Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pakistan: Abuse of Christians and other religious minorities

Exclusive expose from Family Security Matters :

This year, Christians in Pakistan have suffered their worst persecutions for a decade. As a percentage of the population in the predominantly Muslim country, Christians number less than five percent. This year, seven Christians were burned alive in mob violence at Gojra in Punjab province. Four of these were women and one was a four-year-old child. In other parts, homes and churches have been destroyed and hundreds of Christians have been forced to flee their homes.
Pakistan's discriminatory blasphemy laws have continued to be used to oppress minorities. As soon as a police complaint (FIR or First Information Report) is made about blasphemy the accused is compulsorily remanded in custody until trial. One Christian individual who was detained in this manner died violently on September 15th, even though the police who incarcerated him attempted to pass off his death as a suicide. In almost all the cases of legislative oppression and mob violence against Christians, blasphemy has been invoked as justification.

[ ... ]

The violence in Gojra, in which Christians were burned to death, stemmed from a dispute that involved accusations of blasphemy. On Tuesday June 30th, a month before the atrocities, more than 110 Christian families were forced to flee their homes in the village of Bahminwala (Bahmina Wala) in Kasur district in Punjab province. The Christians were forced to hide in the fields around the village. They were driven out because Muslim mobs, encouraged by the local mosque, accused them all of blasphemy after one of their number had been listed in an FIR report.
The rampaging began after an incident that had occurred on the previous day. An argument broke out between a Christian farm laborer, 38-year old Sardar Masih (Arif Mashi), who was driving a tractor, and a Muslim riding a bicycle who came by and demanded that he should be allowed to pass. When this did not happen, the Muslim (Muhammad Riaz) apparently accused the Christian of being lower caste and a fight broke out.
According to Pakistan Christian Post, a mosque imam called Qari Lateef (Qari Latif) was consulted, and charges were filed against Sardar Masih at the local police station. These charges did not – it seems – include blasphemy, but the imam used his mosque loudspeaker system to make such accusations. In the ensuing unrest, electricity meters on Christian houses were smashed, Christian villagers were beaten, and houses were looted and burned.
The Daily Times newspaper sent journalists to the region. They met Shaan Ali and his brother Imran, who had both led the mob that attacked the Christians. Shaan Ali claimed, "The Christians had committed blasphemy." He could not specify who had committed this blasphemy. Ahmed Ali Dhillon of the provincial assembly confirmed that Qari Latif, imam at the village mosque, had instigated the violence against the Christians.

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[ Part 2 of the same series ]

Unable to attract even a single girl, frustrated man sues Axe

New Delhi. In what could prove to be a major marketing and legal embarrassment for Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a 26-year-old man has filed a case against the FMCG company, which owns the Axe brand of men grooming products, for 'cheating' and causing him 'mental suffering'. The plaintiff has cited his failure to attract any girl at all even though he's been using Axe products for over seven years now. Axe advertisements suggest that the products help men in instantly attracting women.

Vaibhav Bedi, the petitioner, also surrendered all his used, unused and half-used deodorant sprays, perfume sticks and roll-ons, anti-perspirants, aftershaves, body washes, shampoos, and hair gels to the court, and demanded a laboratory test of the products and narcotics test of the brand managers of Axe. Vaibhav was pushed to take this step when his bai (maid) beat him with a broom when he tried to impress her by appearing naked in front of her after applying all the Axe products.

“Where the f** is the Axe effect? I've been waiting for it for over seven years. Right from my college to now in my office, no girl ever agreed to even go out for a tea or coffee with me, even though I'm sure they could smell my perfumes, deodorants and aftershaves. I always applied them in abundance to make sure the girls get turned on as they show in the television. Finally I thought I'd try to impress my lonely bai who had an ugly fight with her husband and was living alone for over a year. Axe effect my foot!” Vaibhav expressed his unhappiness.

Vaibhav claims that he had been using all the Axe products as per the company's instructions even since he first bought them. He argued that if he couldn't experience the Axe effect despite using the products as directed, either the company was making false claims or selling fake products.

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Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission continues hearings

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Mathaba) On day one of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Commission Hearing, victims of torture at the hands of the U.S. soldiers, security and intelligence agencies continued to give sworn testimony in front of Commission panels and witnesses.

The War Crimes Tribunal Commission hearing is to continue tomorrow, and follows a two day Conference to Criminalize War held at the same venue under the auspices of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War.

Mathaba is unable to continue live coverage of the proceedings due to inadequate Internet media and communication facilities on location.

From KL War Crimes Commission Hears Guantanamo Atrocities :

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) -- A British Muslim detained for three years at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison manned by the United States, revealed that the youngest detainee he knew of was a nine-year-old boy who was also tortured like the rest.

Ruhal Ahmed's story was among more accounts of atrocities committed against the detainees at Guantanamo, told before an open commission hearing which began today on the sidelines of an international conference to criminalise war.

The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings will be submitted to a tribunal in conjunction with the Criminalise War Conference and War Crimes Tribunal 2009 spearheaded by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir, an outspoken war critic, had said that the tribunal's decision would be forwarded to the United Nations for further action.

Malaysian lawyer Zainur Zakaria headed the six-member panel today that heard the heart-wrenching experiences of seven who spoke of almost daily physical and emotional torture by the US army over alleged ties to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban movement...

From Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission hears nine charges against Bush, Blair, Howard :

Global Research Editor's Note

What has been initiated in Kuala Lumpur is a legal procedure distinct from previous war crimes tribunals. The Commission chaired by former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as well as the Tribunal are integrated by several of Malaysia's most prominent jurists.

[ ... ]

The Kuala Lumpur War Crime Commission chaired by former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad heard nine charges against US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard for the sufferings of the people in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

The charges against the US and its allies were presented by the legal counsel on behalf of the war crime victims, Matthias Chang, before Dr Mahathir and the other five commission members at the final day of the three-day war crimes conference organised by the Perdana Global Peace Conference.

Chang said Bush, Blair and Howard, through a deliberate plan of deception, falsehood, forgery and outright lies, misled their respective Congress and Parliament to wage war against Iraq which was a "crime against peace."

The trio were also being charged for embarking on a systematic campaign to destroy Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine economically and militarily, he said.

He said the third charge against them was for ordering the destruction of vital facilities essential to civilian lives in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine while the fourth was for the bombing of schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, residential areas and historical sites and conveniently labelling the destruction as "collateral damage".

The three leaders were also charged with allowing the use of weapons of mass destruction that inflicted indiscriminate death and suffering against civilian targets such as the cluster bomb, napalm bomb, phosporous bomb and depleted uranium ammunition, said Chang.

The sixth charge said that Bush, Blair and Howard have fraudulently manipulated the United Nations and the Security Council as well as corrupting its members to commit crimes against peace and war times, he said...

Friday, October 30, 2009

The prosecution of George W. Bush for murder [trailer]

Famed Charles Manson prosecutor and three time #1 New York Times bestselling author Vincent Bugliosi stars in this most powerful, explosive, and thought-provoking documentary.

In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.

Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

Neo-con ideologues launch new foreign policy group

(IPS) - A newly-formed and still obscure neo-conservative foreign policy organisation is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) - the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neo-conservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor - has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan.

But some see FPI as a likely successor to Kristol's and Kagan's previous organisation, the now-defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which they launched in 1997 and which became best known for leading the public campaign to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein both before and after the Sep. 11 attacks.

PNAC's charter members included many figures who later held top positions under Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, and his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

FPI was founded earlier this year, but few details are available about the group, which has so far attracted no media attention. The organisation's website lists Kagan, Kristol, and Senor, who came to prominence as a spokesman for the occupation authorities in Iraq, as the three members of its board of directors.

Two of FPI's three staffers, policy director Jamie Fly and Christian Whiton, have come directly from foreign policy posts in the Bush administration, while the third, Rachel Hoff, last worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Contacted by IPS at the group's office, Fly referred all questions to Senor, who did not return
the call.

The organisation's mission statement argues that the "United States remains the world's indispensable nation," and warns that "strategic overreach is not the problem and retrenchment is not the solution" to Washington's current financial and strategic woes. It calls for "continued engagement - diplomatic, economic, and military - in the world and rejection of policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism."

The mission statement opens by listing a familiar litany of threats to the U.S., including "rogue states," "failed states," "autocracies" and "terrorism", but gives pride of place to the "challenges" posed by "rising and resurgent powers," of which only China and Russia are named.

Their prominence may reflect the influence of Kagan, who has argued in recent years that the 21st century will be dominated by a struggle between the forces of democracy (led by the U.S.) and autocracy (led by China and Russia). He has called for a League of Democracies as a
mechanism for combating Chinese and Russian power, and the FPI statement stresses the need for "robust support for America's democratic allies".

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Brit space agency to probe 'crackpot' antigravity device

A controversial British antigravity device is to be investigated by the government's National Space Centre, according to reports. If the technology really works, it would be able to counteract the force of gravity using only electrical power, permitting the easy building of Jetsons-style flying cars or hoverships and hugely simplifying space travel.

The kit in question is the "Emdrive" - brainchild of engineer Roger Shawyer - which some readers may already be familiar with. It supposedly works by generating high-power microwaves within a special closed wave guide. Somehow or other - it's to do with relativity, according to Shawyer - the microwaves push harder on one end of the tin than the other, causing a thrust to be generated from nothing more than electrical power - no reaction mass required.

Naturally a lot of people assert that this is bunk. In particular, Dr John Costella, Aussie physicist and expert on relativistic electrodynamics - the very stuff which is supposed to make the Emdrive work - says it's a fraud, and also uses (pdf) ugly words like "crackpot" and "charlatan". On the other side of the coin, Shawyer is a bona-fide Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (we checked with them) - which would normally indicate status as a flying-stuff boffin of some substance.

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Tony Blair, Holy Roman Emperor and Leader of Progressive Humanity gives acceptance speech

“Hey, look – I mean – come on – I'm a pretty straight sort of Holy Roman Emperor. Not that I wanted the job, of course. But sometimes you have to bow to public opinion and accept the inevitable. What ruling Europe takes is imagination and I think I've got bags of that. Did I ever tell you how I watched my teenage hero Jackie Milburn, of Newcastle United, from behind the goal at St James's Park – even though Milburn left when I was four years old and there were no seats behind the goals until the 1990s?

“Or about the time, when I was 14, I stowed away at Newcastle Airport on a flight for the Bahamas – even though no long-haul flights left from Newcastle in those days? No? Anyway, Des O'Connor loved it when I told it on his show. Of course, that was small beer; I soon started doing bigger stuff. Like Weapons of Mass Destruction – those wimps on the Joint Intelligence Committee claimed that intelligence on Saddam's WMD programme was 'sporadic and patchy'.

“I ask you! How are you going to whip the British public into Churchillian war fever with that kind of weedy defeatism? So I changed it to 'extensive, detailed and authoritative', with just the right hint that if we didn't get Brit boots onto the sand asap, Cyprus would be vaporised within an hour. That worked: I always say, tell people like it is and they'll fall into line. So I think I'll make a pretty good Emperor of Europe.

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Takedown Halll of Shame

Bogus copyright and trademark complaints have threatened all kinds of creative expression on the Internet. EFF's Hall Of Shame collects the worst of the worst.

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Body bags disrupt Canada's flu-readiness message

The Canadian government sent body bags to some remote Indian reserves as it prepared for the winter flu season, sending a jarring message at odds with its promise that it's ready for the H1N1 flu.

The body bags went to some reserves in Manitoba, the western province in which some remote Indian communities were hard-hit by the flu in the spring, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said on Wednesday.

"It is very disturbing," Aglukkaq told reporters on a conference call. "It's a serious issue and it's very concerning to me."

Aglukkaq said she didn't have details of the body-bag shipments and has ordered officials to investigate.

At least four Manitoba reserves received body bags from Canada's health department in shipments that also included supplies like masks and hand sanitizer, the Winnipeg Free Press said.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Montrealers deliver a fiery message to Bush: You are persona non grata

They threw shoes – so many shoes that hotel staff had to roll out a laundry bin onto the street to pick them all up, and even then, the bin could barely contain them all.

They chanted: "Bush: Assassin! Terroriste! Criminel!" and then, at the appropriate command, hurled more shoes toward the heavily guarded entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.

They waved signs: "Don't Duck!" and "1.3 Million Dead Because of Bush" and "Bread Not Bombs for the Children of Iraq." Some of the signs and chants were directed equally at Bush's father. "You are a murderer too!"

And toward the end, they burned George W. Bush in effigy.

[ ... ]

Still, it was an eerie sensation to be standing in a carpeted, well heated hotel (appropriately honoring monarchy) and watching shivering, mostly young protestors mouthing their chants outside, chants which were barely audible. Perhaps the hotel had been built with some kind of special plate glass to insulate guests from the din of everyday life. Robin and I figured that Bush had been ushered in through the back door, because we never saw him. His speech was by invitation only. Even the press had to be invited. The price of admission: $400. About a 1,000 people showed up. Bush reportedly charges up to $150,000 for each appearance.

Deprived of seeing the former president, the protestors outside seemed satisfied that they had delivered a message to him through their signs, which said: You are a War Criminal. And because you are, you are Persona Non Grata in Montreal.

The day before, they ran a full- page ad in the daily Le Devoir endorsed by 48 groups and 440 individuals. It read in part:

"We denounce the invitation from Montreal's business circles to George W. Bush, whose polices were in violation of international law and led to such suffering worldwide. The 'eight momentous years' of Bush in the White House were first and foremost those of two wars of aggression and occupation which continue today, for whom the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan tragically continue paying the price of massive bombings of cities, of 'collateral' massacres of villagers, of carnage and destruction, for rape and other sexual violence, of torture and arbitrary detention."

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Ecuador: The battle for natural resources deepens

A new indigenous uprising began in defense of water sources threatened by open air mining in Ecuador in late September. This time indigenous organizations find themselves up against a government that claims to be anti-neoliberal, a player in the "socialism of the 21st century," and one that has begun a "citizen's revolution."

"What happened in Cochabamba in the fight for water will be dwarfed by what is about to happen in Ecuador. An uprising is coming because it is coming," affirms a convinced Carlos Pérez Guartambel, president of the Azuay Union of Community Water Systems (Unión de Sistemas Comunitarios de Agua del Azuay).1 Pérez is referring to the Water War of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a vast social insurrection that put a stop to the privatization of water and, in April 2000, began a succession of protests that brought Evo Morales to the presidency.

[ ... ]

Humberto Cholango, director of Ecuarunari, the Quichua organization of the sierra, offered some compelling facts during a press conference held on Sept. 24. Forty-five percent of water resources have been privatized through legal concessions, but 55% of it is being used illegally; 1% of those using water resources consume 64% of the water available and 86% of Ecuadorians consume just 13%. "The law does not say anything in regard to these points and the National Development Plan favors the mining companies and flower growers."

The law does not contemplate sanctions for contamination or water quality control. "The human right to water is restricted to access to potable water and domestic uses without considering the rights linked to health, food sovereignty, and culture," adds Buitrón.

For his part, Cholango insisted in the role of the indigenous communities in the construction of water system networks: "We have constructed irrigation canals, consumer water systems, and now, with this Executive Law, they want us to simply be consumers and not actors. Even in article 97, they are trying to exclusively administer and take control of community water systems through the Sole Authority. This is a threat to our water councils." The result, in his opinion, is prioritizing the use of water for mining exploits.

The protests began with roadblocks and demonstrations to force the government into a dialogue and a chance to present their own Water Law inspired by the Sumak Kawsay, the idea of "Buen Vivir" or "Good Living" that is guaranteed in the constitution. President Rafael Correa's response was harsh: "Who do these leaders think they are?" He accused them of being "extremists," of "playing the game of the right," and of being coup mongers, comparing the situation in Ecuador with that of Honduras.

On Sept. 30, the police fired shots against indigenous Shuar in the Amazonian province of Morona Santiago. According to a communiqué from Ecological Action, Bosco Wizuma, a bilingual professor, was killed when he joined a group of 500 that blocked the bridge spanning the Upano River. It seems that it was a "trap" because the leaders were called to a dialogue "in order to distract the leadership and the local media."

There were dozens of wounded, including several police. President Correa quickly changed the discourse and called for the dialogue: "Welcome brothers. This government is for all of you, the indigenous people, the Carondelet Palace [Presidential Palace] is yours." This was perhaps the only way to defuse the conflict that threatened the stability of his government. In effect, although the uprising did not originally have the strength of other indigenous actions, professors and members of other social sectors began to join the movement. And when there is a death, anything is possible.

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Israelis targeting grassroots activists

Israeli authorities are increasingly targeting and intimidating non-violent Palestinian grassroots activists involved in anti-occupation activities who are drawing increased support from the international community.

Several weeks ago masked Israeli soldiers stormed the home of Ehab Jallad from The Jerusalem Popular Committee for the Celebration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2009.

"Around 3am the soldiers started kicking and banging on the door and threatened to break it down if I didn't open immediately. My young daughters were terrified as they didn't know what was happening," recalls Jallad, a young Palestinian architect from Jerusalem.

"The soldiers then proceeded to ransack my home before confiscating my laptop, several computers, files with my contacts and my ipod. When I asked them why they were doing this and told them I wanted to call my lawyer, they told me to shut up and threatened to beat me up," Jallad told IPS.

This is just the latest incident in which the Israeli authorities have arrested and taken Jallad in for questioning over his organisation of cultural events marking East Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture. Jallad has also been monitoring the protests outside Al-Aqsa Mosque during the last few weeks.

"The Israeli officer questioning me said he knew I was in contact with the media but stated this would not help. He further warned me that I was being monitored, and if I continued with my activities my family and I would be subjected to further raids and harassment," said Jallad.

The same morning that Jallad was arrested Israeli security forces raided a warehouse used by Jerusalem community groups and cultural events organisers.

"They vandalised material we use for cultural events and confiscated other material," Jallad told IPS.

To date Jallad has not been charged with anything. But a war between Palestinians and Israeli continues unabated over Israel's continued Judaisation of East Jerusalem.

This has involved the expulsion of Palestinian residents from their homes in the eastern sector of the city and the expropriation thereof to make way for Israeli settlers.

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U.K.: Councils to get asset seize power

Local councils are to get the power to seize the assets of minor offenders under government moves next week.

The Proceeds of Crime Act - brought in to target organised criminals could be used against housing benefit fraudsters and other less serious offenders.

The Police Federation has expressed concern that "intrusive powers" are to be given to people who are not police.

But the Home Office said seizing "ill-gotten gains" was a key part of the fight against all kinds of crime.

The move, which is being pushed through next week by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, is set out in a Statutory Instrument, which means it will not be debated by MPs.

Paul McKeever, of the Police Federation, told The Times: "The Proceeds of Crime Act is a very powerful tool in the hands of the police and police-related agencies and it shouldn't be treated lightly."

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The Rise of the Neuronovel - by Marco Roth

From n+1 magazine:

The last dozen years or so have seen the emergence of a new strain within the Anglo-American novel. What has been variously referred to as the novel of consciousness or the psychological or confessional novel—the novel, at any rate, about the workings of a mind—has transformed itself into the neurological novel, wherein the mind becomes the brain. Since 1997, readers have encountered, in rough chronological order, Ian McEwan's Enduring Love (de Clérambault's syndrome, complete with an appended case history by a fictional “presiding psychiatrist” and a useful bibliography), Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn (Tourette's syndrome), Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (autism), Richard Powers's The Echomaker (facial agnosia, Capgras syndrome), McEwan again with Saturday (Huntington's disease, as diagnosed by the neurosurgeon protagonist), Atmospheric Disturbances (Capgras syndrome again) by a medical school graduate, Rivka Galchen, and John Wray's Lowboy (paranoid schizophrenia). And these are just a selection of recently published titles in “literary fiction.” There are also many recent genre novels, mostly thrillers, of amnesia, bipolar disorder, and multiple personality disorder. As young writers in Balzac walk around Paris pitching historical novels with titles like The Archer of Charles IX, in imitation of Walter Scott, today an aspiring novelist might seek his subject matter in a neglected corner or along some new frontier of neurology.

What makes so many writers try their hands and brains at the neuronovel? At the most obvious level, the trend follows a cultural (and, in psychology proper, a disciplinary) shift away from environmental and relational theories of personality back to the study of brains themselves, as the source of who we are. This cultural sea change probably began with the exhaustion of “the linguistic turn” in the humanities, in the 1980s, and with the discredit psychoanalysis suffered, around the same time, from revelations that Freud had discounted some credible claims of sexual abuse among his patients. Those philosophers of mind who had always been opposed to trendy French poststructuralism or old-fashioned Freudianism, and the mutability of personality these implied, put forth strong claims for the persistence of innate ideas and unalterable structures. And in neuroscience such changes as the mind did endure were analyzed in terms of chemistry. By the early '90s, psychoanalysis—whether of a Lacanian and therefore linguistic variety, or a Freudian and drive-oriented kind—was generally considered bankrupt, not to mention far less effective and more expensive than the psychiatric drugs (like Prozac) that began to flow through the general population's bloodstream. The new reductionism of mind to brain, eagerly taken up by the press—especially the New York Times in its science pages—had two main properties: it explained proximate causes of mental function in terms of neurochemistry, and ultimate causes in terms of evolution and heredity.

[ ... ]

In 1949, Lionel Trilling could write, “A specter haunts our culture—it is that people will eventually be unable to say, 'They fell in love and married,' let alone understand the language of Romeo and Juliet, but will as a matter of course say 'Their libidinal impulses being reciprocal, they activated their individual erotic drives and integrated them within the same frame of reference.'” The joke is now quaint; the possibility of an orthodox everyday Freudianism turned out to be no more ultimately threatening than the other specter Trilling was alluding to. Today people, or a certain class of university-educated ones, are likelier to read books like The Female Brain than to consult any psychoanalytic writer on female sexuality, and to send emails like this almost serious one I received from a friend:

In advance of your date in Brooklyn, there are one or two things to know and one or two things to get ready to do! First we should hope that N is post-menstrual and therefore on an estrogen up. Day twelve of the menstrual cycle would be best. Testosterone will be kicking in with a bit of androgen on top of the estrogen, making N somewhat aggressively sexual. Of course she will also be speeding toward ovulation and will be at her verbal and intuitive best. So, use a condom and do a lot of looking in her eyes (girls are prewired at birth for mutual gazing, unlike boys). Give her a lot of face. Her capacity to read emotions and her need to evaluate the facial expressions of those around her will be at a peak (setting in motion circuits established during estrogen flushes in utero and the massive estrogen marination which took place during infantile puberty and hyped-up during adolescence).

So: smile!

In this language, one now needs more words than ever to say “They fell in love,” and we haven't even got past the first minute of the first date.

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3,000 NHS staff get private care

THE National Health Service has spent £1.5m paying for hundreds of its staff to have private health treatment so they can leapfrog their own waiting lists.

More than 3,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, have gone private at the taxpayers' expense in the past three years because the queues at the clinics and hospitals where they work are too long.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show that NHS administrative staff, paramedics and ambulance drivers have also been given free private healthcare. This has covered physiotherapy, osteopathy, psychiatric care and counselling — all widely available on the NHS.

“It simply isn't fair to have one service for staff and another for everyone else,” said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, who obtained the figures.

“If the NHS has to circumvent their own waiting lists the system isn't working well enough. It's an admission by the NHS that their own system isn't able to respond to the mass of people desperate to get back to work.”

The number of health service employees sent to private healthcare facilities has more than doubled in the past three years.

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The shocking truth about HIV and AIDS (trailer for House of Numbers film)

In this exclusive trailer for the groundbreaking new film, House of Numbers you'll hear interview outtakes with some of the most knowledgeable (and controversial) people on the subject of AIDS. The most shocking quote of all? When Nobel Prize Winner and co-discoverer of HIV, Luc Montagnier, says that AIDS can be cured with nutrition.

Tibet: Murder In The Snow [trailer]

The War Against Preterrorism

The War Against Preterrorism: The 'Tarnac Nine' and The Coming Insurrection
by Alberto Toscano

I. The Case*

On 11 November 2008, twenty French youths are arrested simultaneously in Paris, Rouen, and in the small village of Tarnac (located in the district of Corrèze, in France's relatively impoverished Massif Central region). The Tarnac operation involves helicopters, one hundred and fifty balaclava-clad anti-terrorist policemen and studiously prearranged media coverage. The youths are accused of having participated in a number of sabotage attacks against the high-speed TGV train routes, involving the obstruction of the train's power cables with horseshoe-shaped iron bars, causing material damage and a series of delays affecting some 160 trains. Eleven of the suspects are promptly freed. Those who remain in custody are soon termed the 'Tarnac Nine', after the village where a number of them had purchased a small farmhouse, reorganised the local grocery store as a cooperative, and taken up a number of civic activities from the running of a film club to the delivery of food to the elderly. In their parents' words, 'they planted carrots without bosses or leaders. They think that life, intelligence and decisions are more joyous when they are collective'.[1]

Almost immediately, the Minister of the Interior, Michèle Alliot-Marie, brushing aside Republican legal niceties, intervenes to strongly underline the presumption of guilt and to classify the whole affair under the rubric of terrorism, linking it to the supposed rise of an insurrectionist 'ultra-left' (ultra-gauche), or 'anarcho-autonomist tendency' (mouvance anarcho-autonome), filling in the vacuum left by the collapse of the institutional Left (the PCF). Invoking anti-terrorist legislation, the nine are interrogated and detained for 96 hours; four are subsequently released. The official accusation is that of 'association of wrongdoers in relation to a terrorist undertaking', a charge that can carry up to 20 years in jail; what's more, the accused might be detained for as long as two years before their case goes to trial. On December 2, three more of the Tarnac Nine are released under judiciary control, leaving two in jail, at the time of writing (early January 2009): Julien Coupat and Yldune Lévy.

Giorgio Agamben and Luc Boltanski, among others, write editorials decrying the disproportion and hysteria of this repressive operation.[2] A petition is circulated by Eric Hazan, radical publisher and friend of Coupat, signed by Badiou, Bensaïd, Butler, Rancière, Žižek and several others.[3] In Tarnac (a village proud of its role in the Resistance, and represented by a communist mayor for four decades) a combative committee of support is set up, conveying a virtually unanimous show of solidarity of the villagers with the arrested; other committees and protests emerge in Bruxelles, New York, Moscow, and elsewhere.

In what has been called 'the greatest operation of intoxication of opinion carried out by a [French] government in decades',[4] the attention of the media focuses on Coupat, personally charged with 'directing a terrorist group'. The time-honoured reactionary motif is that of the child of the bourgeoisie who betrays his class and drifts into violent idealism. Some journalists refer to him as the égaré de l'ESSEC, after the elite business school where Coupat obtained his first degree. Readers of the press are soon apprised of Coupat's DEA dissertation on Guy Debord at the EHESS, where he worked closely with Luc Boltanski (the latter thanks him in The New Spirit of Capitalism), of his involvement in the journal and collective Tiqqun, and of his alleged authorship of the book L'insurrection qui vient (The Coming Insurrection) signed by the 'Comité Invisible'.[5] This tract (on which more below) – which Hazan, its publisher at La Fabrique, refuses to ascribe to him[6] – turns out to be one of the main planks in the aspersions and accusations with which Alliot-Marie and various elements of the French state saturate the media. She even avows that the aim of this operation is to send a 'message', dissuading those who might be tempted to take the path of Coupat and his comrades. In rather flagrant contradiction with both the tenor of L'insurrection and what may be surmised about the modus operandi of the Tarnac commune, he is painted as the charismatic ring-leader.

As the media feeding frenzy progresses, some of the ideological and investigative background surfaces in the press (the intelligence agency which reports directly to the Ministry of the Interior, the Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur [DCRI], the 'French FBI' which replaced the famous Renseignements géneraux [RG] in July 2008, seems rather prone to leaks, managed or otherwise). It appears that Coupat had long been an object of observation by the section of the RG tasked with monitoring the left. One of their reports, which notes Coupat's work in Tiqqun and participation at Actuel Marx's third Marx International conference in 1998, in a panel with a number of Bourdieusian sociologists, even describes him as a 'critical metaphysician'[7] – one of several ironic indications in this whole affair of the passing acquaintance of French spooks with the world of philosophy and political theory. Increasingly, he is tagged as a leading light in an ominous and diffuse political agitation, vaguely designated as 'anarcho-autonomist', which eschews the domains of organisation, political representation and regulated conflict for the sake of direct action and irrecuperable opposition to capitalism. Unsurprisingly, for a case steeped – however 'tragicomically', to borrow Agamben's apt adjective – in the new language of security and the 'war on terror', the Tarnac affair has a trans-Atlantic component: the FBI had contacted their French counterparts to signal an allegedly illegal crossing from Canada into the US by Coupat and his companion Lévy, and the discovery, in a rucksack left at the border, of a picture of the recruiting office in New York's Times Square which would later be the object of a small bomb attack, together with written documents from North American anarchists.[8] The broader context of the whole operation is the theorem, dear to Alliot-Marie and the security apparatus of the Sarkozy government, of the mounting threat of an anti-capitalist, anti-statist and anti-systemic radicalization of youth in France and across Europe which cannot be contained in the usual avenues of social conflict. The revealing title of a report on this putative phenomenon by the DCRI is accordingly: 'From the anti-CPE conflict to the constitution of a pre-terrorist network: Perspectives on the French and European ultra-left'.

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"CIA prevented prisoner deaths to prolong torture"

From Russia Today :

The CIA took measures to make sure their tortured prisoners did not die – in order to continue further torturing, according to human rights lawyer John Sifton.

President Obama has cut a swathe through the Bush-era National Security Program, forcing the CIA to close its secret overseas prisons and banning harsh interrogation methods.

RT spoke to Human Rights lawyer John Sifton about the kind of abuses which took place.

Read more

“In the military there were a large number of deaths with the CIA,” he said.

“It engaged in horrendous abuses, they appear to have taken precautions to prevent people from dying. This might sound humane, but in fact it's sickening, as they were torturing them at the same time trying to maintain their health so that they could continue.”

"A Woman Among Warlords": Afghan democracy activist Malalai Joya defies threats to challenge US occupation, local warlords

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about Afghanistan, we're joined here in our firehouse studio by Malalai Joya, one of Afghanistan's leading democracy activists. In 2005, she became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. She was suspended in 2007 for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government. She has just written her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Woman Who Dared to Speak Out. It was written with Derrick O'Keefe.

I welcome you to Democracy Now!, Malalai. When you hear in all the US media “bloodiest month of the eight-year war,” of course they're talking about US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. How does that make you feel? How do we know how many Afghans have died over these last eight years?

MALALAI JOYA: Yeah, first of all, thanks for this interview. And let me say in the beginning, on behalf of my people, condolences to those American mothers who lost their sons recently in Afghanistan and also these eight years, and other moms that belongs to these NATO countries, as their government unfortunately these eight years, they waste the blood of their soldiers in Afghanistan and their taxpayers' monies by supporting these warlords, these drug lords and these terrorists who are like a photocopy of Taliban—means that mentally same, only physically has been changed after 9/11 and they come in power.

So, this eight years, about less than 2,000 Talib has been killed, more than 8,000 innocent civilians has been killed. That's why, day by day, we believe that this is not war on terror, this is war on innocent civilians, as they even do massacre in Afghanistan, what they did on May, that—in Farah province, more than 150 civilians has been killed, most of them women and children. Even they used white phosphorus and cluster bomb. And also, 200 civilians on 9th of September in Kunduz province has been killed, again most of them women and children. You can see the website of Professor Marc Herold, this Democrat American man that—to know better about war crime in Afghanistan they impose on our people.

And at least today's reporters in have to know that even by presence of thousands troops in Afghanistan, there is no security in Kabul. How—but around Afghanistan, while the government has no control, now my people are sandwiched between two powerful enemies: from the sky, occupation forces bombing and killing innocent civilians—as I said, these troops themselves are the victim of this wrong policy of their government; on the ground, Taliban and these warlords together continue to deliver fascism against our people.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about the latest news, Malalai Joya, about the brother of Hamid Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the New York Times revealing today that Ahmed has been on the CIA payroll for much of the past eight years. Who is he?

MALALAI JOYA: You know, my people call him “Small Bush” in Kandahar province, this brother of Hamid Karzai. But he's—this is not the first time that New York Times wrote. Recently also, I wrote that he's a famous drug trafficker. And many others who have high posts in Karzai's government, sometimes his ministers, expose each other that they—for persons who had high posts in Karzai government, they are drug traffickers. And the government says stop planting of opium, but the governor commanders of the same province is drug traffickers. This eight years, $36 billion the government of Afghanistan received, while they themselves give report. Most of this money went into pocket of warlords, drug lords, [inaudible] lords, these donors and officials themselves. And at least this example should be in of that right now. Even some important media is writing and sometimes exposing these drug lords and these warlords in Afghanistan, that right now I say that, for example, brother of Hamid Karzai is receiving millions of dollars through dirty business of opium.

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Roadrunner supercomputer maps HIV family tree

Physicist Tanmoy Bhattacharya and HIV researcher Bette Korber are creating an evolutionary genetic family tree based on samples taken by the international Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology consortium, in order to compare the evolutionary history of more than 10,000 sequences from more than 400 people with HIV.

If they can identify common features of the virus as it is transmitted, researchers might be able to create a vaccine that recognizes the virus before the body's immune system reacts to--and mutates--it.

What already sounds like a lot of data, however, could balloon further, hence the importance of Roadrunner. "We are at the cusp of being able to obtain more than 100,000 viral sequences from a single person," Korber said. "For this new kind data to be useful, computational advances will have to keep pace."

Roadrunner, developed by IBM for the Department of Energy (and occupying about 6,000 square feet at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico), first broke the petaflop barrier (which means it performed more than one million billion calculations per second) in May 2008. It may soon be known for helping develop a "specially designed" HIV vaccine...

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Buy Nothing Day, November 27

By Phil Edmonds, OpEd News

This article was co-written with Greg Gerritt.

On November 27th – the busiest day in the American retail calendar and the unofficial start of the international Christmas-shopping season – thousands of activists and concerned citizens in 65 countries will take a 24-hour consumer detox as part of the annual Buy Nothing Day, a global phenomenon that originated in Vancouver, Canada. This is a day where we challenge ourselves to switch off from shopping and tune into life.

Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation, which was responsible for turning Buy Nothing Day into an international annual event, said, “Our headlong plunge into ecological collapse requires a profound shift in the way we see things. Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great, but they are band-aid solutions if we don't address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day.”

One may ask: “instead of buying nothing on November 27th, shouldn't we be spending more so as to save our economy?” Attempts to shore up our present economy are futile. Our globalized consumer-orientated economic system is crumbling and the signs for global catastrophes are already here, as our planet's natural resources are plundered, Can we face it? Can we really face the reality that this is so?

So what can we do? It will take vision and experimentation to develop new economies based on localization, where much of what we buy is produced locally, and of course, we have to consume much less. On November 27th, join people from sixty five countries by buying nothing and sending a clear message that over-consumption is one of the main causes for our planetary crisis.

[video from earlier uncommercials]

Buy Nothing Day isn't just about changing our habits for one day, but about starting a lasting lifelong commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.

Here in Providence, we observe Buy Nothing Day for the thirteenth year in a row by holding a life-affirming winter coat exchange on the State House lawn, directly across from Providence Place Mall from 10AM-2PM. In case of inclement weather, the exchange will take place at St. Patrick's School, 244 Smith St. Those who have winter coats to give can just drop them off; those needing a winter coat can pick one up. Coat exchanges also take place in Pawtucket, Newport, Wakefield, and Woonsocket. Volunteers are needed at all the sites.

Gordon Brown to 'buy off' Germany and France to get President Blair

The Prime Minister is now actively campaigning for Mr Blair to get the post.

Number 10 believes that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will add her support to the move if she is allowed to choose a German for the other new role created by the Lisbon Treaty, the high representative for foreign affairs.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, would be offered the chance to select a politician to take on one of the top economic portfolios, possibly the EU trade commissioner's role currently held by Britain.

A senior Number 10 official said: “We believe the French and Germans are holding out for the best possible deal they can get out of this situation. But we think Merkel will agree if she gets the foreign job [to give to her choice] and Sarkozy will also be after a significant position.”

Mrs Merkel has until now been noticeably cool on the prospect of Mr Blair getting the presidency.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has been at the forefront of a change of policy regarding Mr Blair's ambitions this week. He has begun to lobby hard for his appointment with a series of statements urging EU leaders to grasp the nettle and allow the big figure like Mr Blair who could “stop the traffic” in Washington and Beijing, to take on the role.

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Dakka Marrakchia

Shocking 1929 postcard of the executed Afghani 'Bandit King'

As the situation in modern Afghanistan (and Pakistan) continues to deteriorate, I cannot help but remember one of the most extraordinary postcards in my collection. It shows the dead body of the so-called "Bandit King" of Afghanistan, Habibullah Kalakani, after he was killed on the 13th of October 1929, almost exactly 70 years ago.

Habibullah Kalakani, a Tajik from northern Afghanistan became ruler of Afghanistan in January 1929 after leading a revolt against King Amanullah Khan. Amanullah's modernizing policies were said to have offended large numbers of Afghans, including his own Pathan tribesman who initially joined Kalakani.

His rule, however, was troubled. Amanullah managed to escape to Kandahar. His general Mohammed Nadir Khan, supposedly with help from the British, led a revolt against Kalkani and surrounded the capital, Kabul. Kalakani escaped to his village. When Nadir Khan's troops came after him, villagers are said to have stoned him. He is said to have later surrendered to Nadir Khan, who had him executed in Kabul.

Perhaps this postcard sheds some light on the matter. Pathans referred to him insultingly as Bacha Saqqao, or "son of the water-carrier." He was also called the Bandit King by the British.

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Pakistani journalist claims life under threat following U.S agency expose

From Sify News :

A Pakistani journalist claims to have been receiving life threats from a U.S agency for critically writing against the Obama administration and for reporting its secret operations in the country.

Fears of being harassed has him to use a pseudo name, ,S.F.A. Shah, who now fears for his life after breaking the story of the presence of Blackwater (now Xe Worldwide) in Peshawar along with Creative Associates International Inc (CAII).

He had published names of the investigation and operational heads of the agency and had unmasked the nexus of BW, FBI and CIA. He had also investigated the activities of the US Consulate in Peshawar including details of their activities, phone numbers and the dozens of houses rented in lavish localities for the purpose of torturing, kidnapping, detention and so on, The Nation reports.

Now a report has revealed how he was hounded out of his home and was later approached by the CIA. He also revealed that the agency tried to recruit him into spying on some Imams of mosques through their man Stephen Cash who used to investigate Afghan refugees and some Pakistanis in the NWFP.

He revealed how on Cash's reports, people were picked up including Afghan refugees.(ANI)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini 'was recruited by MI5'

Archived documents have revealed that Mussolini, who ruled his country with fear and forged a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany, got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5.

Mussolini, then a 34-year-old journalist, worked to ensure that Italy continued to fight alongside the allies in the First World War by publishing propaganda in his paper, the Guardian reports. He was also willing to send Italian army veterans to beat up peace protesters in Milan.

Mussolini's payments were authorised by Sir Samuel Hoare, an MP and MI5's man in Rome, who ran a staff of 100 British intelligence officers in Italy at the time.

Cambridge historian Peter Martland, who discovered details of the deal struck with the future dictator, told the Guardian: "Britain's least reliable ally in the war at the time was Italy after revolutionary Russia's pull out from the conflict. Mussolini was paid £100 a week from the autumn of 1917 for at least a year to keep up the pro-war campaigning – equivalent to about £6,000 a week today."

Mr Hoare, later to become Lord Templewood, mentioned the recruitment in memoirs in 1954, but Mr Martland stumbled on details of the payments for the first time while scouring Mr Hoare's papers.

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Mind control - Two interesting videos

Mind Control: America's Secret War

Fritz Springmeier - Undetectable Mind Control

Oil tycoon: Our troops died ... we're "entitled" to sweet contracts in Iraq!

...Another consortium headed by Exxon is still in the running for one project, but that doesn't mollify hedge-fund gazillionaire -- and natural gas honcho -- T-Boone Pickens. He's none-too-happy:

Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. energy companies are "entitled" to some of Iraq's crude because of the large number of American troops that lost their lives fighting in the country and the U.S. taxpayer money spent in Iraq.


"They're opening them (oil fields) up to other companies all over the world ... We're entitled to it," Pickens said of Iraq's oil. "Heck, we even lost 5,000 of our people, 65,000 injured and a trillion, five hundred billion dollars."


"We leave there with the Chinese getting the oil," Pickens said.

Nothing new -- In August T-Boone called on the administration to "demand" oil contracts from Iraq before considering a withdrawal ($$). But it is an unusually brazen admission that many energy bigs did in fact consider "blood-for-oil" to be a straightforward deal...

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Spotter cards: What they look like and how they work

This kind of highly confidential document – pictured above – is rarely seen by the public.

These so-called "spotter cards" are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations.

The photographs are drawn from police intelligence files. This card was apparently dropped at a demonstration against Britain's largest arms fair in 2005.

H is Mark Thomas, the comedian and political activist. Asked why it was justifiable to put Thomas, who has no criminal record, on this card, the Metropolitan police replied: "We do not discuss intelligence we may hold in relation to individuals."

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U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.

A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed.

But last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.

"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department's head of personnel. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."

The reaction to Hoh's letter was immediate. Senior U.S. officials, concerned that they would lose an outstanding officer and perhaps gain a prominent critic, appealed to him to stay.

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry brought him to Kabul and offered him a job on his senior embassy staff. Hoh declined. From there, he was flown home for a face-to-face meeting with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"We took his letter very seriously, because he was a good officer," Holbrooke said in an interview. "We all thought that given how serious his letter was, how much commitment there was, and his prior track record, we should pay close attention to him."

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Brother of Afghan leader is said to be on C.I.A. payroll

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.'s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai's home.

The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America's war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House.

The ties to Mr. Karzai have created deep divisions within the Obama administration. The critics say the ties complicate America's increasingly tense relationship with President Hamid Karzai, who has struggled to build sustained popularity among Afghans and has long been portrayed by the Taliban as an American puppet. The C.I.A.'s practices also suggest that the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

More broadly, some American officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai, the most powerful figure in a large area of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, undermines the American push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw.

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'A science experiment being sabotaged by its own future self?'

From Large Hadron Collider goes Back to the Future by Peter Evans,

...Two scientists have hypothesized in a series of papers that the LHC's stated aim of finding the Higgs boson might be so abhorrent to nature that mysterious forces are traveling back through time and sabotaging the experiment before it can succeed.

"The potential production of a large number of Higgs particles at a certain future time would cause a pre-arrangement such that Higgs particle production can be avoided," theoretical physicists Holger Bech Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya rather clumsily wrote in a recent research paper.

Unlike the experiment itself, reaction to the paper has been predictable. Blogger mouths were agape. The New York Times chimed in.

Despite the attention, the two aren't proposing a possible solution to the problem. Indeed, if the powers that be are bound and determined to see the LHC fail, there isn't much humanity can do about it, they concede. Their proposal was merely to implement a sort of random-number generator via card drawing into the overall LHC experiment.

If an impossibly rare sequence of numbers came up, it could be construed as proof of high-level meddling, they posited. "When the Higgs particles are to be produced, we must carry out a retest to elucidate whether there could be an influence from the future," the physicists wrote.

A science experiment being sabotaged by its own future self?

That two respected scientists would put forward a theory reminiscent of Marty McFly's journey through time to ensure his parents fall in love speaks to the collider's intrigue in the scientific community and the world at large. ...

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Top 25 censored stories for 2010

Top Censored Stories of 2009/2010

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Obama’s H1N1 swine flu national emergency evidences vaccine "market-building" for mass murder

By Dr Leonard Horowitz and Sherri Kane, 27 October 2009

Los Angeles–President Obama's declared H1N1 emergency cannot be reconciled by either vaccine shortages or flu cases; only by medical “market-building,” vaccination intoxications, and mass murder for population reduction says common sense and mounting evidence.

Over the weekend, initial reports from Reuters News Service and Fox News stated that the President's declaration was intended to prepare the country in case of “a rapid increase in illness that may overburden health care resources.” The media quoted an unidentified administration official saying, “It's important to note that this is a proactive measure — not a response to a new development.” This action was “similar to disaster declarations issued before hurricanes hit coastal areas,” Reuters reported.
Why would the Obama administration anticipate an H1N1 “hurricane” to hit when Purdue researchers concluded last week the epidemic was expected to peak this week? In fact, too soon for vaccines to be helpful.

Thus, most people getting vaccinated now risk side effects for NOTHING–no benefit what-so-ever!

Furthermore, CBS News determined last week the CDC's reported H1N1 cases had been overblown up to 97 percent. Only about 1,000 people have died of H1N1 since April's Mexican outbreak. That is merely 1/18th, or less than 6%, of expected deaths from a normal seasonal flu during the same time period.

It is highly suspicious that David A. Paterson, New York State's Governor, suddenly suspended “mandatory” H1N1 shots for health professionals citing vaccine shortages, not litigation exposures, as cause for the policy change.

Neglecting notice that more than 60 percent of nurses in New York State refused to take the H1N1 vaccines according to polls, and unions had filed lawsuits against New York and Washington State to gain injunctions against mandated injections, Paterson's yellow press blamed “limited vaccine supplies” as reason to inject pregnant women and children exclusively. Only two weeks earlier, New York State officials posted their first priority, “as established by the CDC,” to vaccinate health care workers and emergency medical services personnel.

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Musical Innerlube: Whirling dervishes

Herbal drug crackdown: Millions face having to buy remedies on black market as Europe tightens the rules

Patients could lose access to safe herbal medicines under EU rules, it was claimed yesterday.

Instead they could end up buying potentially dangerous supplies from the black market, say herbalists.

Sales of all herbal remedies, except for a small number of products for 'mild' illness, will be banned to the public under the new law to come in in 2011.

Almost 2,500 UK qualified herbalists and Chinese medicine practitioners will also lose the right to supply a wide range of herbal medicines, because they are not signed up to a statutory regulation scheme.

Unlike healthcare professionals, there is no regulation of herbalists.

The Government has launched a consultation on whether to bring in statutory regulation - which herbalists support. However, many fear the consultation process is too complicated, which could affect the chances of its success.

At least six million Britons have consulted a herbal practitioner in the past two years, according to research.

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UK: Then they came for the gypsies

By Grattan Puxon

The appearance of neo-facist leader Nick Griffin on a popular BBC panel programme last week has caused outraged protest by those who fear extreme-right wing policies are becoming acceptable in today's would-be police-state Britain.

But if the British National Party with its million votes is moving into the mainstream, its just as frightening that once middle-ground politicians are willing to court favour with the neo-fascists by assuming a brownshirt colouring.

Romanies and Travellers may have been in Britain half a millennium or more, yet are still not accepted by a middle -England majority. Those who continue to follow a nomadic life -style get it in the neck everyday due to institutional racism locked into our bureaucracy and police forces.

We're seeing it happen in Italy and Hungary, now we'll see it happening here. Twenty miles from the Mother of Parliaments, by the lorry-full and
Landrover, with bulldozer and crane - stop them if you dare! - they're coming for the Gypsies.

On UN Human Rights Day 10 December, Basildon's Tory chief will formally lead his cabinet in voting to give a two million pound contract to a bunch of hard-hat bullyboys to oust hundreds of Travellers from his district. It will be the ugliest yet act of ethnic-cleansing by a British local authority against an outpost of Europe's nascent Roma nation.

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Piano stairs - -

We believe that the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory.

Curry spice 'kills cancer cells'

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical - curcumin - has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

Cancer experts said the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments.

Dr Sharon McKenna and her team found that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

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Cancers can vanish without treatment, but how?

Call it the arrow of cancer. Like the arrow of time, it was supposed to point in one direction. Cancers grew and worsened.

But as a paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted last week, data from more than two decades of screening for breast and prostate cancer call that view into question. Besides finding tumors that would be lethal if left untreated, screening appears to be finding many small tumors that would not be a problem if they were left alone, undiscovered by screening. They were destined to stop growing on their own or shrink, or even, at least in the case of some breast cancers, disappear.

“The old view is that cancer is a linear process,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health. “A cell acquired a mutation, and little by little it acquired more and more mutations. Mutations are not supposed to revert spontaneously.”

So, Dr. Kramer said, the image was “an arrow that moved in one direction.” But now, he added, it is becoming increasingly clear that cancers require more than mutations to progress. They need the cooperation of surrounding cells and even, he said, “the whole organism, the person,” whose immune system or hormone levels, for example, can squelch or fuel a tumor.

Cancer, Dr. Kramer said, is a dynamic process.

It was a view that was hard for some cancer doctors and researchers to accept. But some of the skeptics have changed their minds and decided that, contrary as it seems to everything they had thought, cancers can disappear on their own.

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Manhunt launched after gunmen injure Greek police in Athens

Athens - A nationwide manhunt was launched on Wednesday after gunmen opened fire on a police station in the suburbs of the Greek capital, injuring six.

Four hooded gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles on the Agios Pareskevis police station in northern Athens late Tuesday, injuring six police officers, two of whom were in serious condition.

Reports said the gunmen fired at least 40 rounds at the police station before fleeing on motorcycles. Three of the motorcycles were discovered outside a metro station a short distance from the scene of the attack, reports said.

The wounded were rushed to hospital, where two of the officers who suffered gunshots to the stomach and chest were undergoing emergency surgery.

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Rich Germans demand higher taxes

A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.

The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.

Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.

The petition has 44 signatories so far, and will be presented to newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The group say the financial crisis is leading to an increase in unemployment, poverty and social inequality.

Simply donating money to deal with the problems is not enough, they want a change in the whole approach.

"The path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice," they say in the petition.

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AP IMPACT: Troops already outnumber Taliban 12-1

There are already more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan working with 200,000 Afghan security forces and police. It adds up to a 12-1 numerical advantage over Taliban rebels, but it hasn't led to anything close to victory.

Now, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan is asking for tens of thousands more troops to stem the escalating insurgency, raising the question of how many more troops it would take to succeed.

The commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the extra forces are needed to implement a new strategy that focuses on protecting civilians and depriving the militants of popular support in a country where tribal militias may be Taliban today and farmers tomorrow.

The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has nearly finished gathering information and advice on how to proceed in Afghanistan, where bombings killed eight more American troops. With October now the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the war, many experts question the need for more troops.

"The U.S. and its allies already have ample numbers and firepower to annihilate the Taliban, if only the Taliban would cooperate by standing still and allowing us to bomb them to smithereens," said Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations and history at Boston University, and one-time platoon leader in Vietnam.

"But the insurgents are conducting the war in ways that do not play to (allied) strengths."

The Taliban rebels are estimated to number no more than 25,000. Ljubomir Stojadinovic, a military analyst and guerrilla warfare expert from Serbia, said that although McChrystal's reinforcements would lift the ratio to 20-1 or more, they would prove counterproductive.

~ more... ~

Wall Street's naked swindle

On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — "like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets," according to one financial analyst.

But what's even crazier is that the bet paid.

At the close of business that afternoon, Bear Stearns was trading at $62.97. At that point, whoever made the gamble owned the right to sell huge bundles of Bear stock, at $30 and $25, on or before March 20th. In order for the bet to pay, Bear would have to fall harder and faster than any Wall Street brokerage in history.

The very next day, March 12th, Bear went into free fall. By the end of the week, the firm had lost virtually all of its cash and was clinging to promises of state aid; by the weekend, it was being knocked to its knees by the Fed and the Treasury, and forced at the barrel of a shotgun to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase (which had been given $29 billion in public money to marry its hunchbacked new bride) at the humiliating price of … $2 a share. Whoever bought those options on March 11th woke up on the morning of March 17th having made 159 times his money, or roughly $270 million. This trader was either the luckiest guy in the world, the smartest son of a bitch ever or…

Or what? That this was a brazen case of insider manipulation was so obvious that even Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the pillow-soft-touch Senate Banking Committee, couldn't help but remark on it a few weeks later, when questioning Christopher Cox, the then-chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission. "I would hope that you're looking at this," Dodd said. "This kind of spike must have triggered some sort of bells and whistles at the SEC. This goes beyond rumors."

Cox nodded sternly and promised, yes, he would look into it. What actually happened is another matter. Although the SEC issued more than 50 subpoenas to Wall Street firms, it has yet to identify the mysterious trader who somehow seemed to know in advance that one of the five largest investment banks in America was going to completely tank in a matter of days. "I've seen the SEC send agents overseas in a simple insider-trading case to investigate profits of maybe $2,000," says Brent Baker, a former senior counsel for the commission. "But they did nothing to stop this."

~ more... ~

Chinese ex-official details plan for world domination

... During the June 4, 1989, massacre of unarmed Tiananmen seekers of freedom, Chi Haotian was the chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army and supervised the massacre. Yet President Bill Clinton received him in Washington with a 19-gun salute in his honor.

Until 2003, Chi, 80, was the minister of Chinese national defense. In 2005 he was vice chairman of China's Military Commission.

On June 24, Chi's speech of December 2005 was posted on Yahoo! under the heading “Speech by Comrade Chi Haotian, Vice-Chairman of China's Military Commission.” The speech was delivered to the audience of top officers and generals of the People's Republic of China.

Chi said that he was “very excited today” because in answering, “in the large-scale survey,” the “question 'Will you shoot at women, children, and prisoners of war' [in the U.S. and other enemy countries], more than 80 percent of the respondents answered in the affirmative.”

Why was Chi “very excited” about it?

    “If China's global development will necessitate massive deaths in enemy countries, will our people endorse that scenario? Will they be for or against it? The fact is, our 'development' refers to the great revitalization of the Chinese nation, which of course, is not limited to the land we have now, but also includes the whole world.”

Chi does not consider German Nazism evil. He considers the Germans insufficiently superior as a race and hence a failure. “Our Chinese people are wiser than the Germans because, fundamentally, our race is superior to theirs.”

Yet Chi advises to avoid the use of the German word Lebensraum “too openly” in order to “avoid the West's association of us with Nazi Germany, which could in turn reinforce the view that China is a threat.” Chi prefers to use Britain and the U.S. as negative examples (and not to praise Nazi Germany):

    “. . . if we refer to the 19th century as the British Century and to the 20th century as the American Century, then the 21st Century will be the Chinese Century! (Wild applause fills the auditorium.)”

How to deal with America?

    ”America was first discovered by the ancestors of the yellow race, but Columbus gave credit to the white race. We the descendants of the Chinese nation are ENTITLED to the possession of that land!”

However: “Only by using special means to 'clean up' America will we be able to lead the Chinese people there.”

~ more... ~

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


An amazing video:

Sign of the times: Doublespeak comes of age

Life under the Chief Doublespeak Officer by William Lutz

No one gets fired these days, and no one gets laid off. If you're high enough in the corporate pecking order, you "resign for personal reasons." (And then you're never unemployed; you're just in an "orderly transition between career changes.")

But even those far below the lofty heights of corporate power are not fired or laid off. Firing workers is such big business in these days of "re-engineering," "restructuring" and "downsizing" that there are companies whose business is helping other companies fire their workers. (Think about that for a minute.) These companies provide "termination and outplacement consulting" for corporations involved in "reduction activities." In other words, they teach companies how to fire or lay off workers. During these days of "cost rationalization," companies fire or lay off workers many different ways. How do I fire thee? Let me count the ways.

Companies make "workforce adjustments," "headcount reductions," "census reductions," or institute a program of "negative employee retention." Corporations offer workers "vocational relocation," "career assignment and relocation," a "career change opportunity," or "voluntary termination." Workers are "dehired," "deselected," "selected out," "repositioned," "surplussed," "rightsized," "correct sized," "excessed," or "uninstalled." Some companies "initiate operations improvements," "assign candidates to a mobility pool," "implement a skills mix adjustment," or "eliminate redundancies in the human resources area."

One company denied it was laying off 500 people at its headquarters. "We don't characterize it as a layoff," said the corporate doublespeaker (sometimes called a spin doctor). "We're managing our staff resources. Sometimes you manage them up, and sometimes you manage them down." Congratulations. You've just been managed down, you staff resource you.

An automobile company announced the closing of an entire assembly plant and the elimination of over 8,000 jobs by announcing "a volume-related production schedule adjustment." Not to be outdone by its rival, another car company "initiated a career alternative enhancement program"' that enhanced over 5,000 workers out of their jobs. By calling the permanent shutdown of a steel plant an "indefinite idling," a corporation thought that it wouldn't have to pay severance or pension benefits to the workers who were left without jobs.

Doublespeak From SourceWatch

Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms.

The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin Newspeak, Oldspeak, duckspeak (speaking from the throat without thinking 'like a duck') and doublethink (holding "...simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them..."), and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. It was therefore just a matter of time before someone came up with doublespeak. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them."

Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies.

William Lutz, a professor at Rutgers University, has written several books about doublespeak and is the former editor of the Doublespeak Quarterly Review, which examines ways that jargon has polluted the public vocabulary with phrases, words and usages of words designed to obscure the meaning of plain English.

Psycho-Babel: A Ponerological Approach to Modern Doublespeak and the Distortion of Language by Harrison Koehli and members of the Signs of the Times forum

In his book, Lobaczewski approaches the question of political evil as a physician approaches the pathodynamics of an infectious virus, following the causal links between psychopathic individuals in positions of political power and the negative effects they have on a non-psychopathic population. One of the key concepts throughout his analysis is the psychopath's use of language. From an early age, psychopaths become aware of their difference from the vast majority of their peers, and learn to recognize each other in a crowd. As a psychopath does not have the in-born ability to feel complex emotions, expressions of such emotion in normal humans (like an expression of love, a widow in mourning, a man fearing for his life or family) are seen by the psychopath as contemptible signs of weakness and naiveté, and only provoke in him a misplaced sense of superiority. Normal humans are seen by psychopaths as little more than cattle, and are treated accordingly by them.

However, while psychopaths are aware of their difference (they might say 'superiority') from 'the mob' of general humanity, they learn to act as if they, too, are 'normal'. Growing up, they learn to mimic the movements and expressions that accompany specific human emotions. They do this because appearing normal is essential to their own survival at the expense of their victims. A psychopath can appear to be in emotional pain, eliciting pity and material support; he can seduce women with his air of confidence (the textbooks are full of unattractive psychopaths who are surprisingly successful in this venture); he can lead a church congregation with high-sounding words, while embezzling the funds they give in support. However, psychopaths know that if what lies behind their mask of sanity were to be publicly exposed, and if the masses of normal people were suddenly to understand that psychologically deviant human beings in positions of power are the real source of war, the most the Pathocrats could hope for would be long stretches in the nearest penitentiary. The people would rebel against the terror they have been subjected to under their influence - the manipulation, the lying and injustice that have led to interminable war, death and suffering. But for a psychopath, the only injustice is not getting what he wants: power.

Once a group of psychopaths has reached a position of such power in government (although the dynamic applies to any organization or hierarchy), such a government must work to make itself and its policies appear acceptable to the non-psychopathic human's sense of morality. If such a government were to lower its mask prematurely and truthfully say, "We, the government of psychopaths, despise you as much as we despise our so-called 'enemy'. We will work our hardest until you, our very own citizens, and those of any hostile foreign power, are utterly destroyed. Through poverty, total war, and genocide we will kill you all", the people would naturally revolt. As such, the government of psychopaths (or pathocracy) must mask its language in an acceptable ideology. Thus, a war of aggression becomes a "holy war" or "pre-emptive" war, not for the purpose of imperialistic invasion, but to "protect the homeland". This language is immediately recognized for what it is by other psychopaths, and they can pledge their support accordingly. But with experience, and after extensive observation and research, a non-psychopathic individual, too, can develop an ability to read the hidden meaning.

The effect of such language on the minds of normal individuals is that which Lobaczewski calls 'conversive thinking'. This is a subconscious selection of premises that leads to false or paralogical conclusions. The conscious manipulations of psychopaths are unconsciously converted in the mind of the normal person and taken for truth. For example, we see evidence of this in the irrational fear many Americans have come to have for Muslims. It is not uncommon to hear emotional pleas to "nuke them all", or "turn the whole Middle East into a glass parking lot". A recent CNN commentator, Glenn Beck, even went so far as to ask a Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, why he should not suspect him of being "a terrorist". The net effect of this hysteria is that the guilt of the minority of every population (i.e., the psychopathic minority) is projected onto a separate and identifiable religious or racial group.

Graveyard of Justifications -
Glossary of the Iraqi Occupation by PAUL de ROOIJ

Any time there is war or an occupation of another country, propagandists or their media surrogates require language that mollifies, exculpates and hides the grim reality or sordid deeds. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of what is really happening in Iraq, this glossary elucidates the terminology commonly used in the media. Its aim is to enable us to peer through the linguistic fog.

There is a fundamental problem with such a glossary. The propagandists will coin terms to exculpate or palliate aspects of the occupier's activities, and aspects of the occupation whose mention cannot be avoided. However, propagandists loathe referring to the uncomfortable and repugnant aspects of the occupation or war. For example, it is very clear that the US military will not publicize lists of Iraqi civilian deaths (NB: they compile some lists, but these aren't made public [1]). Iraqi hospital officials are "discouraged" from compiling lists of civilian casualties and granting journalists access to morgues. The list of "forbidden" compliant media topics is rather long, but a subset is presented below.

Finally, the justifications for the war against Iraq, and the subsequent occupation, have changed over time, and the third list below documents the justifications proffered by the American occupiers to date. This growing list is the graveyard of justifications.
The Glossary

Abused terminology



Bogeyman Rex.

There was no link between Al-Qa'ida and pre-2003 Iraq, and even now, the US can't point to evidence of an Iraqi connection.

Abused terminology




It is rather odd to call Paul Bremer an ambassador; the man even wears army boots!

A Political Glossary - Euphemisms - Double Speak

Backdoor Draft - A term that defines the current (2001-2008) federal policy of using economically disadvantaged volunteer citizens to serve in the military, rather than subjecting all draft age citizens to a lottery type national induction service, which is not politically viable.

Blowback - CIA terminology for a covert operation that is most probably not legal or moral, but has the approval of the government and if this program/operation fails, will result in adverse publicity and/or action if it becomes known to the general public or officials from who it is being kept secret. A CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government's international activities.

Collateral Damage - The civilian casualties that result from Military actions.

Coercive interrogation - A euphemism for torture.

Conflating - Mixing up ideas in your head, causing you to make connections. The Bush administration telling the public Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the means to deliver them, and Hussein was connected to al-Qaeda, while al-Qaeda was responsible for 9-11 ... there being no connection to Hussein or Iraq.

Corporatocracy - A form of government where a corporation, group of corporations, or entities run by corporations, control the direction and governance of a country or group of countries.

Covert Operations - Those operations and policies by the government which are ignored by congress and the media until they overflow into public awareness too far to avoid comment. They are then treated as scandals and isolated incidents.

Crop Science- A euphemism used by corporations engaged in genetic engineering of plants. They say, for the public good.

Decapitation Strategy - Coined March 19, 2003, by the Bush Administration when they preemptively invaded Iraq. A military strategy to attack and eliminate if possible, the leader or head of a sovereign state, before or during the opening actions of any military engagements.

Democracy Development - A Euphemism. A strategy adopted by the Pentagon and Bush Administration and now the Obama government, which is to install democracy at gunpoint inside failed or backward societies, along with unrealistic security guarantees to states and people of marginal strategic interest to the U.S.

More From the Folks Who Brought You 'Friendly Fire' by Jack Smith

In the council's Quarterly Review of Doublespeak, its editor, William Lutz of Rutgers University, noted that there are four kinds of doublespeak, and sought to define them.

Doublespeak has been in the language several years. In his preface to "Doublespeak Dictionary," William Lamdin says he uses the word doublespeak to describe distorted language because "it recalls the doublethink and newspeak that George Orwell said are employed to make lies sound truthful and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind."

Lutz says that one of the four kinds of doublespeak is euphemism--that is, a word or phrase that is meant to avoid a harsh or distasteful reality. A euphemism used to spare someone's feelings is not doublespeak--for example, passed away instead of died . But a euphemism used to mislead or deceive is doublespeak-- cleansed (as of a bombing site) instead of wiped out .

A second kind of doublespeak is jargon. When used by scientists or professionals in their internal communications, jargon is useful. When used to confuse the layman it is doublespeak.

A third kind of doublespeak is gobbledygook. This is language in which a large number of big and obscure words are piled one upon another with the intent of confusing, overwhelming or intimidating. It is bloated and obfuscatory.

[ ... ]

A fourth kind, according to Lutz, is inflated language. It is designed to make the commonplace seem important. It is inflated language to call a car mechanic an automotive internist, a garbage collector a sanitation engineer, or to call used cars previously enjoyed or experienced.

A glossary of terms in foreign affairs

As we debate the many scary enemies and exciting possibilities for new wars -- escalation in Afghanistan, our very own "Cuban Missile Crisis" against the Persian Hitlers, the Socialist Menace in Venezuela -- events can become very confusing. Compounding that problem are the many complex, technical terms often used in media discussions of foreign affairs. It's therefore helpful to keep track of the relevant terms --- ones just from the events of the last week alone -- to maximize clarity as we debate our imperial responsibilities:

The act of dangerous, threatening Hitlers -- NYT, today:

Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force.

The acts of a peace-loving democracy - Telegraph, January 18, 2008:

Israel has carried out the successful test launch of a long-range, ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, in what was intended as a clear show of strength to Iran.

Washington Post, May 2, 2000:

An Israeli short-range ballistic missile splashed down in the eastern Mediterranean last month near a U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser, causing momentary fear that the ship was under attack, Defense Department officials said yesterday.

The Jericho 1 missile, which can carry nuclear warheads or about 1,000 pounds of chemicals or high explosives, was launched from a missile-testing facility at Yavne, Israel, on April 6 and landed about 40 miles from the USS Anzio, they said. . . . [O]ne of the Defense Department officials ... said the repeated "no-notice" launches have made the Pentagon think that the Israelis are trying to prevent the United States from monitoring the tests and acquiring technical data about the operation of the Jericho.

A nation up to no good -- USA Today, last week:

President Obama said today that Iran has been building a covert nuclear enrichment facility for several years and warned that Tehran would be "held accountable" if it did not immediately demonstrate its peaceful intentions by opening the site to international inspectors. . . .

The Iranian leader says Iran had informed the IAEA early about the facility. . . . The Iranian leader tells reporters that Iran doesn't have any problems with IAEA inspections of the new facility.

A peaceful and law-abiding ally - Foreign Policy, last week:

The UN nuclear assembly voted on Friday to urge Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place all atomic sites under UN inspections. . . .

This is a major victory as the Israel's representative on the council has already promised to "not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region."

It also probably won't do a whole lot for the credibility of the IAEA to have one more country over which it is powerless to enforce its rulings.

A thuggish dictator crushing democracy -- Washington Post, February 16, 2009:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez won a referendum Sunday to eliminate term limits, paving the way for him to rule far into the 21st century to carry out his socialist transformation of this oil-rich country.

A criminal Leftist abolishing freedom - National Review, June, 2009:

But make no mistake: The Honduran soldiers who escorted Pres. Manuel Zelaya from his home on Sunday were acting to protect their country’s democracy . . . . Zelaya’s ultimate goal was to extend or abolish presidential term limits, mimicking the example of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez and other Latin American populists.

Moral Clarity - An Unauthorized Glossary of War by Cynthia Cotts

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Official name for the war on Iraq. Bush says his goal is to free Iraqis, not to occupy their country and seize their oil resources.

Pockets:Term used to shrink bad news. For example, swarming Fedayeen are termed "pockets of resistance." Hordes of hungry people are "pockets of need."

Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion, a/k/a RSDL: A Canadian product approved by the FDA, for troops to apply after a chemical attack.

Reconstruction:New term for nation building. The U.S. plans to award $1.9 billion in reconstruction contracts, which will go exclusively to U.S. companies.

Title: Wittgenstein on language: toward a theory (and the study) of language in organizations

Author(s): Robert P. Watson

Journal: Journal of Management History

Year: 1997

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Page: 360 - 374

ISSN: 1355-252X

DOI: 10.1108/13552529710191252

Publisher: MCB UP Ltd


What has emerged in large organizations is the use of hybrid language of abstractions, jargon, euphemisms, and complex syntax known as bureacratease. Often this misuse of language is done with the purpose of deceiving and misinforming. Whether or not this was the intent, however, the result of bureaucratees is often just that along with the breakdown of communication between the organization and the clientele it serves. Moreover, there is insufficient research devoted to this phenomenon. Borrowing from Wittgenstein, this article offers a model for understanding bureaucratese and attempts to move the field of public administration toward a theory of this misuse of language in organization.

Big Thinking: Wittgenstein, Language Games and Presidential Debates by Levi Asher

And for instance the kinds of number form a family in the same way. Why do we call something a "number"? Well, perhaps because it has a-direct-relationship with several things that have hitherto been called number; and this can be said to give it an indirect relationship to other things we call the same name. And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.

But if someone wished to say: "There is something common to all these constructions -- namely the disjunction of all their common properties" -- I should reply: Now you are only playing with words. One might as well say: "Something runs through the whole thread -- namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres".

So, says Wittgenstein, it's a mistake to think that every word we use must have a clear or universal meaning. A word can be useful, and can be widely understood, even if its meaning can never be pinned down. This idea of meaning as a "family resemblance" presents something like a philosophical equivalent to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. We believe our thoughts are grounded in a firm foundation of meaning, but in fact the meanings of our most basic concepts turn out to be as ephemeral as quantum particles.

Once you begin to think of words and concepts as existing without definite meanings, you notice how often arguments revolve around these words.

How Much Doublespeak Can One Day Hold?

To illustrate the prevalence of doublespeak, let's follow John Citizen throughout his day, as doublespeak is thrown at him from all sides: on the drive to work, at work, on the way home, at the store, and at home.

On the drive to work, John tunes in to his favorite AM station, and hears that US troops are beginning a "rescue mission" in an obscure "developing nation." It is hoped that the "incursion" will go quickly, with "weapons systems" achieving "effective results" during their first "visit" and with little "collateral damage" caused by "incontinent ordnance."

At work, John goes to lunch with some friends. He learns his company is implementing "operation excellence" in which at least one-third of the employees will be "involuntarily separated from the payroll." Management is "refocusing the company's skill set," by practicing "work reengineering" and "proactive downsizing." He wonders what he will say on his next application: "I was chosen to participate in the 'voluntary resignation program'. . ."

On the way home, John passes a business called "Feed Materials Production Center," never suspecting that the place is a uranium processing plant. He would be even more horrified to know that the Department of Energy allowed the emission of harmful levels of radiation and that groundwater in a one mile radius around the plant was contaminated by improperly stored nuclear waste.

At the store, John runs in to buy some chicken for supper. He makes sure to buy a chicken that is labeled "fresh." Little does he know that fresh doesn't really mean fresh--a "fresh" chicken is one that has been "deep-chilled" (as opposed to frozen) to 28 degrees F. Hmm. . . last I heard, 32 degrees F was the freezing point. . .

At home, John flips the channel to the President's state of the union address. The newly-elected President who promised "no new taxes" in his campaign was now proposing billions of dollars in "receipts proposals," "user fees," and "revenue enhancements." Hmm. . . sounds kind of suspicious. What, exactly, is a "user fee"?

Politics, Philosophy, Doublespeak & Humor

What do you get when you mix politics with philosophy, add a dose of cartooning and a heaping helping of wit? You get a perspective on the presidential campaign that's serious yet funny and insightful. In honor of President's Day, two philosophers join us to decipher political doublespeak.


Daniel Klein
co-author, "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes" (Harry Abrams)

Thomas Cathcart
co-author, "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes" (Harry Abrams)


Bush's Orwellian Address - Happy New Year: It's 1984 by Jacob Levich

Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

US doublespeak on proliferation

On July 8, 1996 the World Court held that states possessing nuclear weapons have not just a need, but an obligation to commence negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. The court also held that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be generally contrary to the principles of international law, though there was some doubt about the extreme contingency when “the very survival of a state was threatened”. Despite this World Court opinion, the United States, Russia, France and the UK reserve the right to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons whenever their interests so demand. The US and Russia together possess around 19,000 nuclear warheads; France has around 350 warheads and the UK 160 warheads.

The 2005 US Doctrine of Joint Operations spells out several contingencies when the US could use nuclear weapons, including situations where it wants to “rapidly end a war on terms favourable to the US” or to ensure that American and international operations are successful. President Jacques Chirac announced in January 2006 that France reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against states supporting terrorism or seeking weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, British Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon warned Iraq that “in right conditions” the UK reserved the right to use nuclear weapons. China and India have ruled out the “first use” of nuclear weapons. Israel and Pakistan have indicated that they would use nuclear weapons if their very survival is threatened. President Barack Obama has indicated that the 2005 US Doctrine would be reviewed. But the US and its NATO allies will not rule out the use of nuclear weapons against states that do not possess such weapons, or give a “no first use” pledge against states possessing nuclear weapons.

Mr Obama has indicated that he does not expect to see the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world achieved in his lifetime. The so-called ‘nuclear weapons states’ may talk about arms limitations and undertake some token cuts in certain categories of strategic warheads. But they have no intention of eliminating nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the American record on non-proliferation has been selective. In their book Deception: Pakistan the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, Adrian levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have revealed how the CIA and successive US Administrations covered up information they had about Pakistan’s relentless, China-assisted quest for nuclear weapons because of larger strategic considerations

A glossary of Republican doublespeak by Jaime O'Neill

The Republican universe is a bit topsy-turvy, rather like the one created by Lewis Carroll in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." In that story, the Queen of Hearts did not restrict herself to the generally accepted meaning of words. When she used a word, she said, it meant exactly what she wanted it to mean, no more and no less. It was good to be queen.

And, until recently, it was good to be Republican. They held the White House, and their top guys had most of the money and consequently got most of the tax breaks. Yet they still felt aggrieved and put upon, stalked by demon Democrats who didn't understand their fundamental goodness or the language they were speaking.

People who don't dwell in the land of Republicans might become confused upon hearing the alternative English they speak. Republican is a tough language, but with application and study, you, too, can learn it:

Activist judges: Judges whose rulings are at odds with the perceived wisdom of Republicans, as explained to them by Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh.

Bankers: Stewards of the capitalist system who always know what's best for the economy, who deserve low taxes and big year-end bonuses no matter how poorly their institutions have performed.

Class warfare: Assaults on rich people in the form of the usual whining of poor people.

Clinton, Wm. Jefferson: Democrat president whose sexual dalliance sent the nation into a tailspin from which even George W. Bush could not save it.

Compassionate conservatism: Ignoring the poor, except for an occasional contribution to the collection plate at church. Also see "conservatism."

Democrats: Devil-worshiping scum, foes of free enterprise, champions of the shiftless and the lazy, enemies of hardworking Americans everywhere.

Doublespeak in the Modern Pathocracy

Free Speech Zone - A (usually) wire enclosure in which human beings who wish to publicly voice their displeasure with the PTB are confined, which is set up at a enough of a distance from the representatives of the PTB to ensure the displeasure does not actually reach them. Free Speech Zones replaced Free Speech at the end of the the first term of the Bush Administration.

The Language of War by Michael Hillmer

In a Pentagon document “bullets” are referred to as being “kinetic energy penetraters”... “combat” is referred to as “violence processing.”

Doublespeak is language that only pretends to say something. It's language that hides, evades, or misleads... words are used not to extend thought but to limit it... it is language that makes the bad seem good... the U.S. Army doesn't “kill” anyone--they just “service the target”... it wasn't an “invasion,” it was a “predawn vertical insertion”... “soft targets” are cities... actions start happening to fulfill the words that have been spoken.
--William D. Lutz, Professor of English at Rutgers University, author of Doublespeak Defined

These are different hours
That turn our mind, send it
Down the dead-end alley
Littered with past follies
Draped in flags
With words that transcend or deceive
The very bones of definition
Feed inward on themselves
Their fog hovering, descends
As if sheltering some hidden compulsion
The age was not ready to see

Trace their lineage back far enough
On the walls of caves
Is fallen blood
A tri-color blur
Red white and blue

soft language by Richard Nordquist,


A phrase coined by comedian George Carlin to describe euphemistic expressions that "conceal reality" and "take the life out of life." See also:
* Gobbledygook

Examples and Observations:

* "I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth. So they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. . . .

A Political Glossary

1984 A novel by George Orwell which was written in 1948 in which he portrayed how life might be in an England of the future should we succumb to totalitarian influences. In particular communist influenced. Far from being an exercise in crystal-ball gazing, the content of the book draws heavily on what was actually happening at the time in the former Soviet Bloc. Goldstein being a portrayal of Trotsky and "Big Brother" being a seeming likeness to Joseph Stalin.

Some say that the world described in the book began to manifest itself in 1984 as this was the year chosen by Maggie Thatcher and the Tory party to precipitate the Miner's strike. Whatever the case we are moving faster towards this reality under Labour than at any time in human history.

See Fascism, Communism, Totalitarianism

The Erudite Human’s Glossary of Oxymorons, Redundant Double-Talk, Language of Diplomacy & Other Forked Tongues


(evasive or ambiguous language; speech using nonsense syllables.) And of course, “redundant double-talk” is just twice as much of the same sneaky nonsense. Very popular with preachers, presidents and Popes, not to mention your average Joe explaining to the little woman why he’s 3 days late getting home from work.

American Newspeak - Word Collisions by Wayne Grytting

Starring our New Feature -- "The Orwell Awards" for cutting edge advances in the mangling of meaning by members of the Empire.

The Orwell Awards

The "pre-emptive strikes" on logic and the English language by politicians, CEOs and the media has turned into one of our Empire's major industries. In recognition of the cutting edge advances being made today in American Newspeak, we are offering these awards to deserving individuals. Entries were judged by an exacting standard -- how many times their utterances would make George Orwell roll over in his grave. Here are this year's winners so far from various categories

Father Knows Best Dept.

The U.S. Justice Department broke new ground with its crafting of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Among it's finer encroachments on civil liberties, revealed by the Center for Public Integrity, is Section 501. It would allow the government to strip U.S. citizenship away from anyone giving "material support" to any group designated as terrorists. Some of you may recall the U.S. Constitution forbids depriving Americans of their citizenship. A minor point. Justice Department lawyers adroitly found a loophole -- the Constitution allows to voluntarily give up their rights. The bill's authors then reasoned that, "an intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct." Thank god, we have enlightened people making those inferences.

Getting the Visuals Right

When Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN, his background "visuals" consisted of blue draperies neatly trimmed by a row of flags. Few knew the draperies had to be installed that morning to cover over a work of art that normally stands there -- a massive tapestry reproduction of Picasso's famous anti-war painting "Guernica." Speaking in defense of the cover-up of Picasso's images of dying women, children and animals was UN spokesperson Stephane Dujaric, who stated, "We needed the right background that would work on television." (If only Picasso had painted happy faces.) Unbeknownst to himself, Powell was presenting the world with a perfect metaphor of how our policies and language of "collateral damage" cover over the realities of human suffering.

The Doublespeak Awards (1975-2008)

Presented by the Committee on Public Doublespeak, of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
In 2006, the group was renamed the NCTE Public Language Committee, reaffirming: "the award is an ironic "tribute" to American public figures who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-contradictory."

2008 President George W. Bush

The term "aspirational goal”: George W. Bush has used the term "aspirational goal" in place of setting a deadline for withdrawal of troops in Iraq. Likewise, Bush, members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, and others have set "aspirational goals" for reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. In announcing the award, the NCTE Public Language Award Committee said, “As textbook Doublespeak, ‘aspirational goal’ is both a tautology and a paradox. Aspirations and goals are the same thing; and yet when the terms are combined, the effect is to undermine them both, producing a phrase that means, in effect, ‘a goal to which one does not aspire all that much.’ The goal of ‘aspirational goal,’ clearly, is to disguise inaction and thwart legitimate aspirations.”


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