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A Theory on Conspiracy Theories

A long time ago if someone was beginning to draw conclusions that all was not right with the world they might have bought a pamphlet or gone to a meeting, or debated with people down the pub or at work. Today unfortunately the path of least resistance for many people is to go on Youtube and watch some mental little video.

A few lads have told me that the problem with the world economy is interest-bearing debt. Everything flows from this and anyone who doesn’t highlight this, however radical they may seem on other issues, is either a coward or is in on the plot. They got this all from Youtube.

Some Videos

The ultra-monetarist arguments aren’t the worst of the theories, by a long shot, but there’s a point at which they shade into more sinister territory. From the financial system to Jewish people is for some reason often a short step for conspiracy theories. I found one video which started by touching on the history of the Jewish mafia in Illinois. Of course Obama has spent a lot of time in Illinois and  Chicago’s zip code is 60606. The chilling conclusion, via some photoshopped images the author found online and some quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, no less, is that Obama was appointed president by the Rothschild family! And God tried to warn us..! At that point I changed to another video. Life’s too short.

The next video, The Money Masters, was a bit more sober, but only a bit. It laboured the point for ages about how the US Federal Reserve is bad and is a private institution. I started getting bored and skipped ahead two hours or so – the video is 3½ hours long! – and was greeted by grainy Russians waving placards of Lenin. But all was not as it seemed! I was informed that the Russian Revolution was financed and created by the Fed. “The Wall Street-London axis” controlled all Communist groups by “feeding them vast quantities of money when they obeyed”. The evidence for this was as follows:

1-      A quote from a “Gary Allen, author”, in which by a superficial and abstract argument he proves that “Communism, or more accurately socialism, is not a movement of the downtrodden masses but of the economic elite” whose purpose is to concentrate all wealth and power in their hands.

2-      A quote from Lenin saying “The state does not function as we desired… It moves as another force wishes.”

3-      Evidence that international banks gave loans the Soviet government to build a hydroelectric dam in Ukraine in 1927-32.

Sound compelling? No? Well the massive gaps between these pinpricks of “evidence” are filled in by the narrator.

None of this is new, of course. Lenin spent 1917 under constant accusations of “German gold” from all his political opponents. Later the Nazis resurrected the charge in a new form, claiming that Communism was a Jewish conspiracy. This video rehashes the same charge: if you don’t like mass movements and revolutions, claim they are not authentic and are being funded by something else you don’t like. As well as the fact that it’s convenient, if you can’t conceive of history being decided by ordinary workers, soldiers and peasants then you’d rather invent a conspiracy, however far-fetched.

The “vast quantities of money” evidently supplied by the banks/Germans/Jews, by the way, was never in evidence. The Bolsheviks were incredibly cash-strapped and had to fund themselves off donations from supporters. Trotsky recalls Lenin poring over the party newspaper, counting every line to make sure it didn’t go over their financial limits.

Lesson #1 for conspiracy theorists: Ignore History

We’ll stick with the Russian Revolution just for a second, just to give an example of how very many conspiracy theories are formulated. Firstly, a total ignorance of the actual facts can lay the groundwork. But more than this is required to create a truly compelling conspiracy theory. Never mind that the Bolsheviks dispossessed, disenfranchised, exiled, imprisoned or killed the “economic elite” of their country; never mind that the landowners and capitalists returned in force and waged a vicious and bloody civil war to crush Bolshevism – to crush, apparently, their own conspiracy. Never mind that the Bolsheviks’ opponents in this civil war were bankrolled and supported by the “economic elites” of America, Western Europe and Japan. Never mind that the Bolsheviks’ base of support was indisputably the Russian working class.

For one thing, the intellectual climate of the last 20 years or so has made it possible to say pretty much anything you like about any socialist movement in history, as long as it’s bad. For another, an examination of the facts of history might necessitate and inconvenient re-thinking of one’s world-view. But more crucially a conspiracy theory must be creative, answering the immediate political needs of the day and according with a certain world-view which we’ll define later.

Today- a great time to be a conspiracy nut

Conspiracy theories of our time can spread very far, very fast through the internet. I own a book from the ‘80s which combines Catholicism, anti-Capitalism and a credulous attitude toward the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I can’t think where the average person would ever come across this book or have much time to read it. Youtube, because I watched a few of these mad videos out of curiosity, now drops something equivalent to this book into my lap every time I go online. This is one feature of the current period in history that affects the question of conspiracy theories.

The extreme difficulty for the majority of living a happy life under a crisis-ridden Capitalism, the widespread hatred of the banks and the absence of class-consciousness and socialist ideas are all outstanding features of people’s attitudes today. The sell-out of Social Democracy and the massive crimes of Stalinism have in the eyes of many discredited the ideas of Socialism, the logical solution to the failure of Capitalism. It is today’s special hopelessness and confusion that breeds belief in conspiracy theories, but Capitalism generally gives rise to them.

A feeling of being on the outside with no control over what happens in society; a sickened attitude towards parliamentary democracy; frustration at people around you who are just focused on their own lives, livelihoods and lifestyles without regard for the bigger picture; contempt for those who swallow the tales told by the media and politicians; above all a humiliating sense that you and all those around you are being played for fools.

All these feelings flow naturally from living in a society in which our “democratic rights” don’t seem to channel our needs at all; in which the economy is totally out of our control; in which a small class owns most of the wealth and makes most of the decisions.

But if you don’t try to get to the root of the problem from a scientific perspective of class and of the actual facts about the ownership of wealth and the conditions of survival under capitalism, you’re not going to understand what’s going on. On the points listed above the average Marxist is in full agreement with the conspiracy theorist; on the points below there is fundamental disagreement.

A Scientific World-View

While the owners of property and wealth are the most privileged and powerful class in society, they are not in control. Each capitalist competes against all others; each company against all others; each nation with all others. Conspiracies obviously exist in such a system but the system itself couldn’t be further from a conspiracy. It’s chaos and while some are more powerful, nobody is in control.

History is not determined by the wonderful plans of powerful people sitting behind closed doors. It flows through processes which we have to describe in terms of science and impersonal nature, because they involve so many people with such contradictory desires and ways of seeing the world. History is, like nature, observable and up to a point predictable, but not conscious.

The desires and consciousnesses of people living in similar conditions and playing similar roles in society and doing similar things to put bread on the table are, not all, but generally, identical in how they behave socially and politically. A Marxist speaks in terms of classes because we call a forest a forest even if there are a couple of clearings. Likewise we call a class a class because, while everyone is a beautiful and unique snowflake, etc, etc, we call a class a class because economics – questions of survival, prosperity, how you feed yourself and the kids – ensure that a class acts generally as a whole.

So Capitalists are not secretly evil lizards who sacrifice children; they are a class of normal warm-blooded human beings who are capable of doing great harm without ever bloodying their fingers, and without us having to prove that a single one of them is consciously evil. Competition and the profit motive punishes them for not acting in an anti-social way, for not exploiting and corrupting.

The predominant role in history is played by classes, and only by institutions and people insofar as they are representatives and instruments of a class. To be a Capitalist, an exploiter, demands of the human conscience a cycle of convenient myths that justify that position – rugged individualism, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, job-creator, a rising tide lifts all boats, the wealth trickles down, all that crap. All classes in fact need myths to justify their position. These myths are the source of all off-the-wall conspiracy theories. A growing realisation that these myths are false can be the spur to the creation of a new myth that is fundamentally rooted in the same assumptions.

They Must be up to Something!

The next objection to the conspiracy-theory scene, not just of Marxists but of the vast majority of people, is: For fuck’s sake, leave the Jews alone. For every Jewish person occupying a high position in the US in business, media, finance or politics I’ll name you five Irish-Americans, five German-Americans, five Italian-Americans and twenty WASPs. If you follow the logic of “Jewish conspiracies” even two steps you’ll immediately multiply your first absurdity by a hundred. This might seem painfully obvious to a lot of people out there, but anti-Jewish attitudes permeate conspiracy theories. The Freemasons, a glorified old-boys’-network-cum-church, is another common target. Medieval mapmakers used to put scary monsters in to fill up the blank spaces on maps, and this is basically the same thing.

Power of the Working Class

The greatest objection of Marxists to conspiracy-theorising is that it’s a view of the world that totally ignores the potential power of the working, downtrodden majority. To return briefly to Russia: events there were not determined by “gold” from whatever sinister foreign source but by the self-organisation and activity of tens of millions of otherwise powerless and unremarkable people.

“Lectures, debates, speeches – in theatres, circuses, school-houses, clubs, Soviet meeting-rooms, Union headquarters, barracks… Meetings in the trenches at the front, in village squares, factories… What a marvellous sight to see Putilovsky Zavod (the Putilov Factory) pour out its forty thousand to listen to Social Democrats, Socialist Revolutionaries, Anarchists, anybody, whatever they had to say, as long as they would talk! For months in Petrograd, and all over Russia, every street-corner was a public tribune […] gaunt and bootless men sickened in the mud of desperate trenches; and when they saw us they started up, with their pinched faces and the flesh showing blue through their torn clothing, demanding eagerly, ‘Did you bring anything to read?’” (John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World, Penguin, page 40).

Capitalist countries can fund armies of millions, nuclear weapons and missions to the moon. They can’t fund that.They can only create such a situation by the unintended and unforeseen consequences of their own system.

“Look how that turned out,” says the cynic. The masses of the former Russian Empire, who made the Revolution, were destroyed, dispersed and demoralized by the Civil War and the isolation of Russia, which laid the basis for the Stalinist dictatorship. It was not the organisation and militancy of the working class but rather the absence of that mobilisation which allowed the Stalinist clique to rise to power. But the conspiracy theorist is generally demoralized and it does not occur to them that such mobilisations can take place at all, and they are willing to believe that the whole thing was a conspiracy.

Lesson #2 for conspiracy theorists: Create a compelling metaphor

If a conspiracy is being cooked up by those in power, and we find irrefutable proof of it, as for example with the contents of the Wikileaks cables, we should of course make it public. For instance, it would be fascinating to know what is said at the secret Bilderberg Group meetings. But it’s very different to believe a story which is not adequately proved, and which is inherently far-fetched because it assumes the Capitalists and their lackeys have more power, knowledge and foresight than they actually do. There is nothing rebellious or subversive in insisting, on flimsy or no evidence, that rich and powerful US citizens rape and kill children at Bohemian Grove, in between Satanic and Pagan rituals, and as a warm-up to plotting world domination.

Fundamentally this is an example of religious thinking. I mean that people who don’t understand the world try to explain it in terms that make sense to them. In ancient times, when as a species we had no way of scientifically understanding or explaining the natural world or human society, we invented myths. That’s why we needed a god of thunder, of the ocean, of war: to explain vast impersonal forces in simple, human, personal terms.

In the same way today in the mind of the conspiracy theorist a person or institution acquires godlike power and significance. The Federal Reserve caused the Russian Revolution! The US government controls the weather! Rothschild appointed Obama as president! The US government packed a building full of thousands of tonnes of explosives without anybody seeing, then flew a hologram plane into it! With a sweep of its mighty hand it knocked down the twin towers and WTC 7 and punched a hole in the Pentagon and swatted another plane right out of the sky.

What is thunder? A big man in the sky with a hammer. What is revolution? A conspiracy by Jews and financiers. Why do wars happen? Mars inflames the passions of mortals. Why did 9/11 happen? The US government did it.

A Conspiracy Theory is a Metaphor

A good conspiracy theory takes root because there is a demand for it. The 9/11 theories do not have their roots in any great amount of evidence. There are no more strange occurrences and coincidences than you would associate with any event so huge. I believe that to say “9/11 was an inside job” is unconsciously to speak in metaphors. What you want to say is “The establishment’s narrative of a ‘War on Terror’ is bullshit.” You can intuitively sense this latter point, but not prove it or spell it out because your political understanding is at a very low level. If you oppose US foreign policy but accept the establishment claim that the 9/11 attacks would justify invading another country, then you are compelled to believe that the 9/11 attacks were a false flag operation. One very prominent 7/7 conspiracy theorist told author Jon Ronson that it was racist to say that Muslims committed the 7/7 attacks (Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test).

I should qualify my earlier comments about Bohemian Grove by making the point that Jimmy Saville was probably just the tip of the iceberg. Abuse flows from unaccountable power. But the Bohemian Grove myth is a fine example of the conspiracy theory as a metaphor. Yes, there is a ruling class that has inordinate control over our lives. Yes, their actions are largely hidden from us. Yes, in many indirect ways, they abuse our children, in some cases even literally and directly. People without a scientific understanding of how and why this happens, and how we can end it, follow their intuition further than anyone is supposed to. They dream up a “theory” which is actually a metaphor. They portray the rich literally meeting up and conspiring and raping children. For good measure they hedge this around with sinister rituals.

In ancient times people had a literal belief in gods that had been simply dreamt up as a substitute for science. Today liberal Christians cling to a god they freely admit has no substance except as a personalized metaphor for love. Likewise, today the conspiracy theorist actually believes their own metaphors. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone described Goldman Sachs as a vampire squid latched onto the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. Imagine if he meant this literally! Then you get an idea of what in my view a conspiracy theory is.

In at least two cases that I know of leading conspiracy theorists have also believed at some point in their lives that they were Jesus. This shows us not only an additional link to religion but proves that some of the most dogged compilers of conspiracy theories are in fact insane. However, perfectly sane people, because the metaphor and the symbol are attractive and confirm their world-view, and in no small part thanks to the vast array of “evidence”, believe.

The Conspiracy-Theorist Mindset

To conclude I should make it clear that I’m willing to believe anything that there is enough evidence for. I believe the US ruling class has done worse things than the September 11th attacks and are capable in a “moral” sense of carrying out such an atrocity. But there is no compelling and decisive evidence that they actually did and nor does it make much sense in context. I don’t want to say that everyone who believes in a conspiracy theory must fit my model, because I’m open-minded about what might happen at the top rungs of society where so much wealth and power are concentrated. The test is whether you can prove it by evidence.

My aim in this article has been to expose the conspiracy-theorist mindset itself, which rejects a scientific understanding of society in favour of symbols and metaphors. To this mindset I counterpose the Marxist method. If you want to understand what’s happening behind all the propaganda, you don’t need to prove that the elite are all paedophiles or that a secret society is controlling everything. Just look at what happens when you go to work and create wealth you only get a percentage of back. Look at the open division, which is absolutely no secret, between those born rich and the rest of us. Listen to the politicians when they say we have to satisfy the markets and incentivise investment, but when it comes to our jobs, our services and our pay, it’s “unpopular” and “a difficult decision” to slash it all to hell, so they deserve a pat on the back for doing so.

These are things we don’t have to theorize on; we don’t have to sneak into Bohemian Grove or examine every frame of every 9/11 video. We live in an oppressive, exploitative, unequal Capitalist society. But we are many while they, the Capitalist class, are few. The only thing standing between us and a democratic socialist society is a realisation that we can fight and win. The conspiracy-theory mindset pretends the rich and powerful are gods, and portrays the working class as sheep, not dormant lions.

A Theory on Conspiracy Theories.

Shock as UKIP member’s Facebook page fails to mention any Jewish conspiracies

There has been widespread shock throughout Britain after a member of UKIP used his Facebook account to share pictures with his friends and indulge in general chit-chat.

Amongst the posts on Chris Nosworthy’s Facebook page were details of an afternoon stroll through the park, a happy birthday message to a man called Nigel and a YouTube video of a dog walking on its back legs.

Closer inspection also revealed that he hadn’t ‘Liked’ any far-right hate groups or made any racist, anti-semitic, homophobic or islamophobic comments.

Mr Nosworthy defended the contents of his Facebook page and strongly refuted claims the he is ‘non-racist’.

“My friends, family and the people who know me will tell you I’m a total racist,” he insisted.

“I used to play in a local 5-a-side football team, but I quit after a fella called Mohammed turned up for training.

“I’m also pretty sure that dinosaurs were wiped out by Jews,” he added.

UKIP Facebook page

A UKIP spokesperson revealed that a full investigation would be carried out and action would be taken “if necessary”.

“It might just be that Chris has been a bit naïve and made an error of judgement.

“We also shouldn’t rule out the possibility that his account was hacked by leftist flag-burning gays from the BBC.

“He’s already been for a precautionary AIDS test.”

via Shock as UKIP member’s Facebook page fails to mention any Jewish conspiracies.

Complete News – “Monsanto and government merge into one” – anti-Monsanto protests planned worldwide – YouTube

Complete News – “Monsanto and government merge into one” – anti-Mon

via Complete News – “Monsanto and government merge into one” – anti-Monsanto protests planned worldwide – YouTube.

via Complete News – “Monsanto and government merge into one” – anti-Monsanto protests planned worldwide – YouTube.

Battleship Potemkin 1925

Considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work, Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase;

his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The film tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising.

via Battleship Potemkin HQ – YouTube.

via Battleship Potemkin HQ – YouTube.

The Mutiny on the Potemkin

The Russian navy in the year of the abortive revolution of 1905 still preserved the harsh conditions and brutal punishments of an earlier age. The Potemkin was a new battleship of the Black Sea fleet, commissioned in 1903, with a crew of 800. It was not a happy ship and some of the crew harboured revolutionary sympathies, in particular a forceful young non-commissioned officer named Matyushenko, who took a leading part in what followed. At sea on June 14th (June 27th, Old Style), the cooks complained that the meat for the men’s borscht was riddled with maggots. The ship’s doctor took a look and decided that the maggots were only flies’ eggs and the meat was perfectly fit to eat. Later a deputation went and complained to the captain and his executive officer, Commander Giliarovsky, about worms in their soup. Their spokesman was a seaman named Valenchuk, who expressed himself in such plain language that Giliarovsky flew into a violent rage, pulled out a gun and shot him dead on the spot. The others seized Giliarovsky and threw him overboard. As he floundered in the water he was shot and killed.

Others of the crew joined in. The captain, the doctor and several other officers were killed and the rest of the officers were shut away in one of the cabins. The Potemkin hoisted the red flag and a ‘people’s committee’ was chosen to take charge. The chairman was Matyushenko.
The ship made for the port of Odessa, where disturbances and strikes had already been going on for two weeks, with clashes between demonstrators, Cossacks and police. The trains and trams had stopped running and most of the shops had closed. People began to gather at the waterfront after the Potemkin arrived in the harbour at 6 am on the 15th. Valenchuk’s body was brought ashore by an honour guard and placed on a bier close to a flight of steps which twenty years afterwards would play an immortal and immensely magnified role in the famous ‘Odessa steps’ sequence of Sergei Eisenstein’s film. A paper pinned on the corpse’s chest said, ‘This is the body of Valenchuk, killed by the commander for having told the truth. Retribution has been meted out to the commander.’

Citizens brought food for the seamen and flowers for the bier. As the day wore on and word spread, the crowd steadily swelled, listening to inflammatory speeches, joining in revolutionary songs and some of them sinking considerable quantities of vodka. People began looting the warehouses and setting fires until much of the harbour area was in flames.

Meanwhile, martial law had been declared and the governor had been instructed by telegram from Tsar Nicholas II to take firm action. Troops were sent to the harbour in the evening, took up commanding positions and at about midnight opened fire on the packed crowd, which had no escape route. Some people were shot and some jumped or fell into the water and drowned. The sailors on the Potemkin did nothing. The casualties were put at 2,000 dead and 3,000 seriously wounded.

Calm was quickly restored and Valenchuk was allowed a decent burial by the authorities, but the sailors’ demand for an amnesty was turned down and on June 18th the Potemkin set out to sea. The crew were hoping to provoke mutinies in other ships of the Black Sea fleet, but there were only a few minor disturbances, easily put down. The mutineers sailed west to the Romanian port of Constanza for badly needed fresh water and coal, but the Romanians demanded that they surrender the ship. They refused and sailed back eastwards to Feodosia in the Crimea, where a party landed to seize supplies, but was driven off. The Potemkin sailed disconsolately back to Constanza again, and on June 25th surrendered to the Romanian authorities, who handed the ship over to Russian naval officers.

The incident had petered out, though it caused the regime serious alarm about the extent of revolutionary feeling in the armed forces. Its most lasting legacy was Eisenstein’s film, The Battleship Potemkin, (1925) and a riveting essay in propaganda rather than history.

The Boston Bombers News Roundup- Warning contains graphic Images

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were refugees from brutal Chechen conflict 

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were refugees from brutal Chechen conflict

With their baseball hats and sauntering gaits, they appeared to friends and neighbors like ordinary American boys. But the Boston bombing suspects were refugees from another world — the blood, rubble and dirty wars of the Russian Caucasus.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was a southpaw heavyweight boxer who represented New England in the National Golden Gloves and talked about competing on behalf of the United States. His tangle-haired 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was a skateboarder who listened to rap and seemed easygoing to other kids in his Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood.

What we know about Tamerlan and Dzhohkar Tsarnaev

The brothers suspected of being the Boston Marathon bombers lived in Kyrgyzstan (and possibly elsewhere) before emigrating to the United States in the early to mid-2000s.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who grew up in U.S., were refugees from brutal conflict in Caucasus.

Tamerlan is now dead, killed in a shootout with police. Police said Friday night they had taken Dzhokhar into custody after he was cornered in a boat stored in a back yard in Watertown, Mass., after a massive manhunt . Hidden behind the lives they had been leading in Massachusetts is a biography containing old resentments that appear to have mutated into radical Islamic violence.

via Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were refugees from brutal Chechen conflict – The Washington Post.



Sean Collier, slain MIT cop, volunteered at gym where Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxed

Read more:

Here’s a photo of alleged Boston terrorist’s dramatic arrest

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This is the image an entire nation has anxiously longed to see: the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who allegedly terrorized, then paralyzed, an entire city.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Death Photo Surfaces: Autopsy Picture On Reddit Of Slain Boston Bombing Suspect No. 1

The post-autopsy photo of a bloodied, naked body with a wide gash on his left side appeared on social news network Reddit Friday afternoon amid the ongoing police investigation in Watertown, Mass. The post was entitled “Autopsy pic of Tamerlan Tsarnaev (NSFW),”  (WARNING: The image is very graphic.)

0U0ozqt (1)

Father Of Boston Suspects: US Security Services Set Up My Sons

The father of the two suspects in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has told Russian and Western media that he believes his sons have been framed by US intelligence.
A report from the Russian agency Interfax says that a correspondent spoke with Anzor Tsarnaev, who resides in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.
From the Interfax report:
“I learned about the incident from TV. My opinion is: the special services have framed my children, because they are practicing Muslims. Why did they kill Tamerlan? He was supposed to be caught alive. The younger is on the run now. He was a sophomore at a medical school in the U.S. We expected him to come home for vacation. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen. Tell you once again: I believe special services have framed my children.”
Reports on Twitter also claim that Anzor has said that “all hell will break loose,” if his remaining son, who is currently on the run in a suburb of Boston, is killed.

The AP reports that the father of the suspects also spoke with their own reporters. During a short conversation Anzor Tsarnaev was said to have told the reporters that his children were ‘true angels’. He also said that he has two more daughters who live in New York.
He described his younger son as “an intelligent boy” who was studying medicine, and said that both his children are innocent.
“They were set up, they were set up!” he exclaimed. “I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan.”
The father is then said to have become more agitated and abruptly ended the call angrily, saying, “Leave me alone, my son’s been killed.”

Mother says my sons are innocent

Boston bombing suspects’ mother_ My sons are innocent, this is a set up

via Boston bombing suspects’ mother_ My sons are innocent, this is a set up – YouTube.

Frankenstein (1910) – Full Movie

This movie is now 103 years old and it is still captivating… amazing. Now a little bit of Movie History

The Movie is only 12 minutes long

Frankenstein is a 1910 film made by Edison Studios that was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley. It was the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The unbilled cast included Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein, Charles Ogle as the Monster, and Mary Fuller as the doctor’s fiancée.

Shot in three days, it was filmed at the Edison Studios in the Bronx, New York City. Although some sources credit Thomas Edison as the producer, he in fact played no direct part in the activities of the motion picture company that bore his name.

Rediscovery and preservation

For many years, this film was believed to be a lost film. In 1963, a plot description (reprinted above) and stills were discovered published in the March 15, 1910 issue of an old Edison film catalog, The Edison Kinetogram.
In the early 1950s a print of this film was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector, Alois F. Dettlaff, from his mother-in-law, who also collected films. He did not realize its rarity until many years later. Its existence was first revealed in the mid-1970s. Although somewhat deteriorated, the film was in viewable condition, complete with titles and tints as seen in 1910. Dettlaff had a 35 mm preservation copy made in the late 1970s. He also issued a DVD release of 1,000 copies.
BearManor Media released the public domain film in a restored edition on March 18, 2010,[6] alongside the novel Edison’s Frankenstein, which was written by Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr.
On 14th October 2010, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the film, English writer and director Dave Mitchell released an online re-boot of the original film called “Frankenstein 1910 2010”, with new title-cards based more on Mary Shelley’s original novel, as well as re-tinting of the frames, and the use of Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre” as the new soundtrack. The new version title cards focus on the concept of the rejected creation’s words to his creator, who he perceives as his friend.


The film’s most well-known shot

via Frankenstein (1910) – Full Movie – YouTube.

via Frankenstein (1910) – Full Movie – YouTube.

Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial

Does Democracy and Justice still apply in the USA?

The federal trial against alleged computer criminal Barrett Brown has been delayed by six months. Now the activist once called the “spokesperson” of the Anonymous hacker movement will wait in prison for one full year before being tried.

Brown, 31, was scheduled to stand trial later this month for a slew of charges that have handed down in three separate indictments filed by the government since last September. Per the request of his attorneys, however, legal proceedings have been pushed back for six months, delaying the trial until September 2013.

Doug Morris, a public defender appointed to serve as Brown’s defense counsel, asked for an extension in order to evaluate the evidence against his client, the Associate Press reports. US District Judge Sam Lindsay obliged on Wednesday this week.

The AP adds that Brown’s trial for one indictment is now slated for September 3, 2013, with trials for his second and third indictments scheduled to start on Sept. 23. Brown was arrested on Sept. 12 last year and has been in law enforcement custody for the nearly six months since.

The AP describes Brown as having Brown “once served as de facto spokesman for Anonymous, a shadowy movement that has gotten attention for cyberattacks,” although he says he’s never represented himself as such. Although Brown has aligned himself with the Anonymous movement on several occasions in the past and have spoken broadly on matters relating to the group, he wrote from prison last year, “I am not and never have been the spokesman for Anonymous, nor its ‘public face’ or, worse, ‘self-proclaimed’ ‘face’ or ‘spokesperson’ or ‘leader.’”

Brown’s legal issues began last March when FBI agents raided his Dallas, Texas home with search warrants for computers that contained information pertaining to, among other things, the Anonymous collective, offshoot LulzSec and a number of private businesses that were investigated by both groups as well as Brown’s own Project PM, an independent think-tank he designed in part “to develop new methods by which to use the internet for positive change and to encourage others to adapt such methods.”

One day after the March 2012 raid, Brown wrote the FBI “fully intended to take a certain laptop, and did” when the feds raided his mother’s house shortly after the first incident. He also said that federal agents threatened both he and his mother with conspiracy to obstruct justice for the next few months, spawning Brown to lash out at the FBI in a series of YouTube videos and Twitter posts created in September 2012.

“I know what’s legal, I know what’s been done to me… And if it’s legal when it’s done to me, it’s going to be legal when it’s done to FBI Agent Robert Smith — who is a criminal,” claimed Brown in one of the clips uploaded to the Web. “That’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids… How do you like them apples?”

Hours after that video was uploaded to the Web, a SWAT team raided Brown’s Dallas, Texas apartment and placed him in custody for nearly one month before he was charged with threatening a federal officer. Once behind bars, though, Brown’s legal issues escalated.

While in custody, the Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments against Brown: In December, Brown was charged with sharing an Internet hyperlink that contained over 5,000 credit card account numbers, the card holders’ identification information and the authentication features for the cards.  One month later, Brown was charged with obstructing justice by “knowingly and corruptly conceal and attempt to conceal records, documents, and digital data contained on two laptop computers,” as he hinted at nearly one year earlier.

Attorney Jay Leiderman, who is not representing Brown in this case, wrote on his personal blog when the third indictment was unsealed that the hacktivist could face a century in prison if convicted on all counts.

“He is alleged to have made threatening YouTube videos aimed at the FBI agent that raided his home, he is alleged to have shared a link that contained credit card and access information, and he supposedly hid laptops when the FBI came-a-knocking. That’s right, that sorta stuff could cost you 100 years these days,” he wrote.

Brown is alleged to have shared a link to the credit card details in a chat room after seeing it posted in another. The trove of data contained within the link related to subscriber data pilfered by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a private intelligence company hacked by Anonymous in December 2011. Thousands of emails obtained in that compromise were later given to the whistleblower website WikIleaks and have been subsequently published online.

Upon release of the credit card numbers, Brown disavowed the hack. He said, “Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm’s servers.”

Jeremy Hammond, a hacker and activist from Chicago, has been behind bars for over one year while awaiting trial for charges relating to the Stratfor hack. Federal proscutors say he spearheaded the hack as a member of the groups Anonymous and LulzSec. He stands to face the rest of his life in prison if convicted.e

via Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial — RT USA.

via Anonymous ‘spokesperson’ to spend year in jail without trial — RT USA.

PZ Myers – The Inescapable Conflict Between Science and Religion – YouTube

The popular image of the “warfare between science and religion” is perpetuated by the media, for whom a controversy is more dramatic than the more subtle and discriminating positions between the extremes of scientific materialism and biblical literalism.
There are two distinct groups of people asserting incompatibility between science and religion: Those privileging science and those privileging religion.
Competing efforts to wield power – the struggles for influence, status, and the right to define and perform authoritative societal roles – is central to the rhetoric of conflict between science and religion.

via PZ Myers – The Inescapable Conflict Between Science and Religion – YouTube.

via PZ Myers – The Inescapable Conflict Between Science and Religion – YouTube.

St.Patrick’s day 17th March 2013 Pattaya, Thailand

St.Patrick’s day Parade 17th March 2013 Pattaya, Thailand

I suspect it is the biggest parade in the far East. All monies raised go to local charities.

See video below.

Some photos from the event.


A lady from Brazil


Young George from the Tara Court







via St.Patrick’s day 17th March 2013 Pattaya, Thailand – YouTube.

via St.Patrick’s day 17th March 2013 Pattaya, Thailand – YouTube.

Minister Coveney finally finds the time to respond to BBC documentary on horse meat scandal

“The big question of course is who knew about the trade in Irish horses on false passports, and when” BBC Spotlight on the horse meat scandal broadcast 5th March 2013

On 5th March 2013, the BBC in Northern Ireland broadcast a Spotlight special on the horse meat scandal in which the horse meat trade in (the Republic of) Ireland was scrutinized. You can watch the 40-minute special in three parts on YouTube here(see below). This edition of Spotlight reminded me of the special last year on the Sean Quinn international property dealings – crisp, information-rich, simply and engagingly presented; it is the best TV coverage so far on the horse meat scandal in the (Republic of) Ireland that I have seen.

The programme reported that 24,637 horses had been slaughtered in Ireland in 2012, and that this was far more than in the 9,405 in the entire UK. It reported the mark-ups, that traders were buying a lorryload of horses for GBP 1,000 and selling it for GBP 5,000.

“In the Republic, we also know of one approach to the Department of Agriculture which had hard evidence of wrong-doing, in fact that approach was made by our insider” BBC Spotlight

It also uncovered allegations that our own Department of Agriculture had been told about concerns about Irish horses with false passports, and the “insider” on which the programme relied, alleged he was told by the Department to “let the mess clean itself up”, presumably meaning that eventually the supply of horses would dry up, and meanwhile no-one would be any the wiser having already consumed horse meat. A separate Irish whistleblower had written to the UK authorities last year with allegations about false passports and Ossory Meats, and the UK authorities say that it is standard practice for such allegations to be shared with the Irish authorities.

The programme uncovered evidence of passports being switched, with a risk being that medicine-contaminated or unhealthy horses were being presented at slaughterhouses with bogus passports, as if they were fit for human consumption. Ossory Meats in Banagher, county Offaly threatened a Midlands horse sanctuary with libel proceedings for suggesting that a horse was switched by their company for one which is still alive today.

Jennifer O’Leary who presented the special, reported that our own agriculture minister, Simon Coveney was contacted for comment, as was his Department, but none was forthcoming with the Minister too busy and his Department unable to comment on ongoing investigations. The Department did claim that it was not informed about the second whistleblowing about Ossory Meats to the UK authorities.

The programme reported that in the instance of their informer, it was four years ago that the horse meat scandal started.  That criminals were forging passports and inserting microchips on an “industrial scale”. PhenylButazone or “Bute” and another steroid Cortizone were routinely given to the horses.

How did the BBC verify the claims? They visited a site where the insider said horses died if they were too sick for export or transports, the BBC found horse remains.  The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reporting that one horsetrader named by the insider had been found with 40 forged Irish horse transports and box of microchips. One horsetrader, against whom the insider made allegations, was arrested transporting horses and also cannabis.

In the Dail this week, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty asked Minister Coveney about the programme, and the parliamentary questions are shown below. Yesterday, the Department published a report in which it said that it was two months ago, 14th January 2013 that it learned of the horse DNA scandal. The press release is here and the report is here.

So, on the face of it, we have a scandal that is at least four years old, we have criminals making huge sums of money from the trade in horses on false passports, with chipping and false passports used on an “industrial scale”, we have the horses routinely provided with bute and Cortizone and evidence of passport switching. We have allegations that the Department of Agriculture knew about the issues some time ago, but the Department refuses to comment.  According to the Department of Agriculture report yesterday “On Friday 8 th March, the Department carried out identification checks on horses presented for slaughter at Ossory Meats. In respect of the horses presented, 25 of them had irregularities, these irregularities related to passport and microchip identifiers. In some cases, while the microchip in the equine matched the passport, the marking on the horse and the passports were very different. In other cases horses presented as yearlings were in fact much older. These animals were humanely slaughtered and destroyed. The company has since been suspended from operations.”

The BBC programme looked at just one angle to the horse meat scandal – the initial slaughtering of horses – it didn’t examine how horses then got into the human food chain. But its examination of how loose the systems are at the horse slaughter end of the chain will only exacerbate the worry that things were just as bad at the food-labelling and beef processing plant part of the chain later on. And perhaps now, that the Department of Agriculture has concluded its investigation, it might find time to comment on what it knew and when.

Stills above are screengrabs from the BBC Spotlight programme.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that his Department responded to an approach two years ago which raised concerns about Irish horses and the food chain; and if the approach was responded to by his Department with a statement “the mess will clean itself”

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he can confirm that he was requested to provide a comment to the programme makers but responded that he was too busy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that information was provided to his Department two years ago which raised concerns about Irish horses and the food chain; and if so, the way in which his Department responded to those concerns.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he proposes to investigate the claims made in the programme regarding passports for low weight and less valuable horses to the meat trade being switched for higher weight and more valuable horses to the meat trade.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5th March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm the number of horses slaughtered in the State in 2012, and if he will quantify the way the slaughtered animals were subsequently processed.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that he is satisfied with the operation of Ossory Meats in Banagher County Offaly; and if any of the concerns raised in the programme will be investigated by his Department.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney: I propose to take questions 13081/13, 13082/13, 13083/13, 13084/13, 13085/13 and 13086/13 together.

11,402 horses were slaughtered in slaughter plants approved by my Department in 2012. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has advised that 12,960 horses were slaughtered in local authority approved slaughter plants in 2012. I understand that the bulk of the meat from these animals was exported for human consumption, some following further processing in approved cutting plants in Ireland. The remainder was exported as full carcasses. The main export markets are Belgium, France and Italy.

Under EU law, responsibility for compliance with food safety and traceability requirements rests in the first instance with food business operators (FBOs). This is augmented by official controls, applied at different stages in the food supply chain. My Department implements official controls in relation to horse identification at marts and other sales venues, in abattoirs under its supervision and at points of entry to the country.

All equines (which include horses, ponies and donkeys) are required to be identified in accordance with EU and national legislation.  Equines issued with a passport after 1 July 2009 must have a corresponding microchip implanted by a veterinarian, which is recorded in the passport and creates a link between the passport and the animal. The passport includes information on any veterinary medicines administered to equines.  An equine for slaughter for human consumption must be accompanied to the slaughterhouse by its passport and the information on the passport determines whether the animal can be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses treated with certain veterinary medicines such as phenylbutazone, known in the industry as ‘bute’, are permanently excluded from the human food chain in order to protect public health and the passport of the horse in question is endorsed by the prescribing veterinary practitioner to this effect.

My Department has detailed procedures for the slaughter of horses in abattoirs under its supervision and has communicated these and the checks required both to its staff and the business operators. It has liaised with passport issuing agencies in Ireland and has developed protocols to allow abattoir operators to check the details of passports with these agencies to seek to ensure that they are valid and that only those horses eligible for slaughter are slaughtered. Where forged or tampered passports accompanying horses to slaughter are detected, it is the policy that such animals are destroyed and removed from the food chain.

Ongoing vigilance is maintained in relation to official controls in this area. In that connection, the European Communities (Equine) (Amendment) Regulations, S.I. No. 371/2012, introduced recently, provide for the updating of S.I. No. 357/2011 (European Communities (Equine) Regulations 2011) to strengthen the powers of the Minister in relation to approval of an issuing body for equine passports, authorised officers and prosecutions in relation to equine identification.

My Department is establishing a centralized equine database. The intention is that this database will be used at abattoirs to assist in verifying the authenticity of horse passports for the equine presented and to record its date of slaughter.

I can confirm that my Department has received a number of complaints in this area, some of which have been non-specific in nature. Information received in relation to alleged illegal activities in this State is taken seriously and investigated as appropriate by my Department and in certain cases by the Gardai. There is ongoing contact in this regard between the Department and the authorities in Northern Ireland and Britain. It must also be noted however that some claims have been made in the public domain in relation to this issue which, when examined by my Department, did not stand up to close scrutiny or warrant further investigation.

While my Department does not comment on ongoing investigations, appropriate corrective action is taken if non-compliances are detected. I can advise that during 2011-2012 the Department issued Compliance Notices to two horse slaughter plants under its supervision. This led to temporary suspension of activities while corrective measures were put in place. In addition the approvals of one organisation to maintain a stud book and issue horse passports were revoked during 2012.

With regard specifically to the BBC Spotlight programme on 5th March, it would not be appropriate for me to comment publicly on allegations made. I was not available for interview for this particular programme because of other commitments but I can advise that my Department did comment on queries received from the programme makers. I understand that some of the allegations made in this programme relate to activities outside the State, in which case appropriate checks would be a matter for authorities in the jurisdictions concerned. I understand issues were also raised in relation to an equine slaughter plant in this jurisdiction, which at the time concerned was under the supervision of a local authority. At present there are two local authority supervised equine slaughter plants in operation – one in Co. Offaly and one in Co. Limerick. I have decided to take both these plants under the supervision of my Department.

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

A Lidl Respect!

A Lidl Respect!

This Is A Lidl Confusing
2:18 pm March 8, 2013 Karl Monaghan


Deep breath.

Lidl Ireland’s legal people are objecting to Twitter about one of their users, Jenny Hauser, tweeting a tweet that linked to a video on You Tube that included an example of Godwin’s Law in the comments section.

Lawyers gotta lawyer.

Some comments

Anon on March 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm said:
I worked for Lidl for 2 years, and can honestly say they were the two most depressing, stressful and miserable years of my life, and when I finally had the sense to leave, I was already suffering severe depression. I don’t entirely attribute my illness to working there, but it was a major factor.
They’re pissed off by that video, because it is all very true and they are fully aware of the culture of bullying and pressure that is rife throughout the company, especially in the busy city stores.

George W.Bush
on March 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm said:
I worked for Tesco and found it to be the exact same. I’m assuming most of the large grocery retailers in Ireland are alike. Overworked and underpaid staff. The most miserable 3 1/2 years of my life.

on March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm said:
Same story with Dunnes Stores, on top of which they always paid their staff the lowest rate of all the supermarkets going (Tesco, Supervalu, Superquinn, Lidl and Aldi). I’d never work in a supermarket again.

via A Lidl Respect! – YouTube.

via A Lidl Respect! – YouTube.

The FBI Could be Looking at You

Google Says the FBI Is Secretly Spying on Some of Its Customers 

The terrorists apparently would win if Google told you the exact number of times the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked a secret process to extract data about the media giant’s customers.

That’s why it is unlawful for any record-keeper to disclose it has received a so-called National Security Letter. But under a deal brokered with the President Barack Obama administration, Google on Tuesday published a “range” of times it received National Security Letters demanding it divulge account information to the authorities without warrants.

It was the first time a company has ever released data chronicling the volume of National Security Letter requests.

National Security Letters allow the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and has even been reprimanded for abusing them. The NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and businesses like Google to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more as long as the FBI says the information is “relevant” to an investigation.

In each year from 2009 to 2012, Google said it received “0-999″ National Security Letters.

But in its talks with the authorities over releasing figures, Google said national security was on the mind of the Obama administration.

“You’ll notice that we’re reporting numerical ranges rather than exact numbers. This is to address concerns raised by the FBI, Justice Department and other agencies that releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations. We plan to update these figures annually,” Richard Salgado, a Google legal director, wrote in a blog post.

Salgado was not available for comment.

What makes the government’s position questionable is that it is required by Congress to disclose the number of times the bureau issues National Security Letters. In 2011, the year with the latest available figures, the FBI issued 16,511 National Security Letters pertaining to 7,201 different persons. (.pdf)

Google said the number of accounts connected to National Security letters ranged between “1000-1999″ for each of the reported years other than 2010. In that year, the range was “2000-2999.”

Google noted that the FBI may “obtain ‘the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records’ of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service. The FBI can’t use NSLs to obtain anything else from Google, such as Gmail content, search queries, YouTube videos or user IP addresses.”

Google often must disclose that data via other means, as described here.

Under the Patriot Act, Google or others who receive a NSL must disclose the sought-after information if the authorities say the request is “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

National Security Letters are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the special agent in charge of their office.

What’s more, the lack of court oversight raises the possibility for extensive abuse.

In 2007 a Justice Department Inspector General audit found that the FBI had indeed abused its authority and misused NSLs on many occasions. After 9/11, for example, the FBI paid multimillion-dollar contracts to AT&T and Verizon requiring the companies to station employees inside the FBI and to give these employees access to the telecom databases so they could immediately service FBI requests for telephone records. The IG found that the employees let FBI agents illegally look at customer records without paperwork and even wrote NSLs for the FBI.

That said, we should applaud Google for trying to be transparent on the issue, regardless of the Obama administration’s preposterous national-security concerns.

via Google Says the FBI Is Secretly Spying on Some of Its Customers | Threat Level |

via Google Says the FBI Is Secretly Spying on Some of Its Customers | Threat Level |

90 +Wines in dublin

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