Archive | July, 2013

Saudi Blogger Sentenced to 600 Lashes and Seven Years in Prison

Saudi-Editor-Raif-Badawi-620x513Saudi Arabia has sentenced blogger Raif Badawi to 600 lashes and seven years in prison for running a blog that the state says undermined the security of the country. He actually got off easy, if you can believe it:

Via BBC:

Mr Badawi was originally charged with apostasy, or abandonment of religion, a crime in Saudi Arabia that carries with it the death penalty.

Lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair told the BBC that Mr Badawi, a father of three, had confirmed in court that he was a Muslim but told the judge “everyone has a choice to believe or not believe.”

He was convicted of the charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and of ridiculing religious figures.

The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.

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The Secret History of the Vietnam War

imagesVICE’s Daniel Denvir interviews Nick Turse, author of Kill Everything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.
If for some reason you have any lingering doubts about the way that war was conducted (or the way that we continue to conduct war today), here’s one excerpt from the interview that should put them to rest:

Via VICE:

There was even a “Mere Gook Rule?”
There was a shorthand in Vietnam: the MGR, or Mere Gook Rule. The idea is that the Vietnamese weren’t real people. They were subhumans. Mere gooks who could be abused or even killed at will. And this is something that was inculcated in troops from the earliest days of training. I talked to a lot of veterans who told me that as soon as they arrived at boot camp, they were told you never call them Vietnamese. You call them gooks, dinks, slants, slopes.
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Mummy Analysis Reveals Drug Use By Sacrificed Inca Children

sacrificeFor the Incas, coca and alcohol served simultaneously as keys to the sacred and tools of coercion and control, National Geographic fascinatingly reports:

The bodies of 13-year-old Llullaillaco Maiden and her younger companions Llullaillaco Boy and Lightning Girl (three Inca mummies found near the lofty summit of Volcán Llullaillaco in Argentina) have revealed that mind-altering substances played a part in their deaths and during the year-long series of ceremonial processes that prepared them for their final hours.

Under biochemical analysis, the Maiden’s hair yielded a record of what she ate and drank during the last two years of her life. This evidence seems to support historical accounts of a few selected children taking part in a year of sacred ceremonies—marked in their hair by changes in food, coca, and alcohol consumption—that would ultimately lead to their sacrifice.

Her surging consumption of both coca and alcohol, which were then controlled substances not available for everyday use, show she appears to have been selected for sacrifice a year before her actual death: “We suspect the Maiden was one of the acllas, or chosen women, selected around the time of puberty to live away from her familiar society under the guidance of priestesses.”

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Protestors Plan ‘Birthday’ for Corporate/Government Boundary Busting Organization ALEC

f8b87fea7b913aa669c0cfce825add78Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization which pushes “model” legislation encouraging privatization in nearly every corner of American life under the guise of advancing “free market” principles, will hold their annual meeting in Chicago the second week of August. For 40 years, ALEC has worked to create deep connections between corporations and lawmakers while simultaneously limiting the rights of the American people to resist a corporate takeover of their democracy.

It’s fitting ALEC would host its annual conference in Chicago this year after Mayor Emanuel has spent his term pushing a model of government the organization has attempted to legislate for 40 years. Between the mayor’s push to privatize city services and attempts to dismantle the public school system along with the state of Illinois’ pandering to huge corporations via millions in tax breaks, Chicago provides a perfect backdrop. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes the website alecexposed.org, the “corporate bill mill” sponsored 117 pieces of legislation in 2013 alone which limit worker’s rights and keep wages down.

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Satanist Lucien Greaves On Conversations With Matt Dwyer

PINK-MASS-570Comedian, writer, and actor Matt Dwyer interviews the Temple of Satan’s Lucien Greaves, the man behind the “Pink Mass” ritual performed over the grave of the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Jr.

In a brilliant way of going at the Westboro Baptist Church using their own tactics, the ritual is performer to turn straight people gay in the afterlife. Greaves currently faces charges for desecrating a grave even though during the ritual the grave site was unharmed and left as it was found upon leaving. In this compelling talk, Graves addresses common misconceptions of Satanism and the media’s failure to accurately report not only the details surrounding the “Pink Mass,” but Greaves’ intentions by performing the ritual.

Click here to download the MP3.

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On The Death Of The Global Internet

global networkVia the Guardian, John Naughton writes that the most significant development heralded by Edward Snowden’s revelations is the end of the internet as a global network:

The days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered. It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, i.e. divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated. Now, Balkanisation is a certainty.

Second, the issue of internet governance is about to become very contentious. Given what we now know about how the US and its satraps have been abusing their privileged position in the global infrastructure, the idea that the western powers can be allowed to continue to control it has become untenable.

The Obama administration’s “internet freedom agenda” has been exposed as patronising cant. “Today,” he writes, “the rhetoric of the ‘internet freedom agenda’ looks as trustworthy as George Bush’s ‘freedom agenda’ after Abu Ghraib.”

They tell us, for example, that no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data.

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Monstrous 33 Pound Mushroom Discovered in China

china-s-monster-mushroom-weighing-33-pounds-could-be-a-world-record-breaker

Fungi from Yuggoth. I mean China.

How…Lovecraftian.

Via Science World Report:

A huge mushroom that is almost the size of a tire weighing 33 pounds has been unearthed by locals from the township of Puxiong in China’s Yunnan province.

The giant mushroom that stretches across 36 inches in diameter may be one of the largest ever mushroom discovered. The finder proudly put the large mushroom on display, triggering great excitement among the locals eager to take photographs of the unusual mushroom.

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The Resurrection of the Wooly Mammoth

Woolly mammothYou’d think anyone who had watched Jurassic Park would know that this is likely to be a very bad idea, but regardless the scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep is plotting to use the DNA of the Wooly Mammoth to clone the ancient beast, reports the Guardian:

The pioneering scientist who created Dolly the sheep has outlined how cells plucked from frozen woolly mammoth carcasses might one day help resurrect the ancient beasts.

The notional procedure – bringing with it echoes of the Jurassic Park films – was spelled out by Sir Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh-based stem-cell scientist, whose team unveiled Dolly as the world’s first cloned mammal in 1996.

Though it is unlikely that a mammoth could be cloned in the same way as Dolly, more modern techniques that convert tissue cells into stem cells could potentially achieve the feat, Wilmut says in an article today for the academic journalism website, The Conversation.

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