Wednesday, December 22, 2010

European Citizen's Initiative Approved by EU Parliament


The Lisbon Treaty's provision for an European Citizens Initiative is a world first, and an important new aspect of citizens democracy in the European Union according to Olivier Chastel, Belgian Minister for European Affairs.

The ECI has already encountered some difficulties, after Greenpeace collected and presented the Commission 1 million signatures from around Europe demanding a halt to GMO production ntil independent researrch was undertaken. The EU questioned the legitimacy of the ECI attempt as the structures to administer the ECI are not yet in place. Greepeace has thus far maintained that due to the Lisbon Treaty being in force, an ECI presented now and filling the right criteria, is 100% legitimate.

New Russian Investigations Committee "Not a Monster of 1937", Says Its Head

Acting Chairman of the Russian Investigations Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin has said that the new Investigations Committee will not be another NKVD. [The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, was the public and secret police agency in the period of Joseph Stalin and was largely responsible for executing political repression orders]

"When people say that we want to set up an NKVD (by merging various investigations bodies to form one Investigations Committee) and that we will be slaughtering people all over the place, this are blatant unscrupulous lies," Bastrykin said at a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia faction in the State Duma today. He was telling deputies about the president-proposed draft law on establishing a single Investigations Committee in Russia.

Bastrykin said he was bewildered by statements by some deputies "directly saying that you are creating some kind of monster, a monster of 1937". Bastrykin said he could not understand such a position and categorically rejected the possibility.

There is no need to hurry with establishing a single Investigations Committee in Russia, he said, stressing that this was his personal opinion. "It should be established but this should be done in a natural evolutionary way, in a calm fashion, without revolutions or hysterics," Bastrykin said.

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Musical Innerlube: Pierre Bastien - Avid Diva


Pierre Bastien (born 1953 in Paris) is a French musician, composer, and instrument builder. He began building mechanical-based musical instruments at an early age, using items such as metronomes, cymbals, and pulleys. In 1977 he began collaborating with Pascal Comelade and composing music for dance companies. He performed in ensembles such as Operation Rhino, Nu Creative Methods, and Effectifs de Profil.

Bastien has collaborated with artists such as Robert Wyatt, Jac Berrocal, Jaki Liebezeit, Pierrick Sorin, and Issey Miyake. He has released material on record labels such as Lowlands, Rephlex, Tigersushi, and Alga Marghen. He has also completed a doctorate on 18th century French literature, his thesis being on pre-surrealist Raymond Roussel.

Government Builds Vast Domestic Spying Network: Report

The US government is building a vast domestic spying network to collect information on Americans as part of expanding counter-terrorism efforts, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The unprecedented network involves local police, state and military authorities feeding a growing database on thousands of US citizens and residents, even though many have never been charged with breaking the law, the Post reported, citing numerous interviews and 1,000 documents.

The apparatus breaks new ground in the United States -- where domestic security measures traditionally have faced legal limits -- and raises questions about safeguards for privacy and civil liberties.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the Department of Homeland Security, which has built up the network with billions of dollars in grants to state governments since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The effort is driven by concerns about "homegrown" terrorism, with a spate of recent cases involving US citizens or legal residents accused of plotting attacks on American soil.

The information compiled on Americans is supposed to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the program's efficacy remains unclear while rights groups worry about the effect on civil liberties, the Post wrote.

"It opens a door for all kinds of abuses," Michael German, a former FBI agent at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the paper. "How do we know there are enough controls?"

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A Riot Of Their Own

Ian Hernon looks at the long history of violent protest in [the UK] and its various social and political consequences (Tribune Magazine):

Riots have always been a part of British political life, for better or worse. Both protestors and the coalition should better understand that when violence is unleashed – by whichever side – the outcomes are unpredictable. Volatile force on the streets can advance or damage a cause, bring down a government or strengthen it, have a desired result or lead to a surprising one.

The general definition of a riot is a demonstration which turns violent due either to provocation or aggressive aims. The protest movement invokes Peterloo and the poll tax, but things have not always been so clear-cut. Protests have been a counterweight to oppression, or an opportunity for plunder and revenge, or a conduit for passion and anger. American President Calvin Coolidge said: “The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organisation.”

Rioting featured in all the British revolutions which overthrew absolute rulers and created our imperfect form of parliamentary democracy. It was part of the tidal waves of history and the smaller ripples of localised disputes. The instigators were generally the oppressed. Martin Luther King said: “A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.”

But the cause was not always noble. A London mob marked the coronation of Richard I in 1189 by massacring the Jewish community. The 18th century saw riots against Roman Catholics, the Irish, dissenters, foreign actors, gin tax, bawdy houses, the naturalisation of Jews, French footmen and a change in the calendar as well as against high food prices, enclosures and greedy industrialists. In 1789, the anti-Catholic riots in London whipped up by a retired naval officer, Lord George Gordon, involved a 50,000-strong mob, raged for five days, destroyed Catholic churches and homes and left 285 dead, 173 wounded and 139 arrested – 24 of whom were later hanged.

The Gordon riots were put down by military might in defence of the intended victims. In the decades that followed, the reverse was true. The 19th century opened with the titanic struggle against Napoleon and continued on the home front with a bloody period of civil insurrection and repression. The sheer pace of the Industrial Revolution sparked a revolt against the machines. The Luddites lost their clashes with the state and scores were hanged in 1812. An influx of veterans swelled the ranks of the unemployed once Bonaparte was finally defeated. The corn laws and a disastrous harvest caused famine among the working classes, and there was a growing clamour for electoral reform boosted by newspapers which were read avidly by the newly literate. Riots, marches and monster rallies shook the ruling elite and pushed it into increasingly draconian counter-measures.

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How Cues and Programming Work in Mind Control and Propaganda

... Propaganda techniques are similar in many ways to programming techniques. One could say a person is being programmed when being propagandized. The combination of vision and sound on TV make a person more suggestible. Most people get their news from TV. Once a person is overly emotional or numbed out, they become more suggestible and less likely to critically think about their choices. Subliminal learning is then enhanced.

According to Sargant, various types of beliefs can be implanted in people after brain functioning has been disturbed by fear, anger or excitement. These cause heightened suggestibility and impaired judgement. These group manifestations may be classified as the herd instinct, they appear most strongly in wartime and periods of common danger.
Prolonging the time between giving a signal and the reward or giving an unexpected shock or alternating positive and negative signals and not giving the reward can also cause dramatic changes in patterns of behavior. Sargant describes Edward’s conversion techniques. In brain-washing and eliciting confessions an induced sense of guilt is important to achieve. This is also common when programming survivors. Anger against external and internal enemies nationally can be used to make the masses suggestible, like our war against Iraq. Examples in our media today are all too obvious. It is unfortunately too easy to direct people’s attention away from the fraudulent elections in our country and the outright thievery (like Enron) of the rich corporations against the populace, by creating enemies (like Iraq) and fear (like different color codes against apparently almost nonexistent threats).

Skinner believed that the environment controls the behavior (operant conditioning). Behavior is shaped and it is continued by its consequences. Operant behavior is behavior that operates on or manipulates the environment to produce consequences. This is like the bird in the Skinner box being conditioned to peck at the button to get the food. Organisms act to eliminate or avoid harmful stimuli. The consequence of this action is called a reinforcer. A negative reinforcer is aversive, the organism attempts to eliminate the aversive stimuli. People react to negative stimuli by moving away, acting aggressively or by initiating the desired behavior.

People can also be conditioned this way. A person will act, speak or dress a certain way to gain approval or to avoid insult. According to Skinner, freedom is not dependent on the feelings the contingencies generate, but it is dependent on the contingencies of reinforcement. In other words, it is not how you feel, but the result that determines your action. He believed that the ideas of a culture are the social contingencies or the behaviors they generate, the reinforcers are the society’s values. In cultural evolution, acquired practices (not genetic) that promote survival are transmitted.

Feelings are by-products of the controlling social practices. A cultural designer needs to accelerate the development of practices that develop appropriate social behavior through consequences (like laws). The malevolence or benevolence of the society depends on the social programmers, in our case those that control the media and television. Malevolent social programmers will cause wars, extreme poverty and suffering, like we see in the United States. But Skinner also believe that people make the environment which in turn controls them. Therefore people can have control, if they take it.

How can we avoid being programmed and propagandized ? (From smart issue #30)

From FactNet (about Coercive Persuasion listed under sources):

“The subjects easiest to influence are usually young, trusting, gullible, and non-critical people from protective backgrounds or people who may be particularly vulnerable because of some recent unsettled transition (my note: survivors may also fit in this category)…the rejects are likely to be individuals who have easy access to accurate, critical, or counterbalancing information. Insolent, self-centered, street-wise, highly critical or recalcitrant individuals are generally culled out…” Though everyone is susceptible to some degree.

1) Try to find out both sides of the story.

2)Learn about propaganda and mind control techniques and learn how to recognize them. If necessary, learn to avoid those using these techniques (this may be online or offline.) The media and advertisements may be a good place to start either learning about these techniques or avoiding them. At times, advertisements don’t even discuss the product or its attributes at all.

3) When in a potential situation where you can be MC’ed or propagandized, learn how to recognize the feelings of going into a meditative state and learn some of the techniques for getting out of these states. “Conference trigger management and safety” is available at http://members.aol.com/ smartnews/page5/NBpresentation99.htm I believe that avoidance of these situations is usually the best way to keep from being MC’ed or propagandized.

4) The user of propaganda or mind control techniques may exhibit a “lack of morals,” lying and/or disregarding the rules of the debate, list, group or society. This is similar to the “us vs them” or may be justified by “the ends justify the means” arguments organizations may use.

5) Try to use your gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, step back or remove yourself from the situation. I believe that a legitimate group or organization will give an individual the time and room to make their own choices. ...

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Israeli War Crimes Signs To Go On Metro Buses


SEATTLE -- "Israeli War Crimes," the enormous advertisement reads. "Your tax dollars at work."

To the right of the image is a group of children -- one little boy stares out at the viewer, the others gawk at a demolished building, all rebar and crumbled concrete.

It's an ad you'll be seeing soon on a handful of Metro buses in downtown Seattle.

A group calling itself the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has paid King County $1,794 so that 12 buses will carry that message around town, starting two days after Christmas. That's December 27: the two-year anniversary of Israeli attacks on Gaza, aimed at stopping rocket attacks and weapons smuggling.
Ed Mast, a Seattle man who is a spokesperson for the group, says it's not meant to be an anti-Israel message, but a message designed to generate discussion and awareness.

"I wouldn't say it's an anti-Israel message any more than any complaint about a country is anti-that country. We would like Israel to stop violating human rights. We would like Israel to give equal rights to its Palestinian citizens and its Palestinian subjects who live under occupation," said Mast.

At the Pacific Northwest office of the Anti-Defamation League, the ad campaign is seen quite a bit differently.

"We're dismayed," says Community Director Hilary Bernstein, who calls the bus-born advertisement grotesquely one-sided. "Citizens young and old will be seeing this sort of propaganda, this very one-sided distortion. It's unfortunate."

So, is the side of a public bus the right place for this kind of attack? Are the issues that regularly inflame one of the most flammable hot-spots in the world appropriate fare for people strolling the sidewalks of Seattle?

As far as King County is concerned, it's not really up to them what appears on the side of their buses, as long as it fits specific guidelines regarding:

•Pornography
•Alcohol
•Tobacco, and
•As long as the images and material used don't interfere with public safety or insult specific groups to the point that a riot could be incited, vandalism could occur or public safety could be threatened.
King County Metro Transit spokesperson Linda Thielke acknowledges some people will be offended by the campaign, but that is not enough to prevent the rolling billboards from hitting the streets.

"As a government, we are mindful of the provisions in state and federal constitutions to protect freedom of speech. So, we can't object these campaigns simply because they offend some people," said Thielke.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has targeted their advertising so that the buses carrying their message will run mostly on Seattle routes.

WikiLeaks: United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Joint Statement On Wikileaks


December 21, 2010--In light of ongoing developments related to the release of diplomatic cables by the organization Wikileaks, and the publication of information contained in those cables by mainstream news organizations, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression see fit to recall a number of international legal principles. The rapporteurs call upon States and other relevant actors to keep these principles in mind when responding to the aforementioned developments.

1. The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right subject to a strict regime of exceptions. The right to access to information protects the right of every person to access public information and to know what governments are doing on their behalf. It is a right that has received particular attention from the international community, given its importance to the consolidation, functioning and preservation of democratic regimes. Without the protection of this right, it is impossible for citizens to know the truth, demand accountability and fully exercise their right to political participation. National authorities should take active steps to ensure the principle of maximum transparency, address the culture of secrecy that still prevails in many countries and increase the amount of information subject to routine disclosure.

2. At the same time, the right of access to information should be subject to a narrowly tailored system of exceptions to protect overriding public and private interests such as national security and the rights and security of other persons. Secrecy laws should define national security precisely and indicate clearly the criteria which should be used in determining whether or not information can be declared secret. Exceptions to access to information on national security or other grounds should apply only where there is a risk of substantial harm to the protected interest and where that harm is greater than the overall public interest in having access to the information. In accordance with international standards, information regarding human rights violations should not be considered secret or classified.


3. Public authorities and their staff bear sole responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of legitimately classified information under their control. Other individuals, including journalists, media workers and civil society representatives, who receive and disseminate classified information because they believe it is in the public interest, should not be subject to liability unless they committed fraud or another crime to obtain the information. In addition, government "whistleblowers" releasing information on violations of the law, on wrongdoing by public bodies, on a serious threat to health, safety or the environment, or on a breach of human rights or humanitarian law should be protected against legal, administrative or employment-related sanctions if they act in good faith. Any attempt to impose subsequent liability on those who disseminate classified information should be grounded in previously established laws enforced by impartial and independent legal systems with full respect for due process guarantees, including the right to appeal.

4. Direct or indirect government interference in or pressure exerted upon any expression or information transmitted through any means of oral, written, artistic, visual or electronic communication must be prohibited by law when it is aimed at influencing content. Such illegitimate interference includes politically motivated legal cases brought against journalists and independent media, and blocking of websites and web domains on political grounds. Calls by public officials for illegitimate retributive action are not acceptable.

5. Filtering systems which are not end-user controlled – whether imposed by a government or commercial service provider – are a form of prior censorship and cannot be justified. Corporations that provide Internet services should make an effort to ensure that they respect the rights of their clients to use the Internet without arbitrary interference.

6. Self-regulatory mechanisms for journalists have played an important role in fostering greater awareness about how to report on and address difficult and controversial subjects. Special journalistic responsibility is called for when reporting information from confidential sources that may affect valuable interests such as fundamental rights or the security of other persons. Ethical codes for journalists should therefore provide for an evaluation of the public interest in obtaining such information. Such codes can also provide useful guidance for new forms of communication and for new media organizations, which should likewise voluntarily adopt ethical best practices to ensure that the information made available is accurate, fairly presented and does not cause substantial harm to legally protected interests such as human rights.


Catalina Botero Marino
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Frank LaRue
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

~ Source ~

A Very Zombie Holiday (Instructional Video)


Happiest of Holidays From Team Unicorn!

An instructional video for ensuring a happy home during this zombie-infested holiday season.

STARRING

TEAM UNICORN
Rileah Vanderbilt
Michele Boyd
Milynn Sarley
Clare Grant

Husband - Jonathan Nail
Grandpa - Tom Holland
Grandma - Kathi Holland
Sally - Ainsley Parks
Petey - Tarik Ellinger
George/Caroler - Dave Foy
Zombie/Caroler - Magda Apanowicz
Zombie - Faith D'Amato
Zombie/Narrator - T.J. Rotell
Caroler - Brian Kameoka

Directed and Edited by Sean Becker
Written by Zeb Wells
Director of Photography - Chris Darnell
Gaffer - Erica Thurlow
Grip - Ricardo Ramos
FX Makeup - Arlene Martinez
Hair/Makeup - Keston Ridley
Set Photographer - Mike Sutter
Sound - Leo Nasca
GFX Wizard - Desiree Lundsford
VFX Guru - Dan Scruggs
Colorist - Chris Darnell
Various Music by Kevin MacLeod(www.incompetech.com)
Post Sound Consultant - Sean O'Brien
Zombie Consultant - T.J. Rotell

Wardrobe by Pinup Girl Clothing

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Adam Green
Micheline Love (Kiss Me Deadly)
Jeff Parks
Tiffany Ellinger
Greg Aronowitz

Reclaiming Public Space in Athens, Greece


American Prisoners Treated Like Slaves?


A non-violent protest started as a result of prisoners demanding wages for their work, medical care, educational opportunities and a reform to the overall prison system. After a week, six separate Georgia prisons were in cooperation and joined the protest New Black Panther Party Chairman Dr. Malik Zulu Shabbazz says incarceration and coercion has been a means to control black people who compose a majority of those in the prison system, it's a prison industrial complex.

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

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