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07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

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  Music Torture
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KILLING THEM CRUELLY WITH CIA'S SONGS:

Music Torture

by David Yearsley
Friday, 13 March 2009
One of the great advantages of sonic weapons and torture is that they leave no mark on the victim.
The human ear is defenseless. Unable to keep sound out, it must take in all it hears.Selective hearing is common phrase, but meaningless.

History’s most infamous musical assault exploited the defenslessness of the ear: the massively distorted music blasted at the Branch Davidians in Waco in 1993 by the FBI wore down the compound dwellers over the seven week siege like a battleship pounding shoreline battlements. The final firestorm was prepared not only by sleep-preventing decibel levels but because of its horrifying aesthetic crimes, the most heinous being Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” Early proponents of world music, the G-men varied their play-list with sing-along Christmas carols in saccharine 1950s style arrangements, Tibetan chants and cavalry bugle blasts. Just how seriously perpetrators of sonic violence take their music can be judged by the care with which they assemble their repertoires of destruction and despair.

Cult leader David Koresh, himself a failed pop singer, had begun the high-decibel musical exchange in Waco by first bombarding them with recordings of his own happy-clappy pop.  This siege-busting tactic ceased when the federal forces cut the compound’s power supply.

Waco was by no means the first instance of musical warfare. A few years before, the U. S. had tried to ferret out opera-lover Manuel Noriega from Panama City redoubt with a non-stop heavy metal bombardment: Madame Butterfly and La Traviata were no match for Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.  The sonic assault was finally halted under pressure from the Vatican.

In Gauntanamo Bay and other prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq the British rights group Reprieve has claimed that interrogation techniques have involved the uses of extremely loud music by AC/DC, and Metallica as well as theme songs from children’s televison shows like Barney & Friends.  These horrors were detailed by Andy Worthington in Counterpunch back in December of last year.

Unfettered by earplugs, anti-noise headphones or other defensive technologies the ear is helpless to protect itself. The eyes have lids, the ears don’t.  In A Clockwork Orange when the anti-hero the violent sociopath and Beethovenian fanatic Alex is re-programmed to harmless passivity, his eyes must be propped open so he can be forced to witness acts of violence on the screen while being infused with a nausea-inducing drug. By contrast, the glorious sounds of Alex’s beloved 9th symphony of Ludwig Van accompany the images but enter unimpeded into his soul.

In the increasingly loud and intrusive modern world maybe the human earlobes will begin to evolve to become like eyelids that can be closed when things get unbearable out in the aural universe. But even this evolutionary advance wouldn’t have neutralized the sub-woofers of Waco.

One of the great advantages of using music as an implement of torture is that it leaves no physical mark.  As Plato and many other writers have known, music works directly on the soul. There is nothing more uplifting nor potentially devastating.

Over the past few years New York University professor of music Suzanne Cusick has been lecturing far and wide on the United States’ use of music in interrogation and as a battlfield weapon. The soft-spoken, incisive Cusick came to Cornell in the spring of 2006 to deliver the year’s principle music lectured, named after Donald J. Grout. Grout was one of the great music historians of the 20th century, and a deeply conservative man who would have hated every word Cusick uttered that afternoon in a corner seminar tucked in an upper floor of Cornell’s music building looking out over the campus’s Arts Quad and to Cayuga Lake below. Her talk concerned itself neither with the kinds of music nor the art’s exalted purposes one usually discusses in the Ivory Tower.

The original title for Cusick’s lecture had promised a tedious internal investigation of the discipline of musicology: “Buying (Back) the Farm, or Thoughts the Cultural Work of American Musicologies.” But she changed her topic unannounced and delivered instead sixty minutes on “Music as Weapon / Music as Torture.”  (For a version of the paper go to http://www.sibetrans.com/trans/trans10/cusick_eng.htm)

Much of Cusick’s talk let the chilling facts speak for themselves: “On November 18, 1998, now-defunct Synetics Corporation [was contracted] to produce a tightly focused beam of infrasound–that is, vibration waves slower than 100 vps–meant to produce effects that range from ‘disabling or lethal.’ In 1999, Maxwell Technologies patented a HyperSonic Sound System, another “highly directional device ... designed to control hostile crowds or disable hostage takers”. The same year Primex Physics International patented both the “Acoustic Blaster”, which produced “repetitive impulse waveforms” of 165dB, directable at a distance of 50 feet, for “antipersonnel applications”, and the Sequential Arc Discharge Acoustic Generator, which produces ‘high intensity impulsive sound waves by purely electrical means.’”

She went on to describe the American Technology Corporation’s development beginning some ten years ago of the Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, a weapon “capable of projecting a ‘strip of sound’ (15 to 30 inches wide) at an average of 120 dB (maxing at 151 dB)  that will be intelligible for 500 to 1,000 meters (depending on which model you buy), the LRAD is designed to hail ships, issue battlefield or crowd-control commands, or direct an “attention-getting and highly irritating deterrent tone for behavior modification.” (http://www.atcsd.com)

Wielded by the 361st PsyOps company, the LRAD was deployed to “prepare the battlefield” in the siege of Falluja in November of 2004. The device was armed with Metallica’s “Hells’ Bells” and “Shoot to Thrill.”

As Cusick repeatedly pointed out, one of the great advantages of sonic weapons and torture is that they leave no mark on the victim. Gauntanamo captive Binyam Mohamed, who was returned to England in February after his long years of imprisonment and torture, claimed in an interview London’s Mail on Sunday how his sonic torture began already in a Kabul prison in 2002 where he was held for eighteen months in complete darkness before his transfer to Gauntanamo in 2004. His body can convey no direct physical of this horrendous abuse, probably in contrast to the other forms of torture he suffered as in the scalpel he claims was used to sliced his genitals.

In the Mail on Sunday interview Mohammed relates how “There were loudspeakers in the cell, pumping out a deafening volume, non-stop, 24 hours a day. They played the same CD for a month, The Eminem Show. When it was finished it went back to the beginning and started again. I couldn't sleep. I had no idea whether it was day or night.'

As the Daily Mail is reporting today pressure from members of parliamentary and rights groups is mounting on British Foreign secretary David Milliband to hold a judicial inquiry into Mohamed’s claims that MI5 knew about the illegal torture.  Indeed, U. S. crimes against international law threaten now to engulf their coalition partner on the other side of the Atlantic. In early February details of Mohamed’s torture were excised from the dossier submitted to England’s High Court after Miliband asserted that not doing so might be detrimental to shared U. S. and UK intelligence efforts and could  “cause real and significant damage to the national security and international relations of the [UK].”

On February 22nd Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted that there was no “cover-up” and two weeks ago Miliband and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith refused to answer questions on torture in front of the House of Commons’ Joint Committee on Human Rights.” Yesterday, Miliband issued a blanket denial, one which bodes ill the political future of the stonewalling foreign secretary: “We abhor torture and never order it or condone it.”

In the 1980s Miliband was a student at Corpus Christi College in Oxford.  While there he was elected Junior Common Room President and as a result got a prime rooms which happened to be located next to those of my wife, Annette Richards, similarly given housing preference because she was the college’s organ scholar, discharging those duties though reading for a degree in English literature.  In her rooms was a piano. Many were the nights when the studious Miliband would graciously request that she or her music-making guests stop playing because of the lateness of the hour.  These were Anglican anthems or Buxtehude organ preludes not super-loud Eminem. It is now time for Miliband to face a different music.


David Yearsley teaches at Cornell University. A long-time contributor to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, he is author of Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint His latest CD, “All Your Cares Beguile: Songs and Sonatas from Baroque London”, has just been released by Musica Omnia. He can be reached at dgy2@cornell.edu



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This story was published on March 16, 2009.
 



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