Translations from other sites
Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
Control, Thought Control, World Control
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
some people just born to be "sheep"? Even some scientists?
do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"
This was the question posed to scientists, futurists and other creative
thinkers by John Brockman, a literary agent and publisher of Edge,
a Web site devoted to science. The site asks a new question at the
end of each year. Here are excerpts from the responses, to be posted
Tuesday at www.edge.org.
Psychologist and computer scientist; author, "Designing
I do not believe that people are capable of rational thought when
it comes to making decisions in their own lives. People believe
they are behaving rationally and have thought things out, of course,
but when major decisions are made - who to marry, where to live,
what career to pursue, what college to attend, people's minds simply
cannot cope with the complexity. When they try to rationally analyze
potential options, their unconscious, emotional thoughts take over
and make the choice for them.
Evolutionary biologist, Oxford University; author, "The
I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence,
all creativity and all "design" anywhere in the universe,
is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection.
It follows that design comes late in the universe, after a period
of Darwinian evolution. Design cannot precede evolution and therefore
cannot underlie the universe.
Judith Rich Harris
Writer and developmental psychologist; author, "The Nurture
I believe, though I cannot prove it, that three - not two - selection
processes were involved in human evolution.
The first two are familiar: natural selection, which selects for
fitness, and sexual selection, which selects for sexiness.
The third process selects for beauty, but not sexual beauty - not
adult beauty. The ones doing the selecting weren't potential mates:
they were parents. Parental selection, I call it.
Physicist; retired director, American Institute of Physics;
author, "The Quantum World"
I believe that microbial life exists elsewhere in our galaxy.
I am not even saying "elsewhere in the universe." If
the proposition I believe to be true is to be proved true within
a generation or two, I had better limit it to our own galaxy. I
will bet on its truth there.
I believe in the existence of life elsewhere because chemistry
seems to be so life-striving and because life, once created, propagates
itself in every possible direction. Earth's history suggests that
chemicals get busy and create life given any old mix of substances
that includes a bit of water, and given practically any old source
of energy; further, that life, once created, spreads into every
nook and cranny over a wide range of temperature, acidity, pressure,
light level and so on.
Believing in the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the
galaxy is another matter.
Neuroscientist, New York University; author, "The Synaptic
For me, this is an easy question. I believe that animals have feelings
and other states of consciousness, but neither I nor anyone else
has been able to prove it. We can't even prove that other people
are conscious, much less other animals. In the case of other people,
though, we at least can have a little confidence since all people
have brains with the same basic configurations. But as soon as we
turn to other species and start asking questions about feelings
and consciousness in general we are in risky territory because the
hardware is different.
Because I have reason to think that their feelings might be different
than ours, I prefer to study emotional behavior in rats rather than
There's lots to learn about emotion through rats that can help
people with emotional disorders. And there's lots we can learn about
feelings from studying humans, especially now that we have powerful
function imaging techniques. I'm not a radical behaviorist. I'm
just a practical emotionalist.
Biologist, University of Massachusetts; author, "Symbiosis
in Cell Evolution"
I feel that I know something that will turn out to be correct and
eventually proved to be true beyond doubt.
That our ability to perceive signals in the environment evolved
directly from our bacterial ancestors. That is, we, like all other
mammals including our apish brothers detect odors, distinguish tastes,
hear bird song and drumbeats and we too feel the vibrations of the
drums. With our eyes closed we detect the light of the rising sun.
These abilities to sense our surroundings are a heritage that preceded
the evolution of all primates, all vertebrate animals, indeed all
Psychologist, Hope College; author, "Intuition"
As a Christian monotheist, I start with two unproven axioms:
1. There is a God.
2. It's not me (and it's also not you).
Together, these axioms imply my surest conviction: that some of
my beliefs (and yours) contain error. We are, from dust to dust,
finite and fallible. We have dignity but not deity.
And that is why I further believe that we should
a) hold all our unproven beliefs with a certain tentativeness (except
for this one!),
b) assess others' ideas with open-minded skepticism, and
c) freely pursue truth aided by observation and experiment.
This mix of faith-based humility and skepticism helped fuel the
beginnings of modern science, and it has informed my own research
and science writing. The whole truth cannot be found merely by searching
our own minds, for there is not enough there. So we also put our
ideas to the test. If they survive, so much the better for them;
if not, so much the worse.
Neuroscientist, Stanford University, author, "A Primate's Memoir"
Mine would be a fairly simple, straightforward case of an unjustifiable
belief, namely that there is no god(s) or such a thing as a soul
(whatever the religiously inclined of the right persuasion mean
by that word). ...
I'm taken with religious folks who argue that you not only can,
but should believe without requiring proof. Mine is to not believe
without requiring proof. Mind you, it would be perfectly fine with
me if there were a proof that there is no god. Some might view this
as a potential public health problem, given the number of people
who would then run damagingly amok. But it's obvious that there's
no shortage of folks running amok thanks to their belief. So that
wouldn't be a problem and, all things considered, such a proof would
be a relief - many physicists, especially astrophysicists, seem
weirdly willing to go on about their communing with god about the
Big Bang, but in my world of biologists, the god concept gets mighty
infuriating when you spend your time thinking about, say, untreatably
aggressive childhood leukemia.
Cognitive scientist, University of California, Irvine; author,
I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists.
Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens
of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among
the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their
The world of our daily experience - the world of tables, chairs,
stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and
sounds - is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more
complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely
that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm.
Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that
they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the Windows
interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click
icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing
megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits.
Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface,
this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification,
selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable
pragmatics of survival.
If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should
not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant
of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness,
no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields
could be, or cause, conscious experience.
Psychologist, London School of Economics; author,"The Mind
I believe that human consciousness is a conjuring trick, designed
to fool us into thinking we are in the presence of an inexplicable
mystery. Who is the conjuror and why is s/he doing it? The conjuror
is natural selection, and the purpose has been to bolster human
self-confidence and self-importance - so as to increase the value
we each place on our own and others' lives.
Psychologist, emeritus professor, Stanford; author, "Shyness"
I believe that the prison guards at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq,
who worked the night shift in Tier 1A, where prisoners were physically
and psychologically abused, had surrendered their free will and
personal responsibility during these episodes of mayhem.
But I could not prove it in a court of law. These eight Army reservists
were trapped in a unique situation in which the behavioral context
came to dominate individual dispositions, values and morality to
such an extent that they were transformed into mindless actors alienated
from their normal sense of personal accountability for their actions
- at that time and place.
The "group mind" that developed among these soldiers
was created by a set of known social psychological conditions, some
of which are nicely featured in Golding's "Lord of the Flies."
The same processes that I witnessed in my Stanford Prison Experiment
were clearly operating in that remote place: deindividuation, dehumanization,
boredom, groupthink, role-playing, rule control and more.
Philip W. Anderson
Physicist and Nobel laureate, Princeton
Is string theory a futile exercise as physics, as I believe it
to be? It is an interesting mathematical specialty and has produced
and will produce mathematics useful in other contexts, but it seems
no more vital as mathematics than other areas of very abstract or
specialized math, and doesn't on that basis justify the incredible
amount of effort expended on it.
My belief is based on the fact that string theory is the first
science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion,
without any adequate experimental guidance. It proposes that Nature
is the way we would like it to be rather than the way we see it
to be; and it is improbable that Nature thinks the same way we do.
The sad thing is that, as several young would-be theorists have
explained to me, it is so highly developed that it is a full-time
job just to keep up with it. That means that other avenues are not
being explored by the bright, imaginative young people, and that
alternative career paths are blocked.
Psychologist, University of California, Berkeley; co-author,
"The Scientist in the Crib"
I believe, but cannot prove, that babies and young children are
actually more conscious, more vividly aware of their external world
and internal life, than adults are. I believe this because there
is strong evidence for a functional trade-off with development.
Young children are much better than adults at learning new things
and flexibly changing what they think about the world. On the other
hand, they are much worse at using their knowledge to act in a swift,
efficient and automatic way. They can learn three languages at once
but they can't tie their shoelaces.
Psychologist, University of Texas; author, "The Evolution
I've spent two decades of my professional life studying human mating.
In that time, I've documented phenomena ranging from what men and
women desire in a mate to the most diabolical forms of sexual treachery.
I've discovered the astonishingly creative ways in which men and
women deceive and manipulate each other. I've studied mate poachers,
obsessed stalkers, sexual predators and spouse murderers. But throughout
this exploration of the dark dimensions of human mating, I've remained
unwavering in my belief in true love.
While love is common, true love is rare, and I believe that few
people are fortunate enough to experience it. The roads of regular
love are well traveled and their markers are well understood by
many - the mesmerizing attraction, the ideational obsession, the
sexual afterglow, profound self-sacrifice and the desire to combine
DNA. But true love takes its own course through uncharted territory.
It knows no fences, has no barriers or boundaries. It's difficult
to define, eludes modern measurement and seems scientifically woolly.
But I know true love exists. I just can't prove it.
It is in times of fascism rising that armies
of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society
bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn
of the twenty-first century is no exception, for an army of fascism
is being born inside its womb, its growing power in numbers and
ideology granting freedom of action to immoral despots and juntas
of warmongering greed addicts. Contrived through the mass manipulation
of fear and hatred, xenophobia and ignorance, searing nationalism
and blind theological faith, this army represents the greatest threat
to the nation, and the world.
From all walks of life diluted brains and weak-minded individuals
are answering the call of the beacon of fascism shining bright,
from Atlantic to Pacific, from north to south, embracing its dastardly
tentacles with the warm acceptance of comfort and submission. Millions
of Americans are presently falling prey to a virulent haze gripping
the United States, furthered and pursued by a small cabal of corporatist
evildoers perched at the upper echelons of governance and power
that seek to transform the nation into a black widow's nest of fascism
spiked with the venom of a militarized citizenry acquiescent to
Growing daily like a malignant tumor, still entranced by the devastating
images of the new Pearl Harbor, which the corporatists in power
did nothing to help stop and everything possible for it to succeed,
this multitude cannot see in shades of gray nor in the prism of
color. Instead, like living inside the television sets of the past,
only black and white can they perceive, their antenna only receptive
to the microwaves of good and bad, evil and good, friend or foe.
Different shades of reality escape them just as much as the reality
of what transpires around the world.
This army of fascism is the product of years of methodical ingraining
of ignorance and indifference into society by those holding the
reigns of power. It is the end result of the re-wired human brain
preyed upon and feasted on by television and the corporations that
control thought through it. Obedient to the monitor, blind to reality,
the army now gathering life takes direct commands from the images,
sounds and war cries emanated by television. Acting
on instinct, and on the televised propaganda they are conditioned
to obey and follow, the army now walking among us neither questions
nor searches for answers, preferring to exult the fantasies of fiction
over the embarrassments of truth, preferring to dwell in ignorance
rather than being liberated by knowledge.
Like the drones they have been bred to be the army of fascism lines
up one behind another, marching to the drums of warmongers and trumpets
of false prophets exalting hatreds and fears and cries for death
and destruction. This monolith lacking the precepts of analytical
and logical thinking minds follows the lies and deceptions of governance
and the propaganda of corporations, believing every word uttered
or image manipulated, absorbing as truth blatant lies and incorporating
into their own thought processes the vitriol-filled, hate-induced,
xenophobic-spewing, gay-bashing, women-hating, Arab-scapegoating,
jingoistic-packed diatribe that litters the airwaves and acts as
a conduit for the further recruitment of grunts comprising the army
Disguised as national dialogue, this propaganda,
disseminated by the minions and lackeys of government and the corporate
world, serves the purpose of unleashing inside the ignorant legions
of sheep boiling magma of animalistic passion and emotion which,
with further manipulation of psychology, erupts like a smoldering
volcano, releasing throughout the nation toxic gases of hatred and
fiery lava of violent thought.
Thus, the harvesting of ignorance, hate and fear – all molded
by the same clay, none mutually exclusive of the others –
by those in power produces an army of fascism whose blind thirst
for Arab blood and rabid addiction for Muslim destruction fuse to
engender in the Establishment the tools necessary to mutate the
United States in the direction of fascism and despotic rule, while
at the same time increasing their power and control over the same
army which blindly follows without knowing and is easily herded
Conditioned War Culture, Dumbed-Down Education
Millions who today march proudly in the army of hate, fear and
ignorance have, since birth, been conditioned to violence and indifference
through the incessant bombardment by television of those images
necessary to transform a once benign citizenry into a violent and
militarized war culture, in the process succeeding in shaping apathetic
creatures devoid of concern for their fellow man, now desensitized
to death, destruction, suffering and ceaseless violence.
From cartoons laced with aggression and conflict to movies saturated
with pyrotechnics and bullets to video games blurring the line between
reality and fantasy to television shows romanticizing violence the
human brain, from cradle to grave, and in a society as addicted
to television watching as is America, loses all sense of shock and
awe at the very real spectacle of human violence. Glamorized and
white-washed, fantasy-riddled violence on television, movies and
video games desensitizes the now conditioned human brain to the
very real and horrific parameters of our species' self-destructive
ways, making violence accepted and indeed sought, for
violent overtures to conflict resolution are all we have been trained
to see, hear and believe in.
In the realm of fiction bombs explode yet the shrieks
and the misery are never seen. Bullets whiz by yet their effects
on human flesh are whitewashed. Missiles rain down from above yet
severed limbs and decapitated heads do not exist. The destruction
of cities, houses and lives is too inconvenient to cover in the
plot. The suffering and the wretchedness of human violence upon
its own kind never sees the light of day. Special effects form a
cornucopia of digital mastery, glossing over death and maiming,
blood and guts, becoming the fiction we see and the reality we fail
Audiences at home or in the theater fail to ever experience the
reality of human violence, unable to feel the pain of injury, the
concussions reverberating in air, rubble falling everywhere, explosions
creating deafness, bullets penetrating flesh, the last moments of
life, the entrails exposed or the limbs blown to bits. We never
are confronted with the sounds of war, the smells of death, the
taste of violence and the very real destruction wrought by America's
many instruments of human violence. Comfortably we sit in our couches
or stadium seating, under cover of roof and air-conditioning, munching
on popcorn and soda, all the while becoming ever more desensitized
to death, destruction, violence and the horrors of war.
This makes a culture such as that found in America a purveyor of
violent solutions to conflict, a populace indifferent to the violence,
destruction and death created by its government and unleashed on
the savages and inhuman peoples of lands not known or understood,
alien to our reality but familiar to our fictions. With a citizenry
completely conditioned to accept violence as a solution for conflict,
with a people desensitized to the horrors of human violence inflicted
on its fellow beings, with tens of millions brainwashed into seeing
violence as rose-petalled fiction and not as a malicious reality,
the government, military-industrial complex and the cabal of corruption
in control of our lives are free to unearth the most wicked forms
of human violence upon innocent human life, killing with abandon
in a wanton slaughter applauded by a complicit army of fascism whose
minds are completely under the control of warmongers and fascists
When you add in the bogey man of the moment, the chosen Muslim
Arab enemy for years implanted into our minds by government and
corporate propaganda, seen in television, movies and the realm of
fictionalized violence, replacing the Indian and the Soviet and
the black and the Vietnamese as the enemy required to hijack the
thoughts of the average American, needed to induce fear and enslave
fogged minds, the brain begins associating negative feelings of
hatred onto this scapegoated ethnic and religious group. Fear
commences its powers of erosion, stripping rational and analytical
thought from the human brain, replacing hatred and thirst for violence
against the latest enemy to grace the collective imagination of
Americans. Ignorance, fear of the unknown and conditioned
fear of dark-skinned enemies combine to form a deadly cocktail of
hatred, manipulated into the American mind by government and those
whose interests lie in marginalizing Arabs, that furthers the recruitment
of the army of fascism as well as the fictional “war on terror.”
Combined with the creation of a completely dumbed down, ignorant,
believe-anything, nationalistic-driven, violence-conditioned, fiction-living,
theology-brainwashed, fear-induced, schizophrenically-manipulated,
paranoid-delusional segment of the American population, the recipe
is ripe for those in power to sound the drums of perpetual war for
perpetual profit, using their new and ever-growing army of fascism,
blind to the tunes of reality, to unveil the erosion of civil rights,
freedoms and democracy at home and the mass murder of untold thousands
abroad in an immoral attempt at achieving imperial hegemony.
Using the ignorance of the army of fascism to its
advantage, this cabal of corruption is giving birth to corporatism,
transforming the nation into a conduit for despotic rule in a police-state
environment, where the army of fascism is
used against itself, for the attainment of a continued form
of corporate feudalism, and as a tool in fighting the other half
of the population that refuses to accept the master plans of those
in control or to bow down to the dictates of tyranny.
An army dumbed down by an anemic educational system whose only
purpose is the systematic transformation of little primates into
obedient, non-thinking drones loyal to the government that exploits
and the corporations that enslave them has become a reality which
today we can see in the tens of millions, perhaps half the population
of the United States, that gives a thumbs up to mass murder, torture,
gulags and the destruction of an entire society by their vote for
warmongers, greed addicts and power hungry corrupters of civilization.
Brainwashed from birth to adore the red, white and blue, trained
to never question the authority of government or the decisions of
politicians, conditioned in the fine arts of nationalistic propaganda,
manipulated into loyalty to the state and deceived to the altruistic
fictions of American history, children are subjected to an education
designed to eradicate free-thinking minds, transforming questioning
entities into subservient soldiers devoid of rebellion or resistance
to bad governance. Educated to avoid seeking
truth, taught to inhale as fact whatever the government states,
children are methodically robbed of their natural desire to question
the world around them, failing to seek accountability of authority
and their innate desire for truth searching.
After years of dumbed down education, in schools that serve to
hinder knowledge and evolving intelligence thanks to rotten curriculums
and decrepit resources, children become the molded adult drones
of the state, unthinking, unknowing and unquestioning. The mockery
that is American education, purposefully instituted by those in
power, spits out a populace that fails to grasp the world around
them, lacking curiosity, creativity and an ounce of knowledge of
history, current events, politics, foreign nations, the arts, science,
culture, geography and common sense.
An assembly line of ignorance and indifference is created through
years of abandon, both educational and parental, that is transforming
American society into a culture lacking the precepts of human understanding.
The wisdom of older societies is recklessly
disregarded, the sophistication of cultures is frowned upon,
the lessons of history are arrogantly trampled on, the convergence
of diversity spawns fear and the advice of old friends is discarded.
To the army of fascism, America does not need advice or assistance
or friends or historical lessons. We are the greatest nation that
ever lived, unable to do wrong, unable to condemn billions to misery
and virtual enslavement, the chalice of altruism, the seeker of
good, the defender of freedom, the protector of democracy and the
Almighty's chosen nation. America is an unbeatable superpower, emanating
arrogance and cockiness, the most triumphant society that ever existed,
free to do with the world and its peoples whatever suits its needs.
Unfortunately, after years of brainwashing, the army of fascism
believes just about anything, unwilling to even contemplate the
minimal idea that all they have ever learned is false, based on
propaganda and conditioning of minds, blitzkrieged into their brains
for the benefit of the state and the corporate world that owns it.
The army of fascism chooses to live in fantasy, unwilling to discard
their tiny bubble protecting them from confronting reality. To
them truth is stressful, reality is frightful, ignorance is bliss,
and escaping the illusion they watch on Fox News or any other corporate
propaganda channel is an exercise they would rather not confront.
Their bubble is their paradise, no matter how pathetically delusional
it may seem, no matter how obviously false it appears and no matter
how much it is eroded by the plethora of truth attacking the fables
and fictions sustaining their delicate web of concocted bull manure.
To the tens of millions living inside the rabbit hole, Earth, its
lands, nations, cultures and peoples are as alien as the vast expanse
of universe, science and nature as hazy as history and knowledge.
The reality of what the United States has been since its inception,
an Evil Empire laying waste to billions of world citizens and their
lives, is never taught to the very citizens now affected by the
blowback inherent in perpetuating human malice throughout the globe.
Instead, we are told the world hates us for our freedoms and rights,
that billions are angered at us because we are such a great nation.
The truth, it seems, is always discarded for fiction, and the army
of fascism gobbles it up like Thanksgiving turkey, forever wanting
to escape knowing painful truths by smearing themselves in euphoric
Hijacked Fiction, Hypnotized Minds
As if hypnotized by the thunderous sound of its marching boots,
the army of fascism, millions of worker bees and soldier ants laboriously
furthering the interests of state fascism, surrenders itself to
its masters sounding the trumpets of fear and hatred. Ever since
9/11, millions of Americans have experienced a profound shift in
their psyche, becoming, over time and thanks to ceaseless corporatist
manipulation and propaganda, the mirror image of what they perceive
their enemy to be.
They have become, in a sense, what they most fear,
the nighttime bogeyman lurking in dark corners and black shadows,
emulating the behaviors and psychology of how they are told the
enemy behaves, casting a long dry spell of hatred and racism over
the lands of America, awakening from horrible nightmares to find
themselves afflicted by paranoia and schizophrenia, possessed by
hatred and seething anger, unable to listen or see, made deaf and
blind to reality and unable to exorcise from their minds the horrible
disfigurement to the national character spawned by the ghosts of
9/11. They have, for all intents and purposes, become the enemy
they fear most.
It is exactly the manipulation of fear and hatred by those who
control, spawned by 9/11 and its post traumatic stresses that has
elevated the numbers joining the army of fascism. A plague presently
afflicts the United States, born in sin and broken psychology, rendering
once capable minds as weak as rotting wood, impregnating in the
ignorant among us deep hatreds and angers giving rise to increased
levels of xenophobia and a growing search for scapegoats.
The fear prevalent in the army of fascism, tirelessly manipulated
and exploited by the Bush administration, birthed by the horrors
of 9/11 and the correspondent images no human society has ever had
to experience, played live and replayed countless times via multiple
camera angels and narrated through various media outlets and personalities,
immediately bombarded by anti-Arab propaganda by the corporate media,
has given rise to a racist hatred seldom seen in the United States
in the latter decades of the twentieth century.
It was 9/11, that sparkplug from which all hatred now derives,
that spawned the beginning stages of the army of fascism. It was
in the aftermath of the collapse of the twin towers in New York
City that the early manifestations of mass change in the minds of
vast portions of the populations could be seen. Suddenly, as if
hit by a powerful surge of psychosis, millions of Americans became
conduits of seething anger, no doubt affected by high doses of post
traumatic stress disorder and of feelings of catastrophe, uncertainty
The world Americans had once known changed
in the rapid transgressions of a few horrific hours, popping long-lasting
bubbles of invincibility and security that had for years insulated
the populace from the carnage, fear and human wickedness that befell
the rest of humanity, most of it at the hands of America and its
vast legions of mercenaries of imperial control and domination.
The new Pearl Harbor had been allowed to come
into fruition, for it was the tool needed to mobilize a pacifist
populace into war, introducing the fog of mass psychosis onto a
suddenly fearful nation, in the greatest psychological warfare operation
ever conducted, on the way to neocon and military-industrial complex
pre-planned mastery of world hegemony. Along with falling
towers, the fall of American rationality and analytical thought
was not far behind. [...]
Dangers Real and Perceived
Yet, for about forty percent of the population, the 'war on terror'
is as real as night and day, a most important war against the hated
Arab heathens who share neither religion nor culture nor skin color
with noble America. To the army of fascism, Arabs are evildoers
extraordinaire, savages and primitives intent on killing all of
what America stands for. They are barbarians, a people worshipping
false gods and idols, mere subhuman animals willing to kill themselves,
the army of Satan and reincarnations of demons past. They are an
enemy that must be defeated and exterminated, whatever the cost,
whatever the consequences. This belief by the army of fascism, however,
is one based on ignorance, the belief of fantasy and a sheer weak-minded
capacity to distinguish fact from fiction.
When bombarded by a Zionist-first media and scapegoat-needing government,
using a massive and methodical propaganda campaign, though, the
Fox News and talk radio addicted army of fascism easily succumbs
to such manipulations and lies.
While most Americans have recovered their
senses in the years after 9/11, the army of fascism still remains
trapped inside the clouds of asbestos and debris and smoke and dust,
refusing to take the hand of truth and reality, firmly digging themselves
inside the trenches of a horror-filled fantasy. Because they wish
for its truth, they make it so, retaining the lies and deceits and
manipulations they hear, never questioning for an instant the validity
of such claim and never seeking their own education of such matters.
Trained to always believe what they hear, they incorporate deceptive
propaganda as their own, every day hating and fearing more and more,
scapegoating an entire culture, religion and race, justifying their
hatred and growing racism through the bull manure they hear and
see on a daily basis.
The army of fascism remains deeply distraught by the horrors of
9/11, still possessed by its demons and its stresses, unable to
exorcise the memories or ghosts of an operation allowed to succeed
by the same heroes the army now religiously follows. Their outward
bravado hides a deep inner fear, acting as their protective surrogate,
for traumatized they remain and brainwashed they have been made
to be. Psychologically fragile and mentally intimidated, they cling
to the Dear Leader their monitors and radios command them to adore
as a father figure in whom they seek protection and security. These
millions are not able discern the falsity of the war on terror,
nor the reality of what their 'leader' truly is, nor the true nature
of the wars of conquest against Afghanistan and Iraq.
To the army of fascism, lies become truth
just as much as reality becomes falsity. In
their inescapable bubble, they see not how the world is but how
they want the world to be, refusing to accept truth even as it showers
them with unending facts and even as it utterly destroys the fictions
they cannot let go of. These Americans remain traumatized
and haunted by 9/11, clouding the rational and analytical thought
processes they might have once possessed. Every hate and racist
filled tirade by their favorite talking head vermin only validates
in their minds the necessity to wage ceaseless war upon innocent
Arabs and Muslims. Every diatribe they hear confirms their belief
in the elimination and mass murder of hundreds of thousands of humans,
replacing the goodness they once had with the thirst for malice
that now runs through their veins.
They have become cold-blooded manifestations
of their Dear Leader, the embodiment of all the psychopathic traits
he possesses. They are the exact image of the President of the United
States, indifferent, uncultured, unwise, callous, complicit, without
love for their fellow human beings. Warm hearts have given
way to frozen arteries, their desire to do harm to chosen scapegoats
running rampant inside their bodies. They hate because they are
told to hate, they wish death and destruction because they follow
propaganda, never questioning anything but dissent. They fear because
they are ignorant, they do not understand alien ways of life because
they know nothing beyond their tiny bubbles, wishing instead to
remain captives to the producer and consumer lifestyle they have
been conditioned to follow.
They desperately cling to the beliefs that Arabs and Muslims are
sub-human creatures and evildoers needing the salvation only America
can provide. To them, America is bringing democracy and freedom
to those it now occupies, and the noble intentions of the Bush administration
are all that matters. The army of fascism
refuses to see that tyranny was replaced by tyranny, that corruption
has now been increased, that democracy is but a sham excuse to enslave
and pillage, that an entire civilization lays in ruins and that
25 million people have had their lives shattered, that their tax
dollars are being pilfered by corporate greed, that their sons and
daughters are dying for nothing but the profit, wealth and power
of the elite, that their rights and freedoms are being eliminated
not by Arabs but by the leaders they shower with praise and adulation.
Millions of Americans are being transformed into conduits of hate
and racism, citizens thirsting for Arab and Muslim blood and for
the destruction of millions of lives. More and more we hear them
talk about using nuclear bombs and WMDs to destroy Arabs. We hear
them talk about curtailing Arab and Muslim civil rights and liberties
in America, with cries of sending an entire race of people to internment
and detention camps. We hear them validate war crimes and the death
of over 100,000 innocent civilians, extolling the virtues of shooting
and bombing Iraqis and Afghans to pieces. To these warmongers and
violence seekers, the more Arab blood spilled the better.
To them torture under Saddam is horrific
but under the red, white and blue, not to mention under the Star
of David, it is encouraged and acceptable, no matter how sadistic
and malevolent it becomes, no matter how much it contradicts basic
foundations of humanity. Two dozen beheadings are condemned
as barbaric yet the use of cluster bombs, missiles, napalm, bunker
busters and 2,000 pound bombs that kill thousands and maim and decapitate
countless more is seen as a civilized and necessary way to bring
freedom and democracy to those we invade and occupy. To the army
of fascism, an amalgam of Bush gulags is welcomed, and if death,
torture and dehumanization results, so much the better. From Guantanamo,
Cuba to Abu Ghraib, to prisons in Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Afghanistan,
the army of fascism revels in the imprisonment of innocents and
the torture of humans, wishing the keys to cages be thrown away
for all eternity. The prisoners are Arab and Muslim, after all.
They approve destroying cities such as Fallujah, Najaf, Mosul and
Sadr City in order to save them. Under no circumstances can they
ever see the quagmire that is Iraq for what it is, nor the mistakes
that have led to disaster and inevitable defeat. The army of fascism
sees no problem appointing as Attorney General the man responsible
for legalizing torture and endangering American soldiers. They feel
comfortable keeping as Secretaries CEOs and executives of the corporate
world that fleeces their lives. They look forward to a State Department
run by a liar, conniver and unscrupulous cobra responsible for the
death of over 100,000 innocent civilians. Ignorantly they allow
the dangerous Likud-first neocons to remain pestering like flies
in the halls of the White House and War and States Departments,
hijacking foreign policy to the tunes of Israel's delight. They
rush to the polls to cast votes for the worst president in the history
of the nation, having accomplished nothing but problems for the
electorate since stealing the election of 2000, yet providing a
treasure trove of favors to the corporate world.
Our Own Worst Enemies
The parameters of life in America were altered in one giant implosion
of two towering monoliths, and the resulting psychosis which has
ensued has only progressed further down the slope of the surreal.
To America's worker bees and soldier ants, hatred of Muslims and
blatant racism of Arabs, combined with searing nationalism and growing
ignorance of reality and the world, are fusing together to form
a malicious combination of behaviors and psychology that is following
a clear pattern of growth that, ever since 9/11, has multiplied
Today, America is fast approaching a slippery
slope of hatred, with xenophobia and homophobia at the frontlines,
threatening to divide the nation and explode the fiery cauldron
of diversity, creating a nation on the verge of implosion.
Hate now fills the air, racism lingers in the environment, and,
with ignorance the sparkplug of this most frightful engine, a new
dawn fast approaches, pitting those blinded by hate, fear, ignorance
and the clouds of 9/11 against those now free of demons, ghosts
and inner turmoil.
Lines are being drawn in the sand, and slowly, yet surely, America
is being divided based on the wars of George W. Bush. Hatred, fear,
racism, fantasy, blind patriotism and corrosive ignorance stand
on one side with the army of fascism. On the other side stands reality,
courage, peace, love, diversity, world citizenship and education.
The real danger is being played out today, with the army of fascism
reporting dissent to the Department of Fatherland Insecurity, thereby
placing anti-war voices on “terrorist watch lists,”
with protest being confined to “free-speech zones,”
with Republican politicians seeking to curtail still more rights,
with right-wing Congressmen seeking to define dissent a psychological
disease, with the army of fascism acting as national spies, keeping
tabs on those not in tune with pro-war, pro-America, pro-Bush dictates.
This army is growing as the mass lunacy that has taken over America
continues its reign of terror, invading minds and possessing spirits,
catapulting inner turmoil and invasive demons onto the national
stage. The army of fascism comprises your
neighbors, friends and relatives, your co-workers, elected representatives
and teachers. Hijacked by the psychosis of post-9/11, this
army knows not what it does, doing the dirty work of the elite and
warmongers who are unleashing devastation upon the green lands of
Earth. They are captured by the fear exploited every day by those
in power, exchanging once held sanity for evolving hatred and brewing
The danger lies in another violent attack upon the nation, whether
real or concocted, for the army of fascism will undoubtedly wage
war against Arab and Muslim Americans, against those seeking peace,
tolerance and justice, and against those not espousing the beliefs
of the fascists in government. Another bombing or unconventional
attack will result in the complete assault of civil rights, freedoms
and habeas corpus, resulting in the complete fascist overhaul of
American society, the introduction of a police state and the implementation
of repression and subjugation of large segments of the population,
no doubt abetted by the growing legions of the army of fascism.
Resurrected from the catacombs of lunacy and human wickedness past,
mutating to the dictates of malice and corruption present, becoming
the oxygen by which tyrants thrive, the voices by which hate prospers
and the muscle by which the worst in the human condition grows,
the army of fascism, birthed by brainwashed conditioning and bred
in ignorance, unwillingly serves the masters who have created it,
becoming its own worst enemy, the force that will self implode upon
the evisceration of the freedoms, rights and democracy it took for
Soon, when the forces of corporatism no
longer need the army that so blindly follows, the awakening of millions
will arrive too late, and from the long slumber of post 9/11 hysteria
millions of minds will realize the self-implosion they wrought onto
themselves, wishing they had only known, wishing they had been wiser
to the propaganda, wishing to wake from the horrible nightmare now
confronting their lives. Until then, however, they are helping
lead us all directly into the wretched path of despotism of old
and fascism of new, pulverizing our relations with the outside world
and making extinct the life we once knew to exist.
Worker bees and soldier ants are condemning us all, for their numbers
are many, possibly reaching half the citizenry, helping to keep
in power the most unscrupulous cabal of human refuse to ever stand
perched atop the halls of power. The world entire will have to suffer
for the post 9/11 traumatic stress disorder affecting tens of millions
of Americans who cannot escape the demons of crashing planes and
falling towers, played and replayed countless times on video, in
dreams and in the mind, that can now be seen as the sparkplug that
launched America into a realm of lunacy, paranoia and incalculable
As the evolution and continued growth of the army
of fascism persists, the decline of what America once espoused continues.
We are becoming, in the end, our own worst enemies.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international
affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the
Wind, a novel now published by Authorhouse.com.
A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on
America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles
appear regularly in alternative news websites including informationclearinghouse.info
. His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally
and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today.
Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
last night that it was suspending all contact with the new Palestinian
president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his government, claiming that members
of the Palestinian security agencies were involved in an attack
in Gaza which killed six Israelis.
Aides to Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, said relations
would be suspended until Mr Abbas took action against the militant
groups behind Thursday night's attack.
The assault on the busy Karni crossing point from Gaza into southern
Israel was the deadliest attack since Mr Abbas was elected Yasser
Arafat's successor on Sunday, and amounted to open defiance of his
repeated calls for an end to four years of violence.
Three Palestinian gunmen sprayed automatic fire and grenades at
the checkpoint after detonating a truckload of explosives, and were
shot by security forces.
Israel refrained from military retaliation yesterday but said the
suspension of all contacts was inevitable when it became
obvious that "members of the Palestinian security agencies
were involved in [the] attack".
"Everything is cancelled until they take steps against terror,
so we can see there is not only talk but also action," said
Assaf Shariv, a spokesman for Mr Sharon. "Abbas knows who carried
out the attack, so he will be the one to stop them. It's very easy."
The suspension of contact is a setback to hopes
that the post-Arafat era would herald a revival of the peace process.
Mr Abbas, who declared himself ready for talks soon after his election
victory, had already spoken to Mr Sharon by telephone and had been
expected to meet him face to face before the end of January. That
now appears improbable. [...]
'smashes Israel spy ring'
Tuesday, 18 May, 2004
Lebanon has reportedly broken a spy ring that was plotting to
murder Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of militant group Hezbollah,
on behalf of Israel.
Police have arrested a Palestinian woman
who is accused of being recruited in Tunisia, the Safir
Quoting "informed sources", the paper said the network
had been uncovered by Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah.
The group was also planning to launch operations against Palestinian
leaders based in Lebanon, Safir says.
Jamal Zaarura, who holds a Tunisian passport
but was born in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon,
is named as the ringleader.
Safir newspaper says an Egyptian man
living in Beirut has also been arrested, along with a lover of
Ms Zaarura's who she had unsuccessfully tried to bring into the
She reportedly confessed that Mr Nasrallah was to be targeted
with high explosives and poisonous chemicals installed in a tracksuit
that would be slipped to his wardrobe.
Tehran -- September 9, 2003
-- (Mehr News Agency) -- The U.S. Central Command helped 15 Mossad
agents involved in the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer
al-Hakim to flee Iraq, an Egyptian weekly magazine disclosed on
Ayatollah Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI), was killed in a massive car bomb blast
in the holy city of Najaf on August 7. The blast left 82 killed
and more than 100 wounded.
The U.S. Central Command was sure that the agents of the Zionist
intelligence service Mossad had planned and executed the assassination
with the help of some elements from the U.S. and Iraqi spies, Al-Osboa
The U.S. Centcom acquired conviction about the plot after examining
the explosives used in the operation; the explosives -- which were
highly advanced -- are used only by Mossad, the weekly added.
As a consequence, the Mehr News Agency now initially breaks the
story about the Mossad involvement in the killing of the prominent
Iraqi Shiite leader.
An Iraqi political analyst said that evidence of Mossad involvement
has been found at the Najaf blast site. The analyst, speaking on
condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that Zionist intelligence
agents have made great efforts to infiltrate Iraqi groups in order
to thwart efforts to create national unity.
After Saddam Hussein was ousted, the Zionist regime took advantage
of divisions among the Iraqi Shi'ites and sent a large number of
extremist Jews and Mossad agents to Iraq, with the help of the occupying
forces, to infiltrate Islamic groups and
obtain information, the analyst said.
He added that a few months ago, a Mossad agent who knew Arabic
and was quite familiar with Iraqi Muslim groups made a great effort
to infiltrate organizations in southern Iraq and even influenced
He stated that there are reports that the terrorist Mojahedin-e
Khalq Organization (MKO) is helping Zionist operatives in Iraq and
is receiving direct help from U.S. troops, adding that there is
a written agreement to this effect.
Saddam supported the MKO for years and ordered MKO members to spy
on and wage war against the Iraqi Shia.
The main goal of the Zionists is sowing
discord among Muslims, especially the Shia, because they
are aware of the people's great attachment to clerics such as martyr
Ayatollah Baqer al-Hakim, who have been making efforts to unite
the people in order to prevent the domination of Iraq and the plunder
of its resources.
While not ruling out the possibility of the involvement of extremist
groups such as Al-Qaeda in the blast in Najaf, Mehr Agency's source
noted, "Of course, I think the massive propaganda by the pro-Western
media and the emphasis on blaming Al-Qaeda or remnants of the Baath
Party should be considered a conscious effort to conceal the role
of Zionist and occupying forces in this abominable atrocity."
He said that increased insecurity and the outbreak
of a civil war among Muslims, especially the Shia, could be used
as an excuse for continuing the occupation of Iraq, adding that
U.S. troops' refusal to maintain security at religious sites is
part of this plot.
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Forty-six
members of the Palestinian election commission, including top managers,
resigned Saturday, saying they were pressured
by Mahmoud Abbas' campaign and intelligence officials to abruptly
change voting procedures during the Jan. 9 presidential poll.
Two senior members of the commission, Ammar Dwaik and Baha al-Bakri,
resigned early Saturday, and officials later said 44 more members
resigned. Six top election officials were among those who resigned.
The resignations raised questions about Sunday's vote giving Abbas
an overwhelming victory with 62.3 percent, though the officials
who quit said the alleged irregularities did not fundamentally affect
the final vote tally.
"This proves that what happened is very serious and it must
not happen again,'' said Dwaik, the commission's deputy chairman.
"These pressures and threats lessened the degree of the integrity
of the election, even though overall it was free and fair.''
Abbas was sworn in as Palestinian Authority president Saturday.
During the presidential election, polls were to have stayed open
for 12 hours until 7 p.m. However, several hours after polls opened,
turnout was light, a cause of concern for Abbas, who was the front-runner
but needed a decisive victory to win a mandate for peace talks with
"We were visited by senior officials from Abu Mazen's campaign,
and we were pressured to change procedures on election day,'' al-Bakri
said. Abbas is widely known as Abu Mazen.
During the meeting, shots were fired at the panel's headquarters
in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Electoral officials said they
recognized at least one gunman as a member of Palestinian intelligence
The commission eventually extended voting by two hours and allowed
voters to cast their ballots in any location, not just their hometowns.
The change enabled thousands of security
force members, most of them Abbas supporters, to cast ballots near
their posts rather than travel back to their hometowns, some of
them far away.
Dwaik and al-Bakri said Saturday those decisions were made under
pressure from Abbas' campaign, Fatah and the intelligence service.
"I was personally threatened and pressured,'' Dwaik said.
"I am therefore announcing my resignation publicly, so that
everyone knows that in the upcoming legislative election, this could
Al-Bakri said voting hours are extended only when there are long
lines at the polling stations.
"This was not the case on election day,'' he said. "These
(changes in) procedures had two goals: first to increase the turnout
and second to increase the percentage of Fatah voters.''
Arab and European officials have
been warning the U.S. that if there was no change in its strategy
for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the Palestinian elections,
Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian president elect, would resign
and a deadly civil war would break out in
According to the messages delivered by moderate Arab states and
Europeans, a series of American steps, starting with the appointment
of a special presidential envoy to the region, are necessary. That
envoy's job would be to press home U.S. interests in seeing a renewal
of a genuine negotiating process between the sides.
Former secretary of state James Baker III was mentioned as a preferred
candidate for the position, both because of his close ties to President
George W. Bush and his familiarity with the issues at stake in the
Another name mentioned as a possible candidate is John Davenport,
a former U.S. ambassador to the UN. Both men have been discussed
in the corridors of power in Washington as possible special presidential
envoys, and the Europeans and Arabs who are proposing their candidacies
are now asking the president and his new secretary of state, Condolleezza
Rice, to decide.
The messages also detail a list of other steps to prevent the collapse
of the elected Palestinian leadership. One is a "security hudna,"
in which moderate Arab countries would provide aid to the Palestinians
as a total cease-fire ensues, parallel to an Israeli withdrawal
from Palestinian cities occupied since Operation Defensive Shield
in April 2002. Another is the lifting of checkpoints between Palestinian
cities, and a total cessation of Israeli offensive actions in the
territories. American and European guarantees would be provided
to both sides to back up such a move.
The Arab and European messages warn the U.S. not
to aggressively demand that Abbas declare all-out open war on the
terrorist groups, because it would only result in clashes that would
escalate into anti-Israeli activity.
The Arab and European demands also include the release of Palestinian
security prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti.
They are asking the Americans to press ahead with the road map,
making both sides fulfill their commitments in it, and to substantially
increase aid to the Palestinians for rehabilitation of the Palestinian
civilian and governmental infrastructure. The messages say that
there must be linkage between progress on security reforms and progress
in the political arena.
"The reforms in the PA won't take place without political
progress, and if there is no strategic plan to advance the process,
Abu Mazen would be forced to resign since he won't be able to function
if there is no progress in the political arena," is the message
being passed along.
WASHINGTON - If you're among the millions
of Americans who took airline flights in the months before the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI probably knows about it - and
possibly where you stayed, whom you traveled with, what credit card
you used and even whether you ordered a kosher meal.
The bureau is keeping 257.5 million records
on people who flew on commercial airlines from June through September
2001 in its permanent investigative database, according to
information obtained by a privacy group and made available to The
Privacy advocates say they're troubled by the possibility that
the FBI could be analyzing personal information about people without
their knowledge or permission.
"The FBI collected a vast amount of information about millions
of people with no indication that they had done anything unlawful,"
said Marcia Hofmann, attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information
Center, which learned about the data through a Freedom of Information
"The fact that they're hanging on to the information is inexcusable,"
Hofmann said on Friday.
FBI spokesman Bill Carter said the bureau was required to retain
"There are rules that have been set by the National Archives
with regard to the retention of records by government agencies,"
Hofmann, though, said the FBI still had a legal responsibility
to tell people that it had obtained information about them and to
let them have access to it. [...]
Reservist faces 15-year term
for mistreatment of prisoners
The army reservist labelled the "primary torturer" of
Abu Ghraib was convicted by a military jury yesterday of abusing
Iraqi prisoners after a trial the Pentagon hopes will cleanse the
reputation of the US military.
After deliberating for less than five hours, the jury of four officers
and six enlisted men found Specialist Charles Graner guilty on nine
of ten charges of maltreatment, assault and dereliction of duty
- charges with a maximum sentence of 15 years.
For the Pentagon, the verdict from the tribunal at Fort Hood army
base in Texas could prove instrumental in its efforts to ease America's
conscience and soothe the wrath of the Arab world about the abuses
at the Iraqi prison.
The decision also supports the contention of the Bush administration
that the photographs of naked and cowering Iraqi detainees that
emerged from the prison last spring were the work of a small band
of rogue soldiers.
Spc Graner was already linked indelibly in the public mind with
the most searing images from Abu Ghraib: the burly figure giving
a thumbs up sign over a pyramid of naked Iraqi detainees. He was
also associated with another image that came to symbolise the abuse:
the photograph of his lover, Private Lynndie England, holding a
dog leash around the neck of a naked prisoner.
"What we have here is plain abuse, no doubt about it. There
is no justification," prosecutor Captain Chris Graveline told
the jury yesterday in the prosecution's final argument. "It
is for sport, it is for laughs. He sends it back home by email for
"Fortunately, he does not have the final word on the abuse
at Abu Ghraib. You do, and it will speak volumes."
During the five-day proceedings, the prosecution set out a compelling
case that the reservist was the ringleader of the abuse.
Spc Graner was described by fellow soldiers and former detainees
as a brutal sadist who whistled as he administered beatings - to
the point that he broke chairs or damaged his own hand - and threw
prisoners' rations into the toilet.
The court was told Graner forced Iraqi prisoners to masturbate
and simulate oral sex, and that he took photographs of a woman prisoner
after forcing her to show her breasts.
In the Alpha Tier One cellblock where the abuse captured in the
damning photographs took place in November 2003, Spc Graner was
described as a mesmerising force. He conducted affairs with at least
two women - including Pte England, with whom he fathered a son.
Even those soldiers who testified against him regarded him as an
That bravado accompanied Spc Graner throughout the trial. Despite
the case being built against him, the burly reservist with the heavily
lidded blue eyes remained defiant and outwardly upbeat. Yesterday,
he showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read.
His defence pursued two lines of argument: that the reservist was
merely following orders, and that the human pyramid and dog leash
were reasonable control techniques, learned during Graner's civilian
career as a prison guard.
"Cheerleaders all over America make pyramids," Mr Womack
told the jury in his opening remarks. "It's not torture."
The defence also spoke of a jail where CIA
and military intelligence were assigned "quotas" for interrogation,
and guards would be recruited to "soften up" detainees.
The specifics were often left vague. Prisoners were stripped naked,
dumped under freezing showers and denied sleep and food, the court
However, that line of defence faltered after
the judge, James Pohl, narrowed the scope of testimony available
to Spc Graner's lawyers. The other element of the defence
strategy collapsed after it emerged that Spc Graner had repeatedly
flouted orders to wear a regulation army haircut, or cease customising
In the end, however, Spc Graner probably
did the most damage to his own defence by his belated decision not
to testify. "In a case where you are saying that you are acting
obedient to orders, you create a problem for yourself when you are
unwilling to testify," said Eugene Fidell, a prominent
military attorney in Washington.
| A new forecast
compiled by U.S. intelligence experts foresees China and India spearheading
an expansion of Asian political and economic influence throughout
the world. It also sees many Arab countries at a crossroads as globalization
The report, labeled "Mapping
the Global Future," lays out a world 15 years from now in which
the United States remains the dominant power, but faces increased
competition from growing economic power in Asia and challenges from
The long-range forecast was issued by the National Intelligence
Council, or N.I.C., a kind of research organization for the head
of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Council regularly compiles
reports reflecting the collective views of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Officials say the views of more than one thousand political, economic,
and social experts around the world were solicited for the new report.
In an interview, N.I.C. chief Robert Hutchings told VOA the United
States world role will not be eroded. But, he says, China and India
will become increasingly important players on the world stage. "I
wouldn't put it in terms of the erosion of America's role, because
we will still be the dominant power. It's really maybe a relative
decline," he said. "But what we are really identifying
is the likely, the almost certain rise of Asia, led by China and
India, but including other countries as well, as a major factor
in world affairs, a major new factor in world affairs."
The report says China and India will expand their economic clout
and likens their heightened status to the ascension of a united
Germany as a power in the 1800s and the later rise of U.S. global
Looking to global threats, the report says
Iraq could well replace Afghanistan as a training ground for terrorists.
Mr. Hutchings says it is by no means certain that terrorism will
remain as great a threat 15 years from now. But, he adds, Islam
will remain a political as well as religious force in the world.
"We simply don't know if global terrorism will be as great
a threat in the year 2020 as it is now. It will certainly be a factor
in world affairs," he said. "One of the broad trends we
do identify, though, is political Islam, and probably radical Islam,
as a force that has staying power."
Mr. Hutchings says Arab societies are at a fork in the road. Some
may take the democratic path, he says, but others that feel left
out by the benefits of globalization may feel resentful.
"On the one hand, the opportunities to join a productive global
order are greater and more vivid for Arab states who are able to
adapt to it," he said. "On the other hand, those that
are not may feel a sense of exclusion and marginalization and humiliation
even more acutely as globalization -- and we're not talking about
America here, just the forces of globalization broadly -- push up
more and more against traditional societies. That's why so much
is at stake in Iraq and the broader Middle East."
There is also a danger, the report notes, that relatively new democracies
may backslide toward authoritarianism. "There is reason for
concern in parts of the former Soviet Union, where democracy has
yet to put down solid roots. There are worrying signs in parts of
Southeast Asia. So I think one has to assume that at least some
of those countries that joined the third wave of democratization
may fall off and backslide into authoritarian rule," he said.
The good news, Mr. Hutchings says, is that the
report says while the threat of war remains, the likelihood of world
conflict has receded to its lowest level in one hundred years.
A fairly strong earthquake jolted
central Kumamoto Prefecture on Saturday afternoon, the Meteorological
There was no immediate report of casualties or damage to property,
police said. The agency did not issue a tsunami warning following
The earthquake that struck at 3:42 p.m. measured 4 on the 7-point
Japanese intensity scale in Kosa and 3 in Toyono, Misato and Tomiai.
The focus of the quake, which is estimated to have registered 4.0
on the open-ended Richter scale, was located about 10 kilometers
below the ground in Kumamoto Prefecture. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan,
Jan. 15, 2005)
Tsunamis can and have struck
in Canada before, says an Environment Canada meteorologist. Jay
Anderson said yesterday tsunamis -- often referred to in North America
as tidal waves -- are monitored from research stations in Hawaii
Canada's West Coast is vulnerable to the killer waves, which are
most often caused by underwater earthquakes. A tsunami in 1964 destroyed
several homes in Port Alberni, B.C., he said.
"You can see the statistics," Anderson said following
a noon-hour public presentation on tsunamis at Union Station. "There's
a huge number of small tsunamis every year in the Pacific (Ocean).
But damaging ones come once every decade."
Anderson said the effects of last month's tsunami in the Indian
Ocean could be felt in Canada. Waves made their way to Canada's
West Coast about 36 hours after the earthquake, but by that point
the largest was only 22 centimetres high.
"I think somebody would have noticed there would have been
an unusual wave at that point," he said.
Eleven countries were hit by last month's earthquake and tsunami,
killing more than 157,000 people -- two-thirds of them in Indonesia.
| They approach the topic gingerly,
wary of sounding callous, aware that the geology they admire has just
caused a staggering loss of life. Even so, scientists argue that in
the very long view, the global process behind great earthquakes is
quite advantageous for life on Earth — especially human life.
Powerful jolts like the one off Sumatra on Dec. 26 that sent massive
waves racing across the Indian Ocean are the inevitable side effects
of the constant recycling of the planetary crust, which produces
a lush, habitable planet. Some experts refer to the regular blows
— hundreds a day — as the planet's heartbeat.
The advantages began billions of years ago, when this crustal recycling
made the oceans and atmosphere and formed the continents.
Today, it builds mountains, enriches soils, regulates the planet's
temperature, concentrates gold and other rare metals, and maintains
the sea's chemical balance.
Plate tectonics (after the Greek word tekton, or builder) describes
the overall geology. The tragic downside is that waves of earthquakes
and volcanic eruptions along plate boundaries can devastate human
"It's hard to find something uplifting about 150,000 lives
being lost," says Donald DePaolo, a geochemist at the University
of California, Berkeley.
"But the type of geological process that caused the earthquake
and the tsunami is an essential characteristic of the Earth. As
far as we know, it doesn't occur on any other planetary body and
has something very directly to do with the fact that the Earth is
a habitable planet."
Many biologists believe that eons ago, the process may have even
given birth to life itself.
The main benefits of plate tectonics accumulate slowly and globally
over the ages. In contrast, its local upheavals can produce regional
catastrophes, as the recent Indian Ocean quake made clear.
Even so, scientists say, the Indian Ocean tsunamis may prove to
be an ecological boon over the decades for coastal areas hardest
hit by the giant waves.
Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, a geologist at Wesleyan University who
grew up in Indonesia and has studied the archipelago, says historical
evidence from earlier tsunamis suggests that the huge waves can
distribute rich sediments from river systems across coastal plains,
making the soil richer.
"It brings fertile soils into the lowlands," he says.
"In time, a more fertile jungle will develop."
De Boer, author of recent books on earthquakes and volcanoes in
human history, adds that great suffering from tectonic violence
was usually followed by great benefits as well.
"Nature is reborn with these kinds of terrible events,"
he says. "There are a lot of positive aspects even when we
don't see them."
Plate tectonics holds that the Earth's surface is made up of a
dozen or so big crustal slabs that float on a sea of melted rock.
Over ages, this churning sea moves the plates as well as their superimposed
continents and ocean basins, tearing them apart and rearranging
them like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.
The process starts as volcanic gashes spew hot rock that spreads
out across the seabed. Eventually, hundreds or thousands of kilometres
away, the cooling slab collides with other plates and sinks beneath
them, plunging back into the hot earth.
The colliding plates grind past one another about as fast as fingernails
grow, and over time produce mountains and swarms of earthquakes
as frictional stresses build and release. Meanwhile, parts of the
descending plate melt and rise to form volcanoes on land.
The recent cataclysm began in a similar manner as volcanic gashes
in the western depths of the Indian Ocean belched molten rock to
form the India plate. Its collision with the Burma plate created
the volcanoes of Sumatra, as well as thousands of earthquakes, including
the magnitude 9.0 killer.
But despite staggering losses of life, says Robert Detrick Jr.,
a geophysicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods
Hole, Mass., "there's no question that plate tectonics rejuvenates
Moreover, geologists say, it demonstrates the Earth's uniqueness.
In the decades after the discovery of plate tectonics, space probes
among the 70 or so planets and moons that make up the solar system
found that the process existed only on Earth — as revealed
by its unique mountain ranges.
In the book Rare Earth, which explored the likelihood that advanced
civilizations dot the cosmos, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee of
the University of Washington argued in a chapter on plate tectonics
that the slow recycling of planetary crust was uncommon in the universe
yet essential for the evolution of complex life.
"It maintains not just habitability but high habitability,"
said Ward, a paleontologist. (Brownlee is an astronomer.) Most geologists
believe that the process yielded the Earth's primordial ocean and
atmosphere, as volcanoes spewed vast amounts of water vapour, nitrogen,
carbon dioxide and other gases. Plants eventually added oxygen.
Meanwhile, many biologists say, the Earth's first organisms probably
arose in the deep sea, along the volcanic gashes.
"On balance, it's possible that life on Earth would not have
originated without plate tectonics, or the atmosphere, or the oceans,"
says Frank Press, the lead author of Understanding Earth and a past
president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The volcanoes of the recycling process make rich soil ideal for
growing coffee, sugar, rubber, coconuts, palm oil, tobacco, pepper,
tea and cocoa. Water streaming through gashes in the seabed concentrates
copper, silver, gold and other metals into rich deposits that are
often mined after plate tectonics nudges them onto dry land.
Experts say the world's oceans pass through the rocky pores of
the tectonic system once every million years or so, increasing nutrients
in the biosphere and regulating a host of elements and compounds,
including boron and calcium.
William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment
and Earth Sciences at Duke University, says one vital cycle keeps
adequate amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"Having plate tectonics complete the cycle is absolutely essential
to maintaining stable climate conditions on earth," Schlesinger
"Otherwise, all the carbon dioxide would disappear and the
planet would turn into a frozen ball."
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