Pulse Media



The town of Ôasa (大麻)in Hokkaido. Litteral translation: Big hemp. Alternative reading: Taima(大麻). Translation: Marijuana.

Mainichi (毎日)

A Japanese prison is scrambling to eradicate marijuana plants that keep sprouting up on its exercise ground, officials said Tuesday.

The marijuana plants started sprouting at Abashiri Prison on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido about a year ago, said prison official Takeshi Okamura. He said officials plucked out as many as 300 marijuana plants and treated the ground last year, but several more sprouted again this year.

Prisoners reported them to the guards.

Officials believe the plants are wild.

"Apparently, somebody knew how to tell marijuana from other plants," Okamura said.

Local botanical experts concluded the marijuana seeds were inadvertently brought in with the soil used for the exercise ground, Okamura said.

"It's a headache," Okamura said. "This isn't a farm."

Abashiri Prison currently has about 1,080 male inmates serving terms of up to eight years in prison.

Anybody who knows Hokkaido (北海道) will know, that marijuana grows wild there. It's hardly surprising, that this 'weed' would grow in a prison yard, where presumably any 'weed' grows freely. You have to wonder how much public money was spent on the 'botanical experts' in an effort to eradicate a harmless 'weed'.


Moral duty2


Zell Kravinsky has been accused of being an extremist, because he dares to put forward the idea, that not doing anything to help the suffering, and more to the point, not giving away a spare and unnecessary kidney, we are guilty of murder. Well, that idea can be discussed, no doubt about it. But is he really an extremist?
This week in France, a popular actress, Fanny Ardant, was attacked for calling the former leader of the italian Red Brigades (a seventies left-wing militant group which killed at least one politician (apparently no more) a "hero". She was forced to explain, that she only admired his steadfast beliefs, not his actions. One wonders if she would have had to explain herself had she called Silvio Berlusconni or George Bush a "hero". Yet, the blood on their hands is somewhat thicker. Talk about double standards.
So, what is extreme? Wanting to give away all you have, including a spare kidney, or allowing, the people we have elected and their murderous actions to continue unhindered?


Quick fixing


President Shimon Peres has championed the plan for years, which is supposed to include the "corridor of peace", an ambitious project of economic, tourist and agricultural development for Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority

“Why aren’t they studying the entire system of water resources in Israel,” he asks, “that might enable the partial diversion of the Jordan River and that way both the River and the Dead Sea would be rehabilitated?"

That would mean asking difficult questions. Questions too difficult for the simplistic mindset of political leaders.


Helping the Dead Sea "live" up to its name
The Dead Sea is drying up at an alarming rate. Far and away the biggest cause of the rapid disappearance of the Dead Sea is the lack of water coming into it from its traditional sources: the Jordan River and various side wadis (tributaries). Construction of dams, storage reservoirs, and pipelines for the desalinization and treatment of water has been greatly reducing water inflows to the Dead Sea. While much of this water is being used by the Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians for basic domestic consumption, most goes towards highly subsidised and inefficient agriculture.

The effects of human intervention in the region include:

- The Dead Sea has already lost over 1/3 of its surface area.
- The Sea level has fallen over 20 meters since development of the region started early this century. The Sea's depth is continuing to drop by up to 1 meter per year.
- The shoreline in expected to drop from -411 meters to -430 meters by the year 2020.
- Water inflow levels have already been reduced to just 10% of its original volume, with annual surface inflows in the future predicted to decrease from 375 million cubic meters (mcm) to 135 mcm/yr.
- The fall in the level of the Sea has lowered water tables in surrounding areas causing a drying up of micro-eco-systems and leading to land-subsidence.
Permaculture Reflections
Permanculture Reflections


Moral duty

Muslim Scholars Speak Out

Saturday 28 July 2007, by Tariq Ramadan

The concept of “jihad” has different meanings and a scholar such as Jalal ad-Dîn as-Suyutî (15th century), while studying its scope, highlighted 80 different dimensions, uses and objectives related to its place in Islamic teachings. Its root “ja-ha-da” means “making an effort”, “exerting oneself” in order to promote good or to resist wrongdoing, evil or oppression. Every individual trying to resist her/his own negative temptations is engaged in “jihad” and the first time the word is used in the Qur’an (25:52), it refers to an intellectual and spiritual resistance by the means of the Qur’an itself.

In all its dimensions, the essence of “jihad” is “to resist” in the name of justice and dignity. When there is an armed aggression, Muslims have the right to protect themselves and to defend their rights. Here “jihâd” means “qitâl” (armed struggle). The use of violence and weapons must be adjusted to the nature of the aggression itself: an armed aggression may justify an armed resistance if there is no other way to come to a peaceful agreement. But the use of violence and weapons must be proportionate and never target innocent people, women, children, the elderly, and even fruit trees as Abû Bakr, the first successor of the Prophet, stated following Muhammad’s teachings. Jihad never means “holy war” in order “to impose” or “to propagate” Islam everywhere. In fact jihâd and qitâl mean exactly the opposite of what we commonly think: rather than being the justifying instruments of war, they are the imposed measures to achieve peace by resisting an unjust aggression.

In specific situations – when one faces an army and has no weapons or other means to resist – it may be understandable and justifiable to consider sacrificing one’s life in attempts to reach the armed soldiers. Here we are not far from a kind of suicide but it is related to three specific conditions: 1. It must be in a time of declared war; 2. when no other means of resisting are available; 3. the targets must be exclusively the army of the enemies and its armed soldiers. Today’s suicide bombers who are killing innocent people are not only not respecting the Islamic teachings as to the ethics of war but are in fact indulging in anti-Islamic actions.

I would like to react to the above text and give my view of the idea of resistance.
I am not muslim. In fact I am not a follower of any faith. I would describe myself best as a humanist. In a moral sense then, humanity as a whole has a duty to fight against injustice wherever it takes place. I don't believe it is merely the duty of muslims to resist injustices done to them, just as it wasn't merely the duty of Spanish to resist fascism, of Europeans to resist against nazism or of the South Africans to resist Apartheid. Indeed, we not only have the right the resist, but we have the moral duty to do so, as shows the military duty to refuse an illegal order.
Now, I could never condone, let alone call for violence against individuals unless it was in self-defence. The question then is what would be categorised as self-defense. In any case, I would call for non-violent forms of resistance and/or acts of sabotage before violent ones.
The question is what is susceptible of being an effective act of resistance? Furthermore, while I would obviously never call for violence against innocent individuals, the question remains: who is innocent? Some might say no-one is innocent (little reference there for french rockers!). What seems clear to me, is that the citizens of many countries are to varying degrees responsible for the injustices done to inhabitants of other regions, often far-flung ones. After all, we (yes, you guessed it: it's us I was hinting at) benefit from the oppression of others through our oil and consumer fixes.
In that sense, it seems the logical conclusion, is that not only can we expect to be targets of what are commonly known as 'terrorist' acts, but this can also be morally justified if it is accepted, that by doing nothing to end the oppression while continuing to enjoy it's economic fruits we allow and encourage the oppression to continue.
I don't think suicide is a thing you can justify or not. Someone who commits suicide is usually someone who is desperate or someone who has little or nothing to live for. Living under oppression or any kind causes suicide.
The problem in the age of information is the moral double standard displayed not only by politicians (who would expect otherwise) but specifically by those who are supposed to inform us: the media. In the world of big news corporations, the terrorists are the guerilla fighters opposed in a war to the first world leaders and their cohorts. Those guerillas who do the first world's dirty work are resistants (to the nazis, the french resistance was a 'terrorist' force), freedom fighters or occasionaly 'mujahideen' (how very romantic). Sometimes certain individuals can be 'freedom fighters' one day and 'terrorists' the next, like others can be our 'strongmen' one day and evil dictators the next. But, I digress.
In the world of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera when a friendly state or guerilla outfit murders it's opponents it's not news. Yet when an enemy state does the same it's top of the agenda. When a client state kidnaps individuals suspected of 'terrorism', it's unworthy of mention. Yet when an armed force opposed to this client state kidnaps a soldier of said state all hell lets loose and we near hear the end of it. When a client state terrorises it's called 'defence' and when the terrorised revolt it's called 'terrorism'.


The muslim witch and her presidential husband

Turkey's parliament goes to the polls to elect the next president of the country. It attempted to do so four months ago, but the election was annulled. Today, as at the time, one party, the CHP, has refused to take part in the election because of their apparent fear, that one man may be elected. That man is Abdullah Gül, of the ruling AKP. He is apparently too 'islamic' for the members of the CHP. One argument put forward against him, is that his wife wears a hijab. Apparently, the army is also lying ing wait, considering action if the President doesn't act in a sufficiently secular manner, and presumeably if Mrs Gül's headscarfe covers too much of her face!
No doubt this will not play a big part in the EU's analysis of turkish democracy when considering Turkey's application. After all, better a dictatorial army-led secular state, than a democratically elected islamic government or president (the latter albeit elected by parliament. Maybe Turkey should put the choice to the turkish people...) That seems to be the western mantra these days.


Why I wanna write, why I dunno how to and why I'm writing this

I started blogging over two years ago now. From the beginning, I saw it as a tool for sharing information (isn't that what the www is?). Well, what I didn't see it as was keeping a diary of my private&personal life. I suppose from very early on I would have liked to write about what I saw going on in the world through the filter of various media, traditional and alternative, as well as about my world(ly?) views. However, I have mainly stuck so far to quoting media sources and adding my little bit of (invariably cynical) analysis. I also realised early on, that the best or to be more specific the most visited and commented on blogs were those in which bloggers posted their views and analysis in the form of articles written by them and not by others. Still, I didn't feel up that standard. Do I now? Not sure. Part of the reason is certainly that I don't feel I have enough in-depth knowledge of the sort of things I would like to write about. Also, I don't have enough confidence in my writing ability. How do I write an article which is informative as well as humorous and militant? Still, it seems like the thing to do, and not merely to increase the traffic on my blog along with comments, but also because it seems like a more interesting and personal way to convey ideas which seem important to me. Maybe a good way to create debate too. So, I thought the best start was to spill out my wishes and my fears in a post, in the hope, obviously, that someone might give me tips, but also, that in the process a light bulb might appear above my head and and a Eureka! may form on my lips. How's that for a literary beginner?!


Texas execution

Texas Penal Code:

Sec.A7.02. CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER.AA(a) A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if: (1)AAacting with the kind of culpability required for the offense, he causes or aids an innocent or nonresponsible person to engage in conduct prohibited by the definition of the offense; (2)AAacting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense; or (3)AAhaving a legal duty to prevent commission of the offense and acting with intent to promote or assist its commission, he fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the offense. (b)AAIf, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

A man is about to be executed in Texas under the law quoted above. Even the courts have acknowledged, that he did not commit murder, but he drove the car from which a friend of his emerged before getting into an altercation and shooting another man dead. Not only did Kenneth Foster not commit murder, but he maintains there was no premeditation either by the killer himself or by any of his friends, including Foster. As he says, if there had been premeditation by the whole group or even part of it, someone would have accompanied the killer, wheareas in reality he left the car alone. On Tuesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Kenneth Foster's final appeal. Unless the board of pardons and paroles and the governor of Texas decide to pardon Foster, he will be executed on August 30th.
It seems the BBC and other big news corporations are silent on this pending execution.


An analogy to chew on


But you have to hand it to the journalists of Yerevan. Each August, they all go on holiday. At the same time. Yup. Every editor, reporter, book reviewer, columnist and printer packs up for the month and heads off to Lake Sevan or Karabakh for what is still called, Soviet-style, a "rest". "We wish all our readers a happy rest-time and we'll be back on August 17th," the newspaper Margin announced this week. And that was that. No poet may die, no Patriotic War hero expire, no minister may speak, no man may be imprisoned, lest his passing or his words or incarceration disappear from written history. I encourage the management of The Independent to consider this idea; if only we had operated such a system during the rule of the late Tony Blair... But no doubt a civil servant would have emailed him that this was a "good time" to announce bad news.


A US peace deal


Saudi Arabia says it supports US plans for a regional peace conference this year and would be keen to attend.

The conference is intended to revive the peace process and would include Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states viewed as moderate by the US.

When even the BBC clearly describes the rules as being set by the US (and I must say the choice of photo is perfect!) it seems there is little doubt left as to how one-sided any peace deal can be. What peace deal by the way? If it's just going to be a matter of certain parties hand picked by the world cop sitting together, what sort of solution can there be?
And if the Saudis do indeed attend, what does that say of the US definition of 'moderate'? Does 'moderate' mean friendly to the US?

Hamas, the 2006 Palestinian election winner, refused to sign up to previous peace deals with Israel, and its military victory in Gaza deals a serious blow to Mr Bush's strategic vision of a two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace.

And what kind of palestinian state might that be? A greatly reduced and geographically divided state with pockets of jewish settlers?