i am truly sorry for the delay, but life seemed to get in the way…


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sometimes, ones best intentions seem to pale in relation to scope of ones undertakings, and by that, i mean that i have no excuse but my own inadequacies for any delay in my responses to various issues which were clearly warranted. these thing happen i suppose.

my life was turn upside down recently, and although i am happy to report i am relatively intact, the journey had left me incredulous to the what seems unimportant.  my scrape with life, in other words, has left me a little jaded. i hope the negativity is subtler then in previous posts, because i feel like it could choke the point being made. perhaps nothing will convince a reader either way once such bias’s are admitted…

love.  hard to find and lengthy to define. an intentional direction of one’s energy in the pursuit of someone else’s happiness, maybe… a whirlwind of distraction that seemed more important then life ever did.  her smile encompassed my dreams until she was omnipresent, flashing green eyes peering over my shoulder, i felt her gentle touch over all i did. i was happy in a way i had been scared to be for years, and inside, i felt the tinkling pops of icicles thawing in rapid succession. 

loss. hard to accept, and even harder to get over, like trekking across vast mountain ranges, only to find more ranges ahead as you mount the summit…. triumph and disappointment in the same mortifying moment… terror and ecstasy rolled into one horrifying fantasy, i guess.  loneliness and solitude… i wonder if i’m fucked up or the last true rational being left on earth.

whatever the case, i hope to write more and think less (as my fingers begin to cramp up over this keyboard)… and i also hope to have my hopes become reality a little more often before this whole shitshow we call society comes crashing down around us like the house of cards it is.

loving everybody is a difficult objective, but i will continuously attempt to do so, if for no other reason then the immense pleasure i find the act gives me.

…but i hope one day, i will find what i had not so long ago.

viva la revolucion! (more post to follow, kids)

-jon

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captain invisible and the case of the missing crew…


are we structurally doomed… is our current system untenable?  the math says, yes…

but markets are only vaguely aware of math, and prefer, instead, to rely on the general reaction ideology to determine the best course of action… the ‘self-correcting’ market principle espoused by greenspan and friedman.  this ideology permeates the upper echelon of financial systems, but is misled in it’s ignorance of the true definition of correction as a positive change, rather than profitable change.  while not mutually exclusive, the two concepts are also not mutually equivalent.

the ‘invisible hand’ of the market steers drunkenly onward, swerving and overcompensating in violent seizures of fear and loathing.  we watch helplessly as the numbers roll by on crimson tickers… unable to affect change without infusions of cash larger then can be repaid… while private banks lend amongst themselves to inflate quarterly profit margins, and continue to loan billions to the government, knowing full well that there was never enough money to cover the interest on these loans, much less the principle.

we drift along in the flow of this currency wave in blissful ignorance of the effect it may have in the future, close our eyes to the effect it has on us now, and listen to the soothing lullabies of our financial ‘experts’… “the market always corrects itself, we just got to let the ‘invisible hand’ work…”

the phrase ‘invisible hand’ is invoked by the financial gurus on an almost daily basis… so much so, one could possibly imagine a persona behind the hand, like some benevolent father-figure watching diligently from a cloud above new york..  but without this personification, we can clearly see that the hand is actually a malevolent feature of markets, if not given clear guidelines to operate within.

to make my point slightly more focused, i envision this hand as the captain of a ship, great at steering the massive hulk through the waves of capital and debt, but unable to repair a hole in the hull, or replace a rudder that has fallen off.  the hand is simply not able to cope with situations beyond it’s scope of control,  without a strong structure and well-trained crew.

the captain feels the tilt of the water rushing into the hold, but calmly ‘corrects’ the problem by tilting the wheel in the other direction…  the ship appears to regain it’s original heading, and the ship levels out, but the damage continues to worsen below deck…

the financial markets, like-wise, are finding themselves in the position of a lone sea captain, valiantly attempting to simultaneously steer and maintain the massive vessel.  the result has been a market full of poorly patch holes, and a blissful mentality of short-term goals…  just get the ship as far as possible, then bail-out.  the profit motive, so lauded throughout our youths as the answer to all problems, turns out to be a poor substitute for adequate regulators and regulation.

the markets find themselves on a precipice of untenable debt.  this fact is only debated within the financial markets, as an admission of it would signal market weakness and trigger immediate crash, but economists and mathematicians alike agree that the earth is roughly 82.2 trillion dollars (us) in debt to private banking interests (international bond market estimates, 2010).  average debt levels worldwide hover at about 200% of gdp over the last five years, and yet the “marketeers” cry out at every attempt to institute any reform to an unsustainable system of monetary creation.  the inflationary lending practices have actually increased in clumsy attempts to cover massive holes in the banks holdings.

the point… well, the absurd rational of a self-correcting market.  the market’s goal is to make profits (a goal which helps to steer the giant machine), not to sustain itself,  or repair mistakes in the system.  it is the job of government implemented regulatory agencies to keep the boat afloat and operational.

our short-sighted captains of industry seem content to continue on this same course, without addressing the true issues of hyper-inflationary lending practices and financially fraudulent activities, but the continued willful blindness to the fundamental soundness of the system will end with a crash of most financial markets, as the interest payments from lent money (based on resources that never existed) is finally accounted for… holes too large repair, and no one to communicate the damage back to the captain…

once the market’s investors realize they’ve been taken by a ponzi scheme of global proportions, how much longer until our misplaced faith in captain ‘invisible’ evaporates, and leaves, in it’s wake, only mutinous mistrust of financial systems self-regulatory abilities, and an unwillingness to invest capital into sinking markets.

the hull is filling with water, and the captain is spinning the wheel as hard and as fast as he can…  it’s really too bad he fired the crew… at least we would know how much water we’ve taken on…

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the foundations of historical group-inertia…


the last couple days have been strange…  not really in an out of the ordinary way, but more a subconscious tingle of vibrations as the discontent of humanity emerges in stronger and more distinct ways.  i find myself quieted as the dissonance increases in volume and volume…

my most recent reading has been on the psycho-analytical underpinnings of history, and learning how to recognize and understand the structure of group psychology.  it has been interesting, to put it mildly…  i’ll admit a little overwhelming at times,  but the further i got into it, and the more references i looked up from the archived text’s annotations, i felt closer to the goal of understanding… and what i thought was noise, coalesced into music…

i can’t quite put my finger on it, but undeniable shifts in the tone of discourse, the momentary swallowing of dissent in the steady dissonance of society, denote cracking and shifting foundations.  i can’t be the only one whose noticed…  the fractures are spreading throughout our social-consciousness .

the world of humanity is connected… which kind of goes without saying… but the instantaneous connectivity in which we exist have changed the group mentality, altering the fantasy of our awareness.  under the new systems of connection, we freely choose our group-fantasy  from amongst those available and can find groups, within which, that fantasy in reinforced.  the incredibly high connectivity rates are self-regenerative because of increased disconnection from actually interactions between people, but in the same way, continuously assault people with opposing fantasies and viewpoints, and push individuals into fearful isolation within preferred groups.

psycho-analytical theory of history is an often misunderstood science, lacking in definitive mathematical equation to test or study, but under all actions on historical scale, there are always psyches attached to the people involved, and so i found it provides valuable insight into the machinations of humanity’s masses.  one of the most formidable works ever attempted in the subject was written by lloyd demause in his detailed dissertation “FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOHISTORY“…

in it he lays out the historical proof for his analysis of american group-fantasy cycles, and how decision making is indeed the effect, rather then the cause, in the course of human events.  in a chapter labeled ‘the stages of american group-fantasy’, demause lays out four stages of group-fantasy (strong, cracking, collapse, and upheaval), and their corresponding escalations, common throughout american history by careful and painstaking reconstruction of symbolic rhetoric and phrasing in historical documents from throughout the nation.

he uses the distinction between the four stages to track the group reaction through history and compiles the data in this chart, showing very distinctive cycles between action and in-action when comparing the fetal-group-fantasy phrasing and rhetoric…

the fantasy shows itself to follow historical patterns, but provides little predictive ability other then estimations of group-fantasy intensity, which could provide insight into whether further escalation of the group-mentality is imminent or about to swing the other direction to the cycle’s stable beginnings.  no real advantage to be gained without an extremely objective viewpoint of history,  or as lemause puts it, “it is extremely difficult to study a fantasy you yourself share…”

the only hope i could see was understanding the group-fantasy, isolating its contributing factors, and assessing it’s impacts accordingly.  in other words, i’ll just have to burn that bridge when i come to it…

lemause provides the road map to analysis in ‘historical group-fantasy’ and his breakdown of the integral parts…

historical group-fantasies are defined as those shared fantasies which are [1] massive displacements onto the public stage of feelings connected with the individual’s search for love, [2] allowing people to use groups to relieve shared private feelings and [3] to act out and defend against re-pressed desires, rages and prohibitions which have their origins in childhoods common to the group, [4] using the same ego mechanisms of splitting, condensation, reaction formation, etc. as in personal fantasy formation, only [5] forged in public discussion [6] out of materials provided by recent historical events, [7] distributing group roles by psychoclass, and [8] producing group dynamics which can lead to a breakdown of group-fantasy, a period of paranoid collapse, and an attempted restitution through the formation of a group-delusion, [9] which result in a group-trance state which may require discharge in violent historical action.

so i found myself introspectively inspecting the fantasy of my own reality, and as lemause broke down the fantasy elements and examples throughout history, i knew what i was sensing…  the players in the course of history change, but the fantasy cycle remains unchanged because of it’s necessity to humanity’s well being.  the writer correctly points out that any destruction or removal of fantasy elements are quickly repaired by the psyche, and sometimes that repair job and subsequent recreation of the fantasy leads to what gets termed delusional psychosis.

well documented, the case studies show that changes to the group-psychosis result in predictable levels of anxiety and disorientation, and so it may be considered self-evident that group-fantasy will be defended equally as predictably against forces threatening to undo a carefully constructed realities.

the underlying point i am attempting to make with this idea is that to create order out of the chaos, we must understand that it is not chaos, but order of a larger magnitude, and that the collective psyche of earth’s human population is now sharing an amplified group-fantasy which can be analyzed and quantified.  the wave of humanity’s consciousness is not an unstoppable force, simply powerful and gigantic.

could it be possible to turn the tide with well placed interactions and phrases?  an interesting idea indeed…

lemause underlined in his paper that group-fantasies must be built by a group to be effective (duh…), and, in fact, it’s participants actively seeking group input in its construction.  so, in a way, we are all responsible for the shape of the fantasy we subscribe to.  but often, we are swept along by the massive force of combined psychic inertia, and lulled into a group trance from which even the most inherent contradictions seem reasonable and rational.

Oddly enough, the group-delusion is so powerful that the successful outcome of the group’s violence, an outcome which obviously depends on power factors alone, is always seen by the group as confirming the success of the moral values of the group-fantasy itself. Thus, American success or failure in “wars against Communism,” like Korea and Vietnam, is thought to indicate the success or failure of American liberal values; the various victories of ancient Athens or Sparta somehow are supposed to prove the worth of their differing political systems; the defeat of the Spanish Armada indicates the greatness of Elizabethan values; the defeat of the American South by the North indicates the moral superiority of abolitionism; and so on. All military triumphs are rationalized by reference to the courage and superiority of the “winning” group-fantasy systems, but in fact all come down to accept-ing that might makes right and to denying the premise that all violent actions in fact represent the failure rather than the triumph of real human values.

so the question becomes even clearer… do we distort our own vision by allowing the fantasy to invade rational thinking, or does our vision reside within the fantasy, and rationality is simply an afterthought?

there is no answer that could ever be confirmed without circling back to the question… so i guess the answer is yes.  but what’s really important, is the that the fantasy must continually modify to survive, and this regeneration, once acknowledged, can be shaped by our collective interests if we so desire.  we all have important parts to play in shaping the course of history…

i am filled with hope… and fear, by the action and rhetoric i hear rumbling through the grapevines around the world.  we are awakening to the deception of the trance-state, but we flail about aimlessly, grasping in desperate attempts to reconstruct a workable fantasy.  the connections between groups have gotten stronger, but the result has been massive disconnection from the group-fantasy and subsequent segregation.

i will continue my research, but my initial attempt at quantification of current psycho-historical trends has yielded no sure-fire method to spread fantasy elements through a population without massive media infrastructure…  the consolidation of media sources, by conglomerates of immense resources, will continue to allow fantasies of increasingly narrow scope to perpetuate amongst the populace.  only a similarly large organization can hope to counteract any group trance induced by a corporate owned media’s singular and overwhelming group-fantasy reinforcement.

our fight is with ourselves as much as with others, i suppose, in our eternal struggle to analyze the our illusions in rational, objective context.  this theoretical view, far away from our minds preconceptions,  seems the psyche’s only defense against the fitful trance laid upon us by monolithic group-psychosis.

please read this paper for further insight into group inertia… and let me know what you think, both of my conclusions, and any further ideas about the feasibility and possible methods of altering a group-fantasy to achieve specific goals in societal structure or action.

regards,

-jon

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lower crime rates require higher incarceration rates? i don’t get it, stephen…


our travel through the river of time, to us, seems a slow and plodding course amongst wave after wave, crashing down with great force and fury, that we can only manoeuver in rapid adaptation and movement.  but, when we step back, we find a more predictable flow, structured and set in slowly eroding rock, allowing us important glimpses into the path ahead… and sometimes, predictions may be made.

even the most ‘advanced’ of societies finds itself burdened with the side effects of modernization and industrialization as it pushes forward in unending expansion.  the wasted resources and individuals, however, are lasting impacts that become imminent liabilities… measures must be taken to ensure that the resistant can be corralled and controlled…  the lower classes must be defeated before they can fight.  cold, gray eyes surveyed the situation and advanced a proposal…  “more prisons, more prisoners!”  declared a gleeful stephen harper, dancing giddily behind his massive oak desk.

luckily, the conservative majority makes simple work of the problem at hand…  multiple bills passed in one foul swoop… silk handkerchiefs wipe the sweat from rich foreheads…  ahh… at least the plan is in place.  canada is prepared to face the prison state, now with new prisons and tougher laws.

this omnibus crime bill appears well suited to the needs of an increasingly secretive and malevolent government, seemingly deaf to all reliable data that does not support their policy.  by increasing jail time, enforcing mandatory minimum sentences, and building more massive prison complexes to be turned over to private companies to run for profit, the harper government shows its true colors to the world.

the crime rate is falling nationwide, but harper proceeds to direct our attention towards a strange statistic about unreported crime… that 34 % of crimes were actually reported in 2004, down from 37% in 1999… which i looked up and found on page 12 of this report by juristat, a division of stats canada.

it’s true, the statistic, but completely misapplied to the problem at hand.  the ‘unreported crime’ numbers are generated out of surveys and polls from various sources, and, when they ask about the unreported crime, they also inquire to the reasons behind not reporting.  these offer a small insight into this phantom menace the conservatives  defend us from…
30% of victims did not report the crime because it was settled in another way, through unofficial channels, and 30% did not report because the matter was considered too small to warrant police investigation.  without these two statistics, the unreported crime stat might seem compelling evidence for canada’s aggressive crime and prison legislation, but with the whole equation visible, we can clearly see the transparency of conservative crime policy for the shrewd political move it is.  the illusion of crime prevention serves the dual purpose of  covering the increase in spending and spreading of fear amongst the population.  the actual results (and doubtful benefits) will be impossible to track with benchmarks based on imagined criminal activity.

the future approaches with diligent rhythm, and those in high posts spot the danger before the rest of us…  and they do not waste opportunity or time.  the gutting of manufacturing infrastructure, the privatization of public services, and the deregulation of the banking industry leave behind only destruction and poverty in their wake.  the survivors represent potential sources of discontent, and as such, require much more severe methods of control.  the structure to legitimize all possible avenues of dissent has begun to fall into place, just in time for the deconstruction of democratic process.

throughout this debate, the cost of said bills has yet to be released, not even before the bill was passed, but with one of the nine bills estimated by at a $99 billion implementation cost (weird… read that number here in a thestar.com article, and bookmarked it, a quote from the parliamentary budget officer, kevin page, but suddenly, i can’t find it on any of the articles i saw.  i wonder how fast harper’s lawyers can send out cease-and-desist orders? or if the number was way off and got fact checked later?) by the governments own budget officer , i would say it is safe to assume harper will not release the estimates or projections any time in the near future.  to do so may reveal the tremendous waste of resources such legislation represents… but i digress…

but what i really want to discuss is the cavalier way in which this perversion of spirit propagates itself among the  populace, and namely, how perfectly rational beings are converted to blind, indistinguishing fear policies despite the reality that surrounds them and shows otherwise.

the perception of security is a string the conservatives understand how to pluck.  their talking points are carefully arranged to caution canadians against feeling any degree of safety, so that the illusion of impending crisis overwhelms even the most insulated of citizens.  without this distortion of proportion, the crime bill would appear overreaching and wasteful, and the estimates of increasing incarceration would be foreshadowing of darker days to come.

but stripped of this mask, the bill shows a disregard for civil liberties and rights, a bent for further stigmatization of convicted felons, and an overall increase in prison sentence length and number of prisoners.  taken as a whole, the goal line comes into view…an subsequent increase in the percentage of canadians interred in canadian prisons.

the swift moves of conservatives in the passing of this bill can only serve to enforce the suspicion, installed by the refusal to release the numbers… we are left with little choice but to accept and adapt to the new legislation.  the policy sets the example we are to follow… the mistrust of our fellow man trickles down from the top, seeping into our realities… the tory ‘tough on crime’ mentality appears increasingly relevant the more we buy into perceptional falsehoods like ‘unreported crime’, because the bill implies a need for harsher sentencing that is not backed by factual evidence, simply the convictions of conservative politicians.

the false dichotomy we are left with is deceptively alluring, as it draws on our deep seated desire for security, but shows itself hollow upon proper investigation:

stephen harper thinks more canadians deserve to be locked away from the public… for your safety.   don’t you want to be safe?

the two things couldn’t be further away from each other… and this rational couldn’t be further from the truth.

oh well, get used to it… it’s law now… just keep your eye’s open… when stephen is done, we will all be guilty…

regards,

-jon

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siren ghosts of fallen empires…


the days grow short.  the fall speeds towards us, unwavering.  the rosy days of summer grow distant in our memories.  a reverberating chill hangs in the nights, like a long sigh into a dark sky, clouds opening up into cool blue pools punctured by starlight.  ah… sublime slow motion pinholes, swirling in delicate chaos.

the illusory moments of bliss and serenity fade as fast as they appear, but such moments allow one the chance to ponder larger questions without the distortion and static of life in abundance.  the slower, more stable march of twilight seems to freeze time in place, and hold history’s apocryphal judgment at bay, at least for an instant.

but in the steel-blue haze, the patterns of empire and ash seem moonlit overlays of delicate filigree;  the glint of order amongst the splaying threads of silk diversion.  ‘we are being played as pawns’ scrolls the warning across half-slit eyes, but my mind doesn’t respond with fear or anger.  i am not the glowing center of an expanding universe any longer…

the plans of the wicked align in formation and rank, amassed in darkness and secreted away from the scrutiny of public good.  our interests are collective and distant.  our freedom is insignificantly minute and impotent.  our social constructs cease to function but continue on into obscurity.  our traditions and faith lead us blindly into darker, unmarked corridors and dungeons of ignorance and deceit.

i don’t subscribe to theories of conspiracy without some reservations, namely, that conspiracies require a very delicate touch not possessed by most politicos and posturers.  but these past few weeks have yielded several very interesting fragments which seem to fit in a suspect arrangement of fatalistic prophecies.

we are told repeatedly that growth is the only thing keeping us alive, and that without constant expansion, the economy collapses on itself in fits of now unsustainable production.  the markets must be constantly injected with massive infusions of liquid cash, borrowed against fractional reserves, or they may fall into deep recession and decay.  our money is printed and controlled by private banks, lent to our governments at great interest to cover shortfalls and expenditures, and we are left fill gaping voids left between the value and the valuation of our currency.  we are rome’s inflationary lenders…

we are unable to protest the use of antiquated fuel and propulsion sources in our current state, simply because our  leaders are bought by the industries dependent on the status quo.  while many alternatives exist, we are forced to waste and destroy as we languish under draconian systems of  energy distribution.  the technologies that will set humanity free are horded by the powerful.  the creative spirits of our greatest minds have been perverted into agents of further deception.  our generations most courageous citizens are derided and abused when they try to make positive change in the world around them, and the laughing, aristocratic rabble point idly at their despair.   we are rome’s growing inequality and apathetic elites…

we find nothing of value in our media and news outlets except excerpts and fragments of half-truths and talking points under the guise of sound-bite journalism.  our frame is set out by stringent cultural structures portrayed as nationalistic optimism and xenophobic rhetoric.  our hatred is ingrained through fear and imagination.  the possible becomes the probable.  the video outweighs the facts.  we cower in our homes unable to contact the outside world for fear of random reprisal from unseen enemy soldiers.  we eye our neighbors with suspicion as we withdraw into groups of comfort and familiarity.  we watch helpless as our society begins to praise idleness and reward sloth.  reality becomes commodified and pitch corrected to suit fickle viewers desire for conflict and drama.  we watch with baited breath as humanity demonstrates it’s endless capacity for deception and greed, and reward the contestant most ruthless with wealth and fame.  we are rome’s frothing masses, cheering on the blood orgy of the coliseum…

our system is unable to respond to the desires of the populace in any meaningful way.  the mechanisms of change are firmly in the hands of despotic politicians and corporate lobbyists.  our systems of control and jurisdiction have been stripped of all meaningful definition, until only symbolic bones and framework remain as reminders of what used to be.  the current democratic process is an antique of two centuries ago, barely functional and impossibly removed from all decision making process.  the real control has shifted upwards, concentrating towards ‘benevolent’ leaders, under the fear of attack from unnamed and amplified threats.  we are rome’s unresponsive democracy, and the hardened heart of it’s demagogues to the cries of its citizens…

the size of our interests continues to grow and expand.  we start multiple wars and conflicts, and fight them both in the open and under the cover of secrecy.  our economic policies increase poverty and discontent, and strip developing nations of resources and health.  our military entanglements and ballooning security cost trillions to the taxpayer and threaten to cost them more and more.  the lenders and industrialists, who contribute so much to political campaigns, pay less and less.  the burden shifts to an increasingly disenfranchised worker.  we are rome’s expansive empire, collapsing underneath it’s own massive weight…

the time will come when the cycle of history will be laid plain and prostrate to the judgement of future generations, and in that time, i believe those after us will wonder why such obvious signals sent from so long ago were not recieved or understood, and question why the warning sent out by falling empires was not heeded by those with the weakest excuse for failure.

may history be merciful to us in our ignorance of it’s lessons, and may the ghosts of rome sympathize with our plight in our impotence to keep it from happening.

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the wake of our tragedy and mistrust…


we have been inundated here in north america by non-stop reminders of the tragic events ten years ago.   we observe this anniversary as solemn and sacred to the fabric of what our society currently reflects, and take every chance to emote our sadness at the events that took our psyches to such dark places, and stole the innocence so revered in western worldviews.  the shadow of such events can indeed be large enough to cover such long-term effects, but does our response seem proportional or rational?  do we even understand the extended impact of our morbid preoccupation with the idea of terrorism?

terrorism is, by it’s very definition, not something quantifiable in nature.  the terrorist is considered so because of their justifications and their choice of weaponry,  not their willingness to ignore the innocent blood that may be spilled: that distinction is not separate from our own response.  any discussion of terrorism in terms of their “inhumanity” should be immediately disproven on the grounds that terrorism may in fact stem from the very basest elements of humanity itself.

the problem we face when attempting to tackle terror as a means is the inherent imbalance that exists in the world today.  the large stockpile of nuclear weapons held by ‘major’ powers in the world is a continuous threat to all of the world’s citizens, but especially to those on the wrong end of the cross-hairs.  wasn’t it j.p. satre who said  “terrorism is the nuclear bomb of the poor.” ?

i am sure it was film maker peter ustinov who said “terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich“.

helpless, unsure of the future, and powerless to protest, there should be no surprise that a populace under such conditions should seek methods by which their desires could be taken as seriously as those with limitless destructive power.  those with limited resources are sure to find solace in such affordable tools and probably see few other avenues to have their complaints addressed.  in this light, the terrorist is internally justified in their actions, and they will find no problem with casualties their actions may cause.

but where terrorism ripples into the pools of society at large is where the possibilities for discontent exist.  in external terms, the terrorist exhibits no difference from an ordinary citizen other then the expressed desire to cause random harm to prove his point, and because of this, we all find ourselves subjected to continual investigation;  the desire which propogates this  is invisible and unknowable, and could possibly reside in the depths of all humanity, so we find ourselves guilty before innocence can be proven, constantly watched for signs of discontent.

if the attack of 9/11 had any effect on us, it was to destroy our illusion of solidarity, and to fragment our faith in humanity into manageable conceptual generalizations.  racism, bigotry, and nationalism  rear their ugly heads to help us quantify the threat as ‘other’ or ‘foreign’, but the true cause of our fear remains under the surface;  our systemic mistrust of everyone.

i don’t feel the need to list the methods or ministries in which this mistrust finds it’s expression, but can the goal of such overreaching policies be questioned in the face of continued reminders?  our dead are paraded in front of us, and  become the constant retelling of random destruction and senseless, faceless enemies, and we naturally feel unable to address such untraceable forces.  the ever expanding security net covers and surveils, but it is unable to assuage our concerns without pointing us to the truth of it’s essence: all of us are able to embody or embrace this idea as well as any other, and so we are all suspect.

the threat appears imminent because of it’s facade of unpredictability, but exists in a no more deadly a form then it did fifteen years ago.  what has changed is our repeated attempts to track the cause, and the wall such attempts run into, namely, the human thought processes of potential ‘terrorists’ intention and justification.  we have no tools to peer into such internal motivations, and so the tracking of such thoughts becomes next to impossible, but in our wisdom, we surely realize that all humans could have these ideas.  they are not reserved for those far away, and do not discriminate amongst the young or the old, between classes or religions.  we would all like to be heard, and we consider all options available to us… the transformation to terrorism is simply internal argument, consideration between goal and cost, ethical vs. moral… the freedom to act in ones perceived best interests…

so our fear is warranted, because we fear the indomitable human spirit.  but is our response appropriate?

in the months after 9-11, we found ourselves facing population sweeps of unprecedented size and scope.  so easily, we forget about the shameful actions that stemmed and continue to stem from our response… i was surprised to hear my neighbor say he was proud we never rounded up muslims and put them in camps, like we did in world war two to numerous japanese citizens.  i had to remind him that we did, in fact, make mass arrests based solely on race and religion, hurried them into temporary internment camps, and deported almost all of them without public trial or acknowledgment of basic human rights…

Some 1,200 South Asian and Arab men were arrested in sweeps after the terrorist attacks, and 750 of them were ultimately detained on immigration violations, the Justice Department said. As of four weeks ago, when the latest head count was released, all but 74 had been expelled to their home countries or, in a handful of cases, released to resume their lives in the United States.

The government, citing national security concerns, has refused to disclose the names of those foreigners it held in detention, including the vast majority who were never charged with anything other than overstaying a visa. It has also banned the public from the deportation hearings of “special interest detainees” once it has finished investigating them.

The secret detentions and secret hearings have been attacked in federal lawsuits filed by civil liberties groups in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Michigan, and those cases continue to wend their way through the judicial system.

U.S. Deports Most of Those Arrested in Sweeps After 9/11

new york times

By SUSAN SACHS

we made the decision to not protest unjustified arrest and detention of visible minorities.  our response was apathy to the plight of the innocent because we had already accepted the argument that was presented to us;  the ‘others’ can not be trusted…

the constant war continues ten years on, and still today, we are given more reasons than necessary to justify our new way of life.  we are told to accept the warrantless wiretaps, predator drone strikes, bombings and kidnappings as current reality we must somehow learn to live with, but with each report we find our world get smaller and smaller.  the constant threat of discontented humans forces us further into hiding and avoidance, and we find ourselves forced to cut associations with anyone who we feel may not share our worldview.  we fear the recoil from our collective response.  we understand the systemic suspicion is an indictment of us all, and take the cue, acquiescing to surveillance and limitations on our movements and apply aggressive self-censorship in our public discourse.

the cycle reinforces itself, and the more suspicion we accept, the more unsafe we begin to feel.  the internal justification used by the discontent (aka terrorist) is reinforced by their continued exclusion from public discourse and constant suspicion from outside their steadily decreasing spheres of influence.  mankind, with a degenerating collective conscience, finds no respite in torturous, accelerating solitude.

our worldview, so recently expanded to include an entire  planet full of fragile monkeys, has, in the past ten years, been reduced to include only those whose intentions we can pretend to know, regardless of the accuracy of such assumptions.  at the current rate of reduction, we can expect ourselves to be removed from that list quite shortly.

trust…  that was the real victim of september’s blackest day.  our response… was to destroy what was left of it.

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amnesia, torture, and what became of canada’s last patriot…


the case of richard colvin, former canadian intelligence officer and ex-diplomat responsible for the  state department of post-war afghanistan, is a tale shadowed in secrecy, and perhaps that is enough to explain the difficulty canada has had in following and understanding this increasing complex case.

but the media amnesia of this issue borders on the insanity of willful ignorance.  instead of accolades and applause, richard’s testimony at the inquiries over alleged afghan detainee torture of innocent people was greeted with scorn and spite, and with a few deft political moves, promptly forgotten.  instead of delving into the facts, government reaction was to question richard’s allegiance to his country, trying to portray the man as “soft on terror” and a closet taliban supporter.

the pain of such a betrayal by one’s nation must be felt deep by a man so devoted himself to the protection of his homeland…

Across the aisle, Peter MacKay furrowed his brow, thrust his left hand in his pocket and commenced with the first of his 18 attempts to explain.

“Mr. Speaker, it has been stated here a number of times that there has not been a single, solitary proven allegation of abuse involving a transferred Taliban prisoner by Canadian Forces. Second, with respect to the evidence yesterday, what we know is that when the evidence is put to the test, it simply does not stand up,” he offered. “Mr. Colvin had an opportunity to speak directly to me and other ministers of the government who were in Afghanistan. He did not raise the issue. As well, what is being relied upon here is nothing short of hearsay, second- or third-hand information, or that which came directly from the Taliban.”

house of commons, question period. november 19th, 2009.

colvin testified despite warning letters from the government’s justice department, letters his lawyer said were sent to 22 other subpoenaed witnesses and were threatening in nature, but instead of the recognition his bravery warrants, government response is forgetfulness and apathy.  the federal accountability act ( that took effect april 15th, 2007) was neither read nor followed, and the suppression of the facts continues.  to this very day, we still have no idea why war crime activity was not reported up the chain of command, and we have no idea who ordered the tracks covered. was the government aware it was a problem?

M. Claude Bachand: Mr. Colvin, can you tell us if you received any directives from the government that were intended to stop you from talking, not only to the Military Police Complaints Commission, but also to others such as the media, members of Parliament, or to us here today? Did you receive any directives preventing you from doing that?

M. Richard Colvin: Yes, actually, I was told that I could not go before the commission because of section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act . I was also told that the same section 38 also applied to testimony before this committee.

(and later in the committee, he confirms his position on the issue…)

Mr. Paul Dewar: You said in your testimony that there were concerns around…. Well, you listed a number of things, referencing torture in various manners. In fact, in one of the documents you interviewed someone, and he talked about how they were treated. You asked him. And when we asked about this person’s treatment, he had said that he was hit on the feet with big wire and forced to stand for days. He had marks on his back and ankles, etc. You noted that there was a red mark on the back of his ankle. And it basically said that’s how NDS interrogated him.

Was this a typical way of treating prisoners?

Mr. Richard Colvin: Yes, I believe so.

Mr. Paul Dewar: Would you consider that to be a violation of the Geneva Convention?

Mr. Richard Colvin: Yes, I would.

both the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) and a House of Commons Committee end prematurely and give their hastily constructed reports that colvin’s testimony was heresay, since he never “had not personally witnessed prisoners being tortured”, and as such, no further inquiry was necessary on the basis of ‘taliban’ reports. check out one of conservative mp laurie hawn’s seven attempts during the committee meeting to paint colvin’s testimony as unreliable…

Mr. Laurie Hawn: That’s too bad.

What I really want to just point out is a lot or all of your evidence that you’re talking about, none of it is actually firsthand. It is coming second hand from prisoners who are trained to give false information. That’s what they do, that’s the way they’re trained. It’s come second or third hand from other colleagues, people who have received information, which was probably second hand to them as well. So there really is nothing here that is actually firsthand.

over and over the government repeats the mantra… “the evidence isn’t there to warrant looking for more”, but the avalanche of files colvin had saved during his time in the country, along with numerous confirmations of the receipt of 18 memos up the chain of command and across the ocean to ottawa, help lend creadance to his story that he dutifully performed his job of informing the diplomatic channels of developments on the ground.   he found any claim of ignorance at top levels ridiculous  to fathom, as he had highlighted the issue’s importance on a global scale in several of his formal reports as early as june, 2006.

by the end of his time there, richard had been advised not to put anything more on the subject of detainees in writing by a newly appointed ambassador, arif lalini, but had managed to send and confirm reports of detainee abuse along with clear evidence of this crime to 75 people in the administration apparatus above him. his contact list was subsequently reduced to five lower bureaucratic offices.

M. Claude Bachand: You sent reports to various departments in Ottawa. Can you tell us how many reports you sent and to which departments?

M. Richard Colvin: I have a long list of reports on many subjects, but there were about 17 or 18 on detainees.

M. Claude Bachand: There were 17 or 18 reports?

M. Richard Colvin: Yes. I sent them to almost everyone at first, to 75…

M. Claude Bachand: You sent them to 75 people?

M. Richard Colvin: I sent them to 75 individuals or organizations. The military ones went to directions rather than to individuals. After May 2007, the list was much more limited, but in 2006, I could send them to anyone.

so with ample evidence of revision, the test became about parliamentary will to follow through with the charges leveled.  as it turned out, that will did not exist.

the outrage from the committee’s “findings” spread throughout the canadian populace, and inquiry demands were on the rise, and the web of deceit seemed destined to spread out over the whole of the administration.  names were being named, jurisdictions were being defined…  the horror story of every minority government seemed unavoidable…  until prorogation found it’s second use in less then a year.

canadians, naturally, felt uneasy about this shutting of democratic process, mobilized to protest the shutting down of parliament and all it’s committees, including the afghan detainee committee.  the timing seemed convenient… anti-prorogation protests occurred all over canada on january 23rd, 2010.

but alas… to no avail.  three months later, the storm had quieted and richard colvin had been shipped to canada’s u.s. embassy to push papers.  the government picked up the debate where it left off, and without batting an eye, released all of colvin’s committee submitted documents along with  40,000  internal documents, in no particular order or topic,  from throughout the bureaucracy,  just so heavily reacted that none of richard’s testimony could be cross checked, and no records of the command chain remain.  here’s the four least redacted documents….

obviously, the  40000 blacked out sheets of paper did little to assuage the public’s valid questions on the conduct of government officials, and their role in the decision making process.

when the opposition complained of the heavy redactions, the house of commons moved to appoint a single adjudicator to read unredacted documents and decide what could and could not be released.  more then a year later the result was…

Approximately 4,000 documents were released by the government on June 22, 2011, almost a year after the panel began its work. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stated that the process had come to an end, “and accusations of improper conduct are unfounded.” However, there are an estimated 36,000 pages still remaining that have not been released in a less-redacted form

so the records are never properly searched and recorded, the documents that could shed light are hidden under black marker, and the government (via the conservatives bulldog, john baird) declares the process at an end.  denials and accusations of responsibility are never investigated by media or parliamentary committee, and the underlying problems with the handling of “low value” detainees are never discussed or addressed again.

the politicians have washed their hands, but what happened to the public?  they, at one time, felt strongly enough about the issue to attempt (unsuccessfully)  to force the government to address the concerns.

do they still feel that way?  well, they should…

mr. colvin testified at a house of commons committee on november 18th, 2009, and the transcript of his testimony’s opening statement is here and below.  it sums the affects of the deception on canadians quite well, and describes the reasons this important issue should never have been swept under the carpet…

One may ask rhetorically, `Even if Afghan detainees were being tortured, why should Canadians care?’ There are five compelling reasons.

First, our detainees were not what intelligence services would call `high-value targets,’ such as IED (improvised explosive device) bomb-makers, al-Qaida terrorists or Taliban commanders. `High-value targets’ would be detained under a completely different mechanism that involves special forces and targeted, intelligence-driven operations. The Afghans I am discussing today were picked up by conventional forces during routine military operations, and on the basis typically not of intelligence but suspicion or unproven denunciation.

According to a very authoritative source, many of the Afghans we detained had no connection to the insurgency whatsoever. From an intelligence point of view, they had little or no value. Frankly, the NDS (Afghan intelligence service) did not want them.

Some of these Afghans may have been foot soldiers or day fighters. But many were just local people — farmers, truck drivers, tailors, peasants; random human beings in the wrong place at the wrong time; young men in their fields and villages who were completely innocent but were nevertheless rounded up. In other words, we detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.

A second reason Canadians should care is that seizing people and rendering them for torture is a very serious violation of international and Canadian law. Complicity in torture is a war crime. It is illegal and prosecutable.

Third, Canada has always been a powerful advocate of international law and human rights. That is a keystone of who we are as Canadians, and what we have always stood for as a people and nation. If we disregard our core principles and values, we also lose our moral authority abroad. If we are complicit in the torture of Afghans in Kandahar, how can we credibly promote human rights in Tehran or Beijing?

Fourth, our actions were counter to our own stated policies. In April 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said publicly that “Canadian military officials don’t send individuals off to be tortured.” That was indeed our official policy. But behind the military’s wall of secrecy, that, unfortunately, is exactly what we were doing.

And finally, even if all the Afghans we detained had been Taliban, it would still have been wrong to have them tortured. The Canadian military is proud and professional organization, thoroughly trained in the rules of war and the correct treatment of prisoners.

I would like to quote the authoritative military manual on counter-insurgency. It says that “the abuse of detained persons is immoral, illegal and unprofessional …. Torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, is never a morally permissible option, even if lives depend on gaining information …. The methods used (by the military) must reflect the nation’s commitment to human dignity and international humanitarian law.”

Even when we look at our U.S. allies, who work with us in Kandahar, their top commander Gen. David Petraeus lists 10 `big ideas’ of counter-insurgency. One is `Live your values.’ He said that “whenever we place expediency above our values, we end up regretting it.” In a counter-insurgency, “when you lose moral legitimacy, you lose the war.”

Canada’s counter-insurgency doctrine makes the same points: “Persons not taking part in hostilities” — including fighters who have been detained — “must be treated humanely. Once (local) citizens have lost confidence in (foreign) military forces …, their sympathies and support will be transferred to the insurgents.”

Counter-insurgency is an argument to win the support of the locals. Every action, reaction or failure to act become part of the debate. In Kandahar, Canada needs to convince local people that we are better than the Taliban, that our values were superior, that we would look after their interests and protect them. In my judgment, some of our actions in Kandahar, including complicity in torture, turned local people against us. Instead of winning hearts and minds, we caused Kandaharis to fear the foreigners. Canada’s detainee practices alienated us from the population and strengthened the insurgency.

thoughtful, rational, and logical.  three characteristics almost non-existent in government today.  this issue was never settled, but we act as if it was.  detainees are still being lost in the system today, according to the red cross recent annual report, and this continued denial of a problem, as colvin proposes, alienates our troops from the population.  this makes our mission there impossible, and creates a multiplying effect for insurgent recruits and support.

the matter was considered settled after the ‘memorandum of understanding‘ passed… a deceptively named house of commons document agreeing to forget the whole little “misunderstanding” in the interests of national security. the n.d.p. refuse to sign on, and no space is reserved for jack layton’s john hancock.  the legitimacy of this document is under scrutiny, as m.o.u.’s are meant to be passed unanimously, and the motion passed 35 days after the speaker of the house’s time limit expired.  but whatever…  the nation moves on… no one is held to account.

more recently, n.a.t.o. has reversed the nearly decade old policy of handing detainees over to afghan prisons and security officials, citing an upcoming u.n. report of serious allegations:

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday that a pending U.N. report alleges that prisoners at some Afghan detention facilities have been beaten and, in some cases, given electric shocks.

As a result, NATO has suspended detainee transfers to a number of questionable facilities until it can verify if the allegations are true, a NATO official told The Associated Press. The official spoke anonymously because the report had not been officially released.

this revelation only indicates that prisoner transfer policies were never addressed by this administration, regardless of the non-descript lip-service they paid it in 2009.  any changes to standard operating procedures were external in nature, and the practice of handing over ‘low-value’ prisoners to known torturers never ended, it just stopped being recorded.

secrecy in regards to national security should be the privilege our elected members gained by the earning of public trust.  secrecy without such trust is nothing more than lies and deception in the eyes of the electorate, and should be pursued by the media in an appropriately vigorous zeal.

deception does not require consent from all parties, just the ignorance of most…

and detestable conduct is no less detestable when it’s performance occurs far away from us…

let us not forget the shameful conduct of this governments handling of this controversy, and the heavy-handed way in which it dispatched the brave, honest man who was actually looking out for the nation’s best interests.

cheers, to men willing to sacrifice personal reputation for the greater good.

regards, to richard colvin, and every patriot willing to testify against unethical treatment of anyone under our protection…  canada could, apparently, use a few more like you…

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