Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Fouad - Saudi blogger held for 2 months without trial

Fouad’s Week

...Sunday February 10th marks the end of the second month which Saudi Blogger Fouad Al-Farhan spends in detention without being charged. Therefore; we invite all bloggers to participate in week long event which we are calling: “Fouad’s Week”, in which we are going to embrace “We Are All Fouads” as a slogan.

The event will take place between Saturday Feb 9th and Friday Feb 15th.

Goals of this Event:

1- Let Fouad rest assured that he WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN, this is the only thing he asked for before his detention.

2- Send a message to those who detained him: “Violating ones right to speak peacefully and freely, will only support his message, and give it a burst of momentum”

How to Participate:

1- Copy and paste one of Fouad’s posts from his old or new blog, and publish it in your own blog.

2- Don’t forget to trackback this post, so your participation will be counted. If your blog does not support pings, please add a comment here showing a link to your post.

3- You can post daily, or just once, but please participate. Together we can make our voices be heard.

 

Saudi Arabian bloggers rattled by first arrest of online critic

The arrest of Fouad al-Farhan, one of the few bloggers to use his own name, may be an attempt to intimidate others.

| Washington Post
 

Saudi Arabia's most popular blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, has been detained for questioning, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed Monday. It was the first known arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.

Mr. Farhan, 32, who used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform, was detained "for violating rules not related to state security," according to the spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, responding to repeated requests for comment with a brief cellphone text message.

Farhan's Dec. 10 arrest was reported last week on the Internet and has been condemned by bloggers in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Bahrain. The Saudi news media have not yet reported the arrest, but more than 200 bloggers in the kingdom have criticized Farhan's detention, and a group of supporters have set up a Free Fouad website.

Farhan, who was educated in the United States and owns a computer programming company, was arrested at his office in Jeddah. He was then brought home, where his laptop was confiscated, said his wife, who spoke on condition that her name not be published to protect her privacy.

"They arrested him because of his blog. I haven't seen him since. We don't know where he is," she said...

 

 Whatever happened to Saudi reform?

" ... At the time of their arrest, the Saudi media alleged the men were financing acts of violence in Iraq and encouraging young Saudis to join the insurgency there.

One of the detainees, Saud al-Hashemi, was active in organising humanitarian aid for Iraq - and was strongly critical of the US presence there.

But the men's supporters are convinced their real crime was speaking out for political reform.

At the time of their arrest they were preparing to launch a reformist movement - and there is a suspicion the authorities wanted to nip their plans in the bud.

Hope betrayed

Both Saudi and international human-rights activists believe 2007 witnessed an intensification of pressure on political dissent.

The current climate is in marked contrast to that in 2005, when King Abdullah came to the throne promising change.

Having pinned their hopes on him, reformists now feel he has failed to deliver.

Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan has been detained since December for speaking out on behalf of the jailed reformists.

Veteran Islamist Abdullah al-Hamed - who organised a petition last year calling for a constitutional monarchy - was arrested with his brother in November.

They were accused of encouraging a women's demonstration - a highly unusual event in the conservative kingdom - over the detention of thousands of al-Qaeda suspects.

But despite the pattern of arrest and harassment, the pressure for reform continues.

A group of reformists have posted a petition online on the Menber al-Hewar website, calling for the release of the nine reformists and their ally, the blogger Fouad al-Farhan.

Women's rights activists are openly pressing for the right to drive.

And liberal and Islamist reformists are joining hands to condemn a legal system which - despite the promise of judicial reform - is failing to protect their rights. ... "

 

Saudi Arabia: Free Fouad DC Rally

A Free Fouad Rally was held outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC, writes Saudi Jeans. Fouad Al Farhan is still in prison after being detained by the Saudi authorities two months ago - allegedly for posts he wrote on his blog.

Saudi Arabia bans Valentine's Day

“When Valentines are outlawed, only outlaws will have Valentines”


Saudi Arabia has asked florists and gift shops to remove all red items until after Valentine’s Day, calling the celebration of such a holiday a sin, local media reported Monday.

As Muslims we shouldn’t celebrate a non-Muslim celebration, especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women, ” Sheikh Khaled Al-Dossari, a scholar in Islamic studies, told the Saudi Gazette, an English-language newspaper.

Every year, officials with the conservative Muslim kingdom’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice clamp down on shops a few days before February 14, instructing them to remove red roses, red wrapping paper, gift boxes and teddy bears. On the eve of the holiday, they raid stores and seize symbols of love.

Ahmed Al-Omran, a university student in Riyadh, told CNN that the government decision will give the international media another reason to make fun of the Saudis “but I think that we got used to that by now.”

“I think what they are doing is ridiculous,” said Al-Omran, who maintains the blog ‘Saudi Jeans.’ “What the conservatives in this country need to learn is something called ‘tolerance.’ If they don’t see the permissibility of celebrating such an occasion, then fine — they should not celebrate it. But they have to know they have no right to impose their point of view on others.”

Because of the ban on red roses, a black market has flowered ahead of Valentine’s Day. Roses that normally go for five Saudi riyal ($1.30) fetch up to 30 riyal ($8) on February 14, the Saudi Gazette said.

“Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion,” one florist told the paper.

Others were planning to travel to the more religiously liberal neighbouring countries, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates, to celebrate.

Saudi Arabian authorities impose a strict Islamic code that prevents men and women from mixing.

~ Link ~

McGovern: 'Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse'

" ... As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?

How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?

[...]

Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.

As former representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a key role in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, wrote two years ago, "it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws -- that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate. . . . A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law -- and repeatedly violates the law -- thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors." ... "

~ From Why I Believe Bush Must Go, By George McGovern ~

Loose Change (2nd Edition)

Design solution: Repurposing old gadgets

" ... If the creation of new products is part of the problem rather than the solution to sustainability in a world of climate change, overburdened landfills and dwindling supplies of inexpensive mineral resources, then does the designer have a role if consumerist society were to desist from its quest for novelty?

“On the face of it, and within the conventional parameters of product design, it would seem that the answer would be no,” says Walker, “or at most, relatively little.” However, he suggests that a broadening of definitions of what design involves could lead to a new generation in design that exists not simply to create novel products but to use the creative skills of individuals to re-work old products.

Walker takes as a case in point the “old-fashioned” stereo radio-cassette player, which had its heyday in the ghetto blasters of the 1980s. Countless ghetto blasters will have hit landfills in the decades since and yet, with a little imagination, a once prized possession could become a new outlet for a portable mp3 player with a simple rewiring of the input circuitry.

Such re-purposing may not be fashionable, there is not at present any cachet nor retro-chic associated with the ghetto blaster as generation after generation of sleek touch-sensitive portable media gadgets hit the market month in, month out. And yet it would take only a few cultural innovators seeing the potential of this and other examples for rebuilding and repurposing to lead to a consumer tipping point in which such a primal approach to recycling became the height of fashion. ... "

From Giving the Ghetto Blaster Retro Chic

 

Jacques Ellul quotes

“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief”
 
“(Propaganda) proceeds by psychological manipulations, character modifications, by creation of stereotypes useful when the time comes - The two great routes that this sub-propaganda takes are the conditioned reflex and the myth”
 
 
“Prayer holds together the shattered fragments of the creation. It makes history possible.”
 
 
 
 
 Propaganda: And in what way are you controlled?
by Peter Farley

Notes from the most dangerous book around. We can all find ourselves somewhere in these words:

Jacques Ellul: Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes 1965 Alfred Knopf

...Propaganda ceases when simple dialogue begins ...  the individual never is considered as an individual, but always in terms of what he has in common with others ... Emotionalism, impulsiveness, excess, etc. - all these characteristics of the individual caught up in a mass are well known and very helpful to propaganda...
 
...The current flows through the canvasser (who is not a person speaking in his own name with his own arguments, but one segment of an administration, an organization, a collective movement); . . it must give the impression of being personal, for we must never forget that the mass is composed of individuals, and is in fact nothing but assembled individuals. . .in a group . . they pretend all the more to be "strong individuals." . . all modern propaganda profits from the structure of the mass, but exploits the individual's need for self-affirmation . . jointly, simultaneously . . this is the situation of the "lonely crowd."...

... the most favorable moment to seize a man and influence him is when he is alone in the mass...
...it (propaganda) can have practically no effect on individuals before that group has been fragmented...
11 ...the opposing faction must become negligible, or in any case cease to be vocal.

12 ...information itself becomes propaganda, or rather, wherever propaganda appears, there follows an inextricable confusion between propaganda and information. Amusements, distractions, or games can be instruments of propaganda...

13 Finally, propaganda will take over literature (present and past) and history, which must be rewritten according to propaganda's needs.

15 Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character, slow, general, seeking to create a climate, an atmosphere of favorable preliminary attitudes.?...

17 Propaganda must be continuous and lasting-continuous in that it must not leave any gaps, but must fill the citizen?s whole day and all his days (THE TRUMAN SHOW); lasting that it must function over a very long period of time...

18 Continuous propaganda exceeds the individual's capacities for attention or adaptation and thus his capabilities of resistance...

[ ... ]

149 Propaganda is a true remedy for loneliness.

153 Anxiety is perhaps the most widespread psychological trait in our society ... the propagandist must try to find the optimal degree of anxiety and tension.

180 ...propaganda seeks to induce action, adherence, and participation-with as little thought as possible...

196 ...The propagandist is not, and cannot be, "a believer"...

206 Problems are made simple. Goebbels wrote, "By simplifying the thoughts of the masses and reducing them to primitive patterns, propaganda was able to present the complex process of political and economic life in the simplest terms ... W e have taken matters previously available only to experts and a small number of specialists, and have carried them into the street and hammered them into the brain of the little man."...

Jacques Ellul on Propaganda

From Wikipedia entry

Jacques Ellul (January 6, 1912May 19, 1994) was a French philosopher, sociologist, theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society", and about Christianity and politics, such as Anarchy and Christianity (1991) - arguing that anarchism and Christianity are socially following the same goal.

One of the most thoughtful philosophers to approach technology from a deterministic, and some have even argued fatalistic, viewpoint; Ellul, Professor at the University of Bordeaux, authored some 40 books and hundreds of articles over his lifetime, the dominant theme of which has been the threat to human freedom and Christian faith created by modern technology. His constant concern has been the emergence of a "technological tyranny" over humanity. As a philosopher and theologian, he further explored the religiosity of the technological society...

...On media and propaganda

Ellul saw the power of the media as another example of technology exerting control over human destiny. As a mechanism of change, the media are almost invariably manipulated by special interests, whether of the market or the state. Using the term propaganda to address both political and commercial communication, Ellul wrote:

It is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale. The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment. Mass media provides the essential link between the individual and the demands of the technological society.

In all of this, Ellul continued to place his understanding of technology and its proper role in this present society in a context that recognizes a faith in the eternal. This allowed Ellul to propose a more explicit alternative to the technology of the technician than those provided by some of his contemporaries, such as Heidegger.

To throw this wager or secular faith into the boldest possible relief, Ellul places it in dialectical contrast with Biblical faith. As a dialectical contrast to La Technique, for instance, Ellul writes Sans feu ni lieu (published in 1975, although written much earlier). Whereas technology is the attempt of human beings to create their home in this world, the Bible denies that people, the children of a Creator God, can ever be truly at home here.

Ellul adhered to the maxim "Think globally, act locally" throughout his life. He often said that he was born in Bordeaux by chance, but that it was by choice that he spent almost all his academic career there. After a long illness, he died in his house in Pessac, just a mile or two from the University of Bordeaux campus, surrounded by those closest to him. Not long before his death, the treatment for this illness illustrated to him once again one of his favourite themes - the ambivalence of technological progress.

From Synopsis

'The theme of Propaganda is quite simply. . . that when our new technology encompasses any culture or society, the result is propaganda. . . . '
-Robert R. Kirsch, The Los Angeles Times

From Jacques Ellul

Ellul has angered many who glibly believe in inevitable human progress, and frustrated the same people when they have found him unanswerable. Propaganda, he insists, seduces people into consenting unthinkingly to the exaltation of efficiency; the mass media are the tools of propaganda -- and it all creates the illusion that people are free and creative when in fact they are mind-numbingly conformed and enslaved.

From Importance to propaganda studies

Jacques Ellul's view of propaganda and his approach to the study of propaganda are new. The principal difference between his thought edifice and most other literature on propaganda is that Ellul regards propaganda as a sociological phenomenon rather than as something made by certain people for certain purposes. Propaganda exists and thrives; it is the Siamese twin of our technological society. Only in the technological society can there be anything of the type and order of magniture of modern propaganda, which is with us forever; and only with the all-pervading effects that flow from propagada can technological society hold itself together.
Most people are easy prey for propaganda, Ellul says, because of their firm but entirely erroneous conviction that it is composed only of lies and "tall stories" and that, conversely, what is true cannot be propaganda. But modern propaganda has long disdained the ridiculous lies of past and outmoded forms of propaganda. it operates instead with many different kinds of truth -- half truth, limited truth, truth out of context. Even Goebbels always insisted that the Wehrmacht communiques be as accurate as possible.
A second basic misconception that makes people vulnerable to propaganda is the notion that it serves only to change opinions. That is one of its aims, but a limited, subordinate one. Much more importantly, it aims to intensify existing trends, to sharpen and focus them, and, above all, to lead men to action (or, when it is directed at immovable opponents, to non-action through terror or discouragement, to prevent them from interfering). Therefore Ellul distinguishes various forms of propaganda and calls his book Propagandes -- that plural is one of the keys to his concept. The most trenchant distinction made by Ellul is between agitation propaganda and integration propaganda. The former leads men from mere restatement to rebellion; the latter aims at making them adjust themselves to desired patterns. The two types rely on entirely different means. Both exist all over the world. Integration propaganda is needed especially for the technological society to flourish, and its technological means -- mass media among them -- in turn make such integration propaganda possible.
--Konrad Kellen, Introduction to Propaganda, 1965

How the spooks took over the news

" ... There is very good reason to believe that that letter was a fake – and a significant one because there is equally good reason to believe that it was one product among many from a new machinery of propaganda which has been created by the United States and its allies since the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.

The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. I've spent the last two years researching a book about falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.

The "Zarqawi letter" which made it on to the front page of The New York Times in February 2004 was one of a sequence of highly suspect documents which were said to have been written either by or to Zarqawi and which were fed into news media.

This material is being generated, in part, by intelligence agencies who continue to work without effective oversight; and also by a new and essentially benign structure of "strategic communications" which was originally designed by doves in the Pentagon and Nato who wanted to use subtle and non-violent tactics to deal with Islamist terrorism but whose efforts are poorly regulated and badly supervised with the result that some of its practitioners are breaking loose and engaging in the black arts of propaganda.

[ ... ]

So, who exactly is producing fiction for the media? Who wrote the Zarqawi letters? Who created the fantasy story about Osama bin Laden using a network of subterranean bases in Afghanistan, complete with offices, dormitories, arms depots, electricity and ventilation systems? Who fed the media with tales of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, suffering brain seizures and sitting in stationery cars turning the wheel and making a noise like an engine? Who came up with the idea that Iranian ayatollahs have been encouraging sex with animals and girls of only nine?

Some of this comes from freelance political agitators. It was an Iranian opposition group, for example, which was behind the story that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was jailing people for texting each other jokes about him. And notoriously it was Iraqi exiles who supplied the global media with a dirty stream of disinformation about Saddam Hussein.

But clearly a great deal of this carries the fingerprints of officialdom. The Pentagon has now designated "information operations" as its fifth "core competency" alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own "psyop" element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department's campaign of "public diplomacy" which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal. This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two "black propaganda specialists" from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through "editors and writers who work with us from time to time".

In interviews for Flat Earth News, Ritter described how, between December 1997 and June 1998, he had three meetings with MI6 officers who wanted him to give them raw intelligence reports on Iraqi arms procurement. The significance of these reports was that they were all unconfirmed and so none was being used in assessing Iraqi activity. Yet MI6 was happy to use them to plant stories in the media. Beyond that, there is worrying evidence that, when Lord Butler asked MI6 about this during his inquiry into intelligence around the invasion of Iraq, MI6 lied to him. ... "

~ Full article ~

Peru: Reports Of 'Encounter' Between Oil Workers And Isolated Indians

Unconfirmed reports indicate that a team prospecting for oil deep in the Peruvian Amazon has encountered a village belonging to previously-uncontacted Indians.

The men, who were working for the Canadian company Petrolifera, allegedly came across houses, paths and utensils. If the reports are true, the Indians are members of the Cacataibo tribe.

Two groups of Cacataibo Indians remain uncontacted, although their territory is cut in two by a major highway, and it has also been opened up for oil exploration by the government.

Both the Indians and the oil workers would be at grave risk from such an encounter; the Indians from catching potentially fatal diseases such as influenza, and the workers from the very real danger of retaliation by the Indians, who would see their presence as a threat.

Local Indian organizations, Survival International and many others have warned oil companies operating in the Peruvian Amazon to keep out of the territories of uncontacted Indians. There are at least 15 groups of isolated Indians in Peru alone.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said today, 'If these reports are true, it's very worrying indeed. Whether true or not, this land belongs to the Indians; the UN says so, international law says so, Peruvian law agrees. The fact that the Indians are uncontacted does not lessen their rights. The company is invading Cacataibo land, and it will be responsible for the consequences.'

~ Link ~

 

Top UN police, rule of law officials meet in Italy to discuss global policing

Improving the way United Nations Police help reform, restructure and rebuild national police forces in countries emerging from conflict is among the key topics at a two-day conference starting today in Italy, bringing together top officials from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

UN Police Commissioners and Senior Police Advisers from 18 peacekeeping missions will attend the event, which will also focus on changes made in DPKO last year as part of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's wider reform of the world body's peacekeeping operations. A key feature of this reform was the setting up of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), which includes the UN Police Division.

"Policing plays an increasingly important role in UN peacekeeping and this looks set to grow in the years ahead, especially as the international community seeks to develop the rule of law and reform security institutions in States recovering from conflict. Providing local populations with well-trained, well-equipped, accountable and community-oriented police is key," said Assistant Secretary-General Dmitry Titov, who heads OROLSI.

UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes will chair the conference and update participants on what the new OROLSI framework means for global policing, while also focusing on the challenges ahead as the Police Division deals with unprecedented demand for officers. There are currently over 11,000 deployed worldwide, and this could increase to more than 16,000 officers by next year.

As well as the Police Division, OROLSI groups together DPKO's judicial, legal and correctional units; mine action; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and security sector reform functions...

~ Full article ~

 

The most significant UFO videos of all time?

From the Sirius UFO site:

The UFO’s, sighted at Kumburgaz, caused great shock waves around the world and were part of the written and visual media from China to Russia and Brazil to Switzerland and will go down in the World UFO literature as one of the most significant UFO sightings. Nearly a dozen of residents at the Yeni Kent compound witnessed these sightings filmed by the night watchman named Yalcın Yalman.

First of all, the Sirius UFO Space Sciences Research Center studied the footage in great detail for ten days, and as a result of the study the Sirius UFO Space Sciences Research Center concluded that the UFO sightings were geniniue and not a hoax. On January 17, 2008 the Sirius UFO Space Sciences Research held a press conference at the Dedeman Hotel flocked by the high number of attendees. The incident was announced to the public at this press conference and the aforementioned sightings were part of the news covered in both local and foreign media, TV, and newspapers as well as Internet portals. Following these developments some parties who appeared on various TV shows, starting with Prof. Adnan Öktem from the Istanbul University Department of Astronomy Sciences, Prof. Mehmet Emin Ozel from the18 March University Department of Physics and Prof. Kerem Doksat from the Istanbul University Department of Psychiatry claimed with great prejudice that the footages taken in Kumburgaz were a hoax made up by a mockup or computer animation without having conducted an analysis or any kind of study.

Upon these developments the Sirius UFO Space Sciences Center CEO Haktan Akdogan took part in a National TV show and stated live in front of the cameras, that he would give the film to Prof. Adnan Oktem who wanted to have the original film of the sightings in order to have it studied at a Scientific Institution owned by the state that is highly reliable and influential, called “TUBITAK” The Science and Technology Research Board of Turkey. Prof. Oktem stated that he wanted the film to be analyzed at TUBITAK’s National Observatory Center in Antalya this way the truth would be revealed. Afterwards both parties decided to go to TUBITAK’s National Observatory Center in Antalya, accompanied by the host of the aforementioned TV show and the TV cameramen. When they got there, Haktan Akdogan handed over the original film to Prof. Oktem, who submitted the film for analysis to the scientists on duty at TUBITAK.

TUBITAK, as a result of the thorough analysis it conducted it prepared an official report that stated:

The objects sighted in the aforementioned footage that have a structure that is made of specific material are definitely not made up by any kind of computer animation nor are they any form of special effects used for simulation in a studio or for a video effect therefore in conclusion it was decided that the sightings were neither a mockup or hoax.

Furthermore in the last part of the report, it was concluded that these objects in the sightings that have physical and material structures do not belong in any category ( such as planes, helicopters, meteors, Venus, Mars, satellites, fire ball, Chinese lantern etc..) and but rather fall into the category of UFO’s (Unidentified Flying Objects.)

The most significant UFO videos of all time that also cover two extraterrestrials were caught on tape in Istanbul.

This extraordinary incident took place in a compound in Kumburgaz/Istanbul was witnessed by nearly a dozen of residents and filmed by a night guard in several different times. The images captured are expected to have a tremendous impact throughout the world and be listed as the most important UFO/extraterrestrial images ever filmed.

As is well known, UFO’s and proof of extraterrestrial life have been frequently witnessed by both government officials and civilians in our country as well as throughout the world. In several cases, these observations were captured on tape by amateur cameras.

In July-August 2007, a number of nation-wide UFO sightings were reported while some of them were filmed and aired. Within the same period, the objects witnessed by the residents of Kumburgaz/Yeni Kent Compound, caught on video by a night guard named Yalcin Yalman and the footage were considered as the closest and the most significant images ever filmed in Turkey and around the world.

In these amazing video footage which would likely have major repercussions around the world and be listed as “the most significant UFO video ever”, physical forms of UFO’s and their metallic structures reflecting moonlight are clearly noticeable. What’s more important is that in the close-up pictures of the objects, silhouettes of two entities can be distinctly made out.

~ Link ~

~ More ~

The latest version of the Bible, rooted in manga

" ... Ajinbayo Akinsiku wants the world to know Jesus Christ, just not the gentle, blue-eyed Christ of old Hollywood movies and illustrated Bibles.

Akinsiku says his Son of God is "a samurai stranger who's come to town, in silhouette," here to shake things up in a new, much-abridged version of the Bible rooted in manga, the Japanese form of graphic novels.

"We present things in a very brazen way," said Akinsiku, who hopes to become an Anglican priest and who is the author of "The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation." "Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy."

[ ... ]

The medium shapes the message. Manga often focuses on action and epic. Much of the Bible, as a result, ends up on the cutting room floor, and what remains is darker.

"It is the end of the Word as we know it, and the end of a certain cultural idea of the Scriptures as a book, as the Book," Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, said of the reworking of the Bible in new forms, including manga. "It opens up new ways of understanding Scripture and ends up breaking the idols a bit."

While known for characters with big eyes and catwalk poses, manga is also defined by a laconic, cinematic style, with characters often doing more than talking.

In a blurb for the Manga Bible, which is published by Doubleday, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is quoted as saying, "It will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way."

[ ... ]

A few years ago, for example, the religious publisher Thomas Nelson issued a Bible for teenage girls called Revolve, which looked like a glossy magazine. It sold 40,000 copies in a month, Clark said, a staggering number for a Bible. ... "

~ From The Bible as graphic novel, with a samurai stranger called Christ ~

Pakistan nuclear staff go missing

Two employees of Pakistan's atomic energy agency have been abducted in the country's restive north-western region abutting the Afghan border, police say.

The technicians went missing on the same day as Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, was reportedly abducted in the same region.

Mr Azizuddin had been going overland from the city of Peshawar to Kabul.

Pakistan's north-west has witnessed fierce fighting between Islamist militants and government troops.

The pro-Taleban guerrillas declared a unilateral ceasefire last week after months of clashes with troops garrisoned there.

The workers from Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission were on a mission to map mineral deposits in the mountains when they were kidnapped, police say...

~ More... ~

 

Senate thumbs up to surveillance, telecoms immunity

Senate Authorizes Broad Expansion Of Surveillance Act

By Paul Kane

The Senate yesterday approved a sweeping measure that would expand the government's clandestine surveillance powers, delivering a key victory to the White House by approving immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with intelligence agencies in domestic spying after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
On a 68 to 29 vote, the Senate approved the reauthorization of a law that would give the government greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism and intelligence cases without obtaining warrants from a secret court.
The Senate's action, days before a temporary surveillance law expires Friday, sets up a clash with House Democrats, who have previously approved legislation that does not contain immunity for the telecommunications industry. The chambers have been locked in a standoff over the immunity provision since the House vote Nov. 15, with President Bush demanding the protection for the industry.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the president "will not sign another extension" of the temporary law, a decision that could force congressional leaders to reconcile their differences this week.
"The House is risking national security by delaying action," Fratto said. "It's increasingly clear Congress will not act until it has to, and a second extension will only lead to a third."
But House leaders vowed again yesterday to oppose the telecom immunity provision until the White House releases more information about the controversial warrantless surveillance program it initiated shortly after the terrorist attacks.
Bush applauded the Senate bill and warned House Democrats to put aside "narrow partisan concerns" on the immunity issue and approve the Senate's version.
"This good bill passed by the Senate provides a long-term foundation for our intelligence community to monitor the communications of foreign terrorists in ways that are timely and effective and that also protect the liberties of Americans," Bush said.
The House and Senate bills both include major revisions to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to issue warrants for domestic spying on suspects in terrorism and intelligence cases. The National Security Agency, however, secretly bypassed the court for years as it obtained information from telecommunication companies, until media reports revealed the arrangement.
The most important change approved by the Senate yesterday would make permanent a law approved last August that expanded the government's authority to intercept -- without a court order -- the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States communicating with others overseas. U.S. intelligence agencies previously had broad leeway to monitor the communications of foreign terrorism suspects but needed warrants to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of where they originated...
 
 

DU and cancer clusters among vets

" ... Marion Fulk, a former nuclear chemical physicist at Lawrence Livermore lab, is investigating how DU affects the human body. Fulk said that 8 malignancies out of 20, in 16 months, "is spectacular - and of serious concern."

The high rate of malignancies found in this unit appears to have been caused by exposure to DU weapons on the battlefield. If DU were found to be the cause, this case would be "critical evidence" of Fulk's theory on how the DU particulate affects DNA.

Such quick malignancies are caused by the particulate effect of DU, according to Fulk:

When DU (Uranium 238) decays, it transforms into two short-lived and "very hot" isotopes - Thorium 234 and Protactinium 234. As it transforms in the body, the DU particle is firing off faster and faster "bullets" into the DNA, Fulk said, or wherever it is lodged. Because uranium has a natural attraction to phosphorus, however, it is drawn to the phosphate in the DNA.

As the Uranium 238 decays, it releases alpha and beta particles with millions of electron volts. When a DU particle makes this transformation in the human body it releases "huge amounts of energy in the same location doing lots of damage very quickly," Fulk said.

Thorium 234 has a half-life of 24 days and emits a beta particle of .270 million electron volts as it transforms into Protactinium 234, which has a half-life of less than 7 hours. Protactinium then emits a beta particle of 2.19 million electron volts as it transforms into the more stable Uranium 234.

The chemical binding energy in the molecules of the human cell is less than 10 electron volts. One alpha particle from U-238 is over 4 million electron volts, which is like "nuking a cell."

Leuren Moret, a scientist who is opposed to the use of DU, compared it to sitting in front of a fire and putting a red-hot coal in your mouth. "The nuclear establishment wants us to believe that it is like sitting in front of the fire and warming the whole body evenly - and that no harm is done, but that is not the reality," she said.

"We can expect to see multiple cancers in one person," Moret said. "These multiple unrelated cancers in the same individual have been reported in Yugoslavia and Iraq in families that had no history of any cancer. This is unknown in the previous studies of cancer," she said. "A new phenomenon."

The Pentagon's Goodno questioned Dr. Korényi-Both's report that 8 of 20 recently returned soldiers from one unit had experienced malignant growths. Goodno and Korényi-Both did agree, however, that Iraqi chemical and biological agents had not played a role in the 2003 invasion. ... "

~ More... ~

 

The Clintons: A Case Study In Money And Politics

Hillary Clinton's ability to loan her presidential campaign $5 million demonstrates how extraordinarily lucrative the post-White House years have been for the former First Lady and her husband.

While Clinton campaign aides are quick to point out that Mrs. Clinton could easily cover the loan from the $9.2 million she made in royalties from her bestselling book 'Living History', she made the loan by writing a check on a joint banking account she and her husband maintain, according to her staff.

'Living History' contributed less than a fifth of the money that the Clintons have earned over the seven years between 2001 and 2006, as documented in Mrs. Clinton's United States Senate and presidential financial disclosure reports -- a sum in excess of $45 million, not including the couple's earnings in 2007 or 2008.

The Clintons have become a case study in the interrelationship of money and politics, a relationship steadily strengthening in scope and magnitude.

A look at Hillary Clinton's financial disclosure reports over the last six years reveals the benefits available to those who hold high public office. Bill Clinton, for example, has become a political ATM, pumping as much as or more than $10 million a year into their joint account.

~ Read on... ~

 

The EU is a self-perpetuating racket

There’s too much at stake for Eurocrats who depend on the system, says Daniel Hannan
The EU is no longer an ideological project; it's a racket: a mechanism for redistributing money to the people who work for it. If that sounds harsh, ask yourself when you last met a Euro-enthusiast who was not being indirectly paid by Brussels.
This week, David Miliband stood at the Dispatch Box and listed the NGOs backing the Lisbon Treaty (nee European Constitution): "The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam. Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition not of ideology, but integrity".
Integrity, eh? I've done a little digging around, and it turns out that every one of these organisations gets money from Brussels.
The 'commission of bishops' to which the Foreign Secretary refers, for example, turns out to be something called the 'Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community'. It's not an ecclesiastical organisation that just happens to be pro-integration; it's a creature of the European Commission, wholly dependent on the EU for its funding and existence.

There was a time when the European project was supported by idealists who genuinely believed that they were building a better future. Not any more. The 2005 'No' votes in France and the Netherlands were the EU's equivalent of the 1968 Prague Spring. They killed off the idea that, given time, voters might come round to the ruling doctrine, and thereby make possible a restoration of democracy.

As in the 1970s Cold War Comecon states, the EU is now run, not by true believers, but by an apparat of officials whose livelihoods depend on the system - an apparat made up of NGOs, civil servants and local councils as well as Eurocrats. There’s too much at stake for them to give up easily.

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/?storyID=14408

Liberty ... American-style

Guantanamo Comes to Main Street U.S.A.
Mark A. Goldman


They say that the difference between how democracy in Europe has evolved compared to that of the United States is that in Europe the government is afraid of the People whereas in the United States the People are afraid of the government. That's a dangerous state of affairs and it looks like it's going to get worse.

It's not only a matter of who you vote for... it's a matter of how well informed you are when you do vote... and Americans now are notorious for not being nearly as well informed as the citizens of many other countries are. So in America, we don't really think very deeply about the range of choices that are or are not available to us. Fatal mistake.

The video below is indicative of the evolving consciousness of law enforcement in our nation... and it's our 'Shock and Awe' government, with its penchant for gratuitous and unconscionable violence, and the People's refusal to hold them accountable, that is setting the stage for our future in this 'land of the free and home of the brave.'

When we allow fear and force to dominate the way in which our government deals with people we don't know... we open the door to despotism, for surely when we fail to protect the legitimate rights of any group or person, we sow the seeds of our own destruction. Take a look at this video if you want to know what is happening to civil liberties in our own country. I guess for some members of our community, this is not news at all.

Apparently local law enforcement officers are now being trained to treat citizens the way military personnel were trained to treat Guantanamo prisoners. Your government doesn't seem to care anymore what you think... except maybe during an election year and even then, not so much. And like the military, many police officers who have been trained to just follow orders, are doing just that...just following orders. Watch this disturbing video.

Everything by the book...



Our silence and indifference to the plight of others is what allows this kind of thing to happen. You probably won't get a better wake up call than this. No doubt bad public relations will force this kind of evidence into dark corners. The question is, will we wake up, or will we remain silent until something like this happens to someone we know and care about... or maybe to a lot of people we know and care about?

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