Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Teff is one of my topics of the day; it is the smallest grain in the world.

The latin name is Eragrostis abyssinica; each teff seed is one hundred fiftieth the size of a wheat grain. The name teff itself derives from the classical Amharic word teffa, which means lost- and its easy to see how a single seed could become so!

In English, teff is also known as lovegrass (although there are 250 species as part of this genus, and most are not agriculturally viable or edible), and annual bunch grass. The French call it mil éthiopien.

Teff contains calcium, fibre, iron, and protein. I found one source which says that it has seventeen times the calcium in whole wheat or barley.

It is indigenous to Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is part of the daily staple bread injera, which is made from fermented teff flour and is cooked as a flatbread. The grain has no gluten, which makes it ideal for those who suffer from celiac disease and must out of necessity avoid this component of bread products.

In Ethiopia, teff is actually more expensive than other foods like wheat or sorghum. Therefore injera that is made only with teff commands the highest price, is thought to be the most delicious, and of the best quality. The grain has its own symbiotic yeast that ferments the flatbread. Most Ethiopians make their injera exclusively with teff in their homeland; western resteraunts produce a fascimile, due to the relative inaccessibility of the grain here, that is a mix of wheat flour and teff flour together; proportions vary. Injera is something that only the middle and upper classes in Ethiopia eat; for the poor, it is considered unaffordable and a great luxury. Teff is especially popular in the western provinces, where people eat it once or twice a day. It is also made into a porridge, called muk, and a sweet bread called kita firfir or chéchébsa.

In the ancient kingdom of Aksum, which existed in Ethiopia 1,700 years ago, teff was available: it was found in the tombs of Bieta Gyorgis, the oldest known site in the entire kingdom, in a 1993 excavation, according to National Geographic. Two Italian Egyptologists also made a claim in a published work in 1939 that teff was found by another archaeologist in 1866 in a brick of the Dassur Pyramid, which dates to 3359 BC. However, wikipedia notes that there is dispute as to the latter assertion- both the discoverer and the teff not being available- and that some in the field feel that the grain discovered was another, wild grass species. Regardless, it is generally held that teff originated from between 4,000 and 1,000 BC.

There are three main varieties of teff: white, red, and brown. As the crop has not been mass commercialized, each group has tons of substrains that have been cultivated by different landowners, with slightly differing properties.

White teff is considered the most desirable form of the grain, although it can only grow in the Highlands of Ethiopia and is not cultivated in Eritrea. Traditionally, only the most noble lineages in Ethiopia had access to this form of the grain- it denoted status in much the way white bread did when it was first introduced into North American society. This is the rarest and most precious grain. I have seen resources that refer to it as tasting like chestnuts.

Red teff is at the bottom of the teff hierarchy, but it has the highest amount of iron. As a darker grain, it was consumed by soldiers and servants in ancient Ethiopian society.

Brown teff is somewhere in the middle in terms of iron content; it doesn't have as much red, but has more than white. In Ethiopia, it is of course considered superior to red teff, but has always been eschewed in favour of white. It can be eaten as cereal and is thought to taste like hazelnuts. Ethiopians also brew alcohol out of brown teff. According to the World Health Organization, the Gurage ethnic group brews alcohol in Ethiopia out of three different grains, of which teff is one, and it is a local beer called shamit.

Interestingly, some variants of teff are actually more bitter, but it is surmisable that they have survived because, while not popular, they do have much higher yields than more pleasant tasting grains and northern Africa has been subject to famine, so high performers count mightily in this atmosphere. They are not promoted outside of Ethiopia, however, and I have never tasted bitter teff in the west.

Teff has a boosted fibre content when compared to other grains, because there is less endosperm, or inside, as it is a smaller grain. Due to its teensiness, it actually cannot be processed. So the outer hull is always a part of the deal when you eat it.

The plants have a large crown and a shallow root system. It will put up with a great deal of drought but is flexible with a much higher water supply, and with many different soil conditions, but it absolutely requires a great deal of sun, and flowers best with twelve hour days of light.

A major reason why teff is so popular in Ethiopia, apart from its rich taste, is that it will ripen with little rain. In like conditions, its rivals wither.

Teff hay is currently being touted to feed foundered horses, and for equines in general, in places like California, (where it is currently in the initial throes of cultivation), and teff's byproducts have long been used for livestock in their traditional environment. It was first grown in the United States in Idaho, where there is an annual supply harvested for health food and ethnic speciality stores.

One of the most amazing things about teff is because it is so small, the seed to sow an entire field can be contained in the palm of one hand, meaning that it is hugely transportable and even semi-nomads can grow it. Given this, its always been a bit strange to me that teff seeds didn't spread far and wide from their home base in Africa, especially when you consider Ethiopia's proximity to the Middle East.

If you are using teff, it is important to remember that the grains should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in containers that are tightly covered to prevent from inadvertently sprouting, spoiling, or going rancid.

From a fact sheet on ancient grains: "Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it's small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.

To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes."

This grain makes a fabulous breakfast porridge or pudding. The following is a pudding recipe from Bob's Red Mill. I have made this in the past and really like it.


1 cup cooked & cooled Teff (Tef, T'ef) Whole Grain
1 cup Tofu
2 to 4 Tb Honey or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla

In a blender combine tofu, maple syrup (or honey if using) and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and light. Pour cooked and cooled teff grains and tofu mixture into a bowl. Mix thoroughly, cover and chill.

Yield: 2 cups (4 servings)

Variation: add sliced bananas, raisins or other favorite fruit.

Makes 2 servings.

Serving Size: 1 Serving (89g)

Calories 280, Calories from Fat 25, Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 0mg, Total Carbohydrates 61g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 13g, Protein 7g.

Monday, May 25, 2009


It is worth noting that Russian officialdom is not known for its sense of humour. The best TV show in Russian recent history, of course, is no longer on air: Kukly (Puppets), with its sometimes brilliant caricatures of 1990s Russia, was an early victim of the Putin clampdown. Swedes found this skit tremendously funny, partly for the faux-mafia encounter at the beginning (which mocks Swedish naivety in dealing with Russian gangsters) but also for the glorious pastiche of Russian visual and musical clichés in the second half. It is not Russia’s Eurovision entry, but it almost could have been. The Russian embassy in Stockholm was not amused, denouncing the broadcast and claiming that the people involved must be mentally ill.

Death Throes

It is interesting to watch this drag on and on.
What is "broader debt restructuring"? Surely they're going to have to sell SOMETHING.

Canwest secures $175M financing, aims for recapitalization deal by July 15

5 days ago

TORONTO — Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS) has lined up $175 million in fresh debt financing and is aiming to have a broader debt restructuring completed by mid-July, the media company says.

The Winnipeg-based broadcaster and newspaper publisher, struggling under $4 billion in debt, said Wednesday that some of its current debtholders have agreed to provide an additional $100 million.

In return, they would receive new senior notes with a face value of $105 million paying a hefty annual interest rate of 12 per cent. That would translate into a yield of 12.6 per cent on the $100 million they actually provide to Canwest.

In addition, CIT Business Credit Canada Inc. will provide a $75-million senior secured revolving asset-based loan facility.

The transactions were expected to close Thursday.

DBRS analyst Chris Diceman described the refinancing as "an interim step to possibly getting a recapitalization completed in the future" but added it's too soon to say whether that will be accomplished by Canwest's target date of July 15.

The new money Canwest gets from its noteholders will be used to retire senior secured debt owed to the company's bankers.

In return, the unsecured debtholders will receive "quite a high return" on the $100 million they provide, Diceman said.

Canwest said Wednesday that the "sufficient credit availability to operate its business in the ordinary course as it continues its work to effect a recapitalization transaction."

The Winnipeg-based TV and newspaper conglomerate said the noteholder committee has extended its forbearance until June 15, by which time an agreement in principle on a long-term recapitalization is to be framed.

A definitive agreement is to be reached on or before July 15.

Diceman said it's too hard to say at this point whether Canwest can meet that timetable, since it all depends on the company's behind-the-scenes negotiations with the noteholder committee - primarily representing large U.S. funds that deal in high-yield debt.

Canwest has failed to pay US$30.4 million in interest that was due March 15 on US$761 million in eight per cent senior subordinated notes.

Canwest has received several extensions from the noteholders while the company worked on selling assets and renegotiating its debt agreements.

"Nobody but those two parties really knows where that is as far as where those discussions are," Diceman said. "But clearly they've laid out some milestones that they must meet. That could be part of the negotiating as well," Diceman said.

Canwest, like many media companies, has been hit by a decline in advertising revenue due to the recession and increased competition for its conventional television stations from specialty cable channels and the Internet.

In addition, it has been burdened with the debt associated with its acquisition of many of the former Hollinger newspapers, including the National Post.

The company's shares closed Wednesday at 39 cents, up four cents, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For Those Who Pray

Good to know there are people out there waging a campaign of human decency.

'A little Guantanamo'
Attorney finding it difficult to investigate treatment of mentally ill detainees

By Kelly Davis
'A little Guantanamo'

Ann Menasche should be able to walk into any psychiatric facility at any time to investigate allegations of neglect and abuse. All the disability-rights attorney needs is probable cause. Except, it seems, when the allegations involve patients held by the federal government for allegedly violating immigration laws.

For the last several weeks, Menasche, an attorney with Disability Rights California, has tried unsuccessfully to get into Alvarado Parkway Institute (API), a La Mesa psychiatric hospital, to interview mentally ill detainees who’ve been sent there because staff at federal detention facilities, like the Otay Detention Facility, can’t adequately care for them. Menasche was given a formal tour of the facility on March 6—she could see detainees but not speak with them. When she submitted a request to return to API to interview specific patients, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official told her she needed to give 72 hours advance notice and submit what’s known as a G-28 form—a form immigration attorneys whose services have already been retained are required to file.

Disability Rights California’s interest in talking to detainees is “wholly unrelated to immigration,” Menasche wrote in a May 5 letter to ICE lawyers. In the letter, Menasche pointed out that ICE was imposing on her requirements that went beyond the agency’s own policies: “Attorneys representing detainees on legal matters unrelated to immigration are not required to complete a Form G-28,” she quoted from ICE visitation standards.

“I want to talk to everybody, and at this rate, I’m not getting very far,” Menasche said in a May 14 interview with CityBeat.

ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack said in a written statement that officials requested the 72-hour notice because the medical condition of the two detainees Menasche wished to speak with was "unstable."

"ICE officials requested of the attorney up to 72 hours to work with the API staff to accomodate the visit while ensuring it would not adversely impact the detainees' recovery and treatment they were receiving," Mack said.

"By the time 72 hours was up, they were back at Otay," Menasche said. "So, if they were so unstable, they certainly recovered rather quickly."

On Monday, Menasche learned that one of those detainees, whom she’d recently interviewed at the Otay Detention Facility, had been deported. The detainee had been sent to API for refusing to eat and angrily described to Menasche having to spend 25 days at the psychiatric hospital shackled to a bed. Menasche immediately faxed a letter to API’s CEO, Patrick Ziemer, letting him know she’d be conducting an inspection of the hospital on Wednesday, May 20.

What Menasche’s seen for herself—and officials have confirmed—is that each detainee sent to API is shackled to a bed 24 hours a day and monitored by two armed guards. They are kept “in virtual isolation,” Menasche said, forbidden from sending or receiving mail or having access to a phone. Family members aren’t informed of a detainee’s whereabouts, told only that they’ve been transferred. At API, detainees aren’t allowed to watch TV—Menasche said she was told that it’s because the TV can be used as a weapon—or read a newspaper. They’re unshackled only to use the bathroom or take a shower, and the only exercise they get is whatever the short distance the chain connecting their ankle to the bed will allow.

Nancy Kincaid, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Mental Health, couldn’t comment on the conditions at API but said state laws governing the use of restraint dictate a procedure hospitals must follow.

“You can’t just restrain people or seclude people,” she said. “It has to be documented; the doctor has to actually see them. The doctor has to document why that person is in seclusion and restraint; they have to be checked every 15 minutes, and each hour the doctor has to see them again to re-evaluate.”

Patrick Ziemer, Alvarado Parkway’s CEO, didn’t respond to a phone call and e-mail from CityBeat by press time. Ziemer told a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter that state law allows him to limit a patient’s rights if he determines that there’s “good cause.” API is required to provide a quarterly report to San Diego County’s Department of Health and Human Services documenting why a hospitalized individual’s rights are denied and, according to state law, “denial of a person’s rights shall in all cases be entered into the person’s treatment record.”

Menasche said she’s requested, but hasn’t yet been given, access to patient files.

“API is not following state law—they may fill out the paperwork for denial of rights, but it is pro forma,” she said. “Good cause for denial of rights is to be based on an individual assessment, not on a blanket policy on a group of patients.”

Menasche sent a letter to county Mental Health Director Alfredo Aguirre on May 5 informing him of the conditions at API. On May 18, she received a message from Aguirre saying he was aware of the situation and would be following up with API and ICE. A county spokesperson told CityBeat that the county was unaware of detainee conditions prior to receiving Menasche’s letter.

“This has been going on under the radar for many years,” Menasche said.

Menasche said she was told that security concerns drive policy. In an April 24 letter to ICE’s California field directors, she summarized what she’d been told by Assistant Field Director John Garzon: “That the locked psychiatric facility at API was less secure than the Otay Detention facility, for example; that ICE was concerned about the possibility of escape from API (apparently, despite the presence of two armed guards per detainee); that a television could be used as a weapon; and that API had no provisions for monitoring mail or telephone calls, normally done at the Otay facility.”

Menasche said she was told these rules had become stricter since 9/11, though she noted in the April 24 letter that “Mr. Garzon was unable to point to any of the 700 detainees currently held at Otay that were being charged with terrorism or a terrorism-related crime.

“We are unaware of any relationship between national security concerns and the issues addressed herein,” she concluded.

In a written statement, ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano “has called for a comprehensive review of the nation’s immigration detention practices” and that “ICE is currently reviewing its visitation and telephone access practices for immigration detainees being housed in private psychiatric facilities to ensure they have appropriate access to both.”

Greg Pleasants, an attorney with Mental Health Advocacy Services in Los Angeles who brought the conditions at API to Menasche’s attention—two of his clients were held incommunicado for extended periods of time at various private psychiatric hospitals, API among them—emphasized that immigrant detainees should not be equated with prisoners being held for criminal violations.

“People who don’t understand immigration law think two things: that these people are somehow criminals and that they’re all undocumented—they’re all illegal, so to speak—they never had any status, they just entered the country illegally, but that’s not an accurate picture.

“Some of these people have never been convicted of crimes,” Pleasants said. “Second of all, they’re not in criminal custody—this is a civil matter entirely. Third of all, lots of these people, all of my clients or most, are long-term permanent residents who’ve been in the United State since they were children and have families here and work jobs here and pay taxes here and all the rest. They’re stuck in an immigration detention system that is bursting at the seams and is operating in a culture where the only important thing is deportation.”

Unlike criminal defendants, ICE detainees are not entitled to court-appointed legal representation. Nor are mentally ill detainees allowed a hearing before being committed involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital, Pleasants said.

“The Constitution requires—and this is binding on ICE just like it’s binding on everyone—that when a person in detention, when a prisoner or even a civil detainee… is involuntarily hospitalized, there has to be a procedure followed,” he said. “The person is entitled to a kind of hearing where they can say, ‘I don’t deserve to be hospitalized, I want to present evidence on my behalf, I want someone to help me.’ What we’re seeing in [ICE’s] conduct is this law is not being followed. They’re simply placing people in these facilities and basically involuntarily hospitalizing people without any kind of due process.

“They’ve created basically a little Guantanamo for people with severe mental-health issues,” Pleasants said. “And that doesn’t fly from a due-process standpoint.”

This story has been updated since its initial publication to include comments from ICE that came in after CityBeat's deadline.
Write to kellyd@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.
Armenians should not take this personally. Love Armenia, love Armenians, love love Atom Egoyan and Arsinee. But this was depressing :(

Armenian Activist Deemed 'Mentally Ill,' Then Freed

Shant Harutiunian
May 15, 2009
Shant Harutiunian, an Armenian opposition activist arrested last year following deadly postelection clashes with security forces in Yerevan, has been released from prison after being found to be mentally ill.

A Yerevan court on May 13 suspended Harutiunian's trial two months ago and subjected him to a psychiatric examination.

He was transferred to a mental hospital where he spent more than one month.

Armenia's Court of Appeals says that Health Ministry psychiatrists have concluded that Harutiunian was not sane when he delivered speeches to thousands of opposition protesters after the March 1 presidential election, which the opposition says was fraudulent.

Harutiunian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that he has no mental problems.

Known for his nationalist views, he said Armenian officials "couldn't take me back to court because my trial would have been a greater embarrassment for them."

Harutiunian said he will not "participate in or support the opposition" in the May 31 municipal elections but said he's ready "to take any step, including a revolution, for the sake of my friends who are still in prison."

Scores of opposition activists are still jailed for their actions after last year's election.


Grassroots Effort Emerges to Fight Russian Corruption
By Peter Fedynsky
15 May 2009

Activists from civic groups hold a roundtable at Moscow's Independent Press Center to discuss corruption in Russia, 15 May 2009
A group of private Russian citizens is seeking to establish a network of corruption victims as a means of advancing President Dmitri Medvedev's plans to battle the country's oppressive bureaucracy and courts. Participants at an organizational meeting in Moscow defined the extent of the problem, but raised questions whether citizens can fight corruption if government employees not only benefit from it, but actively undermine reform efforts.

Activists from several civic groups held a roundtable at Moscow's Independent Press Center to discuss the extent of Russian corruption and what could be done about it. A few victims of corruption gave personal accounts of bureaucrats who cheat the system to deprive people of property, money and rights.

Yuri Arkhipov

Yuri Arkhipov of the independent Corruption Commission said some people in Russia's notoriously corrupt bureaucracy are interested in reforms, but they are hounded by a majority that abuses authority to make money.

Arkhipov says honest bureaucrats are outcasts who are surrounded by an atmosphere of intolerance, because they are not convenient to bureaucrats or embezzlers, whose main goal is to cast the minority aside. The main question, to Arkhipov, is whether the bureaucratic apparatus wants someone to document corruption.

Yuri Zinichev

At the same, time, Yuri Zinichev of the All-Russian Corruption Witness Network, says Russia can blossom if a connection is made between the country's government and people.

Zinichev says if Russians combine efforts then no special organizations will be needed. He notes there already are government institutions - the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and also non-commercial organizations that receive government funding to solve such problems. Zinichev says all that is needed is the establishment of effective relations among these institutions.

Valeriy Gabisov

Valeriy Gabisov of the independent Civil Rights Committee noted that corruption exists everywhere and can at best be minimized, not eliminated. Gabisov chided participants for failure to discuss more specific measures, and noted the brutal lengths to which corrupt officials go if they are exposed in the press.

Gabisov says that as soon as an editor in the regions begins to say reasonable things, they smash his head, declare him mentally ill or put him in prison on whatever charges.

The only government official at the meeting was a young Interior Ministry representative who was asked to convey the group's documents to his superiors. Whether anything happens remains to be seen. President Medvedev said on Tuesday that no one is dizzy with success over Russia's struggle with corruption and that Russians are at the very, very beginning of the road in the fight against it.
Psychiatric patients sterilised and mistreated
01 April, 2009

Fourteen women with mental disabilities have been sterilised in the Perm region of Russia against their will and without an appropriate court ruling.

This was the striking discovery made by the region’s human rights committee over the course of a two-year investigation, revealing numerous grave offences.

After receiving more than 50 complaints from patients of the 15 psychiatric asylums in the Perm region, an investigation was launched to analyse living conditions in these institutions. After two years of detailed study, a series of shocking discoveries was made.

Fourteen young women, born in the 1970s and 1980s were sterilised against their will, without the signed permission of their families or any appropriate court ruling. As the report states, the most poignant justification of these actions came from an unnamed asylum staff member. They did it so that the women “would not give birth to lunatics”.

"These women were proven legally incompetent by the court. So what, we have to wait for the court to give us a separate document that approves the sterilization?" a doctor told RT.

In the Russian legislation, sterilisation of legally capable women is only permissible with their accord and when they’re aged over 35, or already have two children. When the woman is not legally capable, the signed permission of two gynaecologists and a court ruling are required.

There exists, however, an appendix to the law, which states that sterilisation can be carried out based purely on medical reasons if there exists “a threat to the woman’s life or health”. Staff have tended to interpret this appendix at will, using it to cover many sterilisations.

According to the human rights commission, the staff at the institutions were not even aware that a court decision was required to conduct the procedure. They based their decision simply on the advice of the institution’s administration.

Other infringements
It was discovered that the shocking cases of unlawful sterilisation were not the only cases of severe breaches of human rights in these psychiatric institutions. The official report drafted by Tatyana Margolina outlined three main areas of severe infringements of human rights in these institutions: medical care, the right to housing and the right to fair employment.

Perhaps the most fundamental malpractice in the institutions is the lack of adequate healthcare provision. According to the report some psychiatric institutions do not even have an appropriate medical licence.

Despite being state organisations, the institutions need to renew their medical licence every few years. Of those whose license had expired, the most recent renewal was in 2001. Since then, no new medical or diagnostic supplies were provided and no new medical personnel had been taken on.

“In several institutions medical attention was not provided and people simply died,” Margolina pointed out in the report. “Their death was a result of appropriate measures not being taken in due course.”

The lack of a medical licence resulted in the absence of basic medicines and diagnostic equipment. This has resulted in several deaths due to negligence in the last two years alone. The report refers to a number of unnamed cases. The causes of death named by coronary analysis include untreated and misdiagnosed pneumonia, a stomach ulcer and meningitis.

The last case is given specific attention. The patient was admitted to an institution and passed away only days later. The orderly simply gave the patient medicines against flu-like symptoms and proceeded to ignore the case for the next two days, during which the patient’s condition steadily worsened. Renewed medical attention was only given when the patient was on his deathbed, but it was too late. Even then, an appropriate diagnosis was not made.

Staff members point out that they don’t even call ambulances for the patients since the medics simply refuse to drive out to the institutions. In most places, no individual rehabilitation programmes were developed for patients. Some do not even have a stock of the required anti-psychotic drugs.

As a result, the patients’ abilities are not developed to their fullest potential. According to the report, some of the patients would have had the chance to do basic manual work and provide for themselves if given the appropriate training. Nevertheless, such fundamentals as sports equipment, professional and educational training and development programmes simply do not exist in Perm region institutions.

The living space provided for the patient is often far less than the basic minimum required by the Russian state. Some patients live in as few as three square metres of individual space with no access to privacy – nurses often break through locked doors and into restrooms as well as shower facilities.

The report points out that the conditions in the institutions breach several clauses of the UN charter and the human rights declaration: the patients do not have access to medical care, individual space, basic dignity, employment and personal development. Nevertheless, the report only goes as far as “advising” the local administration and the relevant institution to take these facts into account.

Regional problem?
Despite the gravity of the problem and its deep-rooted nature, the local administration appears to be inert in dealing with it. RT tried to get information of what the regional government is planning to do in order to resolve this shocking breach of basic human rights.

“Tatiana Margolina is refusing to give any comments on the situation, referring to the fact that it is a regional problem and the report was released regionally,” the human rights commissioner’s press office told RT.

When the local administration’s press office was contacted directly, RT was told that the general office does not have the competence to comment on such issues, and the human rights commission should be contacted.

As a result, no official comment was given on how the living conditions of the psychiatric patients will be ameliorated. So, despite the severe cases of human rights breaches and even abuse from state care providers being brought to public light, it remains unclear what will be done.

"Unfortunately, even we only get to know about problems by seeing them. if we go to care homes, and talk to the people there – thats how we find out. And judging by what we see – nothing changes. What we say has very little effect," Sergey Isaev from thePerm Human Rights Centre.

Anna Bogdanova, RT
Fears for health of pregnant woman detained on islandYuko Narushima
May 12, 2009
A PREGNANT woman is among 454 people detained on Christmas Island and medical professionals warn of potential health repercussions for the mother and child.

The island in the Indian Ocean is now home to at least 45 children aged one to 17. Another 31 asylum seekers intercepted on a boat north of Darwin yesterday are on their way.

Two detained mothers have given birth since the Rudd Government came to power.

The first woman was in a prison-style detention centre while the second was in community detention.

The woman pregnant on Christmas Island is in community detention, a spokesman for the Immigration Department said.

But to make the distinction was an exercise in semantics with little bearing on the isolation of pregnant detainees, the Professor of Developmental Psychiatry at Monash University, Louise Newman, said.

"In no way should someone who is pregnant be in such a remote location," she said.

Research into the impact of detention found that it diminished the adult's capacity to parent, she said.

The departmental spokesman stressed women did not give birth in a detention facility. Asylum seekers who claimed to be pregnant were first tested, then flown to the mainland for medical checks at 34 weeks.

Babies were delivered in hospital and taken into detention when the mother was deemed medically fit to return, he said.

However, a clinical psychologist from the University of NSW, Zachary Steel, said it was the loss of control that led to mental deterioration in detainees. Compounding that for children was witnessing adult distress, Dr Steel said.

In July last year the Minister for Immigration, Chris Evans, said detention was a last resort and reiterated a 2005 pledge to keep children out of maximum security detention centres.

Yesterday, border control intercepted a boat with 31 male asylum seekers believed to be from Afghanistan. The boat, the 12th intercepted this year, was 23 nautical miles north of the Tiwi Islands.
The prisoners—several thousand of them, clad in orange—were crowded behind
concertina wire. "The encampment they were in when we saw it at first looked
like one of those Hitler things, like a concentration camp, almost," Davis said.
"They're in there, in their little jumpsuits, outside in the mud. Their rest
rooms was running over. It was just disgusting. You didn't want to touch
anything. Whatever the worst thing that comes to your mind, that was it—the
place you would never, ever, ever, ever send your worst enemy."..

By way of orientation, the soldiers of the 372nd who were assigned guard duty at
the hard site were given a tour of the place. They saw the ordinary cellblocks
for Iraqi criminals and the highly restricted M.I. block, where the most "high
value" security detainees were held, during and pending interrogation, in
single-occupancy cells. "That's when I saw the nakedness," Javal Davis said.
"I'm like, 'Hey, Sarge, why is everyone naked?' You know—'Hey, that's the M.I.
That's what the M.I. does. That's the M.I. thing. I don't know.' 'Why do these
guys have on women's panties?' Like—'It's to break them.' " Davis was wide-eyed.
"Guys handcuffed in stress positions, in cells, no lights, no windows. Open the
door, turn the light on—'Oh my God, Allah.' Click, turn the light off, close the
door. It's like, Whoa, what is that? What the hell is up with all this stuff?
Something's not right here."

And you could inflict pain. "You also had stress positions, and you escalated
the stress positions," Davis said. "Hand-cuffs behind their backs, high up, in
very uncomfortable positions, or chained down. Then you had the submersion. You
put the people in garbage cans, and you'd put ice in it, and water. Or stick
them underneath the shower spigot naked. They'd be freezing." It was a routine,
he said: "Open a window while it was, like, forty degrees outside and watch them
disappear into themselves . . . before they go into shock."

.."We had some kind of incinerator at the end of
our building," Specialist Megan Ambuhl said. "It was this huge circular thing.
We just didn't know what was incinerated in there. It could have been people,
for all we knew—bodies." Sergeant Davis was not in doubt. "It had bones in it,"
he said, and he called it the crematorium. "But hey, you're at war," he said.
"Suck it up or drive on."
But,Last week there was a great deal of "humanitarian" concern about a marines
treatment of a puppy on a U-tube video.

War Criminals like air pilot Mc Cain pulling levers , or pressing buttons ,for dropping
bombs on helpless Vietnam civilians have long been able to disassociate their own
actions (like pilots over Hiroshima and Nagasaki) from real world reality and able to
pose as Amerikan heroes "fighting" what he terms "Gooks" the depersonalised
enemies of expanding empire .Nowadays ,lately this hero has sang the chant "bomb
bomb Iran" to the great pleasure of his fans. Literally.

The initial "Shock and Awe" attacks on the Iraqi people resembled nothing more than
the appearance of a Video game for those Americans and Australians chewing on
their TV dinners in between cheers. The end of the game was nothing less than the
tearing down by American tanks and mercenaries of a statue of Saddam Hussein.
Thereby demonstrating that unlike in the film "Planet of the Apes" that the Statue of
Liberty was invulnerable and ever victorious. Mission accomplished!

But, perhaps not as satisfying as a re-run of the military victory finale of the first
gulf war, when tens of thousands were slaughtered on the sitting duck-shoot
"Highway to Hell".
The video game market for persynal computers has not changed much in the last few
years. It seems to have reached a saturation point and the pc has lost out to Nintendo
and its imitations, the creations of billion dollar marketing businesses like Microsoft.

La Rouche, permanent economic crisis theorist and religious paranoid US patriot,
"Is the Devil in Your Laptop?"

And says, "Indeed, the Presidential candidates all, presently, stink. But why, thus far,
is today's 16-to-25-year-old generation, so unable to respond? Where is the youth
movement to address this crisis, and create a future for humanity?"

"There is a mass-based fascist movement on college campuses, today," LaRouche
said, identifying it as presently the greatest threat to the survival of our
nation. This threat, he said, has three faces:

*MySpace, directed by Rupert Murdoch
*Facebook, directed by Bill Gates
*Computer games, particularly the homicidal maniac versions.

If you allow an entire youth generation to be destroyed by these things,
La Rouche said, there will be no future for the United States.
Therefore, these three things, presently dominating our culture, must each be
destroyed, just as a contagious killer virus or bacteriological disease must be
properly diagnosed, and cured. This disease, of course, is not a biological one,
per se, but a mental and cultural disease. Our diagnosis, and a pathway towards
a cure, is what follows.

And, although the contents of this pamphlet will be immediately painful to the
minds of those readers, who might be intricately involved in "all the rave"
about MySpace, Facebook, and computer games, the joy of being freed from mental
slavery, thus engaging in solving our present world's dangerous problems, will,
in the longer term, greatly outweigh the short-term pain, of tearing yourself
from a beloved, but deadly, folly".

As well as the old shoot anything that moves games there are -
Government simulation games –resembling real world democracy whereby a small
subject can imagine himself as a mighty even sovereign state subject.


I LUV the Internets

TWILIGHT ZONE': One of the best-known victims of so-called "punitive psychiatry" is dissident and writer Vladimir Bukovsky. In the 1960s and 1970s, as a diagnosed "psychopath," he experienced firsthand the forced-treatment psychiatric units where Soviet authorities sent many of its political opponents.
Bukovsky, now 65, was one of the first to expose the truth behind the Soviet "psikhushki." In the early 1970s, his detailed accounts of the practice were successfully smuggled to the West. He also coauthored "A Manual on Psychiatry for Dissidents," meant to help fellow dissidents fight persecution. In 1976, he was forcibly exiled. He has lived in Britain ever since.

In 1992, Bukovsky traveled to Moscow to visit the place he believed was responsible for a great deal of his misery -- the Serbsky Institute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry. Much of his writing documented the use of Serbsky as a state tool of repression.

In the spirit of reconciliation that came in the early years following the Soviet collapse, Serbsky director Tatyana Dmitriyeva acknowledged the role of the institute in past political repressions.

After the rise of Vladimir Putin to the presidency in 2000, however, Dmitriyeva once again recanted, saying the institute was guilty of no offense and that reports of punitive psychiatry were exaggerated.

Since then, a Serbsky official has gone on record as saying Bukovsky, at the time of his forced care, was undoubtedly "psychopathic." (As evidence, he cited the fact the dissident had written "hundreds of letters of complaint" following one of his arrests.)

Bukovsky is now seeking to return to Russia and secure a place as a candidate in Russia’s March 2008 presidential elections. A group dedicated to supporting his nomination this week issued a statement saying that, unless the Serbsky Institute formally recants, Bukovsky retains the right to sue either the institute or its employees for slander.

The statement also suggests that the Serbsky Institute's revised diagnosis may be used as a pretext for barring Bukovsky from the vote. Authorities have already tried three times to block his candidacy, pointing to the fact that Bukovsky, who was forcibly exiled in 1976, was no longer a Russian citizen and had not spent the past 10 years in Russia, as mandated by Russian law.

Bukovsky has since restored his Russian citizenship, and argues that his involuntary exile should not bar him from the vote. Bukovsky now fears his restored status as a "psychopath," may give election authorities a fresh opportunity to challenge his bid to become a presidential candidate.

The pro-Bukovsky statement notes that Dmitriyeva, the woman responsible for erasing the Serbsky Institute’s culpability in the practice of Soviet-era "punitive psychiatry," is currently a senior member of the dominant pro-Kremlin party Unified Russia.

Asked if punitive psychiatry is once again on the rise, Bukovsky said in an interview with Britain's "The Daily Telegraph" that "anything is possible in Russia. We live in a twilight zone."
Review by David Gardner

Published: May 24 2009 19:46 | Last updated: May 24 2009 19:46

The News from Ireland
By Maurice Walsh
I.B. Tauris, £20

The Irish war of independence of 1919-21 was the first great victory against modern colonialism. In its timing, it was triumphantly on the right side of history, against empire and for liberty. It wove effortlessly into a universal narrative in a way that is not so easy to sense nearly a century later, when Irish republicanism has a nastier and narrower connotation.

This little gem of a book, scholarly, beautifully written and narrated with verve, reminds us of all that and a great deal more. It reveals in absorbing detail and persuasive argument how the way visiting correspondents wrote up the Irish revolution helped determine its outcome. Not until Vietnam and Algeria would the so-called fourth estate exert such influence on the result of an armed conflict, delivering to Irish patriots what was a moral and political rather than military victory.

A number of stars aligned favourably for the Irish revolutionaries. The suicide of multinational empires in the first world war, alongside efforts by the combatants to incite national uprisings against their rivals, gave nationalism a huge boost. America under Woodrow Wilson dented the legitimacy of the British Empire internationally and gave currency to the notion of self-determination. In the UK, the enlargement of the electorate helped drive the development of mass newspaper audiences and political debate. Irish nationalists, moreover, consciously connected to anti-colonialism internationally; two of them, Annie Besant and Alfred Webb, even became presidents of India’s Congress party.

But the originality of Maurice Walsh’s tale lies in its account of how British and American journalists helped turn the tide in the Fenians’ favour. Part of the reason lay in the way correspondents allowed themselves to be co-opted by government during the first world war. Billeted in handsome houses with cooks, servants, drivers and military chaperones for their occasional and sanitised trips to the front, they were pampered embeds, avant la lettre. The lyrical account by Philip Gibbs of the Daily Chronicle of the first day of the Battle of the Somme “managed to omit mentioning that 20,000 British soldiers were killed”. Gibbs, says Walsh, “became a kept man of the high command”. But he was stung by a passage in Lloyd George’s war memoirs saying: “Gibbs lied merrily like the rest of them”.

The collective sense of shame among these celebrity correspondents, whose reputation was shredded once the full horror of the trenches came to light, led them to seek redemption. In Ireland, their affinity with the forces of the British crown dissolved. The arrival of the Americans brought a Wilsonian moral dimension, an echo of American revolutionary ideals and, as Chicago-by-way-of-Kilkenny journalist Francis Hackett had it, the crusading belief that the press and public opinion could “overcome the weaknesses of political institutions” such as the British Empire.

“The idea of journalists as interpreters of reality and not mere stenographers or hired scriveners had begun to take hold,” Walsh observes. The cause of Irish independence was to benefit. The obtuseness of the British helped, as did their recourse to brutal tactics that exposed the empire as predatory and vindictive and came to be seen by men such as Gibbs as terrorism.

The campaign of reprisals by the Black and Tans triggered a revolt of the press every bit as fatal to imperial interests as the rebellion of the Irish. The judgments of correspondents such as Hugh Martin of the Daily News became the currency of debate in parliament, the evidentiary benchmark.

The propagandists of Sinn Féin, which had won a landslide in the December 1918 elections and constituted itself as the Dail Eireann or Assembly of Ireland, were, furthermore, brilliant – “the most effective operation of its kind yet seen”, Walsh judges. It was in the hands of Desmond FitzGerald (father of Garret FitzGerald, Taoiseach from 1982-87), an urbane, well-connected Imagist poet with an English drawl, and Erskine Childers, an Anglo-Irish public schoolboy and spy novelist with impeccable contacts in London. Their mimeographed Irish Bulletin, pared down on hyperbole but written with great flair, became a primary source for correspondents. They hid in plain sight in Harcourt Street while Dublin Castle became, like Baghdad’s Green Zone, a beleaguered city within a city.

Basil Clarke, a former Daily Mail correspondent on the western front, was recruited by Dublin Castle and in August 1921 proposed reverting to a system of licensed embeds living with the Crown forces. It was too late. The British had lost control of the narrative and thereby lost Ireland.

The writer is the FT’s chief leader writer and author of Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance (I.B. Tauris)
.Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009


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Government Whistleblowers, Trauma Recovery Expert and Roseanne Barr to Speak Out Against Torture and Mind Control

Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips will be joined by Dr. Colin Ross (an expert on clinically diagnosing and treating trauma based personality disorders) and TV legend Roseanne Barr at a speaking event in Los Angeles on June 5th.
Many of the same criminals in control of the government today were in control of me
And they are acutely aware that torture and trauma causes humankind to forget.
Now that torture is finally a predominant political issue, the reality of how it's actually being used continues to be kept from the public by those in control of the government and corporate media. Those who control information control knowledge, which in turn controls the thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and actions of those they inform.
Considering today's technological advancements, pharmaceuticals, computerization, and classified mind manipulating weaponry, it's clear to see that torture is not only archaic, but is actually a diversionary issue from more prevalent forms of mass mind manipulation being used on the human population.
evolved system of remote human physical and psychological manipulation that has only recently been officially recognized by accredited mental health physicians for what it is - absolute mind control.
CIA Mind Control: Out Of Darkness, Into the Light
The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists.
the most ground breaking kitchen-sink sitcom since All in the Family, (Entertainment Weekly)
She's the funniest disturber of peace that we have.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 11, 2009 -- As the issue of torturing individuals held in detention facilities plays out in the news media, two of the most successful whistleblowers are speaking out on how CIA programs such as MK-ULTRA actually involved torturing U.S. citizens, our allies citizens and how these heinous atrocities were allowed to continue under the 1947 National Security Act.

Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips
Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips

Cathy O'Brien was a White House/Pentagon level MK-ULTRA mind control victim, who claims torture was used on her to fragment her personality to make her forget secrets and criminal covert operations she had been forced to participate in over a thirty year period. "Many of the same criminals in control of the government today were in control of me," Cathy says. "And they are acutely aware that torture and trauma causes humankind to forget."

Cathy adds, "Now that torture is finally a predominant political issue, the reality of how it's actually being used continues to be kept from the public by those in control of the government and corporate media. Those who control information control knowledge, which in turn controls the thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and actions of those they inform."

What about the argument that torture is justified as a means to extract information? Cathy says, "Considering today's technological advancements, pharmaceuticals, computerization, and classified mind manipulating weaponry, it's clear to see that torture is not only archaic, but is actually a diversionary issue from more prevalent forms of mass mind manipulation being used on the human population."

Cathy was rescued in 1988 by Mark Phillips, a U.S. Intelligence insider knowledgeable on CIA mind-control techniques who acted after he was told by a Chinese Intelligence officer that Cathy and her then eight-year-old daughter, Kelly, were mind-controlled slaves of the U.S. government. Mark says that the super secret technology used on Cathy, Kelly and others is an, "evolved system of remote human physical and psychological manipulation that has only recently been officially recognized by accredited mental health physicians for what it is - absolute mind control."

Cathy and Mark circumvented the news media's blackout on their case with the greatest true life love story of extraction and recovery from the CIA 's mind control project ever told.

You can hear their story along with a discussion on the issue of torture at an event called "CIA Mind Control: Out Of Darkness, Into the Light" which will be held on Friday June 5th, 2009 in Los Angeles. The event begins at 7PM at Hollywood United Methodist Church located at 6817 Franklin Avenue (at Highland Ave.). For more info call 805-653-1588 or visit GoodKarmaPR.com. A portion of the proceeds go to Children of the Night, a non profit that rescues children from the ravages of prostitution and domination of pimps.

Joining Cathy and Mark will be Dr. Colin Ross, a globally recognized expert on trauma related disorders and author of "The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists." Dr. Ross provides proof, based on 15,000 pages of documents obtained from the CIA through the Freedom of Information Act, that there have been pervasive, systematic violations of human rights by American psychiatrists over the last 65 years. As well, he proves that the Manchurian Candidate "super spy" is fact, not fiction. He describes CIA documented experiments by psychiatrists to create amnesia, new identities, hypnotic access codes, and implanting new memories in the minds of experimental subjects.

Also scheduled to appear is comedian Roseanne Barr. In addition to being a champion for the rights of abused children everywhere, she was treated by Dr. Colin Ross for DID recovery.

About The Speakers and Organizers...

Cathy O'Brien is a fully rehabilitated US Government White House/Pentagon level mind control survivor whose testimony for the US Congressional Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Oversight was censored for so-called "Reasons of National Security". Upon the advice of an attorney in 1995, this testimony was released en masse in book form, aptly entitled TRANCE Formation of America, to bring truth to light and survive whistle blowing on US Government tortures. Despite media censorship and death threats and attempts, these proven, documented facts have now reached over 48 countries, been licensed and translated into 8 languages, and are in major universities worldwide such as the Oxford Law Library. More on Cathy O'Brien...

Mark Phillips is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. For nearly 30 years he was a highly successful marketing and advertising executive for two airlines and a medical equipment manufacturing company. While he lacks the published academic credentials as a scholar, professional writer, or mental health physician he is recognized internationally by mental health and law enforcement professionals as a credible authority on the secret science concerning external control of the mind. Throughout his career he also held a DoD issued Top Secret Security clearance as he was exposed to various classified behavioral modification projects. Mark was required to sign an oath of secrecy. To this day he's restricted by sedition laws from revealing certain specific still classified details that directly relates to his employment. More on Mark Phillips...

Roseanne Barr's creation and portrayal of Roseanne Conner on ABC's Roseanne has been hailed as "the most ground breaking kitchen-sink sitcom since All in the Family, (Entertainment Weekly)" adding, "She's the funniest disturber of peace that we have." In 1998, she hosted her own talk show, The Roseanne Show, for two seasons. Currently, she speaks truth to power at her website and blog RoseanneWorld.com and can be heard Wednesdays at 5PM PT on Pacifica Radio's KPFK 90.7FM. She also has a Sunday radio show at KCAARadio.com and a program on FreeSpeech TV called Tipping Point. She is proud to work with organizations such as ACORN and Children of the Night.

Dr. Colin Ross is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of traumatic stress and trauma related disorders. He's the founder and president of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma and is the Executive Medical Director of three trauma programs located in Dallas, Texas - Grand Rapids, Michigan - and Torrance, California. Dr. Ross has written extensively on the subject of dissociation and trauma. His latest books include The Trauma Model: A Solution to the Problem of Comorbidity in Psychiatry and Schizophrenia: Innovations in Diagnosis and Treatment. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Associations and the Int'l Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, and is currently a consultant on the hit Showtime series United States of Tara (1st season).

Children of the Night is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1979 that is dedicated to assisting children between the ages of 11 and 17 who are forced to prostitute on the streets for food to eat and a place to sleep. Since 1979 Children of the Night has rescued girls and boys from prostitution and the domination of vicious pimps. This much needed organization provides all programs with the support of private donations.

Good Karma PR is a small public relations firm dedicated to helping promote the works of those individuals and organizations that are doing something good for the world. Good Karma PR has worked with; Roseanne Barr, Cynthia McKinney For President, Ed Asner, John Trudell, Dr. Steven Jones, William Rodriguez, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Clifford Carnicom and Dr. Gwen Scott ND. They've also helped launch films such as America: Freedom to Fascism, Washington You're Fired and The Elephant in the Room.

Views expressed in this Press Release are not necessarily those of the United Methodist Church, or Children of the Night. This event is supported by We Are Change Los Angeles.


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Roseanne Barr will speak out against torture on Friday June 5th 2009 in Hollywood.

Roseanne Barr will speak out against torture on Friday June 5th 2009 in Hollywood.
Roseanne Barr
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Presumption of competence. Because being accused of mental illness is similar to
being accused of crime, we ought to presume that psychiatric "defendants" are
mentally competent, just as we presume that criminal defendants are legally
innocent. Individuals charged with criminal, civil, or interpersonal offenses
ought never to be treated as incompetent solely on the basis of the opinion of
mental health experts. Incompetence ought to be a judicial determination and the
"accused" ought to have access to legal representation and a right to trial by
jury. Thomas Szasz, MD
Are Children the Enemy?



Sunday, May 10, 2009

ON my return in 1971 from five years' exile in England, my friends seemed to think I needed to be reintroduced to Jamaica.

They were right. My first shock was downtown Kingston, which resembled parts of Berlin as it was then. In 1966 when I went to Berlin, there were huge gaps in the cityscape caused by allied military action - by aircraft or tanks during the Second World War.

Kingston's wounds were caused by friendly fire, the work of the misnamed Ministry of Development and Welfare and the equally oxymoronic Urban Development Corporation.

Between them, 40 years ago, they were going to turn Kingston into a tropical Miami with all mod cons. Instead of proceeding one building or one block at a time, Mr Edward Seaga and Mr Moses Matalon were going to transform the city, overnight. Boom! Another one gone!

As we drove through the silent ruins of Port Royal Street, Harbour Street, Rumbo Lane, Little Port Royal Street and South Street, something strange began to happen. Whenever we stopped the car by some derelict building so that I could try to envisage what had been, suddenly into the headlights erupted hordes of little boys, scuttling like rats or cockroaches in every direction, running as fast as their meagre legs would carry them.

"Why are they running?" I asked.

"They think we're the police, come to catch them and beat them up."
MYERS... hanged himself last week

This was new to me. I had written a great deal about police brutality before being forced to take my talents elsewhere, but I hadn't heard, till then, of the police hunting children.

About three years later, when Mr Eli Matalon was minister of national security, I embarrassed him and Michael Manley's government by asking the minister on television, what he planned to do with the dozens of children then being brutalised in police lockups. He said he wasn't aware of that situation. When I provided him with some facts about the police lockup a couple of hundred yards from the JBC studios - "the Black Hole of Half-Way-Tree" - he promised to get the children out of the lockups. A few years later, again on TV, I asked the then minister of youth and community development, Douglas Manley, the question I'd asked Matalon. He actually had been moving children out of lockups and into places of safety. The problem was that the system had not been designed to deal with 'trickle-down' development. The police fish-pots kept trapping the small fry.

Sexual Predators?

Two weeks ago, the Miami Herald carried one of the saddest stories I've ever read.

It begins:

"At age 7, Gabriel Myers was already well on his way to becoming a sexual predator.

"He had exposed himself to classmates. He had kissed another boy. And his uncle warned child-welfare administrators Gabriel had described what he wanted to do with several little girls at his Christian private school.

"Gabriel, who may himself have been sexually molested by another boy in Ohio before moving to South Florida, had been on several strong psychiatric drugs before he hanged himself last week at a Margate foster home."

One of the Herald's readers posted a comment that expressed much of what I felt when I read the story:

"Shame on The Miami Herald for allowing this defamatory piece of trash to post. This poor child who was utterly failed by most if not all in his life is now being further victimised in his death. This disgusts me and I will cancel my subscription. We treat animals more humanely than you have this child. I hope you will write more to uncover what travesty lead to this untimely death which I would hardly term a suicide. A child who has barely been on this earth a few years and was in the care of the state for less than a year is tragically gone due to circumstances that were not at all within his control. You have left me angered and disappointed."

Another wrote:

"Wow. So, a seven-year-old child "kills himself" after behaving in a manner strongly suggestive of severe abuse ... and the Miami Herald devotes an entire article to the most salacious details of the kid's sexual misbehaviour? A molested seven-year-old's 'suicide' is mentioned once - as a small-print caption, no less - though there's somehow enough article space to reference his "list of touchable classmates" twice? "This is sensationalistic journalism at its absolute sickest. You are preying on a dead child to drum up web traffic."

The Los Angeles Times in June last year reported:

"Police said the women routinely beat the boy, [the child of one of them] forced him to put his hands on a hot stove, burned his body and genitals with cigarettes and often would not let him eat or drink. 'At a news conference Friday, LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said that because of the burns from the stove, the boy no longer can open his hands. Lt Vincent Neglia of the LAPD's Abused Child Unit said in a statement Saturday that the abuse was "akin to a level of torture we hope our military personnel would never encounter."

Three weeks ago the Times of London reported: "An 11-year-old boy was left fighting for his life and his nine-year-old friend was found bleeding from head to toe after being attacked and tortured by other children. The boys' attackers demanded mobile phones, money and trainers. When they refused they were said to have been burnt with cigarettes, cut with a knife and beaten with bricks. Two boys aged 10 and 11 have been arrested."

The Infinite evil of Infants

Fifty years ago, after completing her masterwork, My Mother Who Fathered Me, Edith Clarke began research into social conditions in the slums of Kingston. She hadn't been able to complete the research for lack of funds, but she was uncovering a toxic stew of sexual and other physical abuse of girls and boys, mainly by stepfathers.

It is, of course, almost impossible to get any reliable estimates of violence against children and young people especially since the victimisation of boys is concealed by homophobia and other fundamentalist lunacies. It is suggestive, however, that one survey carried out in relation to campaigns against HIV, found that in the parish of St Ann 16 per cent, more than one in six teenage boys, had contemplated or attempted suicide. In the case of girls one Caribbean victimisation survey revealed that 48 per cent of adolescent girls' sexual initiation was "forced" or "somewhat forced" in nine Caribbean countries (Halcon et al, 2003).

People like those who drafted our latest sexual offences act appear to believe, like their cohorts all over the Christian world, that children are born evil and are simply awaiting the opportunity to demonstrate their satanic proclivities.

In Britain a few months ago, the case of "Baby P" - horrifically mistreated to death - created a huge stink, eventually resolved by finding a convenient scapegoat, the head of children's services in the London borough of Haringey.

She was named, shamed and fired, but the real author of the scandal is even now being honoured - Margaret Thatcher who, along with Ronald Reagan, led the western world into its terminal heresy - "there is no such thing as society" and the idea that government is the problem, never the solution. The social workers have never been given the resources they need and in places like Miami, the state transfers its responsibilities to private, so-called non-profit enterprises whose humanity is expressed in prescription psychotropic drugs.

To these bozos and their acolytes like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, the real problem is the sturdy beggars who won't work and expect the world to take care of them. Their principals, salting away their ill-gotten gains in Cayman, Bermuda and similar criminal laundromats, refuse to pay even the derisory flat taxes imposed by people like Mr Patterson, considering it outrageous that they ought to contribute to the common good in some proportion to the profits they have gained from exploiting cheap labour and turning human beings into units of human resources.

The medieval poor laws were in some ways in advance of modern capitalist behaviour. Although "sturdy beggars" could be jailed, whipped and even hanged, the society recognised that there was a case to be made to help those who could not help themselves.

In our societies, it is simpler to warehouse in prison, half a million black, poor, handicapped or otherwise 'sub-normal' people and to dose their women and children with psychotropic drugs to keep them from breaching the peace.

At the age of seven, little Gabriel Myers opted out.
Copyright©2009 John Maxwell

WASP Ascendancy

The Obama presidency seals the ascendancy of this new and powerful Establishment. So what should we expect? Anyone with the slightest acquaintance with elite institutions knows that the new Establishment has inherited the genteel progressivism of the old WASP Establishment. The Ivy League universities provide the clearest case study. Every leftist agenda under the sun has a sinecure--and all the while the institutions carefully protect their mainstream academic predominance.

The easy combination of progressive ideals with institutional conservatism characterizes Establishment leadership. When the chips are down, what matters most is protecting the status quo. Therefore, the new Establishment evident in the Obama administration is likely to govern from the middle, as did the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, which were dominated by the old Establishment. Expect moderate economic interventions and no fundamental changes in foreign policy.

Establishments, however, are not friendly to all sectors of society. They try to tamp down competitors. The power of new money is always a threat. Wealthy outsiders and upstarts challenge the status quo. It's not an accident that the 1950s and 1960s, decades of Establishment dominance, saw high marginal tax rates.

We should expect the same from the new Establishment, along with greater governmental management of economic affairs. It's troubling when the wrong sorts of people get rich, and doubly troubling when they use their new wealth to try to influence politics.

Establishments are always suspicious of grassroots movements and populism. The new Establishment may be committed to progressive social ideals, but it wants people with advanced degrees to lead the charge. The universities, foundations, and judiciary are favored instruments for social change. Experts need to lead the way, because ordinary folks can't be trusted to understand the complexities of social systems and identify their own best interests
. Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? provides an excellent argument in support of the new Establishment tendency toward progressive paternalism.
There are 70 conflicts worldwide, so why do we focus on just one?
By Stephen King

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yes, there is public feeling about the Palestinians and their rotten deal. I’ve never heard Chechnya being discussed on the DART, whereas I have heard Israel being trashed on buses as well as at smart dinner parties. Besides, who’s ever heard of a "Sri Lanka out of Tamil Eelam" march through Cork or calls for a boycott of Russia?

I OWE Micheál Martin an apology of sorts. I admit that when I read media reports of his discussions with Ban Ki-moon in New York at the weekend my eyes rolled up to the heavens.

The country’s most senior representative to the rest of the world has a rare opportunity to raise Ireland’s issues with the UN secretary-general and what’s his top priority? Yes, you guessed it – Gaza.

It’s not that Gaza isn’t an important issue facing the world. It is. What Gaza is not, though, is an issue where Europe, let alone Ireland, can wield much positive influence. Gaza will only be sorted when the Arab states, the US and Israel – probably in that order – decide it should be sorted.

But I was wrong. I had swallowed the media line. Yes, Micheál Martin and Ban Ki-moon did talk about Gaza, but it was just one subject among others.

In fact, when you look at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) press release, the first item of discussion listed was one where Ireland has a very direct interest, namely Chad.

So what caused my blood pressure to rise? Was Gaza the topic the DFA’s spindoctors were pushing? Possibly. Was the position on Gaza the most objectively newsworthy? Again, possibly: the Pope is in the region and Ireland tends to be at one end of the European spectrum of opinion on anything to do with Israel.

The third possibility, and the one that seems to me most likely, is that the media has a fixation on Israel (and its supposed crimes) which is, for want of a better word, disproportionate. That’s why the line about Gaza led several media reports of Minister Martin’s meeting.

If I were Jewish, I would be told I’m paranoid for thinking the world and its media are out to get me. After all, the fact that Israel is the world’s one and only Jewish state – amidst a vast ocean of Muslim states – inevitably makes many Jewish people think it’s them, and not Israel as such, which is in the media’s sights. But I’m not Jewish. Besides, just because people are paranoid doesn’t mean others aren’t out to get them.

A quick scan of the world’s trouble spots makes my point. The well-respected International Crisis Group is currently tracking 70 conflicts around the world, from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zimbabwe. Yes, 70: we live in a dangerous world.

Some of these are very familiar to us: Northern Ireland, Iraq, the Basque country, North Korea and, of course, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Others are not nightly news: Kashmir, Burma, Eritrea and so on. And then there are the conflicts we have forgotten about, or never really heard about too much because they are far away or poor, or both: Armenia versus Azerbaijan, Mindanao in the Philippines, Morocco/western Sahara and Aceh.

Some of the 70 hotspots are especially deadly. Millions of black Africans have died in Congo in the past decade, well below most people’s radar.

Sri Lanka has had a bit of a focus in recent weeks – though hardly the minute-by-minute wraparound coverage Gaza had in January. How many of us were really aware of the fact that more than 80,000 people have died in a quarter of a century of civil war?

Try this. Google "Tamil Tigers" and you will receive 2.3 million results. Google "Hamas" and you get 10 times as many – and Hamas hasn’t been around nearly as long. It’s the same if you Google "Tamils" and "Palestinians". Is the difference that the Tigers might have killed Rajiv Gandhi but, unlike the Palestinians, have rarely brought their murderous tactics to Europe directly? The Sri Lankan conflict, at least in its military phase, looks as though it is coming to an end. The work of peace-building will last for years to come.

The same could be said about Chechnya. The Russians have just announced the end of their "counter-terrorism" operation. There are no solid figures for the number of civilians killed since the second war began there in late 1999, but estimates range anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000.

Put that in context. Israel might be geographically small – smaller than Munster – but in population terms Chechnya is absolutely tiny. A region with a little more than one million inhabitants has seen anything up to one-fifth of its civilian population killed in two decades of war. And one school siege aside, we have largely looked the other way.

By comparison, 6,000 Palestinians – armed and civilian together – out of a Palestinian population in the territories three to four times that of Chechnya have died since the second intifada of 2001.

It goes without saying that any civilian death is a tragedy – and, very often, an outrage – but search for Chechnya on the DFA website and you only receive one-tenth of the number of hits that you do for Israel. No-one believes the DFA is somehow in league with the Russians and supports their quasi-colonial war against Chechnya, but it does go to show some perspective has been lost somewhere along the line.

Yes, there is public feeling about the Palestinians and their rotten deal. I’ve never heard Chechnya being discussed on the DART, whereas I have heard Israel being trashed on buses as well as at smart dinner parties. Besides, who’s ever heard of a "Sri Lanka out of Tamil Eelam" march through Cork or calls for a boycott of Russia?

But whose fault is that? Dare I suggest, the media? As a result, Israel has learned a lesson from the Russians and the Sri Lankans: impose a media ban and the world leaves you pretty much alone. No one could condone the ban during the Gaza offensive – and being host to the world’s second largest press corps, after Washington, means you pay a high price in terms of stroppy hacks – but it does seem to work.

SO WHY why the obsession with Israel? It’s the only country in the world whose existence is queried is one reason. It’s the Holy Land to the world’s two largest faiths is another. That al-Qaeda sometimes backs the Palestinian cause makes Israel/Palestine strategically important – but that’s true of Chechnya, too.

Maybe it’s the oil in the Middle East region that makes Arab countries important in western capitals (while distracting from their own despotism)?

Could it be some wrongheaded notion of guilt for having set up Israel after the Holocaust, when actually Israel fought British imperialism for its independence? Could it be, as many Israelis believe, that we see Israelis as Jews and, therefore, as bloodthirsty sub-humans in the latest manifestation of centuries-old anti-semitism?

Or is it just anti-Americanism? Perhaps it’s a little to do with each of these factors. But could it actually be that we see Israelis as very much like ourselves – sophisticated, prosperous, well-educated, fairly pale-skinned democrats? Do we hate ourselves that much? It’s either that or Israel simply isn’t deadly enough to deter the journalists too afraid to work in fly-ridden Congo.

Gaza for breakfast, back to the pool at the American Colony Hotel in time for tea, and pick up an attractive girl or strapping lad at a bar after dinner. Same again tomorrow, please. Just try doing that in Darfur.

Read more: http://www.examiner.ie/story.aspx?id=91585&m=
Ultra right vs immigrants in EU vote

By Sophie Pons
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 12:22:00 05/24/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Politics, Justice & Rights, Migration

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Close this PRAGUE, Czech Republic—Spreading an unashamedly anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant, and anti-European message, far-right parties are aiming to take the European Union Parliament by storm in looming elections.

From Bulgaria in the east of the 27-nation club to Britain in the wealthier west, hard-line parties are seizing on the fears of communities who have seen jobs lost and homes seized in the recession.

Governments across the European Union, particularly in the former communist East Bloc, have expressed concern about the rise of the extreme right.

The National Party in the Czech Republic has touted a "final solution of the Gypsy question" in television adverts for the elections which will be held across Europe from June 4 to 7.

"'The final solution' was a Nazi euphemism for a premeditated murder of millions of Jews, Roma, homosexuals, and people with disabilities," said Council of Europe secretary general Terry Davis.

"The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to the freedom of expression, but the Convention also sets limits. Personally, I believe that a call for 'a final solution to the Gypsy issue' falls well outside these limits."

Neo-Nazis from the rival Workers Party have held anti-Roma marches as part of their campaign effort and Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer this week called for the party to be banned.

In Hungary, hard-hit by the crisis, the ultra-nationalist Jobbik party has launched just as aggressively into the election campaign.

"The lesson from the 1930s is that an economic and social crisis, if it is not contained, not controlled, can give ground to a significant strengthening of radical movements," said Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai. "And we should stop that," he added.

The far-right could get at least 15 extra seats in the 736-member European parliament.

The British National Party (BNP) expects to get at least one seat as it steps up a breakthrough which has worried some commentators and mainstream politicians in the country.

With a "British jobs for British workers" slogan, the party's Cambridge University educated chairman Nick Griffin could get one seat.

The BNP has exploited a national scandal over lawmakers' expenses and warned against what it calls the European Union's "dangerous drive... to give 80 million low-wage Muslim Turks the right to swamp Britain."

Turkey's campaign to join the EU has featured strongly in many countries.

Bulgaria's Ataka party expects to win four seats with its "No to Turkey in Europe" campaign. In the Netherlands, polls suggest the Party for Freedom (PVV) of islamophobic lawmaker Geert Wilders will take two or three seats.

The Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) campaign calls for "the West in the hands of Christians." It could get up to 19 percent of votes in the election, giving it three of Austria's 17 European Parliament seats.

The other far-right party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZO), may also get one European lawmaker, according to polls.

In Romania, the Greater Romania Party also hopes to get an EU parliament seat after a campaign under the headline: "Christians and patriots to rid this country of thieves."

In Finland, opinion polls have named Timo Soini, head of the True Finns party, as the most recognizable and most popular single candidate.

The party has seen a spectacular rise in support in recent years which observers attribute to its criticism of the government's immigration and EU policies.

"As long as there is a complicated and tense economic, financial, and hence social situation, we may expect violent reactions and an impact on voters' behavior," Brussels political analyst Pascal Delwit told AFP.

He said this was particularly true for eastern European countries, which have seen years of economic expansion halted by the crisis.

Delwit said it was difficult to assess how successful the far-right parties would be as "a considerable part of far-right voters generally do not show up for the EU elections."

The extreme-right is better organized now than ever before however.

Up to now, all the parties have never formed a lasting alliance at European level. But the new eurosceptic Libertas party, which stresses national sovereignty, expects to present its candidates in all 27 EU countries.

"Their rhetoric places them in the rich vein of populism, with the same discourse of denouncing the system," said Delwit.
Pill wars: debate heats up over 'brain booster' drugs.
Adults are taking stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, normally used to treat serious medical conditions, to boost their concentration and job performance. Critics ask: Is it making Americans too dependent on their medicine cabinets?
By Gregory M. Lamb | / staff writer
from the May 10, 2009 edition

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Boston - It's a play right out of the Twitter era and the family medicine cabinet. "Distracted," at an off-Broadway theater in New York, examines the ever-shortening attention span of modern life – including the moral conundrum of whether a restive 9-year-old should be given pills to alter his mood.

At one point, an actor breaks from character to address the audience directly and advocate the use of Ritalin and Adderall, two prescription stimulants, which, he says, helped him learn his lines. [Editor's note: The
original version wrongly called Ritalin and Adderall over-the-counter drugs.]

The aside encapsulates a growing debate in scientific circles and living rooms across America: Should adults be using so-called "brain-boosting" drugs – normally intended to treat serious medical conditions – to improve concentration and performance?

College students, of course, have been using stimulants for years: They take such things as modafinil, Adderall, and Ritalin (euphemistically known on campuses as "vitamin R") to enhance their memories for exams or to stay up all night and press out a term paper. By one estimate, at least 10 percent of American college students use prescription drugs as study aids.

Now the general adult population is turning to the pills, too – often illegally – to boost productivity and enhance their mental prowess on the job. Some experts laud the development: They think it's time to consider making the stimulants legal for brain-boosting functions.

But critics worry it will accelerate a slide toward a drugged society. In an era when people take everything from Viagra to enhance their romance to steroids to enhance their baseball statistics, they argue that the addition of so-called "cognitive enhancement" drugs will only make us more dependent on the pill bottle.

Ultimately, it raises the most fundamental questions about identity and what it means to be human: Are we the sum of our experiences or the sum of our pills? As Carl Elliott writes in his book, "Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream": "Today, enhancement technologies are not just instruments for self-improvement, or even self-transformation – they are tools for working on the soul."

LAST SUMMER, Michael Arrington, the founder of the influential technology blog TechCrunch, wrote a post asking, "How many Silicon Valley start-up executives are hopped up on Provigil?" He was referring to the stimulant, which is the brand name for modafinil, that doctors normally prescribe to treat excessive drowsiness associated with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. "[T]he buzz lately is that it's the 'entrepreneur's drug of choice' around Silicon Valley," the post said.

In an online poll in the British science journal Nature last year, answered by 1,400 people in 60 countries, 1 in 5 said they had used drugs for nonmedical reasons "to stimulate their focus, concentration, or memory." Only about half had a prescription for the drug they were using. A third had bought the drugs over the Internet. And even though about half reported unpleasant side effects, 4 out of 5 "thought that healthy adults should be able to take the drugs if they want to," Nature reported.

Philip Harvey is one who uses them. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, he regularly flies from Georgia to Europe on business. To prepare for his flight, he takes modafinil. He uses the stimulant to feel alert and rested, despite lost sleep, allowing him to return to his family faster. He has no trouble getting a prescription from his doctor. "From Atlanta, I can get to Europe by 6 a.m. and give a 9 a.m. presentation," he says. "It lets you go and come back the same day, or go over one day and come back the next."

In the current debate over brain boosters, the focal point of much of the discussion has been a commentary in the December issue of Nature. Seven prominent bioethicists noted that the drugs "are 'disruptive technologies' that could have a profound effect on human life in the twenty-first century." While calling for more research to better understand the safety and effectiveness of use in healthy individuals, the piece went on to advocate that "mentally competent adults should be able to engage in cognitive enhancement using drugs."

In the months since, the paper has met with both hearty approval and deep reservations from scientists and other bioethicists. "Anything that can help our brains deal better with the complex challenges of the twenty-first century is to be not only welcomed but actively sought," wrote Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, in a letter to the journal.

The commentary served its purpose to "kick up" a needed discussion, says Henry Greely, a bioethicist and professor of law at Stanford University and one of the coauthors of the Nature commentary. He received far more e-mails about the article than for any other he's published. The aim, he said, was to argue that "enhancement is not fundamentally a dirty word."

"I think people should think of [drugs] as just one more of many different ways we try to improve our minds," Dr. Greely says. "I'm a teacher. I'm in the enhancement business. I'm trying to enhance my students' brains."

But others were disappointed with the commentary. "It's not really a piece of science. It's an editorial arguing that we should use more drugs," says George Annas, chairman of the department of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights at Boston University. He wonders why an article taking the other side of the debate didn't accompany it, and why the authors called for looser strictures on use of the drugs before more is known about them. "The way you make sure they're not harmful is you do a study before you widely advise people to use them," he says.

Critics argue more time is needed with the petri dishes and field testing before the drugs are used as mind enhancers. "The reality [is] that there is very little research to document whether [these drugs] are universally beneficial, whether they could be detrimental, what are the long-term outcomes, what are the side effects," says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a US government agency. "There's really very, very limited knowledge."

What troubles Dr. Volkow is how the commentary dismissed the dangers of these drugs, equating taking them with drinking coffee, "which is, to say the least, an irresponsible way to present it and an inaccurate one," she says.

In March, Volkow published a small preliminary study showing that taking modafinil might be addictive in humans, increasing the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in addiction.

Nearly everyone talking about brain-boosting drugs agrees that they ought to be both safe and effective before being widely used. But some worry about other problems they present. Would workers, for example, feel coerced to use enhancement drugs in order to win promotions or even simply to keep their jobs?

"For example, what if hospitals started to demand that medical residents dose up on methylphenidate, a drug used to improve concentration, as a prerequisite for employment?" asks Jacob Appel in an article last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics called "When the boss turns pusher." Or what if fast-food chains insisted that employees take antidepressants to keep them calm and upbeat when confronted by dissatisfied customers?

Employers may face a dilemma. "Denying some individuals the opportunity to enhance in this way clearly undermines their right to do with their bodies as they choose," he says. "However, to permit some to engage in these enhancements may lead to an inevitable race to the bottom – or top – in which employers and market forces pressure more and more American workers to place their brains at the disposal of their bosses."

More broadly, some worry that as more brain-enhancing drugs come on the market in the next 10 to 15 years, countries may battle for "neuro competitive advantage" in the workforce. If you're a 58-year-old person living in Boston who's competing with a 25-year-old in Mumbai, for instance, you might be tempted to use the drugs – whether or not they're legal in the US, notes Zach Lynch, executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group.

Moreover, even if they are illegal, or regulated, enforcing those controls would be difficult. "Living in a global economy, I think it's going to be very hard to regulate the use of these [drugs] in the future, if they're safe and effective," Mr. Lynch says.

Brain-boosting drugs are already being considered for another workplace – the military. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on "all kinds of drugs to make you stronger, to make you eat less," says Dr. Annas. "They want soldiers to function for up to five days without sleep. That would certainly require drugs. Whether that would have any long-term consequences, I don't think anybody knows yet."

A drug called donepezil, developed to treat Alzheimer's disease, has been shown to modestly increase memory in healthy people. It may become a Viagra-like hit with baby boomers worried about cognitive decline. Work is also under way to use drugs or other methods to selectively erase memories, something that could be used to ease post-traumatic stress among soldiers returning from war, allowing them to forget what they did on the battlefield. Annas sees problems here. "I think we want to have remorse about killing," he says.

Advocates point out that humans already "enhance" their thinking in a variety of ways, from drinking beverages with caffeine (a known stimulant), to exercising to brighten their mood, to relying on a computer to increase knowledge, to simply getting a good night's sleep before a big test.

But for some, a caution light goes on when we're changing the way the brain works, particularly when so little is known about it. "Not only do we not have a model for how our brains do complex tasks, we can't even imagine one," Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, told Wired magazine earlier this year.

AT THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL, the drugs challenge perceptions of who we are. Some people believe the next big scientific revolution will be turning our technological prowess on the world within, notably our brains, rather than the world around us. Neuroscience, which includes the development of brain enhancers, is part of this "revolution."

In this realm, some experts suggest that using pills to alter thinking or mood comes too close to altering our sense of self. "In seeking by these [biotechnologies] to be better than we are or to like ourselves better than we do, we risk 'turning into someone else,' confounding the identity we have acquired through natural gift cultivated by genuinely lived experiences," wrote Leon Kass in a 2003 report on human enhancement from the President's Council on Bioethics.

Yet others argue the definition of what is one's "real" self will be up to the individual – and should be.

"It's not at all clear that people feel more themselves when they're unmedicated than when they're medicated," says James Hughes, director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies in Hartford, Conn. "Some people are going to feel more 'themselves' when they take the drugs, and some are not going to feel more themselves."

As drug and biotechnology companies look to expand their products and markets, more possibilities for illicit use may lie ahead. Cephalon Inc. is planning to launch Nuvigil, a longer-lasting version of Provigil, later this year. The company sold nearly $1 billion of Provigil last year, but the drug is going off patent in 2012. Cephalon says a study shows that Nuvigil works to alleviate jet lag, and it is expected to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add jet lag as a new medical condition.

Many argue that more research is needed on existing drugs before we start thinking about new ones. Greely, for one, says we don't have any "real evidence about the effects, short-term or long-term," of Adderall and Ritalin, which are both used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, on healthy people. As companies seek approval from the FDA for new drugs, if they seem likely to be used for enhancement, "we should require some research on those off-label uses," he says.

If a drug is truly quite safe, he says, the FDA could make an early decision to permit over-the-counter sales. On the other hand, it also could place tough limits on who could prescribe a particular drug or limit the number of pills per prescription.

In the end, if it's true that we only use a small part of our brain now, people are always going to try to improve on that, Annas says, "and drugs are a way in."

"But we certainly want to think this through and do careful, controlled studies before we move toward over-the-counter sales."

• Sarah More McCann contributed to this story