Tag Archive: guilt

Brave Italians versus Torture

CIA Guilty of Torture and Kidnap – Damages of 1.5 Million Euros

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was snatched from a street in Milan

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was snatched from a street in Milan

Amazing news today.  An Italian court has bravely taken on the leader of the Western World and convicted 22 CIA agents of kidnap and torture. (see CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap).

The man on the left with the wacky beard and hat, was snatched from the street in Italy, flown to Egypt, and tortured.

America’s great liberal hope, President Obama, and his government, have expressed,

…”disappointment at the convictions”….

This is not surprising to me, given what I wrote here earlier in the year when I realised that after only 100 days in office, Obama thought torture was okay… (contrast this to the optimism shown here and here, for example.  Sometimes speaking well just isn’t good enough, especially if your actions are in complete disregard of your own constitution.)

Absent From Trial

The CIA people (including high ranking colonels etc) were all tried in their absence – you see, Italy doesn’t kidnap people! (Interestingly, the CIA, as judge, jury and executioner have just bombed 2 ‘insurgents’ in Pakistan with a drone plane again – “It is not clear if there was any high-value target, We also do not know the identity of the militants” the CIA said; but Insurgents …were pulling bodies out of the rubble… Obama condones all this as drone flights and civilian deaths have wildly escalated under his rule.)

So while Italy is usually thought of as the laughing stock of Europe because of the uncountable number of elections it has and the current buffoon of an incumbent that they keep electing – it’s actually been very brave and done the right thing.

Will America do the same?  Will it do the right thing?  Will Obama strive to regain the high moral ground that he stood on to be elected and which he espoused so eloquently on Inauguration Day?

No Confidence

I doubt it very much.  When 52% of USA citizens think torture is okay and Utah remains a cesspit of corruption and evil business practices, when most Americans don’t care a damn about rising sea levels – and the rest…  ..and the rest!!

I doubt it very much indeed.

UK Caught With Pants Down and Hands on the Trigger

Our UK government isn’t any better having colluded in the kidnaps (called extraordinary renditions as a smokescreen to reality) and torture.  Are they in Europe or out?  Do they agree with “The Hague” or not?  Have they signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or not?

Answers

Answers to these and other questions can be found in my earlier posts from this year.  What a year!

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Auschwitz Architectural Plans Put On Display In Berlin

Pope visits Auschwitz

Pope visits Auschwitz

In a weird co-incidence that I missed at the time, I’ve just found that the plans for the Auschwitz death camp were put on  display during my Austrian visit earlier this year.   This visit very soon prompted my outburst on the pontificating nutty bishop, Richard Williamson (see The Face of Evil from 20 Feb 2009), especially considering I’d just visited two Jewish cemeteries in Eisenstadt….   (also see Jill’s posting on the area and elsewhere here.)

A few months before this, the plans had been ‘found’ in a Berlin flat and were then bought by the Bild newspaper group as the German State said they were too expensive.

We have to hope that these are authentic because they add crushing evidence against the Holocaust deniers, including the now more ‘accepting’ nutty bishop.

Fritz Darges, one of the last true Nazis (click for German obituary)

Fritz Darges, one of the last true Nazis (click for German obituary)

This week, one of the last fully signed-up and openly unrepentant Nazis died (see Secrets hope as Hitler aide dies).  Apparently he’s left his memoirs which will add new substance to the overall Nazi guilt, especially towards Hitler.  Again, if this is true, it’ll be a wonderful addition to our documented history.

However, it’s a sad indictment on human nature that the personal accounts of 100’s of thousands who witnessed events count for naught…?  Funny that, innit?

One of the Aushwitz Plans

One of the Aushwitz Plans

Bild itself, after the initial display of the Auschwitz plans in it’s offices,  released some pictures and information on it’s website in August.

See English Translation and Original Webpage.  The one that caught my eye is this one at left.

Near the top is a scribble in green ink which has been identified as written in the hand of Himmler, architect of the final solution and a former chicken farmer, famous for selectively breeding white chickens.

This small scribble further implicates the chief Nazis and if it’s all true, shows that their plans for domination and genocide were not thought of in an ad-hoc manner, but were systematically planned many years before.   Only the methods changed as the kill volume increased.

As Bild says:

Remarkable about the plan, which was commissioned by the “construction management of the Waffen SS and police in order, is something else: it proves once again that the mass-production mass murder of European Jews not only with the so-called Wannsee Conference in January 1942 it was decided, but much earlier.


UK’s Sensible Energy Chief tells it Like it Is – Like Me!!!

Subway sentinel

Blow my own trumpet

The statements this week, by the UK government’s chief energy scientist, are right up my street.  See Britons creating ‘more emissions’ on the BBC.

It’s obvious really.

  • Over the last few decades our (meaning the UK and all western nations’) manufacturing industries have collapsed.
  • Yet we can still buy stuff, more and more stuff actually.
  • By making stuff, we, as humans invariably use energy and create pollution as either a by-product of energy consumption and/or the manufacturing process itself.
  • Where is the pollution if we don’t make it here?
  • Overseas obviously, where the factories are….
  • Where are the factories?
  • In China, mainly.

This much we all know, but we choose to forget it.  We want a DVD, we buy it.  We don’t care where it was made or how it got here.  All we want is it to be cheaper than yesterday.

Beautiful or not - you decide!!

Industry!

And the same goes for everything.  Even plastic bags….

Trumpet

And so to my trumpet-blowing.

Back in May 2008 I posted exactly the same as Prof MacKay has so eloquently said.  He said that all our supposed anti-pollution efforts ……….

are an illusion.

And he’s also recognised the duplicitous facts of our behaviour in making China et al the arch-culprits of pollution —  because they are not.

They behave that way because they are copying us and our actions since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Back in May 2008 I said,

China is the great factory for the world. While the rest of the world struggled, China just got on and made stuff and did stuff. The result is lots of pollution. Basically, it’s exported pollution from all the global companies that moved their production to China over the last few decades. In other words – it’s our pollution, but in China!

Industrial Revolution

Ironbridge: 1779. Dawn of the Industrial Revolution?

Now finally, someone at the top is saying the same and we might finally get some positive action to reverse our spiralling energy consumption and physical debt to the planet that we live on and from which there is no escape.

Hooray!

The Professor said this,

“Back in 1910 we were burning per capita the same amount as Americans do today so that’s an argument for saying we really have an ethical duty to take a lead and show the way and show that it is possible for a developed country to seriously de-carbonise its economy.

“By historical emissions per capita the top three are America, Germany and Britain so we are right up there on the winners podium for carbon dioxide emissions per person over the last 125 years. “

….which is a firm statement, putting the guilt and the ownership of affirmative action soundly onto our shoulders, specifically the UK, Germany and the USA.  He’s saying ‘we’re the ones wot done it – we should fix it’!!

Cause and effect?

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Megrahi and Calley Compared and Contrasted

Who?  Who Are Megrahi and Calley

  1. Megrahi: the only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing

    Megrahi: only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing

    Megrahi is a Libyan, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 270 people by blowing up a 747 over Lockerbie in Scotland – but released early after 8 years (but 10 years in prison) and sent to Libya to die of cancer.

  2. William Laws Calley - convicted American war criminal

    William Calley - convicted American war criminal

    Calley is an American, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 22 sample charges of  murdering over 500 people by shooting, beatings, torture, mutilation and sexual abuse in Vietnam – but released early after 3 years and has so far lived quietly for over 35 years.

Further similarities and differences exist.

    1988: wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 in a field in Lockerbie, Scotland.

    1988: wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 in a field in Lockerbie, Scotland.

  1. Megrahi has always said he was innocent and was convicted on one piece of clothing evidence and the say-so of a disgruntled acquaintance in Malta.
      Moammar Gadhafi - Libyan Dictator

      Moammar Gadhafi - Libyan Dictator

    • It’s been suggested that people at the highest level in Libya organised the plane bombing.  Gadhafi has always remained aloof, grunted and ambiguously farted.
    • The evidence could have easily have been tampered with as it remained for many months in disputed, easily corruptible circumstances.
  2. My Lai massacre

    My Lai massacre

  3. Lt Calley admitted the murders but always claimed he was acting under orders.  This higher command, Ernest Medina, has always disputed this.  Medina too, was tried.  His trial lasted 60 mins and he was acquitted of all charges.  Nevertheless, this ‘innocent’ man’s career was over.

Current Status

When Calley was released by the soon-to-be-disgraced Republican President Nixon, many in the US and elsewhere were outraged and shocked.  Calley was hidden from view and eventually forgotten about, except for his recent admission that he’s ‘sorry every day’ – see news link.

Along with a whole charade of political shenanigans including the notable damning silence from prime Minister Brown, Megrahi has been released to Libyan custody who immediately paraded him as a Terry Waite-like hero.  The custody thing is a blur.  He will die soon.  Megrahi’s public statement on his release bears detailed reading.  If he is telling the truth, his words are those of a patient, honourable man, restraining himself against the unjust forces of the world.

  • He bears no ill-will to the Scottish people, medical and prison staff.
  • For the victims’ relatives of the bombing, he expresses sincere sympathy.
  • For his trial, he expresses disillusionment at the failings of a supposedly fair system.  I’ve studied his face in Amsterdam and elsewhere.  This is genuine.
  • Now these are his actual words:
  • I cannot find words in my language or yours that give proper expression to the desolation I have felt. This horrible ordeal is not ended by my return to Libya.

    It may never end for me until I die. Perhaps the only liberation for me will be death.

    And I say in the clearest possible terms, which I hope every person in every land will hear: all of this I have had to endure for something that I did not do.

    The remaining days of my life are being lived under the shadow of the wrongness of my conviction.

He finishes by saying,

I say goodbye to Scotland and shall not return. My time here has been very unhappy and I do not leave a piece of myself. But to the country’s people I offer my gratitude and best wishes.

Conclusion

V for vendettaThese are not the words of a lying man.  He is a disillusioned patsy, a fall-guy for bigger forces.  This is the likely reason for his release.  It’s as if there’s an un-written code that everyone knows but dare not admit – but it must be enacted to equalise the communal guilt of an informed nation that suspects a gross injustice.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

Gadhafi, on the other hand, is laughing up his sleeve.  And the rabid right in the USA just use his release as fuel for their strident cries for battle.  The real power in the USA just sit tight, saving that fuel for another day, when another mass of innocents are mown down for profit in the hills of Pakistan.

Calley, exams failure of the US schools system, is right to think on his actions every day, and to think how truly lucky he is to be alive.  Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, ha ha.

Backwards and Forwards Through Time

Exploring the Simultaneous Nature of Cause & Effect

Mont Ventoux from the Baronnies

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Finale, Episode - “All Good Things…”

Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

"The Trial Never Ends": Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.

Tom Simpson's Memorial on Mt VentouxI’ve just watched the double episode finale to the TNG Picard series just after the cyclists finished their ascent of Mont Ventoux in this years Tour de France.  It was “All Good Things…”(see link, link & link for full episode info)

In a nutshell, Picard, by the absolute faith that his crew have in him, across three different life-times, undoes a space-time anomaly of their own creation which saves life on Earth…

What I saw was a fine dramatic representation of the Buddhist principle of karma transcending time and space, and the principle that karma (all that we and our lives are) can be changed both backwards and forwards in time;  The simultaneity of cause and effect!

Well!  While all fine and dandy as a piece of fiction, how can I say that this is what it’s really like?

Deceased Ancestors

Nichiren

Nichiren

Nichiren Daishonin, the 12th century Japanese Buddhist monk, in a letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, one of his disciples, tried to explain a bit of the history behind a ceremony for the dead to her.  (A Buddhist service held for the repose of the dead. Such ceremonies were conducted annually, usually on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.) In it, he says, almost a conclusion  to his explanation,

The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. And, amazing as it may seem, all the fathers and mothers of the preceding seven generations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to become Buddhas.  In addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters, and countless other persons not only were enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment. –  On Offerings for Deceased Ancestors, WND, p820

ArrowI’ve highlighted the crushing significance that summarises the whole letter, both in it’s literal summary and as it’s sense and meaning.  Nichiren is saying that we can affect the past from now, as well as the future.  Like Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek episode, the past, present and future are as one, overlapped, affecting each other in a miraculous way.

It’s as if the arrow of time , something everyone experiences in their daily lives, does not exist.

Faith

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Maudgalyayana gets killed

Of course, faith is behind all of this; but if we accept both tales at face value there is much to commend it and the value system for life that they support.   Here’s how it panned out for Maudgalyayana….

He was a disciple of Shakyamuni, (the person we call “The Buddha”,  idolised in many lands).  Maudgalyayana was supposed to have supernatural powers, such as mind-reading, out-of-the-body experiences and walking through walls.  He also brought bad karma upon himself by killing his parents which led to his death at the hands of bandits. To change his karma, he studied the Lotus Sutra, so that later, when he met the bandits he ignored his powers and did not defend himself.

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I

Shakyamuni said that even supernatural powers are of no use to avoid one’s karma, especially when it is so heavy…  That’s what was said and believed at the time.

But is it true?  Is any of this possible?

I believe it is so.  We can change the past as well as future. Harry Patch who died today aged 111, recalled shooting a German in the leg so as not to kill him (see here),  just after seeing a young man die.  He said,

“I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: ‘Mother’. I didn’t see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God’s presence.  I’ve never got over it. You never forget it. Never.”

When they reached the enemy’s second line four Germans stood up, and one ran forward pointing his bayonet at Patch who, with only three rounds left in his revolver, wondered what to do. He then deliberately fired at the man above the ankle and above the knee….”You’ve got a memory. You’ve got a brain about the size of a tea cup. I’ve got a memory that goes back for 80 or 90 years and I think that memory goes on with you when you die. And that’s my opinion. Death is not the end.”

Experiences like this can be rationalised into the mere electrical workings of the brain.   But in a way, Patch’s actions shaped the rest of his life.  He didn’t die early, and maybe had the well-known “survivor’s guilt” for not doing so.  But like the fictional Jean Luc, he has communicated across the ages and affected people because of it.  Without being a Buddhist, his actions have nevertheless been Buddhist.

The follow up to the quote above (from a BBC documentary),  is that his three chums were blown to bits 6 weeks later.  His not un-natural words were;

“If I had met that German soldier after my three mates had been killed, I’d have no trouble at all in killing him”….

The thing is, he didn’t.  The order of events was different and as in the Star Trek story, who’s to tell what’s what?

Planck’s Constant and Entanglement

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

It’s been said that if Planck’s Constant were slightly different – or maybe not so constant – then we ourselves might have the supernatural powers to be able to walk through walls like Maudgalyayana.  In fact, the physics says that this must be so! The natural repulsions of atoms would be different and matter could diffuse through matter with less interaction (or be totally inert depending which way it went).

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Planck’s Constant is a derived measure from a complex suite of theory.  For physics, it’s as fundamental as pi – one of the most bizarre things in the universe – bizarre because most people have heard of it and can describe what it is, yet no-one can measure it, exactly, or say why it pops up in so many equations.

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"

Surely this is a definition of supernatural?

Entanglement is another “spooky” quantum property.  Einstein did not like this because of the “simultaneity” which went plain against his experimentally provable Relativity theory (Edington proved this because light bends near large masses).  But it exists and experiments have now been done that confirm (at least so far) simultaneous action at a distance. (see Was Einstein Wrong?: A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity).  So experiments prove both instantaneous action at a distance and space-time bending….

Surely, this also is a definition of supernatural?

“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – JBS Haldane

…although a better version, attributed to Edington goes,

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”

Good Merit

Nichiren, in his explanatory letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, follows the passage above with a quote from the Lotus Sutra saying,

Therefore, it is said in the third volume of the Lotus Sutra, “We beg that the merit gained through these gifts may be spread far and wide to everyone, so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way.”

This is also similar to a further sentence which I say twice every day,

But those who practise meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law.  At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable…

When Patch first spoke about WW1 he said, “For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn’t news. Forget it.

He obviously hated everything about WW1.   But for his last 11 years, after living a life of gentle merit, he finally spoke and told his tale. Like the Venerable Maudgalyayana who changed his karma, bathed in the ‘queerness’ of the universe,  Patch changed his by finally telling his story after sowing the seeds so long ago.  He’s made sure people don’t forget it.  The Star Trek episode “All Good Things…” touched on this also.  Where the past meets the present, which meets the future.

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream

It’s as if there is a common strand of semi-known knowledge across all of humanity that just needs to be awakened.

  • Sometimes it’s story-tellers,
  • Sometimes it’s traumatised soldiers,
  • Sometimes it’s scientists searching for truth…?

We all know it, we all know how to behave.  But we forget.

A Dream within a Dream

I suppose that all sentient beings are questing for “truth”.

  • Sometimes we need some proof, like the scientist.
  • Sometimes we need emotional trauma, like Harry Patch.
  • Sometimes though, the truth is self-evident, and is a belief, derived from universal truths beyond time and space, elucidated by an enlightened one and transmitted as a belief system and a way of life.

This later one we call Buddhism.

As Nichiren said, a dream within a dream….  the proof for this truth lies within the words and actions of ordinary people searching for this truth….

When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that, although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in the pure land of Eagle Peak, and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – The Fourteen Slanders, WND, p760

The inter-connectness of all things is how The Buddha described it.  His last words have various translations into English, but they all convey the same meaning that the universe is transient and an exhortation  to do one’s best!

e.g.

  1. “Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!” – link
  2. “All created things are impermanent. Strive on with diligence.” – link
  3. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation. Do your best.” – link
  4. “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” – link

  • See Harry Patch’s death today in my previous post here.
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