Thursday, 23 February 2012

Article: Western intervention in Syria will do more harm than good

Original Article written by Kevin Ovenden for The Guardian - Friday 17, January 2012

Syrian army defectors join anti-regime protesters in Homs province, January 2012
Syrian army defectors join anti-regime protesters in Homs province, January 2012. Photograph: AP

After decades of selling arms to dictators in the Middle East, the west's talk of humanitarian intervention rings hollow

Calls for aggressive intervention in Syria are growing as the country slides further into sectarian civil war. The shrillest are from the Republican right, joined this week by Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The same people are campaigning for confrontation with Iran, threatening a major war. Elliot Abrams, a neoconservative architect of the Iraq disaster, spells out the connection: Syria, he says, provides a "proxy opportunity" to heat up the cold war with Tehran.

Regime change and ensuring that the Arab spring yields only the wizened fruit of governments as accommodating as Saudi Arabia cannot be sold on their own terms. Instead they are wrapped in the rhetoric of humanitarian intervention, tapping the sentiments of those genuinely moved by the suffering in Syria.

We've been here before. The war in Libya was purportedly to save lives. In fact, the killing intensified on all sides, including from Nato bombs. Estimates of the number dead reach 30,000. The outcome is not democracy and human rights. Amnesty International is the latest NGO to report the torturing to death of prisoners under the new regime and rival militias. The town of Tawergha, home to 30,000 largely black Africans, has been virtually wiped off the map. But the cameras have moved on, just as they did more than a decade ago following Nato's bombardment of Serbia and Kosovo. That, too, was supposed to save

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Article: Silencing the Critics

Original Article written by Paul Craig Roberts for - Monday 20, February 2012

In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI — the lead orchestrator of fake “terrorist plots” — called an investigation of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”
Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington’s wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.

Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.

Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda.

Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights

Monday, 20 February 2012

Speech: How Online Communities are changing the world

Kaustubh Katdare is the founder of

Crazy Engineers is one of the world's biggest and most popular websites for engineers and students around the world with a passion to innovate and build.

A Leading Blogger from Nagpur, He was selected for "Once in a Lifetime 2.0″ Project. At TEDxNagpur - He speaks on How Online Communities are changing the world !

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Video: Everything is a Remix

Our system of law doesn't acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity. Instead, ideas are regarded as property, as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries. But ideas aren't so tidy. They're layered, they’re interwoven, they're tangled. And when the system conflicts with the reality... the system starts to fail.

Article: The world war on democracy

Original Article written by John Pilger for - Thursday 19, January 2012

Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people's resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in a phenomenon of natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, "Keep smiling girls!"

Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said, "I didn't have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That's why they couldn't legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs."

In the early 1960s, the Labour government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be "swept" and "sanitised" of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. "They knew we were inseparable from our pets," said Lizette, "When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks' exhausts. You could hear them crying."

Lisette and her family and hundreds of islanders were forced on to a rusting steamer bound for Mauritius, a distance of 2,500 miles. They were made to sleep in the hold on a cargo of fertiliser: bird shit. The weather was rough; everyone was ill; two women miscarried. Dumped on the docks at Port Louis, Lizette's youngest children, Jollice, an

Friday, 17 February 2012

Video: Mr. Freeman - Don't hate each other

Mr. Freeman explains how we tend to hate each other and shows our uniqueness in a different way.
(Make sure subtitles are on - or click cc)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Article: The US schools with their own police

Original Article written by Chris McGreal for The Guardian - Monday 9, January 2012

A policeman on the beat in a school in southern Texas.
Photograph: Bob Daemmrich/Alamy

More and more US schools have police patrolling the corridors. Pupils are being arrested for throwing paper planes and failing to pick up crumbs from the canteen floor. Why is the state criminalising normal childhood behaviour? 

The charge on the police docket was "disrupting class". But that's not how 12-year-old Sarah Bustamantes saw her arrest for spraying two bursts of perfume on her neck in class because other children were bullying her with taunts of "you smell".

"I'm weird. Other kids don't like me," said Sarah, who has been diagnosed with attention-deficit and bipolar disorders and who is conscious of being overweight. "They were saying a lot of rude things to me. Just picking on me. So I sprayed myself with perfume. Then they said: 'Put that away, that's the most terrible smell I've ever smelled.' Then the teacher called the police."

The policeman didn't have far to come. He patrols the corridors of Sarah's school, Fulmore Middle in Austin, Texas. Like hundreds of schools in the state, and across large parts of the rest of the US, Fulmore Middle has its own police force with officers in uniform who carry guns to keep order in the canteens, playgrounds and lessons. Sarah was taken from class, charged with a criminal misdemeanour and ordered to appear in court.

Each day, hundreds of schoolchildren appear before courts in Texas charged with offences such as swearing, misbehaving on the school bus or getting in to a punch-up in the

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Article: Greece lies bankrupt, humiliated and ablaze: is cradle of democracy finished?

Original Article written by Helena Smith for The Guardian - Monday 13, February 2012

Greek police clash with protesters in Athens
Police clash with protesters during an anti-austerity strike in Athens. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Greece got rid of its military dictators in July 1974. But almost four decades later, as the debt-stricken country endures a crisis that some might say is almost as bad as the long dark night of their rule, it is still impossible to protest in the cradle of democracy.

When tens of thousands of Greeks tried to demonstrate peacefully in front of the large sandstone parliament building on Sunday night, they were met almost immediately with volleys of teargas. The toxic fumes were the authorities' answer not only to the popular opposition unleashed by the prospect of yet more austerity but the fear that underpins it. For angst, like uncertainty, is now haunting Greece.

What followed was textbook chaos: a familiar mix of young punks with no relation to ordinary protesters going on the rampage, setting fire to banks, stores and cafes. Scenes of bedlam and mayhem that ensured the event taking place inside the Athens parliament – a ballot on deeply unpopular measures in return for the rescue funds that will keep bankruptcy at bay – was thoroughly drowned out.

Buildings burned into the early hours. By the time Athenians awoke, the historic heart of their ancient city resembled a war zone. Shops along busy boulevards lay looted, their shutters shattered and smashed. Mangled bus stops lay strewn among the detritus. The charred remains of two of the capital's oldest cinemas smouldered, and, with the stench of teargas still hanging in the air, newspapers proclaimed the vote had been passed.

"All this," said Angela Economou, a student taking in a blackened edifice that had once been a bank, "when all we had wanted to do was exercise our democratic right.

"It is not the politicians who are suffering, it's the people. And these are measures that don't only kill your creative flame, they make you despair."

As Europe's great debt drama intensifies, it is clear that in the country where it began nothing is going to plan. Teetering on the edge of economic collapse, Greece is also on the brink of becoming ungovernable; its politicians panic-stricken and discredited; its

Article: The dark side of the personalised internet

Original Article written by Andrew Keen for New Scientist - Monday 13, February 2012

JOSEPH TUROW'S invaluable The Daily You is a warning about the impact of the "Web 3.0" revolution - though he doesn't use the term - on individual freedom and privacy.

Coined by Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of LinkedIn, the term Web 3.0 defines our digitally networked age of "real identities generating massive amounts of data". It is via this avalanche of personal data, available through networks like Facebook, Foursquare, Google and The Huffington Post that, Turow warns, "the new advertising industry is defining your identity and your world".

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this, Turow, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, wryly notes. In the first flush of the digital revolution, optimists like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Nicholas Negroponte and Harvard University's Yochai Benkler were promising a web of "The Daily Me" in which the consumer would be empowered to "define themselves" through the democratic openness of the internet. But the bright promise of The Daily Me has been eclipsed by the dark reality of The Daily You - an online world in which we are being persistently "peeked" at and "poked" by data mining and analytics companies like Rapleaf, Next Jump, Acxiom, Daily Me and Medicx Media.

The root of the problem, Turow explains, is the disappearance of boundaries between advertising and content that shaped 20th-century media. Because it is hard to generate significant revenue through selling online banner advertising, web publishers now cosy up to advertisers by offering them access to the personal data we reveal every time we go online.

"It's a new world and we are only at the beginning," Turow writes of this creepy set-up in which the consumer, rather than being king, has become the serf of an increasingly seductive and coercive advertising industry. And it is only going to get creepier, he warns,

Monday, 13 February 2012

Article: The Real Problem With Google’s New Privacy Policy

Original Article written by Thomas Gideon and James Losey for Slate - Friday 10, February 2012

The tech giant owes users better tools to manage their information.

When Google announced impending changes to its privacy policy, users and the media alike were focused on one thing: the inability to opt-out, short of deleting your account. Though Congress keeps pushing Google for more clarification, many users have grumpily acknowledged the Gmail notifications and moved to new privacy concerns like an iPhone app that copied and uploaded users' contacts.

However, the popular conversation must continue because this is about more than opt-in or opt-out. It’s about control. The search giant plans to replace dozens of separate privacy policies with a unified policy. Google calls this a step toward simplicity—a single policy instead of 60. But while the new policy does not expand the personal information it collects, it introduces new ways for Google to combine and share data across its own services.

This transition to a unified service sets the course for future growth built on each user having a single profile across their online experience. But while Google is changing, the

Monday, 6 February 2012

Article: Currency Warfare - What are the Real Targets of the E.U. Oil Embargo against Iran?

Original Article written by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for Global Research - Tuesday 31, January 2012

Against whom is the European Union’s so-called “oil embargo on Iran” really aimed at?

This is an important geo-strategic question. Aside from rejecting the new E.U. measures against Iran as counter-productive, Tehran has warned the member states of the European Union that the E.U. oil embargo against Iran will hurt them and their economies far more than Iran.

Tehran has thus warned the leaders of the E.U. countries that the new sanctions are foolish and against their national and bloc interests. But is this correct? At the end of the day, who will benefit from the chain of events that are being set into motion?
Oil Embargos against Iran are Not New

In 1951, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh with the support of the Iranian Parliament nationalized the Iranian oil industry. As a result of Dr. Mossadegh’s nationalization program, the British militarily blockaded the territorial waters and national ports of Iran with the British Royal Navy and prevented Iran from exporting its oil. They also militarily prevented Iranian trade. London also froze Iranian assets and started a campaign to isolate Iran with sanctions. The government of Dr. Mossadegh was democratic and could not be vilified easily domestically by the British, so they began to portray Mossadegh as a pawn of the Soviet Union who would turn Iran into a communist country together with his Marxist political allies.

The illegal British naval embargo was followed by regime change in Tehran via a 1953 Anglo-American engineered coup d’état. The 1953 coup transformed the Shah of Iran from a constitutional figure head to an absolute monarch and dictator, like the monarchs of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. Iran was transformed overnight from a democratic constitutional monarchy into a dictatorship.

Today, a militarily imposed oil embargo against Iran is not possible like it was in the early 1950s. Instead London and Washington use the language of righteousness and hide behind false pretexts about Iranian nuclear weapons. Like in the 1950s, the oil embargo against Iran is tied to regime change. Yet, there are also broader objectives that go beyond

Speech: Dan Gilbert - We can synthesize our own hapiness

Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

P.S. After watching the talk (interesting experiment described at 11:00) , I recommend you should listen to this