16 August 2014

spectacular free night sky show on Monday / wake up you sleepyheads rub your eyes get out of bed / light pollution sux the hairy wazoo

Click to enlarge.

Have you heard? It's in the stars
Next July we collide with Mars!
Well did you ever?
What a swell party this is

-- Cole Porter


****************

by Deborah Paulson
www.dumb-out.net/

 

Astronomers and amateur stargazers alike are in for a treat this week; particularly those on the East coast of the United States of America.

The Atlantic states are going to get an incredible view of both Jupiter and Venus early on the morning of Monday 18 August 2014. These two planets will appear very bright -- they should stand out from their much smaller counterparts. Venus will appear to be much brighter than Jupiter because Earth’s twin is closer, obviously, than the Red Spot planet. As the day progresses, they will approach each other and appear as one glittering star.

When they join together (from our perspective) they will form what scientists are calling a “double star”. It will look like one glittering body with two foci. 


The best place to witness this phenomenon will be Europe where the two celestial bodies will only be 0.2 degrees apart. On the USA East coast, they will appear 0.3 degrees apart. Also, in Europe the display will be somewhat more spectacular than in the United States.

Astronomers say this celestial phenomenon is known as “conjunction” because of the way the planets seem to join together. The event is best observed (and enjoyed) within the hour before sunrise. As with most stellar activity, it is best to view the event in an open field or another area not polluted by the artificial light of the city. Of course, you should also check the weather report for clouds.

While the event is best viewed for that hour on the morning of Monday 18 August you can enjoy the “conjunction” of Venus and Jupiter for up to three days before they are no longer visible in earth’s orbit. If you miss the event this year, don’t worry, this happens once a year. This just happens to be a year where both planets are remarkably close and easier to see.
 
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15 August 2014

the dog did my homework / team sports builds character




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ESPN
USA TV sports network
Friday 15 August 2014


by Matt Fortuna and Brett McMurphy | ESPN.com
 

Four Notre Dame [male USA football] players will not be allowed to participate in football activities as the university continues an internal investigation into academic misconduct, it was announced Friday.

Notre Dame [Jesuit university, South Bend, Indiana USA] said in the statement that there was "evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others." That evidence was reported to the athletics compliance office on Tuesday 29 July, an immediate investigation was launched and the NCAA was notified on Friday.

Starting wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and reserve linebacker Kendall Moore were the players involved, along with some non-student-athletes, a source told ESPN.

The university said the players will be held out of practice and games until the ongoing investigation is completed.

"Integrity is at the heart of our mission and academic misconduct will not be tolerated at Notre Dame," Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university president, said in a statement posted on the school's website. "If the suspected improprieties are proven, we will use the experience to reinforce among our students the importance of honesty in all that they do.

"We are also examining ways of better conveying to students that they can avail themselves of legitimate academic assistance without resorting to cheating."

The NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] routinely will let the school investigate any potential allegations before determining whether any further NCAA punishment is warranted.

Notre Dame said Friday that it would voluntarily vacate any victories "if it determines that the student-athletes would have been ineligible during past competition."

***********************************

Depleted Receiving Corps


With DaVaris Daniels expected to be suspended from football activities, Notre Dame would be without its top three wide receivers from a year ago. Its top returning receiver would now be Chris Brown (15 catches in 2013).
 

Player     Catches  Currently
TJ Jones     70     NFL
D. Daniels   49     Investigated
T. Niklas    32     NFL
 

-- ESPN Stats & Information

***********************************

All four players were part of Notre Dame's 2012 team, which lost in the BCS national title game to [University of] Alabama. Daniels and Russell were starters on that team. Williams was projected to start this year as well.

Williams and Moore are seniors this season, Daniels and Russell are juniors. The Fighting Irish are ranked No. 17 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches' poll.

A source told ESPN that the four players did not practice Friday.

This is the second incident in the past two years involving academic misconduct and the football team.

Last year, starting quarterback Everett Golson was dismissed from school for what he said was "poor academic judgment," but was reinstated this spring. Daniels had been suspended for the spring semester for undisclosed academic violations but also was reinstated in late May.

The investigation was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

ESPN's Joe Schad contributed to this report.
 
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=======================

367 comments

Add a comment...

    Harry Boughner · Top Commenter · Punjabi University
    "There's no way this is real."

    - Manti Teo
    Reply ·
    · 114 · 2 hours ago
        Thomas McNamara · Top Commenter · Stamford, Connecticut
        Wouldn't he believe it is real?
        Reply ·
        · 19 · 2 hours ago
        Aaron Short · Traffic Management at Cumulus Media
        Someone already posted that comment on Deadspin...
        Reply ·
        · 17 · 2 hours ago
        Mark Crank · Top Commenter · N. Kentucky
        Nice steal from the Dead Spin comments...
        Reply ·
        · 10 · 2 hours ago
    View 11 more
    Sean O'Gara · Top Commenter · Loyola University Chicago
    This would never happen in the SEC.
    Reply ·
    · 42 · 2 hours ago
        Grey Thompson · Top Commenter · Works at Color Of Grey Studio
        What the hell does this have to do with the SEC?
        Reply ·
        · 16 · 2 hours ago
        Y.o. Ouwooferman · Top Commenter · The University of Oklahoma
        This would never happen in the SEC (getting caught that is) FIFY
        Reply ·
        · 62 · 2 hours ago
        Chris Weglein · Top Commenter · Post University
        Grey Thompson The fact that majority of Alabama, USCe, LSU have been playing with academically ineligible players FOR YEARS, and getting away with it.
        Reply ·
        · 37 · 2 hours ago
    View 36 more
    Ry Voegler · Top Commenter · Works at Behnke Inc.
    RIP Lennay Kekua
    Reply ·
    · 29 · 2 hours ago
        Aaron Garv · Top Commenter · St. Bonaventure University
        you need some new material
        Reply ·
        · 30 · 2 hours ago
        Chris Weglein · Top Commenter · Post University
        Aaron Garv lol, beat me to it.

        you're about 2 years late Ry.
        Reply ·
        · 9 · 2 hours ago
        Aaron Haught · Top Commenter · Shaw High School
        Chris Weglein RIP Lennay Kekua never forget, at least thats what the sticker on my car says.
        Reply ·
        · 1 · 2 hours ago
    View 4 more
    Samey Esquandolas · Top Commenter · Virginia Beach, Virginia
    I expect a swift investigation with no penalties
    Reply ·
    · 20 · 2 hours ago
        Gary Davis · Top Commenter · Semi-Retired at Retired
        I will bet you that all 4 players are DONE at ND, this is not the SEC.
        Reply ·
        · 44 · 2 hours ago
        Jennifer Wertz Baldivia
        No penalties?!?!?! I'm guessing you dint know anything about ND. You must be thinking of the sec, those are the players that never get in trouble.
        Reply ·
        · 9 · 2 hours ago
        Nic Lahr · Top Commenter · Consultant/Business Owner at Entrepeneur
        Gary Davis just like golston?
        Reply ·
        · 13 · 2 hours ago
    View 21 more
    Bryant Brooks · Florida State University
    in other news, auburn has added 3 new players to their roster
    Reply ·
    · 17 · 2 hours ago
        Patrick Allison · Top Commenter · Works at Retired
        and we will take them! thats what other schools get for being unforgiving.
        Reply ·
        · 4 · about an hour ago
        Dan Marchildon · Top Commenter · Clarke Central High School
        Finally, honesty!
        Reply ·
        · 2 · 52 minutes ago
        Patrick Allison · Top Commenter · Works at Retired
        Dan Marchildon how can i deny the truth? besides as a football fan, as long as they play good why do i care? i didnt go to their college....
        Reply ·
        · 44 minutes ago

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08 August 2014

Picot-Sykes Agreement / 100 Years of Pooch-Screwing / thanks again Euro colonial guys!


Click images to enlarge.

Sykes–Picot Agreement
 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sykes–Picot Agreement
bprder
Sykes Picot Agreement Map. It was an enclosure in Paul Cambon's letter to Sir Edward Grey, 9 May 1916.
Created     May 1916
Author(s)     Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot
Signatories     Edward Grey and Paul Cambon
Purpose     Defining proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire
Excerpt from the Manchester Guardian, Monday, November 26, 1917, This was the first English-language reference to what became known as the Sykes Picot Agreement.


The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France,[1] with the assent of Russia, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The negotiation of the treaty occurred between November 1915 and March 1916.[2] The agreement was concluded on 16 May 1916.[3]

The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.[4] The terms were negotiated by the French diplomat François Georges-Picot and British Sir Mark Sykes. The Russian Tsarist government was a minor party to the Sykes–Picot agreement, and when, following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the Bolsheviks exposed the agreement, "the British were embarrassed, the Arabs dismayed and the Turks delighted."[5]
Contents

    1 Territorial allocations
    2 British–Zionist discussions during the negotiations
    3 Conflicting promises
    4 Events after public disclosure of the plan
    5 Release of classified records
    6 Lloyd George's explanation
    7 Consequences of the agreement
    8 See also
    9 References
    10 Further reading

Territorial allocations


Britain was allocated control of areas roughly comprising the coastal strip between the sea and River Jordan, Jordan, southern Iraq, and a small area including the ports of Haifa and Acre, to allow access to the Mediterranean.[6] France was allocated control of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[citation needed] Russia was to get Istanbul, the Turkish Straits and the Ottoman Armenian vilayets.[6] The controlling powers were left free to decide on state boundaries within these areas.[6] Further negotiation was expected to determine international administration pending consultations with Russia and other powers, including the Sharif of Mecca.[6]
 

British–Zionist discussions during the negotiations
Following the outbreak of World War I, Zionism was first discussed at a British Cabinet level on 9 November 1914, four days after Britain's declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire. At a Cabinet meeting David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, "referred to the ultimate destiny of Palestine."[7][8] Lloyd George's law firm Lloyd George, Roberts and Co had been engaged a decade before by the Zionists to work on the Uganda Scheme.[9] In a discussion after the meeting with fellow Zionist Herbert Samuel, who had a seat in the Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board, Lloyd George assured him that "he was very keen to see a Jewish state established in Palestine."[7][10] Samuel then outlined the Zionist position more fully in a conversation with Foreign Secretary Edward Grey. He spoke of Zionist aspirations for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish state, and of the importance of its geographical position to the British Empire. Samuel's memoirs state: "I mentioned that two things would be essential—that the state should be neutralized, since it could not be large enough to defend itself, and that the free access of Christian pilgrims should be guaranteed. ... I also said it would be a great advantage if the remainder of Syria were annexed by France, as it would be far better for the state to have a European power as neighbour than the Turk"[7][11] The same evening, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith announced that the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire had become a war aim in a speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet.[12]

In January 1915, Samuel submitted a Zionist memorandum entitled The Future of Palestine to the Cabinet after discussions with Weizmann and Lloyd George. On 5 February 1915, Samuel had another discussion with Grey: "When I asked him what his solution was he said it might be possible to neutralize the country under international guarantee ... and to vest the government of the country in some kind of Council to be established by the Jews"[13][14] After further conversations with Lloyd George and Grey, Samuel circulated a revised text to the Cabinet in the middle of March 1915.

Zionism or the Jewish question were not considered by the report of the de Bunsen Committee, prepared to determine British wartime policy toward the Ottoman Empire, submitted in June 1915.[10]

Prior to the departure of Sykes to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov in Petrograd on 27 February 1916, Sykes was approached with a plan by Samuel. The plan put forward by Samuel was in the form of a memorandum which Sykes thought prudent to commit to memory and destroy.[citation needed] Commenting on it, Sykes wrote to Samuel suggesting that if Belgium should assume the administration of Palestine it might be more acceptable to France as an alternative to the international administration which she wanted and the Zionists did not. Of the boundaries marked on a map attached to the memorandum he wrote:[7]

    "By excluding Hebron and the East of the Jordan there is less to discuss with the Moslems, as the Mosque of Omar then becomes the only matter of vital importance to discuss with them and further does away with any contact with the bedouins, who never cross the river except on business. I imagine that the principal object of Zionism is the realization of the ideal of an existing center of nationality rather than boundaries or extent of territory. The moment I return I will let you know how things stand at Pd."[15]

Conflicting promises
Main article: The territorial reservations in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence

Lord Curzon
said the Great Powers were still committed to the Reglement Organique Agreement regarding the Lebanon Vilayet of June 1861 and September 1864, and that the rights granted to France in the blue area under the Sykes–Picot Agreement were not compatible with that agreement.[16] The Reglement Organique was an international agreement regarding governance and non-intervention in the affairs of the Maronite, Orthodox Christian, Druze, and Muslim communities.

In May 1917, W. Ormsby-Gore wrote "French intentions in Syria are surely incompatible with the war aims of the Allies as defined to the Russian Government. If the self-determination of nationalities is to be the principle, the interference of France in the selection of advisers by the Arab Government and the suggestion by France of the Emirs to be selected by the Arabs in Mosul, Aleppo, and Damascus would seem utterly incompatible with our ideas of liberating the Arab nation and of establishing a free and independent Arab State. The British Government, in authorising the letters despatched to King Hussein [Sharif of Mecca] before the outbreak of the revolt by Sir Henry McMahon, would seem to raise a doubt as to whether our pledges to King Hussein as head of the Arab nation are consistent with French intentions to make not only Syria but Upper Mesopotamia another Tunis. If our support of King Hussein and the other Arabian leaders of less distinguished origin and prestige means anything it means that we are prepared to recognise the full sovereign independence of the Arabs of Arabia and Syria. It would seem time to acquaint the French Government with our detailed pledges to King Hussein, and to make it clear to the latter whether he or someone else is to be the ruler of Damascus, which is the one possible capital for an Arab State, which could command the obedience of the other Arabian Emirs."[17]

Many sources report that this agreement conflicted with the Hussein–McMahon Correspondence of 1915–1916. It has also been reported that the publication of the Sykes–Picot Agreement caused the resignation of Sir Henry McMahon.[18] However, the Sykes–Picot plan itself stated that France and Great Britain were prepared to recognize and protect an independent Arab State, or Confederation of Arab States, under the suzerainty of an Arab chief within the zones marked A. and B. on the map.[19] Nothing in the plan precluded rule through an Arab suzerainty in the remaining areas. The conflicts resulted from the private, post-war, Anglo-French Settlement of 1–4 December 1918. It was negotiated between British Prime Minister Lloyd George and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and rendered many of the guarantees in the Hussein–McMahon agreement invalid. That settlement was not part of the Sykes–Picot Agreement.[20] Sykes was not affiliated with the Cairo office that had been corresponding with Sherif Hussein bin Ali, but he and Picot visited the Hedjaz in 1917 to discuss the agreement with Hussein.[21] That same year he and a representative of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered a public address to the Central Syrian Congress in Paris on the non-Turkish elements of the Ottoman Empire, including liberated Jerusalem. He stated that the accomplished fact of the independence of the Hedjaz rendered it almost impossible that an effective and real autonomy should be refused to Syria.[22]

The greatest source of conflict was the Balfour Declaration, 1917. Lord Balfour wrote a memorandum from the Paris Peace Conference which stated that the other allies had implicitly rejected the Sykes–Picot agreement by adopting the system of mandates. It allowed for no annexations, trade preferences, or other advantages. He also stated that the Allies were committed to Zionism and had no intention of honoring their promises to the Arabs.[23]

Eighty-five years later, in a 2002 interview with The New Statesman, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw observed "A lot of the problems we are having to deal with now, I have to deal with now, are a consequence of our colonial past. ... The Balfour Declaration and the contradictory assurances which were being given to Palestinians in private at the same time as they were being given to the Israelis—again, an interesting history for us but not an entirely honourable one."[24]
Events after public disclosure of the plan

Russian claims in the Ottoman Empire were denied following the Bolshevik Revolution and the Bolsheviks released a copy of the Sykes–Picot Agreement (as well as other treaties). They revealed full texts in Izvestia and Pravda on 23 November 1917; subsequently, the Manchester Guardian printed the texts on November 26, 1917.[25] This caused great embarrassment between the allies and growing distrust between them and the Arabs. The Zionists were similarly upset,[citation needed] with the Sykes–Picot Agreement becoming public only three weeks after the Balfour Declaration.

The Anglo-French Declaration of November 1918 pledged that Great Britain and France would "assist in the establishment of indigenous Governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia by "setting up of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations". The French had reluctantly agreed to issue the declaration at the insistence of the British. Minutes of a British War Cabinet meeting reveal that the British had cited the laws of conquest and military occupation to avoid sharing the administration with the French under a civilian regime. The British stressed that the terms of the Anglo-French declaration had superseded the Sykes–Picot Agreement in order to justify fresh negotiations over the allocation of the territories of Syria, Mesopotamia, and Palestine.[26]

On 30 September 1918, supporters of the Arab Revolt in Damascus declared a government loyal to the Sharif of Mecca. He had been declared 'King of the Arabs' by a handful of religious leaders and other notables in Mecca.[27] On 6 January 1920 Faisal initialed an agreement with Clemenceau which acknowledged 'the right of Syrians to unite to govern themselves as an independent nation'.[28] A Pan-Syrian Congress meeting in Damascus had declared an independent state of Syria on the 8th of March 1920. The new state included portions of Syria, Palestine, and northern Mesopotamia. King Faisal was declared the head of State. At the same time Prince Zeid, Faisal's brother, was declared Regent of Mesopotamia.

The San Remo conference was hastily convened. Great Britain and France and Belgium all agreed to recognize the provisional independence of Syria and Mesopotamia, while claiming mandates for their administration. Palestine was composed of the Ottoman administrative districts of southern Syria. Under customary international law, premature recognition of its independence would be a gross affront to the government of the newly declared parent state. It could have been construed as a belligerent act of intervention due to the lack of any League of Nations sanction for the mandates.[29] In any event, its provisional independence was not mentioned, although it continued to be designated as a Class A Mandate.

France had decided to govern Syria directly, and took action to enforce the French Mandate of Syria before the terms had been accepted by the Council of the League of Nations. The French issued an ultimatum and intervened militarily at the Battle of Maysalun in June 1920. They deposed the indigenous Arab government, and removed King Faisal from Damascus in August 1920. Great Britain also appointed a High Commissioner and established their own mandatory regime in Palestine, without first obtaining approval from the Council of the League of Nations, or obtaining the formal cession of the territory from the former sovereign, Turkey.

Attempts to explain the conduct of the Allies were made at the San Remo conference and in the Churchill White Paper of 1922. The White Paper stated the British position that Palestine was part of the excluded areas of "Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus".
Release of classified records

Lord Grey had been the Foreign Secretary during the McMahon–Hussein negotiations. Speaking in the House of Lords on 27 March 1923, he made it clear that, for his part, he entertained serious doubts as to the validity of the British Government's (Churchill's) interpretation of the pledges which he, as Foreign Secretary, had caused to be given to the Sharif Hussein in 1915. He called for all of the secret engagements regarding Palestine to be made public.[30]

Many of the relevant documents in the National Archives were later declassified and published. Among them were various assurances of Arab independence provided by Secretary of War, Lord Kitchener, the Viceroy of India, and others in the War Cabinet. The minutes of a Cabinet Eastern Committee meeting, chaired by Lord Curzon, held on 5 December 1918 to discuss the various Palestine undertakings makes it clear that Palestine had not been excluded from the agreement with Hussein. General Jan Smuts, Lord Balfour, Lord Robert Cecil, General Sir Henry Wilson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and representatives of the Foreign Office, the India Office, the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Treasury were present. T. E. Lawrence also attended. According to the minutes Lord Curzon explained:

    "The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future ... Great Britain and France – Italy subsequently agreeing—committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time ... A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine 'should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done—and this, of course, was a most important proviso—to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine."[31]

On 17 April 1964, The Times of London published excerpts from a secret memorandum that had been prepared by the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office for the British delegation to the Paris peace conference. The reference to Palestine said:

    "With regard to Palestine, H.M.G. are committed by Sir Henry McMahon's letter to the Sherif on October 24, 1915, to its inclusion in the boundaries of Arab independence ... but they have stated their policy regarding the Palestine Holy Place and Zionist colonization in their message to him of January 4, 1918."

Another document, which was a draft statement for submission to the peace conference, but never submitted, noted:

    "The whole of Palestine ... lies within the limits which H.M.G. have pledged themselves to Sherif Husain that they will recognize and uphold the independence of the Arabs."[32][33]

Lloyd George's explanation
Zones of French (blue), British (red) and Russian (green) influence and control established by the Sykes–Picot Agreement. At a Downing Street meeting of 16 December 1915 Sykes had declared "I should like to draw a line from the e in Acre to the last k in Kirkuk."[34]

The British Notes taken during a 'Council of Four Conference Held in the Prime Minister's Flat at 23 Rue Nitot, Paris, on Thursday, March 20, 1919, at 3 p.m.'[35] shed further light on the matter. Lord Balfour was in attendance, when Lloyd George explained the history behind the agreements. The notes revealed that:

    '[T]he blue area in which France was "allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they may desire and as they may think fit to arrange with the Arab State or Confederation of Arab States" did not include Damascus, Homs, Hama, or Aleppo. In area A. France was "prepared to recognise and uphold an independent Arab State or Confederation of Arab States'.[36]
    Since the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916, the whole mandatory system had been adopted. If a mandate were granted by the League of Nations over these territories, all that France asked was that France should have that part put aside for her.
    Lloyd George said that he could not do that. The League of Nations could not be used for putting aside our bargain with King Hussein. He asked if M. Pichon intended to occupy Damascus with French troops. If he did, it would clearly be a violation of the Treaty with the Arabs. M. Pichon said that France had no convention with King Hussein. Lloyd George said that the whole of the agreement of 1916 (Sykes–Picot), was based on a letter from Sir Henry McMahon' to King Hussein.[37]
    Lloyd George, continuing, said that it was on the basis of the above quoted letter that King Hussein had put all his resources into the field which had helped us most materially to win the victory. France had for practical purposes accepted our undertaking to King Hussein in signing the 1916 agreement. This had not been M. Pichon, but his predecessors. He was bound to say that if the British Government now agreed that Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo should be included in the sphere of direct French influence, they would be breaking faith with the Arabs, and they could not face this.

Lloyd George was particularly anxious for M. Clemenceau to follow this. The agreement of 1916 had been signed subsequent to the letter to King Hussein. In the following extract from the agreement of 1916 France recognised Arab independence: "It is accordingly understood between the French and British Governments.-(1) That France and Great Britain are prepared to recognise and uphold an independent Arab State or Confederation of Arab States in the areas A. and B. marked on the annexed map under the suzerainty of an Arab Chief." Hence France, by this act, practically recognised our agreement with King Hussein by excluding Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo from the blue zone of direct administration, for the map attached to the agreement showed that Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo were included, not in the zone of direct administration, but in the independent Arab State. M. Pichon said that this had never been contested, but how could France be bound by an agreement the very existence of which was unknown to her at the time when the 1916 agreement was signed? In the 1916 agreement France had not in any way recognised the Hedjaz. She had undertaken to uphold "an independent Arab State or Confederation of Arab States", but not the King of the Hedjaz. If France was promised a mandate for Syria, she would undertake to do nothing except in agreement with the Arab State or Confederation of States. This is the role which France demanded in Syria. If Great Britain would only promise her good offices, he believed that France could reach an understanding with Feisal.'[38]
Consequences of the agreement

The agreement is seen by many as a turning point in Western–Arab relations. It did negate the promises made to Arabs[39] through Colonel T. E. Lawrence for a national Arab homeland in the area of Greater Syria, in exchange for their siding with British forces against the Ottoman Empire.

The agreement's principal terms were reaffirmed by the inter-Allied San Remo Conference of 19–26 April 1920 and the ratification of the resulting League of Nations mandates by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922.

The Islamic State claims one of the goals of its insurgency is to reverse the effects of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.[40][41][42]
 

See also

    Syrian Social Nationalist Party
    Covenant Society
    Geography of Syria
    Geography of Saudi Arabia
    Unification of Saudi Arabia
    Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
    French colonial flags
    French Colonial Empire
    List of French possessions and colonies

References

    Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Owl. pp. 286, 288. ISBN 0-8050-6884-8.
    The Middle East in the twentieth century, Martin Sicker
    http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS094.pdf p. 8.
    Peter Mansfield, British Empire magazine, Time-Life Books, no 75, p. 2078
    Peter Mansfield, The British Empire magazine, no. 75, Time-Life Books, 1973
    Text of the Sykes–Picot Agreement at the WWI Document Archive
    Grooves Of Change: A Book Of Memoirs, Herbert Samuel
    Britain's Moment in the Middle East, 1914-1956, Elizabeth Monroe, p26
    Conservative Party attitudes to Jews, 1900–1950, Harry Defries
    A Broken Trust: Sir Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians, Sarah Huneidi, p261
    Samuel, Grooves of Change, p174
    Asquith stated "It is the Ottoman Government, and not we who have rung the death knell of Ottoman dominion not only in Europe but in Asia."
    Samuel, Grooves of Change, p176
    In the Anglo-Arab Labyrinth, Elie Kedourie
    The high walls of Jerusalem: a history of the Balfour Declaration and the birth of the British mandate for Palestine, 1984, p346
    CAB 27/24, E.C. 41 War Cabinet Eastern Committee Minutes, December 5, 1918
    See UK National Archives CAB/24/143, Eastern Report, No. XVIII, May 31, 1917
    See CAB 24/271, Cabinet Paper 203(37)
    see paragraph 1 of The Sykes–Picot Agreement
    Allenby and British Strategy in the Middle East, 1917–1919, Matthew Hughes, Taylor & Francis, 1999, ISBN 0-7146-4473-0, pages 122–124
    Palestine, a Twice-promised Land?: The British, the Arabs & Zionism, 1915–1920, By Isaiah Friedman, Transaction Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1-56000-391-X, page 166
    Foreign Relations of the United States, 1918. Supplement 1, The World War Volume I, Part I: The continuation and conclusion of the war—participation of the United States, Page 243
    see document 242, Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, 11 August 1919, in EL Woodward and Rohan Butler, Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919–1939. (London: HM Stationery Office, 1952), ISBN 0-11-591554-0, pages 340–348, [1]
    New Statesman Interview – Jack Straw
    http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/collection/LimitsinSeas/IBS094.pdf p. 9.
    See Allenby and General Strategy in the Middle East, 1917–1919, By Matthew Hughes, Taylor & Francis, 1999, ISBN 0-7146-4473-0, 113-118
    Jordan: Living in the Crossfire, Alan George, Zed Books, 2005, ISBN 1-84277-471-9, page 6
    Britain, the Hashemites and Arab Rule, 1920–1925, by Timothy J. Paris, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-7146-5451-5, page 69
    see for example International Law, Papers of Hersch Lauterpacht, edited by Elihu Lauterpacht, CUP Archive, 1970, ISBN 0-521-21207-3, page 116 and Statehood and the Law of Self-determination, D. Raič, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2002, ISBN 90-411-1890-X, page 95
    Report of a Committee Set Up To Consider Certain Correspondence Between Sir Henry McMahon and The Sharif of Mecca
    cited in "Palestine Papers, 1917–1922", Doreen Ingrams, page 48 from the UK Archive files PRO CAB 27/24.
    "Light on Britain's Palestine Promise". The Times. April 17, 1964. pp. 15–16.
    Elie Kedourie (April 23, 1964). "Promises on Palestine (letter)". The Times. p. 13.
    A Line in the Sand, James Barr, p.12
    'The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919, page 1'
    'The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919, page 6'
    The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919, Page 7
    The Council of Four: minutes of meetings March 20 to May 24, 1919, Page 8
    Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World. Director James Hawes. PBS Home Video, 21 October 2003. Interview with Kamal Abu Jaber, former Foreign Minister of Jordan.
    This is not the first border we will break, we will break other borders," a jihadist from ... The Guardian
    "Watch this English-speaking ISIS fighter explain how a 98-year-old colonial map created today’s conflict". LA Daily News. 07/02/14. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
    Phillips, David L. "Extremists in Iraq need a history lesson". CNBC.

Further reading
    Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Sykes-Picot Agreement
    Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sykes-Picot Agreement.

    The Sykes–Picot Agreement
    Sykes–Picot agreement – text at UNISPAL
    Sykes-Picot from Yale
    Mid East Author
    Erik Jan Zürcher (2004). Turkey: A Modern History. I.B.Tauris. pp. 143–145. ISBN 1-86064-958-0.
    Isaiah Friedman (1992). The Question of Palestine. Transaction Publishers. pp. 97–118. ISBN 0-88738-214-2.
    James Barr (2012). A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle That Shaped the Middle East. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-84739-457-4.



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06 August 2014

Postalö Vleeptron / 69th Anniversary Re-Issue: Tickling the Dragon's Tail


Click images to enlarge.

Postalo Vleeptron first issued this stamp on the 60th Anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

"Tickling the dragon's tale" was what Los Alamos' scientists called this crucial and wildly dangerous experiment. The Big Unknown was the amount of fissile material which would spontaneously begin a flood of neutrons and the desired explosive chain reaction and unprecedented release of energy.

For this re-issue, we've learned a few things and corrected a few mistakes. In the original, we depicted a Geiger-Muller counter. Well, that wouldn't have done any good, because a Geiger counter can't detect neutrons, which possess no electomagnetic charge. So now we're using a scintillation counter as the neutron detector.

The Tickling experiment was frighteningly crude and was located in an outbuilding far from people. It used gravity to drop an ingot of fissile metal through a hollow cylinder of some more of the fissile material. Eventually they increased the mass of the falling ingot sufficiently to cause the desired neutron cascade. Gravity saw to it that the two fissile masses would only be in close proximity for a fraction of a second, after which the ingot would fall through the hollow cylinder.

In the Japanese names for the target cities, the rightmost ideogram means "city." Without this ideogram, the two leftmost ideograms refer to the prefecture, or county, or administrative district surrounding the city. It's somewhat like New York City, which is located in the larger New York State.

In 1945 the USA (partnered with UK and Canada) had the only nuclear weapons on the planet. A few years later, the Soviet Union detonated its first. In the early 1950s, US technology developed "the super," a fusion bomb most commonly called the hydrogen bomb -- far more powerful than the A-bombs. The Soviet Union soon followed.

Now a few of the sovereignties with either fission or fusion bombs, or both, are France, Peoples Republic of China, Pakistan, India, Israel (though they're keeping their bombs secret, don't tell anybody), North Korea, and much of the world is shitting bricks over Iran's nuclear intentions.

The next steps are possession of a nuclear weapon by a Non-State Actor (e.g. ISIS/ISIL) or a "dirty bomb" -- not much explosion or mass death, but whose radioactive release products would render a city or region uninhabitable for years or longer, like Chernobyl or Fukushima.

To date, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the only two human population centers to be bombed by a nuclear weapon. Above, the Hiroshima Cenotaph erected at Ground Zero. 80,000 people died the day of the bombing, and within a year the toll had risen to an estimated 140,000. The Nagasaki bomb fell some distance from its center-city target, killed 73,884, and injured/sickened about the same number.

Imperial Japan surrendered unconditionally on 15 August 1945. The bomb had always been intended to be dropped on Nazi Germany, but Germany had surrendered by the time the bomb was successfully tested in the New Mexico desert. The first war bomb was shipped instead to the island Tinian in the Pacific, within bomber range of the home islands of Japan.


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02 August 2014

further oy vey / ach Weg / the Further Fratricidal Genocidal Adventures of Yawheh = Allah in His Holy Land / Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves

2 Comments:

Anonymous abbas said...
interesting how everyones got skeleton's up in their closets and over get time get real good in hiding them. thanks for the read.
Saturday, 02 August, 2014  

Blogger Vleeptron Dude said...
Well, if the contest is for Best Closet Skeleton Hiding, certainly a major Earth-class contender is Israel's "hidden" unacknowledged nuclear weapons. By refusing to acknowledge this nuclear weapons elephant in the bathtub, the world pressure against Iran's and North Korea's nuclear activities -- well, Israel isn't bothered by such pressure, because it doesn't have any nuclear weapons.

Israel seems to have partnered with apartheid-era South Africa (at the time the West's Rogue Pariah Subhuman Rights state) to assist one another in developing fission weapons. There's a famous flash of light from satellite photos in the Indian Ocean which many experts attribute to apartheid South Africa's first secret A-bomb test. Or joint cooperative South African - Israeli secret test.

Strange, unpleasant bedfellows -- of which Israel has, in the past or now, had many. Since the Camp David Accords (1978), Israel's staunchest and most powerful ally in the region had been Egypt. Like Turkey's historical stance toward Israel, the Egyptian non-belligerent stance may also be dissolving.

Before Camp David there was a famous saying in the Middle East: "When the Arab world goes to war against Israel, Egyptians die." We're probably witnessing the end of 36 years in which no Israeli or Egyptian soldier has killed one another. It took 36 years, but apparently the region has chosen to revert to the Good Old Days of truckloads of body bags in the desert.

Well ... you can't stand in the way of God's Will for long. This is, after all, the Holy Land.

When you get a chance, could you shoot a few paragraphs about Shia and Sunni troubles to the Great Western Ignorami? This ISIL/ISIS thing also got me taking too many tranquiizers.



Saturday, 02 August, 2014  



************
************

... Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves ...
 

Samson Agonistes
John Milton
 

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01 August 2014

shit happens / sorry we hacked your Congressional oversight commitee staff / that was then, this is now / Orgelwerke

click video / FULL SCREEN

Obama says that after 9/11, 
'we tortured some folks'

by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON Fri 1 Aug 2014 4:35pm EDT
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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday the CIA "tortured some folks" after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that the White House had handed over to Congress a report about an investigation into "enhanced interrogation techniques."

"We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values," Obama told a White House news conference.

Obama's comment was a reaffirmation of his decision to ban the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding shortly after he took office in January 2009.

The administration of President George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor, authorized the use of harsh questioning techniques of militant detainees in the wake of the 9/11 attacks after deciding they did not amount to torture. Obama told reporters the techniques were used because the United States was afraid more attacks were imminent.

"It's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had," he said. "A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots."
Obama also said he had full confidence in CIA Director John Brennan despite a revelation the agency spied on a U.S. Senate committee investigating its interrogation techniques.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Steve Holland and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

- 30 -



Uganda clarifies earlier misunderstanding / christian fundies from USA guide Uganda LGBT legislation

UPDATE 3-
Ugandan court overturns 
anti-gay law 
that halted Western aid
Fri 1 Aug 2014 8:55pm IST
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* Judge says parliament lacked quorum to enact law

* State free to appeal ruling nullifying legislation

* Activists say law violates constitutional rights

* Western donors have cut aid in protest (Adds White House comment)

 

by Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA, Aug 1 (Reuters) -
Uganda's constitutional court on Friday overturned an anti-homosexuality law that punished gay sex with long prison sentences and was condemned by Western and other donors, some of whom withheld aid in protest.

The new ruling, which can be appealed, voids a statute signed into law by the president in February and which had broad support in the religiously conservative east African nation.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Act, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as someone with HIV having gay sex or gay sex with anyone vulnerable, such as a disabled person - would be put in prison for life.

Homosexuality is a taboo issue in much of Africa and is illegal in 37 countries on the continent. But the punishments laid out in Uganda were among the harshest.

Citing irregularities in the way the law was passed, Judge Steven Kavuma said the speaker of parliament had acted illegally by not accepting objections pointing to the fact that there was no quorum for a vote.

"The Act itself so enacted by this reason alone is unconstitutional," he said.

Lawyers said the constitutional court ruling could be challenged through an appeals process.

Fear of violence, imprisonment and loss of jobs mean few gays in Africa are open about their sexuality.

The United States, Uganda's biggest donor, called the legislation "atrocious", likening it to anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa. When it was passed, Washington said it would review relations with Kampala.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is scheduled to travel to the United States next week for a summit of African leaders hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Museveni is to hold a press conference on Saturday and is likely to comment on the court's ruling.

The White House welcomed the court's decision.

"This is an important step in the right direction for human rights, not just of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, but of all Ugandans," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo, who has in the past said that aid should not be tied to Uganda's stand on homosexuality, declined to comment on the ruling.

The World Bank and some European donors - Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands - withheld aid or loans worth more than U$118,000,000 . Sweden resumed financial support to Uganda this week.

Uganda relies on aid to fund about 20 percent of its budget.

The Ugandan shilling came under pressure when the law was passed. On Friday, it rose, with banks cutting long dollar positions on expectations of a resumption in aid.

WESTERN PRESSURE


The government had resisted Western pressure to rescind the law but in July Kampala said that donors had "misinterpreted" the measure, saying it was to prevent the promotion of gay sex to children, not to punish or ostracise homosexuals.

Ugandans opposed to the law had brought a petition to the constitutional court, saying that the law violated fundamental rights. This aspect was not addressed by the judge.

"I welcome the ruling although I would have loved the judge to go into the substance of our petition," said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda.

"That's where he would have realised that the law violates the Constitution of Uganda and (I) am sure he would have gone ahead to declare homosexuality legal in Uganda."

The law also criminalised lesbianism for the first time and made it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts.

"This decision is a bright spot in a dark record on human rights," Asia Russell, Uganda-based director of international policy at Health GAP, an HIV advocacy group.

During the bill signing, Museveni had said homosexuality was emblematic of the West's "social imperialism" in Africa. Powerful Christian groups with links to U.S. evangelical groups have labelled homosexuality an imported Western social evil.

"We're wondering whether the ruling is in any way related to the president's travel to America because Obama has made it clear his No. 1 policy agenda is advancing homosexualism," said Pastor Martin Ssempa, one of the evangelical pastors who were most instrumental in pushing for the law.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Edmund Blair/Mark Heinrich)
- 30 -

31 July 2014

question re boring Middle East politics and military affairs / Bob salutes the Euro colonial legacy, thanks guys

Click to enlarge, but it won't get prettier.

abbas
has left a new comment on your post "return of son of The Spanish prisoner / sounds hot...":

yo bob, what's the "for dummies" version of what's going down in palestine, gaza, west bank and israel?

Posted by abbas to Vleeptron_Z at Thursday, 31 July, 2014

======================

As every dummy knows, the Ibrahamic God has commanded all His children ceaselessly to slaughter each other -- not merely soldier versus soldier, but including infants and unarmed civilians. The United Nations relief organizations and, I assume, International Red Cross / Red Crescent notes that the Gaza situation is particularly ghastly because Gaza has now been denuded of nearly all medical supplies and resources. (Egypt blocks supplies from the south, Israel blockades Gaza from the north.) Yesterday an Israeli strike took out Gaza City's electric power, which runs the fresh water system's pumps. My diabetes is somewhat mild, so if I were otherwise unscathed in Gaza, the lack of refrigeration for what insulin may be available would take a few weeks or a month to kill me. All Gaza's diabetics face slow, ghastly death this way.

Vleeptron will refrain from illustrating this post with photographs of dead or maimed babies. Those who want to see more such photos this week should have no difficulties finding them.

I wish to take special note of the USA's last presidential campaign. In his secret speech to Republican donors (which was rudely filmed and distributed to YouTube, I think by a startled waiter with a cel phone), Mitt Romney discussed Mideast Peace. If elected, he told the gazillionaires, he would just "kick the can down the road" -- i.e., do nothing to try to bring about peace between Israel and Palestinians, as he and all practical conservative leaders believed there was nothing USA leadership could do, so why even try? (I, like the majority of American Jews, voted for Obama in both his campaigns.)

Of course the dreadful never-ending hatred and violence in the region are the lingering legacy of the rule of European colonial powers. They're long gone -- they got kicked out of the region, and kicked out of India and what was partitioned into the two Pakistans, around 1948. The Mideast has been in regular violence and warfare ever since, as have Pakistan and India. Today many of the combatant nations in both theaters possess nuclear weapons and reasonably effective delivery systems. (Israel's delivery systems are by far the best in the region, and it's believed Israel possesses both fission and fusion bombs -- they have never acknowledged that they possess nuclear weapons.)

My family -- "Diaspora Jews," and lifelong sympathizers with Israel's right to exist in safety as a sovereign sanctuary for Jews -- has a long tradition of Lefty Peaceniks, and I make special mention of a favorite nephew who travelled to the West Bank to stand in front of Caterpillar (tm) bulldozers that the IDF soldiers were using to knock down Palestinian homes (to prepare for the construction of new Jewish settlements).

In our times, we are witnessing the total collapse of regional and international political leadership. In Israel -- which proudly describes itself as a parliamentary democracy -- only one national institution is respected and trusted by the Israeli people: The IDF, the Israeli military. From its historically victorious war generals, Israeli party politics regularly choose the next "tough guy" Prime Minister. Netanyahu is the surviving brother of the only IDF combat death of the successful hostage rescue raid in Idi Amin's Uganda, which made "Bibi" (a famed philanderer, I think he has twice had to apologize on TV) a sort of proxy war hero.

If you are waiting for me to say something nice about Hamas ...

Another casualty of this catastrophic breakdown of leadership has been the ancient respectful alliance -- dating from Ottoman times -- between Jews, Israel and Turkey. Turkey's disturbing shift from Ataturk secularism to
Erdoğan's "faith-based" form of government/politics has allowed Erdogan to break Turkey's friendship with Israel and take an active pro-Palestinian role in the region. It's unlikely I'll ever join the Erdoğan Fan Club, but one of his provocations was indeed necessary and important -- sponsoring merchant vessels with food and medical supplies to besieged Gaza.

It's inevitable and easy for the world's independent media to cover war and dead babies.

What nobody (that I've yet seen) has yet covered is the Israeli anti-war Refusenik Peacenik political pushback. (Israel has long had a fringe party called Gush Shalom -- I suspect these are excellent recruiting days for this party. That's their anti-blockade ship in foto above.)

As an interesting footnote to this new war, Israel is about to make a historic change and end the automatic conscription exemption for its Ultra-Orthodox Jews -- who are the most rabid anti-Palestinians in Israel, but have never had to wear a uniform and do the icky business of killing Palestinians themselves. Universal conscription also drafts women into the IDF. I can't wait to see how that will work for the Ultra-Orthodox. There were women soldiers when I was in the USA Army, but I don't think they had a military job specialty of bearing multiple children.

In October 1973, Israel made considerable sympathetic propaganda when it was attacked by an Arab coalition on the holiest of Jewish days, and has since been known as the Yom Kippur War.

I now officially dub this Gaza disaster the Ramadan War. I think that could grow legs historically. People in the region will remember the calendar timing of the Israeli offensive for a long time.

Eid Mubarak, Abbas, and I love ya, buddy, but your request for my Feelings about this wretched business is making me sick, and I got to take some tranquilizers and blood pressure medicine.

Great question, though!


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27 July 2014

return of son of The Spanish prisoner / sounds hot, i'll hit [REPLY] & surprise my wife when we get the payoff

From Mr.Alexander Kofi Mensah Mould
CEO Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)

I am Mr.Alexander Kofi Mensah Mould? the CEO Ghana National Petroleum Corporation which awards contract in the Department of Petroleum Resources of Ghana. I head a seven man Tenders Board Committee in charge of contract award and Payment approvals. I came to know of you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction, which involves
the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account.

There were series of contracts executed by a consortium of Multinationals in the oil industry in favour of the (GNPC) among which were;

1) The expansion of Pipeline network within Ghana for crude oil and downstream products distribution and subsequent evacuation -  US$2 Billion.

2)    Contract for Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of Refinery in the country.

3)    The construction of Storage Tanks for Petroleum Product (Depots)-US$94 Million.

The original value of of these contracts  were deliberately over invoiced in the sum of Twenty Five million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars $25,500,000.00) which has recently been approved and now ready to be transferred. However the companies that actually executed the aforementioned contract have been fully paid and the projects officially commissioned.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount into your account for subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed in you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed amongst ourselves to offer you 40% of the transferred sum, 10% shall be set aside for any incidental expenses during the course of this transaction, you will then be mandated to revert the balance to us in due course.

You must however NOTE that this transaction is subject to the following terms and conditions; our conviction of your transparent honesty and diligence, that you must accord this transaction with utmost confidentiality and secrecy.

Modalities have been worked out at the highest levels of the Ministry 0f Finance, Central Bank of Ghana and the Presidential Task Force on Contract Payment for the immediate remittance of the funds within 5 - 7 working days subject to your satisfaction of the above terms.

Our assurance is that your role shall be totally risk free. To accord this transaction the legality it deserves, and for mutual security of funds, the whole procedures shall be legally processed with your name or any company you may nominate as the bonafide final beneficiary.

Once more, I want you to understand that having put in over 20 years in the Civil Service of my country, I am very  much averse to having my image and career dented. This matter should therefore be treated with utmost secrecy and urgency. Kindly expedite immediate action as we are well behind schedule to enable us include this transfer in the second batch of the 2014 fiscal year contract payments.

Best Regards.
Mr.Alexander Kofi Mensah Mould
CEO Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)



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07 July 2014

Ramadan Kareem -- a Generous Month of Ramadan / Salam, Peace


Click to enlarge.

Personal matters have slowed and delayed me, and this is not the first time I have been late to wish all my Muslim neighbors Ramadan Kareem -- a generous month of Ramadan.

But better late than never.

This crude greeting image -- well, crude, yes, but it's also slightly brave, because I didn't filch a much prettier and more proper Ramadan Kareem card from the web. I think this might be the first time I'm not the Web Thief of Ramadan. This year I'm the talentless, ignorant graffiti tagger of Ramadan.

During this lunar month, the Prophet Mohammed received the words of the Quran. I have only read much of the Quran in English translation, the Penguin translation by the Anglo-Iraqi Dawood -- which is apparently the best-selling Quran in a language other than the original Arabic.


(Dawood also translated a lovely, delicious collection of stories from the 1001 Nights / the Arabian Nights / Alf Layla iwa Layla," also for Penguin.)


If you stick "Ramadan" in the Vleeptron search engine, you should see my efforts to wish the Umma Ramadan Kareem for, oh, at least 10 years. 


Last year's was particularly beautiful: with his kind permission, a very talented astronomer's photo of the crescent moon near a single bright star. God and Nature make the most beautiful images.

I'll stop here, else I betray more of my profound ignorance about these matters. 


All I can add is that this is a very troubled moment for many of the Muslim parts of the world. So if you pray, pray for Salam, Selam, Salamet, Shalom, Paz, Pax, Paix, Pace. Peace however you say it.

But please Leave A Comment about these things. Keep the dialogue going. Think generous thoughts all month.



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15 June 2014

holy shit / The Troubles -- the Sequel / seemed like a good idea for a grad school project at the time / dead men tape no tales

Click photo to enlarge.

Wikipedia:

Boston College
(BC) is a private Jesuit research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA, 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Boston. It has 9,100 full-time undergraduates and almost 5,000 graduate students. The university's name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school (now Boston College High School) in Boston's South End. It is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.

Boston College's undergraduate program is currently ranked 31st in the National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report.[8]
====================

The Boston Globe
daily broadsheet
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Friday 2 May 2014

 

Boston College
again thrust into 
Ireland’s Troubles

by Milton J. Valencia, Globe Staff

The recent arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in connection with an infamous decades-old slaying has returned Boston College, an institution with deep Irish roots, to the battles over Northern Ireland’s continuing tormented attempts at peace.

Boston College had reluctantly turned over to British authorities documents from an academic project that had implicated Adams, 65, and the Irish Republican Army in the killing of alleged informer Jean McConville, a disclosure that may have contributed to Adams’s arrest and could threaten a still shaky peace process.

"The fact is, this peace process is still tenuous, and there are still deep tensions between the two parties still in government," said Niall O’Dowd, founder of the New York-based website IrishCentral.com, which calls itself the largest website in North America focusing on developments in Ireland.

==============
Related

    Kevin Cullen: Inconvenient truths
    Adams arrest jolts backers in Boston
    BC project leads to arrest

=============
 

"If you talk to anyone in Northern Ireland they will tell you the same thing, that the arrest of Gerry Adams has the potential to destabilize the peace process," O’Dowd said in a phone interview Thursday.

Boston College’s defenders say the institution was ensnared in a political donnybrook, which the United States government has failed to recognize when it agreed to a request from Britain to seek records from the university’s academic project, known as the Belfast Project.

"It sickens me that it comes back and reflects at Boston College," said Thomas P. O’Neill III, a former trustee with Boston College, whose father was a US House speaker from Massachusetts who helped secure peace accords in Northern Ireland.

"There’s plenty of finger-pointing to go everywhere [in Ireland], but great strides of peace have been made, and I don’t want to lose that," he said.

The Belfast Project included confidential [audio tape] interviews with members of militia groups that clashed during the Irish Troubles, a conflict between those who would unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland and those who want it to remain within the United Kingdom. They agreed to the interviews under condition of anonymity until they died.

Several participants in the project had implicated Adams, a popular IRA leader, in the killing of McConville, a 38-year-old mother of 10 who was abducted in west Belfast in 1972 and shot to death. The IRA later took responsibility for the killing of McConville, whom they suspected of being an informant.

One of the participants was Brendan Hughes, a legendary volunteer who disagreed with Adams’s peace strategy. Another was Dolours Price, one of the highest-profile female members of the Provisional IRA, who said Adams ordered her to drive McConville to her IRA executioners. Another alleged BC project participant, Ivor Bell, a former senior IRA commander, was charged in March with aiding and abetting McConville’s killing.

Adams -- a member of the Irish Parliament [Northern Ireland Assembly], president of the Sinn Fein political party, and a major player in the 1998 peace agreement -- confirmed his arrest in a statement Wednesday night. He portrayed it as a voluntary arrangement with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, though he questioned the timing and said he "never shirked my responsibility to build the peace." He has not been charged.

The US Department of Justice, at the request of British authorities, had demanded that BC turn over the Belfast Project interviews under an international treaty that requires the internal disclosure of evidence of violent crimes. Under a federal court subpoena, Boston College had agreed to provide records of Hughes’ interviews, because he was already dead. The college fought requests to provide records of Price’s interviews, as well as dozens of other interviews, but an appeals court ultimately ruled in May 2013 that portions of 11 interviews had to be released. Price had been found dead only months earlier, in January 2013, in her Malahide, Ireland, home.

The journalists involved in the Belfast Project criticized Boston College’s handling of the subpoena, saying the university failed to fight for what they called their academic freedom to protect their sources. The journalists argued that the people interviewed would never have agreed to the interviews had they known the information could have been subpoenaed.

The journalists tried to intervene, to protect their interests, but several appeals courts said the records belonged to Boston College.

"This stain is going to be on Boston College for a very long time," said Ed Moloney, one of the journalists involved in the project. Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA volunteer who recorded interviews, has said his life could be in jeopardy.

Harvey Silverglate
, a well-known civil liberties lawyer in Boston, has published several articles asserting that Boston College failed to fight for its academic freedom, the way a journalist would battle to protect First Amendment [to USA Constitution] rights.

"If BC knew that it wouldn’t have the guts to refuse to turn over those materials, it never should have put itself in the position as custodian," Silverglate said.

Jack Dunn
, a Boston College spokesman, said Thursday the college successfully fought the disclosure of most of the interviews but was forced ultimately by the court order to turn over the information. He said the college’s ability to argue that the information was confidential was weakened by the production of books and documentaries by Moloney and others, as well as Price’s own admissions in
separate media interviews that Adams ordered the killing.

"People understand that Boston College had no option other than to comply with the federal court order," Dunn said. “Unfortunately, this court order could have a chilling effect on oral history projects moving forward, particularly in countries that have a [treaty] obligation with the United States."


O’Dowd said the journalists and Boston College are both to blame for failing to recognize the significance the interviews would have in the stability of the peace process.

He and O’Neill also said, however, that the request for the information and its subsequent disclosure are part of a larger political entanglement in Northern Ireland. He questioned why authorities would be targeting Adams, when so many other murders had occurred.

"There have been consistent attempts through the years to destabilize the peace process," O’Dowd said.

"For Boston College not to be aware of the ramifications ... is really a tragic error on their part."

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com . Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia . 


- 30 -




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30 May 2014

are you so blind that you cannot see / are you so deaf that you cannot hear



Watch video in Full-Screen mode.

Amy Winehouse loved this AKA Specials song when she was a kid and covered it this way. Amazingly enough, Mandela lived longer than she did.

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24 May 2014

Memorial Day 2014 / When you see millions of the mouthless dead across your dreams in pale battalions go

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This is Memorial Day, a three-day weekend. Wikipedia:

Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered.[1] The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May,[2] was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

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It's one of the holidays when persons awaiting organ transplants pack a bag and wait for a phone call from the transplant surgeon. They don't know whose kidney or liver you'll get, but they know there'll be a lot of fresh available organs.

The USA war in Afghanistan -- the longest war in our history -- is still going on under the presidency of Barack Obama. The other war George W. Bush started, Iraq -- the US military commitment has mercifully ended, but Iraq is an ongoing violent catastrophe. 

Like Southeast Asia for decades after the USA withdrew from Vietnam, the entire region is destabilized and violent, and filled with enormous overflowing refugee camps. In this region entire generations live their entire lives in refugee camps.

When the US military withdraws from Afghanistan -- a fuzzy schedule possibly this year -- it certainly will not have defeated or neutralized its enemies. We'll leave, they live there.

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Charles Hamilton Sorley, a Scot from Aberdeen, was shot through the head and died instantly at age 20, at the Battle of Loos, on Wednesday 13 October 1915. His body was lost, but his kit bag was found and sent home to his family. They found this poem inside it.

When You See Millions
of the Mouthless Dead

Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"Yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.


Original text: Charles Hamilton Sorley. Marlborough and other Poems. 4th edition. Cambridge: University Press, 1919: 78 (no. XXXIV). First publication date: 1916. Composition date: 1915. Form: sonnet. Rhyme: ababbabacdcdcd

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