The USA Had A Major Clandestine Operation Running In Iran

Seymour Hersh writing in The New Yorker magazine, July 2008:

Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

(read the full story)

"… designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership".

The article goes on to say:

The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change.

Now think about the activities of the last couple of weeks. Starting to add up for you?

And who was running JSOC? General Stanley A. McChrystal, President Obama’s recently anointed Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

Three (3) the mobile phone company – SUCK

I just got off the phone after a very annoying phone call with a Three "customer support" person.

The guy was just rude, obnoxious and uninformed.

I’ve had a 3G card from 3 for the last 18 months and never used it. But I’ve paid my $29 a month – so they have done very well out of me.

When I did try to use it a couple of days ago – because my TPG account has been capped for a couple of days – the throughput on the card was terrible, I’m talking single digits. I rang 3 support and was told their network is overloaded in my area (inner suburb of Brisbane) and that it might take a month to resolve.

So I rang them back today and asked them today to cancel my account – and was told there would be an $80 charge! When I explained they are not providing me with the service I signed up for, the guy on the phone had the temerity to try to tell me that it is MY FAULT because I recently moved house!! And that just because they agreed to give me coverage in one location, didn’t mean they provided access across 100% of the country!

I explained that I’m not in Alice Springs – I’m in an inner suburb of Brisbane where they normally DO provide access but they haven’t provisioned their network sufficiently.

But he just kept talking over me, not listening at all. I had to raise my voice for him to even stop talking for a second to let me finish my sentence.

Eventually he went and "spoke to a supervisor" and agreed to cut my cancellation charges in half. I said that I refused to pay them a cent more and asked to speak directly to a supervisor. He said someone would call me – WITHIN 48 HOURS.

It takes 48 hours to get someone to call me back?

What kind of operation are they running?

Network is down.

48 hours to get a call center supervisor to call me back.

Pathetic.

They have made $522 bucks out of me on this card and provided ZERO SERVICE.

Australians Are Racists

"Aboriginal people are 13 times more likely to be locked up than other Australians."

That’s a figure that comes from the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC is a division of the Australian National Council on Drugs, a Federal government body) report "Bridges and Barriers – Addressing Indigenous Incarceration and Health".

There are about 750,000 aboriginal people in Australia out of a total population of about 23 million. They comprise about 3% of the total population. But, according to the report:

"One in four prisoners in Australia is Indigenous and their over-representation in the jail system is only getting worse."

3% of the population – 25% of the prison population.

And it’s just getting worse.

"In the decade to 2007, the number of Indigenous Australians in prison rose by 6.7 per cent a year, on average.

Aboriginal people went from comprising 18 per cent of the prison population to 24 per cent."

Why?

Obviously it’s a complex issue and there are lots of reasons, some that go back 200 years, but I believe the major reason is this:

Aussies are racists.

And I know most Aussies are going to hate that – but I think it’s true.

Wikipedia defines racism as:

"… the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

Ask most Aussies why they think one quarter of the prison population is Aboriginal and I guarantee you most of them will shrug their shoulders. They just don’t care. Why? Because we’ve been programmed not to care. We’ve been programmed to think aboriginals are just lazy, child-molesting alcoholics. Unless, of course, they excel at an Anglo sport, such as athletics or footy. Then they’re alright. Or if they excel at an Anglo art – musicians and actors, they’re okay too. Or if they become a politician and survive in the Westminster System (the form of government instituted by their occupying power) – then they’re alright in our books too.

But as for the other 99% of the Aboriginal population – we’ve been told, over and over, by the mainstream media and successive governments, that they are mostly just lazy, child-molesting, petrol-sniffing alcoholics who don’t appreciate the money we throw at them, who drive a car until it runs out of petrol then leave it by the side of the road, who rip perfectly good fridges out of houses and leave them to rust in their backyards.

So most Aussies just shrug their shoulders, as if to say "what more can we do?".

Meanwhile, a 45,000 year old civilisation is being wiped out in our backyard.

A people who lived in harmony with nature for 45,000 years, who lived sustainably, who didn’t feel the need to go out and invade other countries, a civilisation that was already 40,000 years old when the Great Pyramid of Cheops was built – is being wiped out as a direct result of the Christian invasion and occupation of their country.

Our country.

Imagine if the headlines said "One in Four Prisoners is Muslim". I think that would create more of an uproar. I guarantee you a week from now, people won’t even be talking about this issue in the press.

But we’ll still be talking about Neda.

We’ll still be talking about Andrew Symons.

We’ll still be talking about Utegate.

We’ll still be talking about Transformers 2.

We’ll still be talking about whatever we’re told to talk about.

Just not the Aboriginals.

Racism isn’t just when you put on a white robe and burn people on crosses. That’s just an extreme expression of racism. That’s just a convenient version of racism that lets the rest of us off the hook. We can say "oh I’m not a racist". 

Meanwhile, we let a 45,000 year old civilisation disappear.

I think we’re guilty of the same kind of insidious racism that allowed the people in Germany 60 years ago to turn their heads while their Jewish population were being lead out of their homes.

It’s the kind of racism that says "they don’t look like me – so it doesn’t matter."

If we – the people – don’t talk about it, the politicians won’t talk about it.

Oh they will – they will have committees, Kevin Rudd will say sorry for the lost generation – but it won’t be a major focus.

He’ll spend his time looking after the interests of mining companies and banks.

He’ll spend his time worrying about how to get re-elected.

But the Aboriginal people of Australia are a long way down the list.

It’s up to us. We need to make this a priority.

We need to say "not on our watch".

Happy Twitter Anniversary To Me

Tomorrow is my 2nd Twitter anniversary so it’s the perfect opportunity to take stock of what it means to me.

At the time of writing this, I’ve done 19,563 public posts (not counting DMs)  which works our to about 27 per day over two years. As I’m usually online about 18 hours a day, that works out to an average of only 1.4 posts per online hour.

I often have people who aren’t yet using Twitter ask "how do you find the time?" Although I guess I’m possibly a fairly heavy user of Twitter compared to most, I only post on average once every 45 minutes. Each post takes… what… ten seconds? Hardly a big time waster. Let’s say I spent another couple of minutes every hour scanning replies, DMs and general tweets in my feed. I guess if I was generous, I might say I spend 6 minutes an hour reading and responding – that’s 1.8 hours a day (6 minutes x 18 waking hours) or 10% of my day. And it does sound like a lot. Until I factor in the following:

1. I work from home. No daily commute to listen to the radio and catch up on the morning news / gossip. Let’s say most people spend an hour a day commuting, either in their car or on public transport. That’s an hour they spend (out of 18 hours in the waking day) probably reading or listening to some kind of media. On those rare occasions during the week when I am in the car, heading to meetings etc, I’m normally listening to podcasts.

2. I don’t watch TV news. The only TV I watch at all is pre-recorded stuff on my laptop (at the moment – Mad Men, The Daily Show, Kings and DVDs). Most people spend 30 – 60 minutes a day watching some kind of news / current affairs (including those god-awful morning shows). I get my news from Twitter and from scanning the  blogs. Oh and from podcasts when I go for my run, of course.

3. I’ve been living alone for the last year, my girlfriend living half a world away, and so I’ve had no social life and tweet mostly (I suspect) in the evenings to provide some relief from work. Wow… that sounded a lot more pathetic than it feels. 🙂  I guess it’s true – people on Twitter are losers who have no social life.

So, I figure most people spend a couple of hours a day watching, listening or reading the news. I might (and it’s a stretch) spend the same amount of time on Twitter. If I counted the amount of time I spend on Twitter and reading blogs, I’d say it’s about the same. So, for me, Twitter and blogs have replaced mainstream media.

As I said, I’m probably a fairly heavy user of Twitter, which is justified somewhat by the line of work I am in (social media). Having a good handle on how Twitter works is my business.

Let me tell you some of the things I dislike about Twitter at the moment:

  • MLM chumps.
  • Affiliate pimps.
  • People who auto-send DMs pimping stuff when you follow them.
  • Follow Fridays.
  • The way people are jumping on the Iran bandwagon without much evidence of critical thinking. Cmon people – think.

For the record, I immediately un-follow people who commit the first three crimes.

Okay, now the things I like about Twitter:

  • Intelligent debate – it’s hard to find, but it’s out there. Too many people seem to think you can’t have an intelligent discussion 140 characters at a time, but that’s just wrong. It just requires discipline and clarity.
  • Support – Twitter is better than any tech support service I’ve ever used. But I’m not just talking about tech support. Mention that you’ve got any sort of problem, and you’ll usually have a stream of people – most of whom you’ve never met in real life and probably never will – offering to help out. These people counter-balance the brain dead MLM and affiliate folks and stop me from giving up all hope for the human race. 
  • The sense that this is the dawn of…. something. Something big. Something important. Something profound.

Twitter kind of reminds me of the skin jobs on BSG when they are on their base ship, dipping their hands into the pink water that somehow plugs them into the control feed of the ship. It’s also a bit like being Superman with his super hearing, just letting the entire planet’s voices wash over you.

I often find myself wondering about what a mind-blowing platform Twitter (and the interwebs in general) could be in an historical sense for the human race – just imagine jumping in the TARDIS and scooting back 100 years to 1909, then trying to explain the concept of Twitter to folks. What potential! The whole world (well… the connected world) talking to each other! The kids in New York shouting out real time support to the kids (or are they embedded CIA operatives pretending to be kids?) in Tehran! I wonder what the folks in 1909 would want to do with it. Or imagine going back another 30 years to 1879 and explaining it to Karl Marx. I wonder if he’d think it was the perfect medium to discuss MLM, Jon & Kate (and I honestly have NO frakking idea who they are), and whether or not Megan is as hot as Angelina.

Here’s my question for you all – are we smart enough for Twitter? Or will we waste it?

GDay World 384 – Michael Doneman on Ethical Entrepreneurship

Michael Doneman

My guest on today’s show is Michael Doneman – one part business coach, one part social activist, one part guru.

Over the last few months his name has come up in a startling variety of conversations I’ve had with people. These people have a few things in common – they are very bright, have a sparkle in their eye, are entrepreneurs, think they can change the world – and they are students of Doneman.

Michael explains the basis of his business / school, Edgeware, where he teaches something he calls “ethical entrepreneurship” and we discuss the future of capitalism.

This is also the first interview in my series where I intend to interview Brisbane’s Best Minds. If you want to nominate someone to be interviewed as part of this series, please submit their details here.

Further links:

John Gray video

Edgeware site

Follow Michael Doneman on Twitter

Do you want an independent media?
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AfterquakeAbigail Washburn & The Shanghai Restoration Project
“Sala” (mp3)
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(Undercover Culture Music)

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GDay World 382 – Dr Wayne Chamley on Catholic Sexual Abuse in Australia

Last week I wrote a post on the recent report out of Ireland about the true extent of child abuse committed by the Catholic Church from the ’30s through to the ’70s.

A few people on Twitter tried to suggest there was no connection between abuse in Ireland and in Australia, so I invited Dr Wayne Chamley from Broken Rites onto the show. Broken Rites is an Australian advocacy group that works with victims of religious child abuse. He believes that if we had a Royal Commission into Catholic child abuse in this country we would discover TENS OF THOUSANDS of victims.

By the way folks, don’t forget – if you are looking for an easy way to listen to the G’Day World archives (all 381 episodes!), and you’ve got iTunes installed, go to our page on iTunes. While you’re there, give the show a quick review!

 

Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen review

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5196716&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen review from Cameron Reilly on Vimeo.

Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen is prety good as far as blockbusters go if you can look past the silliness and you dont get a headache from the Michael Bay cut-cut-cut bot fighting scenes.

SPOILERS ALERT

It starts 2 years after the last film.

Sam Witwiky is about to go off to college. He’s still dating Mikaela (the hot as usual Megan Fox). Blunty told me she isn’t that hot in real life and so I didn’t talk to him for the rest of the morning.

As he’s packing to leave home for college, Sam pulls out the jacket he wore in the first film out of the closet and a piece of the AllSpark falls off of it. Apparently it got caught in his jacket when the AllSpark was destroyed. His mum didn’t wash the jacket? In TWO YEARS??? What kind of mother is that? My mother would have found that shit, washed it and the washing machine would have come alive and eaten her up like cookie monster eating cookies.

Anyway, the bit of the AllSpark falls on teh floor and all manner of kitchen implements come alive and start trying to kill Sam. Lucky he’s got a simpering Bumblebee living in his garage who exists soley to save Sam’s ass, like some big yellow slave. Sam even talks him like a cross between his house boy and a starved dog.

MEANWHILE, back on the ranch…. Optimus and the other autobots are running around with some soldiers trying to kill a bunch of Decepticons who are hiding. Two years and they cant find a bunch of Decepticons? WTF?

And other piece of the AllSpark which was left over from the first film is being protected in some military base. Without any autobots protecting it! WTF? The most powerful piece of tech in the UNIVERSE and it’s being protected by a handful of dopey soliders? RIIIIGHT.

So, of course, some Decepticons break in, steal it, and use it to bring Megatron back to life. He flies up into space to meet his master. Megatron has a master? I thought he was the big boss of the bad guys?

Noooo. Turns out he’s Darth Vader to an Emperor guy (who even refers to Megatron as “my apprentice”) who we find out is called THE FALLEN.

APPARENTLY… this guy, Teh Fallen, was on earth 12,000 years ago, building a machine would would suck the sun dry to use as energy. He was a Prime autobot who turned bad. He was defeated by the other Primes but, for some reason, not killed. He’s been recovering…. for 12,000 years. Waiting for his revenge.

And apparently he can’t get back into the game until all of the Primes are killed – the last being Optimus.

So Megatron hunts Optimus down and kills him. Yep – KILLS HIM.

Oh somewhere in here, Sam started having crazy visions of alien symbols, spazzing out in his astronomy class. His professor is played by Rainn Wilson from the US version of The Office.

It turns out that the AllSpark uploaded everything it knew about the history of the Transformers into Sam’s brain. That’s right – the entire history of a billion year old civilization was uploaded into this guys brain. And he didn’t have any side effects for TWO YEARS.

Riiiight.

Oh yeah and Sam gets orally raped by a decepticon disguised as a hot chick at college. Hot chick is played by Aussie Home & Away star Isabel Lucas. I didn’t know she was an Aussie though, of course, because I don’t watch shitty Aussie TV. I found out from IMDB.

So apparently 12,000 years ago, during the big fight between the Primes and The Fallen, there was this other superduper energy source called “The Matrix” (riiight) that was supposed to power the sun-eating machine. Some of the Primes sacrificed themselves to bury it somewhere seeekret. Sam has to find it to bring Optimus back to life.

It turns out it’s buried somewhere in Egypt. Shades of Indiana Jones! A bunch of lame secret messages leads to the Petra in Jordan. I fully expected to hear Shia le Bouf say “Hey this is the place from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade!”

But no.

The find the Matrix, have a big fight with the Decepticons, finally stick the Matrix into Optimus, he wakes up, gets all pimped out, and kicks everyone’s ass, including Megatron and Teh Fallen.

End of movie.

Best bits?

The cameos from Deep Roy (as an Egyptian military guy at a border crossing), Rainn Wilson and, of course, the return of John The Fucking Man Turturro half way through the film.

Oh and you know that scene in the trailer of Megan Fox bending over the bike? Yah. That bit. That’s pretty good too.

In the end, what makes the film work for me is the humour. It’s the laughs. The big problems with the film, again, are that the scenes with the boys fighting are hard to follow and likely to give you a headache. It’s like someone threw up on the screen, just crap everywhere. I can’t tell who is who, all I know is that the bad guys are chrome and the good guys have colour. That’s it.

Final notes:

The VMAX cinema at Chermside is very nice, all leather seats, mmmm.

GDay World 381 Reloaded

Hey folks, apparently I screwed up the track alignment in show 381 (about banks) so there is a fair amount of overlapping of voices. (Thanks to Anthony Voevodin for letting me know!)
I’ve re-edited the show and fixed it up, and I’m attaching it here.

By the way folks, don’t forget – if you are looking for an easy way to listen to the G’Day World archives (all 381 episodes!), and you’ve got iTunes installed, go to our page on iTunes. While you’re there, give the show a quick review!