7.10.13 - In Antwerp, pupils at the Sint-Lutgardisschool mourned the death of 18-year-old Grégory Bluj on Monday. Grégory was stabbed to death last weekend, during a party at a local pub close to the school. The incident had a big impact on the fellow students. The school adapted the schedule for Grégory's classmates. The man who killed Grégory, a 49-year-old man, has been put in costudy. He was allegedly drunk when he stabbed the student to death.
Propaganda is a powerful weapon in war; it is used to dehumanize and create hatred toward a supposed enemy, either internal or external, by creating a false image in the mind. This can be done by using derogatory or racist terms, avoiding some words or by making allegations of enemy atrocities. Most propaganda wars require the home population to feel the enemy has inflicted an injustice, which may be fictitious or may be based on facts. The home population must also decide that the cause of their nation is just.
Photo: Victims of Agent Orange used by the US military in Vietnam - Wikipedia / The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts. It was signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925 and entered into force on 8 February 1928. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 7 September 1929. The Geneva Protocol is a protocol to the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907...
His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
In 1962, tijdens zijn laatste dagen in Oxford, merkte Hawking dat hij steeds onhandiger werd, onduidelijker was en dat hij zomaar omviel en tegen dingen aan liep. Tijdens de kerst van 1962 merkten zijn ouders iets vreemds aan hem en Hawking lag begin 1963 twee weken in het ziekenhuis. De diagnose was: amyotrofische laterale sclerose (ALS). Dit is een ongeneeslijke ziekte die de zenuwcellen aantast totdat het lichaam helemaal verlamd is. Het denkvermogen wordt echter niet aangetast door de ziekte.
Er werd gedacht dat hij door de ziekte zijn doctoraat niet zou halen, maar tegen alle verwachtingen in haalde hij het toch. Hij en zijn vrouw moesten verhuizen naar een flat omdat hij met zijn rolstoel, waar hij al snel in terecht kwam, geen trappen meer op kon.
Tot 1979 kon Jane Hawking hem alleen verzorgen, maar daarna werd het noodzakelijk om een verpleegster in te huren.
Toen hij in 1985 op een congres in Genève een longontsteking opliep veranderde er een hoop. Hij moest met machines in leven worden gehouden en door de noodzakelijk geworden operatie waarbij zijn stembanden werden doorgesneden raakte hij zijn stem kwijt. De artsen raadden zijn vrouw aan de life support uit te schakelen omdat ze hem geen kans op overleven meer gaven, maar dat wilde Jane niet. Na de operatie was het erg moeilijk voor haar en Hawking. De enige manier waarop Hawking kon communiceren was door middel van het aanwijzen (door Jane) van letters, en als ze de goede letter aanwees dan bewoog Hawking zijn wenkbrauwen. Een normaal gesprek voeren of boeken schrijven was er dus niet meer bij.
Toen Walt Woltosz hoorde wat er met Hawking gebeurd was, stuurde hij hem een computerprogramma waarmee hij woorden kon selecteren door middel van het bewegen van zijn ogen. Ook stuurde hij een spraakcomputer waardoor Hawking weer een stem had, zij het een met een Amerikaans accent. Het boek A Brief History of Time (Het heelal) is geschreven met behulp van deze middelen.
Later werden de computer en het spraaksysteem ingebouwd in zijn rolstoel, zodat hij geen laptop meer mee hoefde te dragen. Dit systeem had een aantal voordelen. Zo kon hij veel tekst van tevoren maken en later, tijdens een conferentie, laten afspelen of meteen afdrukken.
Hawking scheidde van Jane in 1991. Hij hertrouwde in 1995, met Elaine Mason, zijn verpleegster, en ex-vrouw van David Mason, die de eerste versie van Hawkings spraakcomputer ontwierp. Eind 2006 scheidde hij na elf jaar huwelijk ook van haar.
Sinds 2004 heeft Hawking 24 uur per dag verzorging nodig en wordt hij professioneel verpleegd. Toch bleef hij nog steeds actief in de natuurkunde. Ultimo 2008 heeft hij zich, naar verluidt, meer definitief van zijn beroepsactiviteiten teruggetrokken. In april 2009 werd Hawking opgenomen in het ziekenhuis met een infectie in zijn borststreek.
Stephen Hawking denkt dat zijn ziekte mogelijk te wijten is aan een malabsorptie van voedingsstoffen en suppleert zijn voeding met vitaminen- en mineralentabletten, zink, levertraan, foliumzuur, vitamine B complex, vitamine B12, vitamine C en vitamine E. Verder vermijdt hij gluten en plantaardige olie, evenals gemaksvoedsel. Daarnaast ondergaat hij passieve fysiotherapie op de bortskas en passieve en actieve fysiotherapie op alle ledematen en spiergroepen.
Belgacom downplays UK hacking allegations at EU hearing
BRUSSELS - Belgian telecommunications firm Belgacom has played down revelations it was hacked by British intelligence.
The state-owned company, which supplies services to EU institutions and whose subsidiary, Bics, handles data transfers between Europe and the Middle East, sent two top men to answer questions at an EU parliament hearing on Thursday (3 October).
Its secretary general, Dirk Lybaert, told MEPs: "This is a kind of attack that a single company or country would be unable to withstand on its own … The intruder had massive resources, sophisticated means and a steadfast intent to break into our network."
But he declined to speculate on the "hypothesis" that Britain's spy hub, GCHQ, did it, as reported by German daily Der Spiegel last month on the basis of files exposed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Belgacom vice president Geert Standaert echoed Lybaert in saying the malware was "extremely sophisticated."
He said "at the moment, Belgacom cannot confirm or deny allegations in the press [on British involvement]" because the case is under scrutiny by Belgian prosecutors.
He noted that Belgacom discovered the spyware in June, but it does not know how long ago it was compromised.
He added that it penetrated just 124 out of its 26,000 IT systems and that it has been "cleaned out" over the past few months. "The attack had no impact on customers," he said.
Frank Robben, Belgium's data protection chief, also claimed the intercepted data was on a minor scale and that Belgacom's "rapid reaction" fixed the bug.
For their part, MEPs voiced frustration on what they called Belgacom's evasiveness.
"Why would Belgacom internal systems be a target for a state? We’re talking about a massive, sophisticated attack," Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in 't Veld, who chaired the hearing, said.
Claude Moraes, a British centre-left MEP, noted: "You have allegations of the UK spying on Belgian telephone systems which were part of the infrastructure of the European Union … I think that's quite an unusual allegation and of course it can't just stand, it has to be investigated."
MEPs also criticised the UK for declining to send a speaker.
They left an empty chair for GCHQ chief Iain Lobban, who had been invited, but who did not come because the UK says EU bodies have no jurisdiction on security affairs.
Two British security sources did speak out in a report also on Thursday by British state broadcaster, the BBC, on the broader US and UK snooping affair, however.
Baroness Neville-Jones, a former UK intelligence chief, who is currently Britain's special representative to business on cyber security, told the BBC's flagship news programme, Newsnight, that mass surveillance is needed to weed out terrorists.
She said the ethical issues raised by Snowden are nothing new because "there has always been a tension" between security and privacy.
David Omand, a former GCHQ head, attacked Snowden for compromising security assets.
He said the fact Snowden is now in Russia means the Kremlin has access to the thousands of secret files which he downloaded from the US' National Security Agency, in a coup which Moscow "could never have dreamed of, even in the days of Burgess, Philby and Maclean," referring to three Cold-War-era Russian agents.
Glen Greenwald, a journalist for British daily The Guardian, who helped Snowden bring the secrets to light, told Newsnight that Snowden's files are so well encrypted that neither US nor Russian intelligence could crack them.
"Data is stored on thumb drives, and on those thumb drives are very sophisticated means of encryption shells, that, as I said before, and I know this because I’ve read the documents that I have on this, not even the NSA can break," he said.
UK Peterborough Court, 133 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2BB, Goldman Sachs International
about UK Temple, London, EC4Y 7HL, Temple Church
after UK Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA, Buckingham Palace
UK Peterborough Court, 133 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2BB, Goldman Sachs International
about UK Temple, London, EC4Y 7HL, Temple Church
after UK Marlborough Rd, London, SW1A 1BS, St James's Palace
Forgotten US War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity
Thirty-two year old Agent Orange victim, Chu Chi, Vietnam
As a reminder:
'The Bush administration then turned its attention to Iraq, and argued the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq had become urgent. Among the stated reasons were that Saddam's regime had tried to acquire nuclear material and had not properly accounted for biological and chemical material it was known to have previously possessed, and believed to still maintain. Both the possession of these weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the failure to account for them, would violate the U.N. sanctions. The assertion about WMD was hotly advanced by the Bush administration from the beginning, but other major powers including China, France, Germany, and Russia remained unconvinced that Iraq was a threat and refused to allow passage of a UN Security Council resolution to authorize the use of force. Iraq permitted UN weapon inspectors in November 2002, who were continuing their work to assess the WMD claim when the Bush administration decided to proceed with war without UN authorization and told the inspectors to leave the country. The United States invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, along with a "coalition of the willing" that consisted of additional troops from the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent, from Australia and Poland. Within about three weeks, the invasion caused the collapse of both the Iraqi government and its armed forces, however, the U.S. and allied forces failed to find any weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. Traces of former materials and weapons labs were reported to have been located, but no "smoking guns". Nevertheless, on May 1, George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of "major combat operations" in the Iraq war. Bush's approval rating in May was at 66%, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. However, Bush's high approval ratings did not last. First, while the war itself was popular in the U.S., the reconstruction and attempted "democratization" of Iraq lost some support as months passed and casualty figures increased, with no decrease in violence nor progress toward stability or reconstruction. Second, as investigators combed through the country, they failed to find the predicted WMD stockpiles, which led to debate over the rationale for the war.'
Credibility gap is a political term that came into wide use during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, it was most frequently used to describe public skepticism about the Lyndon B. Johnson Vietnam War.
Today, it is used more generally to describe almost any "gap" between the reality of a situation and what politicians and government agencies say about it.
Photo: Fallujah (Iraq): Victims of white phosphorus chemical weapon used by the Americans.
US Government Refuses to Compensate Victims of Chemical Weapons in Vietnam
From 1961 to 1971, approximately 19 million gallons of chemical agents including Agent Orange, were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam. Much of it was contaminated with dioxin, a deadly chemical. Dioxin causes various forms of cancers, reproductive illnesses, immune deficiencies, endocrine deficiencies, nervous system damage, and physical and developmental disabilities.
So while the US government is attempting to “police the world” in search of chemical weapons, it is important to remember the long history that they have of using these weapons themselves.
Just this week BBC reported that:
The Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, but the casualties continue as birth defects plague the country. There are claims that thousands of children continue to be born with horrific facial deformities due to the 20 million gallons of Agent Orange chemical sprayed by the United States. The Vietnamese call the disfigured youngsters ‘the children of Agent Orange’. Da Nang in central Vietnam is thought to have the highest level of congenital deformity in the world.
There are also many US veterans who suffer from agent orange poisoning, causing thousands of birth defects in America as well. Just recently the veterans began to receive compensation for their suffering, however the millions in Vietnam who are effected will likely never see any kind of real help from the agencies responsible.
The US Government Refuses to Compensate Victims of Chemical Weapons in Vietnam.
Photos: NATO bombing of Libya and the destruction of Libya’s infrastructure - The bombing of the Nasser University in Tripoli on June 12, 2011.