Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ex-DEA Head Admits CIA Imported Cocaine

Blair to lecture on faith and globalisation at Yale

Looks like it will be a while before crooks and their just rewards meet up. This in from the Guardian:

Tony Blair is to join Yale later this year, teaching on a course on faith and globalisation, the US Ivy League university announced today.

As the Howland Distinguished Fellow for the next academic year, the former prime minister will lead a seminar and participate in a number of events around the campus.

His efforts at Yale relate to the work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which he will launch later this year.

The architect of three election victories and the UK's participation in the invasion of Iraq - and currently an envoy for peace in the Middle East - Blair will follow in the footsteps of the journalist Sir Alistair Cooke and the former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi as fellows.

Historians Against the War Statement on the U.S. Occupation of Iraq

As historians, teachers, and scholars, we oppose the expansion of United States empire and the doctrine of pre-emptive war that have led to the occupation of Iraq. We deplore the secrecy, deception, and distortion of history involved in the administration's conduct of a war that violates international law, intensifies attacks on civil liberties, and reaches toward domination of the Middle East and its resources. Believing that both the Iraqi people and the American people have the right to determine their own political and economic futures (with appropriate outside assistance), we call for the restoration of cherished freedoms in the United States and for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

(September 21, 2003)

As of December 15, 2007, 2433 people had signed this statement and become members of HAW. The signatures are available on this website. This statement supercedes the founding statement.

~ Historians Against the War ~

Sweet dreams are made of this

In his time, Artemidorus Daldianus was a highly regarded man. He was a dream doctor, and in the second century A.D. his fellow Greeks considered dreams to be encoded messages from the gods. Deciphering them required an expert, with Artemidorus chief among them.

Artemidorus declared that all dreams were not created equal, however. If the nocturnal visions could be explained from past events in the sleeper's life, the good doctor wrote them off as meaningless constructions of the individual's experiences and mental orientation; these dreams were not secrets of the gods. Artemidorus himself would never have imagined that, with this idea, he had anticipated a core debate that would arise some 1,700 years later.

The physician who sparked that debate was none other than Sigmund Freud. According to his monumental 1899 work, The Interpretation of Dreams, our nighttime hallucinations are activated by subconscious wishes that can burst forth from behind the protective veil

of sleep. Freud's contention was just that, however--a hypothesis, one that neurologists of the day could never prove despite a flurry of scientific investigation. Freud lacked the answer to the ancient question, "What does the brain do when we enter the dreamworld?" And it frustrated him. He openly wished for neurological evidence, worked at it himself and even said that such information would likely supersede his psychological theories about dreams. But he lacked the science and tools needed to find it.

~ read on... ~

Al Jazeera Apologizes . . . to Islamic Radicals

This week, Al Jazeera triggered a major controversy when it broadcast the comments of Wafa Sultan, a psychologist living in the United States who is an ardent critic of Islamic extremism. Here is what Sultan said:

All the religions and faiths have been subject throughout history to criticism and insults, and this helped to develop and amend them over time. The only faith which beheads those who oppose it – is destined to turn into terror and tyranny.

This is the situation of Islam from its beginning to this day. It has sentenced its critics to prison terms, and those who escaped custody were killed. The Danish cartoons have managed to drop the first brick in the wall and open a window, through which the sun rays will be able to enter after a long period of darkness . . .

If Islam was not what it is, these cartoons would not appear. They did not come from an empty space, and the cartoonist did not make them up from his sick mind. They were an expression of what he is familiar with. . . . The Muslims' barbaric reaction added to the value of these cartoons. It simply proved their rightness: The Muslim is an irrational creature, and the things he learned overpower his mind and inflame his feelings. That is why these remarks have turned him into an inferior creature, who cannot control himself and respond to events in a rational way.

Heavy stuff, especially when said in Arabic. And there is more where that came from. A Jordanian newspaper accused the channel of leading a “normalization campaign with the Zionist enemy and is the only one which hosts the official spokespersons of the enemy's army and government.” (Funny: all this time I thought Jordan was at peace with Israel.)

Not to worry, though. Apparently this degree of free expression is too much even for Al Jazeera, which has issued an apology, cancelled all reruns of the program, and warned the show's host never to have Sultan on again.

~ source: Commentary Magazine ~

Liechtenstein issues arrest warrant for tax mole

Liechtenstein's police say they have issued an international arrest warrant for a former bank employee suspected of selling client data to German secret services. The police said on their website that they are looking for Heinrich Kieber, a 42-year-old Liechtenstein citizen and former employee of LGT Bank. Liechtenstein was already investigating Kieber for theft. The German government last month admitted paying more than four million euros to an informer, for bank data that led to the biggest tax fraud probe ever in Germany. Kieber blames German intelligence services for not protecting his identity and has requested a new identity so he can relocate to South America.

~ source: Deutsche Welle ~

March 19 - Massive anti-war rally in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, the U.S. occupation in Iraq will enter its 6th year. To mark this tragic anniversary, over 30 peace and justice organizations are uniting their efforts, under the umbrella of United for Peace and Justice, in an unprecedented day of coordinated nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against the "Pillars of War" that sustain the illegal U.S. occupation. Details about the plans for the day can be found at 5yearstoomany.org.

More than 1 million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. servicepeople have been killed, 2 million Iraqis are living as refugees in other countries and another 2.5 million are displaced within Iraq. More than $500 billion has already been spent on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and now, as the country fumbles into recession, the Bush administration is asking Congress for at least another $102 billion.

The vast majority of the people of this country and in Iraq want this war to end, yet policymakers in Washington have still not used their power to bring the troops home. We are no longer just waiting on Congress to do the will of the people. We will take action ourselves to end this war. There are already people from over 36 states coming to Washington to participate, and more are signing up every day.

Our actions on Wednesday, March 19, are aimed at the "Pillars of War" and represent a broadening of our strategy to end the war. By disrupting those who are promoting and profiting from war, we hope to drive home the popular mandate and resistance to this war. Here is a brief overview of the actions are being planned:  

The Military: The people of the U.S. want our military to stop lying about supporting the troops and start doing it. Veterans will be taking action at multiple government sites.

Funding: The people of the U.S. want funding for healthcare and education -- not death and destruction through military actions. Actions include a blockade of the IRS.

War Profiteers: The people of the U.S. refuse to let these companies siphon off our tax dollars to profit from the death of innocent people. Several offices of key war profiteers, including several oil companies, will be shut down.

The Security State: The people of the U.S. will no longer fear our government and ambiguous foreign threats -- we will stand together against them and oppose their march to fascism. Look for waterboarding demonstrations and a procession of the dead.

The Media: The people of the U.S. demand the truth, and media based on responsible, investigative and robust reporting, free of governmental and corporate interests. Surprise media actions throughout the day.

Background

United for Peace and Justice is the largest grassroots anti-war coalition in the country, consisting of more than 1,400 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building. UFPJ has organized the largest anti-war demonstrations in both NYC and Washington, DC, over the past five years. For more details, go to www.unitedforpeace.org
.

To mark this 5th Anniversary, UFPJ is organizing and supporting the Winter Soldier hearings, mass nonviolent direct action in Washington DC, and local actions all around the country. We believe it has been Five Years too Many, At Too Great a Cost.

Go to www.5yearstoomany.org for more info and action details.


~ source ~

Mutual Recriminations After Karabakh Clash

As the dust begins to settle from a firefight between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces earlier this week, their respective politicians have reverted to verbal warfare as international mediators work to contain the damage to longer term prospects for peace.

Accounts differ as to who fired first. But all agree it was the most serious breach of the ceasefire in a decade, and one that could have alarming consequences if it were repeated.

The uneasy ceasefire on the frontline held by Armenian forces from Nagorny Karabakh and the Azerbaijani military was broken early on March 4.

Azerbaijani defence ministry spokesman Eldar Sabirogli said Armenian units broke the ceasefire by firing on Azerbaijani positions near the villages of Cheliburt, Talish and Gapanli in the Terter district, and the Tapgaragoyunli settlement in neighbouring Geranboy district. Both districts are to the north and east of Nagorny Karabakh.

Armenian sources confirmed that the fighting was in this general area, adjacent to the Mardakert district of Nagorny Karabakh.

Sabirogli said four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and two civilians injured.

Senor Hasratian, spokesman for the defence ministry of the unrecognised Karabakh government, also cited a figure of four Azerbaijani dead and said two Armenian soldiers were injured, although in neither case were the wounds life-threatening.

~ read on... ~

Chile Signs Up To Key Int'l Law On Tribal Peoples

Chile has signed up to the world's key international law on tribal peoples, following Spain and Nepal to become the third country to sign in the last eighteen months.

The Chilean senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying International Labour Organisation Convention 169 (ILO 169), which recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to ownership of their land.

Most of Chile's South American neighbours have ratified the convention, but only four European countries have done so: Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. Chile's ratification will increase pressure on the British government, which is being targeted in an international campaign to persuade it to ratify the convention.

~ read on... ~

'Thought police' arsenal complete

Scientists have devised a mind-reading technique that could possibly allow them to visualise someone's dream by analysing brain activity with a medical scanner.

Scientists in the U.S. led by Professor Jack Gallant of the University of California, Berkeley, have built a computer that can “decode” brain activity signals from a scanner and match them with photographs of what a person has seen.

“Our results suggest that it may soon be possible to reconstruct a picture of a person's visual experience from measurements of brain activity alone,” Professor Gallant wrote in the journal Nature.

The study raises the possibility of the technology being used to visualise scenes from a person's dreams or memory.

“Our data suggest that there might potentially be enough information in brain activity signals measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to do this in the future... In fact, so much information is available in these signals that one day it may even be possible to reconstruct the visual contents of dreams or visual imagery,” Professor Gallant said.

According to experts, the technique could be useful also in understanding the mental state of a person who is in a coma.

However, it inevitably raises the fear that such technology could be used to interrogate a person for “thought crimes.”

~ source: Scientists move to visualise dreams ~

CSMonitor: Who's buying Burma's gems?

Over the past five days, jade, rubies, sapphires, and close to $150 million have passed hands here, according to the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., the consortium that dominates Burma's gemstone trade and is owned by the defense ministry and a clutch of military officers.

Who's buying? China, India, Singapore, and Thailand are scooping up Burma's stones. US first lady Laura Bush's efforts at a global boycott of Burma's gems seem to have done little to reduce China's appetite for Burmese jade to make trinkets and souvenirs to sell at the Summer Olympics.

At this recent auction, 281 foreigners attended, leaving behind much-needed foreign currency and generally turning the auction into a resounding success, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Mrs. Bush – and human rights campaigners – would not be pleased.

The first lady has taken on the military regime in Burma (Myanmar), urging jewelers not to buy gems from a country where the undemocratic rulers and their cronies amass fortunes selling off the country's stones, as well as many of the county's other natural resources – such as minerals, timber, gold, oil, and gas – but keep Burma's citizens in abject poverty.

She has urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to act more forcibly on Burma and stood beside President Bush on several occasions recently as he announced the growing list of US sanctions on the country. And, on International Human Right's Day this past December, Mrs. Bush added her voice to those seeking a global boycott on gems from Burma.

"Consumers throughout the world should consider the implications of their purchase of Burmese gems," she said in a statement from the White House. "Every Burmese stone bought, cut, polished, and sold sustains an illegitimate, repressive regime."

According to Human Right's Watch (HRW), Burma's junta owns a majority stake in each of the country's mines – many of them sitting on land confiscated from local communities – sanctioning both unsafe working conditions and forced and child labor. The European Union passed rules in November banning imports of Burmese rubies and jade, and Canada and the US Senate followed suit in December.

~ read on... ~

Group Blogging for the Man

Under the banner "a marketplace of ideas," major industry groups are blogging together, to "build influence and drive policy." The BizCentral blog includes the American Petroleum Institute, Business Roundtable, Nuclear Energy Institute and Personal Care Products Council. Pat Cleary, Fleishman-Hillard's senior vice president of digital public affairs, "pushed the idea from the start," reports Politico.com. Cleary "believes businesses ignore the Internet at great risk." He identified "congressional aides, lawmakers, reporters, policymakers and opinion leaders" as BizCentral's target audience. "Cleary got the idea for BizCentral three years ago while he was still an executive at the National Association of Manufacturers. When he moved to Fleishman, the firm gave him the resources to make it happen. The blog is free to participants and helps Fleishman build its brand as 'leaders in the digital space,' Cleary said." Previously, Cleary built NAM's blog as a tool "to fight taxes, promote innovation and shake manufacturing's reputation as an industry filled with dark and dangerous jobs." BizCentral has one rule ("post once a week") and one commandment ("we don't shoot at one another"), according to Cleary.

~ source ~

The Rhetoric Beat

Language plays a powerful role in shaping political decisions, argues Brent Cunningham. As an example, he points to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, "when the choice of words -- by the press and government officials -- played a crucial role in setting America on a course that led, ultimately, to our military action in Iraq. ... The decision to describe the attacks in the language of 'war,' rather than as a criminal act, emerged swiftly and organically in the earliest press accounts, and was quickly solidified and extended by President Bush and other administration officials." If the attacks had been defined using other language, such as "mass murder," this might also have defined the "terms of the response" differently, "within the domain of police investigation, criminal justice and the safeguards of law." Cunningham thinks that "journalism needs a rhetoric beat" focused on studying the uses and abuses of language, which "has emerged as a central issue in our political culture."

~ source ~

U.N. torture envoy says U.S. deny access to Iraq jails

The U.N. investigator on torture said on Tuesday the United States had denied his request to visit U.S.-run jails in Iraq and insisted a visit could help clear its legacy of the prison abuse scandal in Abu Ghraib.

Manfred Nowak, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said he had received credible information the situation had improved at U.S. detention facilities in recent years, but stressed only a visit would allow him to verify them.

[ ... ]

Nowak, who has an Iraqi government invitation for his Oct 18-26 planned visit, said he would also expect full access to Iraqi-run detention facilities, although this was still under negotiation. British authorities have agreed to allow him to visit their detainees in Iraq, he added.

At least 30,000 prisoners are held by Iraqi authorities, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross which made its first visit to security detainees held by Iraq's central government last October.

The neutral Red Cross -- whose reports are confidential unlike those of U.N. investigators -- still seeks a wider agreement for access to all prisoners held by Iraq. Sunni Arabs have accused the Shi'ite-led interior ministry of operating torture centers and dungeons holding Sunni detainees.

~ read on... ~

California clamdown on homeschoolers

Homeschoolers are threatened with legal action and the confiscation of their children by the state if they do not comply with California's educational policy. Is this really for the good of the children and to make sure they are getting a good education?

Justice H. Walter Croskey stated:

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare."

In other words, a primary purpose of the educational system is to disseminate state-sponsored propaganda.

According to an article by Bob Egelko and Jill Tucker titled "Homeschoolers' setback sends shock waves through state," "The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home."

Either send your child to public school for the proper indoctrination, or pay for a state-credentialed tutor who has been licensed in the proper methods of indoctrination to state policies, or be criminally prosecuted.

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

The appellate court ruling has set a precedent that can now be used to go after homeschoolers. "With this case law, anyone in California who is homeschooling without a teaching credential is subject to prosecution for truancy violation, which could require community service, heavy fines and possibly removal of their children under allegations of educational neglect," Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute said.

~ more... ~

Client 9 and America's ethical perversity

So Elliot Spitzer deserves to be critiqued and ought to be doing deep atonement for what he did.  His previous moral arrogance and willingness when he had power to do so to prosecute others for their participation in creating prostitution rings makes him an easy target. We, in turn, might practice the forgiveness that our religious and spiritual traditions preach, particularly those of us who have been willing to honeslty face how flawed we ourselves are, and how at times we ourselves fail to embody in our actual practice with others the values that we publicly espouse. Humility and compassion are also part of the path of a spiritual progressive.
 
But the intensity of the critique of the N.Y. governor, tied with the demand that he resign, shows more about American society's ethical perversity than about Spitzer.
 
The President of the U.S. and the Vice President, working in concert with several other high ranking officers of our government, lied and distorted to get us involved in a war that has led to the death of over a million Iraqis, the displacement of 3 million more, the death of 4,000 Americans and the wounding of tens of thousands more. After token opposition in Congress, our elected representatives have overwhelmingly passed budgets funding this war, rather than refuse to fund any military projects until the President stopped the war and withdrew the troops.
 
Meanwhile, our government has overtly engaged in torture, wiretapping of our phones, and violation of our human rights and the rights of people around the world. Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Charles Schumer votes to confirm as Attonrey General a right-wing judge who refused to repudiate these crimes.

[ ... ]

That there is no outcry for these government officials and corporate leaders to resign immediately or be impeached, that there is no moral outrage at the entire system that produces this impact, is America's ethical perversity. Instead, the only crime against humanity that the media takes seriously and the politicians fear is being exposed for personal sexual immorality. While everyone basks in their own self-righteous demands on Spitzer, we all allow media and elected officials to fundamentally distort our ethical vision and play out our morality on the smallest of possible stages while ignoring the global and personal consequences of our larger ethical failures.

~ from Elliot Spitzer and America's Ethical Perversity by Rabbi Michael Lerner ~

It's the "Oh Sh*t!" Moment on Iran

Every horror movie has that "Oh Shit!" moment, when the hero or heroes are huddled in some creepy hideout, and suddenly something happens that tells you that the monster is just around the corner, or just about to attack. In "Jurassic Park" it was the pulsing ripples in a cup of water, heralding the arrival of a T-Rex. In "Jaws" it was the deep bass music, letting you know that a monstrous shark was about to attack.

Well, we just got our "Oh Shit!" moment with the just-announced resignation of Admiral William J. Fallon, the military commander of US Middle East operations.

Adm. Fallon, 63, famously said that an attack on Iran would not happen "on my watch," and is widely believed to have already threatened, along with a number of other top generals and admirals, to quit the service if the Bush administration were to launch an air attack on Iran.

Put the pieces together. We know that the vice president is obsessed with a desire to attack Iran, and has been since before he even took office. Bush has repeatedly stressed that Iran cannot be permitted to continue with its nuclear processing (he calls it their "nukular" bomb program, though there is no evidence that the country has a nuclear bomb development program, and in fact the last National Intelligence Estimate on Iran said there was not and hadn't been since 2003). And Fallon has now quit.

~ read on... ~

Jezebel in today's Iran

Anecdotally, however, there is a relative preponderance of evidence that supports that among other Iranian precincts the religious center of Qom is akin to a Magdalenian hive, and their johns are most prominently - and typically - young males who are students and erstwhile holy men-in-training from the nearby Qom Seminary.

Attired in the traditional robes, capes and turbans which are the clandestine raiment of the mullahs to whom they aspire, one man-child upon another clustered in a wide-eyed shoulder to shoulder procession of wonder boy awe and amazement, these clusters of seminary students descend upon the amassed women as a pack of praying and properly mannered beasts, all of them mutedly hungered by masculine desires and pangs that should not ever be spoken aloud amid such holy splendor.

[ ... ]

Jezebel's most favored flower is heavily scented with despair. While the estimates of the number of prostitutes active throughout Iran cannot be verified with any inviolate mathematical accuracy, conversely the calculated spillover of Iranian prostitutes who have progressively ventured into Western Europe and the Gulf states provides a substantive and documented commentary on what - upon extrapolation - the actual numbers of Iran's domestic prostitute population might be.

These estimated numbers are indeed quite significant. They are in fact figures considerable enough to at least partially address the alarming rate of Iran's overall demographic decline. More and more Iranian women are choosing to opportunistically devote the capacities of their bodies to the left-handed endeavor of human commerce as opposed to motherhood. Albeit on a smaller scale, Iran is presently facing a phenomenon of population decline similar to that experienced in the Ukraine subsequent to the migration of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian female 'tourists' who sought economic viability in Germany after then-foreign minister Joschka Fischer loosened visa standards in 1999. The result has been that Ukraine is presently experiencing what some analysts qualify as the world's fastest rate of population decline.

In the case of Iran the rise of prostitution will - over time - similarly bear upon the country's national decline not exclusively on either moral or ethical grounds, as well as their attendant effects, but directly upon an ever declining birth rate, in effect burdening the country in time enough with an elderly population at least proportionate to that of Western Europe's within the alarmingly modest scope of just one generational cycle.

What some Westerners might in effect derisively oversimplify and categorize as an Islamo-fascist Iranian culture of jihadists and loose women is actually a culture on the verge of utter and conclusive socioeconomic collapse. Needless to say Iran is not a country that is idly rushing headlong and blindfolded towards becoming a post-millennial Sodom and Gomorrah. Iran's clerical regime has vacillated between attempting the repression of prostitution's determined rise and sanctioning it through sigheh, a much castigated and highly controversial system of temporary marriages sanctioned in Shia Islam.

Recently Iran's interior minister, Moustafa Pourmohammadi, has urged the full-on revival of sigheh in the interest of at the very least legitimizing the act of sex that has been purchased. A conservative cleric, Mr. Pourmohammadi has quantified the practice of sigheh as “God's rule” and has further affirmed that it is an ideal alternative to pre-marital sex, an affront to a number of the core interpreted tenets of Islam.

In a news conference held in the city of Qom, Mr. Pourmohammadi asserted that given the recent increase of the minimum marital age in Iran, concessions must be made to cater to the sexual urges and tendencies of the country's youth who legally don't have marriage as an alternative given their age. The plea for the implicit merits of - and in effect deliverance ostensibly afforded by - sigheh is nothing new in Iran as far as the incessant battle against prostitution is concerned.

~ from Quarters for the Magdalene Laundries ~

Study finds no Saddam-al-Qaeda link

An exhaustive Pentagon-backed study of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents seized after the 2003 US-led invasion has found no direct link between Saddam Hussein's government and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
    
The alleged link was one of the main reasons given by the US for going to war with Iraq and the then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had said there was "bulletproof" evidence of a connection.
    
But leaked excerpts from the report due for release on Wednesday indicate the first official acknowledgement from the US military that there was no "direct operational link" with al-Qaeda, according to the McClatchy Newspapers group.
 
The original reason for going to war - that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat - has also lost credibility, with no such weapons found five years after the invasion.
 
Besides the hundreds of thousands of documents, the study's researchers also used thousands of hours of interrogations of former senior officials in Saddam's government now in US custody.

~ read on... ~

I'm carrying on, says defiant Iranian woman activist Parvin Ardalan

Iranian activist Parvin Ardalan Monday vowed to continue her fighting cause, vowing she would not be intimidated by Iranian authorities after being prevented from going to Sweden to receive her 2007 Palme Prize.

[ ... ]


The jury in February cited Ardalan for 'making the demand for equal rights for men and women a central part of the struggle for democracy in Iran.' The citation noted that she had braved 'persecution, threats and harassment.'

Ardalan, a journalist, was co-founder of the women's cultural centre Markaz-e Farhangi-ye Zanan in the mid-1990s that has raised awareness and documented women's rights in Iran, the jury said.

The office of human rights protection in Tehran, headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, invited Ardalan Monday as guest of honour in a belated ceremony marking International Women's Day.

A speaker at the ceremony said that although Ardalan could not go to Sweden, she was being honoured in Tehran.

~ more... ~

Even those accused of atrocities are human

And so it was on February 25 that local media reported former Khmer Rouge "Brother No 3" 82-year-old Ieng Sary's request that the court grant conjugal visits with his wife - and fellow court detainee - Khieu Thirith. In the history of international justice dating back to the Nuremberg Trials of the late 1940s, this must surely be the only time two suspects both charged with atrocity crimes and in custody have asked for a little tete-a-tete together. Remember, too, the elderly couples' autumn incarceration, and any potential jail-cell rendezvous, are all courtesy of the UN, the taxpayers of its contributing member states, and the millions of Cambodians victimized by the murderous regime.

In explanation for the plaintive plea, The Cambodia Daily, a Phnom Penh-based media NGO, reported Ieng Sary's lawyer Ang Udom as saying the octogenarian "misses his wife". "He wants to see her, she wants to see him ... why does the tribunal prevent them from seeing each other?" the paper quoted Ang Udom as saying.

To add irony to insult, Sary and Thirith, who was the Khmer Rouge's social affairs minister, both worked setting policy for the Khmer Rouge, a significant plank of which was to dismantle the traditional family structure. Husbands, wives and children were separated into separate gender-based work collectives. Marriages were routinely forced on individuals simply for reproduction to support a productive workforce.

~ from Cell swingers in Cambodia ~

China, India, play it again for Uncle Sam

American diplomacy was on splendid display this week in two key Asian capitals - Beijing and New Delhi. China and India rolled out the red carpet to visiting cabinet officials from Washington. By a curious coincidence, the two top US officials - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - chose the same block of dates to befriend the two Asian "rivals".

Amid the debris of the George W Bush administration's foreign policy in the Middle East, what is often overlooked is the extraordinary diplomatic gusto with which Washington goes about convincing the two Asian giants, China and India, that each is a privileged partner of the US's global strategies.

Indeed, it is difficult to be judgmental about the relative importance that the US attaches to its relations with China and India - or, conversely, what goes on in the inscrutable minds of such ancient peoples as the Chinese or Indians. But Chinese pronouncements insist that the US is inviting China to be a "stakeholder" in the affairs of the 21st century and Beijing is responding. On the contrary, the Indian strategic community remains confident that the US is painstakingly building up Indian capabilities as a first-class power so as to make it a counterweight to China.

~ read on... ~

Manifesting the OM (AUM)

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. Selections. Chapter 1

24. Isvara (the Supreme Ruler) is a special Purusha, untouched by misery, actions, their results and desires.

25. In Him becomes infinite that all-knowingness which in others is (only) a germ.

26. He is the Teacher of even ancient teachers, being not limited by time.

27. His manifesting word is Om.

28. The repetition of this (Om) and meditating on its meaning (is the way).

29. From that is gained (the knowledge of) introspection, and the destruction of obstacles.


Commentary:

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali interpreted by William Q. Judge
...The utterance of OM involves three sounds, those of long au, short u, and the "stoppage" or labial consonant m. To this tripartiteness is attached deep mystical symbolic meaning. It denotes, as distinct yet in union, Brahma, Vishnu, and S'iva, or Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. As a whole, it implies "the Universe." In its application to man, au refers to the spark of Divine Spirit that is in humanity; u, to the body through which the Spirit manifests itself; and m, to the death of the body, or its resolvement to its material elements. With regard to the cycles affecting any planetary system, it implies the Spirit, represented by au as the basis of the manifested worlds; the body or manifested matter, represented by u, through which the spirit works; and represented by m, "the stoppage or return of sound to its source," the Pralaya or Dissolution of the worlds. In practical occultism, through this word reference is made to Sound, or Vibration, in all its properties and effects, this being one of the greatest powers of nature. In the use of this word as a practice, by means of the lungs and throat, a distinct effect is produced upon the human body. In Aphorism 28 the name is used in its highest sense, which will necessarily include all the lower. All utterance of the word OM, as a practice, has a potential reference to the conscious separation of the soul from the body...

Raja-Yoga - Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms
by Swami Vivekanda (19th century)
...The commentator says the manifesting word of God is Om. Why does he emphasise this word? There are hundreds of words for God. One thought is connected with a thousand words; the idea "God" is connected with hundreds of words, and each one stands as a symbol for God. Very good. But there must be a generalisation among all these words, some substratum, some common ground of all these symbols, and that which is the common symbol will be the best, and will really represent them all. In making a sound we use the larynx and the palate as a sounding board. Is there any material sound of which all other sounds must be manifestations, one which is the most natural sound? Om (Aum) is such a sound, the basis of all sounds. The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key, pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate; M represents the last sound in the series, being produced by the closed lips, and the U rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding board of the mouth. Thus, Om represents the whole phenomena of sound-producing. As such, it must be the natural symbol, the matrix of all the various sounds. It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made. Apart from these speculations, we see that around this word Om are centred all the different religious ideas in India; all the various religious ideas of the Vedas have gathered themselves round this word Om. What has that to do with America and England, or any other country? Simply this, that the word has been retained at every stage of religious growth in India, and it has been manipulated to mean all the various ideas about God. Monists, dualists, mono-dualists, separatists, and even atheists took up this Om. Om has become the one symbol for the religious aspiration of the vast majority of human beings. Take, for instance, the English word God. It covers only a limited function, and if you go beyond it, you have to add adjectives, to make it Personal, or Impersonal, or Absolute God. So with the words for God in every other language; their signification is very small. This word Om, however, has around it all the various significances...

...We have not forgotten the theory of Samskaras, that the sum-total of impressions lives in the mind. They become more and more latent but remain there, and as soon as they get the right stimulus, they come out. Molecular vibration never ceases. When this universe is destroyed, all the massive vibrations disappear; the sun, moon, stars, and earth, melt down; but the vibrations remain in the atoms. Each atom performs the same function as the big worlds do. So even when the vibrations of the Chitta subside, its molecular vibrations go on, and when they get the impulse, come out again...

...The first manifestation of the repetition and thinking of Om is that the introspective power will manifest more and more, all the mental and physical obstacles will begin to vanish...

The Monster: A Loyal Clinton Soldier Turns in His Badge

She has no idea.

She has no idea how many times I defended her. How many right-leaning
friends and relatives I battled with. How many times I played down her
shady business deals and penchant for scandals -- whether it was
Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Cattle Futures, Web Hubbell, or
Norman Hsu. She has no idea how frequently I dismissed her husband's
serial adultery as an unfortunate trait of an otherwise brilliant man.
For sixteen years, I was a proud soldier in the legion of "Clinton
apologists" -- who believed that peace and prosperity were more
important than regrettable personality traits.

And then she ran for president.

After seven years of George W. Bush, America is hungry for change. Big
change. And let's face it -- Hillary Clinton, the party standard-
bearer and former White House denizen -- isn't it.

~ read on... ~

Remebering those who first defied the Patriot Act

Local Officials Rise Up to Defy The Patriot Act
Published on Monday, April 21, 2003 by the Washington Post

ARCATA, Calif. -- This North Coast city may look sweet -- old, low-to-the-ground buildings, town square with a bronze statue of William McKinley, ambling pickup trucks -- but it acts like a radical.

Arcata was one of the first cities to pass resolutions against global warming and a unilateral war in Iraq. Last month, it joined the rising chorus of municipalities to pass a resolution urging local law enforcement officials and others contacted by federal officials to refuse requests under the Patriot Act that they believe violate an individual's civil rights under the Constitution. Then, the city went a step further.

This little city (pop.: 16,000) has become the first in the nation to pass an ordinance that outlaws voluntary compliance with the Patriot Act.

"I call this a nonviolent, preemptive attack," said David Meserve, the freshman City Council member who drafted the ordinance with the help of the Arcata city attorney, city manager and police chief.

The Arcata ordinance may be the first, but it may not be the last. Across the country, citizens have been forming Bill of Rights defense committees to fight what they consider the most egregious curbs on liberties contained in the Patriot Act. The 342-page act, passed by Congress one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with little input from a public still in shock, has been most publicly criticized by librarians and bookstore owners for the provisions that force them to secretly hand over information about a patron's reading and Internet habits. But citizens groups are becoming increasingly organized and forceful in rebuking the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act for giving the federal government too much power, especially since a draft of the Justice Department's proposed sequel to the Patriot Act (dubbed Patriot II) was publicly leaked in January...


Librarians Chafe Under USA Patriot Act
Published on Thursday, July 31, 2003 by the Associated Press
BOULDER, Colo. - To Priscilla Hudson, public libraries are society's great equalizer, a place where anyone can go to learn regardless of their economic, social or political background.

So she doesn't much like Big Brother peering over their shoulder.

Hudson, manager of Boulder's main library, is among a number of librarians nationwide who oppose a provision in the USA Patriot Act that gives authorities access to records of what people check out from libraries or buy from bookstores.

The law is why Boulder librarians have lately been purging their files on patrons every week, not every couple of months. And experts say other libraries are doing similar things.

"Boulder is truly right in line with what other libraries are doing," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the American Library Association in Chicago...


Don't Mess With Librarians
Jessamyn West is a 36-year-old librarian living in central Vermont. But she's not your stereotypical bespectacled research maven toiling behind a reference desk and offering expert advice on microfiche.

She's a "radical librarian" who has embraced the hacker credo that "information wants to be free." As a result, West and many of her colleagues are on the front lines in battling the USA Patriot Act, which a harried Congress passed a month after 9/11 even though most representatives hadn't even read the 300-page bill. It gave the government sweeping powers to pursue the "war on terror" but at a price: the loss of certain types of privacy we have long taken for granted.

What got many librarians' dander up was Section 215 of the law, which stipulates that government prosecutors and FBI agents can seek permission from a secret court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to access personal records -- everything from medical histories to reading habits. They don't need a subpoena. In fact, they don't need to show that a crime has even been committed. And librarians, stymied by a gag order, are forbidden to tell anyone (except a lawyer).

[ ... ]

While mainstream media have blandly stood by as the free flow of information is threatened, some librarians have been agitating. They have been collecting signatures -- close to a million of them -- to petition the government to amend portions of the Patriot Act. They have purged circulation records. They have pushed elected officials to propose legislation to exempt libraries from government snoops, and have worked with more than 300 cities across the country to adopt measures to weaken the most extreme aspects of the law...

A Call to Lament and Repent: Guide Our Feet to the Path of Peace

The following statement is being issued by over a dozen Christian leaders to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war.

This season of Lent, we are truly living "in darkness and in the shadow of death" as we mark, on March 19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the war with Iraq. It is a war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes, and fought by our sisters and brothers. As U.S. Christians, we issue a call to the American church to lament and repent of the sin of this war.

We lament the suffering and violence in Iraq. ...

We lament the effects of this war on our country. ...

We repent of our failure to fully live the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers. ...

We believe repentance means more than just being sorry. ...

We dedicate ourselves to the biblical vision of a world in which nations do not attempt to resolve international problems by waging war on other nations. ...

»Click here to see the full statement and signers




Mideast military chief resigns after magazine article

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that Admiral William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, is resigning.

Gates said Fallon had asked Gates for permission to retire and that Gates agreed.

Fallon was the subject of an article published last week in Esquire magazine that portrayed him as opposed to President Bush's Iran policy. It described Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

~ read on... ~

From 'Sorcha Faal'

A couple of interesting reads:

US Prepares For 'Doomsday' Rule As British Forces Arrive In America

Russian Military Analysts are reporting in the Kremlin today that China's President Hu has refused the United States request for over $2 Trillion in emergency assistance to bolster the collapsing American Dollar, and asked for in a personal meeting with the former US President Bush, the father of the current President Bush. Of the worst fears of the American Bush-Clinton Monarchy, which has ruled the US these past 20 years, these reports state, is the collapse of their privately owned hedge fund called the Carlyle Capital Fund and which is owned by their secretive war profiteering International behemoth Carlyle Group led by the Bush Family, Former British Prime Ministers, and others of the West's ruling elite...

...This has led Russian Commanders to believe that the Bush-Clinton Monarchy may be preparing for what the Americans themselves have titled a 'Doomsday' scenario under new laws passed in the US in 2005 and which has been described as:

"No longer do Capitol Hill legislators need a quorum to do the people's business. Now under a piece of hotly contested legislation passed without media attention on Jan. 5,[2005] only a few members of Congress are needed to do official business in the event of a catastrophe instead of the usual 218. Critics claim H. Res. 5 paves the way for tyranny, allowing “only a few to decide for so many.”

As we had previously reported on in our February 24, 2008 report titled "Canadian Troops To Patrol US Cities As Food Riots Feared", and where Russian Military Analysts had voiced their fears of the agreement signed by the Americans and Canada to allow their troops on each others soil, these new reports detail an even darker picture that details that British, and not American, Officers are currently being trained to 'control' US citizens, and as we can read as reported by the LJWorld News Service in their report titled "Brits overrun town for training exercise", and which says:

"Thursday may have seemed like any other day for most in Leavenworth, but for about 180 British officers, an enemy was on the loose threatening civilians. Tactical forces were moved in, and soldiers took their positions outside schools and churches preparing to isolate the terrorist activity. While it may have been a fictional enemy in theory, for visiting officers with the United Kingdom's Intermediate Command and Staff Course who were roaming the streets of Leavenworth, the tactical solutions they used to end the threats were real."

In previous reports we had detailed how the US Military had begun asking their soldiers if they would fire on American citizens and which has led to their War Leaders request to have Canadian and British Military Forces take command in putting down the expected rebellions in the United States as they are more likely to have no problems killing those not of their own nationality...


New York Governor 'Destroyed' Over Threat To Probe 9/11 Attacks On US
...FSB reports circulating in the Kremlin today, however, point to a much more sinister effort behind the toppling of Governor Spitzer as he had just begun a new probe into Larry Silverstein, the owner of the World Trade Center brought down in the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the US, and the Bush Families Carlyle Group.

The focus of Governor Spitzer's investigation, these reports state, revolve around the growing crisis embroiling the Carlyle Group as it nears total collapse and is facing insolvency due to Larry Silverstone's withdrawal of over $14 billion from the embattled groups coffers, and which could see the loss to New York States already troubled massive pension fund of over $10 billion.

Governor Spitzer has long battled with the former comptroller for New York States Pension Fund, Alan G. Hevesi, who holds duel Israeli-American citizenship, and prompted a US Federal Probe that charged Comptroller Hevesi of using the over $100 billion of funds entrusted to him for the personal benefit of his friends and family, and to which Mr. Hevesi pled guilty for and paid a $5,000 fine.

Prior to his taking office as New York States Governor, these reports continue, Mr. Spitzer, as a prosecutor, had long targeted the United States Banking System for their vast theft of money from the American people, and had won billions in judgments against Bear Stearns, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney and UBS Warburg.

It is more than interesting to note, too, that these are the exact same International Banking Giants who are now reeling under the Global assault against them...

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