QuestionCopyright.org | A Clearinghouse For New Ideas About Copyright – it’s about time someone started taking note of the fact that the copyright system is totally screwed. the next question is whether or not they’re going to be able to do anything about it.
Bombing Iran – here’s a good idea… let’s not… 8/
American Christianity is not well, and there’s evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize – lets hope more people realise it before the rest of ’em drive us into armageddon, ‘eh?
Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter – i was a vegetarian during my “hard-core hippie” years, but i grew out of it about 20 years ago, because i realise that God is perfect. also, i figure that if i am in a situation where it’s either eat meat or perish (which is not too unlikely in these “last days”), there is more likelyhood that i will be able to survive… and that’s not to mention the taste: there’s nothing vegetable that can beat the taste of bacon… or lamb… perhaps this is the reason behind all of that rationalisation.
Mitch Miller dies – i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again: too many cool people from my generation have been dying recently. once again (and with a great deal of futility) i say, STOP IT!
How BP Gulf disaster may have triggered a ‘world-killing’ event – more debate as the world burns…
Does circumcision cause psychological damage? – if you have to ask, you’re not male…
Future Crimes Can Be Predicted Perfectly – i’d roll my eyes and say “yeah, right…” except that it’s from the 100% totally reliable FOX News…
We don’t have to get sick as we get older
If we can stop the physical deterioration that comes with age, molecular biologist Aubrey de Grey sees no reason why human beings shouldn’t live to be 1,000
Sunday 1 August 2010
Caspar Llewellyn Smith
With his beard and robust opinions, there’s something of the Old Testament prophet about Aubrey de Grey. But the 47-year-old gerontologist (who studies the process of ageing) says his belief that he might live to the very ripe old age of 1,000 is founded not on faith but science. De Grey studied computer science at Cambridge University, but became interested in the problem of ageing more than a decade ago and is the co-founder of the Sens (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the US.
What’s so wrong with getting old?
It is simply that people get sick when they get older. I don’t often meet people who want to suffer cardiovascular disease or whatever, and we get those things as a result of the lifelong accumulation of various types of molecular and cellular damage. This is harmless at low levels but eventually it causes the diseases and disabilities of old age – which most people don’t think are any fun.
Is this the biggest health crisis facing the world?
Absolutely. If we look at the industrialised world, basically 90% of all deaths are caused by ageing. They are deaths from causes that affect older people and don’t affect young adults. And if we look at the whole world, then the number of deaths that occur each day is roughly 150,000 and about two-thirds of them are because of ageing.
Why does the world not recognise this?
People have been trying to claim that we can defeat ageing since the dawn of time, and they haven’t been terribly successful; there is a tendency to think there is some sort of inevitability about ageing – it somehow transcends our technological abilities in principle, which is complete nonsense.
And when people have made their peace with this ghastly thing that is going to happen to them at some time in the distant future, they tend to be rather reluctant to re-engage the question when someone comes along with a new idea.
Is it that our bodies just stop being so proactive about living?
Basically, the body does have a vast amount of inbuilt anti-ageing machinery; it’s just not 100% comprehensive, so it allows a small number of different types of molecular and cellular damage to happen and accumulate. The body does try as hard as it can to fight these things but it is a losing battle. So we are not going to be able to do anything significant about ageing without hi-tech intervention – which is what I’m working on.
Ageing involves the process of metabolism, and then deterioration, and then pathology – is that right?
Basically, that’s right. Metabolism involves a vastly complicated network of biochemical and cellular processes that are linked and that succeed in keeping us alive for as long as they do, but they have these side effects.
The side-effects start even before we are born, they go on throughout life and they are manifested as, for example, the accumulation of various types of molecular garbage inside cells and outside cells, or simply as cells dying and not being automatically replaced by the division of other cells. Gradually those changes at the molecular and cellular level accumulate and accumulate and eventually they start to get in the way of metabolism, and that’s where pathology comes.
You’ve identified seven particular areas of cellular decay that might be combated. Can you give examples?
I just mentioned cells dying and not being automatically replaced, that’s one. Another is cells not dying when they ought to – certain types of cells are supposed to turn over and sometimes they lose the ability to respond to signals that tell them to die.
A third is cells dividing too much – they may be dying when they are supposed to but dividing too much, and that is what cancer is.
We’ve known what causes cancer for some time but we are a long way from being able to cure it, aren’t we?
I certainly don’t claim that any of this is easy. Some of it is easier – but I’ve always viewed cancer as the single hardest aspect of ageing to fix.
You’ve talked about enriching people’s lives, but isn’t it the very fact of death that gives our lives meaning?
That’s nonsense. The fact is, people don’t want to get sick. I’m just a practical guy. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want you to get sick and that’s what this is all about. I don’t work on longevity, I work on keeping people healthy. The only difference between my work and the work of the whole medical profession is that I think we’re in striking distance of keeping people so healthy that at 90 they’ll carry on waking up in the same physical state as they were at the age of 30, and their probability of not waking up one morning will be no higher than it was at the age of 30.
You’ve said you think the first person to live to 1,000 may already be alive. Could that person be you?
It’s conceivable that people in my age bracket, their 40s, are young enough to benefit from these therapies. I’d give it a 30% or 40% chance. But that is not why I do this – I do this because I’m interested in saving 100,000 lives a day.
Can the planet cope with people living so long?
That’s to do with the balance of birth and death rates. It didn’t take us too long to lower the birth rate after we more or less eliminated infant mortality 100 or 150 years ago. I don’t see that it’s sensible to regard the risk of a population spike as a reason not to give people the best healthcare that we can.
By WILLIAM BLUM
August 6 – 8, 2010
If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”
The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn’t in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I’m reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.1
In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.2
In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”3
Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there.”4
Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War.5
There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.
If you don’t already have serious doubts about the mainstream media’s devotion to questioning the premises and rationales underlying American foreign policy, consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather’s CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:
PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?
PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.
PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?
PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?6
Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, as did Tony Blair. Saddam Hussein did not sufficiently appreciate just how psychopathic his two adversaries were. Bush was determined to vanquish Iraq, for the sake of Israel, for control of oil, and for expanding the empire, though it hasn’t all worked out as the empire expected; for some odd reason, it seems that the Iraqi people resented being bombed, invaded, occupied, and tortured.
The result of Bush’s Iraqi policy can be summed up by saying that it would be difficult to cite many other historical examples of one nation destroying another so completely, crushing and perverting virtually every aspect of their society and humanity.
Now Israel presses Washington relentlessly to do the same to Iran — not that the US necessarily needs much prodding — primarily because Israel is determined to remain the only nuclear power in the Middle East; this despite Iran telling the United States and the world many times that it is not building nuclear weapons. But if Iran is in fact building nuclear weapons, we have to ask: Is there some international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not? If the United States had known that the Japanese had deliverable atomic bombs, would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed? Does USrael believe that there is not already enough horror and suffering in the news?
In what could be part of the preparation for an attack on Iran, 47 members of the House of Representatives recently put forth a non-binding resolution declaring Iran to be “an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel”. To illustrate this threat, the resolution quoted Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on several occasions avowing sentiments like: “God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism” … calling for “this occupying regime [Israel] to be wiped off the map” … “Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation” … “I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion, and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene” … “Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started”.
Pretty damning stuff, isn’t it? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? But there’s a lot less here than meets the eye. Notice that it doesn’t quote Ahmadinejad in a single specific, explicit threat of an Iranian attack upon Israel or the United States. No mention or indication that “I” or “We” or “Iran” is going to do any of this, carry out any act of violence. And I would say that that’s because it’s not what he meant. In another quote, which the resolution fails to cite, the Iranian president in December 2006 said: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.”12 Obviously, the man is not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place very peacefully. Furthermore, in June 2006, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: “We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state.7 Why didn’t the authors of the congressional resolution quote that one?
I think that one can derive a better understanding of the Iranian president’s statements by seeing them as metaphor, as bragging, as wishful thinking, as well as poor translation (for example: “wiped off the map”8), coming from a man foolish enough to publicly claim that there are no gays in Iran.
But more significantly, the resolution offers no reason why Iran actually would attack Israel or the United States. What reason would Iran have to use nuclear weapons against either country other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? Indeed, the very same question could have — and should have — been asked before the invasion of Iraq. Of the many lies surrounding that invasion, the biggest one of all was that if, in fact, Saddam Hussein had had those weapons of mass destruction the invasion would have been justified.
With all the lies exposed about the American Iraqi misadventure, I and many others had allowed ourselves the luxury, the hidden pleasure, of believing that the United States government and media had learned a lesson which would last for some time. They’d been caught and exposed. But it’s the same all over again with the lies about Iran and Ahmadinejad. (No, he’s not even a Holocaust denier.)
In any event, Israel probably doesn’t believe its own propaganda. In March of last year, the Washington Post reported: “A senior Israeli official in Washington” has asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.”9 This was the very last sentence in the article and, according to an extensive Nexis search, did not appear in any other English-language media in the world.
And earlier this year we could read in the Sunday Times of London: “Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, 75, a war hero and pillar of the [Israeli] defence establishment, believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons. The views expressed by the former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission contradict the assessment of Israel’s defence establishment and put him at odds with political leaders.”10
If any country in this world is a threat to use nuclear weapons with remarkably little regard for the consequences it’s Israel. Martin van Creveld, an Israeli professor of military history, and loyal Israeli citizen, remarked in 2002: “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that this will happen before Israel goes under.”11 Think of the closing scene of “Dr. Strangelove”. That’s Israel sitting astride the speeding nuclear missile waving the cowboy hat.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir. He can be reached at: [email protected]
1. Associated Press, July 28, 2010
2. CBS Evening News, August 20, 2002
3. ABC Nightline, December 4, 2002
4. “60 Minutes II”, February 26, 2003
5. Washington Post, March 1, 2003
6. “60 Minutes”, January 27, 2008. See also: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR] Action Alert, February 1, 2008
7. Associated Press, December 12, 2006
8. Letter to the Washington Post from M.A. Mohammadi, Press Officer, Iranian Mission to the United Nations, June 12, 2006
9. See Anti-Empire Report, October 1, 2008, second part
10. Washington Post, March 5, 2009
11. Sunday Times (London), January 10, 2010
12. Originally in the Dutch weekly magazine, Elsevier, April 27, 2002, pages 52-3; picked up in many other international publications,