Saturday, April 23, 2011

Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq

...The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.

The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as "highly inaccurate". BP denied that it had any "strategic interest" in Iraq, while Tony Blair described "the oil conspiracy theory" as "the most absurd".

But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq's enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair's military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP's behalf because the oil giant feared it was being "locked out" of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: "Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis."

The minister then promised to "report back to the companies before Christmas" on her lobbying efforts.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq "post regime change". Its minutes state: "Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity."

After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office's Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: "Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future... We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq."

Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had "no strategic interest" in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was "more important than anything we've seen for a long time"...

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Haia officers get training to combat black magic

JEDDAH: A total of 30 officials of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) have been trained on how to deal with cases of black magic.

The three-day training program was held in the Eastern Province city of Al-Ahsa.

The commission has achieved remarkable successes in combating black magic in various parts of the country. It has set up nine specialized centers in the main cities to deal with black magicians.

The majority of people arrested for practicing black magic in the Kingdom are Africans and Indonesians.

According to a report received by Arab News, a single specialized center had dealt with 586 cases involving black magic, showing the enormity of the problem.

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Japan's nuclear history in perspective: Eisenhower and atoms for war and peace

...Eisenhower decided that the best way to destroy that taboo was to shift the focus from military uses of nuclear energy to socially beneficial applications. Stefan Possony, Defense Department consultant to the Psychological Strategy Board, had argued: "the atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends" (p. 156). On December 8, 1953, Eisenhower delivered his "Atoms for Peace" speech at the United Nations. He promised that the United States would devote "its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life." He pledged to spread the benefits of peaceful atomic power at home and abroad.

But the subsequent March 1954 Bravo test almost derailed those plans. Fallout from the US hydrogen-bomb test contaminated 236 Marshall Islanders and 23 Japanese fisherman aboard the Daigo Fukuryu Maru ("Lucky Dragon no. 5"), which was 85 miles away from the detonation and outside the designated danger zone. A panic ensued when irradiated tuna was sold in Japanese cities and eaten by scores of people.
The international community was appalled by the bomb test. Belgian diplomat Paul-Henri Spaak warned, "If something is not done to revive the idea of the President's speech -- the idea that America wants to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes -- America is going to be synonymous in Europe with barbarism and horror." Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared that US leaders were "dangerous self-centered lunatics" who would "blow up any people or country who came in the way of their policy."

Eisenhower told the NSC in May 1954, "Everybody seems to think that we are skunks, saber-rattlers, and warmongers." Dulles complained, "Comparisons are now being made between ours and Hitler's military machine."

Criticism was fiercest in Japan. In Tokyo's Suginami ward, housewives began circulating petitions to ban hydrogen bombs. The movement caught on across the country. By the next year, an astounding 32 million people, or one-third of Japan's population, had signed petitions against hydrogen bombs.

Long-suppressed rage over the 1945 atomic bombings, squelched by US occupation authorities' total ban on discussion of the bombings, had finally erupted. The Operations Coordinating Board of the NSC recommended that the United States contain the damage by waging a "vigorous offensive on the non-war uses of atomic energy" and even offer to build Japan an experimental nuclear reactor. AEC Commissioner Thomas Murray concurred, proclaiming, "Now, while the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain so vivid, construction of such a power plant in a country like Japan would be a dramatic and Christian gesture which could lift all of us far above the recollection of the carnage of those cities."...


Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant?

U.S.-Japan security treaty fatally delayed nuclear workers' fight against meltdown

by Yoichi Shimatsu, Global Research

Confused and often conflicting reports out of Fukushima 1 nuclear plant cannot be solely the result of tsunami-caused breakdowns, bungling or miscommunication. Inexplicable delays and half-baked explanations from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) seem to be driven by some unspoken factor.

The smoke and mirrors at Fukushima 1 seem to obscure a steady purpose, an iron will and a grim task unknown to outsiders. The most logical explanation: The nuclear industry and government agencies are scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants.

A secret nuclear weapons program is a ghost in the machine, detectable only when the system of information control momentarily lapses or breaks down. A close look must be taken at the gap between the official account and unexpected events.

Conflicting Reports

TEPCO, Japan’s nuclear power operator, initially reported three reactors were operating at the time of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Then a hydrogen explosion ripped Unit 3, run on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (or MOX). Unit 6 immediately disappeared from the list of operational reactors, as highly lethal particles of plutonium billowed out of Unit 3. Plutonium is the stuff of smaller, more easily delivered warheads.

A fire ignited inside the damaged housing of the Unit 4 reactor, reportedly due to overheating of spent uranium fuel rods in a dry cooling pool. But the size of the fire indicates that this reactor was running hot for some purpose other than electricity generation. Its omission from the list of electricity-generating operations raises the question of whether Unit 4 was being used to enrich uranium, the first step of the process leading to extraction of weapons-grade fissionable material.

The bloom of irradiated seawater across the Pacific comprises another piece of the puzzle, because its underground source is untraceable (or, perhaps, unmentionable). The flooded labyrinth of pipes, where the bodies of two missing nuclear workers—never before disclosed to the press— were found, could well contain the answer to the mystery: a lab that none dare name.

Virgins recruited to pick tea with their lips

A Chinese tea company is seeking busty virgins to pick tea leaves with their lips in a bid to keep their brew as pure as possible.

Lip tea is reportedly billed as the most refined in the world, and the company behind it believes virgin leaf pickers are the key to keeping it that way.

The Jiuhua plantation has advertised for pickers in Gushi, Henan province, specifying applicants must be women with no sexual experience and a bra size of a least a C cup, the Daily Mail reports.

Virginity and curviness are believed to promote well-being and purity.

The girls are paid more than $75 a day, a fortune in China.

New particle find turns physics upside-down

"If this signal is what we think it is, we could be on the verge of understanding why matter has mass, whereas light doesn't," said Professor Kenneth Lane, a theoretical physicist at Boston University. "We might be seeing the signal for a new kind of nuclear interaction which we have called 'technicolour'. This scenario basically replaces the Higgs boson."



Scientists Abuzz Over Controversial Rumor that God Particle Has Been Detected

A rumor is floating around the physics community that the world's largest atom smasher may have detected a long-sought subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, also known as the "God particle."

The controversial rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. It's not entirely clear at this point if the memo is authentic, or what the data it refers to might mean — but the note already has researchers talking.

The buzz started when an anonymous commenter recently posted an abstract of the note on Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong.

Some physicists say the note may be a hoax, while others believe the "detection" is likely a statistical anomaly that will disappear upon further study. But the find would be a huge particle-physics breakthrough, if it holds up.

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The Mother of All Languages

By Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal

The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.

Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.

"It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of," Dr. Atkinson said.

About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.

His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as "the founder effect." That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group.

Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Lightbulb Conspiracy

The plague of planned obsolescence...

The trailer:

The documentary by Cosima Dannortizer:

Principles of Personal Transformation

by WingMakers

Each individual on Earth is exploring in a physical body new ways of experiencing life. Through this process of discovery, each of us is developing a deeper level of understanding of life and a greater ability to express our divine essence. This divine essence is the fullest expression of each individual's soul, and most closely exemplifies the Divine's capabilities therein.

Divine essence is a level of divine awareness that was "seeded" within each soul when it was initially conceived by the Divine. It is also the natural state of the soul that has removed itself from the controlling aspects of hierarchical belief systems through the complete awakening of its sacred intentions. All souls are in various stages of transformation, and all people are destined to attain a level of conscious awareness of divine essence as their sacred intentions are fully awakened.

Profound personal transformation is initiated by the realization that you are capable of direct access to the Divine. This is the realization that the wisdom of the Divine can be discovered deep within your own soul. In other words, your body, complete with its physical, mental, and emotional capabilities, is not the repository of your sacred intentions. Nor is your mind able to reach out and access this divine inner calling which tirelessly beckons, inviting you towards the glorious joy of ever deeper connection with All That Is.

It is the soul that is the harbor of your divine essence. And it is the soul that is the vehicle of access to the awakening of your sacred intentions, which opens the door to profound transformation through the integration of your body, mind, heart, and soul.

Through opening to meaningful connection not only with your own divine essence, but with that of all living beings, the experience of profound personal transformation eventually triggers the realization that perceived reality is the Divine personified in the form of individual preferences. Thus when your sacred intentions are fully awakened, divine reality and your perception of reality become inseparable as the wind and the air. This confluence is only completely realized through the full transformation experience, which is unlike anything known within human experience.

There have been those upon Earth who have ventured into the shallows of this boundless ocean. Some have called it ascension; others have attributed names like illumination, enlightenment, nirvana, and cosmic consciousness. While these experiences are profound by human standards, they are only the initial stirrings of divine essence as it becomes increasingly adept at touching and awakening the remote edges of its existence.

Drunk Pilot Admits Secret Mission to Spray Deadly Chemicals

A major missing piece of a grand conspiracy has been targeted by a drunk pilot. In a small town 30 miles east of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon is the center of a major global operation. At a bar in McMinnville, Oregon, an inebriated pilot attempted to impress one of the pretty ladies with tales of his secret mission.

The pilot’s pathetic attempt to portray himself as a Sean Connery or Daniel Craig caused him to (ante up) his importance and spill the secrets of the CIA’s asset Evergreen International Aviation.

The slurred revelations confirmed suspicions that Evergreen (International Aviation) is part of the major crap dump on the planet. Chemtrails made up aluminum, barium and other ingredients contribute to respiratory ills and change the acidity of the soil.

Evergreen works from over a 100 bases and employees 4,500 people. Delford Smith privately owns the company. They admittedly “perform” for the CIA.

Evergreen was given a no contest bid that gave them all the facilities in Marana, Arizona that previously belonged to CIA’s Air America (Pinal Air Park, Arizona).

The security at the Pinal site is said to be as severe as that of Area 51. It is run as a military base where one lost pilot got an armed escort immediately off the operational base. The 10 year pilot said it was nothing like anything he has ever seen.

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The Magnificent Afghanistan by Johnny Punish

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CIA Manchurian candidates

A group of military veterans in California are suing the CIA over allegedly implanting remote control devices in their brains. They allege the spy agency was on a quest to turn humans into robot-like assassins via electrodes planted in their brains.

Why The U.S. Wants Military Commission Show Trials For 9/11 Suspects

By Jeffrey Kaye, The Public Record

A number of commentators have replied to Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement today that five suspects in the 9/11 attacks, including alleged Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will not be tried in civilian courts for the terrorist attacks almost ten years ago, but will be tried by President Obama’s revamped military commissions tribunals. What no commentator has stated thus far is the plain truth that the commissions’ main purpose is to produce government propaganda, not justice.

These are meant to be show trials, part of an overarching plan of “exploitation” of prisoners, which includes, besides a misguided attempt by some to gain intelligence data, the inducement of false confessions and the recruitment of informants via torture. The aim behind all this is political: to mobilize the U.S. population for imperialist war adventures abroad, and political repression and economic austerity at home.

Holder claims he wanted civilian trials that would “prove the defendants’ guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws.” The Attorney General blamed Congress for passing restrictions on bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the United States for making civilian trials inside the United States impossible. Marcy Wheeler has noted that the Congressional restrictions related to the Department of Defense, not the Department of Justice, and there is plenty of reason to believe the Obama administration could have pressed politicians on this issue, but chose not to. (Others see it differently.)

Human rights organizations have responded with dismay, if not outrage. Center for Constitutional Rights, whose attorneys have been active in the legal defense of a number of Guantanamo prisoners, stated, “The announcement underscores the fact that decisions about whether to try detainees in federal court or by military commission are purely political. The decision is clearly driven not by the nature of the alleged offense, or where and when it was committed, but by the unpopularity of the detainee and the political culture in Washington.” CCR also compared the precedent-setting behavior to “Egypt’s apparent plans to use military trials for protesters at Tahir Square.”

[ ... ]

The Stalinist governments of the USSR and East Europe used to make a great practice of show trials, one of the most famous being the trial of Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty. Arthur Koestler’s famous book Darkness at Noon is about the show trial and confession of an “old Bolshevik” under Stalin’s regime. Such show trials still occur in many parts of the world, from China and Vietnam, to Indonesia, Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and the list could go on and on.

That list now includes the United States, where most recently, former child prisoner Omar Khadr was tried in a military commission, pleading guilty with a coerced confession, after years of torture and imprisonment in solitary confinement, his penalty phase of the military tribunal amounting to a show trial, complete with psychiatric “expert” testimony about Khadr’s supposed propensity for “terrorism.” The result? A 40-year sentence for the young man who never spent a free day as an adult, part of a staged deal with the U.S. military prosecutors, who presumably will release Khadr to Canadian authorities in a year or so, where he will continue to be imprisoned, pending any appeals there. But the penalty “trial” got a lot of press, and the U.S. was able to garner a propaganda “victory.”

Uruguay senate passes amnesty end for junta crimes


A closely divided senate has passed legislation to overturn an amnesty for human rights crimes by the military during Uruguay's 1973-85 dictatorship, moving to overrule voters who upheld the law twice.

The measure passed 16-15 late Tuesday after a 12-hour debate and now goes to the lower house for minor changes. It could become law by May 20 — the day Uruguay honors political prisoners who were kidnapped and killed during the junta's crackdown on leftists.

Once enacted, the legislation would allow prosecutions for crimes against humanity that were committed during Uruguay's "dirty war," fulfilling a key goal of President Jose Mujica and the leftist wing of the governing Broad Front coalition.

During the debate, Sen. Oscar Lopez Goldaracena of the Broad Front called an end to the amnesty necessary for "removing the rules of impunity and granting rights to the citizenry."

Opposition parties on the right and Uruguay's retired military angrily opposed the move, and the issue roiled the governing coalition as well, challenging a common political ground this small South American nation has built through nearly a quarter-century of democracy.

"It's clear now what kind of morality moves our enemies. It's profoundly immoral, antidemocratic," said retired Col. Jose Carlos Araujo, spokesman for the Liberty and Harmony forum of former military officials. "They don't even respect the decisions of the people."

Uruguay has largely avoided probing old wounds from the era in which numerous South American governments cracked down hard on leftists.

The military amnesty law — passed a year after a 1985 amnesty for crimes by leftists — has protected most uniformed officials. The measure adopted by the senate would undo only the military amnesty, leaving intact the amnesty for leftist guerrillas.

A peace commission found in 2003 that 175 political activists were killed during Uruguay's 12-year dictatorship, including 26 in clandestine torture centers. Previously, only rights crimes considered to be beyond the military amnesty's scope — such as murders outside Uruguay — have been prosecuted, leading to prison terms for about a dozen officials.

Street protests banned in Baghdad

Sara Ghasemilee reports for Al Arabiya

Iraq has decided to officially ban street protests in the capital Baghdad and limited approved demonstrations sites to three soccer stadiums, a security official said on Wednesday, according to reports.

"We have specified Al-Shaab, Kashafa and Zawraa stadiums as permitted sites for demonstrations in Baghdad instead of Ferdus or Tahrir squares," the capital's security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta said at a news conference televised by state broadcaster Iraqiya TV.

The decision follows after regular demonstrations were held in Bagdad with thousands of people protesting against government corruption, poor basic services and unemployment.

Hitachi, Toshiba Bid To Clean Up Fukushima Mess

From Companies Vie for Plant-Closing Job by Juro Osawa and Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal

Two Japanese corporate giants submitted preliminary plans to conduct the long-term shutdown of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex, introducing a cast of players who stand to be active at the site for decades.

Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. each confirmed that they have crafted separate plans—each supported by U.S. contractors—to shut down the complex once the plant operator has successfully cooled the reactors and brought them under control. Though the plans are preliminary and don't represent formal bids for work, they begin to suggest the long, expensive process that lies ahead for the Japanese government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. as they look to bring Japan's nuclear crisis to a close.

Hitachi said Wednesday that it submitted last week a long-term plan to decommission the damaged nuclear plant. Hitachi said it voluntarily submitted the proposal after compiling it with help from its nuclear business partner General Electric Co. and two other U.S. companies, Exelon Corp. and Bechtel Corp.

Hitachi didn't say how long it would take to implement all the measures, but "generally speaking, such a process could take about 30 years to complete," said spokesman Masanao Sato.

The submission came four days after Toshiba offered its own long-term plan for decommissioning the plant. Unlike Hitachi's voluntary submission, Toshiba's plan was a response to Tepco's earlier request for information on how to remove possibly damaged fuel from the plant and safely transport it to another location.

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Swazi police use tear gas on protest

From the Herald Sun

Swazi police used batons to beat some 1,000 teachers and students yesterday and arrested scores of activists to stop a banned march against Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

Police stormed the teachers' union offices where a group of teachers and students had sought refuge after officers fired tear gas and water cannons to stop them marching to the main city of Manzini.

"Police are now beating the teachers. They are are throwing teargas and beating teachers. People are running helter skelter. Police are beating us with batons," said Smangele Mmema, a member of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, one of the main groups behind the protest movement.

Manzini had ground to a halt by mid-afternoon, according to the Swaziland Solidarity Network, a pro-democracy organisation based in South Africa, as the military was sent following clashes between police and protesters.

Musical Innerlube: Pandit Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao

Sitar: Suhbhendra Rao and Cello: Saskia Rao De Haas
An Evening of String & Dance at The Bhavan Centre, London

East Marries West is the new musical language developed by Pandit Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao. Its soul is open, its mind secure in the Indian Classical tradition. .Pt. Shubhendra Rao is one of India's leading Sitar players and a protégé of sitar Maestro Ravi Shankar. Saskia has incorporated the cello to Indian music and created a new instrument: the Indian Cello. A student of Shubhendra made this short film. It shows a few excerpts of their concerts around the world and a short interview with the artists. For more details on this cross-cultural artist couple, check out their websites: www.shubhendrarao.com and www.saskiarao.com.

"I won't participate in an illegal war": military objectors, the Nuremberg defense, and the obligation to refuse illegal orders

Robert E. Murdough


I. Introduction

When Army First Lieutenant (1LT) Ehren Watada refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006, he became the first U.S. Army officer of Operation Iraqi Freedom to disobey deployment orders. (1) First Lieutenant Watada believed the war in Iraq was illegal, and he declared it was "the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order--including the order to go to war." (2) First Lieutenant Watada claimed he had personally researched the legal issues surrounding the war and had come to the conclusion the war was illegal, (3) and he insisted that "[t]he wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare." He further stated that his "participation would make [him a] party to war crimes." (4)

First Lieutenant Watada became a minor cause celebre within the American antiwar movement (5) primarily because of his rank as an officer, (6) but he was not the only servicemember to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq. At a congressional hearing in 2007, Sergeant Matthis Chiroux of the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), who had received orders recalling him to active service, publicly declared his intention to disobey his recall orders, calling the war an "illegal and unconstitutional occupation." (7) Jeremy Hinzman, the first of several American deserters to attempt to avoid service in Iraq by seeking refuge in Canada, claimed his participation in the war would make him "a criminal." (8)

Often citing the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg as justification to refuse orders to fight, saying that soldiers bear responsibility for "crimes against the peace" and "wars of aggression," (9) and invoking the well-established duty of soldiers to refuse to follow illegal orders, these soldiers and others like them have claimed they could not, in good conscience, participate in the Iraq war. (10) They faced administrative and judicial punishment for refusing to obey orders.

This article examines whether soldiers have a defense when they refuse to participate in a war they believe is illegal and, consequently, claim an order to deploy is an illegal order. Part II of this article outlines the legal responsibilities of soldiers regarding illegal orders and discusses the difficulty of defining an illegal war under domestic law. Despite much litigation, the federal judiciary has rarely addressed the question of a war's legality, and when it has, it has consistently found the war in question to be legal. This article then examines whether, absent a determination that a war is illegal, a defense is still available under military law against a charge of desertion, dereliction of duty, missing movement, or failure to follow an order. (11) Part III considers the responsibility for illegal war under international law, including the precedents set in the 1940s at Nuremberg. This part also examines the philosophical distinctions between jus ad bellum (justice of war) and jus in bello (justice in war) and whether military personnel can be considered war criminals for their participation in an illegal war. Part IV addresses the significance of these issues and the danger to national security that would result from allowing soldiers to choose which wars to fight.


~ Read PDF version here ~

Surviving Bureaucracy: 036, de Juan Fernando Andrés Parrilla y Esteban Roel García Vázquez

Finalista de la Novena Edición de Jameson Notodofilmfest

The 'Molecular Octopus': A Little Brother of 'Schroedinger’s Cat'

From Science Daily:


For the first time, the quantum behaviour of molecules consisting of more than 400 atoms was demonstrated by quantum physicists based at the University of Vienna in collaboration with chemists from Basel and Delaware. The international and interdisciplinary team of scientists has set a new record in the verification of the quantum properties of nanoparticles.

In addition, an important aspect of the famous thought experiment known as 'Schroedinger's cat' is probed. However, due to the particular shape of the chosen molecules the reported experiment could be more fittingly called 'molecular octopus'.

The researchers report their findings in Nature Communications.

'Schroedinger's cat': simultaneously dead and alive?

Since the beginning of the 20th century, quantum mechanics has been a pillar of modern physics. Still, some of its predictions seem to disagree with our common sense and the observations in our everyday life. This contradiction was brought to the fore 80 years ago by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger; he wondered whether it was possible to realize states of extreme superposition such as, for example, that of a cat which is simultaneously dead and alive. This experiment has not been realized with actual cats for good reasons. Nevertheless, the successful experiments by Gerlich et al. show that it is possible to reproduce important aspects of this thought experiment with large organic molecules.

Briton 'beaten to death' in a Dubai police cell after being arrested for swearing

A British tourist was beaten to death by officers in a Dubai police station after being arrested for swearing, it was claimed yesterday.


Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was on holiday at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Arab state when he was thrown into a filthy cell.


Police sources say he was ‘badly beaten up’ by a group of police officers, leaving him unconscious on the floor.


Inmates told how they watched officers bundle him into a body-bag and drag him out of the building.


During Mr Brown’s six days in Bur Dubai police station, guards refused to give him enough food and water and did not let him see a lawyer, it is alleged.


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Bush Condemned Property Via Eminent Domain to Build Rangers Stadium - And Made $14 Million Off the Deal

By Jon Ponder, Pensito Review

Governing elite: The recent Supreme Court decision that allows local governments to use eminent domain to evict property owners in order to use their property for private development set off a howl on the Right.

To counter the ruling, Republicans in Congress are working on legislation that would cut off all federal funding to local governments who use eminent domain to evict property owners.

The president may have a hard time keeping a straight face when he signs the bill, however. In his past life as a baseball team owner, Mr. Bush profited from exactly this sort of eminent domain eviction - to the tune of $14.3 million.

[ ... ]

Bush sold his interest in the Rangers in 1998 for $14.9 million. He had invested a total of $606,302.27 [in 1989] and was one of two managing partners.


Britons becoming 'increasingly miserable', warns Action for Happiness campaign

Murray Wardrop reports for the Telegraph:


Research suggests that despite having much more materially than previous generations, the country is no happier than it was half a century ago.

Experts warn that unless we undergo a “radical cultural change”, Britain will slide into unprecedented depths of despair blighted by rising rates of suicide and depression.

A group of eminent British thinkers from the worlds of education, economics and politics – backed by the Dalai Lama – yesterday launched a campaign to halt the nation’s psychological decline.

Action for Happiness, a mass movement to promote mental wellbeing, calls on people to address 10 key deficiencies in their lives to counter our growing gloom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mayan Elders Break Silence

The leader of the Mayan Council of Elders representing 440 Guatemalan tribes, Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez has given his approval to Drunvalo Melchizedek to tell the world what the Mayans themselves have to say about the 2012 prophecies.

They say that technology is not the sign of an advanced civilization...its the sign of a civilization about to advance. Maya have been through previous pole shifts and are preparing for the next one which they say (and certain scientists agree) could happen any minute. Look for the missing of our magnetosphere. Watch pbs nova 2003 'magnetic storm' on google video for *scientific* confirmation.

According to the Mayan Council we are all now living in the window of “the end of time” which the Council says began on 24 October 2007 NOT on 21 December 2012. They verify the explosion of the Comet Holmes as the Blue Kachina.

The Blue Kachina exploded and grew into a blue fiery sphere larger than our Sun on 24 October 2007.

It was documented by scientists as the largest object ever observed in our solar system.

The Maya came from Atlantis and the Hopi Indians were originally Maya. Some 13,000 years ago, a group of Maya were sent on for a purpose but the purpose they do not say at this time. This group became the Hopi tribe.

The Maya have a second prophecy about a red star, but are not speaking on this yet.

Many ceremonies (communications between mother earth, father sky and the tribal councils) are being conducted in many sacred sites. One of the ceremonies being prepared for is the 13 crystal skull ceremony.

The Maya say there will be a physical pole shift sometime in this end of time period. It will end up in Russia. The Maya say the shift will be about 16 degrees whereas 3D scientists are saying it will be about 17 degrees.

The magnetic field began to change about 40 years ago. The magnetic lines were changing because the magnetic field was changing. The Maya appear to be saying that this magnetic pole shift could occur at ANY MINUTE and THE PROCESS ONLY TAKES 20 HOURS.

Radiation caught on tape: RT talks to Fukushima zone stalker

A powerful aftershock has hit northeastern Japan, exactly a month after March's devastating earthquake and tsunami killed over 13 thousand people. Meanwhile the government is extending the 20 kilometre evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant over risks of long-term radiation. Well video journalist Tetsuo Jimbo braved the area and went within 1 and a half kilometres of the facility to document the dangerous levels of radiation there.

Un-reserve Dollar? US thinkers up for world order reshape

Major financial players from around the world are debating the future of the global economy in the iconic US town of Bretton Woods. The summit held by billionaire philanthropist George Soros is focusing on the place emerging nations will take in the new world order. RT's Lauren Lister reports from the venue.

Power Plant: One Small Leaf Could Electrify an Entire Home

Scientists at MIT have created what may be the first practical artificial leaf -- a device about the size of a playing card capable of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and storing the energy in a fuel cell. Placing the leaf it in a single gallon of water in sunlight could produce enough electricity to supply a house in developing countries with its daily electricity requirement, according to researchers.

Illuminating Discord: An interview with Robert Anton Wilson

By Jane Talisman and Eric Geislinger (Columbia Region New Libertarian Alliance)

Robert Anton Wilson, who along with Robert Shea wrote the Illuminatus trilogy, is the creator of yet another cult. The really neat part is that this is a cult of hard-core libertarian-anarchist-occult-mind expansionists whose demand for the Illuminatus books is making SF retail history. Walk into your corner bookstore and chances are excellent the books have been back-ordered. Borrow a copy or wait in line if you must -- it's worth it. The trilogy is truly mind-boggling, outrageous, and curiously familiar. With this in mind we set out to interview one of its authors, Robert Anton Wilson (hereafter R.A.W.)

Interviewing him by mail was an exciting, albeit frustrating job. His provocative answers triggered seemingly never-ending digressions. We had to more or less learn to limit our responses. Several of the questions in the following interview appear to be asked by R.A.W. himself. These are not misprints -- he does give himself questions. To give you some insight into Wilson's psyche we offer you this tidbit of data -- to wit, his return address rubber stamp has his name misspelled "Robert Antoon Wilson." Make of this what thou wilt. -- Jane Talisman and Eric Geislinger (hereafter the CRNLA).


CRNLA: Tell us a little about your background.

RAW: I was born into a working class Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn 44 years ago, at the brutal bottom of the Great Depression. I suppose this early imprinting and conditioning made me a life-long radical. My education was mostly scientific, majoring in electrical engineering and applied math at Brooklyn Tech and Brooklyn Polytech. Those imprints made me a life-long rationalist. I have become increasingly skeptical about, or detached from, the assumption that radicalism and rationalism are the only correct perspectives with which to view life, but they remain my favorite perspectives.

[ ... ]

CRNLA: What is your present involvement in "movement" activities?

RAW: I'm more involved in space migration, intelligence increase and life extension which seems to me more important than any mammalian politics. What energy I have for terrestrial brawling goes into Wavy Gravy's Nobody for President campaign, the Firesign Theatre's Papoon for President campaign, and the Linda Lovelace for President (which I invented myself, since we ought to have a good-looking cocksucker in the White House for once.) I think these campaigns have some satirical-educational function, and, at minimum, they relieve the tedium of contemplating the "real" candidates, a more-than-usual uninspiring lot this year. Voting wouldn't excite me unless it included electing the directors of the big banks and corporations, who make the real decisions that affect our lives. It's hard to get excited about the trained seals in Washington. Of course, if voting could change the system, it would be illegal. Teachers would be handling out pamphlets for children to take home proving that voting machines cause chromosome damage, and Art Linkletter would claim that a ballot box drove his daughter to suicide.

Yellowstone Supervolcano Bigger Than Thought

The gigantic underground plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano might be bigger than previously thought, a new image suggests.

The study says nothing about the chances of a cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone, but it provides scientists with a valuable new perspective on the vast and deep reservoir of fiery material that feeds such eruptions, the last of which occurred more than 600,000 years ago.

[ ... ]

Almost 17 million years ago, the deep plume of partly molten rock known as the Yellowstone hot spot first breached the surface in an eruption near what is now the Oregon-Idaho-Nevada border.

As North America drifted slowly southwest over the hot spot, there were more than 140 gargantuan caldera eruptions — the largest kind of eruption on Earth — along a northeast-trending path that is now Idaho's Snake River Plain.

The hot spot finally reached Yellowstone about 2 million years ago, yielding three huge caldera eruptions about 2 million, 1.3 million and 642,000 years ago.

Two of the eruptions blanketed half of North America with volcanic ash, producing 2,500 times and 1,000 times more ash than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state.

Smaller eruptions occurred at Yellowstone in between the big blasts and as recently as 70,000 years ago.

UN torture expert would reluctantly settle for a monitored visit with WikiLeaks suspect

The United Nations' torture investigator says he would reluctantly settle for a supervised jailhouse visit with the soldier suspected of giving classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks.

Juan Mendez said in a statement Monday that he would still prefer to meet privately with Army Pfc. Bradley Manning at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. He says confidential interviews ensure the credibility of detainees who have alleged mistreatment.

Japan raises nuclear alert level to seven

Japan is to raise the nuclear alert level at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to a maximum seven, putting the emergency on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Nuclear safety officials had insisted they had no plans to raise the severity of the crisis from five – the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 – according to the international nuclear and radiological event scale.

But the government came under pressure to raise the level at the plant after Japan's nuclear safety commission estimated the amount of radioactive material released from its stricken reactors reached 10,000 terabecquerels per hour for several hours following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's northeast coast on 11 March. That level of radiation constitutes a major accident, according to the INES scale.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at 'torture'

By Ed Pilkington, Guardian

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.

He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that "is not only shameful but unconstitutional" as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.

The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.

Tribe said the treatment was objectionable "in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences".

The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations' rapporteur on torture.

Tribe is the second senior figure with links to the Obama administration to break ranks over Manning. Last month, PJ Crowley resigned as state department spokesman after deriding the Pentagon's handling of Manning as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".

The intervention of Tribe and hundreds of other legal scholars is a huge embarrassment to Obama, who was a professor of constitutional law in Chicago. Obama made respect for the rule of law a cornerstone of his administration, promising when he first entered the White House in 2009 to end the excesses of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

As commander in chief, Obama is ultimately responsible for Manning's treatment at the hands of his military jailers. In his only comments on the matter so far, Obama has insisted that the way the soldier was being detained was "appropriate and meets our basic standards".

The protest letter, published in the New York Review of Books, was written by two distinguished law professors, Bruce Ackerman of Yale and Yochai Benkler of Harvard. They claim Manning's reported treatment is a violation of the US constitution, specifically the eighth amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and the fifth amendment that prevents punishment without trial.

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