The Humbling of Yahweh

Yahweh was the god of a small blue green earth planet, orbiting an unspectacular star towards the outer rim of a relatively typical galaxy.

He was mightily proud of the beauty and wonder of his creation: the landscapes and lifeforms and evolving patterns. Indeed it was a wondrous place, but he took a fancy to a species he created in his own image: man he called it. And to this man he gave great power over other lifeforms, and most particularly to his enforcers: those who ruled in his name.

To enhance his splendour and magnify his glory, and reward his adherents, Yahweh created a heaven. It truly was illustrious, a wonder to behold: infused with ethereal music, abounding in magnificent fruits beyond all imagination. A citadel for his servants, popes and princes, presidents and pharisees: as sweet dessert for administering their God-given rights.

Yahweh sat upon golden throne as adherents and underlings gulped wine and sung his praises. Earth as plaything, crisis followed drama followed crisis while laughter and merriment rung through celestial spires. In all creation none held even a flickering ember to the brilliance of Yahweh: as ever more power infused his ravenous servant.

*

Unto this heaven one day comes a strange but beautiful blue-black boy. Thrusting aside the golden gates the boy enters Yahweh’s magnificent court.

“What brings you here little boy?” Demands Yahweh.

“Well,” says the boy, “I have heard that you have built a wondrous heaven, like no other Yahweh before you ever built.”

“Yahwehs before me,” Rumbles an agitated Yahweh, bringing a nervous, expectant hush through the court: as popes and dancing girls suspend their proclivities. “Little boy, what are you talking about?”

To which the boy responds, “Yahwehs before you, I have seen them come and go. Imagine, Vishnu sleeps in the cosmic ocean, and the lotus of the universe grows from his navel. On this lotus sits Brahma, the creator. Brahma opens his eyes, and a world comes into being, governed by a Yahweh. Brahma closes his eyes and a world goes out of being. The life of a Brahma is four hundred and thirty two thousand years. When he dies the lotus fades and another lotus forms, and another Brahma. Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies into infinite space, each a lotus, with a Brahma sitting on it, opening his eyes, closing his eyes. And the Yahwehs? There may be ingratiates in your court who would volunteer to count the drops of water in the oceans of the world or the grains of sand on the beaches, but no one would count those Brahmin – let alone those Yahwehs.”

While the boy is talking, an army of ants parades across the floor. The boy laughs when he sees them, and Yahweh’s hackles begin to rise.

“Why do you laugh?” fumes Yahweh.

“Do not ask unless you are willing to be hurt.” The boy answers.

“I ask,” growls Yahweh.

And so the boy points to the ants and says, “Former Yahwehs all. Through many, many lifetimes they rise from the lowest depths to highest illumination. Then they administer there own world, surround themselves with sycophants and think what a great lord am I: and down they go again.”

At this moment a dishevelled old yogi enters with a banana leaf parasol. He is naked except for a hempen loin cloth, and on his chest is a disk of hair, of which half have fallen out.

The boy greets him and just as Yahweh opens his mouth, the boy asks all the questions forming on Yahweh’s tongue:

“Old man, what is your name? Where do you come from? Where is your family? Where is your house? And what is the meaning of this curious constellation of hair on your chest?”

“Well,” says the yogi, “my name is Hairy. I don’t have a house, life is too short: I just have this parasol. I don’t have a family. I just meditate on Vishnu’s feet, and think of eternity, and how passing time is. You know, every time a Yahweh dies, a world disappears: these things flash by like that. Every time a Yahweh dies, one of the hairs falls out of this circle on my chest. Half are gone now, pretty soon they will all be gone. Life is short: why build a house?”

Yahweh slumps horrified in his throne, speechless.

“Time to re-establish some equilibrium methinks Vishnu.” Says Hairy to the blue-black boy.

“Undoubtedly so Shiva.” Responds the blue-black boy.

“Yahweh!” calls Hairy, “prise that somewhat more enlightened son of yours away from washing feet for a moment will you: and have him dust off his sword. The time has come to reshape the order of things.”

***

Adapted from, ‘The Humbling of Indra’ from the Upanishads
(with many words, phrases and sentences nicked wholesale from the legendary Joe Campbell)

A Eulogy to Hemp: the most dangerous substance in the universe

A Eulogy to Hemp

the most dangerous substance in the universe

I didn’t really discover cannabis until well into my twenties. I’d smoked a few js back in my late teens, quite enjoyed them but didn’t mix in such circles so forgot about it, gave up smoking altogether and entered the rat-race.

I’d been an idiot at school, bottom in every subject. I sort of knew I wasn’t exactly stupid, just incapable of organising my thoughts, particularly if they had to climb on board the time train for tests and exams. But finding I understood telephone circuits at least as well as most telephone engineers, I lied my way onto a government training programme and six months later qualified as a computer engineer.

Computers were very simple in those days, programs were tiny, and where I found a job, mostly written directly to PROMs – and, no two computer systems spoke entirely the same language. I was working with was something completely alien to ASCII, or EBCDIC, or BCD or… and consequently it required translation for communication. And, as if by magic, Hey Presto! cannabis again popped into my life.

As a kid I’d always loved puzzles, the more complex the better (think the Rubik’s Cube took me about six months) – it didn’t matter how long they took, the importance lay in the achievement – and with cannabis, logic danced: albeit to a primordial beat. I was always the slowest engineer, slowest at fixing things and slowest on the uptake, but given enough time and space, and puff, it seemed as if there was nothing I couldn’t do with a bit of boolean algebra, a few conditional statements, and a little wiring. Cannabis enabled me to focus, to shut out everything but the here and now, and the problem at hand – it truly was a wonder drug.

That was some years back, companies no longer tolerate days down time, everything is replaceable, modularised, universalised. And I’ve long since become disillusioned with the capitalist model. Nice house, smart car, expense account, holidays wherever… – plenty of prestige and loose cash, but really I found precious little time to enjoy it, and when I did, in reality it was mostly shallow and meaningless. I found far more joy and wonder, and meaning in nature, most particularly with cannabis catalysing perception.

Colin died in ’97 from a stroke. He was my younger brother and had done as much as anyone to enhance my perception of cannabis and the world of nature, and, consequently, the meaninglessness of materialism. Spent a week in France effectively waiting for him to die – the doctors had given him 48 hours, but bloody minded to the end, he lived on for six days – where my few remaining attachments to consumerism were well and truly undermined. I returned to the UK and was Prozaced back to work, but beyond the puzzle solving, which had effectively become history, I found nothing of value.

Two years later, the last day of 1999, I quit my job deciding to search for a more meaningful path. Bummed around for a while and found myself in the Corbieres (land of the Cathars) come the summer of 2001, where my appreciation of nature and cannabis scaled new heights. Then I discovered what had happened on 9/11 – on top of a mountain – and the brutality of humanity came crashing back in.

I wintered in London, holed up in my mum’s back room, writing countless letters, email, articles about the blind, ignorant violence being perpetrated on the poor people of Afghanistan, supposedly in response to 9/11: knowing that understanding why people would willingly go to their death for a belief was key to any genuine solution. But the “Why?” question was simply not part of anyone’s agenda, not press, not politicians: it was enough to label the supposed perpetrators as ‘evil doers’, with knee-jerk violence to obliterate all dissenters to their particular model of the world order.

I spent early 2002 in North Wales painting and decorating and working on the land – admiring sunsets across the Menai Straits – yet knowing this was no more than escapism and a waste of my analytical reasoning, unlocked by the herb, and, in truth, not any genuine long term solution. So after much contemplation and deliberation I chose to enter the lair of the beast: I applied for, and was accepted, to study International Politics at Aberystwyth University (the birthplace of ‘International Relations’), commencing that September.

However, at uni, despite my enthusiasm and commitment, and love of learning, I found myself plunged back into school days: simply not finding enough time to organise my fragmented thoughts into rational arguments, in the couple of hours allocated for exams. A fellow student mentioned he also he also had this difficulty and had been diagnosed with dyslexia. Dyslexia hadn’t been invented when I was at school so I contacted the authorities and asked if I could be evaluated. They agreed and organised for a specialist to visit and make a psychological assessment.

The day arrived and as a friend had given me a fragment of soap bar just a few days before, it seemed wholly logical to add cannabis to the equation, given its catalysing effects. As per usual, I didn’t finish the tests, cannabis was unlikely to tune me in to that extent, but nevertheless they projected my ‘verbal reasoning’ to be as good or better than 99% of the population and my ‘perceptual organisation’ to be as good or better than 99.9%: it seems the naysayers of cannabis must be struck dumb or recognise my potential score to be even greater ;) Personally I think such tests are both narrow-minded and superficial and do nothing more than isolate fragments. However I do accept that at some level, they point to specific attributes, with, without doubt, cannabis catalysing my performance.

All that’s as maybe (despite extra exam time, PC and whatnot), for my university professors saw no more than my school teachers, and marked accordingly. Still, I had recognised very early into my time at university, marks are no more than marketing, to sell both student and university: and actually, in real life, worthless beyond perceptual value. Genuine value lay in learning: from literature, discourse and interaction, and I had three years of it, uninterrupted, without concern for finance or outside obligations, and my wonder drug.

That was five years back, and although I’d largely brushed over the core texts, seeing them as superficial and confining, still for the most part I’d been trapped within the university’s resources: library, lectures and structured, weighted, confined debate. Since then I’ve discovered the wonders and delights of bittorrent and knowledge/speculation unconfined by structured authority.

Cannabis and I have no interest in material conceptually ‘owned’ by some manifestation of mass media. We are searching for alternate perspectives and ideas, most often that others wish to share, yet state and corporation prefer to see sidelined, silenced, or obliterated. The two that come most readily to mind are, 9/11 and hemp.

This is no place to discuss 9/11, but, hemp, well…

I used to think cannabis was just some drug that turned smokers into peaceniks, opened doors of perception and potentially alienated users from society: which, given government corporate motivation, seemed to me at least, unsurprising. But I was wrong. Well, not wrong exactly, more completely unaware of how woefully superficial and limited my understanding was.

You see, there is no plant, no mineral, no concoction that comes remotely close to cannabis hemp in terms of it’s central value to humanity though its evolution: both material and spiritual.

Such a story, a history, would take many volumes and still it would be little more than a gesture, so what I offer here is a snapshot, woefully inadequate, based on the most superficial research, yet with facts, statistics, uses… true as stated. A glimpse into the depths and profundity of humanity’s age old relationship with cannabis hemp: its tree of knowledge, tree of life.

A history of hemp

Lord Shiva, humanity’s oldest continually worshipped deity, lord of dance and plants and champion of the oppressed, brought cannabis down from the mountain for the delight and enlightenment of us all.

The Chinese, ever the practical, already using hempen fishing nets and garbed in hempen cloth (humanity’s first fabric), recognised cannabis hemp as their earliest medicine, and a millennium or so later as the perfect material for paper making.

The Buddha, ever the ascetic, was nourished on his six year journey towards enlightenment with just one Hemp seed a day.

[Conjecture: In what became known as Mesopotamia however, where male dominated hierarchical society evolved and women were condemned to serve, disseminators of truth were not enamoured with this extraordinary two sexed plant: knowledge and life, male and female. And although they will tolerate the male, knowledge, for cloth and cord, the female, life, was shunned eastward, for all but reproduction.]

So history continued, western man discovered alcohol, rotting fruit, for intoxication, and hemp was restricted to clothing, rope, sail etc. And, in time, oil and paper.

Come the thirteenth century, as knowledge of cannabis hemp’s medicinal and spiritual effects were becoming increasingly known, Pope Innocent VIII associated cannabis with the devil and forbade all intoxicants bar alcohol: under pain of torture and death. So, through fear, herbalism declined and died and knowledge of cannabis for medication and enlightenment passed from public memory.

Yet, with hemp, just two centuries later, Europeanism set about conquering the world. For such a feat would have been impossible without hempen sail and rigging, oakum and clothing: where, in Africa and the East, Europeans rediscovered the medicinal and spiritual properties of cannabis. And with the Roman Church’s monopoly on truth fragmenting come the sixteenth century, cannabis now became a central component in medicine, and favoured inspiration for many of our seminal writers and poets: William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Lord Byron, Alexander Dumas, Arthur Conan-Doyle, John Keats, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott, Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll…

An association across race, time and continents to the early twentieth century blues and jazz musicians and innovators emerging from slavery in the US: … Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington … who, together with cannabis, were set to become the targets of white supremacists in their quest for world domination.

For sure, cannabis hemp was indispensable to humanity: our primary crop over ten millennia, but technology moves on and various substitutes appeared: weaker, of poorer quality but also produced on grand scales through industrialisation, by companies eager to expand, monopolise and control. For which cannabis hemp was unsuitable, growing as it does as a weed and more suited to self sufficiency and local processing. And worse, being a plant, beyond patent, therefore outside business control.

Worse still for big business, as technology finally turned its attention towards cannabis hemp, it promised even greater diversity, strength, production and access for the common man. A wholly unpalatable prospect for corporate interests like Dupont, Hurst Newspapers, Big Cotton… with positions to protect, profits to be made and domination pursued, and now intrinsically linked and intermarried with government and law enforcement.

So began a propaganda campaign, to associate cannabis (aka marijuana) with violence and madness, and blacks and Latinos. ‘Reefer Madness’, ‘Assassin of Youth’ and countless fabricated horror stories flooded the popular media. Without foundation but to an ignorant public, and more importantly, ignorant politicians, most of whom were unaware marijuana was cannabis, cannabis hemp now became a menace that must be eradicated.

Cannabis hemp was effectively outlawed through a tax act in 1937, and although it briefly had its praises sung once again in the early ’40s, as no other crop could support the US war effort – when the Ministry of Agriculture produced the famed “Hemp for Victory” (knowledge of which the government attempted to wipe from existence) – once the war was over hemp was again demonised. Only this time, because of Cold War paranoia, for precisely the opposite reason: cannabis did not make people violent: it made them pacifists! and therefore, as a consequence, less likely to participate in imperialist wars.

So henceforth cannabis hemp would disappear from history and corporate interests would fill the vacuum, alcohol would be promoted as authority’s drug of choice and war could continue unabated.

However, come the ’60s, as black musicians and their music found increasing acceptance and bands like the Beatles and Stones ventured beyond the white middle classes for inspiration, western youth culture discovered for themselves the delights and insights of cannabis. And still further, disillusioned soldiers returning from Vietnam also brought home cannabis, together with questions for which their government had no legitimate answers: only violence and repression.

It was in this environment that Tricky Dickey, aka President Nixon, believing it was the pot smokers who were hampering his war games, commissioned a study into the health effects of cannabis, determined to find an excuse to ban cannabis outright: thus enabling him to crush antiwar protests.

The Shafer report gave cannabis a clean bill of health, citing many of its positive qualities, so Dickey ditched the report and used Vietnam and the rampant paranoia of the Cold War to persecute and criminalise users anyway.

Under Reagan the ban became rigorously enforced. He had a particular dislike for kids who “read books, smoked marijuana and talked”, seeing them, one assumes, as somehow a threat to his established order, and the orders of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama…

Yet, test after test, study after study have been commissioned on cannabis by governments and institutions worldwide and none have found anything significantly harmful. Indeed, what has become clear, although you will never hear it from the popular press, is how benign and beneficial cannabis is: in 10,000 years there is not one reported death due to cannabis use alone (compare that to the three million who die annually from tobacco smoking, or the hundreds of thousands who die annually from prescription drugs), and “one of the safest and most therapeutically active substances known to man”, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s own law judge.

The only exception being to children, whose brain development may possibly be influenced by excessive use of cannabis at a young age: until approximately fifteen.

This, in any rational, humane society, would lead to production monitoring, regulation and licensing, so cannabis was not available to children, potentially contaminated, or bred in secret, artificially, solely for the high. Instead, because of government policy, we have a black market, where dealers sell cannabis of unknown origin, potency or content to anyone, provided they have the cash: and in the process, offer them access to heroin, coke, crystal meth…

This is government undermining the health, welfare and future of our progeny, undermining our trust, and consequentially undermining their very reason for existence.

Why? Given the Cold War is now a memory, what makes cannabis hemp so absolutely, terribly dangerous that truth must be purged from history and our children, our future, are but a minor sacrifice?

The billion dollar crop

As previously mentioned, as technology caught up with hemp, a world of new potential materialised. In 1938 ‘Popular Mechanics’ prepared an article on Hemp called ‘The Billion Dollar Crop’, in which they stated hemp fibres could be converted into 5,000 products ranging from rope to lace and the remaining woody ‘hurds’ containing 70% cellulose, converted into 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.

This however was four score years ago. Technology has moved on, as has inflation. To a point where it would not unreasonable to see cannabis hemp as a Trillion Dollar crop.

To give the briefest glimpse of hemp’s potential:

Fabric of any quality and consistency, from coarsest sackcloth to finest silk, without the need for pesticides or fertilisers, or, genetic modification: with twice the yield per acre of cotton, and at least three times its strength, absorbency, warmth and longevity.

Plastics of every kind, from earplugs to aeroplanes, packaging to insulation: biodegradable, without poisonous by-products, toxic fumes or excess CO2.

Finest bond paper that does not yellow or disintegrate through time, card and board, stronger and more enduring than wood pulp alternatives, renewable, sustainable: at five times the yield per acre of forest, and without producing acid rain.

For construction: hemp is ideal for fireproof insulation, and board made from hemp fibre has several times the tensile strength of wood-chip and can be fireproofed and weather proofed for walls and roofs. And, in time, given cannabis hemp’s extraordinary strength to weight ratio, likely an ideal material for bridges and skyscrapers.

For fuel: cannabis hemp produces more net biomass than any other plant on earth. With small adjustments in processing it can produce, ethanol, acetone charcoal, tar, creosote… and has the potential to replace all fossil fuels: without pollution, as it does not require poisonous processing chemicals, or produce excess CO2.

For food: hemp seed is the most nutritionally complete food on earth. Second only to soy in the plant kingdom as a protein source, but much higher for essential fatty acids, including Omega 3 and 6 oils and vitamins A and E, both powerful antioxidants: and, without genetic modification, pesticides or fertilisers.

And medicine, for literally thousands of ailments and diseases: from cancer to glaucoma, MS to depression, obesity to AIDS… the list appears endless, with the likelihood of overdose: Zero.

Cannabis hemp is also an excellent base for cosmetics, cleaning products, paints, varnish…

Plus, cannabis hemp works in harmony with the environment, grows just about everywhere, without fertilisers or pesticides, is renewable, sustainable, and with its long tap root, ideal for ground reparation.

All this from a plant anyone can grow in their garden! – sound too good to be true?

The most dangerous substance in the universe

As history is my witness, even without twentieth century technology, cannabis hemp has been interwoven with our evolution: From the spiritual gift of Shiva, the god Indra’s favourite drink and nectar of the gods in Vedic symbolism and tradition, cannabis hemp spread across culture and continent as our first and primary fibre, be it for clothing, fishing, bow strings, cordage… and as medicine, central to well-being: acknowledged since before the written word across Asia, and, come the twentieth century an ingredient in 50% of all medicines. Established as the best and most durable material for paper by the Chinese, a position unchallenged until industrialisation laid claim to the forests: and a jealously guarded secret, that did not find its way to Europe until the eighth century: on which, by the light of hemp oil lamps, monks and scholars produced our most enduring texts.

Artists painted with hemp oil paints on hemp canvas (canvas finding its entomological root in cannabis), and hempen rope and sail powered and steered Europe’s mighty galleons as they set sail to conquer the earth.

In the Americas, settlers set about conquering the continent with canvas covered wagons. The original Levi jeans were made from hempen sailcloth, riveted, tough enough for the 49ers to load their pockets with gold. Hemp could hardly be more central to US culture, for, together with its hempen flag, the declaration itself was drafted on hemp paper. Homesteads would invariably cultivate a ‘hemp patch’ and president after president sung hemp’s praises:

George Washington: “Make the most of Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!”

Thomas Jefferson: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of our country.”

Abraham Lincoln: “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp and playing my Honer [harmonica].”

John Adams: “We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our consumption.”

Sentiments continuing into the Twentieth Century where Henry Ford, the great industrialist, asked: “Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making or the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?”

And finally, delving further into hidden history, one other use for this remarkable little weed. As settlers – Europe’s poverty stricken oppressed – began their quest for independence, to undermine British sterling, hemp became recognised as an alternative currency for trade and commerce: a currency all could find value in. Indeed, hemp was still used to pay taxes long after Limey had been vanquished from the ‘New World’.

Plastic, paper, pharmaceuticals, fuel, food, fabric, finance, soil enhancer, pollution devourer, spiritual benefactor: cannabis hemp is a complete companion, and the answer to a prayer for our desperately beleaguered and polarised world. Cannabis hemp, together with its multitudinous material uses, also engenders balance and harmony, through its catalysing effects towards spirituality: and returning value to nature, where, in reality, it belongs.

But, the more one owns: property, status, ego, power…, the less one finds a taste or use for cannabis hemp. Silk for nobles, canvas for peasants, meat for the elite, gruel (originally hemp seed) for the surf, alcohol for society, grass for the dispossessed, materialism for the wealthy, spirituality for the poor.

So through history, it was ever thus: hemp had its place, service, for the job at hand: functional, reliable, adaptable, and cheap – and everywhere. Shiva’s gift to the wretched: sustenance, shelter and spirituality.

Until now, where nature is outlawed. Outlawed, not for it’s danger to humanity, far from it, cannabis hemp could catalyse our saviour: but to the power hungry egotists who would own our world – and others besides.

Cannabis hemp comes head-to-head with all of our world’s most powerful corporations: oil, big pharma, big cotton, lumber, seeds and genetic modification, alcohol and tobacco, and the war machine. Furthermore, what government, after decades of dishonest and ill conceived laws that have destroyed the lives of millions (with law enforcement and private prisons now as powerful lobbying groups in their own right), could ever dare recognise their woeful error and duplicitous complicity in the persecution and attempted annihilation of God’s greatest gift to humanity?

So we are left with a world of poisonous chemical, genetically modified unnatural alternatives, dictated and dispensed by a handful of merchants and their whores defining our world order, who see power and wealth and expansion as primary objectives in themselves. A world without balance or harmony, driven by materialism and insecurity, where all must remain hungry and all must remain fearful, forever: as fuel, for the insatiable engine of capitalism.

To governments and corporations, and bankers: Cannabis Hemp is indeed, the most dangerous substance in the universe.

A personal perspective:

It is easy to become trapped in the brutality and injustices of our polarised, intolerant world, or overwhelmed by the sensory images that bombard us 24/7, together with the fragmented sound bites fed to us as truth. A chaotic mass of apparently unrelated data, seemingly incoherent and disparate, yet nevertheless, designed to shape the thought and motivation of populations: hungry, fearful, clueless populations.

Cannabis engenders dispassionate reflection and harmony with all. It diffuses blame with understanding, prompting us to stand back and consider the bigger picture, to take a holistic perspective: beyond the establishment narrative. Beyond little stories in boxes, couched in terms of ‘good and evil’, that invariably hide strategic and economic motivation and racial and religious bigotry, and consequences beyond the pocket story. In today’s world, even to suggest such connections, brands one a psychotic or a terrorist, or some other such label, packaging the non-conformer as at odds with establishment order and establishment thinking.

And this, to me, is where the true beauty (and danger) of cannabis lies: in smashing illusions, opening doors of perception – beyond the personal and possessive, beyond the immediate and simplistic, beyond the agenda driven bullshit defining parameters and perspectives – as a gateway to nature and the now, to being, and as the progenitor of question and a catalyst to wonder.

Our tree of life, real life: imbuing holism and harmony, reflection and understanding, peace, and love. So to those who would command, who would see our world owned and who would live off hate and the toil of others, Shiva’s seminal offering truly is: the most dangerous substance in the universe.

Sources: (video): The Union – Run from the Cure – The Hemp Revolution – Magic Weed – The Hemplands Conspiracy – Hemp and the rule of Law – The Medicinal use of Cannabis – In Pot we Trust – The Emperor of Hemp – Hemp for Victory – The History of Marijuana – American Drug War, the Last White Hope

(books/literature): Cannabis, a History – Shiva, the Wild God of Power and Ecstasy – The Forbidden Medicine – The Emperor Wears no Clothes – The Shafer report

The Myth of African Poverty

There is a great fallacy, a lie perpetuated through history and around the globe: that Africa is poor.

Africa is presented as poor, because it doesn’t have any of this strange folding stuff called money. It has plenty of everything else, it is what capitalists and prospectors call resource rich.

Indeed, it is the most perfect place to grow our tea, coffee, cocoa… fruit, vegetables, flowers… and harvest our rubber, hardwood… oil… jewels, minerals… It’s enough to destabilise governments for!

We then offer them some of this folding stuff and they fall back into line. And lie and cheat and steal all the way from the top down, so this paltry representation of real value never gets anywhere near those who work the land or were driven off it. Yet because the dispossessed were duped with the concepts of land ownership and hierarchical authority (and violence), they feel disempowered and they too have fallen under the spell of this strange stuff called money.

Africa has never been poor. It has a history and wealth of diversity unequalled. And further, if we are to believe our anthropologists and geneticists, the very birthplace of humanity. Surprising then, is it not, that while in Western Europe and North America we’ve decimated the forests, worn out the soil, polluted the rivers and water tables and exhausted the mines, Africa remains, to the large part, thriving and fruitful. A godsend to Western governments with stomachs to fill, corporations with consumers to satisfy and banks with interest to manufacture.

Africa’s Western educated, financed, supported, armed leaders remain happy to perpetuate this myth, too ignorant or seduced to wish any change in perception: preferring the enormous power and the largely unsupervised bankroll. Corruption further suits Western interests: favouring personal/tribal associates, backhanders, etc. creating resentment, division, tension and potential conflict.

Manufacturing and maintaining divisions is a tactic that dates back two and a half millennia. More recent however is the lucrative and thriving arms industry, the UK’s only remaining indigenous industry, which reaps the benefit of internal repression and maintaining fictitious borders – while banks, merchants and Western governments profit from the extraordinary value such power hungry individuals place on violence, and how little value they place on basic foodstuffs.

Again, we find this strange folding stuff valuing the most useless and dangerous commodities with enormous worth, although they have no practical purpose, while basic nourishment, God’s gifts and harvesting, are valued as virtually worthless (one should however note, upon reaching Western supermarkets their value will have multiplied many, many times).

So we find the impossible situation, where the richest place on earth is labelled poorest, continues to haemorrhage genuine wealth, while being kept enslaved and divided through arbitrary concepts and artificial boundaries, turning tribe against tribe and hoodwinking the people with the lie of money.

The Suspicious and Timely death of Father Anthony de Mello, SJ.

There seems a depressing inevitability about the fate of those who would challenge the established order, and engage popular support. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X come readily to mind, and of course President Kennedy. Undoubtedly people who had made powerful enemies but had also polarised various social, religious and political groups enough to conjure a host of scapegoats and confusion. Where the heavy finger of blame points in only one direction, subtler methods are required.

*

Tony was a rising star in the Catholic Church. OK, at 55 he was no spring chicken, but nevertheless by comparison to the higher orders, he was youthful indeed. Tony founded the Sadhana institute in 1973, which over the years gained an international reputation, along with its founder. Tony found himself frequently jetting around the world giving conferences and talks and gaining ever more popularity with an increasing audience.

Tony captivated audiences with simple stories, parables and sayings from across culture and religion: Chinese, Indian, American, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist… using them as gateways to understanding, windows upon awareness. Moreover, Tony held a deep appreciation for scripture, the messages, signposts held within, and the early Christian mystics whose writings he blended seamlessly with spiritual wisdom, from wherever it came.

Come the mid ’80s, although resistant at first, Tony allowed occasional recordings of his talks. In 1986 he gave his first videoed conference, ‘Wake up to Life!’, held over four days in New York. It was an enormous success, Tony appeared to be going places.

*

I knew nothing of Tony at this time, I’d been C of E and lapsed somewhat. In fact I’d found more sense in Daoism and Buddhism so had focused my spiritual journey there. When it came to Catholicism, my connection, hence understanding, had consisted of little more than, ‘In God’s Name’ by David Yallop (arguing Pope John Paul I was assassinated because he was about to curtail the Vatican Bank’s money laundering for the Mafia and return the Church to the poor), ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ by Michael Baigent et al. (which, amongst other things, examines the construction and editing of the Bible and Rome’s attempts at exterminating dissidence), and ‘Father Ted’, so ‘followers of the faith’ were unlikely to be top of my reading list.

Not long after the Internet came into being, a friend who is prone to such things, sent me a quote from Anthony de Mello:

“You are so proud of your intelligence”, said the master. “You are like a condemned man proud of the vastness of his prison cell”.

I liked it very much. It sat comfortably with someone who, at least academically, was intellectually challenged. In fact, it was a great source of comfort as I fought my way through three years of International Relations Theory at university.

Never really thought any more about it after uni, until browsing in a London book store, wanting something for my return journey to Aberystwyth, when I came across ‘Sadhana: a way to God – Christian exercises in Eastern form’. When I read Anthony de Mello was a Jesuit priest I almost retuned the book to the shelf, almost, but… something stayed me. It is important, as I would hear Tony tell me, just a day or so hence, not to let prejudice stain my window.

Sadhana was a joy. To be honest it transformed my picture of what Christianity could be. Tony made such simple, wholesome sense, seamlessly tying east and west. In fact, what Tony was saying, seemed to me the antithesis of Catholicism as I had understood it.

And indeed, although willing to reappraise my opinion, given the shining beacon of Tony, and as I was to discover, some remarkably brave nuns and priests in Latin America, I could find little, or nothing, to substantially challenge my original position. For as I examined recent Papal decisions and actions in relation to censuring and silencing campaigning priests, organised crime, child abuse, financial dealings, power… the actions appeared as autocratic, unanswerable, arbitrary as ever. With the fearsome Herr Ratzinger appearing as Pope John Paul II’s henchman for throttling dissidence.

*

Tony must have been a big, big problem. Tony would not be silenced, he was here to dance his dance. He spoke his truth in a simple, logical, understandable way, engaging with increasing numbers as word spread. His 1986 tour of the US, as mentioned above, was a huge success. Unfortunately, all the video footage of the four day conference was destroyed, leaving just eight hours of audio (of which most would be published as ‘Awareness’ some three years later).

1987, a year on, Tony is back in the States, ready for his summer tour. Surely this year there would be no such accident, backups would be made, safeguards put in place. ‘Tony, the video’ was about to go public through every Catholic bookshop worldwide! A most unpalatable prospect for the powers that be.

*

It would be a futile exercise to attempt to uncover any validity behind the possible assassination of Tony. As a priest within the Jesuit order, he would be effectively encased within their system. Their meals, their autopsy, their press release, no need for external examination. So we see motivation, means and method, but that is all, and as Tony would advise us, one must keep an open mind, open to, and awareness of, each and every possibility and eventuality.

Assassination or not, for Herr Ratzinger, Tony’s death was a timely ‘Godsend’. Unfortunately for Ratzinger, Tony’s work did not dry up. Posthumously published works appeared and interpretations also began to surface. He was not best pleased. On Ratzinger’s request the Vatican banned Tony’s books, however, finding the ban unworkable, this was transmuted to a ‘Notification’, penned by Ratzinger and authorised by Pope John Paul II, placed in all Tony’s books warning Catholics away from such dangerous and subversive teaching.

*

Tony represented a potential schism in the Church, encouraging people to become aware, to think for themselves, rather than let the Church, or any ideology do it for them.

“To doubt”, Tony argues, “is infinitely more important than adoration… to question is so much more important than to believe”.

Everywhere people are searching for objects to adore, but I don’t find people awake enough in their attitudes and convictions. How happy we would be if terrorists would adore their ideology less and question more. However, we don’t like to apply that to ourselves; we think we’re all right and the terrorists are wrong. But a terrorist to you is a martyr to the other side.

The process that we use for making a St. Francis Xavier could be exactly the same process used for producing terrorists.

What is scripture, then? It’s a hint, a clue, not a description. The fanaticism of one sincere believer who thinks he knows causes more evil than the united efforts of two hundred rogues. It’s terrifying to see what sincere believers will do because they think they know. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a world where everybody said, “We don’t know”?

Unfortunately Tony’s observations on the scriptures did not survive the accident, but having gone over the eight remaining hours of the ‘Wake up to Life!’ conference tapes times past counting (cutting, splicing, reordering, editing… (it appears as if no one cared for these recordings) a long and would be tedious process, if not for the joy of listening to Tony and his insights) the few biblical observations which did survive paint a remarkably different picture to the one presented as Truth by religious hierarchy.

“Sleeping people read the scriptures and crucify the Messiah on the basis of them.” Tony is not limiting his observation to lay people, but challenging all, citing examples of priests and religious scholars who, through the Bible and enculturation, lose sight of deeper meaning, preferring attachment to understanding.

Awareness, awareness, awareness – the message is so simple, yet complex as life itself. To find awareness one must first shatter illusions, get deprogrammed, remove the control that society has imposed. So what about Tony’s awareness? Tony’s deprogramming? Tony’s society?

One can of course only speculate, and it is most difficult to see that which surrounds us, pervades us (like, to use one of Tony’s analogies, the little fish in the ocean: “Excuse me, I’m looking for the ocean. Can you tell me where I can find it?”), however, from examining Tony’s words, I believe he was under few illusions about Catholicism, and the ruthlessness of its hierarchy.

One might even suggest he was poking fun or taunting them, with all his talk of awareness, understanding, discovery, and not taking the Bible literally, which flies in the face of those with an interest in power and control, who prefer blind obedience and subservience. Further, in his condemnation of religion Tony suggests the Church falls prey to idolatry: a mental idol, producing “the more dangerous idol worshippers”.

“All revelations, however divine, are never any more than a finger pointing to the moon… When the sage points at the moon, all the idiot sees is the finger.” Tony is not of course limiting his observation to Catholicism or Christianity but religion in general and the idols: texts, symbols, rituals, which too often become a “barrier to getting in touch with reality, because sooner or later we forget that the words are not the thing. The concept is not the same as the reality. They’re different… The final barrier to finding God is the word “God” itself and the concept of God.” “You miss God because you think you know. That’s the terrible thing about religion.”

Tony is universally scathing of nations and governments of all kinds, “I don’t know of one government, not one, that is selfless, individuals perhaps, but governments, oh, oh, oh”. Can Tony, in his awareness, be overlooking the government in Rome?

I wondered at his tenacity, fearlessness, abandon, and I am tempted to say foolhardiness, as he jokes, perhaps?, of becoming Pope (edited out of the book), questioning the honesty and capacity of priests and pouring scorn on weeping for one’s sins – “a great religious distraction”, says Tony. “That’s not what repent means: wake up! Become aware! What’s the use of weeping for your sins, which you committed while you were asleep anyway?” But, Tony also informs us, you cannot truly live until you have abandoned fear, and fear of death.

And Tony shows no fear, as he enters into the heat of battle, with his heart at the lotus feet of the Lord (“should I battle my relatives? Go right ahead, do your duty”).

He is not threatened by criticism, he does not care what you think of him or what you say about him. He’s cut all those strings: he’s not a puppet any longer.

“He’s terrifying. So we’ve got to get rid of him. He tells the truth: he has become fearless: he has stopped being human.”

Human! Behold! A human being at last! He broke out of his slavery, broke out of their prison.

This is Tony from ‘wake up to life, 86′. Jesus appeared as the immediate example in my mind, but the more I examined Tony’s words the more I found challenges to Rome, its orthodoxy and references to their potential response. Is it in any way possible that Tony could be blind to the anger his perspective generated amongst Church hierarchy? Or is he predicting his fate?

Tony finishes the conference with his wonderful story of ‘the man who invented fire’, who shared his invention with the cold and hungry and so enraged and terrified the priests that they got rid of him. Again, this could be reference to Jesus, yet it might just as readily apply to the man who rediscovered it.

***

document with references available for download at Scribd

‘Awareness’ by Anthony de Mello, 8 CDs torrent file

other resources at http://awareness.tk

not worth reporting

Not worth reporting

Today in Gaza Israel has bombed three hospitals, the UN compound, holding a goodly percentage of the remaining, dwindling food supplies and the Red Crescent office. They used phosphorous bombs, banned under international law: prosperous burns flesh to the bone.

None of this is considered newsworthy by the BBC. Their lead was the “killing” of Hamas interior minister, Said Siyam. No mention that he was democratically elected, nor the collateral damage of his family members killed along side.
I wonder where on earth this execution, without trial, would not be classed as murder? Mass murder. Yet it is trifling in terms of death and ethics if we are considering statistics, or significance. Significance in terms the ethical constructs humanity had supposedly developed over the last couple of millennia.

A hollow shell of hypocrisy. ‘Human Rights’, ‘International Law’ – meaningless rubbish, occasionally to hide behind, but mostly to ignore. Worthless, useless: worse than useless. Worse than useless because they enable political leaders to bend and manipulate ‘morality’ to service their agenda and feign legitimacy.

Our press is impervious and the BBC is exemplary. Words that do not exist include murder, slaughter, genocide, ethnic cleansing: they prefer war, casualties and collateral damage. Words to fit with the agendas of their masters: those who wish to see Islam and its ideology wiped from existence, and those who would profit from the exercise.

The god Capitalism cannot work without Usury – also not worth reporting

Smoking is good for you?

 

 

Smoking is good for you?

 

Why do governments want to ban smoking? I mean, it’s not as if they actually care about their citizens’ health. If so, they would spend more on healing than killing. But, more to the point, they would address the far more personally and socially destructive effects of alcohol and refined sugar, (which of course, are one and the same) evidenced by alcohol fuelled late night violence and sex between drunken obese teenagers (and beyond), who cram casualty departments and make our city centres no-go areas until the sun comes up. Yet, regardless of this epidemic, because the sugar/alcohol multinationals’ influence is so powerful, health is a minor distraction – however, tobacco companies carry the same political influence, so this is not the reason. In addition, governments make billions annually from smoking: taxes, needless to say, but also in terms of unneeded pensions and the extraordinary savings in health care which escalate dramatically in old age.

Given this perspective, is it not strange that whilst not exactly pushing it, (they would not want to appear heartless now, would they?) governments do not offer smoking the same tacit approval they give to alcohol, junk food and gambling – all of which are many times more socially destructive?

So why do they hate smoking so much?

It was a question that had tumbled around in my head for months. The best I could come up with, was that they wanted to use the fields for a more lucrative crop. But what, barring illicit drugs, could generate such revenue? (Particularly with Heroin production back up to pre Taliban levels.) It just did not make sense.

Then, by chance i happened upon ‘Political Ponerology’ by Andrew Lobaczewski, which considers how wicked, power hungry people gradually take control over society. And he points out, that the last organised attempt to stifle smoking on the scale now under way in Europe and the United States was in pre-war Germany, under the Nazis. (P.156)

You see, what Nazi scientists discovered very soon into their research, was that carbon-monoxide, a central component of tobacco smoke, creates resistance to pathocratic influence: i.e. imbibers are more likely to question and less likely to blindly follow orders from psychopathic leadership (perhaps we could think of it as ‘attitude’, as symbolised by ’50s icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando). What is more, research also suggests ‘second-hand smoke’, as breathed by children of smokers, may in fact immunise them against the influence of psychopaths. Hardly useful, one would suggest, if the objective is filling heads with supremacist beliefs and obtaining undivided loyalty.

To Nazi leadership, with their early, unsophisticated attempts at propaganda, reducing peoples’ critical thinking and increasing their susceptibility to messages of hate and fear and identification were central to their objective. So while the government made supply of tobacco increasingly difficult, and smoking areas increasingly limited, the Nazi propaganda machine set about pushing the party line, vilifying and condemning “red-man’s weed” and persecuting those who would smoke it. It was a campaign begun in the mid 1930s and continued and intensified until they were finally overthrown. (The anti-tobacco campaign of the Nazis – http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/313/7070/1450 )

Today, when one considers the enormous advances in psychological warfare, be it for product sales, national/religious/corporate identity or fear of the other, and the increasingly sophisticated delivery techniques, the need for smoking to be eradicated becomes blazingly obvious. What government or corporation (or religion) in their right mind, whose primary goals are submission and association, cannot see the benefit of losing a few million in taxes, pensions, operations… for the benefit of a compliant, malleable ready made workforce, and market. From such a perspective, considering our current political and corporate leadership, it is clear, smoking never stood a chance.

What a good job we have a free and independent news media to stand up for the citizen, expose authoritarian lies and ensure governments and corporations cannot cynically manipulate and frighten people into servicing their nefarious goals… oh, err… looks like we’re in big trouble.

Better get puffing guys!

 

 

 

 

Information Underground Weekly Report: Blackwater and Private Security Companies

Stories from the Conspiracy Central Forum:

A day to remember from 1933

Posted by Ognir

http://conspiracycentral.info/index.php?showtopic=16153

Long before the Hitler government began restricting the rights of the German Jews, the leaders of the worldwide Jewish community formally declared war on the “New Germany” at a time when the U.S. government and even the Jewish leaders in Germany were urging caution in dealing with the new Hitler regime. The war by the international Jewish leadership on Germany not only sparked definite reprisals by the German government but also set the stage for a little-known economic and political alliance between the Hitler government and the leaders of the Zionist movement who hoped that the tension between the Germans and the Jews would lead to massive emigration to Palestine. In short, the result was a tactical alliance between the Nazis and the founders of the modern-day state of Israel – a fact that many today would prefer be forgotten.

http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/articles/jdecwar.html

Know Your History

France’s Secret Wars in Africa

Posted by Hei Hu Quan

http://conspiracycentral.info/index.php?showtopic=16168

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article3030349.ece

For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator – and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur – seeking sanctuary in the world’s most notorious killing fields

2 Koreas Strike Wide Reconciliation Deal

Posted by Maximus Minimus Mediumus

http://conspiracycentral.info/index.php?showtopic=16130

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea pledged to detail its nuclear programs and disable all activities at its main reactor complex by year’s end, then signed a wide-ranging reconciliation pact with South Korea Thursday promising to finally seek a peace treaty to replace the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun also said they would open regular links across their heavily fortified border under the deal struck a day after the North made its firmest commitment yet to nuclear disarmament.

They Come at Night and Murder the Monks

Posted by hardboilednwokilla

http://conspiracycentral.info/index.php?showtopic=16135

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,509232,00.html

They surrounded a monastery on Weiza Yandar Street. All the roughly 200 monks living there were forced to stand in a row and the security forces beat their heads against a brick wall. When they were all covered in blood and lay moaning on the ground, they were thrown into a truck and taken away. “We are crying for our monks,” said the man, and then he was gone.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=484903&in_page_id=1

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23414471-details/Burma:%20Thousands%20dead%20in%20the%20massacre%20of%20the%20monks%20dumped%20in%20the%20jungle/article.do

Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma’s ruling junta has revealed.

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.”

Via GlobalResearch.ca:

Licensed to Kill

Bush Justice Department embraces torture as a tool for collecting intelligence

by Scott Horton

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7002

The Bush Justice Department does have an essential law enforcement mission, though sometimes it seems to behave much more like a criminal syndicate. It warmly embraces the crime of torture as a tool for collecting human intelligence notwithstanding both its manifest illegality and immorality and the uniform view of intelligence professionals that torture consistently produces corrupted, inherently unreliable information. In so doing of course it is engaged in a fairly primitive game of self-protection. It can’t acknowledge the fundamental criminality of its conduct, so it turns the Justice Department into its consigliere. Three different lawyers in the office of legal counsel have rendered formal opinions giving a stamp of approval to a universal crime. Indeed, this sort of legal dexterity now seems to be accepted as a rite of passage for “movement” lawyers–a fact which is very revealing of the new character of the “movement.” It has nothing to do with ideals, and everything to do with personal fidelity. In each of these cases, the opinion boils down to the fundamental principle of the authoritarian state, namely: if the Leader authorizes it, then it must be okay. I can’t wait to see the intellectual conversion that will occur on January 20, 2009, when the opposition party furnishes the Executive.

Why Not Impeachment?

by Robert Parry

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7001

The disclosure that the Bush administration secretly reestablished a policy of abusing “war on terror” detainees even as it assured Congress and the public that it had mended its ways again raises the question: Why are the Democrats keeping impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney “off the table”?

Dangerous Crossroads: US Sponsored War Games

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6997

US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) has announced the conduct of major war games under Vigilant Shield 2008 (VS-08).

Vigilant Shield 2008 (15 to 20 October, 2007) is designed to deal with a “terrorist” or “natural disaster” scenario in the United States. The operation will be coordinated in a joint endeavor by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

Yet, VS-08, which includes a massive deployment of the US Air Force resembles a war-time air scenario rather than an anti-terrorist drill. The VS-08 war games extend over the entire North American shelf. Canadian territory is also involved through Canada’s participation in NORAD. (See Nazemroaya, October 2007)

These war games are being conducted at an important historical crossroads, amidst mounting US pressures and threats to actually declare a “real war” on Iran.

VS-08 is predicated on the doctrine of preemptive warfare, with a vie to protecting the Homeland. The war games are coordinated with anti-terrorist drills directed against presumed Islamic terrorists.

1) What is the origin of Blackwater?
Blackwater USA was formed in 1997 to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. In 2002 Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed. They are the single beneficiaries of government no-bid contracts due to the amount of military and intelligence insiders from the Pentagon and CIA. In the new world order of mercenaries Blackwater is one of a growing number of outsourced pseudo-military security companies such as Aegis, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Intercon, Steele Foundation, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI). The men work for ISI, which describes its employees as “veterans of the Israeli special task forces from the following Israeli government bodies: Israel Defense Force (IDF), Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, Instructors of Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, General Security Service (GSS or ‘Shin Beit’), Other restricted intelligence agencies.” The company was formed in 1993. Its website profile says: “Our up-to-date services meet the challenging needs for Homeland Security preparedness and overseas combat procedures and readiness. ISI is currently an approved vendor by the US Government to supply Homeland Security services”.

Blackwater is rapidly expanding its operations, creating a new surveillance-blimp division, fleet of 20 planes, launching new training facilities in California and the Philippines, and increasingly setting its sights on the lucrative world of DHS contracts. It is clamoring to get into Darfur and has also hired Chilean troops trained under the brutal rule of Augusto Pinochet in addition to South African commandos from the Apartheid era.

2) What is the background of Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater?
Blackwater’s owner and founder is Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL. Erik Prince attended the Naval Academy, graduated from Hillsdale College, and was an intern in George H.W. Bush’s White House. Prince has contributed $168,000 to the Republican National Committee since 1998, and also has supported the candidacies of politicians such as President George W. Bush and Senator Tom Coburn. A CIA source with whom I spoke said that Prince is very tight with top agency officials and has a “green badge,” the security pass for contractors who have access to CIA installations. “He’s over there [at CIA headquarters] regularly, probably once a month or so,” this person told me. “He meets with senior people, especially in the D.O.” (The D.O., or Directorate of Operations, runs covert operations; last year, it was absorbed by the newly created National Clandestine Service). Blackwater founder Erik Prince shares Bush’s fundamentalist Christian views. He comes from a powerful Michigan Republican family and social circle, and his father, Edgar, helped Gary Bauer start the Family Research Council.

3) There have been reports that Blackwater is involved with extraordinary rendition torture flights. Is there any substance to this?
An investigation by the European Parliment on the CIA using British airports to execute ‘torture flights’, has uncovered fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK in June. Further details indicate that on June 2, 2007, at 4:36 pm, the CASA-212 Aviocar Flight touched down at RAF Mildenhall Airfield in Suffolk, UK. Its registration number N964BW, clearly visible on the fuselage, identified it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad.

Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as “the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet”. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar Flight #N964BW – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee. The vehicle contained four US security policemen armed with M16 assault rifles, who accompanied the camouflaged crew to the airport terminal.

A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane – registration number N964BW – is on a list of “companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights”. The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year. The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament committee report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, “an important contractor for the CIA and the US military” which bases the planes in Malta. Research by a further group, The American Centre for Media and Democracy, claims that flight-tracking internet technology shows the plane landed at least twice in the first six months of 2006 at Camp Peary, the U.S. naval reservation in Virginia known as The Farm and widely alleged to be a CIA training facility. Another smoking gun in Blackwater’s involvement in “extraordinary rendidtions” regards their Vice-Chairman J. Cofer Black. Who is a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and was one of the key CIA people in Africa throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Particularly in support of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. J. Cofer Black is reputed to have essentially run the extraordinary rendition program. He was a key figure in the extraordinary rendition program, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program, and he’s now a major figure at Blackwater USA.

3) What was Blackwater’s role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
To establish a precedent of using pseudo-military mercenaries without accountability or oversight domestically within the U.S. At the behest and aegis of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Deputized by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco their role was to was to stop looters and confront criminals. Many of the mercenaries had gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges and confirmed that they’d been deputized.

Jeremy Scahill interviewed Cofer Black–the former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, and now one of the top people at Blackwater–at a mercenary conference, and he told me that they sent a helicopter and a bunch of their guys down there without any contracts at first. Within days of their guys deploying down there, Blackwater was handed a very lucrative $409,000 contract–literally to guard a morgue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

4) There have been widespread reports from witnesses and insiders of Blackwater’s murderous escapades. What are they?
In an October 1, 2007 Congressional report, based on 437 internal Blackwater incident reports as well as internal State Department correspondence, says that that Blackwater’s use of force “is frequent and extensive, resulting in significant casualties and property damage.” It notes that Blackwater’s contract authorizes it to use lethal force only to prevent “imminent and grave danger” to themselves or the people they are paid to protect.

“In practice, however,” the report says, “the vast majority of Blackwater weapons
discharges are pre-emptive, with Blackwater forces firing first at a vehicle or
suspicious individual prior to receiving any fire.” Among the incidents cited in the
report:

On June 25, 2005, a Blackwater team in Hillah fatally shot an Iraqi man, a father of
six, in the chest. The victim’s family complained to the State Department, which said
in an internal report that the Blackwater gunmen initially failed to report the killing
and tried to cover it up.

On Oct. 24, 2005, Blackwater guards fired on a car that failed to heed a warning to
stop. In the gunfire, a civilian bystander was hit in the head with a bullet, but
Blackwater personnel did not stop.

On Nov. 28, 2005, a Blackwater motorcade traveling to and from the Iraqi oil
ministry collided with 18 different vehicles. According to an internal Blackwater report of the incident, the statements from employees were “invalid, inaccurate, and at best, dishonest.” Two Blackwater employees were dismissed, but there was no other apparent action taken as a result.

On Dec. 24, 2006, a drunken Blackwater employee shot and killed a bodyguard for Iraq’s Shiite vice president, Adel Abdul-Mahdi. The AP previously reported the contractor had gotten lost on the way back to his barracks in Baghdad’s Green Zone and fired at least seven times when he was confronted by 30-year-old Raheem Khalaf Saadoun.

The guard was terminated by Blackwater. Within 36 hours of the shooting, the department allowed the 26-year-old contractor to be transported out of Iraq, according to a staff report. An unnamed State Department official then recommended Blackwater pay the guard’s family $250,000 as an “apology.”

But the Diplomatic Security Service, the department’s own law enforcement arm, said that was too much money and might prompt other Iraqis “to ‘try to get killed'” in order to provide for their families, according to the report. “In the end, the State Department and Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment,” the report says. Initial news coverage by Middle Eastern media of the killing said a “U.S. soldier” was responsible.

In a company e-mail obtained by the committee, a Blackwater employee said the mistake in the news “gets the heat off of us.”

On Sept. 16, 2007, 11 Iraqis were killed in a shoot-out involving Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad. Blackwater says its guards acted in self-defense after the convoy came under attack. Iraqi witnesses have said the shooting was unprovoked. The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into
the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a U.S. diplomat to rush from the area and back to
the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghdad where U.S. and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters. The police officer, whom CNN is identifying only as Sarhan, said the Blackwater guards “seemed nervous” as they entered the square, throwing water bottles at the Iraqi police posted there and driving in the wrong direction. He said traffic police halted civilian traffic to clear the way for the Blackwater team. Then, he said, the guards fired five or six shots in an apparent attempt to scare people away, but one of the rounds struck a car and killed a young
man who was sitting next to his mother, a doctor.

Sarhan said he and an undercover Iraqi police officer ran to the car but
they were unable to stop it from rolling forward toward the Blackwater
convoy. “I wanted to get his mother out, but could not because she was holding her
son tight and did not want to let him go,” Sarhan said. “They immediately
opened heavy fire at us.” “Each of their four vehicles opened heavy fire in all directions, they shot and killed everyone in cars facing them and people standing on the street,” Sarhan said. The shooting lasted about 20 minutes, he said.
“When it was over we were looking around and about 15 cars had been destroyed, the bodies of the killed were strewn on the pavements and road.”
Sarhan said no one ever fired at the Blackwater team.

“They became the terrorists, not attacked by the terrorists,” he said. “I saw parts of the woman’s head flying in front of me, blow up and then her entire body was charred,” he said. “What do you expect my reaction to be? Are they protecting the country? No. If I had a weapon I would have shot at them.”
Mohammed Abdul Razzaq was driving into Nusoor Square with his sister, her three children and his 9-year-old son Ali at the same time the Blackwater team arrived.
“They gestured stop, so we all stopped,” Razzaq said. “It’s a secure area so we thought it will be the usual, we would stop for a bit as convoys pass. Shortly after that they opened heavy fire randomly at the cars with no exception.”
“My son was sitting behind me,” he said. “He was shot in the head and his brains were all over the back of the car.” The others ducked and were spared, he said. He later counted 36 bullet holes in his car, six in his sister’s headrest.
“Anyone who got out of his car would be killed,” he said. “Anyone who would move was killed. Anyone sitting in a car was killed.”
“I saw a guy in a small car who got out to flee, they shot him and he hit the ground,” Razzaq said. “They fired at him again and again with his blood flowing in the street, but they continued to shoot him.”

Blackwater has had to fire dozens of guards over the past three years for problems ranging from misuse of weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct and violent behavior, says the 15-page report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A total of 122 Blackwater mercenaries ahve been terminated by Blackwater, and is roughly one-seventh of the work force that Blackwater has in Iraq, a ratio that raises questions about the quality of the people working for the company. Blackwater has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005, or roughly 1.4 per week. In more than 80 percent of the incidents, called “escalation of force,” Blackwater’s guards fired the first shots even though the company’s contract with the State Department calls for it to use defensive force only, it said. In the vast majority of cases, Blackwater mercenaries fired their weapons from moving vehicles without stopping to count the dead or assist the injured, the report found.

6) The Bush administration has circumvented use of the military in the Iraq war by using military contractors such as Blackwater, who are intentionally beyond the scope of both international civilian and military law. What legal means are in place to keep forces like these in line and protect the rights and property of civilians?
Blackwater USA has 2,300 active personnel deployed in nine different countries around the world. The cost for each Blackwater mercenary in Iraq, is $445,000 per year. With 20,000 additional forces at the ready (as of March 2007), they have set their focus increasingly to getting these troops strategically positioned within the United States. Blackwater now has been seeking deployment in Illinois, California for military and law enforcement training, in addition to their active deployment in New Orleans during the aftermath of Katrina. However, the U.S. government has sidestepped the legal obstructions inherent in the Posse Comitatus Act by using mercenary contractors. For those who are unfamiliar, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the use of the Armed Forces as a Posse comitatus to execute the laws except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress. Since then there have been measures to malignantly reinterpret and subvert the intent of the original Act through means of surreptitiously passed Bills and Amendments. The ultimate goal being the clear use of the military in all domestic policing operations, with the police and the military being virtually indistinguishable. With the Bush administration effectively undermining the Posse Comitatus Act (John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR) and nullifying it under color of law, that will be eventually achieved. Until then, the covert use of Blackwater and other contracted mercenaries for contrived wars and synthetic emergencies, has altogether sidestepped the obstructive Posse Comitatus altogether by using what amounts to sanctioned gang members to patrol and police. Effectively Blackwater has been placed above the law with no accountability, oversight or punishment mechanism for war crimes and criminality in general.

7) Have there been any reprisals against Blackwater for egregious behaviour?
Yes, on March 31, 2004, four Blackwater soldiers were ambushed and killed in Fallujah. Their bodies burned and disfigured and then hung from a bridge. After which the U.S. launched a now notorious campaign of revenge attacks on the city of Fallujah that killed and maimed thousands. Many were civilians and it caused a massive resistance against the occupation that escalated the war to where it sits festering right now. Over 800 Blackwater soldiers have been killed in the course of the war yet their deaths have deliberately not been counted along with the other U.S. military deaths. Injuries as well as war crimes are not calculated nor officially documented. In effect they are exactly like black ops soldiers working for any intelligence agency, with zero oversight or accountability, and sanitized logistical information.

8) The Department of Homeland Security plans to keep its contract with Blackwater for two to five years, what does that mean?
No one knows as not even members of Congress can see these contracts. One member of Congress said that she’s not even allowed to see any of the contracts in general, but when she is, she has to go into a padded room. She’s not allowed to bring in any kind of writing equipment or paper, and she’s not allowed to say what she saw in that room after she’s viewed the contracts.

Sources:
• Jeremy Scahill – Blackwater: Shadow Army (2006)

• “Revolving Door to Blackwater Causes Alarm at CIA” by Ken Silverstein of Harper’s magazine

• “In the Black(water)” by Jeremy Scahill – The Nation

• “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” by Jeremy Scahill

• “Blackwater Portrayed as Out of Control” by Richard Lardner – Yahoo News

• Blackwater Incident Witness: ‘It was hell’ by Jomana Karadsheh and Alan Duke – CNN News

See Also:

The World of Blackwater: Private Wars for Public Monies

recorded 9/21/07

By Mumia Abu Jamal of Prison Radio

1) 2:48 Radio Essay short – Mp3

2) 4:07 Radio Essay long – Mp3

 

The World of Blackwater: Private Wars for Public Money

{col. writ. 9/20/07} (c) ’07 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The news running off the wire was unexpected in its rarity: the Iraqi ‘government’ announced that the U.S. private security company, Blackwater, would no longer be able to function in the country, following the killing of over 20 Iraqis by Blackwater personnel.

According to published reports, the U.S. State dept. will essentially ignore the Iraqi order, announcing that Blackwater would continue to work in the country. Blackwater provides security for many Americans working in Iraq, as well as some of its chosen puppets. (So much for ‘a sovereign nation.’)

The recent Blackwater shootout wasn’t the first, and unless I miss my guess, it won’t be the last.

For folks who’ve been following the American security company (and others like them), it should surprise no one that this company was involved in the shooting of civilians.

According to some researchers and reporters, Blackwater was getting down similarly — in the U.S.!

Think back to 2005, when the winds, rains, and gushing waters from Lake Pontchartrain swept through New Orleans, another force beset the already besieged town.

Blackwater was one of the number of such companies, armed with automatic weapons and contracts from the Dept. of Homeland Security. They were allowed to play cowboy when people were suffering from this natural disaster.

Several years ago, writer and “Democracy Now!” correspondent, Jeremy Scahill reported a conversation he had with a man from one of those private security companies during the height of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Scahill described his conversation with a man named Michael Montgomery, who worked with an Alabama-based company known as Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS). This guy told Scahill that he was in New Orleans on the second night of the catastrophe. As Scahill explained:

They got stopped in the ninth ward. He said they came under fire from a group of people on an overpass that he described as black gang bangers. He said, “At the time I was on the phone with my business partner.” I said, “What did you do then?” He said, “I dropped the phone and opened fire.” I said, “With what kind of weapons?” –“AR-15 assault rifles and Glock 9’s.” Fired up at the people he described as black gang bangers on this bridge. I said, “Then what happened? Did you kill them?” He said, “Well, let’s just put it this way, I heard a lot of moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. Enough said. “

Scahill was making his remarks on the Friday, Sept. 23 rd, 2005 edition of the nationally broadcast program, “Democracy Now!”

According to Scahill, these and other such groups were functioning in Louisiana, without licenses to operate in the state. What they had were contracts from the Homeland Security Dept., and a letter from the Governor of Louisiana! Thus, armed with automatic weapons, they patrolled the property of the rich, while they waged war against the poor.

Scahill explained that after the shooting, army officers and Louisiana State Troopers came on the scene – but neither agency filed a report. Scahill continued:

So this is the climate of impunity…..[H] ow do we know that he was fired upon? How do we know what that incident was? Why wouldn’t law enforcement file any kind of report on a shootout in which this guy is openly bragging to having shot up a bunch of people he described as black gang bangers on an overpass?

There are almost as many contractors working in Iraq as there are U.S. soldiers — but the Blackwater people make a whole lot more money, and are better equipped.

That’s because they aren’t fighting for ‘democracy’, they’re fighting for good old American money. They are fighting for those who can afford them.

What do they care about Iraqis? What did they care about ‘Americans’ in the midst of the whirlwind and the storm?

–(c) ’07maj

 

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