“Many of the documents publicize for the first time what was first made clear in the 9/11 Commission: The White House received a truly remarkable amount of warnings that al-Qaida was trying to attack the United States. From June to September 2001, a full seven CIA Senior Intelligence Briefs detailed that attacks were imminent, an incredible amount of information from one intelligence agency. One from June called “Bin-Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats” writes that “[redacted] expects Usama Bin Laden to launch multiple attacks over the coming days.” The famous August brief called “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the US” is included. “Al-Qai’da members, including some US citizens, have resided in or travelled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure here,” it says. During the entire month of August, President Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Texas — which tied with one of Richard Nixon’s as the longest vacation ever taken by a president. CIA Director George Tenet has said he didn’t speak to Bush once that month, describing the president as being “on leave.” Bush did not hold a Principals’ meeting on terrorism until September 4, 2001, having downgraded the meetings to a deputies’ meeting, which then-counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke has repeatedly said slowed down anti-Bin Laden efforts “enormously, by months.””—New NSA docs contradict 9/11 claims (via drinkthe-koolaid)
"…Most recently, researchers from Washington State University, led by biology professor Michael Skinner, reported last month that short-term exposure of pregnant rats to several kinds of chemicals caused ovarian disease not just in their daughters but also in two subsequent generations of females. Symptoms that paralleled those found in human polycystic ovarian disease and primary ovarian insufficiency, both of which can reduce fertility, were identified in the descendents of rats exposed to a fungicide, pesticides, dioxin, jet fuel, and a mixture of plastics, but not among descendents of controls.”
(With no more than a change in diet, laboratory agouti mice (left) were prompted to give birth to young (right) that differed markedly in appearance and disease susceptibility.)
“What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?”—Michel Foucault (via socialistscum)
The British Army is to undergo drastic structural reforms in the face of budget cuts and the changing face of conflict. Plans being drawn up will see the force split in two, with greater emphasis placed on undercover special operations, intelligence, surveillance and cyber warfare, The Independent has learned.
A blueprint entitled Army 2020 has been drawn up by Lieutenant General Nick Carter, who has been tasked with the Army’s reorganisation while overall numbers are cut by a fifth. It recommends the separation of “Reaction” and “Adaptable” forces, enabling the UK to respond in an emergency while also preparing for longer-term deployment.
In addition to the Carter plan, senior officers – including, it is believed, General Sir David Richards, the head of the military – want to expand the type of combat carried out by the SAS and the SBS as well as Istar (Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance). They also want to focus on cyber security, which they argue is vital for a “lighter, more agile” type of combat.
Although the scheme will take time to come to fruition, the plans have been heavily influenced by the events of the Arab Spring, the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear arsenal and the possibility of an Israeli attack as well as lessons learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Senior officers are urging caution over British involvement in Syria and only basic contingency plans have been made for such an operation. There is, however, much more planning for the aftermath of a possible Israeli strike on Iran.
How, in a democracy supposedly based on one person one vote, could the 1 percent could have been so victorious in shaping policies in its interests? It is part of a process of c, disillusionment, and disenfranchisement that produces low voter turnout, a system in which electoral success requires heavy investments, and in which those with money have made political investments that have reaped large rewards — often greater than the returns they have reaped on their other investments.
There is another way for moneyed interests to get what they want out of government: convince the 99 percent that they have shared interests. This strategy requires an impressive sleight of hand; in many respects the interests of the 1 percent and the 99 percent differ markedly.
The fact that the 1 percent has so successfully shaped public perception testifies to the malleability of beliefs. When others engage in it, we call it “brainwashing” and “propaganda.” We look askance at these attempts to shape public views, because they are often seen as unbalanced and manipulative, without realizing that there is something akin going on in democracies, too. What is different today is that we have far greater understanding of how to shape perceptions and beliefs — thanks to the advances in research in the social sciences.
It is clear that many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society: They believe that there is less inequality than there is, they underestimate its adverse economic effects, they underestimate the ability of government to do anything about it, and they overestimate the costs of taking action. They even fail to understand what the government is doing — many who value highly government programs like Medicare don’t realize that they are in the public sector.
Not only do Americans misperceive the level of inequality; they underestimate the changes that have been going on. Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years, when in fact the increase has been tectonic. Misperceptions are evident, too, in views about social mobility. Several studies have confirmed that perceptions of social mobility are overly optimistic.
"(Reuters) - The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV) said on Thursday they intended to digitize 1.5 million pages of ancient texts and make them freely available online.
The libraries said the digitized collections will centre on three subject areas: Greek manuscripts, 15th-century printed books and Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books.
The areas have been chosen for the strength of the collections in both libraries and their importance for scholarship in their respective fields.
With approximately two-thirds of the material coming from the BAV and the remainder from the Bodleian, the digitization effort will also benefit scholars by uniting virtually materials that have been dispersed between the collections for centuries.”
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.
“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.
“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.
The expansion of private-security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is well known. But armed security personnel account for only about sixteen per cent of the over-all contracting force. The vast majority—more than sixty per cent of the total in Iraq—aren’t hired guns but hired hands. These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, eat at meagre chow halls, and host dance parties featuring Nepalese romance ballads and Ugandan church songs. A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.
Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes.
The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.
Instead, they’re calling for more public hearings on April 12, in the apparent hope that they can run out the clock until the legislative session ends in early May.
What happened to the formerly staunch legislative champions of Vermont’s “right to know” bill? They lost their nerve and abandoned their principles after Monsanto representative recently threatened a public official that the biotech giant would sue Vermont if they dared to pass the bill.
"Most people have too much on their plates to worry about what will happen when the world ends.
But then there are those who have too much money not to.
Four buyers have already spent about $7 million on luxurious doomsday-safe condos built in a Cold War-era missile shaft below a Kansas prairie, according to the AFP. The cylindrical underground building not only includes condo space, but its developer is also adding an indoor farm, pool, movie theater, a stockpile of five years worth of dry food, and space for a medical center and school, the AFP reports.
Although the world survived the Y2K fear of 1999, the shelter buyers may be preparing for another predicted apocalypse that is fast approaching. For believers of the Mayan calendar, about eight months remain before the world is supposed to end.
“The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma Square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945.”—
Suicide note left by Dimitris Christoulas, a 77-year-old pensioner who today shot himself outside the Greek parliament at Syntagma square. (read more)
“Silence is Golden; it has divine power and immense energy. Try to pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence. Silence enables the sound to be. It is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every song, and every word. The unmanifested is present in this world as silence. All you have to do is pay attention to it.”—Eckhart Tolle (via moreofamore)
"By mid-century, however, a fundamentally different way of thinking about the economy and money emerged. It was informed by Francis Bacon’s insistence that mankind has the capacity to restore dominion over nature through the pursuit of pragmatic science, and the alchemists’ understanding of nature as a constantly evolving organic process, the speed of which can be hastened by human intervention.
A group of adherents to this view — social reformers, scientists and political economists — gathered around the London-based Prussian emigre Samuel Hartlib. The Hartlib Circle, as they became known, wrote and disseminated advice on how to transcend nature’s scarcity by advancing agriculture, horticulture, botany, mechanics, manufacturing, chemistry, fishing and so on. They hoped to spark a process of infinite improvement that would gradually eliminate all social, economic and political problems and eventually establish a kingdom of heaven on Earth.”
"The mind is a wonderful thing – there is so much about it which remains a mystery to this day. Science is able to describe strange phenomena, but can not account for their origins. While most of us are familiar with one or two on this list, many others are mostly unknown outside of the psychological realm. This is a list of the top ten strange mental phenomena."
"Goldman Sachs was mortified when I began inquiring last week about its stake in America’s leading Web site for prostitution ads. It began working frantically to unload its shares, and on Friday afternoon it called to say that it had just signed an agreement to sell its stake to management."
The CIA recently rejected an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request for documents that disclose the US government’s guidelines for targeting US citizens and foreign nationals with drone attacks.
In its response to the ACLU request, the CIA wrote that “it can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to this request without compromising national security concerns.”
Numerous Obama officials — including the President himself and the CIA Director — have repeatedly boasted in public about this very program. Obama recently hailed the CIA drone program by claiming that “we are very careful in terms of how it’s been applied,” and added that it is “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists, who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases and so on.” Obama has told playful jokes about the same drone program. Former CIA Director and current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also likes to tell cute little jokes about CIA Predator drones, and then proclaimed in December that the drone program has “been very effective at undermining al Qaeda and their ability to plan those kinds of attacks.” Just two weeks ago, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech purporting to legally justify these same drone attacks…
… Everyone in the world knows the CIA has a drone program. It is openly discussed everywhere, certainly including the multiple Muslim countries where the drones routinely create piles of corpses, and by top U.S. Government officials themselves.
But then when it comes time to test the accuracy of their public claims by requesting the most basic information about what is done and how execution targets are selected, and when it comes time to ask courts to adjudicate its legality, then suddenly National Security imperatives prevent the government even from confirming or denying the existence of the program: the very same program they’ve been publicly boasting and joking about. As the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer put it after Obama publicly defended the program: “At this point, the only consequence of pretending that it’s a secret program is that the courts don’t play a role in overseeing it” – that, and ensuring that any facts that contradict these public claims remain concealed.
Nine organization have now filed an Amicus — or friends of the court — brief to support an ACLU appeal against the CIA’s refusal to disclose documents that explain “when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killing.”
“I have been misunderstood perhaps more than anyone else ever, but it has not affected me, for the simple reason that there is no desire to be understood. It is their problem if they don’t understand, it is not my problem. If they misunderstand, it is their problem and their misery. I am not going to waste my sleep because millions of people are misunderstanding me.”—Osho (via nirvikalpa)
“Prominently displayed in the lobby of the Bank of America’s Corporate Center are “creepy” frescoes, filled with occult symbols. Even more unsettling is the fact that those images seem to predict events of a radical world change in the not-so-distant future. Are those murals predicting the coming of an occult New World Order? We will look at the occult meaning of the symbols found on the Bank of America frescoes.”
“We shall no longer hang on to the tails of public opinion, or to a non-existent authority, on matters utterly unknown and strange. We shall gradually become experts ourselves in the mastery of the knowledge of the future.”—Wilhelm Reich (via moreofamore)