2007/10/28

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums in war to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, they will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

How do I know ? For this is what I have done. And I am Ceasar."
"We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy."

- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, U.S. representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, Aug. 12, 1945.
"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
~ Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

ARE YOU BEING CLASSIFIED AS A TERRORIST ?


"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
~ James Madison, while a United States Congressman

The Bush Junta Unmasked

"This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder." --Stanley Hilton

Students for an Orwellian Society


What is SOS?

Students for an Orwellian Society (SOS) is a nationwide student group. Although SOS has always been a nationwide student group, there is evidence to suggest that it first appeared at
Columbia University. The mission of SOS is to promote the vision of a society based upon the principles of Ingsoc, first articulated by George Orwell in his prophetic novel, 1984.

As an Oceania-wide organization, SOS has a number of local chapters. For a partial listing, see our
contact section.
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." -Abraham Lincoln
"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death." - Adolf Hitler

Psy-Ops henchman for Hitler

"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." - Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels

Big Brother Controlling Your Head

Anyone who thinks someone isn't watching, listening to and constantly plotting to control the minds of the masses might be shocked to view the following list of patents by a string of inventors who apparently found a variety of ways to do it all.

The problem: which devices will be chosen, and when were they put in service. Notice that many of these patents are 20 to 30 years old.

The list was sent to me by a reader who noted that it was marked Top Secret, and the patent list was to be removed from public domain. Of course the list immediately ended up on the Internet.

In the chance that the list is bogus, I did a search on the patent names and numbers. They came up as legitimate invention ideas being hawked, sometimes by their inventors, on line. Most commonly they were in lists of mind control devices. Beyond that, I have no reason to verify or deny them as factual. Click on the highlighted search links and decide for yourself.

Do they work?

What other explanation do we have for the masses following George W. Bush into an attack on Iraq like they did, with few questions asked? What other reason do we have for the people taking the Bush Supreme Court appointment over Al Gore to the presidency, even though most voters chose Gore in 2000?

This list ought to alarm everybody. I am betting it doesn't.

Silent Subliminal Presentation System, US Patent #5,159,703, Oliver Lowery, October 27, 1992. A silent communications system in which non-aural carriers in the very low or very high audio-frequency range, or in the adjacent ultrasonic frequency spectrum, are amplitude-modulated with the desired intelligence and propagated acoustically or vibrationally for inducement into the brain.

Hearing System, US Patent #4,877,027, Wayne Brunkan, October 31, 1989. A method for directly inducing sound into the head of a person, using microwaves in the range of 100 MHz to 10,000 MHz, modulated with a waveform of frequency- modulated bursts.

Psycho-Acoustic Projector, US Patent #3,568,347, Andrew Flanders, February 23, 1971. A system for producing aural psychological disturbances and partial deafness in the enemy during combat situations.

Noise Generator and Transmitter, US Patent #4,034,741, Guy Adams and Jess Carden, Jr, July 12, 1977. An analgesic noise-generator.

Method and System for Altering Consciousness, US Patent #5,123,899, James Gall, June 23, 1992. A system for altering the states of human consciousness involving the use of simultaneous application of multiple stimuli, preferably sounds, having differing frequencies.

Subliminal Message Generator, US Patent #5,270,800, Robert Sweet, December 14, 1993. A combined subliminal and supraliminal message generator for use with a television receiver; permits complete control of subliminal messages and their presentation. Also applicable to cable television and computers.

Superimposing Method and Apparatus Useful for Subliminal Messages, US Patent #5,134,484, Joseph Wilson, July 28, 1992. Method of changing a person's behavior.

US Patent #4,717,343, Alan Densky, January 5, 1988. A method of conditioning a person's unconscious mind in order to effect desired change in the person's behavior, and which does not require the services of a trained therapist.

Auditory Subliminal Message System and Method, US Patent #4,395,600, Rene Lundy and David Tyler, July 26, 1983. An amplitude-controlled subliminal message may be mixed with background music.
Auditory Subliminal Programming System, US Patent #4,777,529, Richard Schultz and Raymond Dolejs, October 11, 1988.

Apparatus for Inducing Frequency Reduction in Brain Wave, US Patent #4,834,70l, Kazumi Masaki, May 30, 1989.

Ultrasonic Speech Translator and Communication System, US Patent #5,539,705, M. A. Akerman, Curtis Ayers, Howard Haynes, July 23, 1996. A wireless communication system, undetectable by radio-frequency methods, for converting audio signals, including human voice, to electronic signals in the ultrasonic frequency range, transmitting the ultrasonic signal by way of acoustic pressure waves across a carrier medium, including gases, liquids and solids, and reconverting the ultrasonic acoustic pressure waves back to the original audio signal. This invention was made with government support under Contract DE-ACO5-840R2l400, awarded by the US Department of Energy to Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc.

Non-Audible Speech Generation Method and Apparatus, US Patent #4,821,326, Norman MacLeod, April 11, 1989.

Apparatus for Electrophysiological Stimulation, US Patent #4,227,516, Bruce Meland and Bernard Gindes, October 14, 1980.

Method and Recording for Producing Sounds and Messages to Achieve Alpha and Theta Brainwave States and Positive Emotional States in Humans, US Patent #5,352,181, Mark Davis, October 4, l994.

Method and Apparatus for Translating the EEG into Music to Induce and Control Various Psychological and Physiological States and to Control a Musical Instrument, US Patent #4,883,067, Knispel et. al., November 28, 1989.

Method of and Apparatus for Inducing Desired States of Consciousness, US Patent #5.356,368, Robert Monroe, October 18, 1994. Improved methods and apparatus for entraining human brain patterns, employing frequency-following-response (FFR) techniques and facilitating attainment of desired states of consciousness.

Method of Inducing Mental. Emotional and Physical States of Consciousness, including Specific Mental Activity, in Human Beings, US Patent #5,213,562, Robert Monroe, May 25, 1993.

Device for the Induction of Specific Brain Wave Patterns, US Patent #4,335,710, John Williamson, June 22, 1982. Brainwave patterns associated with relaxed and meditative states in a subject are gradually induced without deleterious chemical or neurologic side effects.

Method and Apparatus for Repetitively Producing a Noise-like Audible Signal, US Patent #4,191,175, William Nagle, March 4, 1980.

Apparatus for the Treatment of Neuropsychic and Somatic Diseases with Heat, Light, Sound and VHF Electromagnetic Radiation, US Patent #3,773,049, L. Y. Rabichev, V. F. Vasiliev, A. S. Putilin, T. G. Ilina, P. V. Raku and L. P. Kemitsky, November 20, 1973.

Non-Invasive Method and Apparatus for Modulating Brain Signals through an External Magnetic or Electric Field to Reduce Pain, US Patent #4,889,526, Elizabeth Rauscher and William Van Bise, December 26, 1989.

Nervous System Excitation Device, US Patent #3,393,279, Gillis Patrick Flanagan, July 16, 1968. A method of transmitting audio information via a radio frequency signal modulated with the audio info through electrodes placed on the subject's skin, causing the sensation of hearing the audio information in the brain.

Method and System for Simplifying Speech Waveforms, US Patent #3,647,970, G. Patrick Flanagan, March 7, 1972. A complex speech waveform is simplified so that it can be transmitted directly through earth or water as a waveform and understood directly or after amplification.

Means for Aiding Hearing, US Patent #2,995,633, Henry Puharich and Joseph Lawrence, August 8, 1961. Means for converting audible signals to electrical signals and conveying them to viable nerves of the facial system.

Means for Aiding Hearing by Electrical Stimulation of the Facial Nerve System, US Patent #3,170,993, Henry Puharich, February 23, 1965.

Hearing Device, US Patent #4,858,612, Philip Stocklin, August 22, 1989. A method and apparatus for simulation of hearing in mammals by introduction of a plurality of microwaves into the regions of the auditory cortex.

Montana Supreme Court Justice Warns

Believe it or not, it's perfectly legal for police to rummage through your garbage for incriminating stuff on you -- even if they don't have a warrant or court approval.

The Supreme Court of Montana ruled last month that police could conduct a warrantless "trash dive" into the trash cans in the alley behind the home of a man named Darrell Pelvit. The cops discovered evidence of pseudoephedrine and Naptha--a solvent with uses including the manufacture of methamphetamine--and Pelvit eventually ended up in prison.

Pelvit's attorney argued that his client had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his trash, but the court rejected the argument and said the trash was, well, meant to be thrown away.

What's remarkable is the concurring opinion of Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson, who reluctantly went along with his colleagues but warned that George Orwell's 1984 had arrived. We reproduce his concurring opinion in full:

Justice James C. Nelson concurs.

I have signed our Opinion because we have correctly applied existing legal theory and constitutional jurisprudence to resolve this case on its facts.

I feel the pain of conflict, however. I fear that, eventually, we are all going to become collateral damage in the war on drugs, or terrorism, or whatever war is in vogue at the moment. I retain an abiding concern that our Declaration of Rights not be killed by friendly fire. And, in this day and age, the courts are the last, if not only, bulwark to prevent that from happening.

In truth, though, we area throw-away society. My garbage can contains the remains of what I eat and drink. It may contain discarded credit card receipts along with yesterday's newspaper and junk mail. It might hold some personal letters, bills, receipts, vouchers, medical records, photographs and stuff that is imprinted with the multitude of assigned numbers that allow me access to the global economy and vice versa.

My garbage can contains my DNA.

As our Opinion states, what we voluntarily throw away, what we discard--i.e., what we abandon--is fair game for roving animals, scavengers, busybodies, crooks and for those seeking evidence of criminal enterprise.

Yet, as I expect with most people, when I take the day's trash (neatly packaged in opaque plastic bags) to the garbage can each night, I give little consideration to what I am throwing away and less thought, still, to what might become of my refuse. I don't necessarily envision that someone or something is going to paw through it looking for a morsel of food, a discarded treasure, a stealable part of my identity or a piece of evidence. But, I've seen that happen enough times to understand--though not graciously accept--that there is nothing sacred in whatever privacy interest I think I have retained in my trash once it leaves my control--the Fourth Amendment and Article II, Sections 10 and 11, notwithstanding.

Like it or not, I live in a society that accepts virtual strip searches at airports; surveillance cameras; "discount" cards that record my buying habits; bar codes; "cookies" and spywear on my computer; on-line access to satellite technology that can image my back yard; and microchip radio frequency identification devices already implanted in the family dog and soon to be integrated into my groceries, my credit cards, my cash and my new underwear.

I know that the notes from the visit to my doctor's office may be transcribed in some overseas country under an out-sourcing contract by a person who couldn't care less about my privacy. I know that there are all sorts of businesses that have records of what medications I take and why. I know that information taken from my blood sample may wind up in databases and be put to uses that the boilerplate on the sheaf of papers I sign to get medical treatment doesn't even begin to disclose. I know that my insurance companies and employer know more about me than does my mother. I know that many aspects of my life are available on the Internet. Even a black box in my car--or event data recorder as they are called--is ready and willing to spill the beans on my driving habits, if I have an event--and I really trusted that car, too.

And, I also know that my most unwelcome and paternalistic relative, Uncle Sam, is with me from womb to tomb. Fueled by the paranoia of "ists" and "isms," Sam has the capability of spying on everything and everybody--and no doubt is. But, as Sam says: "It's for my own good."

In short, I know that my personal information is recorded in databases, servers, hard drives and file cabinets all over the world. I know that these portals to the most intimate details of my life are restricted only by the degree of sophistication and goodwill or malevolence of the person, institution, corporation or government that wants access to my data.

I also know that much of my life can be reconstructed from the contents of my garbage can.

I don't like living in Orwell's 1984; but I do. And, absent the next extinction event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep Sam and the sub-Sams on a short leash.

As our Opinion states, search and seizure jurisprudence is centered around privacy expectations and reasonableness considerations. That is true even under the extended protections afforded by Montana's Constitution, Article II, Sections 10. and 11. We have ruled within those parameters. And, as is often the case, we have had to draw a fine line in a gray area. Justice Cotter and those who have signed the Opinion worked hard at defining that line; and I am satisfied we've drawn it correctly on the facts of this case and under the conventional law of abandonment.

That said, if this Opinion is used to justify a sweep of the trash cans of a neighborhood or community; or if a trash dive for Sudafed boxes and matchbooks results in DNA or fingerprints being added to a forensic database or results in personal or business records, credit card receipts, personal correspondence or other property being archived for some future use unrelated to the case at hand, then, absent a search warrant, I may well reconsider my legal position and approach to these sorts of cases--even if I have to think outside the garbage can to get there.

I concur
/S/ JAMES C. NELSON
Posted by Declan McCullagh

OPEN LETTER TO PUBLIC SERVANTS

At the expense of the American people and with the blessings of unseen hands at high policy-making levels, you have created a subculture for yourselves we will call the bureaucratic class. There are millions of you now and, as of 2002, the bureaucratic class has near carte blanche authority to do anything it wants to the American people. It's as if you and your classmates are blessed with some magic shield that protects you from being held personally accountable for the damage you have inflicted upon the very people who have afforded your existence. You have been used by those unseen hands to morally, spiritually, economically and politically bankrupt the people of this nation.
The bureaucratic class in the United States has been growing steadily since “the New Deal.” From the humble beginnings of a few scattered overworked and underpaid public servants providing government services from impromptu field offices have sprung legions of high-paid bureaucrats with well-staffed offices centralized in government-owned complexes. The bureaucratic class has forgotten its service-based roots and has come to regard its protected-class status as a birthright.

Members of the bureaucratic class make comparatively high-end wages that come with comparatively elaborate benefits packages and the ability to charge many of life's expenses to the American people. Over and above all holidays off with pay, you accumulate sick time, vacation time and are allowed to take x number of personal days off each year -- with pay. No such largesse exists in the private sector as we must work almost half the year just to pay for you. While we have grudgingly afforded you these things with only moderate protest, you have been enforcing upon us increasingly invasive, injurious and absurdist policies.

If we complain and attempt to seek a redress of our grievances for your abusive conduct through agency superiors, congresspersons or the courts, we are denied. You are immune from prosecution while functioning in your official capacity -- even if you act abusively or beyond the scope of your authority. With increased wages, increased benefits, increased authority has come prosecutorial immunity so airtight you may wrongfully imprison and murder ordinary people without fear of repercussion. You have all of these things going for you and the law on your side so you must be doing the right thing, you rationalize. How else could you be allowed to steal the property, the children, the freedom and the life from people you must know in your heart do not deserve your bureaucratic wrath? The ends must justify the means, you assuredly tell yourselves while drowning your conscience in alcohol or medicating it with Prozac.

Look around you. As bureaucrats who enforce policies that tie ordinary people up into frustrated statutory knots, how many of them appreciate you? How many ordinary people are happy to see you compared to the ones who are barely able to contain the contempt your mere presence in their lives causes them to feel? How many lives have been improved through the functions of your office compared to the lives that have been destroyed by it? Would you say that over the last several years angry and destroyed people are beginning to drastically outnumber happy and improved people? Is that why many of you now address the public from behind bullet-proof glass and metal detectors?

There is an undercurrent of frustration in this country. Things are not going well for ordinary people because their lives are being taxed and regulated out of existence. Right now most people must content themselves to burden their friends and family members with their frustration because there is no other outlet for their emotions. But, what would happen if the magic shield that has protected you and your classmates is removed? Your protection is not divine. It is the construct of men. As easily as it has been given to you it can be taken away. Have you read the news lately? Enron, the lynx hair fraud, no scientific foundation for cutting off irrigation water to protect Klamath Basin suckerfish last year: Your protection is being removed.

The bureaucratic class has been set up to take the fall for a failed society. And, in apparent anticipation of imminent chaos, the Bush administration announced Feb. 3, 2002, that soon it will appoint a four-star general to command the American theater of operations for the Homeland Security Agency. Here is the scenario to which you must take heed: The hand that provided immunity to the bureaucratic class while it bankrupted the people of a nation is lifted. Media-triggered events expose the abusive actions of the bureaucratic class to the masses. The masses identify those in the bureaucratic class as the real cause of their misery and frustration and stop beating their children and spouses. Thousands of government offices are suddenly vacated as bureaucrats flee them in fear of their lives or are otherwise prevented from performing their duties. The structure of government begins to collapse. A power vacuum is created. Homeland Security steps in to administrate our socio/political unraveling as a nation. The general is commissioned to call out the armed forces and take military control of our domestic affairs. Think about it.

The description of the bureaucratic class and what it has done to the American people with murderous immunity cannot be disputed. The scenario above is not unprecedented in recent world history. It also cannot be disputed that, by enjoying the benefits of your class in trade for willingly and knowingly damaging innocent people, you have betrayed them. While worthy adversaries may respect one another, no one respects a traitor. ***

The purpose of this letter is to inform members of the bureaucratic class that it was created to perform a task that has been accomplished; you are now as expendable as us ordinary folks whose ranks you are about to rejoin. You have been used to destroy the people of this nation. Immunity for your lifestyle is evaporating. You have been positioned as an outlet for the prodigious anger and frustration that enforcement of increasingly injurious and absurd policies has generated in the people who have paid your wages. The only question remaining is, “what are you going to do about it?”

Don Harkins
The Idaho Observer

The Militarization of Our Police

2007/10/25

Vatican beatifying 498 from Spain's war

By DANIEL WOOLLS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 25, 12:06 PM ET

CUENCA, Spain - First the militia fighters thought of hacking the bishop to death with an ax. In the end, they showed pity and shot him — one of hundreds of executions of Roman Catholic clergy as civil war erupted in Spain.

The bishop and 497 other people will be beatified Sunday by the Catholic Church, the last step before possible sainthood. The ceremony — the largest mass beatification in Vatican history — comes as Spain is taking a closer look at its painful past.

Bishop Cruz Laplana y Laguna was taken prisoner by leftist militiamen two days after the war broke out on July 17, 1936. The mayor of this town in central Spain offered to free him with a ruse: send police into the seminary where he was being held, have the bishop dress as a cop and sneak out.

Laplana y Laguna declined — he would not shed his vestments. Two weeks later, the bishop blessed his killers as they took aim and opened fire. "May God forgive you, as I forgive and bless you," he said, according to a book published by the Spanish Bishops Conference.

He will be beatified along with 497 other people the Catholic Church has declared victims of religious persecution just before or during the Spanish civil war.

The 1936-39 war pitted an elected, leftist government against right-wing forces that rose up under Gen. Francisco Franco, who went on to win and preside over a nearly 40-year dictatorship that was staunchly supported by the Catholic Church.

Violence against the clergy had been simmering since 1931, when a republic was declared in Spain. Leftist forces targeted the church as an institution they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression and inequality.

The violence was one of Franco's pretexts for launching his rebellion, and it intensified after the war started, with churches in government-held areas burned and more and more clergy attacked.

The Catholic Church says there is no official death figure, but estimates nearly 7,000 clergy were killed in Spain from 1931 to 1939.

Except for seven lay people, all of those being beatified Sunday were clergy — priests, deacons, seminarians, monks and nuns, ranging in age from 16 to 78.

Some in Spain question the beatification's timing — three days before Parliament is to pass a Socialist-sponsored law seeking to make symbolic amends to victims of the war and the Franco dictatorship.

The bill mentions people persecuted for their religious beliefs, but for the most part it is an unprecedented formal condemnation of the Franco regime, the executions of civilians by pro-Franco militia and summary postwar trials of people accused of opposing his regime.

Critics say the Vatican, which since the late 1980s has beatified nearly 500 other clergy killed in the war, is now hitting back at the government by choosing to beatify so many more all at once.

Christian Networks, a grouping of lay Catholic organizations, said the church should apologize for supporting Franco. "As the church has not asked forgiveness for what happened, this beatification is inopportune," it said.

The church insists research has been under way for decades, and the ceremony is being held now because Pope Benedict XVI finished signing the decrees only two months ago.

"The church works on this very slowly and with its own calendar, which is not shaped by any other calendar, much less the political calendars of any government," said Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, secretary-general of the Spanish Bishops Conference.

The government has clashed with the church by legalizing gay marriage and instituting other social reforms, but has taken care not to pick a fight this time.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says he respects the beatification as much as he respects the civil war atonement bill.

Jose Andres Torres Mora, a Socialist lawmaker who sponsored the war amends bill, will be among those at the beatification ceremony in St. Peter's Square.

Torres Mora's great-uncle, Juan Duarte Martin, is being beatified. He was a 24-year-old deacon when the militia tortured and killed him. "I am honoring him both ways," the lawmaker said.


Oh My Fucking GOD!!!! What the fuck is up with this? religious persecution???? What about all the people the church has had killed? What the fuck do they get???? Inquisition??? Ring a fucking bell with anyone? Do they get a fucking sorry we tortured and killed u from anyone?? I bet there are some Templars that would like a hug and a little sorry from someone.

2007/09/16

Myanmar monks lead anti-junta protests

By MICHAEL CASEY, Associated Press Writer
Sun Sep 16, 2:28 PM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand - Monks have vandalized shops of those supporting the dictatorship in Myanmar, briefly taken local officials hostage and are now threatening to launch a boycott as early as Tuesday against the military leaders and their families.

Nearly a month into the worst demonstrations to hit Myanmar in decades, the saffron-robed Buddhist clergy are emerging as the focal point of the anti-government protests. With dozens of pro-democracy activists behind bars or in hiding, most people are counting on monks — who have a role in almost all aspects of society from weddings to funerals — to take the lead in challenging the repressive regime in the mostly Buddhist country.

"Monks are our only hope now as they always have been in Myanmar political history," said Hla Myint, a 75-year-old schoolteacher. "The military rulers can easily crush protests by students and other people. But brutal suppression of monks usually results in negative consequences and further protests."

Much of the talk on the streets of big cities like Yangon is on a Monday deadline set by monks for the regime to apologize for beating hundreds of them two weeks ago as they marched and chanted Buddhist prayers peacefully in Pakokku, a center of Buddhist learning.

Without an apology, monks across the country have threatened to march Tuesday from their monasteries, cut off communication with the military and their families and refuse alms — a humiliating gesture that will likely embarrass the junta.

"What the (junta) did in Pakokku is unforgivable. The monks are frustrated and angry," said Zin Linn, information minister for the Washington-based National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, which is Burma's government-in-exile.

"This boycott is significant because other underground labor unions, underground student unions and activists are calling on one another to join the boycott," he said. "I expect the demonstrations will grow bigger than ever. People may join with the monks and we may see chaos and disorder."

A chief abbot at a Yangon monastery said the boycott will have a symbolic importance in the ongoing struggle against the junta.

"In a staunchly Buddhist country, such a boycott is the most severe form of punishment for a Buddhist," said the abbot, who refused to be identified for fear of reprisals. "The boycott brings extreme shame to the ruling junta and should be taken seriously."

Monks in Myanmar, also known as Burma, have historically been at the forefront of protests — first against British colonialism and later military dictatorship. They also played a prominent part in the failed 1988 pro-democracy rebellion that sought an end to military rule, imposed since 1962. The uprising was brutally crushed by the military and thousand were killed.

This time around, the military regime has appeared nervous and indecisive in its dealings with the monks.

Since protests broke out Aug. 19 after the government hiked fuel prices by as much as 500 percent, it detained dozens of pro-democracy activists and cut off the phone lines as the country's main opposition group the National League for Democracy or NLD.

But it has yet to arrest any monks, preferring a mix of heavy-handed threats, gentle persuasion and outright pleas to convince the estimated half-million Buddhist clergy to stay off the streets.

It stepped up surveillance around monasteries in major cities to keep young monks in check and order monks to remain in some monasteries. It has accused them in newspaper articles of being tools of the NLD and other government critics who want to overthrow the government.

"Exploiting these situations, some are trying to disrupt the prevailing peace, stability and law and order and the momentum of development and to derail the seven-step road map," the government said, blaming everyone from foreign governments to troublesome monks for fueling the protests.

But last week in an evident attempt to improve its image, high-ranking officials have been making high-profile donations of cooking oil and other donations to Buddhist monasteries, according to the state-controlled press. Making donations to temples is a traditional way of showing respect.

Experts appear divided over whether the monks can persuade the public to join the protests — partly because civil servants have been removed to the new capital in the remote town of Naypyitaw, while universities have been moved out of Yangon and other big cities to sideline students.

Some experts said monks could persuade rural residents to get involved because they hold such sway in the countryside as well as elements of the military who feel they would be unfairly slandered by the boycott.

"This could also create divisions in the military," said Soe Aung, spokesman for the pro-democracy group National Council of the Union of Burma which is based in Thailand. "The majority of the military is already suffering from the mismanagement of the economy."

But other experts argued that fear will likely trump the boldest of actions by the monks, with many citizens afraid to challenge a military with a history of brutality.

"The military is much stronger than they have ever been in Burmese history," said David Steinberg, a Myanmar expert at Georgetown University in Washington.

2007/08/17

Depression Taking Toll on Returning U.S. Vets

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Fri Aug 17, 7:01 PM ET

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Depression may be a largely unrecognized problem for many U.S. soldiers returning from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, placing a tremendous strain on them and their families, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied the home life of 168 soldiers diagnosed with psychological symptoms upon their return home from deployment. Nearly half -- 42 percent -- of these veterans said they now felt like a "guest in their own home," and one in five felt their children did not respond warmly to them, or were even afraid of them.

In many of these cases, depression or another psychological problem, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), played a major role, the researchers said.

The PTSD finding has been observed in other studies, but the link between returning veterans' depression and family trouble is new, experts said.

-continued-

O.K. So u know they probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more, to find out what? The obvious!!! Wow, Maybe next they can find out why catching your junk in your zipper hurts. Why not put the money into helping them, instead of doing a damn study. Thank you captain obvious, were would we be with you??

2007/08/13

T-Shirt Hell



The Shirts at this place are at times a bit wrong, but still very very funny, CHECK THEM OUT NOW!!!!!

2007/08/07

Woman has pencil removed from head


Tue Aug 7, 12:30 PM ET

BERLIN - After being plagued for 55 years with the torment of a pencil lodged in her head, a German woman has finally had it removed.

Margaret Wegner, now 59, was 4 years old when she fell while carrying the 3.15 inch-long pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain.

"It bored right through the skin and disappeared into my head," Wegner told Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild. "It hurt like crazy."

At the time the technology did not exist to safely remove the pencil, so Wegner had to live with it — and the chronic headaches and nosebleeds that it brought — for the next five-and-a-half decades.

But on Friday, Dr. Hans Behrbohm, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Berlin's Park-Klinik Weissensee, was able to use modern techniques to identify the exact location of the pencil so that he could accurately determine that the risks of removing it, and then take most of it out.

The operation was particularly difficult because of the way the pencil had shifted as Wegner grew, Behrbohm told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"This was something unique because the trauma was so old," said Behrbohm, who has also operated to remove bullets from the brains of shooting victims, and glass from the brains of people involved in car accidents.

Though a 0.79-inch piece of the pencil could not be removed, Behrbohm said it does not present a danger.

And now Wegner, the wife of German boxing coach Ulli Wegner, will no longer have the headaches and nosebleeds, and her sense of smell should also return soon, Behrbohm said.

"She shouldn't suffer any longer," he said.

2007/08/04

Fish Soccer

Afghanistan poppy cultivation skyrockets


By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 46 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Afghanistan will produce another record poppy harvest this year that cements its status as the world's near-sole supplier of the heroin source, yet a furious debate over how to reverse the trend is stalling proposals to cut the crop, U.S. officials say.

As President Bush prepares for weekend talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, divisions within the U.S. administration and among NATO allies have delayed release of a $475 million counternarcotics program for Afghanistan, where intelligence officials see growing links between drugs and the Taliban, the officials said.

U.N. figures to be released in September are expected to show that Afghanistan's poppy production has risen up to 15 percent since 2006 and that the country now accounts for 95 percent of the world's crop, 3 percentage points more than last year, officials familiar with preliminary statistics told The Associated Press.

But counterdrug proposals by some U.S. officials have met fierce resistance, including boosting the amount of forcible poppy field destruction in provinces that grow the most, officials said. The approach also would link millions of dollars in development aid to benchmarks on eradication; arrests and prosecutions of narcotraders, corrupt officials; and on alternative crop production.

Those ideas represent what proponents call an "enhanced carrot-and-stick approach" to supplement existing anti-drug efforts. They are the focus of the new $475 million program outlined in a 995-page report, the release of which has been postponed twice and may be again delayed due to disagreements, officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because parts of the report remain classified.

Counternarcotics agents at the State Department had wanted to release a 123-page summary of the strategy last month and then again last week, but were forced to hold off because of concerns it may not be feasible, the officials said.

Now, even as Bush sees Karzai on Sunday and Monday at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Md., a tentative release date of Aug. 9, timed to follow the meetings, appears in jeopardy. Some in the administration, along with NATO allies Britain and Canada, seek revisions that could delay it until at least Aug. 13, the officials said.

The program represents a 13 percent increase over the $420 million in U.S. counternarcotics aid to Afghanistan last year. It would adopt a bold new approach to "coercive eradication" and set out criteria for local officials to receive development assistance based on their cooperation, the officials said.

Although the existing aid, supplemented mainly by Britain and Canada and supported by the NATO force in Afghanistan, has achieved some results — notably an expected rise in the number of "poppy-free" provinces from six to at least 12 and possibly 16, mainly in the north — production elsewhere has soared, they said.

"Afghanistan is providing close to 95 percent of the world's heroin," the State Department's top counternarcotics official, Tom Schweich, said at a recent conference. "That makes it almost a sole-source supplier" and presents a situation "unique in world history."

Almost all the heroin from Afghanistan makes its way to Europe; most of the heroin in the U.S. comes from Latin America.

-continued-

Soldier gets 110 years in rape-slay case

By RYAN LENZ,
Associated Press Writer 5 minutes ago

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A soldier convicted of rape and murder in an attack on an Iraqi teenager and her family was sentenced Saturday to 110 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

The sentence was part of a plea agreement attorneys for Pfc. Jesse Spielman had made with prosecutors that set the number of years he could serve in prison, regardless of the jury's recommendation.

The jury had recommended life with parole, a sentence under which he would have to wait longer for the possibility of freedom.

Spielman was convicted late Friday of rape, conspiracy to commit rape, housebreaking with intent to rape and four counts of felony murder.

Military prosecutors did not say Spielman took part in the rape or murders but alleged that he went to the house knowing what the others intended to do and served as a lookout.
-continued-

2007/08/02

Arctic Monkeys


One of my favorite groups, The Arctic Monkeys, has a new CD out. I am very late posting this. My bad. But definitely check it out, it's amazing!!! Favourite Worst Nightmare.

2007/07/23

Castleberry's Announces Voluntary Recall of Chili Products

Georgia Firm Recalls Canned Meat Products That May Contain Clostridium botulinum

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2007 - Castleberry's Food Company, an Augusta, Ga., establishment owned by Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, is voluntarily recalling approximately 721,389 pounds of canned meat products that may contain Clostridium botulinum as a result of an equipment malfunction, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

FDA...Castleberry Recall now includes Dog Food Sunday, 9:36 AM

Ok, is it just me, or does anyone else find it very disturbing that the same factory that does human canned food, is doing dog food.

Injured Iraq war veterans sue VA head

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer 10 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Frustrated by delays in health care, injured Iraq war veterans accused VA Secretary Jim Nicholson in a lawsuit of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.

The lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, seeks broad changes in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed warriors on numerous fronts. It contends the VA failed to provide prompt disability benefits, failed to add staff to reduce wait times for medical care and failed to boost services for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The lawsuit also accuses the VA of deliberately cheating some veterans by allegedly working with the Pentagon to misclassify PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders to avoid paying benefits. The VA and Pentagon have generally denied such charges.

"When one of our combat veterans walks into a VA hospital, then they must see a doctor that day," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, which filed the lawsuit. "When a war veteran needs disability benefits because he or she can't work, then they must get a disability check in a few weeks."

"The VA has betrayed our veterans," Sullivan said.

VA spokesman Matt Smith said Monday he could not comment on a pending lawsuit
-continued-
July 23, 2007

LONG BEACH, California (Ticker) - A minor league baseball has announced that on Sunday they will host "Michael Vick Animal Awareness Day."
The Long Beach Armada of Los Angeles of California of the United States of North America including Barrow, Alaska in the Independent Golden League are holding the event on the heels of Vick - the quarterback of the
Atlanta Falcons - being indicted on federal dogfighting charges.
Fans are invited to bring their dogs and sit in a special section at Blair Field.
Also, any fan who trades in a Michael Vick jersey will receive free admission to the game. The Armada also will destroy all Vick jerseys in protest to the inhumane treatment of animals.

WOW


11 Things Women Don't Know About Men

By Evan Marc Katz

1. Getting angry at us for not reading your mind is like getting angry at yourself for not being able to fly. It's not just futile, it's physically impossible.

2. Yes, we do think Jessica Alba is hot. Sometimes we're even dumb enough to admit it.

3. Don't ask us to understand your shoe fetish. Asking us to respect it is even sort of pushing it.

4. You do look good without makeup, just not as good as you look with it.

5. Ever notice how we don't fight with our male friends? That's why we get so frustrated when we fight with you.

6. You care what you're wearing infinitely more than we do. In fact, if you're naked when you open the front door, you won't hear an argument from us.

7. You don't like to get hit on in public, you don't want to date online and you don't want to be set up on blind dates. Tell us if sending messenger pigeons is an appropriate way of courting. Because if it is, we're all over it.

8. There should a statute of limitations on stupid things that we said that can come back to haunt us. I propose 24 hours.

9. Cooking dinner for a man is like buying flowers for a woman, except it takes a lot more time, effort and thought for you to do it. Thanks. We appreciate it.

10. We actually like your girly pet-names for us, but please, not in front of the guys!

11. Just because we like looking at the women in Maxim doesn't mean we want to actually converse with the women in Maxim. Not for long, anyway.

12. Your nice guy friends are the most reliable source for telling you if your new boyfriend's a jerk. And he probably is. (By the way, you might want to consider marrying that nice guy who's giving you advice about the jerk.)

2007/05/17


US toddlers tuning in for a Disney cartoon in the state of New Jersey this week got more than they bargained for, when the local cable company mistakenly started broadcasting hardcore pornography.(AFP/Illustration)

Mommy, what is Mickey doing to pluto??

Walt Disney World: The Government's Tomorrowland?

Karen Harmel, Laura Spadanuta
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure.

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure. And control over park entrances is getting even tighter: the nation's most popular tourist attraction now is beginning to scan visitor fingerprint information.

For years, Disney has recorded onto tickets the geometry and shape of visitors’ fingers to prevent ticket fraud or resale, as an alternative to time-consuming photo identification checks.

By the end of September, all of the geometry readers at Disney’s four Orlando theme parks, which attract tens of millions of visitors each year, will be replaced with machines that scan fingerprint information, according to industry experts familiar with the technology.

“It’s essentially a technology upgrade,” said Kim Prunty, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World. The new scanner, like the old finger geometry scanner, "takes an image, identifies a series of points, measures the distance between those points, and turns it into a numerical value." She added, "To call it a fingerprint is a little bit of a stretch."
Prunty said the new system will be easier for guests to use and will reduce wait times. The old machines required visitors to insert two fingers into a reader that identified key information about the shape of the fingers. The new machines scan one fingertip for its fingerprint information. Prunty said the company does not store the entire fingerprint image, but only numerical information about certain points.

Theme park consultant Arnold Tang said parks like Disney use the technology because it is more convenient for guests than showing photo identification and more accurate for theme parks, which have a significant ticket fraud problem.

“There’s a lot of subjectivity,” Tang said about traditional identification checks. “People can look at a photo and identify it differently.”

Prunty said the technology ensures that multiday passes are not resold. A one day, one-park ticket to Walt Disney World costs $67, but the daily price falls dramatically for a 10-day pass. Prunty said multiday pricing is the reason for the scanners. “It’s very important that a guest who purchases the ticket is the guest who uses it,” she said.
-continued-
Soon Homeland security will be handed over to Disney. All airports will be transformed into little wonderlands, were the armed guards are dressed as your favorite characters. Just be careful. If you get a body cavity search I heard they don't take off the big glove/hands. OUCH!!!

The Future of Spying

Beth Davidz
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

A relatively unknown branch of the CIA is investing millions of taxpayer dollars in technology startups that, together, paint a map for the future of spying. Some of these technologies can pry into the personal lives of Americans not just for the government but for big businesses as well.

The CIA's venture capitalist arm, In-Q-Tel, has invested at least $185 million in startups since 1999, molding these companies' products into technologies the intelligence community can use.

More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel’s current investments are in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information, according to an analysis by the Medill School of Journalism. While In-Q-Tel has successfully helped push data analysis technology ahead, implementing it within the government for national security remains a challenge, and one of In-Q-Tel’s former CEOs, Gilman Louie, has concerns about whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected.

News reports about programs like Total Information Awareness -- an anti-terrorism government program that would have mined not only government data but also personal information -- and National Security Agency wiretaps, have sparked criticism by lawmakers, privacy advocates and the public.

-continued-

A Sinking Presidency

By Kenneth T. Walsh
Mon May 7, 2:47 PM ET

President Bush's admiration for Abraham Lincoln knows no bounds. In a recent meeting at the White House, Bush told visitors how Lincoln (whose portrait he has installed in the Oval Office) persevered in the Civil War despite many defeats on the battlefield, tens of thousands of casualties, and doubts among Northern voters that the conflict could ever be won. As the campaign of 1864 approached, Bush related, Lincoln admitted privately that he didn't think he would be re-elected, but pursued his policies anyway. Bush also described how Lincoln pressed on despite his grief when his beloved 11-year-old son Willie died in February 1862. The visitors came away with the conviction that Bush sees himself in Lincoln's mold more deeply than ever.

To Bush's critics, the incident is unsettling. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, noting that the president has also compared himself to Harry Truman, told U.S. News: "This is delusional-comparing the equivalent of Warren Harding to two of our greatest presidents!" Adds presidential historian Robert Dallek, author of Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power: "He may come across to some people as a man of principle, but a great majority see him as stubborn and unyielding. ... And everything he touches turns to dust."

This is all nonsense, according to senior White House officials. They say that Bush isn't delusional at all and that history will vindicate him, just as it vindicated Lincoln and Truman. "He believes the correctness of his policies-including the war in Iraq-may not be recognized for 10, 15 years," says a Bush adviser. Adds another confidant: "If something reaches his level, it tends to be bad news, but he keeps it all in perspective, and there's no equivocation."

These assessments reflect a fundamental fact about George W. Bush's presidency as it approaches what many consider a twilight stage. Despite a cascading series of setbacks that convey the impression of a White House in crisis, Bush continues to exude an aura of calm and self-confidence. Like him or not-and he is one of the most polarizing leaders in American history-he rarely if ever backs down or exhibits self-doubt. This intransigence infuriates his critics and delights his admirers, and it will remain perhaps the most vivid characteristic of his leadership. Friends say one of Bush's favorite self-descriptions is "the decider." It's an inelegant but apt definition of his whole approach to governing. Whether it's an approach that still works is another question entirely.
-Continued-

Please tell me that this Piece of Shit is not compairing himself to President Lincoln. I love the line in the third paragraph "They say that Bush isn't delusional at all". Yeah I am sorry, if you expect to be thought of differently 10-15 years from now, your fucking delusional!!!!

2007/02/24

The Enlightenment of Resistance

Manuel Valenzuela

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Exorcising Our Demons

Into the infancy of the 21st century has humanity somehow managed to reach, despite our insatiable addiction for violence and suffering that has for millennia been both endemic and devastating, in spite of the continued tribalism, now called the nation state, that fosters competition, ignorance, fear, hatred and war among the peoples of the world, even with the hierarchical need among peoples to perpetually follow corrupt, immoral and warmongering leadership that continues to lay ruin the vast potential within us and notwithstanding the locust-like hunger of six billion primates whose consumptions and needs for resources are raping and pillaging Earth at unsustainable levels, thus accelerating our inevitable implosion.

Into the early years of the 21st century does humanity find itself in, in the present seeing our past, in our future seeing the present, refusing to learn from the sands of time and the chronicles of those who have come before, knocking on the heavy iron doors of progressive modernity yet hearing only the echoing thuds of regressive primitiveness, desperately seeking the keys that will allow us to finally escape the pestilence of times past and malignant cancers of the present.

Yet in turbulent times do we once more find ourselves living in, surrounded by war, destruction and death, gnawed at by suffering and misery, living among the ignorant, fearful and easily led, taken hostage by fundamentalists, zealots and extremists, refusing to eradicate from our condition the plague called violence and the warmongering, greed-infected leaders who birth it.
-continued-

Stop the War


Oily truth emerges in Iraq

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Juan Gonzalez

Throughout nearly four years of the daily mayhem and carnage in Iraq, President Bush and his aides in the White House have scoffed at even the slightest suggestion that the U.S. military occupation has anything to do with oil.

The President presumably would have us all believe that if Iraq had the world’s second-largest supply of bananas instead of petroleum, American troops would still be there.

Now comes new evidence of the big prize in Iraq that rarely gets mentioned at White House briefings.

A proposed new Iraqi oil and gas law began circulating last week among that country’s top government leaders and was quickly leaked to various Internet sites - before it has even been presented to the Iraqi parliament.

Under the proposed law, Iraq’s immense oil reserves would not simply be opened to foreign oil exploration, as many had expected. Amazingly, executives from those companies would actually be given seats on a new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq’s reserves.

In other words, Chevron, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and the other Western oil giants could end up on the board of directors of the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council, while Iraq’s own national oil company would become just another competitor.

The new law would grant the council virtually all power to develop policies and plans for undeveloped oil fields and to review and change all exploration and production contracts.

Since most of Iraq’s 73 proven petroleum fields have yet to be developed, the new council would instantly become a world energy powerhouse.

“We’re talking about trillions of dollars of oil that are at stake,” said Raed Jarrar, an independent Iraqi journalist and blogger who obtained an Arabic copy of the draft law and posted an English-language translation on his Web site over the weekend.

Take, for example, the massive Majnoon field in southern Iraq near the Iranian border, which contains an estimated 20 billion barrels. Before Saddam Hussein was toppled by the U.S. invasion in 2003, he had granted a $4 billion contract to French oil giant TotalFinaElf to develop the field.

In the same way, the Iraqi dictator signed contracts with Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian and Spanish companies to develop 10 other big oil fields once international sanctions against his regime were lifted.

The big British and American companies had been shut out of Iraq, thanks to more than a decade of U.S. sanctions against Saddam.

But if the new law passes, those companies will be the ones reviewing those very contracts and any others.

“Iraq’s economic security and development will be thrown into question with this law,” said Antonia Juhasz of Oil Change International, a petroleum industry watchdog group. “It’s a radical departure not only from Iraq’s existing structure but from how oil is managed in most of the world today.”

Throughout the developing world, national oil companies control the bulk of oil production, though they often develop joint agreements with foreign commercial oil groups.

But under the proposed law, the government-owned Iraqi National Oil Co. “will not get any preference over foreign companies,” Juhasz said.

The law must still be presented to the Iraqi parliament. Given the many political and religious divisions in the country, its passage is hardly guaranteed.

The main religious and ethnic groups are all pushing to control contracts and oil revenues for their regions, while the Bush administration is seeking more centralized control.

While the politicians in Washington and Baghdad bicker to carve up the real prize, and just what share Big Oil will get, more Iraqi civilians and American soldiers die each each day - for freedom, we’re told.

737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire

Monday, February 19th, 2007

With more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet and military bases spread across each continent, it’s time to face up to the fact that our American democracy has spawned a global empire.

The following is excerpted from Chalmers Johnson’s new book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” (Metropolitan Books).

Chalmers Johnson

Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America’s version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial “footprint” and the militarism that grows with it.

It is not easy, however, to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records available to the public on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual inventories from 2002 to 2005 of real property it owns around the world, the Base Structure Report, there has been an immense churning in the numbers of installations.

The total of America’s military bases in other people’s countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. Reflecting massive deployments to Iraq and the pursuit of President Bush’s strategy of preemptive war, the trend line for numbers of overseas bases continues to go up.

Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 — mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets — almost exactly equals Britain’s thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Using data from fiscal year 2005, the Pentagon bureaucrats calculated that its overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion — surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic products of most countries — and an estimated $658.1 billion for all of them, foreign and domestic (a base’s “worth” is based on a Department of Defense estimate of what it would cost to replace it). During fiscal 2005, the military high command deployed to our overseas bases some 196,975 uniformed personnel as well as an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,425 locally hired foreigners.

The worldwide total of U.S. military personnel in 2005, including those based domestically, was 1,840,062 supported by an additional 473,306 Defense Department civil service employees and 203,328 local hires. Its overseas bases, according to the Pentagon, contained 32,327 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and 16,527 more that it leased. The size of these holdings was recorded in the inventory as covering 687,347 acres overseas and 29,819,492 acres worldwide, making the Pentagon easily one of the world’s largest landlords.

These numbers, although staggeringly big, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2005 Base Structure Report fails, for instance, to mention any garrisons in Kosovo (or Serbia, of which Kosovo is still officially a province) — even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel built in 1999 and maintained ever since by the KBR corporation (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root), a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation of Houston.

The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq (106 garrisons as of May 2005), Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, even though the U.S. military has established colossal base structures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asian areas since 9/11. By way of excuse, a note in the preface says that “facilities provided by other nations at foreign locations” are not included, although this is not strictly true. The report does include twenty sites in Turkey, all owned by the Turkish government and used jointly with the Americans. The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one — possibly not even the Pentagon — knows the exact number for sure.

-continued-

US ratchets up ‘psy-ops’ against Tehran

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Mahan Abedin

Psychological warfare is fast emerging as the key component of the conflict between Iran and the United States. It is being used extensively by the latter to influence Iranian behaviour in Iraq and secure a climb down by the Islamic Republic in the intricate negotiations over the country’s controversial nuclear programme.

As the Iranians analyse and react to this carefully crafted psychological warfare campaign, they run the risk of miscalculating broader developments in the region. The most important of these is Saudi Arabia’s new pro-active foreign policy. In this climate of heightened tensions and widespread misunderstanding it is easy for the Iranians to dismiss Saudi diplomacy as yet another plank of America’s psychological warfare against the Islamic Republic. Miscalculations of this kind can have drastic long-term consequences for Iranian interests in the Middle East.

war of Words

Psychological warfare has been a feature of Iranian-US relations since the 1979 revolution. Both sides have made extensive use of it, not only to damage the morale of the other, but also as a means of managing the conflict and preventing it from escalating into a shooting war. But never has this psychological war been so intense and potentially dangerous as it is now. Given the unprecedented instability across the Middle East – with opposing factions either allied to Iran or the US – there is a real danger of misunderstandings spinning out of control.

As always, it is the Americans who have ratcheted up the war of words, with the Iranians trying to come to terms with it.
-continued-

RFID chips shrink to powder size

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Yuri Kageyama

Tiny computer chips used for tracking food, tickets and other items are getting even smaller. Hitachi Ltd., a Japanese electronics maker, recently showed off radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips that are just 0.002 inches by 0.002 inches and look like bits of powder. They’re thin enough to be embedded in a piece of paper, company spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said Thursday.

RFID tags store data, but they need to be brought near special reading devices that beam energy to the chips, which then send information back to the readers.

The technology is already widely used to track and identify items, such as monitoring the distribution of food products or guarding against forgery of concert tickets.

Shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, the new chip is an improvement on its predecessor from Hitachi - the Mu-chip, which at 0.4 millimeters by 0.4 millimeters, looks about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

The latest chip, which still has no name, is 60 times smaller than the Mu-chip but can handle the same amount of information, which gets stored as a 38-digit number, according to Hitachi.

One catch is that the new chip needs an external antenna, unlike the Mu-chip.

The smallest antennas are about 0.16 inches - giants next to the powder-size chip.

There are no plans yet to start commercial production of the new chip, Takeuchi said.

Invisible tracking brings to mind science-fiction-inspired uses, or even abuses, such as unknowingly getting sprinkled with smart-tag powder for Big Brother-like monitoring.

“We are not imagining such uses,” Takeuchi said, adding that the latest chip is so new - and so miniature - Hitachi is still studying its possible uses.

‘Big Brother’ clocks in at the Royal Mail

Abigail Townsend

The Royal Mail, which earlier this month revealed an 86 per cent plunge in profits, is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds installing television screens in every delivery and sorting office in the country.

Management will use the screens to convey information and updates on the company’s performance to staff, including speeches by chief executive Adam Crozier and chairman Allan Leighton - prompting wags inside the state-controlled postal group to dub it “Allan Leighton Direct” and to compare it to George Orwell’s Big Brother.

A Royal Mail spokesman declined to comment on the cost of the new communication system, but insiders believe it will set the business back considerably. The TVs are understood to be 42-inch Fujitsu screens, which retail for around £2,000 each.

The Royal Mail will be able to negotiate a discount but it is still buying a considerable amount: at least one will be installed in every site, including 1,400 delivery offices, the 470 post offices the group manages directly, administration centres and other depots. The spokesman defended the communication system, commenting: “It’s absolutely normal good practice for any large company to have effective and swift communications with its people, especially when we’re operating out of many different sites nationwide.”
-continued-

Egyptian blogger sentenced to jail

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

An Alexandria court has convicted an Egyptian blogger for insulting both Islam and the Egyptian president, sentencing him to four years in jail over his writings on the internet.

During the trial, an Egyptian imam allegedly kidnapped by CIA agents in Italy and taken to Egypt, showed up to speak to the media, breaking his release conditions.

Known as Abu Omar, the former Milan-based imam on Thursday told reporters that he was tortured in an Egyptian prison and that he wants to return to Italy.

He showed the cameras scars he said were from torture in Egyptian jails and said he will resort to the Italian government to help him.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Amr El-Khaky reported: “Abu Omar also pleaded to both the Egyptian and American presidents to release all political prisoners”, including US prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Later on Thursday, Abdel Karim Nabil Suleiman, the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his internet writings, was sentenced to four years in jail.

Convicted blogger

Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student, has been in custody since November over eight articles he had written under the name “Kareem Amer” on his blog since 2004.

Rights groups and opposition bloggers have watched Suleiman’s case closely, and worried the conviction could set a legal precedent limiting internet freedom in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country.

A blogger attending the trial who goes by the name “Sandmonkey” said: “It’s a dangerous precedent because it will impact the only free space available now, which is the internet. The charges were undefined and vague.”

Human Rights Watch condemned the trial, saying that the charges Suleiman was convicted for “contradict guarantees of free expression under international law”.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The Egyptian government should abide by its commitments to uphold free expression and release Suleiman without delay.”

Criticism or insult?

-continued-

2007/01/13

Friends don't let friends play Alliance

When I first started playing WoW, I started as a Night Elf, a member of the alliance. After 20 minutes I killed the character, and started a undead character, which is on the Horde side. I have never looked back. I can say from my experience that the Alliance side, is boring and full of people that will completely ruin your playing experience. The Horde side seems to attract people who are more interested in playing the game, working together, and having fun. I am sure there are some good people on the alliance side, but there few and far between, and hopefully, they will see the errors of there ways, and come to the light. Now, i do have a dwarf alt. but that is only because I am trying to take them down from the inside, and convert the few good I find. Honestly, I swear, I never enjoy my time with that alt. I'm doing it for the good of the horde.

My Guild



The guild, (in WoW), that I belong too is Silent Vendetta . I have been in a few other guilds, and considered many others, but in all honesty must say that this is by far the best guild. I could not ask for anything more from a group of people. Many guilds are very clicky, or full of immature players, who just like making rude/crude jokes. This guild is full of fun, friendly and very helpful people that will jump at the chance to help other players. I can not even count the number of times that a fellow guildy has stopped what they are doing, and come helped me with something, usually it is helping me find my way, thence I tend to get lost a lot.


I have to admit that there is one slightly bad thing about the guild, and it is really a silly, minor thing. The guild is full of happy couples, husband, and wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, what ever. This does cause the slight odd man out feeling at times. But that is OK, you get used to it, and it's actually pretty sweet. I'm just a bit jaded lately I guess.

Sorry, for my Absence, but I have a really good reason

I would like to take a moment to say how sorry I am for my extended absence. But I have been very busy, with many, many things. Most of all, I have been addicted to the game WoW, for those of u not familiar with it, it is World of Warcraft, and is a great online game that will totally consume all of your free time if you allow it.


This is a picture from http://www.blizzard.com/inblizz/fanart/page1.shtml . It is a collection of fan art, from players of the game.


Other then that, I have been very busy with work, with storm after storm, we have been very, very busy. Also, to be totally honest, I have been feeling very burnt out. Like I am screaming at a tree, or wall. I have been staying as far away from anything political as humanly possible. I still feel the same way, so I guess this blog will be slowly changing directions, and going into different subjects for a while.

ASU

Started my first class at ASU, it's pretty amazing to be in the big time.