Wikileaks – Pentagon Papers – Julian Assange, stay alive!

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With the game of ‘reactive’ one upmanship, scoops (not ice cream) and egos cascading across international media’, one is doubtful as to the intention and agenda of the whistle blower who ‘donated’ all those highly classified documents to Mr. Julian Assange that has ‘embarrassed’ governments and more importantly endangered lives in a polarized world riddled with religious renegades and political septicemia.

The fall out of this expose will further confirm that we have not learned anything from the harsh lessons of the Vietnam War.

Many questions and observations raise their heads Medusa like –

–          Who gave the documents to Wikileaks and why?

–          What is their agenda?

–          And why were these documents not released in some format to the American People?

–          Isn’t this the land of liberty, free speech etc.?

–          What is disturbing is the fact that the US Government knew about the sordid irregularities in Iraq and elsewhere but did nothing to (apparently) rectify them.

–          What is frightening is that USA’s ‘detractors’ in the Middle East and afar will use this as ammunition for propaganda to brainwash ‘people’ to join the ‘jihad’. Presumably, right now people may be lining up to become potential ‘jihadis’ committed to mass murder of innocents in the USA and elsewhere.

–          This development which will most likely derail all attempts by the majority in the Middle East etc., to seek a peaceful solution to the mindless killing of unarmed civilians.

–          What is devastating is that the American people will eventually bear the brunt of this fall out.

–          The issue here is not what Mr. Julian Assange, Wikileaks, has done or will do in the future but about the intention/agenda of the people who gave him the documents. Who are they in the grand scheme of things and who are the people behind them?

–          Could it just be a disgruntled government official or a group sponsored by foreign powers to deliberately vitiate the already volatile atmosphere?

–          One sees a conspiracy here.

–          Methinks this conspiracy begins with the ‘anti-Obama’ campaign that appears to be gaining ground in the home country and around the world.

–          Has anyone asked the question – “Why have leaks of such nature never been reported from Saudi Arabia, Iran and others?”

–   Julian Assange is no doubt the messenger. Don’t kill the messenger if you ‘really’ want to know what sinister complex plan lies beneath.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Abortion – a misconception?

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This is dedicated to all those wonderful, beautiful, enchanting women out there who make life bearable and meaningful for many (including me) – thank you.

As modern society careens on into an uncertain future issues of great import keep snapping at its feet; and one that refuses to go away is abortion – a ‘missed conception’ as one smart aleck grandiosely announced.

Quips and the hyperventilation aside we need to look at a reality that stems unfortunately from organized religion that feeds on the frailty, insecurity and superstition of humanity. Hell, damnation and ostracization from society appears to be the standard format that we see frequently being employed.

Why is the woman always the slut that seduces man? Why is the woman seen as the misguiding factor in an otherwise predictable life of man? Eve seduced Adam or was it the other way round?

In abortion, pontification with self induced illusions of Man’s infallibility point to the woman as the harlot, the one who destroys life while at the same time honoring mothers, sisters and genuflecting before goddesses of every hue.  The paradox is evident in the Ramayana – read the saga of Sita.

The parody of man holds center stage when a woman announces that she is having an abortion. The flurry of indignation appears to be self indulgent – suddenly the sanctity of life is paraded by those self appointed gendarmes of gender suffering from incontinence of spirit.

Who are these people?

Who are these who seek to infiltrate one’s life, to stand as guardians of the absurd?

Are their actions merely projections of their own lives – one of hypocrisy and religious demarcations?

Maybe it is time to accept what Simone de Beauvoir said, “One is not born but rather becomes a woman”, a biting indictment of society as a whole.

Abortion is the sole purview, the ultimate decision that one human being makes to announce to all that one’s body is one’s own and therefore does not belong to a society, state or to any designated version of religious retardation.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Zara Sophia – An English Minstrel of dawn

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All pics by Mark Ulyseas

This interview was conducted in 2010. Zara passed away last week. She was too young to die. I, for one, will miss her voice, which was all about truth.  My tribute has been posted on Live Encounters Magazine – LINK .

On an island adrift in the Bay of Bengal we met, she strumming her guitar and serenading the ragtag crowd of travelers with a Baez ish version of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and me sucking on a panatella while rummaging in a Greek salad.

Later when the haze of iniquity blew out to sea and morning rose like a mother to warm us with her sunshine, we met again to talk the talk.

Who are you Zara Sophia? And what do you do?

I am a bohemian, a traveler, a minstrel composing, reciting and performing my songs because I am on a mission: to get the message out there to those who are conditioned by a childhood regimen of repetition, rules, uniforms and more…the insidious attempt to ensnare our inner freedom, to garrote the soul, a soul that is born from a Universe of ancient knowledge.

Who am I? An esoteric question, yes? I am an artist who puts passion and truth into words that are transformed into a harmonious blend of chords. I am a seeker, searching for sublimity in a world of cancerous consumerism and fashionable narcissism.  There is a higher self in all of us and I call upon this when I write. It is like processing a dream. It is like healing – abstraction where illusions are smashed.

How does music play a role in our lives?

Music is art and art is a social commentary that is supposed to take somebody somewhere. Look at the phenomenal success of Modern Times by Bob Dylan. Passion and truth lie within and that is probably why it has touched so many people across generations and cultures.

Where is the music now?

Most modern music sounds the same – no soul, dead for it does not bring out honesty and passion. Unfortunately it assists people in shutting down, not opening up. This is a shame. Young people do not have role models that can capture their spirit to set them free for they are too image conscious. Music has become synonymous with fickle fashion trends.

Give us a peek into your life, please?

I was born in Shaftesbury on the border of Wiltshire and Dorset to parents who are folk/blues singers and musicians. I remember our home always reverberated to live music – piano, guitar et al. It was in these surroundings that one began to appreciate live music because it gently stroked the Self with its rhythms. Whereas, recorded music has always been soulless, devoid of the thump of passion.

In the gap year (college) I travelled with friends to Spain where
I soon ran out of money and ended up performing on the streets. Some days I would earn as much as 30 Euros playing also in restaurants and private functions. I left Cataluña two years later to return to England to compose and play my music. Among other things I was also part of a support group for Pete Dougherty and other artists.

And your music career?

Career? That’s a harsh word…hahaha. Well, my first composition ‘What if I don’t want to know’ was performed live for a large audience sometime back. When I finished playing the silence was deafening. Then like a thunder clap the ovation I received was overwhelming. I knew then that I had touched the hearts and minds of my listeners.

Often I have been compared to singers like Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin.

I have a demo album (3  songs) which focuses on the next generation, attempts to have a social impact and more importantly to give truth in art a chance.

I am looking for backing to get my music out there, to make a change.

What about your trip across India, any thoughts?

It has been a struggle…the lust for life, the aberration in society between the rich and poor. The beauty amidst the destitution is devastating to the senses. It inspires me to push on with my mission with renewed vigor, my mission to make a better world with my art form, music.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor of Playboy, Indonesia

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Free Erwin Arnada !

This letter has been published in the following international media.
Please write in for Press Freedom, Now!!!

CPJ.ORG – Committee to Protect Journalists

FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION

BOSTON HERALD

THE JAKARTA POST

SCALLYWAG AND VAGABOND

ALL VOICES

TRUTHDIG

To the Honourable Justices
Supreme Court of Indonesia

Your Honours,

I respectfully present my unsolicited objections to the conviction of Erwin Arnada, ex –editor in Chief of Playboy Indonesia. Your judgment – incarcerating him for two years for the crime of publishing photographs of ‘scantily’ clad women in the edition of Playboy Indonesia is an aberration of justice. Sadly the honourable court has succumbed to the power of warped religious hardliners and interpreted the Law of the Land selectively to appease those who seek to drag the modern state of Indonesia back to the medieval age.

Erwin Arnada did not commit a crime that many other ‘glossies’ haven’t done…depict women in little or nothing. Walk down some streets of Jakarta and you can buy publications that are smutty and blatantly sexual…one well known publication had even printed detailed illustrations of sexual positions. Further, if Erwin is guilty of printing ‘indecent’ photographs then you would have to jail most of the people in Bali. Why just those from Jakarta? Is it because the hardliners cannot influence the Balinese?

Your Honours, I present my defense of Erwin Arnada, a victim of blinkered justice.

There is  evidence that the Pornography Law has been applied.  If this is so then those associated with  glossies, advertising, massage parlours and even tourists on the beaches of Bali could be  jailed for indecency using your judgment as a yardstick.

The independent judiciary has been subject to influence by hardliners who have become the self appointed guardians of morality. They (hardliners) have subverted justice by claiming that the icon of American culture, Playboy, was harmful to the ‘morals’ of the Muslim population of Indonesia. This is pathetic and downright absurd. One has only to view the glossies in Bali, the TV programs and more to know that the hardliners objections have no Locus Standi.

Erwin’s version of Playboy was not immoral nor was it XXX.

Indonesia has struggled to shrug off its Dark and turbulent Past and has emerged as a vibrant, modern and progressive State – a Republic that has the largest Muslim population in the world under the dynamic leadership of President Dr. H.  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This is  a miracle. Unfortunately, your ruling has given the impression that Muslim hardliners control Indonesia and that their diktat rules supreme in Java but thankfully not in Bali!

If Erwin had been Balinese and had published Playboy from Bali, I wonder what the hardliners would have done.

In Bali, old black and white photographs of topless Balinese women are sold. One can purchase coffee table art books with these pictures taken many decades  ago; Beautiful, haunting and indicative of a vibrant ethos. My question is – Do we convict the photographers, sellers, publishers and seize all this material? Why not? If we can convict Erwin Arnada for the crime of showing scantily clad females then the aforementioned ‘offenders’ should be given life sentences as per the views of the lobotomized hardliners.

For me and many other friends of Indonesia this is truly a sad day when we have to witness justice dispensed selectively. It is a message to the world that the Republic of Indonesia is under threat from hardliners where free speech is subject to their interpretation and that freethinkers in Indonesia now live under this Sword of Damocles.

On the eve of the visit of The President of the United States of America, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama II, to Indonesia, this judgment will most likely give the world the impression that the country is slipping back into the Dark Ages.

And who do we blame for this?

On behalf of the freethinkers in Indonesia and elsewhere I appeal to your true sense of justice – FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor in Chief of Playboy, Indonesia – And show the world that Indonesia has an independent and liberal judiciary.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

In Vino Veritas

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In the wine lies the truth.

A glass of Spanish or Chardonnay is often the recourse for genteel folk to retreat into the Serengeti of imagination; flickering colors and shapes like images in a kaleidoscope being viewed by a Schizophrenic.

As the body and mind merges into one warm wholesome being, thoughts of unabashed emotions slowly creep up and empower the inducer to become fleet footed of mind and senses – words and actions become synonymous with the free flow of life – no barriers just the great wide yonder beckoning like a bitch in heat.

In the inebriated nuances of wine and poses, the murmuring releases the bonds of perceived sanity and all is let loose upon the senses.

Many have succumbed to the seductions of wine. It’s bouquet, its aroma and its taste…a concerto conniving insidiously with the prosaic and the exotic to ignite sensory perceptions on the untraveled path to a world of the uninitiated.

Ask a Christian, they will tell you what it means to drink the blood of Christ.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Message to President Barack Hussein Obama II

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To
His Excellency
The President of the United States of America
Mr. Barack Hussein Obama II
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
U.S.A

Mr. President Sir,

I am compelled to write to you after having just re read Chris Hedges “War is a force that gives us meaning”…ironically on October 02, 2010, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Apparently you will be visiting India in November, a country that is your ally in Afghanistan. Maybe this is the opportune time to delve into the history of Afghanistan to recount the life and works of the great Afghan leader, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan,

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan & Mahatma Gandhi

founder of the Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) who is also known as Sarhaddi Gandhi (Frontier Gandhi) for his emphasis on non-violence as the sole means to an end. He was a close friend and supporter of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Khan Sahib was against the partition of India and when the Congress accepted the division of India he told them, “You have thrown us to the wolves.”

When he died in 1988 both sides in the Afghan War declared a ceasefire to allow for his burial in Jalalabad.

The Frontier Gandhi always believed in his non-violent methods and never doubted its compatibility with Islam. He viewed his struggle as a jihad with only the enemy holding Arms! When upheavals occurred within his country he said, “O Pathans! Your house has fallen into ruin. Arise and rebuild it, and remember to what race you belong”.

Unfortunately we misuse history to perpetuate hatred through selective recall of facts. From kindergarten through our adult life we are taught a distorted version of history often written with an agenda which has been to subvert the truth/society. The State of Afghanistan is a classic example and in particular the works of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan – overlooked, forgotten or deliberately mislaid by hostile parties engaged in never ending religious genocide.

On your visit to India remind the world, particularly the violent elements  in Afghanistan of the friendship between two great leaders of non violence – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Mahatma Gandhi – and its relevance in this highly polarized world of religious fanaticism.

I leave you with these words from Khan Sahib, the Frontier Gandhi, devout Muslim and highly respected Afghan leader –

“Today’s world is traveling in some strange direction. You see that the world is going forward toward destruction and violence. And the specialty of violence is to create hatred among people and to create fear. I am a believer in non violence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the people of the world until non violence is practiced, because non violence is love and it stirs courage in people”.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om