordinary display of democracy in action than what we've seen-important as it was-here. And so the rhetoric, especially in Europe is correct if we maintain our own narrow racist perspective and say yeah, what happened was in the South didn't happen or doesn't matter. The only matters is what we do and by our standards, it was extraordinary miracle, but not by the standards of functioning democracy. In fact, there's a distinction in democratic theory, which does separate say the United States from Bolivia or Haiti.

Question is what is a democracy supposed to be? That's exactly a debate that goes back to the constitutional convention. But in recent years in the 20th century, it's been pretty well articulated by important figures. So at the liberal end the progressive end, the leading public intellectual of the 20th century was Walter Lippman. A Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy progressive. And a lot of his work was on a democratic theory and he was pretty frank about it. If you took a position not all that different from James Madison's. He said that in a democracy, the population has a function. Its function is to be spectators, not participants. He didn't call it the population. He called it the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders. The ignorant and meddlesome outsiders have a function and namely to watch what's going on. And to push a lever every once in a while and then go home. But, the participants are us, us privileged, smart guys. Well that's one conception of democracy. And you know essentially we've seen an episode of it. The population very often doesn't accept this. As I mentioned, just very recent polls, people overwhelmingly oppose it. But they're atomized, separated. Many of them feel hopeless, unorganized, and don't feel they can do anything about it. So they dislike it. But that's where it ends.

In a functioning democracy like say Bolivia or the United States in earlier stages, they did something about it. That's why we have the New Deal measures, the Great Society measures. In fact just about any step, you know, women's rights, end of slavery, go back as far as you like, it doesn't happen as a gift. And it's not going to happen in the future. The commentators are pretty well aware of this. They don't put it the way I'm going to, but if you read the press, it does come out. So take our local newspaper at the liberal end of the spectrum, "Boston Globe," you probably saw right after the election, a front page story, the lead front page story was on how Obama developed this wonderful grassroots army but he doesn't have any debts. Which supposed to be a good thing. So he's free to do what he likes. Because he has no debts, the normal democratic constituency, labor, women, minorities and so on, they didn't bring him into office. So he owes them nothing

What he had was an army that he organized of people who got out the vote for Obama. For what the press calls, Brand Obama. They essentially agree with the advertisers, it's brand Obama. That his army was mobilized to bring him to office. They regard that as a good thing, accepting the Lippman conception of democracy, the ignorant and meddlesome outsiders are supposed to do what they're told and then go home. The Wall Street Journal, at the opposite end of the spectrum, also had an article about the same thing at roughly the same time. Talked about the tremendous grassroots army that has been developed, which is now waiting for instructions. What should they do next to press forward Obama's agenda? Whatever that is. But whatever it is, the army's supposed to be out there taking instructions, and press work. Los Angeles Times had similar articles, and there are others.

What they don't seem to realize is what they're describing, the ideal of what they're describing, is dictatorship, not democracy. Democracy, at least not in the Lippman sense, it proved- I pick him out because he's so famous, but it's a standard position. But in the sense of say, much of the south, where mass popular movements developed programs; organize to take part in elections but that's one part of an ongoing process. And brings somebody from their own ranks to implement the programs that they develop, and if the person doesn't they're out. Ok, that's another kind of democracy. So it's up to us to choose which kind of democracy we want. And again, that will determine what comes next.

Well, what can we anticipate if the popular army, the grassroots army, decides to accept the function of spectators of action rather than participants? There's two kinds of evidence. There's rhetoric and there's action. The rhetoric, you know, is very uplifting: change, hope, and so on. Change was kind of reflective any party manager this year who read the polls, including the ones I cited, would instantly conclude that our theme in the election has to be change. Because people hate what's going on for good reasons. So the theme is change. In fact, both parties put both of them, the theme was change. So the theme is change. In fact both parties, both of them the theme was change. You know, break from the past, none of old politics, new things are going to happen. The Obama campaign did better so they won the marketing award, not the McCain campaign.

And notice incidentally on the side that the institutions that run the elections, public relations industry, advertisers, they have a role-their major role is commercial advertising. I mean, selling a candidate is kind of a side rule. In commercial advertising as everybody knows, everybody who has ever looked at a television program, the advertising is not intended to provide information about the product, all right? I don't have to go on about that. It's obvious. The point of the advertising is to delude people with the imagery and, you know, tales of a football player, sexy actress, who you know, drives to the moon in a car or something like that. But, that's certainly not to inform people. In fact, it's to keep people uninformed.

The goal of advertising is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices. Those of you who suffered through an economics course know that markets are supposed to be based on informed consumers making rational choices. But industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to undermine markets and to ensure, you know, to get uninformed consumers making irrational choices.

And when they turn to selling a candidate they do the same thing. They want uninformed consumers, you know, uninformed voters to make irrational choices based on the success of illusion, slander, and effective body language or whatever else is supposed to be significant. So you undermine democracy pretty much the same way you undermine markets. Well, that's the nature of an election when it's run by the business world, and you'd expect it to be like that. There should be no surprise there. And it should also turn out the elected candidate didn't have any debts. So you can follow Brand Obama can be whatever they decide it to be, not what the population decides that it should be, as in the south, let's say. I'm going to say on the side, this may be an actual instance of a familiar and unusually vacuous slogan about the clash of civilization. Maybe there really is one, but not the kind that's usually touted.

So let's go back to the evidence that we have, rhetoric and actions. Rhetoric we know, but what are the actions? So far the major actions are selections, in fact the only action, of personnel to implement Brand Obama. The first choice was the Vice President, Joe Biden, one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq in the Senate, a long time Washington insider rarely deviates from the party vote. In cases where he does deviate they're not very uplifting. He did break from the party and voting for a Senate resolution that prevented people from getting rid of their debts by, individuals, that is, from getting rid of their debts by going into bankruptcy. It's a blow against poor people who've caught in this immense debt that's a large part of the basis for the economy these days. But usually, he's a, kind of, straight party-liner with the democrats on the sort of ultra naturalist side. The choice of Biden was a, must have been a conscious attempt to show contempt for the base of people who were voting for Obama, or organizing for him as an anti-war candidate.

Well, the first post-election appointment was for Chief of Staff, which is a crucial appointment; determines a large part of the president's agenda. That was Rahm Emanuel, one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq in the House. In fact, he was the only member of the Illinois delegation who voted for Bush's effective declaration of war. And, again, a longtime Washington insider. Also, one of the leading recipients in congress of funding from the financial institutions hedge funds and so on. He himself was an investment banker. That's his background. So, that's the Chief of Staff.

The next group of appointments were the main problem, the primary issue that the governments' going to have to face is what to do about the financial crisis. Obama's choices to more or less run this were Robert Rubin and Larry Summers from the Clinton--Secretaries of Treasury under Clinton. They are among the people who are substantially responsible for the crisis. One leading economist, one of the few economists who has been right all along in predicting what's happening, Dean Baker, pointed out that selecting them is like selecting Osama Bin Laden to run the war on terror.

Yeah, I'll finish. This saves me the problem of what's coming next, so I'll finish with the elections. Let me make one final comment on this. There was meeting on November 7, I think of a group of couple, of a dozen advisers to deal with the financial crisis. Their careers were, records were reviewed in the business press, and Bloomberg News had an article reviewing their records and concluded that these people, most of these people shouldn't be giving advice about the economy. They should be given subpoenas.

Because most of them were involved in one or other form of financial fraud, that includes Rahm Emanuel, for example. What reason is there to think that the people who brought this crisis about are some how going to fix it? Well, that's a good indication of what's likely to come next, at least if we look at actions. We couldn't, but it won't. You can bring this up. Ask what we expect to see in particular cases. And there's evidence about that from statements from Obama's website. I'll mention just one thing about Obama's website, which gives an indication of what's happening. One of the major problems coming is Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's pretty serious. Take a look at Obama's website under issues, foreign policy issues. The names don't even appear. I mean, we're supposed to be ignorant and meddlesome outsiders. We're not supposed to know what Brand Obama is. So you can't find out that way. The statements that you hear are pretty hawkish. And it doesn't change much as you go through the list. I'll wrap up here. So it's up to you to continue.

Courtesy Amy Goodman of www.DemocracyNow.org

Google
 

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

Favorite Links

~325~ ~9-11...Who Really Did It~ ~10:10~ ~10 Zen Monkeys~ ~911 Truth~ ~13 Indigenous Grandmothers~ ~15O~ ~15th October~ ~Activist Post~ ~ACT UP~ ~Adbusters~ ~Aerogaz (greek)~ ~Afinity Project~ ~Aging Hipsters~ ~Alecto's Ophelia~ ~Al-Jazeera~ ~Alex Constantine's Blacklist~ ~Alliance for Human Research Protection~ ~All Things Cynthia McKinney~ ~All Things Pakistan~ ~Alternative Insight~ ~Alternative Press Review~ ~Alternet~ ~American Friends Service Committee~ ~American Street~ ~Anarkismo~ ~Andy Worthington~ ~Anglican Pacifist Fellowship~ ~Anomaly News Syndicate~ ~Another Day In The Empire~ ~AntiWar~ ~Antiwar League~ ~Anxiety Culture~ ~Appeal For Redress From The War In Iraq~ ~A Poetic Justice~ ~Artists Without Frontiers~ ~Art of Europe~ ~Arts And Letters Daily~ ~Attack the System~ ~Athens IMC~ ~Ballardian~ ~Bilderberg.org~ ~Black Box Voting~ ~BlackListed News~ ~Black Vault~ ~Blog Bioethics net~ ~Blog of the Unknown Writer~ ~Blondsense~ ~Boiling Frog~ ~Boiling Frogs Post~ ~BoingBoing~ ~Book Ninja~ ~Bookslut~ ~Bradley Manning Support Network~ ~Brand New Law~ ~Brainsturbator~ ~Bring Them Home Now~ ~Bruce Eisner's Vision Thing~ ~Buckminster Fuller Institute~ ~Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists~ ~Bureau of Public Secrets~ ~Business & Human Rights Resource Centre~ ~Buzzflash~ ~Campaign For Real Farming~ ~Catapult the Propaganda~ ~Campus Antiwar Network~ ~Cargo Culte~ ~Castan Centre for Human Rights Law~ ~Catch of the Day~ ~Censorship Paradise~ ~Center for Media and Democracy~ ~Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies, Afghanistan~ ~Centre for Research and Action for Peace~ ~Center on Law and Security~ ~Chapati Mystery~ ~Choike~ ~Chomsky.info~ ~Chronicle of Higher Education~ ~Church of the FSM~ ~CIA & Drugs~ ~Citizens for Legitimate Government~ ~Citizens for Tax Justice~ ~Clandestina~ ~CODEPINK~ ~Coilhouse mag~ ~Collateral Murder~ ~Common Dreams~ ~Complete 9/11 Timeline~ ~Concerned Africa Scholars~ ~Connexions~ ~Conspiracy Archive~ ~Contra Info~ ~Corrente~ ~COTO Report~ ~Coup d'Etat in America~ ~Countercurrents~ ~Crapaganda~ ~Create Real Democracy~ ~Creative-i~ ~Crimes of the State~ ~CrimethInc~ ~Crisis Group~ ~Critical Legal Thinking~ ~Cronache da Mileto (Italian)~ ~Crooks and Liars~ ~Crowd Modelling~ ~Cryptoforestry~ ~Cryptome~ ~Cyclos~ ~Culture Change~ ~Cutting Through The Matrix~ ~Cyrano's Journal~ ~Daily What~ ~Damn Interesting~ ~Dangerous Minds~ ~Deliberative Democracy Consortium~ ~Democracy Center~ ~Democracy Journal~ ~Democracy Now~ ~Democratic Underground~ ~Detournement~ ~Digital Rights [greek lang.]~ ~Diplomacy Lessons~ ~Direct Power!~ ~Discoveries-Researchings-Visions-Understandings-Enlightenments~ ~Disinformation~ ~DistributorCap NY~ ~Dr Hugo Heyrman-Motions of the Mind~ ~Dylanology~ ~EAGAINST~ ~Earthnocentric~ ~Eco Tort~ ~Ectoplasmosis!~ ~Educate Yourself~ ~E-Flux~ ~Electronic Frontier Foundation~ ~Electronic Intifada~ ~Eliminate War Forever~ ~End Evil~ ~Energy Bulletin~ ~Eradicating Ecocide~ ~EROCx1 Blog~
~Europeanrevolution~ ~European Revolution~ ~Eurozine~ ~Exposing the Truth~ ~Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond~ ~Families of the Fallen for Change~ ~Fellowship of Reconciliation~ ~Financial Armageddon~ ~FKN Newz~ ~Food For Your Eyes~ ~Forward the Revolution~ ~Franchot's Band~ ~Free Bloggers in Greece~ ~Free Expression Network~ ~Free Press International~ ~Freethinking for Dummies~ ~Free Thought Manifesto~ ~From the Wilderness~ ~F-t-W's Peak Oil Blog~ ~G1000~ ~Ghostdancing in Venice~ ~GIMP~ ~Gilles Duley~ ~Global Guerillas~ ~Global Integrity~ ~Global Policy Forum~ ~Global Revolution~ ~Global Security Institute~ ~Global Voices Online~ ~Gold Star Families for Peace~ ~Government Dirt~ ~Greek Alert [greek lang.]~ ~Greek Assembly in London~ ~Green Left Weekly~ ~Groklaw~ ~Hack Democracy~ ~Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy~ ~Hiroshima Peace Institute~ ~History Is A Weapon Blog~ ~How Appealing~ ~How To Vanish~ ~Human Rights Law Review~ ~I Can't Believe It's Not a Democracy!~ ~Idler~ ~Impropaganda~ ~Independent Media Center~ ~INIREF~ ~Institute for Media Peace and Security~ ~International Action Center~ ~International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)~ ~In These Times~ ~Information Clearing House~ ~Information Liberation~ ~Infoshop~ ~Institute for Policy Studies~ ~Institute for War and Peace Reporting~ ~Insurgent American~ ~Intel Hub~ ~International Labor Rights Forum~ ~Intrinsic Impact~ ~Invisible History~ ~Iraq Citizens Against the War~ ~Iraq Freedom Congress~ ~Iraq Veterans Against the War~ ~Irish Peace Institute~ ~Issues and Alibis~ ~James Howard Kunstler~ ~Jesus Radicals~ ~John Zerzan~ ~Jorgen Schäfer's Homepage~ ~JUST~ ~Just For The Love Of It~ ~Justice Not Vengeance~ ~Kasama Project~ ~Keep Talking Greece~ ~Kia Mistilis~ ~Kill Me If You Can by Bob Miller~ ~Killer Coke~ ~Labor Rights~ ~Labor Rights Now~ ~Labour Start~ ~Lava Cocktail~ ~Lemon Gloria~ ~Lemony Snicket~ ~L'ennui mélodieux~ ~Lessig~ ~Liberation Theology~ ~Libertarians for Peace~ ~Life After the Oil Crash~ ~Life & Peace Institute~ ~Lunch Street Party~ ~Lycaeum~ ~Links by George~ ~Literary Kicks~ ~Lubinproductions~ ~MacNN~ ~Mad Cow Morning News~ ~Manageable Ants~ ~Mario Profaca's Cyberspace Station~ ~Maro Kouri~ ~Maud Newton~ ~May it Please the Court~ ~McSpotlight~ ~Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture~ ~Metta Center for Nonviolence~ ~Metanoia~ ~Michael Moore - Must Read~ ~Mind Control~ ~Military Families Speak Out~ ~Mind in Peace (greek)~ ~Miss Welby~ ~MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence~ ~Molly's Blog~ ~Mother Jones~ ~MungBeing Magazine~ ~MyAntiwar.org~ ~n +1 mag~ ~National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee~ ~Natural Farming~ ~Neatorama~ ~Neuromarketing~ ~Neurosecurity~ ~New Internationalist~ ~News Dissector~ ~News Frames~ ~News Making News~ ~News Now~ ~New Tactics in Human Rights~ ~New World Dawning~ ~NEXUS~ ~NFAK~ ~Nomadic Academy Of Fools~ ~Non Fides~ ~Noor Images~ ~Not In Our Name~ ~Not Stupid~ ~Nuclear Resister~ ~NUTOPIA2~ ~[Occupy] 2012 Scenario~ ~Occupy America Social Network~ ~OCCUPY Cafe~ ~Occupy Istanbul~ ~Occupy Together~ ~Occupy Together Field Manual~ ~OWS~ ~Occupy Writers~ ~October 2011~ ~Odious Debts~ ~ODYS~ ~Olmaz~ ~On the Path to 2012~ ~Op Ed News~ ~Open Letters to George W. Bush from his ardent admirer,Belacqua Jones~ ~Open Revolt!~ ~Open Source Ecology~ ~Orthodox Peace Fellowship~ ~Orwell Today~ ~Outlaw Journalism~ ~OWNI~ ~Patriots Question 9/11~ ~Peace in Mind (greek)~ ~PeaceJam~ ~Peace Now~ ~Peaceful Tomorrows~ ~Peak Moment~ ~People's Assemblies Network~ ~Peter Frase~ ~Photography is Not a Crime~ ~Picture the Homeless~ ~Pieman~ ~Places the U.S. has bombed~ ~Pogo Was Right - privacy news~ ~Political Reform.ie~ ~Post Carbon Institute~ ~Praxis Peace Institute~ ~Primate Poetics~ ~Prisoner Solidarity~ ~Professors question 9/11~ ~Project Camelot~ ~Project Censored~ ~Project for the Old American Century~ ~Project on Corporations, Law and Democracy~ ~Psyche, Science and Society~ ~Psychogeography~ ~Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility~ ~Radical Anthropology~ ~Rainbow Family~ ~RawStory~ ~Reality Sandwich~ ~Real Democacy GR~ ~Real Democracy Now.net~ ~Rebel Dog~ ~Reflections on a Revolution~ ~Reporters Without Borders~ ~Re-public~ ~Resistance Studies Magazine~ ~Resource Based Economy Foundation~ ~Re-volt Radio~ ~Richard Heinberg's Museletter~ ~Rockefeller's War on Drugs~ ~Ruckus Society~ ~Sacred Texts~ ~Salon~ ~Save Orphan Works~ ~Scholars and Rogues~ ~Scoop~ ~SCOTUS Blog~ ~Secrecy News~ ~Service Academy Graduates Against the War~ ~Shadow Government Statistics~ ~Signs of the Times News~ ~Slovenia Peace Institute~ ~Smirking Chimp~ ~smygo~ ~SNU Project~ ~Soil And Health Library~ ~SourceWatch~ ~Speaking Truth to Power~ ~Spirit Horse Foundation~ ~Spunk~ ~Squattastic~ ~Starhawk~ ~Stockholm International Peace Research Institute~ ~StopCartel TV-GR~ ~Stop The Arms Fair~ ~Stop the Spying.org~ ~Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness~ ~Students Against War~ ~Survival Acres~ ~Survival International~ ~Swan's Commentary~ ~Take The Square~ ~Tangible Information~ ~Tax Justice Network~ ~Tax Research UK~ ~Theatre of the Oppressed~ ~The Black Commentator~ ~The Black Vault~ ~The Borowitz Report~ ~The Carpetbagger Report~ ~The Center for Public Integrity~ ~The Daily Reckoning~ ~The Dark Age Blog~ ~The Digger Archives~ ~The End of Being~ ~The Guardian~ ~The Hidden Evil~ ~The Huffington Post~ ~The Intelligence Daily~ ~The Lazy Man's Guide To Enlightenment~ ~The Mountain Sentinel~ ~The Nation~ ~The National Security Archive~ ~The New Z-Land Project~ ~The Other Israel~ ~The Pathology Guy~ ~The Progress Report~ ~The Progressive Magazine~ ~The Real News~ ~The Situation Room~ ~The Truth Seeker~ ~ The Watcher Files~ ~Think Progress~ ~Third World Traveller~ ~This Land Is Ours~ ~This Modern World~ ~TomDispatch~ ~Total Collapse~ ~Total Dick-Head~ ~Transform!~ ~Transnational Institute~ ~Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research~ ~True Democracy~ ~Troops Out Now~ ~True Democracy Party~ ~Truthdig~ ~Truth News~ ~Truthout~ ~TW3 and fotografia la dolce vita~ ~Uncommon Thought~ ~United for Peace & Justice~ ~United States Institute of Peace~ ~Unknown News~ ~UNPA Campaign~ ~Urbanibalism~ ~US Labor Against the War~ ~VBS TV~ ~Veterans Against the Iraq War~ ~Veterans for Peace and Justice~ ~Video Rebel's Blog~ ~Vietnam Veterans Against the War~ ~Virusmyth - Rethinking AIDS~ ~visionOntv~ ~Voices for Creative Non-Violence~ ~Void Network~ ~Voice Memo~ ~Voters for Peace~ ~Waging Nonviolence~ ~Waking the Midnight Sun~ ~Want To Know~ ~War Costs~ ~War Crimes and Military Improprieties~ ~War Criminals Watch~ ~War on Society~ ~War is Illegal~ ~War Resisters International~ ~War Resisters League~ ~Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?~ ~Watergate Exposed~ ~West Point Graduates Against The War~ ~What Really Happened~ ~What’s On My Food?~ ~Why Work? Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery~ ~Wikileaks~ ~WikiLeaks Central~ ~Wild Wild Left~ ~willyloman~ ~Winning Cancer~ ~Win Without War~ ~Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)~ ~Wonkette~ ~World Prout Assembly~ ~Worldwide Hippies~ ~Yes Lab~ ~Yippie Museum~ ~Young Protester~ ~Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR)~ ~Zapatistas~ ~Zine Library~ ~Zippy Elder-at-Large~ ~ZMag~
~ Thank you for visiting Circle of 13 ~

FAIR USE NOTICE

This blog may contain videos with copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.