Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
In April 2009 a video emerged of a United Arab emirates Royal Sheik, Sheik Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan directing the torture of an Afghan grain dealer Mohammed Shah Poor. The video includes the man being tortured with a cattle prod to his genitals, sand in his mouth and being runover by a Silver Mercedes SUV The official response of The UAE government concedes that Sheik Issa is the man shown in the video but says he did nothing wrong....
Bassam Nabulsi is a United States citizen and Houston businessman. Sheikh Issa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Sheikh Issa) is a member of the royal family in the U.A.E. Sheikh Issa is the younger brother of the President of the U.A.E., Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, and younger brother to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Bassam Nabulsi and Sheikh Issa were business partners. Through the course of their relationship, Mr. Nabulsi learned that Sheikh Issa expected no disagreements from those with whom he dealt, including his partner and business manager, Mr. Nabulsi. As their relationship progressed, Mr. Nabulsi noted that Sheikh Issa grew more aggressive, and less tolerant.
Indeed, as Sheikh Issa's moods grew darker, he began a habit and custom of torturing his employees or anyone else with whom he disapproved. Over the years, and particularly after the death of this father (the long-serving and well-respected President of the U.A.E.) in 2004, these torture sessions grew more brutal, vicious, and bloody. As his degeneracy increased, Sheikh Issa began to have such torture sessions videotaped, so he could enjoy viewing them later. Mr. Nabulsi disapproved vehemently with Sheikh Issa's behavior, and never took part in such conduct.
One of Sheikh Issa's many torture victims was Mohammed Shah Poor, an Afghan who did business with the Sheikh. After Poor fell into Sheikh Issa's disfavor, the Sheikh personally tortured Poor for more than forty-five minutes. Sheikh Issa was assisted by several members of the Abu Dhabi police. The torture involved shooting an M-16 into the ground in front of where Poor was kneeling, stuffing sand into his mouth, sticking nails repeatedly into his buttocks, whipping him with a board containing nails, repeatedly kicking his head, whipping his buttocks until they bled, pouring salt onto his wounds, pouring lighter fluid onto his scrotum and lighting it on fire, sticking a cattle prod up his anus, and running over him with Sheikh Issa's Mercedes SUV. As has now become his custom, at Sheikh Issa's direction, the torture session was videotaped.
Immediately after the torture session, a member of Sheikh Issa's entourage frantically telephoned Mr. Nabulsi. During that call, Mr. Nabulsi learned about the torture of Mr. Poor, and learned that Sheikh Issa was refusing to allow the injured and bleeding victim to be taken to the hospital. Fearing that Mr. Poor might die, Mr. Nabulsi spoke to Sheikh Issa by phone. In that call, Mr. Nabulsi pleaded with Sheikh Issa to allow Poor to be taken to the hospital. Although Sheikh Issa ultimately conceded to Nabulsi's frantic requests, Nabulsi's assertiveness on that call with Sheikh Issa was the beginning of the ultimate end to the two partners' business and personal relationship.
As personal and business manager for Sheikh Issa, as well as business partner, Mr. Nabulsi maintained all important business and personal items for Sheikh Issa. One such item was the videotape showing Sheikh Issa torturing Mr. Poor--along with several similar tapes of other torture sessions involving the Sheikh and other victims.
As the relationship between the partners continued to deteriorate, Sheikh Issa became desperate to retrieve the torture tapes. To that end, by asserting influence with the Abu Dhabi police, Sheikh Issa had Mr. Nabulsi arrested in April of 2005. However, there were no charges, and the police held Mr. Nabulsi only because Sheikh Issa had directed them to do so.
After his arrest, Mr. Nabulsi was held without charges for several days. The police department, under the direction of Sheikh Issa, thoroughly searched Mr. Nabulsi's residence in an effort to find the torture tapes. Further, all of Mr. Nabulsi's computers were confiscated, along with any devices that might contain evidence of Sheikh Issa's involvement in the torture.
In an attempt to justify Mr. Nabulsi's incarceration, Sheikh Issa then fabricated false accusations of marijuana possession against Nabulsi. Of course, the resulting search of Nabulsi's home revealed no marijuana, and the test performed on Mr. Nabulsi's urine was also negative for drug use.
Mr. Nabulsi was kept incarcerated for three months. During the three-month ordeal, Mr. Nabulsi learned from his jailors that the genesis of the false marijuana charges was Sheikh Issa, as well as his brother, Sheikh Nasser bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with the approval of another member of the Royal Family, Sheikh Saif, Minister of the Interior and Chief of Police.
At one point during the incarceration, the U.S. Embassy attempted to come to Mr. Nabulsi's aid. In response, the Embassy was informed by the police department that the reason for the incarceration was a personal dispute between Mr. Nabulsi and Sheikh Issa.
Despite the efforts of the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Nabulsi was kept in jail, where he was continuously tortured. Each day, the jailors, at the direction of the Issa, would have a "session" with Mr. Nabulsi, threatening him with immediate death and extreme pain. Because of what he had seen on the torture tapes, Mr. Nabulsi was frighteningly aware of Sheikh Issa's capacity for cruelty as well as his apparent influence with the police.
During his incarceration, the safety of Mr. Nabulsi's wife and children were also repeatedly threatened. These threats caused Mr. Nabulsi great stress. Further, members of his personal staff were held hostage for days without food or water. Mr. Nabulsi was threatened with their deaths as well.
Sheikh Issa himself conducted some of the torture sessions. During such sessions, Sheikh Issa asked repeatedly about the location of the torture tapes, and repeatedly told his business partner Nabulsi that he would be killed, and that his family and staff would be killed.
In furtherance of the effort to break Nabulsi mentally so he would give up the tapes, Sheikh Issa instructed the police to place Afghan and Iraqi prisoners, who were known to be hostile an aggressive towards Americans, in Mr. Nabulsi's cell. Sheikh Issa then had the guards taunt Mr. Nabulsi about being an American in front of these cell mates.
Mr. Nabulsi's criminal charges ultimately came to trial and he was acquitted of all charges of marijuana possession. Still, even after his innocence was proven in court, he was kept in jail. Finally, the U.S. Embassy again intervened to force Mr. Nabulsi's release. Through the grace of God, and with help from the U.S. Embassy and his family, Bassam Nabulsi was able to escape the U.A.E.
Bassam Nabulsi is now possession of several videos that show some of the most inhumane treatment the World has ever seen or heard about. These videos will ultimately be released on this site. Sheikh Issa, as brother to both the President of the U.A.E. and the Crown Prince of the U.A.E., has never been held accountable for his inhumane actions.
The message for anyone traveling or doing business in the U.A.E. or Abu Dhabi is clear. Be careful, be very, very careful.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
The original and best
Monday, 20 April 2009
Dmitry Orlov describes himself as a "Superpower Collapse Predictor". Here, talking at the Long Now Foundation in California, he explains why he's certain the US is headed for a Soviet-style collapse, and gives some handy hints for leaders of collapsing superpowers.
Dmitry Orlov, author of "Reinventing Collapse" is a theorist on issues relating to Peak Oil and an engineer. Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve, witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union during extended visits to his homeland. His 2006 article Closing the Collapse Gap, went viral on the internet. In it, he compared the collapse-preparedness of the USA and the USSR.
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Thursday, 16 April 2009
She can sing! No doubt about it...
This performance has become a phenomenon in just a few days - and why? She represents the buried dream/beauty, hidden under outward appearances and "killed by life," as the words of the poignant song so represent. Yet here she is and we are immediately struck by her gift and her soul. She's never been on a date, never been kissed, has been bullied all her life. So she sings with her whole being.
At a time when all about us seems veneered in ugliness and decline, she reminds us to never, ever, let the dreams we dream die.
Here are the words:
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame.
I dream he'll come to me
That we will live our lives together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather...
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
so different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Monday, 13 April 2009
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Economist William K. Black of the University of Missouri appeared in an interview on PBS last week with Bill Moyers. He pulls no punches in spelling out who is really responsible for our current economic disaster, and why our own Treasury Secretary is leading the charge to keep the truth covered up.
Friday, 10 April 2009
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks.
Second, we are also now beginning to understand that there is extra information encoded in the molecules in the form of their physical properties. For example, the molecules used for intra-species communication are hydrophobic -- they don’t like water. On the other hand, the molecule I showed on my slide -- the one used for inter-species communication -- is hydrophilic and loves water. A hydrophobic molecule doesn't travel very far. A hydrophilic molecule goes really far. In this way, I think bacteria can use the blends of molecules to measure space. There are also long-lived and short-lived signals. I think the bacteria can use them to measure time. These features are in addition to using the molecules to count numbers of other cells in the vicinity.
Does this process ever "go to sleep," or are the bacteria just constantly chugging along, creating these signaling molecules?
The bacteria are constantly producing the signal molecules. As I mentioned, these molecules are not expensive to make.
The real energy in quorum sensing isn't spent making the signaling molecules. What really "costs" the bacteria something, is turning on and off hundreds of genes in a precise order, to switch from the "alone" program to the program related to collective behavior in response to the signal molecules.
Maybe then it would make sense then for bacteria to "cheat." That is, it might seem ideal for a bacterium to produce the signal molecule only, and let the neighboring cells turn on and off the hundreds of genes as a consequence. But if there were cheaters, that is, members of the gang didn’t participate in the quorum sensing behaviors, there would be no benefit because it takes the whole group acting together to make quorum sensing behaviors successful.
Consistent with this notion, as far as we can tell, this kind of cheating doesn’t happen. Rather, we see that, if a particular bacterium initiates the quorum sensing- program, one of the first genes that gets turned on in response to the signal molecule is the gene responsible for making the signal molecule itself. This "positive feedback loop" floods the environment with even more signal molecule and ensures that all the surrounding cells enter the program. We think this feedback step acts as a sort of molecular police that imposes synchrony.
I wouldn't say any of these ideas are obvious, but after hearing about them, they seem to make so much sense.
I spend half my time thinking, "My God, I can't believe they do this!" and then the other half thinking, "Why did it take me so long to figure this out? Of course they do this!" I agree, it's obvious in retrospect.
I often think, "Why is it that my lab that's doing this?" Bacteria have been intensively studied for 400 years. How could this have been missed for nearly 390 of those years? I guess there was this sort of snobbery -- among bacteriologists and among scientists in general -- that because bacteria seemingly live this mundane primitive life, and they have so few genes, and are so tiny, that we could not imagine they possessed this level of complexity and sophistication.
But think about multicellularity on this Earth. Every living thing originally came from bacteria. So, who do you think made up the rules for how to perform collective behaviors? It had to be the bacteria.
Again, even after we knew about intra-species quorum sensing, when we discovered the cross-species signaling molecule, we were shocked. But in retrospect, of course they have to signal across species! It doesn't do bacteria any good to only count their siblings if there are all kinds of other species around. It all makes total sense, right? But you can't know that until you figure it out. The bottom line is that we are always underestimating them.
Do you often have these sorts of "Whoa!" moments?
I remember the day we found the gene for the inter-species signaling molecule like it was yesterday. We got the gene and we plugged it into a database. And we immediately saw that this gene was in an amazing number of species of bacteria. It was a huge moment of realization. We had wondered for so long what this second molecule was for, and the database told us in an instant this must be about cross-species communication.
It's a manic-depressive life. You run in here, you open your incubator, your experiment makes no sense, you think, "I hate this job." Then ten minutes later you think, "Well, now, maybe I'll try this or I'll try that." You do it because you know there will be an "a-ha!" day. Those a-ha! days make it all worthwhile and they have to last you a long time.
One thing that is really good is that now there are 18 of us in this lab. The people in my lab get to see people who've come before them who are successful. We see one another have the a-ha! moment and you think you can figure something out too and that you’re a-ha! day will come. Luckily, I get to be a part of all of the a-ha! days that happen for the group.
Craig Venter has talked about a species of bacteria that creates gasoline. Is this sort of industrial technology at all in your daily thinking, or on your road map?
Yes. There are very clear medical and industrial applications.
Let's talk about anti-quorum sensing molecules, for example. Researchers want to embed them in the plastic wrap used to package foods to monitor for bacteria and keep food fresher longer. They want to put anti-quorum sensing molecules in the plastic that catheters are made from so we don’t get infections in hospitals. They want to put them in paints so they can paint cooling towers in industrial plants and keep the towers from getting gunked up and made unusable. They want to put them in toothpaste so you don't get the bacterial films on your teeth that give you cavities.
What if these quorum sensing-based technologies open another Pandora's Box?
Oh, indeed they will -- no question, the bacteria will figure a way around this new strategy. When antibiotics first came out, nobody could have imagined we’d have the resistance problem we face today. We didn't give bacteria credit for being able to change and adapt so fast. Basically bacteria do evolution on a 20-minute time scale. It takes humans about 20 years to make an offspring; but bacteria are dividing every 20 minutes, testing out new mutations for selective advantages.
When antibiotics became industrially produced following World War II, our quality of life and our longevity improved enormously. No one thought bacteria were going to become resistant. This is the problem with underestimating bacteria that I mentioned earlier. People thought the bacterial problem was solved. Researchers moved on to other important diseases: cancer and heart disease. Antibiotics were put into tremendous use both for health and agriculture -- and now we have this resistance problem. Compounding the problem is that because we thought the bacterial problem was gone, little effort was placed on studying bacteria, learning resistance mechanisms, and developing new antibiotics. So we're way behind in this game.
Monday, 6 April 2009
An Argentine opinion on the Global Financial Crisis, describing the whole Global Financial System as one vast Ponzi Scheme. Like a pyramid, it has four sides and is a predictable model. The four sides are: (1) Artificially control the supply of public State-issued Currency, (2) Artificially impose Banking Money as the primary source of funding in the economy, (3) Promote doing everything by Debt and (4) Erect complex channels that allow privatizing profits when the Model is in expansion mode and socialize losses when the model goes into contraction mode.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Obama invited the same geniuses who destroyed the entire planetary financial systems to the Oval Office so he could beg them to please show some restraint. They, in turn, want no taxes and want us to shut up about their bonuses! Then, Obama went online to answer our questions. For example, he said, NONE of our outsourced or offshore jobs will EVER return! He thinks these jobs, such as engineering, computer programming, reporter, auto industry, etc, are all cheap labor jobs and we should be happy to get better jobs! This is insane as well as insulting. He supports 'free trade' which is killing our jobs.
Max Keiser as guest on France 24's Face Off to discuss bankers bonuses.
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Hugh Hendry: why the dollar could approach parity with the euro.
Based on a recent article published by Israel Friedman.
Song - "Counting bodies like sheep to the rythm of the war drum" by "A Perfect Circle"
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