On The Radio: Bicycle Day Celebration/Ozric Tentacles..
Hope the day is full of beauty for ya…
On The Menu:
The Quotes… (are back!)
The Articles: Neolithic boat replica to be launched in Scotland
& We Are The Torturers…
The Poetry: Robert Graves
The Art: Mati Klarwien
Thank You Mati!
“The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.”
“New York now leads the world’s great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn’t make a sudden move.”
“Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.”
“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.”
“If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.”
“We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.”
“When you’re through changing, you’re through.”
“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”
“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”
“The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him.”
“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”
Neolithic boat replica to be launched in Scotland
A prehistory park in Scotland hope to launch a replica stone age boat to test whether theories on ancient design hold water. A 20ft craft, similar to those used by Neolithic people to arrive and settle in the area and sail on lochs, is taking shape at the Archaeolink Prehistory Park, near Oyne. The big test for the boat-building crew will come in July when the vessel faces sea trials at the Portsoy Boat Festival in Aberdeenshire.
Archaeolink’s deputy interpretations manager, Mark Keighley, predicted the craft would make a big splash at the festival. He said: “We will be taking it out of the harbour, powering it with simple pole oars. We may add on shoulder-bones from cattle to provide a blade and better propulsion. There would have been no cloth for sails, so it will all be based on what was available in prehistoric times.”
The boat-builders have no precise archaeological evidence to use in the reconstruction. Their design is a larger and simpler version of the traditional coracle. Once the willow frame is finished, five cow hides will be sewn over it. Birch tar will then provide a completely waterproof coating and seal the stitching. The result will be a robust craft that will take about three-quarters of a tonne of ballast and a crew of about a dozen. Expert coracle-maker Peter Faulkner, from Shropshire, is supervising the project.
Another replica – this time of a building – is also under construction at the park. Work has started on a Mesolithic hut, based on 8,000-year-old remains excavated from sites across the UK, including Moray. The wigwam-shaped structure is being created from logs and support timbers, roofed with turf and heated by a central open fire. Archaeolink will be hosting a series of events, from combat displays to hands-on ancient cookery and pottery, over the coming months. The centre is just off the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, north of Inverurie. It is open from 10am-5pm daily.
The absolute ban on torture, a cornerstone of the international human rights edifice, is under attack. The principle we once believed to be unassailable the inherent right to physical integrity and dignity of the person is becoming a casualty of the so-called war on terror.
So warned Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Meanwhile, photographs, news reports and official investigations into abuses at Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Base and Guantanamo Bay suggest a policy of systematic torture on the part of the US government that extends all the way up the chain of command.
The 1984 Torture Convention prohibits any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person. The Bush administration favors its own standard, whereby the pain caused must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions or even death. Under this definition, many methods of what is generally understood as torture would be allowed, including waterboarding where a person is made to believe they will drown.
Senator John McCain, who was subjected to waterboarding in North Vietnam, describes it as torture, very exquisite torture. Last autumn, McCain sponsored draft legislation that stipulated No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The bill was opposed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who, by invoking the threat of a presidential veto, negotiated important loopholes. As adopted, the legislation fails to prohibit torture contracted out to other countries. It also provides legal immunity for those committing acts of torture that were officially authorized and determined to be lawful at the time that they were conducted.
Moreover, when Bush signed McCains bill into law, he declared it would be interpreted within the context of the presidents powers to protect national security in other words, that any interrogation method could still be used, if the White House deemed it necessary. This outright rejection of Congressional intent is breathtaking. As Sidney Blumenthal observed, it reflects a basic ideology of absolute power.
At the same time, the CIA has engaged in a practice called extraordinary rendition whereby suspects are transferred in violation of the Torture Convention either to the intelligence services of countries notorious for torture or to clandestine prisons located outside the United States. The secret prisons have obvious parallels the Soviet Gulag and the Latin American disappearances and they contravene the prohibition on arbitrary detention in international human rights law.
Some countries, including Britain and Canada, have obtained assurances of good treatment from the United States before handing over suspects. This practice has been criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture on the basis that such assurances are unreliable and ineffective not least because they are sought usually from states where the practice of torture is systematic.
The same two countries have supported the Bush administrations illegal behavior in other ways. Both Britain and Canada have allowed CIA aircraft to use their airports and airspace on numerous occasions, including it would seem for rendition purposes. British agents have also allegedly conducted interrogations under threat of torture, while using information obtained by other governments through torture. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, has posted classified documents on his website that show British officials deciding that they can use information obtained through torture for intelligence purposes. The documents are all the more troubling because Uzbekistan is notorious for using especially horrific methods of torture, such as dipping detainees in boiling water.
A basic tenant of criminal law reaffirmed in the Torture Convention holds that those who aid or abet a crime are criminals themselves. Our behavior also has a negative impact on the way we are perceived, and how we perceive ourselves. In an important sense, if our democratic governments have been complicit in torture, we as citizens and voters are torturers too.
Michael Byers is the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.
Poetry: Robert Graves
IN THE WILDERNESS
He, of his gentleness,
Thirsting and hungering
Walked in the Wilderness;
Soft words of grace he spoke
Unto lost desert-folk
That listned wondering.
He heard the bittern call
From ruined palace-wall,
Answered him brotherly;
He held communion
With the she-pelican
Of lonely piety.
Flocked to his homilies,
With mail of dread device,
With monstrous barbed stings,
With eager dragon-eyes;
Great bats on leathern wings
And old, blind, broken things
Mean in their miseries.
Then ever with him went,
Of all his wanderings
Comrade, with ragged coat,
Gaunt ribs — poor innocent –
Bleeding foot, burning throat,
The guileless young scapegoat;
For forty nights and days
Followed in Jesus’ ways,
Sure guard behind him kept,
Tears like a lover wept.
We looked, we loved, and therewith instantly
Death became terrible to you and me.
By love we disenthralled our natural terror
From every comfortable philosopher
Or tall, grey doctor of divinity:
Death stood at last in his true rank and order.
It happened soon, so wild of heart were we,
Exchange of gifts grew to a malady:
Their worth rose always higher on each side
Till there seemed nothing but ungivable pride
That yet remained ungiven, and this degree
Called a conclusion not to be dnied.
Then we at last bethought ourselves, made shift
And simultaneously this final gift
Gave: each with shaking hands unlocks
The sinister, long, brass-bound coffin-box,
Unwraps pure death, with such bewildernment
As greeted our love’s first accomplishment.
(Published on Turfing before, but hey, its good!)
Return of the Goddess
Under your Milky Way
And slow-revolving Bear
Frogs from the alder thicket pray
In terror of your judgement day,
Loud with repentance there.
The log they crowned as king
Grew sodden, lurched and sank;
An owl floats by on silent wing
Dark water bubbles from the spring;
They invoke you from each bank.
At dawn you shall appear,
A gaunt red-legged crane,
You whom they know too well for fear,
Lunging your beak down like a spear
To fetch them home again.