Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthy food obsession sparks rise in new eating disorder

The condition was named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, and is described as a "fixation on righteous eating". Until a few years ago, there were so few sufferers that doctors usually included them under the catch-all label of "Ednos" – eating disorders not otherwise recognised. Now, experts say, orthorexics take up such a significant proportion of the Ednos group that they should be treated separately.

"I am definitely seeing significantly more orthorexics than just a few years ago," said Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association's mental health group. "Other eating disorders focus on quantity of food but orthorexics can be overweight or look normal. They are solely concerned with the quality of the food they put in their bodies, refining and restricting their diets according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly 'pure'."

Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.

The obsession about which foods are "good" and which are "bad" means orthorexics can end up malnourished. Their dietary restrictions commonly cause sufferers to feel proud of their "virtuous" behaviour even if it means that eating becomes so stressful their personal relationships can come under pressure and they become socially isolated.

"The issues underlying orthorexia are often the same as anorexia and the two conditions can overlap but orthorexia is very definitely a distinct disorder," said Philpot. "Those most susceptible are middle-class, well-educated people who read about food scares in the papers, research them on the internet, and have the time and money to source what they believe to be purer alternatives."

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“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran”

From The Iranian Threat by Noam Chomsky [ZNet]

The dire threat of Iran is widely recognized to be the most serious foreign policy crisis facing the Obama administration. Congress has just strengthened the sanctions against Iran, with even more severe penalties against foreign companies. The Obama administration has been rapidly expanding its offensive capacity in the African island of Diego Garcia, claimed by Britain, which had expelled the population so that the US could build the massive base it uses for attacking the Middle East and Central Asia. The Navy reports sending a submarine tender to the island to service nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines with Tomahawk missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads. Each submarine is reported to have the striking power of a typical carrier battle group. According to a US Navy cargo manifest obtained by the Sunday Herald (Glasgow), the substantial military equipment Obama has dispatched includes 387 "bunker busters" used for blasting hardened underground structures. Planning for these "massive ordnance penetrators," the most powerful bombs in the arsenal short of nuclear weapons, was initiated in the Bush administration, but languished. On taking office, Obama immediately accelerated the plans, and they are to be deployed several years ahead of schedule, aiming specifically at Iran.

"They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran," according to Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. "US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours," he said. "The firepower of US forces has quadrupled since 2003," accelerating under Obama.

The Arab press reports that an American fleet (with an Israeli vessel) passed through the Suez Canal on the way to the Persian Gulf, where its task is "to implement the sanctions against Iran and supervise the ships going to and from Iran." British and Israeli media report that Saudi Arabia is providing a corridor for Israeli bombing of Iran (denied by Saudi Arabia). On his return from Afghanistan to reassure NATO allies that the US will stay the course after the replacement of General McChrystal by his superior, General Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen visited Israel to meet Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and senior Israeli military staff along with intelligence and planning units, continuing the annual strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S. in Tel Aviv. The meeting focused "on the preparation by both Israel and the U.S. for the possibility of a nuclear capable Iran," according to Haaretz, which reports further that Mullen emphasized that "I always try to see challenges from Israeli perspective." Mullen and Ashkenazi are in regular contact on a secure line.

The increasing threats of military action against Iran are of course in violation of the UN Charter, and in specific violation of Security Council resolution 1887 of September 2009 which reaffirmed the call to all states to resolve disputes related to nuclear issues peacefully, in accordance with the Charter, which bans the use or threat of force.

Some respected analysts describe the Iranian threat in apocalyptic terms. Amitai Etzioni warns that "The U.S. will have to confront Iran or give up the Middle East," no less. If Iran's nuclear program proceeds, he asserts, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other states will "move toward" the new Iranian "superpower"; in less fevered rhetoric, a regional alliance might take shape independent of the US. In the US army journal Military Review, Etzioni urges a US attack that targets not only Iran's nuclear facilities but also its non-nuclear military assets, including infrastructure – meaning, the civilian society. "This kind of military action is akin to sanctions - causing 'pain' in order to change behaviour, albeit by much more powerful means."

Such harrowing pronouncements aside, what exactly is the Iranian threat? An authoritative answer is provided in the April 2010 study of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2010. The brutal clerical regime is doubtless a threat to its own people, though it does not rank particularly high in that respect in comparison to US allies in the region. But that is not what concerns the Institute. Rather, it is concerned with the threat Iran poses to the region and the world.

The study makes it clear that the Iranian threat is not military. Iran's military spending is "relatively low compared to the rest of the region," and less than 2% that of the US. Iranian military doctrine is strictly "defensive,… designed to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities." Iran has only "a limited capability to project force beyond its borders." With regard to the nuclear option, "Iran's nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy."

Though the Iranian threat is not military, that does not mean that it might be tolerable to Washington. Iranian deterrent capacity is an illegitimate exercise of sovereignty that interferes with US global designs. Specifically, it threatens US control of Middle East energy resources, a high priority of planners since World War II, which yields "substantial control of the world," one influential figure advised (A. A. Berle).

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Olympic park site may have been exposed to toxic waste

By Sarah Flanagan [Recycle]

The future of the London Olympics could be at stake with the discovery of radioactive waste under the Olympic park site.

Trace amounts of radium and thorium were found buried under the main stadium, but the Olympic Delivery Authority is adamant that there is no risk to attendees or participants during the Games. Experts, however, are saying that the site will need to be reassessed after 2012, prior to any further developments of the location.

John Large, an independent nuclear analyst, said that there is a little doubt that radiological risk analysis will have applicability and validity for future uses, such as housing. The Lower Lea Valley location was used previously as industrial land, where during the Fifties and Sixties illegal dumping of toxic waste and misuse of landfills was more common.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company, which plans to sell off the assets after the Games, stated that the ODA had assured the firm that the land was clean and kept to the highest possible standard. Simon Wright, director of utilities for ODA, said that the Olympic park site was perfectly safe.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in London in 2012. Preparations have already been long underway to put everything in order for the coming attraction. The Games are expected to bring a large boost to the London economy, particularly in the wake of the economic downturn. In similar sporting news, England has also been bidding for the World Cup 2018 to be held on British soil.

Weird antimatter particles discovered

 Exotic antimatter particles have been detected deep within the Earth's interior, scientists report.

Studying these particles, which are thought to result from radioactive decay within Earth, could help scientists better understand how the flow of heat inside our planet affects surface events like volcanoes and earthquakes.

The particles, called geoneutrinos, are made of a strange type of matter called antimatter, which has properties opposite those of regular matter. When a regular particle, like an electron, meets with its antimatter partner, called a positron, the two annihilate each other in an energetic explosion.

Geoneutrinos are the antimatter partners of neutrinos, which are very lightweight, neutrally charged particles that are created within the sun and when a cosmic ray strikes a normal atom. An earlier project called KamLAND in Japan found the first signs of possible geoneutrinos in 2005.

Giant steel sphere

Researchers in the Borexino collaboration at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics discovered the geoneutrinos inside a nylon sphere detector containing 1,000 tons of a hydrocarbon liquid. This sphere is encased within a larger stainless steel sphere in which an array of ultrasensitive photodetectors point at the inner nylon globe. Both of these layers are enclosed within a third 45-foot (13.7-m) diameter steel sphere holding 2,400 tons of highly purified water.

The whole experiment is buried nearly a mile (1.6 km) below the surface of the Gran Sasso mountain in Italy. 

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What are we? New experiments suggest we're not purely physical

...We assume there's a universe "out there" separate from what we are, and that we play no role in its appearance. Yet since the 1920s, experiments have shown just the opposite; results do depend on whether anyone is observing. This is most vividly illustrated by the famous two-hole experiment. When you watch a particle go through the holes, it behaves like a bullet, passing through one hole or the other. But if no one observes the particle, it exhibits the behavior of a wave and can pass through both holes at the same time.

This and other experiments tell us that unobserved particles exist only as "waves of probability" as Max Born demonstrated in 1926. They're statistical predictions -- nothing but a likely outcome. Until observed, they have no real existence; only when the mind sets the scaffolding in place can they be thought of as having duration or a position in space. Experiments make it increasingly clear that even mere knowledge in the experimenter's mind is sufficient to convert possibility to reality.

Importantly, this behavior isn't limited to the microscopic world. New experiments carried out with huge molecules called "Buckyballs" show that quantum reality extends into the macroscopic world we live in. In 2005, KHC0₃ crystals exhibited entanglement ridges one-half inch high, quantum behavior nudging into everyday levels of discernment.

Biocentrism tells us that reality is a process that involves our consciousness, and that space and time aren't the hard objects we think. Recent experiments show that separate particles can influence each other instantaneously over great distances, as if they're endowed with ESP. They're intimately linked in a manner suggesting there's no space or time influencing their behavior. In 1997 Nicolas Gisin sent pairs of particles zooming along optical fibers until they were seven miles apart. But whatever action one took, its twin performed the complementary action instantaneously. Since then, other researchers have duplicated Gisin's work.

All of these experiments make perfect sense from a biocentric perspective. Everything we perceive is a whirl of information in our head. Time can be defined as the summation of spatial states occurring inside the mind. But that doesn't mean there's an invisible matrix in which changes occur. We watch our loved ones age and die and assume that an external entity called time is responsible for the crime. There's a peculiar intangibility to space, as well. Like time, it's just a tool of our understanding.

Future studies may confirm this biocentric view of the universe. Just months ago, Gisin announced a new twist on his experiment, and that the results could be visible to the naked eye. Another proposed new experiment, scaled-up superposition, may confirm that quantum effects apply to human-scale objects...

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Mendoza legislation AB2072 nudges California back to eugenics

California eugenics has a direct link to Nazi Germany's war of extermination against Jews and all other Europeans deemed less worthy than the Aryan master race. In the first two decades of the twentieth century, American eugenics launched a campaign to create a white, blue-eyed, blond-haired master race in America, a biological ideal they called “Nordic.” A key center for the pseudoscience of eugenics sprang up in California. It was from California that eugenicists, backed by wealthy philanthropies such as the Carnegie Institution, created racist pseudo-medical brochures and proposed legislation to eliminate the existence of all people on earth who did not resemble the Nordic ideal.

How? Eugenicists wanted to create public gas chambers, marriage prohibition, concentration camps, and other elimination strategies for those perceived as “disabled” or less than the eugenic version of perfect. Legislation was crafted to slowly implement their goals on a state-by-state level.

Euthanasia laws were introduced in Ohio by the social worker professions as early as 1908—and defeated. Marriage restriction and concentration camp confinement laws for those with vision problems were proffered in New York by the ophthalmology profession—and defeated.

But through an extensive and pernicious campaign of fake science and academic fraud at the highest echelon, eugenicists were able to achieve forced sterilization laws in twenty-seven states. Ultimately, some 65,000 Americans were coercively sterilized, many without knowing it. Often the reasons were no more than gossip about moral character, presumed illiteracy, poverty, or the commission of a petty economic crime. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws and over the coming few decades, about a third, and sometimes more, of all these 65,000 forced sterilizations occurred in California. In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed in the state, 700 on women.

The state's two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton, and Pacific Colony state hospitals.

In the twenties, Adolf Hitler studied American eugenic theories and California's statutes and emulated them in Nazi Germany with great ferocity and velocity, renaming the Nordic type as “Aryan.” In “Mein Kampf,” published in 1925, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. “There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. “I have studied with great interest,” he told a fellow Nazi, “the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.” Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenics leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, “The Passing of the Great Race,” his “bible.” The deaf were among the Reich's earliest targets for elimination and covered by the first wave of Nazi legislation in 1933.

In 1934, as Germany's sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany where he sat on a Nazi eugenics court, ebulliently bragged to a Pasadena colleague, “You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”

Many thought eugenics was a buried part of California's past. Now it seems that new legislation, AB2072, may nudge the state back to the slippery eugenic slope. The target of opportunity is the state's deaf community. They are an easy target and find it hard to stand up to the powerful medical economic interest of the audiology profession and the cochlear ear implant industry who are lobbying hard for AB2072, a law that will create a climate that can quickly subhumanize, marginalize, and medically modernize an entire cultural group out of existence. This porous ill-defined legislation, sponsored by Assemblymember Tony Mendoza (56th District)—probably without thinking through the impact—has for all intents and purposes identified the deaf as social misfits that require state intervention.

Mendoza's legislation calls for every newborn to be tested. Families with a deaf infant are to receive an “informative” brochure—devoid of oversight and detached from the wishes of the deaf community—that will in realistic terms be under the control of the audiology industry. This brochure will in essence sell cochlear implants as a medical marvel that will obsolete the deaf and their well-developed culture of community. This has been a goal of the eugenics world and its tax-exempt foundations since eugenics pioneer Alexander Graham Bell—a leader of the early eugenic societies—spotlighted the deaf for elimination.

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Illegal government land grabs using eminent domain, UN condemns action

Land confiscations and evictions are a worry of the population of Turks & Caicos. The United Kingdom took control over the islands last August 2009 and has since been making mistake after mistake in this island nation.

More than mistakes, in my opinion, is UK's willful lack of respect for the people and the laws of the country. This certainly includes UK's "land grabs" there.

At the outset of UK's take over, it was said by the so-called "UK interim government" that land confiscations would be made if the land was transferred by way of corrupt practices.

However, in this case, corruption has not been proved nor is there any fair and realistic approach by the UK to proving corruption. The United Kingdom strangely uses the circumstantial evidence that it has gathered from a local political opposition activists for proof. And, the UK has disregarded balancing testimony and balancing documentation which could exonerate the accused.

Even more ominous is that regular citizens are being victimized and evicted from their lands and homes by the UK. This has the local people, "frightened, angry and helpless."

This quote from the land owners of Chalk Sound, the latest victims of land grabs by the UK. These Chalk Sound residents have invested their life savings and borrowed money toward purchasing land and building their homes on these lands.

The UK government announced last month that these people/families in Chalk Sound must move. This will cause displacement of many native families.

Local leaders in the Turks & Caicos have finally met with the United Nations, Fourth Committee for Decolonization, this month. The Fourth Committee has condemned UK's actions in Turks & Caicos, however it had no direct indication that the people opposed UK's installed government there, until now.

Indeed the United Kingdom has used no legal means to confiscate lands in Turks & Caicos. If the UK was trying to make a pretense of being fair, it would have used Eminent Domain laws to confiscate property. Eminent Domain is a set of laws allowing government rights to take land for government purposes. Eminent Domain requires legal steps and equitable relief for those affected.

UN advisers have said that even if Eminent Domain laws are used by a country, the world needs to be diligent and vigilant to make completely certain that Eminent Domain is not being used to take land illegally.

The United Nation Chronicles address areas of concern related to illegal land seizure, it calls "land grabbing". According to the UN Land Grab is defined as follows: "It's a phenomenon wherein any means possible, including legislative, is used to confiscate or grab land."

The UN advisers warn that the dogma of Eminent Domain laws allow a country to exploit a system wherein a state can in effect confiscate land as an opportunity to oppress, punish or victimize. This process will allow unfettered access to the land without any legal means for the victims to challenge the land grab.

Particularly dangerous is where a state uses Eminent Domain in such a way to exploit a political element, particularly affecting minorities: "Which severely affects the housing and land rights of indigenous people. There is this element of discrimination, based on race, ethnicity or income levels that comes in, where particular groups are affected even more."

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Toronto gets 'secret' arrest powers ahead of G20 protests

A government changes a law to allow police to arrest people without probable cause. It does so without any legislative debate. Then it keeps the change a virtual secret, until someone is arrested under those new powers.

The Soviet Union circa 1950? Nope. Try Canada, June 2010.

Civil liberties advocates and political activists are up in arms after it emerged Friday that police in Toronto have been given special powers to arrest anyone near the site of the G20 summit if they fail to identify themselves.

What's more, the government of the province of Ontario, which green-lit the new powers, didn't tell anyone about it until after someone was arrested under the new powers.

Thirty-one-year-old Dave Vasey was arrested near the G20 perimeter security fence in downtown Toronto Thursday afternoon after refusing to identify himself to a police officer.

“The officer told me, 'I am going to have to place you under arrest if you don't show your identification,' and I replied 'I'm not comfortable with that,'” Vasey said, as quoted at the Toronto Star.

With Vasey's arrest, it emerged that Ontario secretly changed its Public Works Protection Act to allow police officers unprecedented powers of arrest. That law allowed police to arrest people if they fail to identify themselves to a police officer when inside a government building or near a "public works" project. It has now been expanded to include the area around the G20 summit, meaning a significant portion of downtown Toronto.

The Toronto Star reports:

The regulation kicked in Monday and will expire June 28, the day after the summit ends. While the new regulation appeared without notice on the province's e-Laws online database last week, it won't be officially published in The Ontario Gazette until July 3 — one week after the regulation expires.

According to the new regulation, “guards” appointed under the act can arrest anyone who, in specific areas, comes within five metres of the security zone.

Within those areas, police can demand identification from anyone coming within five metres of the fence perimeter and search them. If they refuse, they face arrest. Anyone convicted under the regulation could also face up to two months in jail or a $500 maximum fine.

Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair, who reportedly requested the arrest powers, denied Friday that it had been done in secret.

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Dr David Kelly: The damning new evidence that points to a cover-up by Tony Blair's government

Miles Goslett and Stephen Frost report for The Daily Mail:

Many believe the truth about the manner of Dr Kelly's death has never been established properly. Some even fear that the 59-year-old, the world's leading expert in biological and chemical weapons, was murdered.

Of course, it would be easy to dismiss these sceptics as wild conspiracy theorists — but for the fact they include eminent doctors and MPs.

The blanket of secrecy thrown over the case by the last Labour Government has only fuelled the sense of mystery.

In January this year, it emerged that unpublished medical and scientific records relating to Dr Kelly's death - including the post-mortem report and photographs of his body - had been secretly classified so as not to be made public for 70 years.

Lord Hutton, who had been appointed by Blair, was responsible for this extraordinary gagging order, yet its legal basis has baffled experts accustomed to such matters.

Against this shadowy background, we have conducted a rigorous and thorough investigation into the mystery that surrounds the death of David Kelly. And our investigation has turned up evidence which raises still more disturbing questions.

Our new revelations include the ambiguous nature of the wording on Dr Kelly's death certificate; the existence of an anonymous letter which says his colleagues were warned to stay away from his funeral; and an extraordinary claim that the wallpaper at Dr Kelly's home was stripped by police in the hours after he was reported missing - but before his body was found.

Until now, details of Dr Kelly's death certificate have never been made public.

But the certificate was obtained by a group of leading doctors who have spent almost seven years investigating the case; doctors who believe it is medically implausible that he died in the manner Hutton concluded and are alarmed at the unorthodox way the death certificate was completed.

Near the top of all British death certificates is a box headed 'Date and place of death', in which a doctor or coroner should declare the exact location of a death, if it has been established.

Dr Kelly's certificate gives his date of death as July 18, 2003. It then states in reference to place of death: 'Found dead at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, Oxon'.

Why was the word 'found' used? Why was the crucial question of 'place of death' not answered? The death certificate should be precise about the time, cause and location of death.

The doctors who have investigated the case believe the failure to answer this question leaves open the possibility that Dr Kelly died somewhere other than Harrowdown Hill, the wood where his body was discovered. If this was the case, they are concerned the law may have been subverted over Dr Kelly's death.

Any such irregularity would inevitably add to the pressure to reopen the case. Indeed, earlier this month it was revealed that Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who have the power to undo Hutton's 70-year gagging order and demand a coroner's inquest into Dr Kelly's death, are poised to re-open the case.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sides with Rutgers-Camden law professor in human rights decision

 professor at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden has achieved an extraordinary accomplishment in the legal field:  on Tuesday, June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of her clients in Samantar v. Yousuf, a case filed by Somalian civilians seeking damages for torture and other human rights abuses.

On March 3, Rutgers–Camden Law Professor Beth Stephens was seated as “second chair” at the plaintiffs' counsel table for the Supreme Court oral argument in Samantar, a case in which her clients sought to hold accountable the former defense minister of Somalia, who is now living in Virginia. The defendant claimed immunity from the suit under a U.S. immunity statute on the grounds that he committed the acts on behalf of his government. The Supreme Court held that the statute does not protect individual foreign government officials such as Samantar.

Through her work on the Board of Directors of the Center for Justice and Accountability, Stephens assisted lead counsel from the Supreme Court practice of the Washington, DC, firm of Akin Gump.  They were joined by attorneys from the U.S. Solicitor General's office.

In the 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Stephens and her clients.  As a result, the Center for Justice and Accountability will be able to proceed with its case against the former Somalian official.  According to CJA Executive Director Pamela Merchant, “Faced with a choice between accountability and immunity, the Supreme Court came down squarely in favor of accountability – holding that former government officials are not immune from lawsuits under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.”

“This is an exceptional victory for human rights, and the entire Rutgers community is proud of the role the Beth Stephens played in making it happen,” says Rayman Solomon, dean of the Rutgers School of Law–Camden.  “The opportunity to litigate before the U.S. Supreme Court is rare, and to have the Court decide in favor of your argument is a signature accomplishment for any attorney.  Beth Stephens' achievement is a sterling example that Rutgers–Camden law students learn from some of the very best scholars and practitioners in the nation.”

Stephens is no stranger to either litigation or the subject at hand:  her research examines issues related to human rights litigation in U.S. courts on behalf of victims of human rights abuses in other countries, and she has litigated at various levels of the U.S. judicial system.

Now, she adds the U.S. Supreme Court to that already-impressive list.

“The goal of my litigation is to hold accountable perpetrators of human rights violations,” Stephens said.  “The decision in this case removes an obstacle that had enabled abusers to evade responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

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The ultimate libertarian anthem: - Copper Kettle

Copper Kettle is a song composed by Albert Frank Beddoe and made popular by Joan Baez. Pete Seeger's account dates the song to 1946, mentioning its probable folk origin. while in a 1962. The song praises the good aspects of moonshining as told to the listener by a man whose "daddy made whiskey, and granddaddy did too". Moonshine is a common name for illicitly-distilled liquor. The term is commonly believed to derive from early English smugglers (called moonrakers because of a 17th century legend) and Appalachian home distillers who often engaged in illegal distillation and distribution of moonshine whiskey clandestinely (i.e., by the light of the moon). The line "We ain't paid no whiskey tax since 1792" alludes to an unpopular tax imposed in 1791 by the fledgling U.S. Federal Government. The levy provoked the Whiskey Rebellion and generally had a short life, barely lasting until 1803.

The Whiskey Rebellion was a resistance movement in the western frontier of the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. The conflict was rooted in the dissatisfaction in western counties with various policies of the eastern-based national government. The name of the uprising comes from the Whiskey Act of 1791, an excise tax on whiskey that was a central grievance of the westerners. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to centralize and fund the national debt.

The federal government, at the behest of the 1st Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, assumed the states' debt from the American Revolutionary War. In 1791 Hamilton convinced Congress to approve the Whiskey Act, which placed an excise tax on alcohol. This was to be the first "internal" tax levied by the national government. Although Hamilton's principal reason for the tax was raising money to service the national debt, he also justified the tax "more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue." Most importantly, however, Hamilton "wanted the tax imposed to advance and secure the power of the new federal government."

There were two methods of paying the whiskey excise: paying a flat charge or paying by the gallon. The tax effectively favored large distillers, most of which were based in the east, who produced whiskey in volume and could afford the flat fee. Western farmers who owned small stills did not usually operate them at full capacity, and so they ended up paying a higher tax per gallon. Large producers ended up paying a tax of 6 cents per gallon, while small producers were taxed at 9 cents per gallon.

But Western settlers were short of cash to begin with and, being far from their markets and lacking good roads, lacked any practical means to get their grain to market other than by fermenting and distilling it into relatively portable distilled spirits. Additionally, whiskey was often used among western farmers as a medium of exchange or as a barter good.

The tax proved to be unpopular among small farmers in the western states, where government officials were prevented through violence and intimidation from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed Pennsylvanians attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville. The Washington administration responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time raising a force of militia to suppress the violence. The insurrection collapsed before the arrival of the army; about 20 people were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned.

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Pollywood goes to war

June 24, 2010: In Afghanistan, the Taliban are faced with many enemies, one of the most dangerous is a new one; Pollywood.. The Taliban has many enemies. Not just the government (which is corrupt, and disliked by many Afghans), the foreign troops (which are foreign, and thus, at best, tolerated), and the non-Pushtun majority (who are 60 percent of the population, and who are very hostile to the Taliban, who are a Pushtun movement), but also new ideas and entertainment. The most threatening new enemy is video. The Taliban, and Islamic radicals in general, are hostile to video based entertainment (unless it involves Islamic scholars providing religious instruction, and sometimes not even that.) But video entertainment is very popular in Afghanistan, especially the amateur movies made in Pushto and Dari (the common language of Afghanistan, and most popular among the non-Pushtuns) and sold, cheap, everywhere. This new industry is sort of a Pushtun Hollywood, or "Pollywood."

Such movies are not unusual. They are increasingly common in poor countries that do not possess a large enough audience to support professionally made films. Nigeria, the largest country in Africa, produces thousands of these films (which vary greatly in length and quality) a year, in several different local languages. The films are sold on cheap CDs and DVDs, to discourage piracy (which happens anyway). Called "Nollywood" (as a play on Hollywood), it generates over $250 million a year in sales. The Hindi language movie industry ("Bollywood") generates over a billion dollars a year in sales, and produces mainly professional films, many matching Hollywood releases in terms of production values. For example, the recent Oscar winner, Slumdog Millionaire, was made in India with a largely Indian crew (technicians), and many Indian actors in front of the cameras. There are several other smaller film industries in South Asia, each specializing in a different language (there are two dozen major language/cultures in South Asia, of which Pushto is one.)

Subtitled or dubbed videos from India or Pakistan have long been popular in Afghanistan, especially with all that drug money making it possible for so many more people to buy televisions or PCs to watch the CDs and DVDs on. While Pollywood films avoid religion, nudity, and women in general, they do hew to traditional Pushtun values and stories, but in a modern setting. This annoys the Taliban, who want Pushtuns, and everyone else in Afghanistan, to live a sort of neo-Medieval lifestyle, under the rule of Islamic clerics and warlords. Most Afghans are opposed to this, and Pollywood product feeds that opposition. The Taliban have threatened, and even killed, people creating (or just watching) Pollywood films, but that has not even slowed down the growth of this entertainment industry. And the more the Taliban persecute Pollywood, the more likely that some of the films will become blatantly anti-Taliban.

~ Source: Strategy Page ~

Ferlinghetti documentary a hit with the locals

One thing is clear from the start of Chris Felver's Ferlinghetti – a documentary film shown at the recent San Francisco International Film Festival: The man himself, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was one of the most powerful and influential poet, author, painter and political figure this city has seen since the mid-20th century.

Felver traces Ferlinghetti's humble beginnings back to Yonkers, New York, where he never knew his Italian father, as he died before Ferlinghetti was born. His French and Portuguese mother had a nervous breakdown after his birth and spent the rest of her life in a mental institution. His aunt Emily, who brought him to France for the first five years of his life, before she ran out of money and was forced to return to New York City, giving Lawrence up for adoption.

Ferlinghetti attended North Carolina University at Chapel Hill and later obtained a Ph.D. at the Sorbonne. Soon after completing his education, Ferlinghetti moved to San Francisco and bought a corner bookstore that grew into North Beach's landmark City Lights Booksellers and Publishers. Today, Ferlinghetti is one of the most important living figures in the Bay Area.

At age 90 and still vibrant, Ferlinghetti continues his active life in North Beach and also with quiet times at his cabin in Bixby Canyon near Big Sur, where he chops wood, while admiring the beautiful seaside, the surrounding Santa Lucia Mountains and the golden sunshine.

Ferlinghetti has often been described as a poet of the Beat Generation along with America's literary greats like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder and Micheal McClure. However, Ferlinghetti would be the last person to call himself a Beat writer.

According to Felver's documentary, Ferlinghetti considers himself part of the World War II generation. He served in the Navy and was at D-Day where he witnessed some of the bloodiest atrocities of the war that changed him forever. During the Normandy invasion, Ferlinghetti was somewhat safe on a U.S. Navy boat in the back line of combat; however, horror unfolded before his eyes as American GIs were mowed down by the German fire. Ferlinghetti also went to Japan for what he was told would be a ground invasion. Instead the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and one week later, he arrived and witnessed the devastation. Ferlinghetti became an instant pacifist after the experience.

In Ferlinghetti, Felver does a fantastic job interviewing the poet as an older man, integrating these clips with biographical footage that shows his transformation as a young Boy Scout type, into somebody who returned from World War II a disillusioned pacifist, ready to embark on an activist career that continues today. Felver's richly constructed film makes it clear that Ferlinghetti exemplifies free speech — his work from the 1950s on had a revolutionary affect on American society, ensuring for future generations the true meaning of the First Amendment. As owner of City Lights, he enthusiastically published new writers who had fresh and often controversial ideas.

In 1957, Ferlinghetti went on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg's poem “Howl,” which caused a sensation for being “obscene.” While Ferlinghetti risked a prison sentence if found guilty, Ginsberg, on vacation in Europe, was unaware of the severe circumstances his friend was facing. He was found not guilty, surprisingly by a judge who was known to be extremely conservative.

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Psychological Operations may get name makeover

 While the saying is that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, no one in advertising or image control believes it. Psy Ops or psychological operations to control perceptions etc. by the military may get a new name. Some bureaucrats demand often idiotic acronyms so that they can have their own short form ways of referring to anything. The new acronym would be MISO. However this does have the advantage over the old Psy Ops of not telling the public a thing about what might be done in MISO. Ignorance is bliss is part of psy ops, slogans I suppose. Now PSYOP may become MISO (Military Information Support and/to Operations.) Of course if you spelled this out you might get some idea expressed euphemistically of what these people do although it is nowhere nearly as exciting as Psychological Operations.

Reaction by the people who actually are in Psy Ops has been mostly negative, a sign that there may be some intelligent operatives in the group. Many have made numerous caustic comments about the projected name change.

~ Source: Allvoices ~

Supreme Court ruling makes ‘it a crime to work for peace and human rights’: CCR

Group: Former President Carter could be prosecuted for monitoring fair elections in Lebanon

The US Supreme Court endorsed Monday a broad reading of the law criminalizing "material support" to terrorism, a statute that critics argue targets legitimate free speech.

In a six to three vote, the highest US court sided with the government and found that an NGO could face prosecution for providing non-terror-related support, including rights training, to US-designated terror groups.

The case involved the Humanitarian Law Project, a human rights group, which the court ruled could face prosecution under the material support statute for providing human rights or conflict resolution training to groups including the Kurdish PKK or the Tamil Tigers.

"The material-support statute is constitutional as applied to the particular activities plaintiffs have told us they wish to pursue," the court ruling said.

In a press release sent to RAW STORY, the Center for Constitutional Rights argues that the ruling "criminalizes" free speech, and that even former President Jimmy Carter could face potential prosecution.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to criminalize speech in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the first case to challenge the Patriot Act before the highest court in the land, and the first post-9/11 case to pit free speech guarantees against national security claims. Attorneys say that under the Court's ruling, many groups and individuals providing peaceful advocacy could be prosecuted, including President Carter for training all parties in fair election practices in Lebanon. President Carter submitted an amicus brief in the case.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority, affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding the case back to the lower court for review; Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor. The Court held that the statute's prohibitions on "expert advice," "training," "service," and "personnel" were not vague, and did not violate speech or associational rights as applied to plaintiffs' intended activities. Plaintiffs sought to provide assistance and education on human rights advocacy and peacemaking to the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey, a designated terrorist organization. Multiple lower court rulings had found the statute unconstitutionally vague.

Created in 1996, the "material support" language was strengthened under the Patriot Act, which Congress passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks and reauthorized with some changes in 2004.

It has usually been used to prosecute individuals who have helped organize or finance terrorist attacks.

The law has become a popular tool for prosecutors, who have prosecuted some 150 people under the statute in the United States, obtaining convictions in around 60 cases, and sentences ranging up to life in prison.

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Now scientists read your mind better than you can

Brain scans may be able to predict what you will do better than you can yourself, and might offer a powerful tool for advertisers or health officials seeking to motivate consumers, researchers said on Tuesday.

They found a way to interpret "real time" brain images to show whether people who viewed messages about using sunscreen would actually use sunscreen during the following week.

The scans were more accurate than the volunteers were, Emily Falk and colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We are trying to figure out whether there is hidden wisdom that the brain contains," Falk said in a telephone interview.

"Many people 'decide' to do things, but then don't do them," Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology who led the study, added in a statement.

But with functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, Falk and colleagues were able to go beyond good intentions to predict actual behavior.

FMRI uses a magnetic field to measure blood flow in the brain. It can show which brain regions are more active compared to others, but requires careful interpretation.

Falk's team recruited 20 young men and women for their experiment. While in the fMRI scanner they read and listened to messages about the safe use of sunscreen, mixed in with other messages so they would not guess what the experiment was about.

"On day one of the experiment, before the scanning session, each participant indicated their sunscreen use over the prior week, their intentions to use sunscreen in the next week and their attitudes toward sunscreen," the researchers wrote.

After they saw the messages, the volunteers answered more questions about their intentions, and then got a goody bag that contained, among other things, sunscreen towelettes."

"A week later we did a surprise follow up to find out whether they had used sunscreen," Falk said in a telephone interview.

About half the volunteers had correctly predicted whether they would use sunscreen. The research team analyzed and re-analyzed the MRI scans to see if they could find any brain activity that would do better.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Comedian and new mayor Jon Gnarr spoofs politics in Reykjavik

It’s made an impact - The Best Party won the local elections on 29 May with 34.7% of the vote! We talk to party number two Einar Orn Benediktsson, a former singer and trumpet player who has collaborated with Björk and the Sugarcubes

He’s more powerful than Italian comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo’s Vaffanculo Day (‘Fuck You Day’), better than Horst Schlammer’s public sun-beds in Germany or Gaspard Delanoe’s proposed Parisian transport network - as part of his 2008 mayoral campaign - of travelling in hot air balloons over the city. With a party claimed to be the ‘Best’, founded in December 2009, Iceland’s most popular actor Jon Gnarr proposes that Reykjavik’s inhabitants will have a white bear in their zoo and free towels in their local swimming baths, amongst others. We speak to the vice president of the party, Einar Orn Benediktsson. What promises have you made to the people of Reykjavik?

Einar Orn Benediktsson: Number one on our agenda is to make Reykjavik an enjoyable place, where people know how to have fun. We are also going to pay particular attention to environmental issues and do everything we can to make politics ‘cleaner’. But above all, we have promised the people of Reykjavik new hope. Have you used traditional methods of communication?

Einar Orn Benediktsson: We’ve used the internet a lot. All the Best Party members sang our manifesto to a cover of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best.

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Xeer, pronounced [ħeːr], is the polycentric legal system of Somalia. Under this system, elders serve as judges and help mediate cases using precedents. It is a good example of how customary law works within a stateless society and is a fair approximation of what is thought of as natural law. Several scholars have noted that even though Xeer may be centuries old, it has the potential to serve as the legal system of a modern, well-functioning economy.

According to one report, the Somali nation did not begin with the common use of the Somali language by the clans but rather with the collective observance of Xeer. Xeer is thus referred to as being both the father and child of the Somali nation. An analogous phenomenon is said to have occurred among the neighbouring Oromo nation, which is now under Ethiopian rule.

Under Xeer, there is no authority that dictates what the law should be. The law is instead discovered by judges as they determine the best way to resolve a dispute. As such, the Somali nation by tradition is a stateless society; that is, Somalis have never accepted the authority of any central government, their own or any other. nUnder Xeer law, Somalia forms a kritarchy and conforms in many respects to natural law. The lack of a central governing authority means that there is a slight variation in the interpretation of Xeer amongst different communities. The laws that are widely accepted are called "xeer guud" and those particular to a specific community are referred to as "xeer tolnimo".

As with law systems in Western states, the Xeer legal system also demands a certain amount of specialization of different functions within the legal framework. Thus, one can find odayal (judges), xeer boggeyaal (jurists), guurtiyaal (detectives), garxajiyaal (attorneys), murkhaatiyal (witnesses) and waranle (police officers) to enforce the law.

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The World According to Monsanto

Part 2

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Part 10

Paris hosts cyber-shelter for battered bloggers

Paris-based media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Thursday launched a virtual "anti-censorship shelter" to protect bloggers around the world from repressive authorities.

The group (RSF) unveiled a room in its Paris headquarters set aside for fugitive journalists or bloggers from abroad to drop in and blog with secure Internet connections using software that masks their online identity.

The project also offers to provide carefully selected bloggers in other countries with free access to secure, anonymous online connections to make it harder for authorities to pursue them for their work.

"This will allow them to connect to the Internet securely, to help them continue their work as bloggers," the secretary general of RSF Jean-Francois Julliard told AFP at the launch of what he called the "virtual shelter."

He admitted that determined governments could find ways round the masked Internet addresses, but said the project could still help responsible bloggers avoid arrest -- a trend which RSF says is on the rise.

"If the CIA or other government agencies like that want to get round it they can, but this will make things much more difficult," Julliard said.

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Berkeley clears controversial researcher of charges over HIV paper

The University of California at Berkeley has cleared Peter H. Duesberg, a biologist there, of charges of wrongdoing stemming from a journal article in which he and another researcher wrote that there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS. The university's vice provost for academic affairs and faculty welfare, Sheldon Zedeck, told Mr. Duesberg in a letter sent last month that the university was not judging the validity of the article, which had been published in the journal Medical Hypotheses and later withdrawn. But, Mr. Zedeck said, officials there have insufficient evidence to pursue any disciplinary action over charges that Mr. Duesberg had violated the faculty code of conduct, and had determined his statements in Medical Hypotheses were "protected under the umbrella of academic freedom." Two formal complaints filed with the university in connection with the article had accused Mr. Duesberg of making false claims and failing to disclose a co-author's conflict of interest. Mr. Duesberg's assertions that HIV does not cause AIDS have made him a controversial figure on the campus and elsewhere and have been blamed for slowing down South Africa's response to HIV.

~ The Chronicle of Higher Education ~

Musical Innerlube: Pink Floyd - Careful With That Axe Eugene

Secret history of the Volkswagen

Aus Liebe zum Automobil
(For Love of the Car)
Adolf Hitler, the future leader of Germany, sketched the drawing you see above in the summer of 1932, while enjoying a hot lunch in a Munich restaurant. The former artist, while contemplating ways to set Germany on a modern course, was inspired by his admiration for American auto-maker (and anti-Semite) Henry Ford to formulate an ingenious plan: To reduce unemployment, a massive program of public works would build the worlds first super-highway, the Autobahn, providing the Reich with a modern infrastructure. To stimulate German industry, it was necessary to develop a car the average German could actually afford to own. Hitler would eventually give his drawing to the head of Daimler-Benz, Jakob Werlin, telling him: "Take it with you and speak with people who understand more about it than I do. But don't forget it. I want to hear from you soon about the technical details." Note: The exact provenance for this image is in some dispute.

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G20 protesters, riot police face off in Toronto

About 2,000 protesters thronged Toronto on Friday in the biggest rally yet against the G20 summit, facing off against police in riot gear just blocks from the U.S. consulate.

Activists, labor groups and other protesters demanding Group of 20 countries do more to fight poverty marched through downtown streets but were blocked by police as they neared the security zone authorities have established around the venue for the G20 summit on Saturday and Sunday.

Shouting "Let Us March!", the demonstrators held their ground as police, including officers on horseback, kept them from proceeding further. The police later said they had closed the security fence around the zone.

Canada has budgeted more than C$1 billion ($970 million) for security for the summits of the G20 and the Group of Eight rich nations, which held its meeting on Friday in Huntsville, Ontario, a resort town about two hours north of Toronto.

Nongovernmental groups have promised peaceful protests throughout the summit, seeking to highlight a range of issues including global poverty, women's rights and labor.

But previous G20 meetings have attracted violent groups intent on disrupting the meetings or fighting with police. The U.S. State Department warned Americans to avoid downtown Toronto while the summits are under way.

One labor activist, seeking to whip up enthusiasm at the start of Friday's march, urged protesters not to waver in the face of the heavy police presence in Toronto.

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Solar heating - hot shower using bottles

This movie shows a bottle heater, where the hot water is used for a shower.

All movies are available in full length at More info at

Published in cooperation with For more low-cost water and sanitation solutions, visit

Investigation confirms Wikipedia-pedophile connection

According to a exclusive investigation, inspired in part by this blog's April 20th post Wikipedophilia:

Wikipedia has become home base for a loose worldwide network of pedophiles who are campaigning to spin the popular online encyclopedia in their favor and are trying to lure more people into their world, an investigation by confirms.

Chat room posts show a clear effort by pedophiles to use Wikipedia, which can be accessed unfiltered in public schools across the country, to further their agenda. Message board posts often include links to specific Wikipedia articles that the participants say need to be edited to "normalize" pedophile behavior in the public eye and to recruit more pedophiles into their community.

“Pedophiles have campaigned to push their point of view that 'pedophilia is OK and doesn't hurt children' on Wikipedia,” says Xavier Von Erck, director of the online pedophile watchdog organization Perverted Justice Foundation and, its offshoot project devoted to tracking pedophiles and pedophile activism on Wikipedia. “This has been a problem since Wikipedia started.

A series of exposés last month resulted in a shakeup at the top levels of Wikipedia as administrators tried to deal with the growing controversy surrounding pornographic images that appear on the online encyclopedia and its associated websites.

After much pressure from within the Wikipedia community, co-founder Jimmy Wales was forced to relinquish his top-level control over the encyclopedia's content, as well as all of its parent company's projects.

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"H.M.G.'s secret pornographer"

By Sefton Delmer

My first experience of propaganda by pornography came in France during the Phony War period of 1939.
I was a war reporter with the French army in France. On one of my visits to the Maginot Line, a sniggering French Lieutenant showed me what he declared was a very clever piece of German psychological warfare. It consisted of a small picture on very thin tissue paper showing a French soldier doing his duty at the front. But if one held the picture upto the light, the scene underneath underwent a complete change. In place of the brave poilu one now saw in minute salacious detail a British Tommy fornicating with what a caption told us was the Frenchman's fiancée.

The French were of course a particularly susceptible target for this sort of thing. Especially so during the Phoney War period when the Germans and their communist helpers (the French communists as agents of Hitlers allies, put all their subversive ability into ridiculing the war) had little difficulty in persuading the browned-off French soldier that France's military effort was a stupid and reactionary waste of time.

The frontline dug-outs of the French were decorated with such descriptions as “Aux prives d'amour” ( roughly : “for those starved of love” ). I found the walls of a popotte (mess) in the Seutriche fort of the Maginot Line papered with posters showing young women whose bosoms had been lovingly enlarged with coloured chalks wielded by the soldier clients. The walls in the underground corridors of the Maginot forts were covered with so many erotic graffiti that I unkindly denounced the Maginot line as “ a fortified urinal”.

Unquestionably the morale of the troops in most of the Maginot forts I visited was poor. Discipline seemed on a par with that on the Tsarist cruiser Potemkin, before the mutiny. When an officer or a sergeant cried “Fixe” , none of the men took the slightest notice. Nor did the order “Repos!” make any difference. They just lounged and sulked.
But I would not put this sulkiness down to the effect of the German “transparencies” or the graffiti and the enlarged bosoms. The german propaganda pornography, as I saw it, was merely exploiting a situation which already existed, not creating it. I therefore doubted whether the “transparencies” prepared with such zeal by Dr Goebbel's pornographers repaid in subversive effectiveness the substantial production costs involved, not to mention the danger to the agents distributing them among the French troops.

I much preferred a simpler and in my estimation more effective exploitation of the French sex starvation complex. I saw it in operation on the German side of the Rhine near Kehl where both sides were in full view of each other.
Every evening a couple of German soldiers would stroll arm in arm with a couple of good-looking and bosomy German blondes along what must have been the old Rhine tow path. Every now and then they stopped for an elaborate display of hugging and kissing. “Necking” is I believe the technical term.

The French watching the German necking party from their side of the Rhine went pale with envy.” If the germans can have their girls up in their part of the front line”, they complained, “why the hell can't we?”
The right thing for the French to have done would have been to open fire on the Germans and force them to get out of sight. But they never did, any more than they opened fire on the german “fraternizers” crossing the Strasbourg bridge to throw cigarettes and chocolates to the French guarding the other end.

In 1939 it never occurred to me that one day my turn would come to wage war on Hitler by pornography. But sure enough that was what the fates held in store for me. Early in 1941 I joined the Psychological Warfare branch of the Foreign Office (The “Political Intelligence department” was its euphemistic title.) The late Hugh Dalton in his capacity as Minister of Economic Warfare had become interested in a German freedom station called “The Workers challenge”. It purported to be broadcasting from inside Britain and voicing the discontents of the so called working class. It had some success by using the foulest language to do so. Old ladies in Torquay and Bournemouth listened in ecstasy as the "Workers" challenged them with a stream of excremental abuse.

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'Rape in war is deliberate military strategy'

Since the Second World War, the use of rape as a weapon of war has assumed strategic importance and is now a deliberate military strategy, argue researchers.

A study in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found that 16,000 rapes occurred in 2008 alone and in South Kivu province, health centres estimate that 40 women were raped in the region daily.

In the UK, 50-70 percent of female asylum applicants were raped, witnessed rape, or have a credible fear of rape.

The effects of rape and sexual violence during war also extend beyond individual victims and are economically, physically, psychologically and culturally devastating for families and communities, say study authors Coleen Kivlahan, volunteer forensic physician for HealthRight International, and Nate Ewigman from the University of Florida.

For example, in recent conflicts, rape has been used as a reward for victory in battle, a boost to troop morale, as punishment and humiliation for both men and women, to incite revenge in opposing troops, to eliminate or "cleanse" religious or political groups and to destabilise entire communities by creating terror.

Geographical, cultural, religious, political, legal, and behavioural conditions affect the likelihood of the systematic use of rape, explain the authors.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Japanese told to go to bed an hour early to cut carbon emissions

Danielle Demetriou reports for the Daily Telegraph:

The Japanese government has launched a campaign encouraging people to go to bed and get up extra early in order to reduce household carbon dioxide emissions.

The Morning Challenge campaign, unveiled by the Environment Ministry, is based on the premise that swapping late night electricity for an extra hour of morning sunlight could significantly cut the nation's carbon footprint.

A typical family can reduce its carbon dioxide footprint by 85kg a year if everyone goes to bed and gets up one hour earlier, according to the campaign.

The amount of carbon dioxide emissions potentially saved from going to bed an hour early was the equivalent of 20 per cent of annual emissions from household lights, "Many Japanese people waste electric power at night time, for example by watching TV until very late," a ministry spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph.

"But going to bed early and getting up early can avoid wasting electrical power which causes carbon dioxide emissions. If people change their lifestyle, we can save energy and reduce emissions." The campaign also proposes that people take advantage of an extra hour of morning sunlight by improve their lifestyles in general by running, doing yoga and eating a nutritious breakfast.

It is the latest initiative tackling climate change by the Japanese environment ministry, which is faced with the challenge of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25 per cent from 1990 levels within the next decade.

It was the same government department that launched the high profile Cool Biz campaign five years ago, which encourages workers to wear short-sleeved shirts and offices not to turn air con lower than 28 degrees during the summer.

Smiling makes you happy research into botox shows

Researchers have discovered that being unable to smile when you are happy feeds back to the brain reducing the intensity of feeling.

Botox, used to fight facial wrinkles, is made of an extremely toxic protein called Botulinum toxin that temporarily paralyses the muscles that cause creases.

That means no lines, but also no moving of the muscles at all which often makes faces look frozen.

Now the lack of facial expressions may influence emotional experiences as well, the research found.

A person with limited ability to make facial expressions was found to also have a limited ability to feel emotions.

"With Botox, a person can respond otherwise normally to an emotional event, [such as] a sad movie scene, but will have less movement in the facial muscles that have been injected, and therefore less feedback to the brain about such facial expressivity," said researcher Joshua Davis, a psychologist at Barnard College in New York.

"It thus allows for a test of whether facial expressions and the sensory feedback from them to the brain can influence our emotions."

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Language and Thought

Listen to this fascinating Philosophy Talk radio show here.

What is it?      

You might think our thought simply determine what we say. But maybe the language we speak is what really determines the thoughts we can have. As Wittgenstein famously wrote, "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." And Benjamin Lee Whorf held that the language you speak has a systematic influence on how you think about and interact with reality. John and Ken wrestle with the relationship between language and thought with Lera Boroditsky from Stanford University.

About the Guest

Lera Boroditsky is an Assistant Professor of Cognitive Psychology at
Stanford University. She runs the Cognation Lab at Stanford University and
researches mental representation; language learning, meaning, and use.

Listening Notes

John and Ken begin by asking which comes first--language or thought? For a long time it seemed like thought obviously came first, but more recent philosophy suggests that language molds our thought more than previously considered. Ken points out that you can have a thought and then express it in language, but also that your language creates the world for you and determines the way you think. Ken argues that the categories of language allow us to interpret the world, while John thinks that differentiating between categories of objects is a much easier task and evolves far before language does. Is there any way to tease apart this chicken or the egg problem?

John and Ken introduce Lera Boroditsky, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at Stanford University. John Perry asks Lera to explain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis mentioned earlier--is language a straight-jacket for thought? Lera describes how the connection between language and thought was first noticed because different languages described the world in very different ways structurally. She describes how different languages use different genders, tense, and case, and how this may alter the way speakers of said language view the world--mainly that in languages that use different genders or tenses or cases, these differences must be noticed in the real world in order to be applied.

John points out that just because, say in Indonesian, there is no past tense, that does not mean that Indonesians have no sense of time. Lera agrees that language is sparse, and describes the opposite of the Sapir-Whorf position which claims that everyone notices the same things about the world, regardless of language. Ken asks for some stronger and weaker alternatives to these disparate camps, and Lera  describes how some of these theories can be altered to be more reasonable and experimentally validated.

John, Ken, and Lera discuss the concept that certain things are just untranslatable between languages, and even two individuals who speak the same language! Lera uses positions in sports to illustrate these differences. Lera discusses experimental evidence for and against the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis with callers who relate their own personal losses in translation and theories of language and thought.

    * Polly Stryker the Roving Philosophical Reporter (Seek to 3:54): Polly Stryker interviews Linda, who is trying to resurrect a dying native american language that is part of her heritage. This ancient language reveals how close her tribe once was to nature, and may indicate how one's language can transform one's perception of the world.

    * Ian Schoales the 60-second Philosopher (Seek to 49:29): Ian Schoales discusses the development of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Chomsky's universal grammar--at lightning speed!

USA criminalises giving humanitarian aid to Gaza

Lucis Trust, Alice Bailey, World Goodwill and the False Light of the World

Alice Ann Bailey, a leading disciple of the Russian theosophist Madame Helena Blavatsky, formed the Lucifer Publising Company in 1920. 1922 saw the organization's name changed to Lucis Trust though the advancement of the Luciferian beliefs remained true. Beliefs that in Blavatsky's words: “oppose the materialism of science and every dogmatic theology, especially the Christian, which the Chiefs of the Society regard as particularly pernicious.”

Lucis Trust promulgates the work of an "Ascended Master" who was working 'through' Alice Bailey for some 30 years. The Lucis Trust Publishing Company and their many fronts and organizations worship an "Externalized Hierarchy" of "Ascended Masters," who carry out the work of a Luciferian "master plan" for the establishment of a permanent "Age of Aquarius" ruled by one "Sanat Kumara", the "Lord of the World."

Lucis Trust is a powerful institution that enjoys "Consultative Status" with the United Nations, which permits it to have a close working relationship with the U.N., including a seat on the weekly sessions, but most importantly, influence with powerful business and national leaders throughout the world.

Through its founding of World Goodwill, Lucis Trust is "aggressively involved in promoting a globalist ideology":

Authors and participants in its various conferences read like a Who's Who of globalist insiders. Featured on its website, for example, is the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, put forth in April 1998 as a companion document to the notorious UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Signatories to the World Goodwill document include: Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of West Germany; Malcolm Fraser, former Australian prime minister; Oscar Arias Sanchez, former prime minister of Costa Rica; Shimon Peres; Robert McNamara; Paul Volcker; and Jimmy Carter.

    ... it is as much a political organization as an occult religious one.
    - New Age Roots, by Steve Bonta

Lucis Trust is run through an international board of trustees whose membership is said to have included: John D. Rockefeller; Norman Cousins; Robert S. McNamara; Thomas Watson, Jr. (IBM, former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow); Henry Clausen, Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, 33rd Degree, Southern District Scottish Rite and Henry Kissinger. This would then tie Bailey's influential occult organization into the international conspiracy of elitists, including the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderbergs, and the Trilateral Commission.

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The Story of Bottled Water (2010)

Israel faces new war crime headache

Israeli leaders are facing more legal action from rights activists who are filing new lawsuits in connection with Israel's war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.

Two Belgian lawyers filed an indictment on Wednesday on behalf of more than a dozen Palestinians, calling for some 14 Israeli officials to stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed during Tel Aviv's December 2008-January 2009 offensive against the Gaza Strip.

The list comprises of various politicians and military and intelligence officials — including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — who had a role in the deadly onslaught The Jerusalem Post quoted Hungarian News Agency MTI as saying.

The indictment defines Israel's deliberate targeting of places known to hold civilians as well as attacks on plantations and water systems, among other things, as war crimes committed during the 22-day offensive that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and left thousands more injured.

Belgium's "Universal Jurisdiction" law allows for the trial of war criminals in Belgium while the events in question took place elsewhere.

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Council of Europe calls for WHO flu handling probe

The Council of Europe called Thursday for a probe into the World Health Organisation's handling of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, which it said led to unjustified scares and waste of public money.

A council parliamentary assembly identified "grave shortcomings" about WHO transparency about its position on the flu, "generating concerns about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on decisions taken," a statement said.

The session adopted a text that says there was "overwhelming evidence that the seriousness of the pandemic was vastly overrated by WHO".

Paul Flynn, British author of a report endorsed by the assembly, told the session that the WHO's June 11, 2009 declaration of a H1N1 pandemic had enabled the pharmaceutical industry to reap large profits.

The handling of the pandemic by the WHO, EU health groups and governments led to the "waste of large sums of public money, and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public", the statement said.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Evidence mounts on links between cell phones and brain tumors

A growing body of evidence, dating back to the 1960s, suggests that brain tumors may be only one of the many health problems produced by our new wireless society will produce.

Cell-phone technology "could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol," warned the European Union's environmental watchdog agency in 2007.

The most ambitious attempt to catalogue the health risks of cell phones to date is the industry-funded Interphone study, carried out by researchers from 13 different countries (not including the United States). Although the study has been criticized for selecting data in a way designed to play down the risks of cell phone use, it continues to turn up alarming findings nonetheless. Among the findings so far are a 40 percent increase in brain tumor risk among adults who use a cell phone for 10 years (especially on the side of the head where the phone is held); a 300 percent increased risk of acoustic nerve tumors; and an increased risk of tumors of the parotid gland. The risk of a brain tumor increases by 400 percent in people who start using a cell phone before the age of 20.

Other studies, mostly out of Europe, have linked mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) use to DNA damage, sperm death, and brain damage including early-onset dementia. These findings regularly make big news in the international press, but are by and large played down in U.S. media.

~ more... ~

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The mysterious death of an Orthodox Jewish millionaire – murder or suicide?

The mysterious death of an Orthodox Jewish millionaire on June 9 in New York has sparked a whirlwind of rumors, even though the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.

Solomon (Shlomo) Obstfeld fell to his death from the 19th floor of his posh Manhattan apartment, and while New York police have yet to close the case, Obstfeld's family members and close friends believe he was murdered and have hired a private investigator to look into his death.

A friend of the Obstfeld family told Haaretz on Sunday that Obstfeld, 55, was murdered as the result of a conflict with an Israeli rabbi who had cast a "pulsa denura" death curse on Obstfeld.

According to the police investigation, no ladder or chair was found near the spot from which Obstfeld plunged to his death, a fact that bolsters the family's belief that he was murdered.

At this point, however, it does not appear that police are taking the family's suspicions seriously.

Many in New York's Jewish community are wondering whether a devout Orthodox father of five would take his own life.

"Suicide is not a common act by an Orthodox person – it is forbidden in Judaism," a friend of the Obstfeld family told Haaretz. "He was a very happy and successful man, who contributed to the community. There were no signs that he suffered from depression. On the contrary, he did not leave a note, will, letter or any other sign of suicide. If he had committed suicide, he certainly would have left something behind."

According to his associates, Obstfeld had several regular business chats in the hours before his death, including a long telephone conversation with a business colleague and had recently three luxury apartments up for sale for a combined 6.5 million dollars.

A person close to Obstfeld said he had complained of an Israel rabbi living in the United States to whom he had rented an apartment at a below-market price. The rabbi allegedly did not pay the rent over a long period of time and this led to a serious feud between him and Obstfeld.

After Obstfeld evicted the rabbi, the rabbi allegedly told friends that he had cast a "pulsa dinura" death curse on Obstfeld.

A friend of Obstfeld claimed that the rabbi returned to Israel around the time of Obstfeld's death.

~ more... ~

~ Via Barry Chamish ~

And now the world capital of diplomatic crime... Barcelona

by Barry Chamish []

April 23, 2010

Barcelona, July 19th – 24th 2010

Over 2000 researchers and experts on the Middle East, coming from a large number of universities, research centers and other organizations from all over the world, will gather in Barcelona in 2010 at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES). The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Government of Catalonia will organize the WOCMES Barcelona 2010, after the two successful previous editions held in Mainz - Germany in 2002 and in Amman - Jordan in 2006.
It is rare when one city usurps all others as the capital of world conspiracy. To achieve such greatness we might have to go all the way back to 1785, when 3 giants met in Frankfurt, Germany. There, the head of the anti-Jewish Sabbataians, Jacob Frank, brought his circle of Frankists to town where he formed a conspiracy with the illuminati, led by one Adam Weishaupt. While Frank's goal was to punish all Jews who did not accept Shabtai Tzvi and him as the Jewish messiahs, Weishaupt's organization was founded to punish those Christians who rejected Rome as the capital of world Christianity. They met with a coin dealer with much bigger plans, one Mayer Amshel Rothschild, who realized if he could just take control of a nation's economy, he would control the country.

But finally, we have a new world capital, still plotting against the Jews and non-Catholic Christians, the Vatican outpost of Barcelona.

Jerusalem, 26 November 1995
An European Union-sponsored conference for Mediterranean Basin countries is scheduled to take place 27-28.11.95, in Barcelona, Spain. Israel's delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Ehud Barak.

Just three weeks after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel agreed to surrender its sovereignty in Barcelona. Of course, Rabin had to be murdered by the new Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres to make the conference work. But he had help from French intelligence. (Read my Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin,,  for full details). In the 45 days leading to Barcelona, Rabin had told the UN and American Congress that he would never divide Jerusalem or wreck Israel for peace. That attitude could ruin Barcelona. So Peres received the go-ahead to eliminate him before the Barcelona Conference.

In the past two years, Barcelona has become the capital of the Mediterranean Union, a group of 5 Catholic and 5 Arab nations dedicated to eliminating Israel. It will meet in mid-June to solidify its plots. But to assure a world consensus for the gangup, the Bilderberg group will meet outside Barcelona on June 3:

The Bilderberg group will conduct its annual meeting June 3-6 in Sitges, Spain (a small, exclusive resort town about 20 miles from Barcelona) behind a wall of armed guards who will seal off the resort in a futile attempt to keep the event secret.

Bilderberg's meeting will follow that of its brother group, the Trilateral Commission, which will gather at the Four Seasons Resort in Dublin, Ireland May 6-10. Leaders of Bilderberg also attend the Trilateralists' meeting to map their common agenda. About 300 attend Trilateral Commission meetings, which are conducted behind sealed-off, guarded floors of their hotel. About 100 will attend Bilderberg, which seals off the entire resort behind platoons of uniformed police and private security.

~ more... ~

Police recommend indicting Sharon brothers for fraud

The national fraud squad has recommended that Omri and Gilad Sharon be indicted for mediating bribery and to indict Austrian magnate Martin Schlaff for giving bribes to the tune of $3 million. The police allege that the bribe money was given to former prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador are to decide in the coming months whether to adopt the police recommendation. The recommendation was made a few weeks ago, Haaretz learned yesterday, following an investigation that began in 2002, after a friend of the Sharon family, South African businessman Cyril Kern deposited a loan of $1.5 million into one of the Sharon family bank accounts. Police then asked South African authorities to launch a judicial inquiry into the matter. The request for the investigation was reported at the time by Baruch Kra in Haaretz.

It was suspected that Kern was a front man for Schlaff, who had economic interests in Israel. Kern transfered the money to the Sharon family from an Austrian bank, BAWAG, which was Schlaff's partner in the Jericho casino. Schlaff was considered a major strategic partner in the casino at the time.

Later, it is believed, Sharon paid back the loan to Kern; however, police suspect that the money was given to a company owned by the Schlaff family. During November and December 2002, two more deposits were transferred to the Sharon family's accounts, totaling approximately $3 million.

The police say they have evidence that the original loan, from Kern to Gilad Sharon, as well as the $3 million loan, came from a company controlled by Schlaff. Since the affair broke, Schlaff has stayed away from Israel, even missing his father's recent funeral in Jerusalem.

~ more... ~

Musical Innerlube: D.O.A. - 'I Live in a Car' (Sudden Death Records)

Will totalitarianism make a comeback? We asked Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Totalitarianism towered over the 20th century — a leader-focused, oppressive form of rule in which the individual was crushed. Now it seems to have receded as an ideal. But will it be back? We asked the expert, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski is best known for having been the National Security Advisor in the Carter Administration, and for helping to dismantle the Ford Administration's policy of detente towards the Soviet Union. But in the 1950s, he was one of the main scholars developing the theory of totalitarianism, and helping to spread the idea that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union represented examples of this type of system. He's currently Robert E. Osgood Professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

So when we were wondering if totalitarianism was discredited for good, or if it might still stage a resurgence, we could think of no better person to ask than Brzezinski. Here's what he said, via email.

You helped pioneer the idea of totalitarianism as a system of government. Do you think totalitarianism has been discredited as a form of government in the past couple of decades?

Totalitarianism has been discredited during the past several decades, but that does not mean that it cannot reoccur. However, the discerning aspect of totalitarianism is not simply that it is "totally" in control of society, but that it tries to change society according to a dogmatic blueprint, the latter usually being described as "ideology."

~ more... ~

'Afghan war is lost and US govt has to face it'

U.S. taxpayer dollars are finding their way to the pockets of the Taliban, according to a new 75-page congressional report about the military's use of Afghan security firms. The firms are used to ensure the safe passage of supply convoys. If the U.S. doesn't pay up, almost without fail the convoy gets attacked. Brian Becker, Director of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition says Afghanistan case is hopeless.


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