Friday, September 19, 2008

Recommendations From Bush War Crimes Prosecution Conference

Twenty Recommendations For Action Now Being Considered

As A Result Of Conference On War Crimes
By Sherwood Ross   

ANDOVER , MASS. (Special) -- Twenty recommendations made at a conference on prosecuting President George Bush for war crimes are under consideration for action, according to conference convener Lawrence Velvel, a prominent law school dean.

"Attendees discussed the violations of international and domestic law that were committed and are now studying recommendations for action," said Velvel.  "All of us feel that those who committed war crimes and other crimes against humanity must be held accountable," he said.  "The continued viability of Nuremberg Principles barring aggressive war and torture depends on it." 

More than 120 public officials, lawyers, academics, and authorities on the U.S. Constitution and international law attended the two day conference, which was held in Andover , Massachusetts on September 13th and 14th. 

The conference resulted in recommendations ranging from asking the next U.S. Attorney General to prosecute Bush, to having any of some 2,700 county district attorneys launch proceedings against him for murder, to having Bush prosecuted for war crimes in other countries.  A newly formed committee will decide which of the suggestions can practicably be pursued.

The complete list of possible actions is:

  1. Working for the election of district attorneys who pledge to prosecute high level war criminals for murder under state law, and working for the reelection of district attorneys who pledge to prosecute such criminals for murder.
  2. Working for the election of state attorneys general who pledge to prosecute high level war criminals for murder under state law.
  3. Working for the election of local executive and legislative officials (e.g., city council members) in specified localities who will formally denounce war crimes and might even seek to take action against them, as apparently has occurred in Vermont.
  4. Mandamus proceedings to force local prosecutors to act.
  5. Requesting state bar authorities to disbar the lawyers who were part of the executive cabal to authorize torture and other abuses that are crimes under international law, domestic law, or both.
  6. Teach-ins at universities on the question of war crimes.
  7. Asking universities to conduct hearings on whether certain individuals (e.g., John Yoo, Jack Goldsmith) should be dismissed from faculties for aiding and abetting criminal acts.
  8. A march of many thousands of American lawyers on the Department of Justice (a la Civil Rights or Viet Nam war marches or the million man march).  The purpose of the march would be to highlight lawyers' belief that crimes were committed and must be punished.
  9. Seeking prosecutions of high level war criminals before foreign courts or before international tribunals such as the International Criminal Court.
  10. Asking the next federal Attorney General to prosecute war criminals.
  11. Seeking major congressional investigations of what occurred.
  12. Obtaining inspector general reports of what was done in given federal departments like the Department of Justice, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, etc.
  13. A truth and reconciliation commission.
  14. Impeachment, even after the culprits leave office. And, unless he resigns from the federal bench, Jay Bybee, who collaborated with John Yoo on the first torture papers, will still be in office after the election.
  15. Legislative or judicial action to dramatically cut back on, and sometimes totally eliminate, the present vast overuse by the federal government of the state secrets doctrine, executive privilege and other such doctrines.
  16. Repeal of immunity amendments (which, even if not repealed, may have tremendous holes in them with regard to federal prosecutions, are unlikely to have any immunizing effect at the state level (though they may nonetheless be claimed as a defense), and whose only effect on foreign and international prosecutions would be to encourage them because these amendments indicate that the American federal government (like the governments of Argentina and Chile for many years) refuses to take action against federal criminals.
  17. Resisting pardons, particularly advance pardons by Bush or the next president before there are convictions.
  18. Creating an office of Chief Prosecutor(s), with Vince Bugliosi as Chief Prosecutor for domestic actions and perhaps a Co-Chief Prosecutor, with international prosecutorial experience, as Chief Prosecutor for foreign and international actions.  This office would handle prosecutions in which governmental officials are willing to use "our" designated chief prosecutor as the lead lawyer, and would advise governmental prosecutors who desire to handle the prosecutions themselves but are willing to use "our" chief prosecutor as an adviser.
  19. Setting up an internet-accessible repository, or library, of information on the pertinent war crimes, so that persons will have ready access to all relevant information.  The repository, or library, should be cross indexed by subject matter, and should include briefs, articles, books, memos, speeches, etc. -- anything that sheds light on what was done.
  20. Considering what, if anything, can be done to overcome the current ineptitude, failure and sometimes even deliberate hiding of facts by the corporate mass media, and to consider how the web might be used to accomplish this.

Vincent Bugliosi, former Los Angeles county prosecutor, extensively explained the legal reasoning under which Bush can be prosecuted for murder once he is no longer president.  Bugliosi added that "No Federal, state or local statute says there is any person who can't be prosecuted for murder."

Bugliosi said that, of the 2,700 district and county attorneys having the power to prosecute, "There should be one prosecutor bold enough to say 'No man is above the law'. I am looking for that courageous prosecutor and I am not going to be satisfied until I see George W. Bush in an American courtroom prosecuted for murder."

Bugliosi said the evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq was overwhelming. "There are over 100 books" providing facts to underpin" bringing Bush to prosecution for the deaths of 4,000 American soldiers under false pretenses," Bugliosi said.

Philippe Sands, director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College , London , discussed violations of law such as torture.  He said that "Under the Convention Against Torture, any person who has tortured anywhere in the world can be arrested in the United Kingdom " if they enter that country.

Political scientist Christopher Pyle of Mt. Holyoke College , S. Hadley, Mass. , spoke for many Conference attendees when he said, "The evidence is overwhelming. The torture, kidnapping, and degradation of suspected terrorists was part of a deliberate policy, hatched and concealed at the highest levels of the Bush administration."  Pyle said the nation does not need any "truth commission" that will offer immunity to suspects who confess their crimes because "if there is no threat of punishment, and therefore no prospect of plea bargains, why would underlings admit anything?"

Any attempt by President Bush to pre-pardon himself or any of his aides involved in war crimes and torture would be "an obstruction of justice," said Pyle.

He suggested one approach could be to appoint "a non-partisan prosecutor with considerable independence," much as Attorney General Elliot Richardson did when he chose Archibald Cox to lead the Watergate team. "A special prosecutor could be chosen by the next attorney general from among any number of distinguished Republican attorneys."

Professor Amy Bartholomew of Carleton University , Ottawa , told the conference that the Bush administration was attempting to replace the Nuremberg Principles adopted after World War Two with "a global and transnational state of exception" under which the U.S. can invade countries with impunity. 

Peter Weiss of the Center For Constitutional Rights pointed out that there is no need for any new legislation to outlaw aggressive war, since "It is already outlawed by Article 2 of the United States Charter."  

Dean Velvel summarized the conference proceedings by saying, "In a nutshell, this conference was about giving continued life to the Nuremberg principles, which our country itself established, instead of allowing guilty members of the Bush Administration to destroy those principles wholesale by committing aggressive war and torture with impunity."

For additional information contact Sherwood Ross,  sherwoodr1[at]yahoo.com, Sherwood Ross Associates, Suite 403, 102 S.W. 6th Ave., Miami, FL 33130)

~ Media in Conscience ~

 

'As such, it is most certainly high treason'

Both developments harken back to Occam. Truth is always fuzzy but common-sense has always been the enemy of bigotry, moral certitude, propaganda and state-sponsored lies. That's because liars and moral absolutists have something in common: God and truth are always on their side. Therefore, one need not do nuance. One need not think. One need not learn anything new. Can anyone really believe that it is mere coincidence that Bush, who professes to be both certain and correct about all things, is, in fact, wrong on every point and failed in every instance in which he has put his policies to the test. Put another way, he has been wrong to the degree to which he is 'certain' and his ideas have failed in every test!

I would like to be as certain of one thing as Bush is of all things. Interestingly, however, the chances of my being right more often are infinitely greater than the chance that Bush is right at all at any time about anything!

Both Occam and Heisenberg are threats to orthodoxy. From the grave Occam still poses the greatest threat to orthodoxy, conservatism of any sort, and ideology itself. Some 500 years on, Occam's Razor is still the fatal blow that has, in fact, already demolished Bush's official conspiracy of 911 whether Bush understands that or not. Even Einstein was threatened by Heisenberg's embrace of 'uncertainty'. 'God does not play dice with the universe', he protested!

How is it possible that Bush and the GOP are so absolutely correct about all things at all times and every one who opposes them is always wrong? The simplest, the best explanation is simply: they are not correct about anything at any time! The chance that Bush or the GOP is ever right at any time is inversely proportional to GOP Bush/GOP certitude. Their certitude is infinite; therefore, GOP chances of being right approaches zero.

And what is known they lie about. Global warming is just such an issue. Bushies must surely know the truth of it but lie about it in order to protect a robber baron constituency of corporate sponsors.

The falsehoods of the Bush administration can be classified as:

• Deliberate, planned campaigns of lies, falsehoods and propaganda!
• Incompetent mistakes!
The war in Iraq is both. Colin Powell's infamous presentation to the United Nations was clearly a well-planned and orchestrated gestalt of deliberate lies based upon plagiarized student papers, exaggerations in which the Bush administration ignored evidence to the contrary, 20 old black and white satellite photos. The consequences have not yet dawned upon the American public and, indeed, even our elected officials.

Let's try to make clear the significance of this series of lies. If Bush deliberately misled the American people and the world in order to justify his attack and invasion of Iraq, then the war, itself, is and continues to be, a crime against the peace. Its continuation is but a series of individual crimes against humanity. As such, it violates the Nuremberg Principles that the United States had insisted upon at the end of World War II. Violations of Nuremberg are criminal offenses in the United States, prohibited specifically by US Codes, Section 2441.

(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

US Codes; Section 2441

Bush's order to attack —whatever Congressional authorization he may claim —violates both Nuremberg and US Codes. Moreover, if Bush lied to the American people and to the world, he lied also to Congress. Whatever was passed by Congress is, therefore, null and void by virtue of Bush's deliberate fraud, itself a deliberate subversion of the Constitution.
 
 

'This is our Nuremberg Moment!'

The Bush administration Is an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international law and U.S. domestic law

by Prof. Francis A. Boyle
 

Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference:

Planning for the Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals
Massachusetts Law School
September 13-14, 2008

Andover, Massachusetts

Since the impeachable installation of George W. Bush as President in January of 2001 by the U.S. Supreme Court's Gang of Five, the peoples of the world have witnessed a government in the United States that has demonstrated little if any respect for fundamental considerations of international law, human rights, and the United States Constitution.

What the world has watched instead is a comprehensive and malicious assault upon the integrity of the international and domestic legal orders by a group of men and women who are thoroughly Machiavellian and Straussian in their perception of international relations and in their conduct of both foreign policy and domestic affairs. Even more seriously, in many instances specific components of the Bush administration's foreign policies constitute ongoing criminal activity under well-recognized principles of both international law and U.S. domestic law, and in particular the Nuremberg Charter, the Nuremberg Judgment, and the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the Pentagon's own U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 on The Law of Land Warfare (1956), all of which apply to President Bush himself as Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

Depending upon the substantive issues involved, those international crimes typically include but are not limited to the Nuremberg offenses of crimes against peace: For example, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and perhaps their longstanding threatened wars of aggression against Iran and now Pakistan.  Their criminal responsibility also concerns Nuremberg crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare:  For example, torture at Guantanamo, Bhagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; enforced disappearances, assassinations, murders, kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, "shock and awe," depleted uranium, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, Fallujah, and the Gitmo kangaroo courts.

Furthermore, various members of the Bush administration have committed numerous inchoate crimes incidental to these substantive offences that under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as paragraph 500 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 are international crimes in their own right:  planning and preparation—which they are currently doing today against Iran and Pakistan—solicitation, incitement, conspiracy, complicity, attempt, aiding and abetting.

Finally, according to basic principles of international criminal law set forth in paragraph 501 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, all high level civilian officials and military officers in the U.S. government who either knew or should have known that soldiers or civilians under their control (such as the C.I.A. or private contractors), committed or were about to commit international crimes and failed to take the measures necessary to stop them, or to punish them, or both, are likewise personally responsible for the commission of international crimes.

At the very top of America's criminal chain-of-command are President Bush and Vice-President Cheney;  former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld's Deputy Paul Wolfowitz; Secretary of State Rice; former Director of National Intelligence Negroponte; National Security Advisor Hadley; his Deputy Elliot Abrams; former U.S. Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzales, criminally responsible for the torture campaign launched by the Bush Jr. administration; and the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staffs along with the appropriate Regional Commanders-in-Chief, especially for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

These U.S. government officials and their immediate subordinates are responsible for the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as specified by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles as well as by U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10.  Today in international legal terms, the Bush Jr. administration itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international criminal law and U.S. domestic law because of its formulation and undertaking of serial wars of aggression, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles that are legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany.

Of course the terrible irony of today's situation is that six decades ago at Nuremberg the U.S. government participated in the prosecution, punishment and execution of Nazi government officials for committing some of the same types of heinous international crimes that the members of the Bush administration currently inflict upon people all over the world. To be sure, I personally oppose the imposition of capital punishment upon any human being for any reason no matter how monstrous their crimes, whether they be Bush Jr., Tony Blair, or Saddam Hussein.

As a consequence, American citizens possess the basic right under international law and United States domestic law, including the U.S. Constitution, to engage in acts of civil resistance designed to prevent, impede, thwart, or terminate ongoing criminal activities perpetrated by Bush administration officials in their conduct of foreign affairs policies and military operations purported to relate to defense and counter-terrorism.  Today's civil resisters are the sheriffs!  The Bush administration officials are the outlaws!
   
We American citizens must reaffirm our commitment to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles by holding our government officials fully accountable under international law and U.S. domestic law for the commission of such grievous international and domestic crimes.  We must not permit any aspect of our foreign affairs and defense policies to be conducted by acknowledged "war criminals" according to the U.S. government's own official definitions of that term as set forth in the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles, U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, the U.S. War Crimes Act, the Four Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations.  The American people must insist upon the impeachment, dismissal, resignation, indictment, conviction, and long-term incarceration of all U.S. government officials guilty of such heinous international and domestic crimes.  If not so restrained, the Bush administration could very well precipitate a Third World War. 
     
In this regard, during the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, President Bush Jr. terrorized the entire world with the threat of World War III if he could not work his illegal will upon Iran.  It is my opinion that the Bush administration is fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against Muslim and Arab states and peoples in order to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  After the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 the United States of America has vilified and demonized Muslims and Arabs almost to the same extent that America inflicted upon the Japanese and Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor.  As the Nazis had previously demonstrated with respect to the Jews, a government must first dehumanize and scapegoat a race of people before its citizens will tolerate if not approve their elimination: witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  In post -9/11 America we are directly confronted with the prospect of a nuclear war of extermination conducted by our White Racist Judeo-Christian Power Elite against Peoples of Color in the Muslim and Arab worlds in order to steal their oil and gas.  The Crusades all over again.  But this time nuclear Armageddon stares all of humankind right in the face! 

We American lawyers must be inspired by the stunning example set by those heroic Pakistani lawyers who led the successful struggle against the brutal Bush-supported Musharraf military dictatorship in Pakistan.  We American lawyers must now lead the fight against the Bush dictatorship and empire! This is our Nuremberg Moment!

~ Centre for Research on Globalization ~

 

End of the world in 2013?

New book recalculates Newton's endtimes clock
 
"...But Newton's prediction of Charlemagne's revived Roman Empire starting in A.D. 800 and existing until the return of Christ was contradicted in 1806 when Napoleon forced the Empire's dissolution.

"But," says Flynn, "there remains a valid aspect of Newton's calculation. There is reason to believe he was correct in his assumption that there would be 1,260 years until the return of Christ at the rebirth of the Roman Empire, but that the year he chose was incorrect. There is actually a better date based on the founding of Rome and the methodology of Daniel's prophecy."

Flynn explains: "The Romans had fixed the birth of the city of Rome and the Empire in 753 B.C. It was believed that the patriarch of the city, Romulus, had marked out the boundaries for the wall of Rome in this year. Known as Ab Urbe Condita (literally, from the founding of the city) the Roman calendar began with 753 B.C. according to the dating of Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 B.C.) who lived at the time of the Empire itself.

Because of how the prophet Daniel divided the prophetic week in half, Flynn believes the original founding date for the empire of the prophecy, Rome, would follow this pattern and be bisected. Therefore, correcting Newton's date, the year 753 B.C. designates the founding of the physical Rome while A.D. 753 establishes the rebirth of spiritual Rome. Counting 1,260 years forward from A.D. 753, one arrives at the year 2013.

Additional significance can be attached to this finding when considering that 2013 follows the end of the great cycle of the Maya calendar and the planetary cycle of the Aztec calendar, which concludes Dec. 21, 2012. This date has raised apocalyptic fears in corners around the world. According to "The Bible Code," the world will end on this date due to a collision with a meteor, asteroid, or comet. Another theory – the "Novelty Theory" – claims time itself is a "fractal wave," which will end abruptly in 2012. Even the popular television program X-Files speculated that colonization of the earth by "aliens" would occur in December 2012.

The Maya themselves describe past visits of Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, descending through a "hole in the sky" on a rope ladder. They believe at the end of 2012 the serpent rope will emerge again from the center of the Milky Way, and Quetzalcoatl will return, heralding a new era at the start of 2013. Another version of the story has Quetzalcoatl sailing down on a winged ship, causing some to speculate that a UFO armada or "mother ship" could descend and take up position over earth on that date.

Besides this type of speculation, an unusual number of important events will occur beginning in 2012. NASA is predicting the next Solar Maximum will arrive in 2012 and will be the strongest in 50 years. At the same time, the sun will align with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years, on the exact date of the end of the Mayan calendar, Dec. 21, 2012. This will also be the year when the United States and the United Nations elect a new president and a new secretary general, considered by some to be the two most powerful "thrones" on earth, and the seat from which prophecy experts say the Antichrist will rule or receive power..."

~ more... ~

 

The winds of cyber war

At the same time Georgia's physical defenses were under assault from Russian troops, its technological infrastructure was under assault from denial of service attacks, forcing many government Web sites offline. Cyber attacks will likely become an increasingly common element of future warfare, and governments are taking steps to shore up IT defenses.

The computer attacks Russia allegedly orchestrated against Georgia in August have raised the cyber warfare bar to a new threat level. The cyber assault that accompanied Russia's armed maneuver into its former territory of Georgia escalated to an international event.

The concept of hurting a nation's technological infrastructure  as part of a wider conflict is not new. The extent to which the digital warfare was waged, however, clearly added to a growing concern that has already led U.S. officials to prepare for the next wave of computer warfare.
We now have entered a new age of cyber warfare, one in which attacks are apparently waged by governments for military purposes rather than -- or, perhaps, in addition to -- high-tech gangs of criminals seeking financial gain. Governments and Internet security  firms are quietly gearing up for the potential onslaught. The U.S. government has created a secret computer warfare response team to meet this new international threat.
"We know that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) is behind a big initiative on cyber warfare. We've seen more government reactions each time an incident is discovered. Generally, it takes six to nine months after a new incident to accelerate defensive efforts. We are slowly getting up momentum. We know that the U.S. government is involved in cyber attacks, but this is being hushed up," Mandeep Khera, researcher for Web application security security testing firm Cenzic, told TechNewsWorld.
Cyber War Primer
DHS statistics in published accounts showed that 37,000 attempted breaches of government and private computer systems were reported in fiscal 2007. Those incidents increased from the 24,000 reported the previous year.
In addition, FBI reports from last year show that 108 countries have dedicated cyber attack capabilities. Groups within China's government and computer networks based inside Russia have been linked to cyber attacks aimed at various government agencies in the U.S. and Europe.
For instance, for three weeks starting in April of 2007, 1 million computers under botnet control started attacking the Estonian government's computers in a denial of service (DoS) assault. Following that series of digital attacks, NATO provided the Estonian government with help in restoring its computer systems and investigating the attacks. Considerable evidence reportedly pointed to computers in Russia as the source of the commands; however, Russia's government has denied any involvement.
Computer security experts have theorized that cyber attacks like the ones hackers were using for spam and ID theft operations could easily become weapons for political and military purposes against governments.
 
 

The white priestess of 'black magic'

In 1957, she fell ill with tuberculosis in an epidemic in which many thousands died.

Friend Ajani Adigun Davies says Mrs Wenger believes the illness was a kind of sacrifice, in return for the knowledge she was receiving about the gods.

"The Yoruba beliefs all depend on sacrifice, that you must give something of value to get something of value, you must suffer pain to gain knowledge," he says.

In her early years in Nigeria she met Adjagemo, a high-priest of creator-god Obatala, who would become her mentor.

"He took me by the hand and led me into the spirit world," Mrs Wenger told a French documentary maker in 2005.

"I did not speak Yoruba, and he did not speak English, our only intercourse was the language of the trees."

She divorced her husband and resolved to stay in Osogbo for the rest of her life.

Mrs Wenger believes that the spirit world has long been neglected by Western culture, and spirits can appear to anyone as long as they are willing to accept them.

"You need special eyes to see them," she says.

Traditions

Enemies in churches and mosques have tried to smash her sculptures of deities and burn down the forest that shelters them.

But artist Sangodare Gbadegesin Ajala, Mrs Wenger's adopted son, says many local people accepted her eagerly.

"Maybe you can call Susanne our saviour," says Mr Ajala, now the high-priest of Sango, the lightning-god.

"Was Christ an African? Muhammad was an Arabian. Why can't our saviour be European?"

The first time he met her was the day of his initiation into the cult of Sango, when he was 11.

His father was an unapologetic devotee of the old gods, and refused to let his child be baptised or go to schools run by Christians or Muslims.

But Mr Ajala wanted to learn to read, and he thought a white woman would let him.

"I saw some children reading books, and I wanted to be able to go to school to read these stories."

But six months after he moved in with Mrs Wenger, he asked her if he could go to school.

"She shouted: 'No! you cannot go to school, they will turn you into a Christian and your life will be over!'" he remembers.

~ more... ~

 

AIG wading through offshore moneylaundering waters and intelligence sharks

Featuring the brilliant investigative journalist Lucy Komisar, this program highlights the use of "Offshore" entities to evade taxes, maximize corporate profits and finance a variety of criminal enterprises. Much of the first side of the program consists of analysis and discussion of insurance giant AIG and its prolific use of "offshore" scams. In addition to presenting AIG's pioneering devlopment of "captive" reinsurance companies to launder profits and evade taxes, the program highlights AIG's use of Coral Reinsurance for a variety of illegal gambits. It should be noted that AIG's illegal operations have been aided by a number of powerful and influential people. Much of the second side of the program consists of review of the pivotally important Clearstream network, and its use by intelligence agencies, corporations, criminal syndicates and terrorist organizations.

Program Highlights Include: A working definition of "Offshore;" the links of AIG to the intelligence community; assistance given to AIG's scams by luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of the Treasury Richard Rubin; Clearstream's use of unregistered accounts; the role of the Clearstream network in the Banco Ambrosiano, October Surprise and BCCI scandals; the role of the Clearstream network in the financing of Al Qaeda and 9/11; the role of the Clearstream network in the machinations of the Russian criminal networks of Mikhail Khordokovsky; discussion of the "Bermuda Inversion" gambit; discussion of "Transfer Pricing;" discussion of an organization formed by Lucy Komisar that is working to eliminate corporate tax evasion through the use of "offshore."

Vermont candidate to prosecute Bush if she wins

Lots of political candidates make campaign promises. But not like Charlotte Dennett's.

Dennett, 61, the Progressive Party's candidate for Vermont Attorney General, said Thursday she will prosecute President Bush for murder if she's elected Nov. 4.

Dennett, an attorney and investigative journalist, says Bush must be held accountable for the deaths of thousands of people in Iraq — U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. She believes the Vermont attorney general would have jurisdiction to do so.

She also said she would appoint a special prosecutor and already knows who that should be: former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, the author of "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," a new book.

"Someone has to step forward," said Dennett, flanked by Bugliosi at a news conference announcing her plan. "Someone has to say we cannot put up with this lack of accountability any more."

Dennett and two others are challenging incumbent Attorney General William Sorrell, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 election.

Bugliosi, 74, who gained fame as the prosecutor of killer Charles Manson, said any state attorney general would have jurisdiction since Bush committed "overt acts" including the military's recruitment of soldiers in Vermont and allegedly lying about the threat posed by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in speeches that were aired in Vermont and elsewhere.

"No man, even the president of the United States, is above the law," said Bugliosi.

~ more... ~

 

Alaska: evangelical refuge during Armageddon

In perhaps one of the strangest twists to date in the story of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a video now shows the governor crediting her electoral success to a preacher who claims to successfully hunt witches.
 
[ ... ]
 
Palin's speech accompanied the Wasilla Assembly of God's Masters' Commission, which the church's pastor said will allow Alaska to become a refuge for American evangelicals during the coming "end of days" -- or Armageddon.
 
 

MP calls for new Kelly death probe after MoS revelations cast doubt on whether he was able to kill himself

David Kelly's mysterious death should be investigated by a coroner to establish whether the weapons inspector was murdered, the Government has been told.

The demand was made in a letter to Attorney General Baroness Scotland following revelations in The Mail on Sunday that question the Hutton Inquiry's finding of suicide.

After 59-year-old Dr Kelly's body was discovered in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003, a coroner's inquiry into his death was controversially halted by the Government.

Lord Hutton took over the investigation and concluded the scientist slashed his left wrist and took an overdose of painkillers after being named as the source of a BBC report on the Iraq war.

But after the weapons inspector's close friend Mai Pederson cast doubt in this newspaper last week on his ability to kill himself – she says his right hand was so weak following an accident that he would have been unable to cut himself fatally – Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker has written to the Attorney General demanding a coroner's inquest.

~ more... ~

 

Israel's forgotten hero: The assassination of Count Bernadotte - and the death of peace

Although it would be 30 years before any of its personnel admitted it, the "madness" was perpetrated by the most extreme of the Jewish nationalist underground groups, Lehi, more commonly known to the British as the Stern Gang, ordered by a three-man leadership which included the future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. What cost the life of the count who ran the Swedish Red Cross during the Second World War and was the nephew of King Gustav V, was not the two Arab-Jewish truces he had managed to negotiate – the second of which was close to collapse when he was killed. It was the longer-term peace plan which sought, however vainly and perhaps naively, to tackle the very issues which still lie at the heart of the world's most intractable conflict today: borders, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem. It was on the last point that Bernadotte had most incensed Israeli opinion, by recommending first that the city should be in Arab territory, and then, in a report heavily influenced by Britain and the US and submitted to the UN Security Council the very day before his death, that it should be under international supervision.

Geula Cohen, a former Knesset member on the nationalist far right who in 1948 was a 17-year-old broadcaster on Lehi's clandestine radio, recalls the chilling threats she personally directed at Bernadotte over the airwaves in the weeks before the assassination. "I told him if you are not going to leave Jerusalem and go to your Stockholm, you won't be any more." Did she still think, 60 years later, it was right to kill him? "There is no question about it. We would not have Jerusalem any more."

Few Israelis outside the ranks of Lehi veterans would say that now. But the assassination remains a problematic episode in the country's early history. It was swiftly and almost universally condemned in the Israeli press of the time. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, used it to crack down on – and effectively eliminate – Lehi and arrest hundreds of its volunteers; if anything, the murder made it easier to integrate most of the Lehi and Irgun forces into the Israeli mainstream. But no one who carried out the killing was ever found or brought to trial; the historian Benny Morris says that Ben-Gurion probably had "internal political reasons" for not wanting them found. The police investigation did not begin until 24 hours later and was at best, according to Bernadotte in Palestine 1948, the authoritative and admirably objective account by Israeli historian Amitsur Ilan, "amateurish" when it did. It was not until 1995 that Shimon Peres officially expressed "regret that he was killed in a terrorist way". And, finally, had the assassination and the motives for it, helped to obstruct the recognition due to Bernadotte for his rescue of large numbers of people held in Nazi concentration camps, including several thousand Jews, in 1945?

~ more... ~

 

The 9-11 passenger list oddity

Which brings me to Ellen Mariani: she's the woman who lost her husband Louis on Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower on 9-11. With the help of a lawyer named Phil Berg, she filed a lawsuit against President Bush and company under the RICO act. Also, she refused to take the hush money that was offered to her under the 9-11 Victims Compensation fund.

In addition, I had just discovered Black Op Radio earlier in the year and found an interesting show in their archives (# 156) on which Ellen and Mr. Berg appeared as guests. This may be the single biggest point concerning 9-11, and hopefully the last nail in the coffin of our government's lies. During this broadcast, Mrs. Mariani said that she was the only relative of all the passengers that died on Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower. Her lawyer, Phil Berg, repeated this statement.

I listened to this show over and over again and couldn't believe what she had just said. Everything came together at this point. That's when it dawned on me that not only had our government lied about the physics of 9-11; they may very well have taken it one step farther by faking the number of people that died that day. I believed what she and Mr. Berg had just said. Nothing about 9-11 made any sense. Why should it start now?

Not knowing then what I know now, Ellen and Phil believed that for some reason the government was holding back the names of the people that had died on Flight 175. She had tried to get in touch with the relatives of other family members, but to no avail. You see, she and her lawyer believed, just like most other people believe, that four jets had been hijacked by Arab terrorists and crashed into buildings and into the ground at Shanksville. I, on the other hand, had already swept those lies aside.

Their statement also gave credence to the Fox News reporter who said that the jet which crashed into the South Tower had no windows. Hey, this jet appeared to have a "pod" under it anyway. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to fit.

~ more... ~

 

'Black' ops killing off al-Qaida

Members of Britain's MI6 intelligence service, attached to a highly secretive unit called Task Force Black, have led Britain's SAS and the U.S. Delta Force to kill what a secret intelligence report confirms as "hundreds of al-Qaida terrorists in the past two years and the capture of 3,500 insurgents," according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The operations are described by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq due to leave his post shortly, as a "phenomenal job which has been an immense help in Baghdad."

The SAS units operate as small, deep-cover teams often disguised as Arabs. They were formed to deal with the wave of suicide car bombers which, at the height of the terrorist campaign, was claiming 2,000 lives a month in Baghdad.

Now an MI6 report has revealed: "Using our intelligence, Task Force Black has effectively broken the back of the terrorist network, reducing the number of bombings in Baghdad from around 150 a month to just two last month."

The SAS units and intelligence officers live outside the highly protected Green Zone, flitting constantly from one bolt hole to another in the Baghdad suburbs.

But the success of these "black ops" has come at a price: six members of the SAS have died and 30 have been injured. Delta Force has suffered "in the region of 20 percent casualties," confirmed one source.

The relationship between the two forces is so close that the SAS had made a donation of about $20,000 to Delta Force's "widows and orphans" fund.

While details of the actual deaths of al-Qaida terrorists by the SAS are highly secret, MI6 officers who plan the attacks insist they are not "extra-judicial killings." Each black op is sanctioned by one of the MI6 lawyers in Iraq.

"The rules of engagement are clearly laid down and any breach would be thoroughly investigated," confirmed an MI6 source in London.

~ World Net Daily ~

 

Has America become Fascist?

by Sherwood Ross

If it hasn't gone the way of Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany, it sure is teetering on the brink. America is a nation in deepening crisis, a nation whose leaders repeatedly plunge their citizens into, and make them pay for, serial wars abroad, while stealing their liberties at home. USA has become a country that trashes its citizens (New Orleans), tortures its enemies (Abu Ghraib), threatens other nations with nuclear fire (Iran), flouts international treaties (UN Charter re Iraq), and spies on (FISA), and intimidates, its critics (No Fly). Americans that can clearly see the totalitarian machinations of Vladimir Putin in Russia and Hu Jintao in China are blind to the fascism threatening to envelop them as well.

Webster's defines fascism as "a totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism." A comparison of 20th century fascist and communist regimes with President Bush's USA indicates the machinery for a full-blown totalitarian takeover is now in place, even if no coup has occurred. As Naomi Wolf writes in "The End of America" (Chelsea Green) the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill's Section 333 allows the president "to declare martial law and take charge of the National Guard troops without the permission of a governor when 'public order' has been lost" and to "send the guard into our streets during a public health emergency, terrorist attack or 'other condition.'"

The enabling crowbar was the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It gives the president authority to set up his own system for bringing alien combatants to trial while denying them protection of the Geneva Conventions. "The president and his lawyers now claim the authority to designate any American citizen he chooses as being an 'enemy combatant,'" Wolf writes of power usurpation that characterized the post-World War One epoch in Europe and Asia.

Thus, Congress has empowered Bush just as Germany's Reichstag empowered Hitler, Wolf writes, recalling Hitler's boast, "Democracy will be overthrown with the tools of democracy." Hitler's Interior Minister issued Clause 2 that gave police the power to hold people in custody indefinitely and without a court order, powers the U.S. Congress today has conferred upon "The Decider" in the White House. Mussolini's used the less grandiose "Il Duce" or "The Leader."

According to Michael Ratner, director of the Center For Constitutional Rights, New York, "the president candesignate people enemy combatants and detain them for whatever reason he wantsthere are no charges and prisoners have no lawyers, no family visits, no court reviews, no rights to anything, and no right to release until the mythical end to the 'war on terror.'"

Wolf writes that dictators justify their usurpation of domestic liberties by raising the alarm of "terrorist" threats. Stalin, for example, used this very term in 1934 when he warned his public of a world-wide conspiracy by capitalists to overthrow the Soviet state. If there have been no mass arrests of native-born Americans it is only because the president has not chosen to exercise this authority. If you think it can't happen to you, recall that in September of 2003 the Army arrested 36-year-old American-born Muslim chaplain James Yee, a West Point graduate, allegedly for "espionage and possibly treason"---but more likely for calling for better conditions for Gitmo inmates. Wolf wrote:

"He was blindfolded; his ears were blocked; he was manacled and then put into solitary confinement for 76 days; forbidden mail, television, or anything to read except the Koran. His family was not allowed to visit him. His lawyers were told he would face execution. (But)Within six months, the U.S. government had dropped all criminal charges against Yee." Yes, just as it has dropped charges against hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners earlier, men labeled by former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld as "the worst of the worst" but against the overwhelming majority of whom the Bush regime apparently had no case whatever!

The treatment Yee got is typical of those who run afoul of the Bush regime: torture first, trial afterif there is a trial. And since his release, Yee has been denied his free speech right to discuss his ordeal---gagged by the Pentagon. Perhaps most incredible, even if a Guantanamo prisoner should be found innocent, the Pentagon says he might not be released anyway. This echoes Stalin's practice of re-arresting Gulag prisoners after they had done their time. At one point, Stalin had eight million souls behind bars, even exceeding President Bush, currently the world's Incarcerator-In-Chief.

Author Wolf says another danger flag is the creation of paramilitary groups, "aggressive men who have no clear, accountable relationship to the government or the party seeking power" Mussolini had the blackshirts; Hitler the brownshirts; but whatever their dress, they were thugs. Wolf says that Moycock, N.C.-based Blackwater Worldwide stands ready "to deploy its unaccountable private army (35,000 men) in the U.S.---in the aftermath of natural disasters, and also in cases of 'national emergency.'" With at least a half billion dollars in government contracts, "Blackwater is the world's largest private security force, works closely with Halliburton, and is available for action outside the scrutiny of Congress," Wolf writes. The outfit raked in $73 million for patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And Blackwater subcontractor Red Tactica, recruits former Chilean commandos," men described by one Chilean sociologist that are "valued for their expertise in kidnapping, torturing and killing defenseless civilians," Wolf wrote.

Besides creating such "security" forces, dictators create secret prisons, as Bush has done, ranging from prison ships in the Indian Ocean to dungeons in Poland, where they can hide them from Red Cross scrutiny, as the CIA has done. "We should worry about the men held at Guantanamo because history shows that stripping prisoners of their rights is intoxicating not only to leaders but to functionaries at every level of society," Wolf writes. "Gitmo" is also an interrogation camp, an operation "that is completely and flatly illegal" and outlawed by the Geneva Conventions in 1949, she points out. Stalin also employed torture and in 1937 actually legalized its use in Soviet prisons. When he received his infamous "albums" with the names of those to be executed and imprisoned, next to some names he often wrote: "Beat! Beat! Beat!" And only months after taking power, Hitler "established a network of illegitimate prisons where torture took place" and where guards could murder inmates with "no chance of being punished," Wolf said. And like Stalin, The Decider has signaled his henchmen beatings are now the American Way.

Dictators hold power by instilling fear in their citizens. Since 2000, Wolf writes there has been "a sharp increase in U.S. citizen groups that are being harassed and infiltrated by police and federal agents, often in illegal ways." She pointed to a 2006 ACLU report that California police had infiltrated antiwar protests, political rallies, and other constitutionally protected gatherings and were secretly investigating them, even though the California state constitution forbids this. And prior to the 2004 Republican convention in New York, police department detectives infiltrated groups planning peaceful demonstrations. At the Federal level, Bush's apparatchiks are compiling dossiers on law-abiding citizens. The Defense Department's Talon program has created a database about peaceful antiwar and other groups and activists. As Jen Nessel of the Center for Constitutional Rights says, "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model---you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you."

Bush regime actions' today recall how the Gestapo, NKVD, Stasi (East German secret police) and Red China's Politburo "all requisitioned private data such as medical, banking, and library records," Wolf writes, because access to such private data "breaks down citizens' sense of being able to act freely against those in power." And although the Department of Homeland Security's TIPS scheme to get letter carriers and meter readers, etc., to report suspicious activities was met with derision and never funded, the ACLU noted it was merely absorbed in the Pentagon's "black budget."

Privacy in America today as guaranteed by the Constitution is fast becoming a memory. The New York Times reported the government in 2005 was monitoring your e-mail and telephone talk without legal warrants and the following year the newspaper disclosed U.S. treasury officials, with CIA help, "were reviewing millions of private bank transactions without individual court-ordered warrants or subpoenas," Wolf pointed out.

One method of intimidation is to limit a citizen's right to travel freely. The Bush regime has created "watch"(75,000 names) and "no fly"(45,000 names) lists that restrict individuals' air travel--and those searched and/or stopped from flying can complain all they like because it won't do them any good. Robert Johnson, an American citizen, Wolf reports, described the humiliation factor of being strip searched when he attempted to board an airplane: "I had to take off my pants. I had to take off my sneakers, then I had to take off my socks. I was treated like a criminal." This has now become a commonplace ordeal for thousands of Americans. Even at the height of World War Two, such invasions of personal rights would have been unthinkable.

Going back to Webster's definition of fascism, USA today is the world's runaway leader in "militarism." Forty-three percent of all U.S. tax dollars in 2007 went to feed the war machine, as the Pentagon believes security depends on operating more than 700 military bases in 130 countries overseas in addition to 1,000 at home. Bush has escalated its budget so that USA now spends nearly as much on arms as all the rest of the world combined. Uncle Sam is also the No. 1 private arms peddler to the world. By contrast, Iran, portrayed by the White House as a menace to the Middle East, has an annual military budget that is 1/100th of the Pentagon's outlay.

Perhaps it would be a good exercise for Americans to read how Hitler emphasized nationalism and militarism. As he wrote in "Mein Kampf": "Instead of everlasting struggle the world preaches cowardly pacifism, and everlasting peaceThere is only one right in this world and this right is one's own strength." As for "reconciliation, understanding, world peace, the League of Nations, and international solidarity---we destroy these ideas." Hitler called for delivering Germans "from the hopeless confusion of international convictions" and educating them "consciously and systematically to fanatical nationalism." Armed with such views the fascist state thinks nothing of starting an aggressive war based on lies. In 1939, Hitler claimed he was attacked by Poland, igniting World War Two. Bush claimed that Iraq had nuclear and biological weapons to destroy America when, in fact, it was the United States that possessed those very weapons and it was Iraq that had none.

Bush nonetheless started a seemingly endless war that has by some estimates to date killed more than 1 million Iraqis, wounded perhaps 2 million more, forced a like number from their homes, ravished their country and its economy, touched off a civil war, forced 1 million Iraqis into foreign exile, and killed and wounded 35,000 American troops. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the Iraq war "illegal" but Bush, like Hitler, cares nothing for international treaties, even if those the U.S. has signed under our Constitution are the supreme law of the land. He has made a mockery to the anti-nuclear treaty, causing former President Carter to charge his own country has become the leader in nuclear proliferation. What's more, Bush has spent about $50 billion on germ warfare "defense" with no known significant foreign threat to USA.

Americans may think that Webster's view that fascism is often accompanied by racism doesn't fit them. Indeed, USA's strides to eliminate racism based on color in the last century are a societal marvel. But racism against African Americans has largely been replaced with the foolhardy notion that Americans are better than everybody else in the world and have the authority to set right any ruler they believe is in error. This view of their own superiority echoes Hitler's "master race" view of the German people or the Tokyo militarists' view in 1940 that a superior Japan was destined to rule "the eight corners of the world." In this sense, America is very "racist" indeed and the "aggressive nationalism" highlighted by Webster's is apparent in the rhetoric of its public officials and the conduct of its foreign affairs.

Yet another characteristic of the fascist state is its leader's use of arbitrary power. Note how Bush evades the will of Congress by tacking on "signing statements" to laws he doesn't like, thus refusing to enforce them, putting himself above the will of Congress and the American people. Note how his aides refuse to respond to Congressional subpoenas to testify. Yet another example is how the Justice Department's own internal investigators found Bush's appointees filled nonpolitical posts with party hacks and then lied about what they had done. "Civil Service Laws Were Breached in Filling Nonpolitical Jobs" said a New York Times reported July 29th. It should be remembered Hitler followed a like policy when he purged Jews from their government posts. When tyrants rule, merit is ever subservient to loyalty.

Of course, Bush has not flung thousands of Americans into prison to torture and murder them as Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin did, but he has the power to do so, making the latter half of 2008 a time of danger for Americans. Wolf writes, "At a point in both Mussolini's and Hitler's takeovers, citizens witnessed a stunning series of quickly escalating pronunciamentos or faits accomplis. After each leader made his bids for power beyond what the Italian parliament and the German Reichstag allowed him, each abruptly started to claim all kinds of new rights that were extra-parliamentary; the right unilaterally to go to war, to annex territory, to veto existing laws, or to overrule the judiciary," etc.

To repeat the question, "Is America fascist?" the answer is that the machinery is in place for a totalitarian takeover at the direction of a tyrant. While it is true that the U.S. is not a one-party state (some will dispute this owing to the many similarities of the two major parties) like fascist Italy and Germany, and it does have free elections, for the first time in its history in 2000 and 2004 an ominous cloud of doubt has hung over the authenticity of the popular vote and a vast segment of the voting public today does not trust the election machinery to record their vote as they intend. There are no mass arrests and executions in the thousands and millions that typified the regimes of Hitler and Stalin (Stalin had 681,000 people executed in 1937-8 "Great Terror" alone); free speech still exists (under Stalin, a person could be imprisoned for making a Stalin joke); and the government has not put its leaden hand on business as Putin has done although crony capitalism in the selection of defense contractors is rampant. These vital distinctions set America apart from the totalitarian society. Yet, with each passing day in its "War on Terror" the Bush regime tightens its hold on the machinery to establish totalitarian rule here.

Americans need to keep in mind that worse than anything President Bush has inflicted upon its own citizenry is what its wars of aggression have inflicted on innocent humanity abroad. A million dead Iraqis can't give a damn by what terminology you describe the United States. If the American people allow their government to make criminal wars to deprive innocent foreigners of their lives and liberties they do not deserve to enjoy either at home.

 

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer who has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News, a columnist for wire services, a news director for a large civil rights organization, and as a publicist for colleges, labor unions and entrepreneurial start-ups. Reach him at sherwoodr1[at]yahoo.com. The writer is indebted to Naomi Wolf for her book, "The End of America." Ms. Wolf is cofounder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, New York, an organization that teaches young women how to assume leadership roles.

~ Media in Conscience ~

 

Lorca's remains to be exhumed

The family of Federico García Lorca, the Spanish Civil War poet, said it would allow officials to dig up a common grave in which he is believed to be buried, Agence France-Presse reported. Relatives of the poet told the newspaper El País that they will allow the grave, which also includes the remains of three other men executed by the fascists in 1936, to be unearthed. The relatives had opposed the opening of the grave, which is believed to contain the remains of two anarchist bullfighters and a schoolteacher executed near Granada. Nieves Galindo, the schoolteacher's granddaughter, petitioned Baltasar Garzón, a judge, to open the gravesite to verify that her relative is buried there. Laura García Lorca, the poet's niece, told El País, "Even if we don't want it to be done, we respect the wishes of the other parties involved."
 
 

The 12 most important lesbian and gay books of all time

1.  THE BIBLE

More than any other book, the Bible has shaped Western Civilization's opinion of homosexuality.  Taken out of content, the (mis)interpretation of several Biblical passages were used as an excuse to murder, torture, imprison, rape, batter, ostracize, deride, and discriminate against lesbians, gay males and bisexual people through the centuries.  Less noticed are several passages of homoerotic passion:  Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, and Jesus and his "Beloved Disciple".

~ more... ~

 

Push to legalize homosexuality in India

India, operating under colonial-era laws criminalizing homosexuality, appears to be finally joining the debate over allowing privacy in relationships, and with gays campaigning to decriminalize the issue.

The same-sex community in India has been especially bolstered by speeches by federal health minister Anbumani Ramadoss. At the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Mexico city, Ramaoss said, "Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalizes men who have sex with other men, must go."
"Structural discrimination against those who are vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and men having sex with men must be removed if our prevention, care and treatment programs are to succeed," he added.
The penal code section that makes homosexuality illegal has been a subject of much controversy. It states: "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."
The Indian police, infamous for corruption, often raid clinics and victimize health workers seeking to treat same-sex people lovers, who are considered vulnerable to diseases such as HIV and AIDS, charging them with conspiracy to "unnatural sexual acts". That has driven a vast community of Indian gays and lesbians, with estimates ranging from 5 million to 50 million, into the fringes of society.
Among the high profile campaigners for the same-sex community in India is the writer Vikram Seth, himself gay, who has been quoted as saying: "HIV/AIDS in India is exacerbated by our ignorance and shame about sex. We simply don't like to talk about it - even to impart or receive essential, life saving information.''
Seth, along with 16 Indian writers including Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, Amit Chadhuri has traveled the country to speak to gays, drug addicts, policemen, vigilantes and sex workers. The result is a collection of essays.
Indian gays have been upbeat about the attention, which was reflected in the annual gay parade last month August 16th celebrating the community.
 
 

Apocalypse now? 30 days when the world didn't end

The beginning of the first serious experiments using CERN's Large Hadron Collider this week has given rise to a welter of fanciful scare stories about the obliteration of the Earth by a pocket black hole or a cascade reaction of exotic particles. Similar predictions have been made around the launch of several other particle physics experiments and even the first atomic weapons tests.

Predictions of the world's end are nothing new though. We've picked out 30 of the most memorable apocalypses that never, for one reason or another, quite happened.

1: 2,800BC: The oldest surviving prediction of the world's imminent demise was found inscribed upon an Assyrian clay tablet which stated: "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common." Wherever more than two people over 30 are gathered together, expect to hear remarkably similar sentiments.

2: 1st century AD: In Matthew 16:28 the following interesting quotation is ascribed to Jesus: "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." The clear implication is that the final judgement would occur within the lifetimes of those present. The Book of Revelation too rather suggests an imminent rather than distant date for the last trump. "Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me to reward every man according to his work." (Revelation: 22:12) These statements are the wellspring of more than 2,000 years of millennial Christian cults, as we will see below.

3: 2nd century AD: The Montanists, founded in around 155 AD by a chap called Montanus, were perhaps the first recognisable Christian "end of the world" cult. They believed that Christ's triumphant return was imminent and established a base in Anatolia, central Turkey where they waited for doomsday. Montanus was an immensely charismatic leader, given to speaking in tongues, and despite the failure of all his prophecies, his sect endured for hundreds of years after his death. Tertullian, an early Christian thinker who coined terms like the Trinity, and the Old and New Testaments, became a devotee of Montanism in later life.

4: Mar 25, 970 AD. The Lotharingian computists believed they had found evidence in the Bible that a conjunction of certain feast days prefigured the end times. They were just one of a wide scattering of millennial cults springing up in advance of that first Millennium. The abbot of Saint-Benoit of Fleury-sur-Loire sent a letter to his king complaining about the Lotharingians: "For a rumour had filled almost the entire world that when the Annunciation fell on Good Friday, without any question, it would be the End of the World." The millennial panic endured for at least 30 years after the fateful date had come and gone, with some adjustment made to allow 1,000 years after the crucifixion, rather than the nativity.

5: 1284: Pope Innocent III predicted the Second Coming for this year. He based his prediction on the date of the inception of the Muslim faith, and then added 666 years to that.

6: Botticelli's Mystical Nativity: To this painting, which hangs in the National Gallery in London, Botticelli added a Greek inscription which characterised the early 1500s as a pre-apocalyptic period known as the Tribulation and anticipated a Second Coming in or around the year 1504.

7: Feb 1, 1524. Panicked by predictions made by a group of London astrologers, some 20,000 people abandoned their homes and fled to high ground in anticipation of a second Great Flood that was predicted to start from the Thames. Proving that this was not just the error of a London-centric media, the German astrologer Johannes Stoeffler then made a similar prediction for later in the same month.

8: 1648: Having made close study of the kabbalah, theTurkish rabbi Sabbatai Zevi predicted that the Messiah would make a miraculous return in 1648, and that his name would be Sabbatai Zevi. With 1648 having come and gone without any appreciable apocalypse Sabbatai revised his estimate to?

9: 1666: A year packed with apocalyptic portent. With a date containing the figures commonly accepted as the biblical Number of the Beast and following a protracted period of plague in England, it was little surprise that many should believe the Great Fire of London to be a herald of the Last Days.

10: 1794. Charles Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed that the world would come to an end in this year, thus concurring with the Shakers who also anticipated a final reckoning.

11: Dec 25, 1814: In Devon, a self-styled prophet named Joanna Southcott averred that she was the expectant mother of a new Christ-child to which she would give birth on Christmas Day 1814. That she was a virgin and well over 60 did not appear to weaken her faith that this would come to pass. She was at least correct that something momentous would occur on the fateful date: she died. Despite this disappointment, a large cult continued to believe in Southcott and, as late as 1927, a sealed box said to contain an important message left by Joanna was opened in the presence of the Bishop of Grantham. It contained a lottery ticket.

12: 1836. Notwithstanding his brother's erroneous estimate, the Methodist leader John Wesley expected the End Times to commence in 1836, with the appearance of the Great Beast of Revelation.

13: Aug 7, 1847. The leader of a small, largely forgotten German religious cult called the Harmonists, "Father" George Rapp was convinced that Jesus would return before his death. To his credit his faith in this event was unshakeable right up to the end of his life: "If I did not know that the dear Lord meant I should present you all to him, I should think my last moment come," he said. Only the latter assumption proved to be true.

14: 1874 : Memorable for being the first of a long line of dates posited for the End of the World by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

15: 1881 : Another estimated apocalypse by the Jehovah's Witnesses, and also by pyramidologists who used the peculiar geometry of the Great Pyramid to extrapolate various world events using a form of numerology. The renowned 16th century seer Mother Shipton was also said to have predicted: "The world to an end shall come, in eighteen hundred and eighty one" That this verse was subsequently proven to be fraudulent did not deter the credulous few from engaging in the now fully-fledged custom known as millennial panic.

16: May 18, 1910: Despite a number of previous documented appearances having caused no deaths, the 1910 return of Halley's Comet was widely perceived as a threat to mankind – allegedly due to noxious vapours emanating from its tail. This may be the first apocalyptic panic founded on a scientific, rather than religious misapprehension. Interestingly, the American author Mark Twain who was born in 1835 – another Halley's Comet year – and correctly predicted that his own death in 1910 would coincide with the dirty snowball's return.

17: Dec 17, 1919. Albert Porta, a meteorologist, averred that a rare conjunction of planets would create a powerful gravitational or magnetic flux drawing draw a giant solar flare out toward the Earth, incinerating the atmosphere. Some credulous souls, on hearing this, apparently chose suicide rather than be killed. Which is rather odd once you think about it. Another failure for the scientific method.

18: 1967 : A banner year for apocalypse: Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, and UFO contactee George van Tassel all independently arrived at the conclusion that the Summer of Love would be the end of us all.

19: Apr 29, 1980. Leland Jensen, leader of a splinter group from the minority Bahá'í faith, announced that this day would see a nuclear exchange between the superpowers resulting in the deaths of millions. In fact 1979 and 1983 would have been the two most likely years for this to have happened, with nuclear strikes averted by sheer fluke on both occasions. Finding himself alive on April 30, the prophet fell back on the traditional "This is [only the] start of the Tribulation" excuse.

20: Mar 10, 1982. In a near repeat of the erroneous 1919 prophecy, a popular "science" book, The Jupiter Effect, expostulated that a planetary conjunction would cause earthquakes, or a solar flare, or both. In fact, the only appreciable effect of the gravitational pull of all the planets combined was a possible higher tide measured in some places – peaking 0.04mm above average. Two years earlier, the televangelist Pat Robertson had also predicted this, saying: "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world".

21: Apr 29, 1987: The irrepressible doom-monger Leland Jensen was back with more portents of extinction, this time as a result of a collision between the Earth and that old favourite Halley's Comet.

22: 1988: Another rash of predictions nominated this year as our last, chiefly influenced by best-selling 1970 book The Late, Great Planet Earth, which interpreted a passage from the book of Matthew as indicating the return of Christ within 40 years of the founding of the state of Israel.

23: Sep 28, 1992: "Rockin" Rollen Stewart, an eccentric evangelist who started the craze for holding up signs representing bible verses at public events [John 3:16 was the most popular of these] was certain that The Rapture would occur on this day. He went on to instigate a campaign of stink-bombing churches and other religiously inspired acts of madness, which culminated with his imprisonment for kidnapping.

24: March – May 1997: The year of the comet Hale-Bopp gave rise to a welter of "end of the world" theories all based on a mistaken observation by amateur astronomer Chuck Shramek. When his assertion that the comet was being trailed by a companion object found its way onto Usenet message boards, it was magnified by the full power of the then-young internet into a worldwide hullabaloo. Another contributory factor was the suggestion that the Solar System was about to pass through a mysterious and entirely imaginary region of space called the Photon Belt. The Heaven's Gate cult seized on these combined rumours as their signal to commit mass suicide in March of this year. It was also the 6,000th anniversary of the Creation, as calculated by Bishop Ussher, leading to another wave of "Last Days" panic.

25: 12:01am, Mar 31, 1998. One of the more precise predictions of the Second Coming. Hon-Ming Chen, leader of the Taiwanese cult "The True Way" - claimed that God would announce his imminent return on every television in the USA at this moment, prior to an actual landing in his spacecraft. Chen had the good grace to admit his mistake and offer to be crucified when the deity failed to materialise, but no-one seemed enthusiastic.

26: 1999: Throughout 1998 and 1999 the predictions of Apocalypse came so thick and fast as to dwarf any previous doomsday craze. For Nostradamus, arguably the best-known seer of all time, July was the chosen date of Armageddon. No sooner was the July panic over when the rumour began to spread that the Cassini space probe would crash to Earth, spilling its radioactive fuel and fulfilling the prediction in Revelation 8:11 "And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

27: 2000: No less a luminary than Sir Isaac Newton believed that the year 2000 would see the events foretold in the Book of Revelation as detailed in his book Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John.

28: Feb 12, 2006: Clinton Ortiz claimed on his website that Prince William, whom he suggests is the Antichrist of Revelation, would come to power on this day. He also quotes William's mother – Diana, Princess of Wales – as having said: "I believe Wills can rebuild Camelot and I will be his Merlin. Together we will return to the chivalry, pageantry, and the glory that was King Arthur's Court. William will remake the Monarchy by showing love, leadership, and compassion."

29: Friday 13th April 2007: An un-named punter placed a £10 best at 10,000/1 with Ladbrokes, the bookmakers, that the world would end on that day. It is unclear how he expected to collect.

30: Mar 21, 2008. A minor Christian sect The Lords' Witnesses announced this date for the end of days on their website, which is still online.

A number of websites proved invaluable in research for this piece, most notably The Times Archive, A Brief History of the Apocalypse and Religious Tolerance.org

~ Times Online ~

 

Google
 

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

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