Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Japanese electric car travels over 200 miles on single charge

Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

TOKYO — Japanese developers have unveiled an electric car they said Wednesday can travel more than 300 kilometres before its battery runs flat.

Electric vehicle specialist SIM-Drive, which hopes to take the car to market by 2013 but gave no projected cost, said its four-seater "SIM-LEI" had motors inside each wheel and a super-light frame, allowing for 333 kilometres (207 miles) of motoring on one charge in a test.

Its designers say they hope the prototype, a joint project among 34 organisations including Mitsubishi Motors and engineering firm IHI, will be sold to car manufacturers for mass production.

Automakers such as Nissan, which launched its all-electric Leaf last year with a 160-kilometre range, are gambling that electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions will catch on and, some time in the future, start to drive traditional petrol-guzzlers off the road.

Electric cars still face key hurdles such as costly batteries and the lack of conveniently-located recharging points, which limits their operating radius.

NaturalNews.com Roundup

Some greatest hits from the highly excellent website NaturalNews.com:

"No matter what one's personal position is on the issue of consuming dairy products, the freedom to buy and sell raw milk is a fundamental right afforded to every American under the US Constitution. On May 11, 2011, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) introduced House Resolution (HR) 1830, the Unpasteurized Milk Bill, which will eliminate the unlawful federal restrictions on the interstate sale and distribution of raw milk and raw milk products..."

Rep. Ron Paul introduces HR 1830 to allow shipment, distribution of raw milk across state lines
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Ethan A. Huff


"It can now be revealed by NaturalNews that the TSA faked its safety data on its X-ray airport scanners in order to deceive the public about the safety of such devices.

As evidenced by recent events in Washington, we now live in an age where the federal government simply fakes whatever documents, news or evidence it wants people to believe, then releases that information as if it were fact. This is the modus operandi of the Department of Homeland Security, which must fabricate false terror alerts to keep itself in business -- and now the TSA division has taken the fabrication of false evidence to a whole new level with its naked body scanners..."

TSA backscatter radiation safety tests were rigged
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Mike Adams


"The federal government has been publicly denying any link between autism and vaccines for over two decades, while it has quietly been paying out damages for vaccine injury to children with autism, a study released May 10th shows. The study underscores the need for Congressional hearings and independent scientific research into the connection between autism and vaccines.

The federal government's Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created in 1989 to act as a 'no fault' taxpayer-funded alternative for those seeking compensation for proven vaccine injury. The new peer-reviewed study, published May 10th in the Pace Environmental Law Review, looked at cases of vaccine injury that have been monetarily compensated by the VICP. The study looked at 1300 cases of children with brain injury resulting from vaccines where the court's records referenced autism, symptoms of autism or disorders commonly associated with autism -- twenty-one cases outright stated 'autism or autism-like symptoms' in the court records. The researchers then identified and contacted 150 of the families that were compensated to find out whether the children had autism. 62 of the families they contacted (greater than 40 percent of their sample) reported children with autism, for a total of 83 cases of autism."

Government vaccine compensation payouts prove autism link
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Neev M. Arnell


"Behind every madman, there is a distorted philosophy that denies people their humanity, says Mike Adams, creator of the new mini-documentary 'The God Within,' available now on NaturalNews.TV. This documentary deconstructs the core philosophies underpinning modern scientific thinking, unveiling the frightening fact that most modern scientists do not believe human beings have free will, a soul, or even anything resembling consciousness...

In 'The God Within,' Adams takes aim at famed physicist Stephen Hawking, author of the book 'The Grand Design.' In that book, Hawking claims that human beings are merely 'biological machines' with no consciousness, no souls, no spirit, no mind and nothing but a collection of organized chemicals that run physical brains in a deterministic machine-like way. This belief, says filmmaker Mike Adams, also the editor of NaturalNews.com, is a dangerous pretext for the 'scientific' experimentation on human beings because it fails to recognize the value of life, free will or conscious experience...

Medical experiments on humans and animals are widely conducted under the assumption that both people and animals have no consciousness, thus their screams of pain are merely 'biological reactions' that represent no actual suffering or 'real' experience. This has been the core philosophy of science and medicine traced back through centuries -- a kind of pathological detachment from reality.

As Adams presents in The God Within, the idea that human beings are mere biological robots with no consciousness or free will is the perfect pretext for genocidal crimes carried out against innocent people in the name of science. 'The fact that modern scientific thinking utterly fails to recognize the existence of consciousness, a mind or a soul helps explain why so much of today's science is so destructive to life on our planet,' says Adams, who points to GMOs, chemical pesticides, and the psychiatric drugging of children as ready examples of how runaway science has failed to value life..."

Physicist Stephen Hawking denounced for believing human beings are biological robots with no consciousness or free will
Monday, May 16, 2011
Mike Adams

Dark Energy Rips Universe

From ScienceDaily.com:
A five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies, stretching back seven billion years in cosmic time, has led to one of the best independent confirmations that dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds.

The survey used data from NASA's space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Anglo-Australian Telescope on Siding Spring Mountain in Australia.

The findings offer new support for the favored theory of how dark energy works -- as a constant force, uniformly affecting the universe and propelling its runaway expansion. They contradict an alternate theory, where gravity, not dark energy, is the force pushing space apart. According to this alternate theory, with which the new survey results are not consistent, Albert Einstein's concept of gravity is wrong, and gravity becomes repulsive instead of attractive when acting at great distances.

"The action of dark energy is as if you threw a ball up in the air, and it kept speeding upward into the sky faster and faster," said Chris Blake of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Blake is lead author of two papers describing the results that appeared in recent issues of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "The results tell us that dark energy is a cosmological constant, as Einstein proposed. If gravity were the culprit, then we wouldn't be seeing these constant effects of dark energy throughout time."

Dark energy is thought to dominate our universe, making up about 74 percent of it. Dark matter, a slightly less mysterious substance, accounts for 22 percent. So-called normal matter, anything with atoms, or the stuff that makes up living creatures, planets and stars, is only approximately four percent of the cosmos.

The idea of dark energy was proposed during the previous decade, based on studies of distant exploding stars called supernovae. Supernovae emit constant, measurable light, making them so-called "standard candles," which allows calculation of their distance from Earth. Observations revealed dark energy was flinging the objects out at accelerating speeds...

Dark Energy Is Driving Universe Apart
May 19, 2011

Ignored Exoplanet May Be a Watery World

Mark Brown, Wired UK May 18, 2011

Gliese 581g, a habitable Earth-like exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf, thrilled astronomers when it was discovered in September 2010 as it was the most feasibly habitable exoplanet yet observed. But a few months later its entire existence was brought into question — no one has seen any significant signal from 581g since. It could have just been noise in the stellar wobbles of the faraway red dwarf.

The mysterious 581g sat in the so-called Goldilocks zone, where it orbited at just the right distance from its roasting parent star that water, if it existed on the planet, would neither boil nor freeze.

But now a group of French researchers, led by British scientist Robin Wordsworth, have taken another look at the data for 581d — another of the red dwarf’s planets — performing a comprehensive 3-D climate simulation on the planet. The simulation uses fundamental physical principles to look at a wide range of conditions, and account for any atmospheric cocktail of gases, clouds and aerosols.

To the team’s surprise, it believes that 581d would have a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, which would give the planet a stable and warm climate. In a press release, France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) concluded that 581d is likely warm enough to hold liquid water, in “oceans, clouds and rainfall”.

Anyone who stood on the planet would probably see clear blue skies, like on Earth, also. Most planets’ thick atmospheres bounce the majority of sunlight back into space. On Earth, and potentially 581d, the Rayleigh scattering phenomenon lets more sunlight in, leading to blue skies and a warmer climate.

But if humans ever did walk on 581d they’d still find a pretty bizarre planet with very un-Earthlike conditions. The dense air and thick clouds would drape the surface in a perpetually murky red twilight, and its hulking mass (at least 5.6 times that of Earth) means surface gravity would be double that of Earth’s.

“The most important implication of these results,” a spokesperson for the Scientific Research center said in a press release, “may be the idea that life-supporting planets do not in fact need to be particularly like the Earth at all.”

Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says

John Blake, CNN
May 13th, 2011

(CNN) - A frail man sits in chains inside a dank, cold prison cell. He has escaped death before but now realizes that his execution is drawing near.

“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” the man –the Apostle Paul - says in the Bible's 2 Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

The passage is one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament. Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, is saying goodbye from a Roman prison cell before being beheaded. His goodbye veers from loneliness to defiance and, finally, to joy.

There’s one just one problem - Paul didn’t write those words. In fact, virtually half the New Testament was written by impostors taking on the names of apostles like Paul. At least according to Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar, who makes the charges in his new book “Forged.”

“There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.In “Forged,” Ehrman claims that:

* At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries.

* The New Testament books attributed to Jesus’ disciples could not have been written by them because they were illiterate.

* Many of the New Testament’s forgeries were manufactured by early Christian leaders trying to settle theological feuds.

Were Jesus’ disciples ‘illiterate peasants?'

Ehrman’s book, like many of his previous ones, is already generating backlash. Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, has written a lengthy online critique of “Forged.”

Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

All of the New Testament books, with the exception of 2 Peter, can be traced back to a very small group of literate Christians, some of whom were eyewitnesses to the lives of Jesus and Paul, Witherington says.

“Forged” also underestimates the considerable role scribes played in transcribing documents during the earliest days of Christianity, Witherington says.

Even if Paul didn’t write the second book of Timothy, he would have dictated it to a scribe for posterity, he says.

“When you have a trusted colleague or co-worker who knows the mind of Paul, there was no problem in antiquity with that trusted co-worker hearing Paul’s last testimony in prison,” he says. “This is not forgery. This is the last will and testament of someone who is dying.”

Ehrman doesn’t confine his critique to Paul’s letters. He challenges the authenticity of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. He says that none were written by Jesus' disciplies, citing two reasons.

He says none of the earliest gospels revealed the names of its authors, and that their current names were later added by scribes.

Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

Will the real Paul stand up?

Ehrman reserves most of his scrutiny for the writings of Paul, which make up the bulk of the New Testament. He says that only about half of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul – 7 of 13 - were actually written by him.

Paul's remaining books are forgeries, Ehrman says. His proof: inconsistencies in the language, choice of words and blatant contradiction in doctrine.

For example, Ehrman says the book of Ephesians doesn’t conform to Paul’s distinctive Greek writing style. He says Paul wrote in short, pointed sentences while Ephesians is full of long Greek sentences (the opening sentence of thanksgiving in Ephesians unfurls a sentence that winds through 12 verses, he says).

“There’s nothing wrong with extremely long sentences in Greek; it just isn’t the way Paul wrote. It’s like Mark Twain and William Faulkner; they both wrote correctly, but you would never mistake the one for the other,” Ehrman writes.

The scholar also points to a famous passage in 1 Corinthians in which Paul is recorded as saying that women should be “silent” in churches and that “if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.”

Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

Why people forged

Forgers often did their work because they were trying to settle early church disputes, Ehrman says. The early church was embroiled in conflict - people argued over the treatment of women, leadership and relations between masters and slaves, he says.

“There was competition among different groups of Christians about what to believe and each of these groups wanted to have authority to back up their views,” he says. “If you were a nobody, you wouldn’t sign your own name to your treatise. You would sign Peter or John.”

So people claiming to be Peter and John - and all sorts of people who claimed to know Jesus - went into publishing overdrive. Ehrman estimates that there were about 100 forgeries created in the name of Jesus’ inner-circle during the first four centuries of the church.

Witherington concedes that fabrications and forgeries floated around the earliest Christian communities.

But he doesn’t accept the notion that Peter, for example, could not have been literate because he was a fisherman.

“Fisherman had to do business. Guess what? That involves writing, contracts and signed documents,” he said in an interview.

Witherington says people will gravitate toward Ehrman’s work because the media loves sensationalism.

“We live in a Jesus-haunted culture that’s biblically illiterate,” he says. “Almost anything can pass for historical information… A book liked ‘Forged’ can unsettle people who have no third or fourth opinions to draw upon.”

Ehrman, of course, has another point of view.

“Forged” will help people accept something that it took him a long time to accept, says the author, a former fundamentalist who is now an agnostic.

The New Testament wasn’t written by the finger of God, he says – it has human fingerprints all over its pages.

“I’m not saying people should throw it out or it’s not theologically fruitful,” Ehrman says. “I’m saying that by realizing it contains so many forgeries, it shows that it’s a very human book, down to the fact that some authors lied about who they were.”

The China Syndrome Goes Japan

The China Syndrome refers to a scenario in which a molten nuclear reactor core could could fission its way through its containment vessel, melt through the basement of the power plant and down into the earth. While a molten reactor core wouldn't burn "all the way through to China" it could enter the soil and water table and cause huge contamination in the crops and drinking water around the power plant. It's a nightmare scenario,the stuff of movies. And it might just have happened at Fukushima.
Last week, plant operator Tepco sent engineers in to recalibrate water level gauges in reactor number 1. They made an alarming discovery: virtually all the fuel in the core had melted down. That means that the zirconium alloy tubes that hold the uranium fuel and the fuel itself lies in a clump---either at the bottom of the pressure vessel, or in the basement below or possibly even outside the containment building. Engineers don't know for sure, though current temperature readings suggest that fission inside the reactor core has definitely ceased for good (i.e. there will be no further melting).

Anecdotal evidence doesn't bode well for how far the fuel melted: Tepco has been pumping thousands of tons of water onto reactor 1 to try to cool it—yet the water level in the containment vessel is too low to run an emergency cooling system. That means the water is escaping somewhere on a course cut by molten fuel--probably into the basement of the reactor building, though it's also possible it melted through everything into the earth.

Many experts say a full-blown China syndrome is unlikely in large part because the fuel from the type of reactors at Fukushima is designed in such a way that it probably won't sustain "recriticality" once meltdown occurs. What's more, boron, which slows nuclear reactions, was pumped into the cooling water of the reactor after the initial accident to prevent the core from going "critical" again.

But assuming a worst case scenario hasn't occurred, having so much highly radioactive water sloshing around the basement is going to make cleanup even more difficult...

Was Fukushima a China Syndrome?
Eben Harrell
Monday, May 16, 2011

The Rise and Fall of a Scientific Genius

The Forgotten Story of Royal Raymond Rife
a film by Shawn Montgomery

with new narration by Jeff Rense

See the staggering discoveries and work of Roy Rife which led him to a cure for cancer (among many other diseases) in 1934.

Hear Rife's own voice describe his breakthroughs and successes which shook the medical-pharmaceutical establishment to its core.

This all new, completely re-edited DVD version of the original two-part film by Shawn Montgomery, will leave you reeling with anger and shock at what has been withheld from all of us by men with an unbridled lust for profits and a complete disregard for the welfare of humanity.

"The Rise and Fall" shows how Rife's own brilliance led him to eventual ruin in the hands of the hopelessly corrupt American Medical Association, which did not and still does not want you to know his astonishing story. Countless millions of lives have been lost due to conflicting interests within the so-called Cancer Industry.

US, Pakistan Near Open War

Chinese Ultimatum Warns Washington Against Attack
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
May 20, 2011

China has officially put the United States on notice that Washington’s planned attack on Pakistan will be interpreted as an act of aggression against Beijing. This blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.

“Any Attack on Pakistan Would be Construed as an Attack on China”

Responding to reports that China has asked the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty in the aftermath of the Bin Laden operation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu used a May 19 press briefing to state Beijing’s categorical demand that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected.” According to Pakistani diplomatic sources cited by the Times of India, China has “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.” This ultimatum was reportedly delivered at the May 9 China-US strategic dialogue and economic talks in Washington, where the Chinese delegation was led by Vice Prime Minister Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.1 Chinese warnings are implicitly backed up by that nation’s nuclear missiles, including an estimated 66 ICBMs, some capable of striking the United States, plus 118 intermediate-range missiles, 36 submarine-launched missiles, and numerous shorter-range systems.

Support from China is seen by regional observers as critically important for Pakistan, which is otherwise caught in a pincers between the US and India: “If US and Indian pressure continues, Pakistan can say ‘China is behind us. Don’t think we are isolated, we have a potential superpower with us,’” Talat Masood, a political analyst and retired Pakistani general, told AFP.2

The Chinese ultimatum came during the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani in Beijing, during which the host government announced the transfer of 50 state-of-the-art JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, immediately and without cost.3 Before his departure, Gilani had stressed the importance of the Pakistan-China alliance, proclaiming: “We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend. And China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times….When we speak of this friendship as being taller than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans it truly captures the essence of our relationship.”4 These remarks were greeted by whining from US spokesmen, including Idaho Republican Senator Risch.

The simmering strategic crisis between the United States and Pakistan exploded with full force on May 1, with the unilateral and unauthorized US commando raid alleged to have killed the phantomatic Osama bin Laden in a compound at Abottabad, a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty. The timing of this military stunt designed to inflame tensions between the two countries had nothing to do with any alleged Global War on Terror, and everything to do with the late March visit to Pakistan of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian National Security Council chief. This visit had resulted in a de facto alliance between Islamabad and Riyadh, with Pakistan promising troops to put down any US-backed color revolution in the kingdom, while extending nuclear protection to the Saudis, thus making them less vulnerable to US extortion threats to abandon the oil-rich monarchy to the tender mercies of Tehran. A joint move by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to break out of the US empire, whatever one may think of these regimes, would represent a fatal blow for the fading US empire in South Asia.

As for the US claims concerning the supposed Bin Laden raid of May 1, they are a mass of hopeless contradictions which changes from day to day. An analysis of this story is best left to literary critics and writers of theatrical reviews. The only solid and uncontestable fact which emerges is that Pakistan is the leading US target — thus intensifying the anti-Pakistan US policy which has been in place since Obama’s infamous December 2009 West Point speech.

Gilani: Full Force Retaliation to Defend Pakistan’s Strategic Assets
The Chinese warning to Washington came on the heels of Gilani’s statement to the Pakistan Parliament declaring: “Let no one draw any wrong conclusions. Any attack against Pakistan’s strategic assets, whether overt or covert, will find a matching response…. Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force. No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland.”5 A warning of full force retaliation from a nuclear power such as Pakistan needs to be taken seriously, even by the hardened aggressors of the Obama regime.

The strategic assets Gilani is talking about are the Pakistani nuclear forces, the key to the country’s deterrent strategy against possible aggression by India, egged on by Washington in the framework of the US-India nuclear cooperation accord. The US forces in Afghanistan have not been able to conceal their extensive planning for attempts to seize or destroy Pakistan’s nuclear bombs and warheads. According to a 2009 Fox News report, “The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.” This plan was developed by General Stanley McChrystal when he headed the US Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. JSOC, the force reportedly involved in the Bin Laden operation. is composed of Army Delta Force, Navy SEALs and “a high-tech special intelligence unit known as Task Force Orange.” “Small units could seize [Pakistan’s nukes], disable them, and then centralize them in a secure location,” claimed a source quoted by Fox.6

Obama Has Already Approved Sneak Attack on Pakistan’s Nukes

According to the London Sunday Express, Obama has already approved an aggressive move along these lines: “US troops will be deployed in Pakistan if the nation’s nuclear installations come under threat from terrorists out to avenge the killing of Osama Bin Laden… The plan, which would be activated without President Zardari’s consent, provoked an angry reaction from Pakistan officials… Barack Obama would order troops to parachute in to protect key nuclear missile sites. These include the air force’s central Sargodha HQ, home base for nuclear-capable F-16 combat aircraft and at least 80 ballistic missiles.” According to a US official, “The plan is green lit and the President has already shown he is willing to deploy troops in Pakistan if he feels it is important for national security.”7

Extreme tension over this issue highlights the brinksmanship and incalculable folly of Obama’s May 1 unilateral raid, which might easily have been interpreted by the Pakistanis as the long-awaited attack on their nuclear forces. According to the New York Times, Obama knew very well he was courting immediate shooting war with Pakistan, and “insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops.”

The Shooting Has Already Started

The shooting between US and Pakistani forces escalated on Tuesday May 17, when a US NATO helicopter violated Pakistani airspace in Waziristan. Pakistani forces showed heightened alert status, and opened fire immediately, with the US helicopter shooting back. Two soldiers at a Pakistani check post on the border in the Datta Khel area were wounded.8

Possible Pakistani retaliation for this border incursion came in Peshawar on Friday, May 20, when a car bomb apparently targeted a 2-car US consulate convoy, but caused no American deaths or injuries. One Pakistani bystander was killed, and several wounded. In other intelligence warfare, Ary One television reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, the second top US resident spook there to have his cover blown in six months.

US Envoy Grossman Rejects Pakistani Calls To Stop Border Violations

US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, the replacement for the late Richard Holbrooke, on May 19 arrogantly rejected Pakistani calls for guarantees that no more Abottabad-style unilateral operations would be mounted in Pakistan.9 In refusing to offer such assurances, Grossman claimed that Pakistani officials had never demanded respect for their border in recent years.10

In the midst of this strategic crisis, India has gone ahead with inherently provocative scheduled military maneuvers targeting Pakistan. This is the “Vijayee Bhava” (Be Victorious) drill, held in the Thar desert of north Rajastan,. This atomic-biological-chemical Blitzkrieg drill involves the Second Armored Corps, “considered to be the most crucial of the Indian Army’s three principal strike formations tasked with virtually cutting Pakistan in two during a full-fledged war.”11

The Nation: A CIA-RAW-Mossad Pseudo-Taliban Countergang

One way to provide the provocation needed to justify a US-Indian attack on Pakistan would be through an increase in terrorist actions attributable to the so-called Taliban. According to the mainstream Pakistani media, the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, and the Indian RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) have created their own version of the Taliban in the form of a terrorist countergang which they control and direct. According to one account, “Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives have infiltrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda networks, and have created their own Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) force in order to destabilize Pakistan.” The former Punjab Regional Commander of the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), retired Brigadier General Aslam Ghuman, commented: “During my visit to the US, I learned that the Israeli spy agency Mossad, in connivance with Indian agency RAW, under the direct supervision of CIA, planned to destabilize Pakistan at any cost.”12 Was this countergang responsible for last week’s double bombing in Waziristan, which killed 80 paramilitary police?

According to the same account, Russian intelligence “disclosed that CIA contractor Raymond Davis and his network had provided Al-Qaeda operatives with chemical, nuclear and biological weapons, so that US installations may be targeted and Pakistan be blamed….” Davis, a JSOC veteran himself, was arrested for the murder of two ISI agents, but then released by the Pakistani government after a suspicious hue and cry by the State Department.

CIA Claims The New Al Qaeda Boss Lives in Waziristan

If the US needs a further pretext for additional raids, it will also be easy to cite the alleged presence in Waziristan of Saif al-Adel, now touted by the CIA as bin Laden’s likely successor as boss of al Qaeda.13 It is doubtless convenient for Obama’s aggressive intentions that Saif al-Adel can be claimed to reside so close to what is now the hottest border in the world, and not in Finsbury or Flatbush.

In the wake of the unauthorized May 1 US raid, the Pakistani military chief General Kayani had issued his own warning that similar “misadventures” could not be repeated, while announcing that US personnel inside Pakistan would be sharply reduced. In the estimate of one ISI source, there are currently about 7,000 CIA operatives in country, many of them unknown to the Pakistani government. US-Pakistan intelligence sharing has reportedly been downgraded. In response to Kayani’s moves, the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks once again showed its real nature by attempting to discredit the Pakistan commander with dubious US cable reports that he had demanded more Predator drone attacks, not fewer, in recent years.

Especially since Obama’s West Point speech, the CIA has used Predator drone attacks to slaughter civilians with the goal of fomenting civil war inside Pakistan, leading to a breakup of the country along the ethnic lines of Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, and Pushtunistan. The geopolitical goal is to destroy Pakistan’s potential to be the energy corridor between Iran and China. Selig Harrison has emerged as a top US advocate for Baluchistan succession.

Since May 1, six reported US Predator drones attacks have slain some 42 Pakistani civilians, goading public opinion into a frenzy of anti-US hatred. In response, a joint session of the Pakistani parliament voted unanimously on May 14 to demand an end to American missile strikes, calling on the government to cut NATO’s supply line to Afghanistan if the attacks should continue.14 Since the Karachi to Khyber Pass supply line carries as much as two thirds of the supplies needed by the Afghanistan invaders, such a cutoff would cause chaos among the NATO forces. All of this points to the inherent insanity of provoking war with the country your supply line runs through.

US Wants to Use Taliban Boss Mullah Omar Against Pakistan

The State Department dropped all preconditions for negotiating with the Taliban back in February, and the US is now reported by the Washington Post to be talking with envoys of Mullah Omar, the legendary one-eyed leader of the Quetta Shura or Taliban ruling council. It is apparent that the US is offering the Taliban an alliance against Pakistan. US regional envoy Grossman is hostile to the Pakistanis, but when it comes to the Taliban he has been nicknamed “Mr. Reconciliation.”15 By contrast, the US is said to be determined to assassinate the head of the Haqqani network using a Bin Laden-type raid. The Pakistanis are equally determined to keep the Haqqani as an ally.

If China stands behind Pakistan, then Russia might be said to stand behind China. Looking forward to the upcoming June 15 meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Chinese President Hu praised Sino-Russian relations as being “at an unprecedented high point,” with an “obvious strategic ingredient.” In a press conference this week, Russian President Medvedev was obliged indirectly to acknowledge that the much-hyped Obama “reset” with Russia had amounted to very little, since the US ABM missile program in Romania and the rest of eastern Europe, so obviously directed against Russia, means that the START treaty is of dubious value, thus raising the specter of a “new Cold War.” Given the NATO assault on Libya, there would be no UN resolution against Syria, said Medvedev. Putin has been right all along, and Medvedev is trying to imitate Putin to salvage some chance of remaining in power.

Are We in July 1914?

The crisis leading to World War I began with the Sarajevo assassinations of June 28, 1914, but the first major declaration of war did not occur until August 1. In the interim month of July 1914, large parts of European public opinion retreated into a dreamlike trance, an idyllic la-la land of elegiac illusion, even as the deadly crisis gathered momentum. Something similar can be seen today. Many Americans fondly imagine that the alleged death of Bin Laden marks the end of the war on terror and the Afghan War. Instead, the Bin Laden operation has clearly ushered in a new strategic emergency. Forces which had opposed the Iraq war, from MSNBC to many left liberals of the peace movement, are variously supporting Obama’s bloody aggression in Libya, or even celebrating him as a more effective warmonger than Bush-Cheney because of his supposed success at the expense of Bin Laden. In reality, if there were ever a time to mobilize to stop a new and wider war, this is it.


1 http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/china-asks-us-to-respect-paks-sovereignty-independence/articleshow/8454577.cms

2 “China-Pakistan alliance strengthened post bin Laden,” AFP, May 15, 2011, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/index.php/analysis/7546-china-pakistan-alliance-strengthened-post-bin-laden

3 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/asia/20pakistan.html?_r=3

4 http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/05/08/Gilani-China-best-most-trusted-friend/UPI-96101304911435/

5 http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/pakistani_pm_regrets_unilateral_GAOWNTpBXGJaJtwzWaZu0K?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=

6 Rowan Scarborough,”U.S. Has Plan to Secure Pakistan Nukes if Country Falls to Taliban, Fox News, May 14, 2009.

7 “US ‘To Protect Pakistan,” London Sunday Express, May 15, 2011, http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/246717/US-to-protect-Pakistan-

8 http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/us-pakistan-nato-idUSTRE74G0PS20110517

9 “US refuses to assure it will not act unilaterally,” http://thenews.jang.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=15758

10 “No US assurance on unilateral ops,” http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/20-May-2011/No-US-assurance-on-unilateral-ops

11 “Getting leaner and meaner? Army practices blitzkrieg to strike hard at enemy,” Times of India, May 10, 2011, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-10/india/29527731_1_three-strike-corps-army-and-iaf-transformational

12 “CIA has created own Taliban to wreak terror havoc on Pakistan, claims Pak paper,” ANI, May 12, http://my.news.yahoo.com/cia-created-own-taliban-wreak-terror-havoc-pakistan-091621821.html

13 “New al-Qaeda chief in North Waziristan,” May 19, 2011

14 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43033985/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

15 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8519535/US-steps-up-face-to-face-peace-talks-with-Taliban.html

How to spot a psychopath

From Broadmoor to boardroom, they're everywhere, says Jon Ronson, in an exclusive extract from his new book
Jon Ronson
The Guardian, Saturday 21 May 2011

It was visiting hour at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and patients began drifting in to sit with their loved ones at tables and chairs that had been fixed to the ground. They were mostly overweight, wearing loose, comfortable T-shirts and elasticated sweatpants. There probably wasn't much to do in Broadmoor but eat. I wondered if any of them were famous. Broadmoor was where they sent Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

A man in his late 20s walked towards me. His arm was outstretched. He wasn't wearing sweatpants. He was wearing a pinstripe jacket and trousers. He looked like a young businessman trying to make his way in the world, someone who wanted to show everyone that he was very, very sane. We shook hands.

"I'm Tony," he said. He sat down.

"So I hear you faked your way in here," I said.

"That's exactly right," Tony said.

He had the voice of a normal, nice, eager-to-help young man.

"I'd committed GBH," he said. "After they arrested me, I sat in my cell and I thought, 'I'm looking at five to seven years.' So I asked the other prisoners what to do. They said, 'Easy! Tell them you're mad! They'll put you in a county hospital. You'll have Sky TV and a PlayStation. Nurses will bring you pizzas.'"

"How long ago was this?" I asked.

"Twelve years ago," Tony said.

Tony said faking madness was the easy part, especially when you're 17 and you take drugs and watch a lot of scary movies. You don't need to know how authentically crazy people behave. You just plagiarise the character Dennis Hopper played in the movie Blue Velvet. That's what Tony did. He told a visiting psychiatrist he liked sending people love letters straight from his heart, and a love letter was a bullet from a gun, and if you received a love letter from him, you'd go straight to hell.

Plagiarising a well-known movie was a gamble, he said, but it paid off. Lots more psychiatrists began visiting his cell. He broadened his repertoire to include bits from Hellraiser, A Clockwork Orange and David Cronenberg's Crash. Tony told the psychiatrists he liked to crash cars into walls for sexual pleasure and also that he wanted to kill women because he thought looking into their eyes as they died would make him feel normal.

"Where did you get that one from?" I asked.

"A biography of Ted Bundy," Tony replied. "I found it in the prison library."

I nodded and thought it probably wasn't a great idea for prison libraries to stock books about Ted Bundy.

"But they didn't send me to some cushy hospital," Tony continued. "They sent me to bloody Broadmoor!"

Tony said the day he arrived at the dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) unit, he took one look at the place and realised he'd made a spectacularly bad decision. He asked to speak urgently to psychiatrists. "I'm not mentally ill," he told them. It is an awful lot harder, Tony told me, to convince people you're sane than it is to convince them you're crazy.

"When you decided to wear pinstripe to meet me," I said, "did you realise the look could go either way?"

"Yes," said Tony, "but I thought I'd take my chances. Plus most of the patients here are disgusting slobs who don't wash or change their clothes for weeks on end and I like to dress well."

I looked around the Wellness Centre at the patients, scoffing chocolate bars with their parents who, in contrast to their children, had made a great effort to dress well.

"I know people are looking out for 'nonverbal clues' to my mental state," Tony continued. "Psychiatrists love 'nonverbal clues'. They love to analyse body movements. But that's really hard for the person who is trying to act sane. How do you sit in a sane way? How do you cross your legs in a sane way?"

I suddenly felt self-conscious. Was I crossing my legs like a journalist?

"So for a while you thought that being normal and polite would be your ticket out of here?" I said.

"Right," he replied. "I volunteered to weed the hospital garden. But they saw how well behaved I was and decided it meant I could behave well only in the environment of a psychiatric hospital and it proved I was mad."

I glanced suspiciously at Tony. I instinctively didn't believe him about this. It seemed too catch-22, too darkly-absurd-by-numbers. But later Tony sent me his files and, sure enough, it was right there. "Tony is cheerful and friendly," one report stated. "His detention in hospital is preventing deterioration of his condition."

After Tony read that, he said, he started a kind of war of non co-operation. This involved staying in his room a lot. On the outside, Tony said, not wanting to spend time with your criminally insane neighbours would be a perfectly understandable position. But on the inside it demonstrates you're withdrawn and have a grandiose sense of your own importance. In Broadmoor, not wanting to hang out with insane killers is a sign of madness.

"The patient's behaviour is getting worse in Broadmoor," a report written during Tony's non co-operation period stated. "He does not engage [with other patients]."

Tony was funny and quite charming for most of my two hours with him, but towards the end he got sadder. "I arrived here when I was 17," he said. "I'm 29 now. I've grown up wandering the wards of Broadmoor. I've got the Stockwell strangler on one side of me and the Tiptoe Through The Tulips rapist on the other. These are supposed to be the best years of your life. I've seen suicides. I saw a man take another man's eye out."

Tony said just being there can be enough to turn someone crazy. Then one of the guards called out a word – "Time" – and with barely a goodbye, Tony shot from the table and across the room. All the patients did the same. It was a display of tremendous, extreme, acute good behaviour.

I didn't know what to think. Unlike the sad-eyed, medicated patients all around us, Tony had seemed perfectly ordinary and sane. But what did I know?

The next day I wrote to Professor Anthony Maden, the head clinician at Tony's unit at Broadmoor – "I'm contacting you in the hope that you may be able to shed some light on how true Tony's story might be."

A few days later a letter arrived from Tony. "This place is awful at night-time, Jon," he wrote. "Words cannot express the atmosphere."

Tony had included in the package copies of his files. So I got to read the exact words he used to convince psychiatrists back in 1998 that he was mentally ill. He'd really gone to town. He said the CIA was following him, that he enjoyed taking things that belonged to other people because he liked the idea of making them suffer, and that hurting people was better than sex.

I felt the ground shift under my feet. Suddenly I was a little on the side of the psychiatrists. Tony must have come over as extremely creepy.

There was also a description of the crime he committed in 1997. The victim was a homeless alcoholic called Graham who apparently made "an inappropriate comment" about the 10-year-old daughter of one of Tony's friends; something to do with the length of her dress. Tony told him to shut up. Graham threw a punch. Tony retaliated by kicking him. Graham fell over. And that would have been it – Tony later said – had Graham stayed silent. But Graham said, "Is that all you've got?"

Tony "flipped". He kicked Graham seven or eight times in the stomach and groin, returning later to kick him again. I remembered that list of movies Tony said he plagiarised to demonstrate he was mentally ill. A Clockwork Orange begins with a gang of thugs kicking a homeless man while he is on the ground.

My phone rang. I recognised the number. It was Tony. I didn't answer.

A week passed and then the email I had been waiting for arrived from Professor Maden.

"Tony," it read, "did get here by faking mental illness because he thought it would be preferable to prison."

"Oh!" I thought, pleasantly surprised. "Good! That's great!"

But then I read Maden's next line: "Most psychiatrists who have assessed him, and there have been a lot, have considered he is not mentally ill, but suffers from psychopathy."

I looked at the email. "Tony's a psychopath?" I thought.

I didn't know very much about psychopaths back then, but I did know this: it sounded worse.

Faking mental illness to get out of a prison sentence, Maden explained, is exactly the kind of deceitful and manipulative act you'd expect of a psychopath.

A psychologist friend, Essi Viding, agreed. "Classic psychopath!" she said when I described Tony's pinstripe suit.

Tony rang again. I took a breath and picked up the phone.

"Jon?" he said. He sounded small and far away and echoey.

"Yes, hello, Tony," I said, in a no-nonsense way.

"I haven't heard from you in a while," he said.

"Professor Maden says you're a psychopath," I said.

Tony exhaled, impatiently. "I'm not a psychopath," he said.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"They say psychopaths can't feel remorse," said Tony. "I feel lots of remorse. But when I tell them I feel remorse, they say psychopaths pretend to be remorseful when they're not. Trying to prove you're not a psychopath is even harder than trying to prove you're not mentally ill."

"How did they diagnose you?" I asked.

"They give you a psychopath test," said Tony. "The Robert Hare Checklist. They assess you for 20 personality traits. Superficial charm. Proneness to boredom. Lack of empathy. Lack of remorse. Grandiose sense of self-worth. That sort of thing. For each one they score you a 0, 1 or 2. If your total score is 30 or more out of 40, you're a psychopath. That's it. You're doomed. You're labelled a psychopath for life. They say you can't change. You can't be treated. You're a danger to society. And then you're stuck somewhere like this."

It was the French psychiatrist Philippe Pinel who first suggested, early in the 19th century, that there was a madness that didn't involve mania or depression or psychosis. He called it "manie sans d̩lire" Рinsanity without delusions. He said sufferers appeared normal on the surface, but they lacked impulse controls and were prone to outbursts of violence. It wasn't until 1891, when the German doctor JLA Koch published his book Die Psychopathischen Minderwertigkeiten, that it got its name: psychopathy.

The consensus from the beginning was that only 1% of humans had it, but the chaos they caused was so far-reaching, it could actually remould society. And so the urgent question became, how could psychopaths be cured?

In the late 1960s, a young Canadian psychiatrist believed he had the answer. His name was Elliott Barker and he had visited radical therapeutic communities around the world, including nude psychotherapy sessions occurring under the tutelage of an American psychotherapist named Paul Bindrim. Clients, mostly California free-thinkers and movie stars, would sit naked in a circle and dive headlong into a 24-hour emotional and mystical rollercoaster during which participants would scream and yell and sob and confess their innermost fears. Barker worked at a unit for psychopaths inside the Oak Ridge hospital for the criminally insane in Ontario. Although the inmates were undoubtedly insane, they seemed perfectly ordinary. This, Barker deduced, was because they were burying their insanity deep beneath a facade of normality. If the madness could only, somehow, be brought to the surface, maybe it would work itself through and they could be reborn as empathetic human beings.

And so he successfully sought permission from the Canadian government to obtain a large batch of LSD, hand-picked a group of psychopaths, led them into what he named the "total encounter capsule", a small room painted bright green, and asked them to remove their clothes. This was truly to be a radical milestone: the world's first ever marathon nude LSD-fuelled psychotherapy session for criminal psychopaths.

Barker's sessions lasted for epic 11-day stretches. There were no distractions – no television, no clothes, no clocks, no calendars, only a perpetual discussion (at least 100 hours every week) of their feelings. Much like Bindrim's sessions, the psychopaths were encouraged to go to their rawest emotional places by screaming and clawing at the walls and confessing fantasies of forbidden sexual longing for each other, even if they were, in the words of an internal Oak Ridge report of the time, "in a state of arousal while doing so".

My guess is that this would have been a more enjoyable experience within the context of a Palm Springs resort hotel than in a secure facility for psychopathic murderers.

Barker watched it all from behind a one-way mirror and his early reports were gloomy. The atmosphere inside the capsule was tense. Psychopaths would stare angrily at each other. Days would go by when nobody would exchange a word. But then, as the weeks turned into months, something unexpected began to happen.

The transformation was captured in an incredibly moving film. These tough young prisoners are, before our eyes, changing. They are learning to care for one another inside the capsule.

We see Barker in his office, and the look of delight on his face is quite heartbreaking. His psychopaths have become gentle. Some are even telling their parole boards not to consider them for release until after they've completed their therapy. The authorities are astonished.

Back home in London, I felt terribly sorry for Tony. So many psychopathic murderers – fortunate to have been under Barker's radical tutelage – had been declared cured and freed. Why couldn't Broadmoor adopt some of his ideas? Of course, they seemed dated and naive and perhaps overly reliant on hallucinogenics, but they were surely preferable to locking someone up for ever because he happened to score badly on some personality checklist.

Then I learned that two researchers had in the early 90s undertaken a detailed study of the long-term recidivism rates of psychopaths who'd been through Barker's programme and let out into society. In regular circumstances, 60% of criminal psychopaths released into the outside world go on to reoffend. What percentage of their psychopaths had? As it turned out: 80%.

The capsule had made the psychopaths worse.

"They had psychopaths naked and talking about their feelings!" Bob Hare laughed, shaking his head at the idealism of it all. It was an August evening and we were drinking in a hotel bar in rural Pembrokeshire, west Wales, at one of Hare's three-day residential courses for psychiatrists, care workers and criminal profilers. It was exciting finally to meet him. While names such as Elliott Barker have all but faded away, Hare is influential. Justice departments and parole boards all over the world have accepted his contention that psychopaths are quite simply incurable and everyone should concentrate their energies instead on learning how to root them out using his PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised), which he has spent a lifetime refining.

In the mid-60s, Hare was working as a prison psychologist in Vancouver. He put word around the prison that he was looking for psychopathic and non-psychopathic volunteers for tests. He strapped them up to various EEG and sweat- and blood pressure-measuring machines, and also to an electricity generator, and explained to them that he was going to count backwards from 10 and when he reached one they'd receive a very painful electric shock.

The difference in the responses stunned Hare. The non-psychopathic volunteers (theirs were crimes of passion, usually, or crimes born from terrible poverty or abuse) steeled themselves ruefully, as if a painful electric shock were just the penance they deserved. They were, Hare noted, scared.

"And the psychopaths?" I asked.

"They didn't break a sweat," said Hare. "Nothing." The tests seemed to indicate that the amygdala, the part of the brain that should have anticipated the unpleasantness and sent the requisite signals of fear to the central nervous system, wasn't functioning as it should. It was an enormous breakthrough for Hare, his first clue that the brains of psychopaths were different from regular brains.

He was even more astonished when he repeated the test. This time, the psychopaths knew exactly how much pain they'd be in, and still: nothing. Hare learned something that others wouldn't for years: psychopaths were likely to reoffend. "They had no memory of the pain of the electric shock, even when the pain had occurred just moments before," Hare said. "So what's the point in threatening them with imprisonment if they break the terms of their parole? The threat has no meaning for them."

He did another experiment, the startle reflex test, in which psychopaths and non-psychopaths were invited to look at grotesque images, such as crime-scene photographs of blown-apart faces, and when they least expected it Hare would let off an incredibly loud noise in their ear. The non-psychopaths would leap with astonishment. The psychopaths would remain comparatively serene.

Hare knew that we tend to jump a lot higher when startled if we're on the edge of our seats anyway. But if we're engrossed by something, a crossword puzzle, say, and someone startles us, our leap is less pronounced. From this Hare deduced that when psychopaths see grotesque images of blown-apart faces they aren't horrified. They're absorbed.

Thrilled by his findings, Hare sent them to Science magazine.

"The editor returned them unpublished," he said. "He wrote, 'Frankly we found some of the brain wave patterns depicted in your paper very odd. Those EEGs couldn't have come from real people.'"

Then, disastrously for Hare, electric shocks were outlawed in the early 70s. He was forced to change tack. How could psychopaths be rooted out in a more hands-off way? In 1975 he organised a conference on the subject, so experts could pool their observations on the minutiae of psychopaths' behaviour, the verbal and non-verbal tics. Were there patterns? Did they involuntarily use giveaway turns of phrase? Their conclusions became the basis for his now-famous 20-point Hare PCL-R . Which was this:

Item 1 Glibness/superficial charm

Item 2 Grandiose sense of self-worth

Item 3 Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom

Item 4 Pathological lying

Item 5 Cunning/manipulative

Item 6 Lack of remorse or guilt

Item 7 Shallow affect

Item 8 Callous/lack of empathy

Item 9 Parasitic lifestyle

Item 10 Poor behavioural controls

Item 11 Promiscuous sexual behaviour

Item 12 Early behaviour problems

Item 13 Lack of realistic long-term goals

Item 14 Impulsivity

Item 15 Irresponsibility

Item 16 Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Item 17 Many short-term marital relationships

Item 18 Juvenile delinquency

Item 19 Revocation of conditional release

Item 20 Criminal versatility

Hare said if he were to score himself either 0, 1 or 2 on each item of his checklist, he'd probably get a four or a five out of the possible 40. Tony in Broadmoor had told me that on the three occasions they scored him, he got around a 29 or a 30.

Over the three-day course in Wales, my scepticism drained away entirely and I became a Hare devotee. I think the other sceptics felt the same. He was very convincing. I was attaining a new power, like a secret weapon. I felt like a different person, a hardliner, not confused or out of my depth as I had been when I'd been hanging around with Tony in Broadmoor. Instead, I was contemptuous of those naive people who allowed themselves to be taken in by slick-tongued psychopaths.

My mind drifted to what I could do with my new powers. If I'm being honest, it didn't cross my mind to become some kind of great crime fighter, philanthropically dedicated to making society a safer place. Instead, I made a mental list of all the people who over the years had crossed me and wondered which of them I might be able to expose as having psychopathic character traits. Top of the list was AA Gill, who had always been very rude about my television documentaries and had written a restaurant column in which he admitted to killing a baboon on safari.

"Item 8 Callous/lack of empathy," I thought, and smiled to myself.

After the conference, though, Hare seemed introspective. He said, almost to himself, "I shouldn't have done my research just in prisons. I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well."

"But surely stock-market psychopaths can't be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths," I said.

"Serial killers ruin families," shrugged Hare. "Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies."

It wasn't only Hare who believed that a disproportionate number of psychopaths can be found in high places. Over the following months, I spoke to scores of psychologists who all said the same. Everyone in the field seemed to regard psychopaths in this same way: inhuman, relentlessly wicked forces, whirlwinds of malevolence, forever harming society but impossible to identify unless you're trained in the subtle art of spotting them, as I now was.

I met an American CEO, Al Dunlap, formerly of the Sunbeam Corporation, who redefined a great many of the psychopath traits to me as "business positives": Grandiose sense of self-worth? "You've got to believe in yourself." (As he told me this, he was standing underneath a giant oil painting of himself.) Cunning/manipulative? "That's leadership."

But I became incredibly disappointed whenever Dunlap said things to me that were reasonable. There had been – he swore – no early behavioural problems or juvenile delinquency: "I was a focused, serious kid. In school I was always trying to achieve." And he had a loyal wife of 41 years. There were no rumours of affairs. This would score him a zero on items 17 and 11: many short-term marital relationships, and promiscuous sexual behaviour.

Becoming a psychopath-spotter had turned me power-crazed and a bit psychopathic. I was starting to see the checklist as an intoxicating weapon that was capable of inflicting terrible damage if placed in the wrong hands. And I was beginning to suspect that my hands might be the wrong hands.

I met up with Hare again. "It's quite a power you bestow upon people," I said. "What if you've created armies of people who spot psychopaths where there are none, witchfinder generals of the psychopath-spotting world?"

There was a silence.

"I do worry about the checklist being misused," Hare said.

"Who misuses it?" I asked.

"Over here, you have your DSPD programme," he said.

"That's where my friend Tony is," I said. "The DSPD unit at Broadmoor."

Two years had passed since I'd first met Tony in Broadmoor. I hadn't heard from him in months, and then out of the blue he called.

"Jon!" he said. He sounded excited. "There's going to be a tribunal. I want you to come. As my guest."

"Ah," I said, trying to sound pleased for him. Tony was forever pushing for tribunals, year after year, for the 14 years he had been inside Broadmoor's DSPD unit. His optimism was tireless. But the outcome was always the same. They'd come to nothing.

Journalists hardly ever made it to a DSPD unit and I was curious to see inside. According to Maden, the chief clinician at Tony's unit, it wouldn't exist without Hare's psychopath check-list. Tony was there because he had scored high on it, as had all 300 DSPD patients. The official line was that these were places to treat psychopaths with a view to one day sending them back out into the world. But the widespread theory was the whole thing was in fact a scheme to keep psychopaths locked up for life.

The unit was a clean, bland, modern, calmingly pine-coloured fortress. Nurses and security guards came over to ask me who I was. I said I was a friend of Tony's.

"Oh, Tony," one nurse said. "I know Tony."

"What do you think of Tony?" I asked him.

"I do have strong thoughts about Tony," he said, "but it would not be appropriate for me to tell you what they are."

"Are your thoughts about Tony strongly positive or strongly negative?" I asked.

He looked at me as if to say, "I am not telling you."

And then it was time. We entered the tribunal room.

The hearing lasted all of five minutes, one of which involved the magistrates telling me that if I reported the details of what happened inside the room, I would be imprisoned. So I won't. But the upshot – Tony was to be free.

He looked as if he'd been hit by a bus. In the corridor his barrister congratulated him. The process would take three months – either to find him a bed for a transitional period in a medium-secure unit, or to get him straight out on to the street – but there was no doubt. He smiled, hobbled over to me, and handed me a sheaf of papers.

They were independent reports, written for the tribunal by various psychiatrists who'd been invited to assess him. They told me things I didn't know about Tony: how his mother had been an alcoholic and used regularly to beat him up and kick him out of the house; how most of her boyfriends were drug addicts and criminals; how he was expelled from school for threatening his dinner lady with a knife; how he was sent to special schools but ran away because he missed his mother.

I wondered if sometimes the difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor and a psychopath on Wall Street was the luck of being born into a stable, rich family.

I spotted Professor Maden. I thought he might seem disappointed, but in fact he looked delighted. I wandered over.

"Ever since I went on a Bob Hare course, I've believed that psychopaths are monsters," I said. "They're just psychopaths – it's what defines them, it's what they are." I paused. "But isn't Tony kind of a semi-psychopath? A grey area? Doesn't his story prove that people in the middle shouldn't necessarily be defined by their maddest edges?"

"I think that's right," he replied. "Personally, I don't like the way Bob Hare talks about psychopaths almost as if they are a different species."

Tony was standing alone now, staring at the wall.

"He does have a very high level of some psychopathic traits," Maden said. "He never takes responsibility, everything is somebody else's fault. But he's not a serious, predatory offender. He can be a bully in the right circumstances, but doesn't set out to do serious harm for its own sake. I would also say you can never reduce any person to a diagnostic label. Tony has many endearing qualities when you look beyond the label."

"The thing is, Jon," Tony said as I looked up from the papers, "what you've got to realise is, everyone is a bit psychopathic. You are. I am." He paused. "Well, obviously I am," he said.

"What will you do now?" I asked.

"Maybe move to Belgium," he said. "There's this woman I fancy. But she's married. I'll have to get her divorced."

"Well, you know what they say about psychopaths," I said.

"We're manipulative!" said Tony .

• This is an edited extract from The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, published by Picador on 3 June.


The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Jon Ronson

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In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.

The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.

Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

About the Author

Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary filmmaker. His books Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats were both international bestsellers. The Men Who Stare at Goats was released as a major motion picture in 2009, starring George Clooney. Ronson lives in London.

Format: Kindle Edition
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Publisher: Riverhead (May 12, 2011)
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Language: English

Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Psychopath-Test-Journey-Industry-ebook/dp/B004XFYWC0/thekonformist

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Why Liberal Sellouts Attack Prophets Like Cornel West

May 23, 2011 Chris Hedges

The liberal class, which attempted last week to discredit the words my friend Cornel West spoke about Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, prefers comfort and privilege to justice, truth and confrontation. Its guiding ideological stance is determined by what is most expedient to the careers of its members. It refuses to challenge, in a meaningful way, the decaying structures of democracy or the ascendancy of the corporate state. It glosses over the relentless assault on working men and women and the imperial wars that are bankrupting the nation. It proclaims its adherence to traditional liberal values while defending and promoting systems of power that mock these values. The pillars of the liberal establishment — the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party — all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. Those who expose this moral cowardice and collaboration with corporate power are always ruthlessly thrust aside.

The capitulation of the liberal class to corporate capitalism, as Irving Howe once noted, has “bleached out all political tendencies.” The liberal class has become, Howe wrote, “a loose shelter, a poncho rather than a program; to call oneself a liberal one doesn’t really have to believe in anything.” The decision to subordinate ethics to political expediency has led liberals to steadily surrender their moral autonomy, voice and beliefs to the dictates of the corporate state. As Dwight Macdonald wrote in “The Root Is Man,” those who do not make human beings the center of their concern soon lose the capacity to make any ethical choices, for they willingly sacrifice others in the name of the politically expedient and practical.

By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. The liberal class placed its faith in the inevitability of human progress and abandoned the human values that should have remained at the core of its activism. The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements — the communists, socialists and anarchists — has left liberals without a source of new ideas. The link between an effective liberal class and a more radical left was always essential to the health of the former. The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. Liberalism, cut off from the radical roots of creative and bold thought, merged completely with the corporate power elite. The liberal class at once was betrayed and betrayed itself. And it now functions like a commercial brand, giving a different flavor, face or spin to the ruthless mechanisms of corporate power. This, indeed, is the primary function of Barack Obama.

The liberal class, despite becoming an object of widespread public scorn, prefers the choreographed charade. It will decry the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or call for universal health care, but continue to defend and support a Democratic Party that has no intention of disrupting the corporate machine. As long as the charade is played, the liberal class can hold itself up as the conscience of the nation without having to act. It can maintain its privileged economic status. It can continue to live in an imaginary world where democratic reform and responsible government exist. It can pretend it has a voice and influence in the corridors of power. But the uselessness and irrelevancy of the liberal class are not lost on the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the indignities of the corporate state. And this is why liberals are rightly despised by the working class and the poor.

The liberal class is incapable of reforming itself. It does not hold within its ranks the rebels and iconoclasts who have the moral or physical courage to defy the corporate state and power elite. And when someone such as Cornel West speaks out, packs of careerist liberals — or perhaps one should call them neoliberals — descend on the apostate like hellhounds, never addressing the truths that are expressed but instead engaging in vicious character assassination. The same thing happened to Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, Jeremiah Wright and others who defied the political orthodoxy of corporate capitalism. The corporate forces, which have taken control of the press and which break unions, run the universities, fund the arts and own the Democratic Party, demand the banishment of all who question the good intentions of the powerful. Liberals who comply are tolerated within the system. They are permitted to busy themselves with the boutique activism of political correctness, inclusiveness or multiculturalism. If they attempt to fight for the primacy of justice, they become pariahs.

Leo Tolstoy wrote that there were three characteristics of all forms of prophecy: “First, it is entirely opposed to the general ideas of the people in the midst of whom it is uttered; second, all who hear it feel its truth; and thirdly, above all, it urges men to realize what it foretells.”

Prophets put forward during their day ideas that the mass of people, including the elite, denounce as impractical and yet at the same time sense to be true. This is what invokes the rage against the prophet. He or she states the obvious in a society where the obvious is seditious. Prophecy is feared because of the consequences of the truth. To accept that Obama is, as West said, a mascot for Wall Street means having to challenge some frightening monoliths of power and give up the comfortable illusion that the Democratic Party or liberal institutions can be instruments for genuine reform. It means having to step outside the mainstream. It means a new radicalism. It means recognizing that there is no hope for a correction or a reversal within the formal systems of power. It means defying traditional systems of power. And liberals, who have become courtiers to the corporate state, must attempt to silence all those who condemn the ruthlessness and mendacity of these systems of destruction. Their denunciation of all who rebel is a matter of self-preservation. For once the callous heart of the corporate state is exposed, so is the callous heart of the liberal class.

Chris Hedges, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of “The Death of the Liberal Class” and “The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Rise of the Obamabots

May 16th, 2011
Stifling Liberal Dissent Under Obama

After they called the presidency for Obama, emails poured in. “You must be relieved now that the Democrats are taking over,” an old college buddy told me. “There will be less pressure on you.”

That would have been nice.

In the late 1990s my cartoons ran in Time, Fortune and Bloomberg Personal magazines and over 100 daily and alternative weekly newspapers. I was a staff writer for two major magazines.

Then Bush came in. And 9/11 happened.

The media gorged on an orgy of psychotic right-wing rhetoric. Flags everywhere. Torture suddenly OK. In a nation where mainstream political discourse was redefined between Dick Cheney on the right and libertarian Bill Maher on the not-as-right, there wasn’t any room in the paper for a left-of-center cartoonist. My business was savaged. Income plunged.

My editor at Time called me on September 13, 2001. “We’re discontinuing all cartoons,” she told me. I was one of four cartoonists at the newsweekly. “Humor is dead.” I snorted. They never brought back cartoons.

McCarthyism—blackballing—made a big comeback. I had been drawing a monthly comic strip, “The Testosterone Diaries,” for Men’s Health. No politics. It was about guy stuff: dating, job insecurity, prostate tests, that sort of thing. They fired me. Not because of anything I drew for them. It was because of my syndicated editorial cartoons, which attacked Bush and his policies. The publisher worried about pissing off right-wingers during a period of nationalism on steroids.

Desperate and going broke, I called an editor who’d given me lots of work at the magazines he ran during the 1990s. “Sorry, dude, I can’t help,” he replied. “You’re radioactive.”

It was tempting, when Obama’s Democrats swept into office in 2008, to think that the bad old days were coming to an end. I wasn’t looking for any favors, just a swing of the political pendulum back to the Clinton years when it was still OK to be a liberal.

This, you have no doubt correctly guessed, is the part where I tell you I was wrong.

I didn’t count on the cult of personality around Barack Obama.

In the 1990s it was OK to attack Clinton from the left. I went after the Man From Hope and his centrist, “triangulation”-obsessed Democratic Leadership Council for selling out progressive principles. Along with like-minded political cartoonists including Tom Tomorrow and Lloyd Dangle, my cartoons and columns took Clinton’s militant moderates to the woodshed for NAFTA, the WTO and welfare reform. A pal who worked in the White House informed me that the President, known for his short temper, stormed into his office and slammed a copy of that morning’s Washington Post down on the desk with my cartoon showing. “How dare your friend compare me to Bush?” he shouted. (The first Bush.)

It was better than winning a Pulitzer.

It feels a little weird to write this, like I’m telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it’s true: there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn’t realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

Obama lost me before Inauguration Day, when he announced cabinet appointments that didn’t include a single liberal.

It got worse after that: Obama extended and expanded Bush’s TARP giveaway to the banks; continued Bush’s spying on our phone calls; ignored the foreclosure crisis; refused to investigate, much less prosecute, Bush’s torturers; his healthcare plan was a sellout to Big Pharma; he kept Gitmo open; expanded the war against Afghanistan; dispatched more drone bombers; used weasel words to redefine the troops in Iraq as “non-combat”; extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich; claiming the right to assassinate U.S. citizens; most recently, there was the forced nudity torture of PFC Bradley Manning and expanding oil drilling offshore and on national lands.

I was merciless to Obama. I was cruel in my criticisms of Obama’s sellouts to the right. In my writings and drawings I tried to tell it as it was, or anyway, as I saw it. I thought—still think—that’s my job. I’m a critic, not a suck-up. The Obama Administration doesn’t need journalists or pundits to carry its water. That’s what press secretaries and PR flacks are for.

Does Obama ever do anything right? Not often, but sure. And when he does, I shut up about it. Cartoonists and columnists who promote government policy are an embarrassment.

But that’s what “liberal” media outlets want in the age of Obama.

I can’t prove it in every case. (That’s how blackballing works.) The Nation and Mother Jones and Harper’s, liberal magazines that gave me freelance work under Clinton and Bush, now ignore my queries. Even when I offered them first-person, unembedded war reporting from Afghanistan. Hey, maybe they’re too busy to answer email or voicemail. You never know.

Other censors are brazen.

There’s been a push among political cartoonists to get our work into the big editorial blogs and online magazines that seem poised to displace traditional print political magazines like The Progressive. In the past, editorial rejections had numerous causes: low budgets, lack of space, an editor who simply preferred another creator’s work over yours.

Now there’ s a new cause for refusal: Too tough on the president.

I’ve heard that from enough “liberal” websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

• “I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama.”

• “Don’t be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can’t you focus more on the GOP?”

• “Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush’s mess without being attacked by us.”

I have many more like that.

What’s weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama’s new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo.

Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him. Which means that, in effect, they are not liberals at all. They are militant Democrats. They are Obamabots.

As long as Democrats win elections, they are happy. Nevermind that their policies are the same as, or to the right of, the Republicans.

“So what should I think about [the war in Libya]?,” asks Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. “If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.”

Mr. Drum, call your office. Someone found your brain in the break room.

Barack Obama and the Democrats have made it perfectly clear that they don’t care about the issues and concerns that I care about. Unlike Kevin Drum, I think—I know—I’m smarter than Barack Obama. I wouldn’t have made half the mistakes he has.

So I don’t care about Obama. Or the Democrats. I care about America and the world and the people who live in them.

Hey, Obamabots: when the man you support betrays your principles, he has to go—not your principles.

Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.

Harry Belafonte Explodes the Presidential "Make Me Do It" Myth

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Tue, 05/17/2011

Does President Obama really want us to “make him do it,” to organize and agitate and create the conditions that will let him end the wars, cut the military budget, create jobs and address the hyper-incarceration of black and brown youth? Or is the “make me do it” president an urban legend who lives only inside our heads? A recent presidential encounter with Harry Belafonte tells more than some of us may want to know.

There is a popular myth which explains President Barack Obama's reluctance to stand up to Pentagon militarists, Wall Street banksters and corporate greedheads. This myth excuses the president for ignoring massive black unemployment and not providing his promised path to citizenship for the undocumented, for not using presidential authority to halt the foreclosure epidemic, or curbing the hyper-incarceration of black and brown youth. The myth of course, is that President Barack Obama really does want to do all these things and more, but if they haven't happened it's because we the people have abandoned our responsibility to somehow “make him do it.”

The myth stems from the apocryphal story of a meeting between African American labor leader A. Philip Randolph and President Franklin Roosevelt back in the 1940s. Randolph laid out black America's list of demands for economic and social justice. In response, Roosevelt said he wanted to do all of it, but that Randolph and the movement of that time would still have to “make him” do these things.

Applied to the Obama presidency however, “make me do it” is a popular myth. It's popular because the president and his lackeys repeat it endlessly. It's a myth because it's not true. Longtime activist Harry Belafonte, who played a key role in the Freedom Movement of the fifties and sixties, exploded the myth in a Democracy Now interview broadcast on May 16.

Belafonte was asked by host Amy Goodman whether he'd used his occasional access to directly share his many critical and valuable public policy insights with the White House. Belafonte replied that his only access to the president has been for a few seconds at a time, not long enough for any substantive discussion. But, he said, at one such event President Obama approached him to inquire when Belafonte and Cornel West were going “to cut me some slack.”

“What makes you think we haven't?” Belafonte replied to the president? At this point the brief encounter was over.

Let's pause to think about that. When President Obama cusses out Cornel West and personally demands that historic stalwarts of the movement for peace and justice “cut him some slack” on black unemployment, on foreclosures and the prison state, on torture and the military budget, on unjust wars and corporate welfare, on fulfilling the just demands of those who elected him, our first black president is revealing his real self. Far from saying “make me do it,” President Obama is saying how dare you pressure me to do what you elected me to do.

Harry Belafonte has done a great public service in helping us distinguish the imaginary Barack Obama of “make me do it” from the real Barack Obama, who demands our support, but expects us to “cut him some slack.” Rather than agitating and organizing in our communities to “make him do it” all the real President Obama wants of movement activists is for us to sit down and shut up, until it's time to help chase everybody out to vote for him in 2012.

By then, there will be fewer chasers, and somewhat less chasing than in 2008. But this will be something that President Obama made us do, not the other way around. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and is based in Marietta GA, where he is on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.

Great Quotes: Cornell West on Barack Obama

“A black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it...

I have to take some responsibility. I could have been reading into it more than was there.

I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor. But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic
Chris Hedges
May 16, 2011

Subway jumps on avocado bandwagon

Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

Subway today will unveil plans to roll out avocado next week as a sandwich option nationwide. The public embrace of avocados by the sandwich giant, which with 24,188 U.S. stores has more domestic locations than McDonald's, is pegged to the healthier eating theme that's been crucial to Subway's success.

The move is expected to nudge other major fast-food chains to elevate the vitamin-, mineral- and calorie-packed fruit to their menus. At Subway, avocado makes its debut as preservative-free, 100% avocado spread in a Turkey & Bacon Avocado sandwich that sells for about $7.

Customers will have to pay from 50 cents to $1 to have the mashed avocado spread added to most other sandwiches. On the West Coast, instead of the spread, sliced avocados are offered at many Subways. Both have sold very well in tests, Subway marketing chief Tony Pace says.

"We'll help avocado go mainstream," Pace says. So mainstream, that upcoming TV spots will showcase spokesjocks Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno juggling avocados.

The move comes at a time avocado is showing up in new chips, dips and cooking oils. More than 75 new products made with avocado have rolled out over the past five years, Datamonitor reports. And domestic avocado sales rocketed to 1.3 billion pounds in 2010, up 16%, the Hass Avocado Board says.

Don't be surprised if some burger giants — under pressure to add nutritional offerings — soon embrace avocados, says Tom Vierhile, director of product launch analytics at researcher Datamonitor.

Subway's move is a bid to separate itself from major fast-food chains while luring customers from fast-casual chains such as Panera and Chipotle, where avocado is common. Rival Quiznos has sold subs with guacamole for years.

Subway is eager to boost its own better-for-you image. Last month it announced that it had cut sodium in its sandwich line by 15%.

Subway will tout the slogan "Grab the Green" in TV spots that promote avocados as well as the upcoming summer flick Green Lantern. Avocado also will be available on its breakfast sandwiches, Pace says.

"It's very good news nutritionally if you're substituting avocado for mayo," dietitian Hope Warshaw says. But she says, with the avocado spread at 70 calories per serving, "from a calorie perspective you can't do better than mustard and vinegar."