Why read classic literature?

"Classic literature is prodigiously important for a students development, there is a reason these works are labeled ‘classics’, that’s because they’re timeless, effortless, full of rich vivid words put together in exactly the right order so to create majestic images in the readers mind. Those who take the time to read some classic literature will benefit in many ways. Firstly, it will undoubtedly expand your vocabulary, bring forth new and exciting ways of thinking, give you a greater understanding of history and improve your writing skills."

More: http://m.digitaljournal.com/article/314972

Get your clasics from: Gutenberg.org

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Book picks for the week | LitBash 50

Need something to read, but don't know to chose? Try writers who were...

Born this week:

Stefan Zweig, Austria

"It is usual for a woman, even though she may ardently desire to give herself to a man, to feign reluctance, to simulate alarm or indignation. She must be brought to consent by urgent pleading, by lies, adjurations, and promises. I know that only professional prostitutes are accustomed to answer such an invitation with a perfectly frank assent - prostitutes, or simple-minded, immature girls."

Alberto Moravia, Italy
"An uncertain evil causes anxiety because, at the bottom of one's heart, one goes on hoping till the last moment that it may not be true; a certain evil, on the other hand, instills, for a time, a kind of dreary tranquillity."

Konstantin Simonov, Russia
"I don't know how others may see it, but for me, human friendship is the most precious feeling on earth. That feeling has its greatest strength when times are hard; and in war, times are very hard. "

Louisa May Alcott, USA
"Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn't worth ruling."

Jonathan Swift, UK

"I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers, who are grown very numerous of late; and I know very well the judicious world is resolved to list me in that number. I conceive therefore, as to the business of being profound, that it is with writers as with wells - a person with good eyes may see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any water be there: and often when there is nothing in the world at the bottom besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and a-half under-ground, it shall pass, however, for wondrous deep upon no wiser reason than because it is wondrous dark."

Mark Twain, USA
"I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever."

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canada

Joseph Conrad (Born Józef Korzeniowski), Poland / UK
"It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes."

Died this week:

Conrad Meyer, Switzerland

Oscar Wilde, UK

"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

Donatien Alphone Francois de Sade (Marquis de Sade), France
The law which attempts a man's life [capital punishment] is impractical, unjust, inadmissible. It has never repressed crime—for a second crime is every day committed at the foot of the scaffold."

Namik Kemal, Turkey

Edmond Rostand, France
"To joke in the face of danger is the supreme politeness, a delicate refusal to cast oneself as a tragic hero."

Robert Louis Stevenson, UK
"In every part and corner of our life, to lose oneself is to be a gainer; to forget oneself is to be happy."

Gustav Meyrink, Austria
"I have not let myself be stultified by science, whose highest goal is to furnish a `waiting room', which it would be best to tear down."

What hacker-activists have in common with secret services

"WikiLeaks raises the question as to what hackers have in common with secret services, since an elective affinity between the two is unmistakable. The love-hate relationship goes back to the very beginning of computing. One does not have to be a fan of German media theorist Friedrich Kittler or, for that matter, conspiracy theories, to acknowledge that the computer was born out of the military-industrial complex. From Alan Turing's deciphering of the Nazi Enigma code up to the role played by the first computers in the invention of the atomic bomb, from the cybernetics movement up to the Pentagon's involvement in the creation of the Internet – the articulation between computational information and the military-industrial complex is well established. Computer scientists and programmers have shaped the information revolution and the culture of openness; but at the same time they have also developed encryption ("crypto"), closing access to data for the non-initiated. What some see as "citizen journalism" others call "info war".

WikiLeaks is also an organization deeply shaped by 1980s hacker culture, combined with the political values of techno-libertarianism that emerged in the 1990s. The fact that WikiLeaks was founded – and to a large extent is still run – by hard-core geeks is essential to understanding its values and moves. Unfortunately, this comes together with a good dose of the less savoury aspects of hacker culture. Not that idealism, the desire to contribute to making the world a better place, could be denied to WikiLeaks: on the contrary. But this brand of idealism (or, if you prefer, anarchism) is paired with a preference for conspiracies, an elitist attitude and a cult of secrecy (never mind condescension). This is not conducive to collaboration with like-minded people and groups, who are relegated to being the simple consumers of WikiLeaks output. The missionary zeal to enlighten the idiotic masses and "expose" the lies of government, the military and corporations is reminiscent of the well-known (or infamous) media-culture paradigm from the 1950s."
MORE: http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2010-12-07-lovinkriemens-en.html



The Real 'James Bond'

"The real James Bond was an “incorrigible raconteur” with a penchant for pretty women and fast cars [...]

Commander Wilfred Dunderdale was known as “Biffy” because of his prowess as a boxer in the Royal Navy at the end of the First World War, according to the first official history of the service.

A picture from a false identity card shows he lacked his fictional counterpart’s good looks but Dunderdale is said to have become close friends with Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, in later life, and claimed to recognise some of his own stories in the books."

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8017038/Real-James-Bond-revealed-in-MI6-archives.html

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Shakespeare helps doctors


"Doctors should brush up on their Shakespeare to help improve their understanding of how the mind can affect the body, according to an unusual study.

[...] many doctors don't realise how many physical symptoms can be caused solely by psychological problems.

'Many doctors are reluctant to attribute physical symptoms to emotional disturbance, and this results in delayed diagnosis, over-investigation, and inappropriate treatment.

'They could learn to be better doctors by studying Shakespeare. This is important because the so-called functional symptoms are the leading cause of general practitioner visits and of referrals to specialists."

More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2065646/Reading-Shakespeare-helps-doctors-understand-patients-mental-state.html?ITO=1490

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A Stasi informant in every family


"This week, the commission for the Stasi files will publish a handbook on the HVA, the Stasi branch that handled foreign intelligence and was run by legendary spymaster Markus Wolf. The book offers new insight into the Stasi's work in West Germany, making clear for the first time just how purposefully and extensively the East German intelligence service had West German politics and society in its sights.

It's now possible to reconstruct in unprecedented detail where and how the Stasi cast its nets. The organization had 149 informants active just in Bonn, the former West German capital. There were 542 in West Berlin.

It seems the HVA recruited most of these spies from industrial sectors, as a way of obtaining Western technological knowledge. It also maintained excellent connections in the center-left Social Democratic Party, where 78 unofficial collaborators and other contacts kept East Berlin up to date, 13 of them serving as sources of information on activities within the party's executive committee. The Stasi was also well informed on internal matters in unions, churches and universities."

Read More: http://m.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-799335.html#spRedirectedFrom=www

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Brainless spies and criminals rejoice

An "example of putting brain waves into practice in a practical way is Brain Fingerprinting.

In Brain Fingerprinting, it is believed that when someone commits a crime, the event is stored as a memory. When the perpetrator is presented with evidence of the crime, the memory is triggered, creating a neurological response.

If the perpetrator is attached to a machine similar to an EEG, then this response can be recorded.

Brain Fingerprinting is still in its early stages, but is being seriously evaluated by the FBI as part of deception detection and profiling.

If this technique is perfected and coupled with Clark’s sensor technology, individuals such as criminals, and even spies could be easily identified.

Taking this technology a step further, it is conceivable that technology such as this could be used by a government to monitor the brain wave activity of its people or to detect espionage. Intelligence agents could use the technology to spy on foreign diplomats or scientists."

More: http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2011/11/could-us-intelligence-detect-brain-waves-to-spy/

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Camp 020, MI5's secret interrogation center

"The silence [...] gave little indication of the intensity and importance of the work being done in the building known as Camp 020, MI5’s secret interrogation center. Within those walls, captured German agents were questioned under the command of a ferociously tempered British officer named Lieutenant Colonel Robin Stephens. Boorish, disdainful of the non-English but half-German himself, Stephens was nicknamed “Tin Eye” for the monocle he was said to wear even when he slept. He had a record of breaking down even the most hardened of German spies.

“Figuratively, a spy in war should be at the points of a bayonet,” wrote Stephens, who insisted that he be addressed as the “commandant.” Yet he was adamant about one thing at Camp 020. “Violence is taboo,” he wrote, “for not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information.” In his instructions for interrogators, Stephens wrote, “Never strike a man.  In the first place it is an act of cowardice. In the second place, it is not intelligent. A prisoner will lie to avoid further punishment and everything he says thereafter will be based on a false premise.”

Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2011/11/the-monocled-world-war-ii-interrogator/

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Re-Kindling the fire in your heart | LitBash 49

A book will light a fire in your heart. Pick a book by a writer who was...

Born this week:

Voltaire, France
"What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbor's, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."

George Eliot, UK
"I'm proof against that word failure. I've seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best."

Andre Gide, France
"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore."

Charles Vildrac, France

Mats Traat, Estonia

Carlo Collodi, Italy

Lope de Vega, Spain

Eugene Ionesco, France / Romania

"No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa."

Died this week:

Jack London, USA
"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog."

Aldous Huxley, UK
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

C. S. Lewis, UK
"100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased."

Anthony Burgess, UK

Andre Malraux, France

"One cannot create an art that speaks to me when one has nothing to say."

Johannes Vilhelm Jensen, Denmark

Upton Sinclair, USA

"American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whatever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it."

Yukio Mishima, Japan
"There is no virtue in curiosity. In fact, it might be the most immoral desire a man can possess."

Arnold Zweig, Germany

Alexandre Dumas, France

"It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes. It has always been so and always will be. Governments change yet they remain all alike."

Eugene O'Neill, USA
"One may not give one's soul to a devil of hate — and remain forever scatheless."


Pirate my books, please

"In the former Soviet Union, in the late Fifties and Sixties, many books that questioned the political system began to be circulated privately in mimeographed form. Their authors never earned a penny in royalties. On the contrary, they were persecuted, denounced in the official press, and sent into exile in the notorious Siberian gulags. Yet still they continued to write.

Why? Because they needed to share what they were feeling. From the Gospels to political manifestos, literature has allowed ideas to travel and even to change the world. I have nothing against people earning money from their books; that’s how I make my living. But look at what’s happening now. The publishing industry is trying to have laws brought in against “intellectual piracy”. Depending on the country, the “pirate” — that is, the person disseminating art on the Internet — could end up in jail. And how do I feel about this? As an author, I should be defending “intellectual property”, but I’m not. Pirates of the world unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!"

More: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/editorial/op-ed/pirate-my-books-please-663

Publishing is a matter of choice; writing is not (at least not for many writers).

Just why writers write?

Thrillers, Suspense, Espionage, Conspiracy: SPYWRITER.com

America, the House of Mirrors

"In this house of mirrors where endless war has made guilt and innocence or even facts irrelevant, the U.S. has left the realm of science and empiricism and entered a realm more mystical than real. It is a realm where ideology dictates plans and programs and not logic and empirical evidence.  It is a realm where ideology dictates who dies and who lives and is populated by men and women who can neither be understood nor reasoned with outside the confines of their own internal and hermetically sealed logic. 

From its inception during World War II, America’s military/intelligence apparatus has acted more as a subculture of America’s ruling elite than a bureaucracy dedicated to the nation’s security. It was said of America’s first spy agency the OSS that its initials stood for Oh-So-Social because of its abundant staffing with New York’s high society blue bloods. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks even titled their 1974 book on their life in the CIA and Foreign Service as The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. 

But over the last forty years and especially since the events of 9/11, that “Cult,” and its sister organizations in the military/intelligence community have emerged from behind the curtain to become a ubiquitous and forbidding presence.

In effect, 1974’s American “Cult” of intelligence has grown to become in 2011 the dominant American “Cult-ure.” But what that culture really is and where it’s leading us remains a frightening proposition that each and every American needs to understand."

Continue: http://m.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=306786

Thrillers, Suspense, Espionage, Conspiracy: SPYWRITER.com


The kitchen device that's killing you

"Microwaves were first invented by the Nazis in order to provide a method of cooking for their troops during World War II. Seeing as though these microwave ovens have been experimental and new, the US War Department was assigned to research these new devices shortly after the war.

Turns out, the U.S. didn’t really perform the extensive research necessary for the new invention. Instead, the Russians decided to tackle the issue with extreme force.

Intrigued by this new device, the Russians conducted in-depth research to discover the biological effects they might possess. The results were staggering enough to lead to a ban of the new device in the Soviet Union. The ban, however, was later lifted during Perestroika, the political movement responsible for the restructuring of the Soviet Union.

The findings include:

  * Carcinogenic substances were formed from the microwaving of nearly all foods tested
  * Microwaving milk and grains resulted in carcinogenic substances being formed through the conversion of amino acids
  * Microwaving prepared meats caused cancer-causing agents such as d-Nitrosodienthanolamines to form
  * Microwaving fruits as a method of thawing resulted in the conversion of glucoside and galactoside fractions into carcinogenic substances
  * Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked, or frozen vegetables converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens
  * Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved plants, especially root vegetables
  * Structural degradation leading to decreased food value was found to be 60 to 90 percent overall for all foods tested, with significant decreases in bioavailability of B complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, essential minerals, and lipotropics

Twenty years of the Russian research led to the international warning about the damaging biological and environmental effects microwaves possess. The warning also included other similar frequency electronic devices such as cell phones."

More: http://naturalsociety.com/the-dangerous-truth-behind-microwaves/

Stalin’s deadly spy in the Fourth Internationale


"Mark Zborowski was the most notorious and deadly agent of the Soviet secret police (the GPU) inside the Trotskyist movement in the 1930s. He played a central role in setting up leading members of the Fourth International, including Trotsky’s son, Leon Sedov, for assassination. Zborowski survived his victims by many decades. Arriving in the United States in 1941, he made the transition from Stalin’s leading anti-Trotskyist agent to a highly successful academic in prestigious American universities. Zborowski’s eventual exposure as a Stalinist agent in the 1950s only temporarily derailed his academic career. But in 1975, as a result of the International Committee of the Fourth International’s investigation into the events leading up to the assassination of Trotsky in 1940, Zborowski’s crimes were brought to public attention. The GPU assassin was photographed in August 1975 in San Francisco outside his home by David North, a leading member of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party). During the decade that followed, the International Committee’s investigation into the crimes of the GPU against the Trotskyist movement—whose findings were published under the title “Security and the Fourth International”—produced a wealth of new information about Zborowski’s activities. In June 1990, two months after Zborowski’s death, the International Committee published an obituary which reviewed the murderous career of this Stalinist agent. This obituary is republished below":



The importance of literature

"Literature is something on the gut level which can help societies and nations sense what is really happening with them and what is about to follow. Literature helps us diagnose the diseases of society and, to some extent, prescribe ways to cure them.

The importance of literature is that it turns what we know into what we feel. Thus, a concept no longer remains a concept. It becomes an experience. To attach oneself to a concept requires a deeper understanding of life. But when a concept becomes an experience, it is easier for people to relate to it. It means literature helps ordinary folks understand the world in a way it cannot be understood without deep insight.

Literature is also important because it turns the abstract into concrete. When we try to draw a picture of an exemplary man in our mind, we face a lot of difficulty. But Dostoevsky has made this job easier for us. After reading his novel Idiot, for instance, we can understand better what an exemplary figure should be like. He has beautifully portrayed how a simple-hearted man acts and reacts."

More: http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=72377&Cat=9

Brighten up the darkest autumn | LitBash 48

Short days? Long evenings? Nothing on TV? A book brightens up the most dreary of days, and helps pass the longest evening. Here are some writers who were...

Born this week:

Hussein Taha, Egypt

Astrid Lindgren, Sweden

"There is very little you can beat into a child, but no limit to what you can hug out of it."

Gerhart Hauptmann, Germany
"Poetry evokes out of words the resonance of the primordial world."

Heinz Piontek, Germany

Rene Arcos, France

Henri Bosco, France

Jeannie Ebner, Austria

Klaus Mann, Germany

"Work is the never ending burden without which all other burdens would be unbearable."

Selma Lagerlof, Sweden
"It is a strange thing to come home. While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realize how strange it will be."

Nadine Gordimer, South Africa
"Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area."

Died this week:

Wilhelm Raabe, Germany
"A man without imagination is like a bird without wings."

Albert Engstrom, Sweden

Marcel Proust, France

"Even in the most insignificant details of our daily life, none of us can be said to constitute a material whole, which is identical for everyone, and need only be turned up like a page in an account-book or the record of a will; our social personality is created by the thoughts of other people."

Leo Tolstoy, Russia
"Subtleties, allegories, humorous fancies, the wildest generalizations abound, but nothing simple and clear, nothing going straight to the point, that is, to the problem of life.
Besides these graceful frivolities, our literature is full of simple nastiness and brutality, of arguments that would lead men back in the most refined way to primal barbarism, to the principles not only of the pagan, but of the animal life, which we have left behind 5,000 years ago."

Leonardo Sciascia, Italy
"I hate and detest Sicily in so far as I love it, and in so far as it does not respond to the kind of love I would like to have for it."


The largest Nazi espionage operation in North America

“Bermuda proved a geographically convenient location for the scrutiny of mail exchanged between North America and Europe. All correspondence sent to or from Europe was examined by Imperial Censorship staff based at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, and suspect items were intercepted and photographed.

“This led to the identification of several German spies, among them George Nicolaus and Joachim Ruge.”

But its most celebrated case involved the Bermuda censorship operations playing a key role in the uncovering of the largest Nazi espionage operation in America.

It was operated by Kurt Frederick Ludwig in 1940-41 and the network became known as the “Joe K” spy ring because it was the code name used in letters sent to Berlin addresses giving information on Allied shipping in New York Harbour and other sensitive military information. Details of the ship movements the ring provided were passed on to Nazi submarines operating in the Atlantic and a number of UK-bound vessels were torpedoed as a result."

More: http://bernews.com/2011/11/bermudas-second-world-war-espionage-role/


The Cloak and Dagger Group of Snoopers

"Those who don't know the US system are shaken at what is going round the world. But there is a well laid background, reason and calculated goals to it.

The most crucial link of the US government and the rest of the world is its CIA, originally called the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) whose main objective of secret action aimed at understanding or subverting what goes on abroad on behalf of the US. President Harry Truman in his briefing notes in 1946 called it 'Cloak and Dagger Group of Snoopers.'

It started as a SSU until being renamed by the National Security Act on September, 18, 1947. During the cold war it engaged in murders of foreign leaders, staging coups, bribing political and business leaders. It was the CIA that bought off former fascists and war in Japan who were in jail after World War 2 and helped build the corrupt Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that ruled Japan for over five decades. In Italy, under the guise of fighting the communists, the CIA bought off the elections of 1948 with suitcases of cold cash in four stars hotels in Rome and the Vatican. The CIA's standard operating procedures in peace times have been exchanging information for money, wine and food at cocktails and dinners, paid foreign trips especially to their preferred countries."

More: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/765749


How to choose a book | LitBash 47


Are you overwhelmed by bookstore shelves that are brimming with books? Don't know which book to pick? Use lists, such as one with writers who were...

Born this week:

Albert Camus, France
"A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously."

William Wharton, Germany

Bram Stoker, UK
"I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome."

Margaret Mitchell, USA

Peter Weiss, Germany
"I could buy myself paper, a pen, a pencil and a brush and could create pictures whenever and wherever I wanted. ... That evening, in the spring of 1947, on the embankment of the Seine in Paris, at the age of thirty, I saw that it was possible to live and work in the world, and that I could participate in the exchange of ideas that was taking place all around, bound to no country."

Peer Hultberg, Denmark

Ivan Turgenev, Russia

Imre Kertesz, Hungary
"If one takes the path of success, then one ends up either successful or unsuccessful, there is no third alternative."

Carl Sagan, USA
"Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain."

Friedrich von Schiller, Germany
"Did you think the lion was sleeping because he didn't roar?"

Max Mell, Austria

Arnold Zweig, Germany

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russia
"Granted I am a babbler, a harmless vexatious babbler, like all of us. But what is to be done if the direct and sole vocation of every intelligent man is babble, that is, the intentional pouring of water through a sieve?"

Kurt Vonnegut, USA
"Well, I've worried some about, you know, why write books ... why are we teaching people to write books when presidents and senators do not read them, and generals do not read them. And it's been the university experience that taught me that there is a very good reason, that you catch people before they become generals and presidents and so forth and you poison their minds with ... humanity, and however you want to poison their minds, it's presumably to encourage them to make a better world."

Carlos Fuentes, Mexico
"What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others."

Michael Ende, Germany
"Time is Life."

Robert Louis Stevenson, UK
"In anything fit to be called by the name of reading, the process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves, and rise from the perusal, our mind filled with the busiest, kaleidoscopic dance of images, incapable of sleep or of continuous thought. The words, if the book be eloquent, should run thenceforward in our ears like the noise of breakers, and the story, if it be a story, repeat itself in a thousand coloured pictures to the eye."

Died this week:

Carl Erik Soya, Denmark

Ken Kesey, USA
"The job of the writer is to kiss no ass, no matter how big and holy and white and tempting and powerful."

Emmuska Orczy, Hungary / UK
"I have so often been asked the question: "But how did you come to think of The Scarlet Pimpernel?" And my answer has always been: "It was God's will that I should."

Guido Piovene, Italy

Elemir Bourges, France

Politics and literature

Should literature tackle political issues? France's prestigious literary prize awarded for Alexis Jenni's book makes it a resounding - Yes.

"It’s important to exorcise the unpleasant parts of history through literature, and not through political discourse, which doesn’t help at all. Thanks to fiction, we can probe deep into these problems and touch people’s consciences and hearts."

"It’s often said that literature has no place treating politics; that writers compromise fiction’s true potential as art when they turn their attentions to the big affairs of the day. Isn’t it more likely, though, that a bad book is a bad book, whether it’s an anti-war novel, a political thriller or chick-lit? Done right, politicised fiction soars, as Jenni’s achievement shows." From: http://mhpbooks.com/42574/the-goncourt-prize-should-fiction-and-politics-mix/

Or, as Stendhal put it: “Politics in a work of literature is like a gunshot at a symphony, it adds an element of thugness and simplicity, and yet we cannot ignore it. Although for many reasons we would prefer to remain silent about some of the subjects discussed herein, unfortunately we must talk about these nasty things."


Why spies hang around toilets

"Deep inside the Central Intelligence Agency is a unit dedicated to uncovering the true physical and mental states of world leaders.  The Medical and Psychological Assessment Cell, or MPAC, employs or consults physicians, sociologists, political scientists, and cultural anthropologists to examine the conditions of top officials.

Agents will collect medical waste items, which can yield important information about someone’s medical condition.  

“No discarded bandage or something like a syringe should be discounted because you can draw DNA and blood types and you can do some examination on the contents of even a discarded band-aid to try to determine perhaps what’s wrong with that person. So, as unseemly as that may sound, this is what intelligence services do".

Then there are sort of apocryphal stories, which probably have some truth to it, that they have been able to surreptitiously obtain bodily fluids. And there are sort of several well-known examples of diverting plumbing in [the presidential guest residence] Blair House, or other places abroad where they are able to obtain stool and urine samples."

More: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Spies-Track-Physical-Illnesses-of-Foreign-Leaders-130222673.html


How the CIA, NSA shape the minds of America's children

"Worried about what your children are getting into while surfing the Web? Well, how about organizations involved in intelligence gathering and espionage?

Despite their very adult missions, both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency have sections specifically for youngsters.

Communication expert Joanne Cantor said having games indicates that an organization wants kids to have a positive image of them.

Cantor said companies that see children as a target audience, such as fast-food chains or sweetened cereal producers, “have all sorts of games on their websites to make the kids like them and to sort of recruit them at young ages, and that’s very controversial among people who consider marketing to kids as unfair.”

"We realize the importance of helping to educate the nation’s youth and raise awareness about the National Security Agency’s core values, vision, and critical mission.” From: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/cia-and-nsa-websites-invite-children/

Basically the CIA is building a US version of Komsomol:

"The Bolsheviks saw Russian youth as ideologically promising because it was more removed[]. If the Party could create a mass of indoctrinated, obedient young people, the regime would be stable for years to come. Therefore, the Bolsheviks attempted to influence and politicize every aspect of youth culture, both public and private."

Are you worried about what your children are getting into while surfing the Web? You should, because soon they'll be flying the drones that kill Pakistani children. It's all a game.


Occult in Espionage

"Occult influences in modern intelligence culture can be revealed historically, iconically and through a review of language used to describe covert communications. The use of encoded language to conceal information concerning spiritual sciences and the acquisition of supernatural human performance capabilities (against religious prosecution and abuse by underdeveloped persons of questionable character) predates the use of encryption for political purposes only. A crypt 
, for example, describes an underground burial vault in the modern use of the term. In this sense, to “encrypt” is to bury a person, whereas “decryption” implies the raising of the dead from their graves.

These same influences are seen in agency logos. The former British Military Intelligence (MI5) logo, for example, includes the Eye of Providence 
or “All-Seeing Eye” in the capstone of a pyramid, reflecting the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and that symbol’s current use on the back of the US one dollar bill. From this perspective, even the acronym CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) can be interpreted as an example of both applied transposition and substitution ciphers revealing CIA->ACI-> All C-ing I->All-Seeing Eye.

In the most archaic sense, the “All-Seeing Eye” represents a performance characteristic of clairvoyant persons, whose practice of mental concentration promotes Ajina Chakra (“Third Eye”) activation via the ascent of their dormant or sleeping microcosmic potential (Sanskritkundalini), allowing lucid perceptions of intelligence from beyond the constraints of time, designating those individuals as seer, soothsayer or sorcerer."

More: http://m.examiner.com/exVancouver/pm_99243/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=9Lcxfpqv


Things cats and people have in common | LitBash 46

What do cats and people have in common? Both can live several lives. You can too - by reading a book and getting into the skin of its protagonist. Start with books by authors who were...

Born this week:

Hermann Broch, Austria
"The maker of kitsch does not create inferior art, he is not an incompetent or a bungler, he cannot be evaluated by aesthetic standards; rather, he is ethically depraved, a criminal willing radical evil. And since it is radical evil that is manifest here, evil per se, forming the absolute negative pole of every value-system, kitsch will always be evil, not just kitsch in art, but kitsch in every value-system that is not an imitation system."

Ilse Aichinger, Austria
"The distance to the corner shops of childhood becomes unfathomable, immeasurable; the candy bars have changed. And change has changed."

Gunter de Bruyn, Germany

Moa Martinson, Sweden

Andre Malraux, France

"The sons of torture victims make good terrorists."

Ciro Alegria, Peru

Rene Maran, Martinique
"Hatred is one long wait."

Robert Musil, Austria

"I am not only convinced that what I say is false, but also that what one might say against it is false. Despite this, one must begin to talk about it. In such a case the truth lies not in the middle, but rather all around, like a sack, which, with each new opinion one stuffs into it, changes its form, and becomes more and more firm."

James Jones, USA
"I don't think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won't even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don't even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become."

Died this week:

Gertrud von Le Fort, Germany

Alexander Bek, Russia

Hans Erich Nossack, Germany

"Why go on? I mean, why record all this? Wouldn’t it be better to surrender it to oblivion for all time? For those who were there certainly don’t have to read it. And the others, and those who will come later? What if they read it only to enjoy something strange and uncanny and to make themselves feel more alive? Does it take an apocalypse to do that? Or a descent into the underworld?"

William Styron, USA
"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it."

Leon Bloy, France
"There are places in the heart that do not yet exist; suffering has to enter in for them to come to be."

Karel Capek, Czech

"Art must not serve might."

Carl Sternheim, Germany

Johannes Urzidil, Austria

Claude Aveline, France

John Fowles, UK

"There are only two races on this planet—the intelligent and the stupid."

Maurice Leblanc, France

Antonio Baldini, Italy


Fake Mobile Phone Tower

"Britain’s largest police force has been using covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network to intercept communications and unique IDs from phones or even transmit a signal to shut off phones remotely, according to the Guardian.

The portable device, which is the size of a suitcase, pretends to be a legitimate cell phone tower that emits a signal to dupe thousands of mobile phones in a targeted area. Authorities can then intercept SMS messages, phone calls and phone data, such as unique IMSI and IMEI identity codes that allow authorities to track phone users’ movements in real-time, without having to request location data from a mobile phone carrier.

In addition to intercepting calls and messages, the system can be used to effectively cut off phone communication, such as in a war zone where phones might be used as a trigger for an explosive device, or for crowd control during demonstrations and riots where participants use phones to organize."

More: http://m.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/10/datong-surveillance/