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~ Dr. Archibald T. Staph, Ph.D, President


Latest War Brought to You by YouTube

CATEGORY: War, Videos, YouTube

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: How much fun is this?! - Fresh war videos on YouTube, up-to-date and action-packed! More armies need to follow the lead of the Israeli Defense Forces and start a channel TODAY on YouTube. Just look at the upside - 1. Message Control, 2. Easy Distribution, 3. Huge "Wow" Factor. Really, does war get any better than this?

IDF Launches YouTube Gaza Channel

In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet.

The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.

"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," said Foreign Press Branch head Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We have to be relevant there," she said.

Her sentiment reflects a growing awareness in the Israeli government that part of the failure of the 2006 Lebanon campaign was Israel's lack of readiness for the intense media debate surrounding its operations. Since the beginning of the Gaza air strikes, Israeli politicians have been appearing regularly on the largest international news networks to defend the IDF.

Leibovich's YouTube initiative at is one more piece of the new media offensive.

Some of the footage might be considered disturbing, such as one video that allegedly depicts men loading rockets onto a pickup truck, to be driven to the border and launched into Israel. The grainy, silent, black-and-white video was transmitted from a plane flying overhead. Moments after the men finish loading their cargo, they are incinerated by an air strike.

Major Leibovich was not overly concerned. "The intelligent audience watching the footage will know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel," she said. "I don't believe they'll be disturbed."

"The important thing is to get the truth out there," she added, noting that in addition to curating the YouTube channel, her office had delivered multiple private briefings to bloggers around the world. She said that members of her department were also getting ready to start their own "vlogs," a new media term for regularly posting videos of oneself speaking one's mind in diary form.

Members of the IDF's various foreign desks intend to use these vlogs to discuss a number of aspects of the conflict, in both English and Arabic, in a personal setting that they hope will overcome the stiffness of television news.


"I'm Not a Racist - I'm a Classist."

CATEGORY: Disaster, Opportunity, Cleansing

DIVISION: Modern Evil

NOTE: As Naomi Klein has well-documented, there is opportunity in chaos, no matter the crisis. Katrina, like the Iraq Invasion, was a great time to get rid of misfits, settle old scores, and call 'mulligan' to re-jig the communities. The Lesson? Disaster preparation should not only be for emergency survival, but also for neighborhood adjustments and retribution justice.

Katrina's Hidden Race War

By A.C. Thompson

The way Donnell Herrington tells it, there was no warning. One second he was trudging through the heat. The next he was lying prostrate on the pavement, his life spilling out of a hole in his throat, his body racked with pain, his vision blurred and distorted.

It was September 1, 2005, some three days after Hurricane Katrina crashed into New Orleans, and somebody had just blasted Herrington, who is African-American, with a shotgun. "I just hit the ground. I didn't even know what happened," recalls Herrington, a burly 32-year-old with a soft drawl.

The sudden eruption of gunfire horrified Herrington's companions--his cousin Marcel Alexander, then 17, and friend Chris Collins, then 18, who are also black. "I looked at Donnell and he had this big old hole in his neck," Alexander recalls. "I tried to help him up, and they started shooting again." Herrington says he was staggering to his feet when a second shotgun blast struck him from behind; the spray of lead pellets also caught Collins and Alexander. The buckshot peppered Alexander's back, arm and buttocks.

Herrington shouted at the other men to run and turned to face his attackers: three armed white males. Herrington says he hadn't even seen the men or their weapons before the shooting began. As Alexander and Collins fled, Herrington ran in the opposite direction, his hand pressed to the bleeding wound on his throat. Behind him, he says, the gunmen yelled, "Get him! Get that nigger!"

>> Read Full Article

Buy A Slave and Change Your Life

CATEGORY: Slavery, Cost, How-To

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: Let's face it - we need slaves. We must have slaves to do all those really lousy chores that no one wants to do. Slaves build empires and make fortunes possible. Slaves are the indispensable manufacturing force of every society throughout history. And slavery is here to stay. So stop being squeamish and get one today. Mr. Skinner will now tell you how-

A World Enslaved

By E. Benjamin Skinner

Standing in New York City, you are five hours away from being able to negotiate the sale, in broad daylight, of a healthy boy or girl. He or she can be used for anything, though sex and domestic labor are most common. Before you go, let’s be clear on what you are buying. A slave is a human being forced to work through fraud or threat of violence for no pay beyond subsistence. Agreed? Good.

Most people imagine that slavery died in the 19th century. Since 1817, more than a dozen international conventions have been signed banning the slave trade. Yet, today there are more slaves than at any time in human history.

And if you’re going to buy one in five hours, you’d better get a move on. First, hail a taxi to JFK International Airport, and hop on a direct flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The flight takes three hours. After landing at Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport, you will need 50 cents for the most common form of transport in Port-au-Prince, the tap-tap, a flatbed pickup retrofitted with benches and a canopy. Three quarters of the way up Route de Delmas, the capital’s main street, tap the roof and hop out. There, on a side street, you will find a group of men standing in front of Le Réseau (The Network) barbershop. As you approach, a man steps forward: “Are you looking to get a person?”

Meet Benavil Lebhom. He smiles easily. He has a trim mustache and wears a multicolored, striped golf shirt, a gold chain, and Doc Martens knockoffs. Benavil is a courtier, or broker. He holds an official real estate license and calls himself an employment agent. Two thirds of the employees he places are child slaves. The total number of Haitian children in bondage in their own country stands at 300,000. They are the restavèks, the “stay-withs,” as they are euphemistically known in Creole. Forced, unpaid, they work in captivity from before dawn until night. Benavil and thousands of other formal and informal traffickers lure these children from desperately impoverished rural parents, with promises of free schooling and a better life.

The negotiation to buy a child slave might sound a bit like this:

“How quickly do you think it would be possible to bring a child in? Somebody who could clean and cook?” you ask. “I don’t have a very big place; I have a small apartment. But I’m wondering how much that would cost? And how quickly?”

“Three days,” Benavil responds.

“And you could bring the child here?” you inquire. “Or are there children here already?”

“I don’t have any here in Port-au-Prince right now,” says Benavil, his eyes widening at the thought of a foreign client. “I would go out to the countryside.”

You ask about additional expenses. “Would I have to pay for transportation?”

“Bon,” says Benavil. “A hundred U.S.”

Smelling a rip-off, you press him, “And that’s just for transportation?”

“Transportation would be about 100 Haitian,” says Benavil, or around $13, “because you’d have to get out there. Plus [hotel and] food on the trip. Five hundred gourdes.”

“Okay, 500 Haitian,” you say.

Now you ask the big question: “And what would your fee be?” This is the moment of truth, and Benavil’s eyes narrow as he determines how much he can take you for.

“A hundred. American.”

“That seems like a lot,” you say, with a smile so as not to kill the deal. “How much would you charge a Haitian?”

Benavil’s voice rises with feigned indignation. “A hundred dollars. This is a major effort.”

You hold firm. “Could you bring down your fee to 50 U.S.?”

Benavil pauses. But only for effect. He knows he’s still got you for much more than a Haitian would pay. “Oui,” he says with a smile.

But the deal isn’t done. Benavil leans in close. “This is a rather delicate question. Is this someone you want as just a worker? Or also someone who will be a ‘partner’? You understand what I mean?”

You don’t blink at being asked if you want the child for sex. “I mean, is it possible to have someone that could be both?”

“Oui!” Benavil responds enthusiastically.

If you’re interested in taking your purchase back to the United States, Benavil tells you that he can “arrange” the proper papers to make it look as though you’ve adopted the child.

He offers you a 13-year-old girl.

“That’s a little bit old,” you say.

“I know of another girl who’s 12. Then ones that are 10, 11,” he responds.

>> Read Full Articl


Want a Recession-Proof Job? Become a Pirate.

CATEGORY: Pirate, Wealth, Career

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: A pirate's life is becoming more lucrative and Disney-fied every day. Success builds on success and with every ransom paid, children's dreams of becoming pirates increase. So prep the kiddies with an eye-patch and an AK-47. Piracy is now a career option.

What's It Like to be a Pirate? In Dirt-Poor Somalia, Pretty Good

By Shashank Bengali

NAIROBI, Kenya — There's at least one job these days that's recession-proof, if you can handle shark-infested seas, outrun some of the world's most powerful navies and keep your cool when your hostages get antsy.

A pirate's life in Somalia isn't for everyone. However, nothing comes easily in one of the poorest and most unstable countries on Earth, and when you consider the dearth of career options for Somalis on land, a pirate's life starts to look more than cushy by comparison.

"Is there any Somali who can earn a million dollars for any business? We get millions of dollars easily for one attack," bragged Salah Ali Samatar, a 32-year-old pirate who spoke by phone from Eyl, a pirate den on Somalia's desolate northern coast.

Hundreds of pirates such as Samatar — zipping around in simple fiberglass speedboats and usually armed with nothing more sophisticated than automatic rifles — have turned the waters off East Africa into a terrifying gantlet for cargo vessels, oil tankers and even cruise ships sailing between Europe and Asia.

The International Maritime Bureau says that at last count 42 ships have been hijacked off Somalia this year, and experts in neighboring Kenya estimate that Somali pirates have pocketed $30 million in ransoms.

While their countrymen suffer through another political crisis and the looming threat of famine, pirates are splashing hundred-dollar bills like play money around the nowhere towns of northern Somalia.

Residents say that the pirates are building houses, buying flashy cell phones and air-conditioned SUVs, gifting friends and relatives with hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars and winning the attention of beautiful women, who seem to be flocking to pirate towns from miles around.

Shopkeepers charge the pirates a premium for food and khat — a narcotic leaf that Somali men chew religiously — but the buccaneers don't seem to mind.

"It is true," said a 28-year-old pirate who identified himself as Jama. "We are getting very rich."

Jama, who described himself as a high-ranking member of a group based in Eyl, has earned $375,000 as a pirate, enough to buy a Toyota Land Cruiser and to begin building a six-bedroom house in Garowe, the regional capital, for his family.

His biggest payday came last month, when he earned a $92,000 share of a $1.3 million ransom for a Greek ship, the MV Centauri, which was released after 10 weeks with its crew unharmed.

Almost overnight, Jama said, his standing with the fairer sex has improved dramatically.

"Once there was a girl who lived in Garowe," 100 miles from Eyl, Jama said. "I loved her. I tried to approach her many times, but she rejected me. But since I became a pirate, she has tried nine times to get with me.

"But I refused, because I'm already married."

For years, piracy was a middling trade in Somalia, just one way that desperate young men with guns could make a living in a desperately poor land. In recent months, however, with food prices soaring, the interim government careening toward collapse and local authorities powerless to intervene, hardly a day has gone by without an attempt to commandeer a ship.

"Socioeconomic status in Somalia is very bad right now, as we know, and this is one of the reasons pirates have turned to hijacking," said Cyrus Mody of the International Maritime Bureau, based in London. "There are a few people who are gaining a lot."

In September, pirates captured the world's attention by seizing the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship ferrying tanks, grenade launchers and other weapons, reportedly to southern Sudan. In November came an even more brazen haul: the Saudi-owned Sirius Star supertanker, the biggest ship ever hijacked, loaded with $100 million worth of oil. Both vessels are still being held for ransom.

The U.S. military and NATO have deployed warships to patrol the region, and China said this week that it would send a fleet to join the effort. Also this week, the U.N. Security Council authorized nations to chase pirates onto land, although U.S. military officials are skeptical of that tactic, arguing that pirates can easily blend into the local population.

Many of the pirates are former fishermen who claim that they're retaliating against rich countries for years of illegal fishing and dumping in Somali waters, and a small portion of the ransoms is thought to go to local fishermen.

One pirate group in Eyl goes by the name "Saving the Somali Sea," although residents complain that the lion's share of the cash stays in the pirates' pockets.

"This town benefits nothing from the pirates," said Bishara Said Ahmed, a 38-year-old housewife in Eyl. "There's no business increase. It's like how it was before. The pirates use this town just to take ships, and when they have their money, they go to other towns to spend it."

Ransom payments used to be made via hawala, a money-transfer system that functions as a low-fee Western Union in the Muslim world. As the sums have grown, however, ship owners increasingly rely on helicopter drops from Kenya. Wooden crates packed with cash sometimes fall from the sky in Eyl, like manna to the impoverished civilians barely eking out an existence on dry land.

Money-counting machines like the ones at your local bank — "We have to make sure it's real money," Jama explained — tally up amounts so huge that families who have survived on fishing for generations say that young children now want to grow up to be pirates.

"Whenever we hear that a ransom was paid, children's dreams of becoming pirates just increase," Ahmed said.

It isn't just children who are starry-eyed. Mustaf Mohamed Abdi, a 48-year-old taxi driver in Garowe, marveled at the excitement in town when a band of pirates comes through on a spending spree. If he's lucky, Abdi said, a friendly pirate might tip him with a hundred-dollar bill.

"The pirates are the hottest men in town," Abdi said. "Girls from all over Somalia moved here to marry pirates. But if the girl isn't cute she's out of luck, because the pirates only go with beautiful girls."

"Prepare the Apocalypse..."

CATEGORY: Genocide, Mastermind, 333KPH.

DIVISION: Modern Evil

NOTE: Masterminding wholesale slaughter is never easy but there are those who excel at it. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora is the first member of what was then Rwanda's governing elite to be found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. With 800,000 deaths in 100 days, or about 333 killings per hour, Bagosora is pound-for-pound the most evil man on the planet. Congratulations Colonel.

Mastermind Behind Rwanda Genocide Jailed For Life

By Cahal Milmo

A year before 800,000 Rwandans were systematically murdered in a genocidal purge of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora stormed out of peace talks to resolve the central African country's ethnic tensions and warned he was going to "prepare the Apocalypse".

The extent to which the then senior official in Rwanda's extremist Hutu regime was qualified to deliver such an accurate forecast of the genocide that unfolded in 1994 was confirmed yesterday when Bagasora, now 67, was convicted by a UN court of masterminding the wholesale slaughter of his compatriots in the name of racial purity.

He is the first member of what was then Rwanda's governing elite to be found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Tanzania, of organising the killings, mostly committed by the Hutu-dominated army and machete-wielding members of the Interahamwe, a Hutu militia.

Some six years after Bagosora first went on trial, the tribunal's judges ruled that the chief of staff in Rwanda's Defence Ministry was jointly responsible for forming, training and arming the Interahamwe, who were unleashed when a plane carrying the country's Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down on 6 April 1994.

Bagosora, who consistently denied involvement in the plot to wipe out Rwanda's Tutsis, was also found to be responsible for drawing up target lists of prominent Tutsis and moderate Hutus whose homes were targetted.

General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian soldier who headed the UN peacekeeping mission during the genocide, described Bagosora as the "kingpin" of the killings, telling the court how he calmly presided over the start of the campaign in the hours after President Habyarimana's death.

Over 100 days of horror, the slaughter spread from Rwanda's capital, Kigali, to every corner of the verdant but tiny African country. Many victims were stopped at Interahamwe or army roadblocks and murdered on the spot after their Tutsi status was established from their identity card.

In a judgment read to a packed but silent courtroom in Arusha, the tribunal said: "Colonel Bagosora is guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and war crimes." Bagosora, who showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The ruling was greeted with satisfaction by survivors and campaigners who have warned that dozens of senior perpetrators or genocidaires remain at large, many living under new identities abroad. The High Court in London will today finish hearing an appeal by four Rwandans accused of involvement in the genocide who were to be extradited to Rwanda after being found living new lives in Britain.

Responsibility for the firing of two missiles which blew up President Habyarimana's plane over Kigali remains a source of bitter dispute. A French investigating magistrate alleged four years ago that it was done on the orders of Paul Kagame, the present Rwandan President who was the Tutsi rebel leader, at the time. Mr Kagame angrily rejected the claim over which he temporarily severed diplomatic relations with France. What is not in doubt is that the assassination was the catalyst for the genocide.

The tribunal heard evidence that later on the night of 6 April, Bagosora presided over a military "crisis committee" meeting followed by the murder of the Rwandan prime minister and the beginning of the slaughter by members of the Interahamwe and elite presidential guard. General Dallaire, who remained in Rwanda throughout the killing but was banned by the UN from intervening with military force, said: "I concluded [Bagosora] was the kingpin... What I found incredible was I had never found someone so calm and so at ease with what was going on."

Before giving evidence to the ICTR, the retired general said his last encounter with Bagosora had been a chance encounter in a Kigali hotel in 1994 when the Hutu official waved a pistol at him and told him the next time they met he would kill him.

Bagosora, who was arrested in Cameroon in 1997, was also found guilty of being responsible for the murder of 10 Belgian peacekeepers in the early hours of the genocide, an act which prompted the withdrawal of the Belgian contingent from the lightly armed UN force. Gerard Prunier, an eminent French historian of the genocide, wrote: "It seems that, inasmuch as there was a general organiser of the whole operation, this distinction has to go to Colonel Theoneste Bagosora."

During his trial, evidence emerged that the colonel helped draft a document for circulation within the Hutu-dominated army describing Tutsis as "the principal enemy". Rwanda had long been racked by ethnic tension between the Tutsis, a minority seen as being favoured by the country's Belgian colonial rulers, and Hutus.

It was during peace talks with Mr Kagame in Tanzania in 1993 that Bagosora said he was returning to Rwanda to "prepare for the apocalypse". The colonel was alleged to have been a leading member of the Akazu, the inner circle of Hutu extremists close to President Habyarimana.

In his defence, lawyers for Bagosora tried to prove the mass slaughter of Tutsis was not organised and therefore did not meet the definition of genocide. Bagosora, whose own barrister described him as having a "very cold attitude" told the court: "I never killed anybody, nor did I give orders to kill."

The guilty verdict will be seen as further evidence of success for the ICTR. The court has heard 42 genocide cases and acquitted six defendants but has until the end of next year to deliver verdicts in the outstanding 38 cases. The UN General Assembly is discussing whether to extend its mandate.

War Crimes: The Monsters of Rwanda

Jean Kambanda Former Prime Minister

Kambanda – the prime minister at the time – was the first person to be sentenced for crimes against humanity and genocide by an international court. He was jailed for life by the tribunal in September 1998. His crimes included distribution of weapons knowing they would be used in the genocide, and ordering roadblocks to round up the Tutsis.

Jean-Paul Akayesu Former Mayor

Although he was convicted after Kambanda, the genocide prosecution of the former mayor of Taba on nine counts was the world's first. He was accused of torture and initiating rape and murder, but Akayesu claimed he was unable to prevent the killings. He was sentenced to three life terms in October 1998, plus 80 years for other offence.

Ferdinand Nahimana Co-founder of Radio Mille Collines

He was on trial with newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze and Jean-Bosco Baraya-gwiza, a senior radio executive at RTLM. The tribunal found them guilty in December 2003 of committing war crimes and persecution and inciting genocide. Nahimana and Ngeze were sentenced to life (reduced to 30 and 35 years respectively), and Barayagwiza got 35 years.

Tres Letras Pozole = Tijuana Human Stew

CATEGORY: Drug Kingpin, Notoriety, Creativity

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: In the Mexican Drug War, criminals earn respect and credibility with creative killing methods. Your status is based on your capacity to commit the most sadistic acts. Burning corpses, using acid, beheading victims. . . . this generation is setting a new standard for savagery. Leading the way is Teodoro Garcia Simental, a.k.a. "El Teo" or "Tres Letras".

Mystery Man Blamed For Gruesome Tijuana Deaths

By Richard Marosi

Tijuana -- He is said to love the ladies, fast horses and dissolving enemies in lye.

Teodoro Garcia Simental is among the best known but least identifiable villains in Mexico's drug war, blamed for a trail of terror across Baja California.

His heavily armed hit men, authorities say, have been leaving the gruesome displays of charred and decapitated bodies across the city, signed with the moniker "Tres Letras," for the three letters in "Teo." And authorities believe he runs a network of hide-outs where kidnap victims are held in cages.

Yet thousands of police officers, soldiers, state and federal agents can't seem to find him.

Billboards showing Tijuana's most wanted kidnappers don't include Garcia's image, even though he is believed to be behind most of the gang war that has claimed more than 400 lives here since late September.

"That tells you that you don't want to be the one responsible for putting Teo's picture in public," said one U.S. law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There's no future in it."

The alleged crime boss appears chubby-cheeked and sporting an ill-fitting tie and coat in his only published photograph, labeled as No. 27 on the FBI's website. His photo bears no name, and he is listed as one of several dozen people sought for allegedly using false Mexican police identification in connection with slayings, kidnappings and other crimes.

Many police officers, prosecutors and ordinary citizens go silent when Teo's name is mentioned. What is known about him comes from the secret testimony of captured gunmen, narco-messages left with victims and anonymously written narcocorrido ballads sold at swap meets. "Pay attention, President [Felipe Calderon]. . . . In Tijuana, I rule," one song boasts. "We'll show you what a real war is like."

Mexican court documents and interviews with U.S. and Mexican authorities paint a portrait of Garcia as a vengeful crime boss who vows not to go down without a fight.

Garcia is said to be in his mid-30s -- even his date of birth is not known. He reportedly bets big on clandestine horse races at isolated ranches outside Ensenada. He hires people at $400 per week to guard kidnapping victims and to weld together the barrels of caustic chemicals used to dispose of some of his victims, according to documents and interviews. One Mexican law enforcement official said Garcia has killed people at parties, laughing at their stunned reactions.

>> Read Full Article


Acid For Everyone

CATEGORY: Sulfuric Acid, Assault, Justice

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: An eye for an eye is the kind of justice we can all understand and support fully. So dripping sulfuric acid into the eyes of an attacker [who had thrown sulfuric acid at the victim] in retribution makes everyone even. Of course none of this would've happened if they had taken the NRA approach and armed everyone with their own sulfuric acid in the first place.

Woman Blinded by Spurned Man Invokes Islamic Retribution

By Thomas Erdbrink

TEHRAN -- Ameneh Bahrami once enjoyed photography and mountain vistas. Her work for a medical equipment company gave her financial independence. Several men had asked for her hand in marriage, but the hazel-eyed electrical technician had refused them all. "I wanted to get married, but only to the man I really loved," she said.

Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over her head, leaving her blind and disfigured.

Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker's eyes, acceding to Bahrami's demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime. The sentence has not yet been carried out.

The implementation of corporal punishments allowed under Islamic law, including lashing, amputation and stoning, has often provoked controversy in Iran, where many people have decried such sentences as barbaric. This case is different.

Tehran journalist Asieh Amini, who writes about human rights and opposes the sentence, said protest has been muted because people have been moved by Bahrami's story. "It's hard not to get emotional over what has happened to her," Amini said.

Bahrami, 31, said she has fought long and hard to obtain what she views as justice.

"At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid," she said in a recent interview, as rain poured against the windows of her parents' small apartment in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of Tehran. "I am doing that because I don't want this to happen to any other women."

Some officials also said the punishment would be a deterrent.

>> Read the Full Article


Frantically Violent Fairy Tales Are Typical

CATEGORY: Torture, Video Games, Training

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: More torture! More torture! Finally we are joined in our chorus by Wired's Clive Thompson who sees the inherent benefit of injecting more torture [and better torture] into video games. Applied agonies are learning tools - learning about ourselves and others, our limits and our strengths, and the varied cultures of infliction and torment. And the ultimate bonus is, as the current Iraq War has proven in spades, video game training primes the killing pump.

Why We Need More Torture in Videogames

Clive Thompson

To play World of Warcraft now, you've got to be a torturer.

In the recent expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King, there's a quest called "The Art of Persuasion" that requires you to extract information from a tied-up sorcerer. You do this by stinging him repeatedly with a creepy instrument called the "Neural Needler," a device that "inflicts incredible pain to target, but does no lasting damage." After a few minutes, the sorcerer coughs up the info.

As you'd imagine, this little slice of Abu Ghraib set the gameosphere alight with blistering, ideologically freighted debate. Some gamers were straightforwardly creeped out. Others were blasé; games already contain bucketsful of senseless slaughter, they figured, so is torture really worse?

Pioneering game designer Richard Bartle argued that the quest violated in-game canon, since the quest is forced upon people playing with narratively "good" Alliance characters (as opposed to WoW's evil Horde characters). In the end, the Art of Persuasion quest poses a big cultural, aesthetic and political question: Should games include torture?

To which the answer is simple: Sure they should.

In fact, I'll go further. I think we need more torture in videogames.

And better torture.

I should probably unpack these statements a bit. Let me begin by putting my cards on the table: In the real world, I'm unconditionally opposed to torture. This is in part because history has proven it produces unreliable intelligence. Even John McCain signed a bogus confession when tortured by the Viet Cong.

Torture advocates constantly evoke ticking-bomb situations to argue that drastic measures are OK in rare cases, but these scenarios exist only in the fever dreams of Hollywood; they are basically nonexistent in actual, recorded history. And hey, I live in Manhattan, the Top Terrorist Target in the United States. I want good antiterror intel! But you don't get it from torture.

More importantly, torture has devastating repercussions. It permanently erodes the character of the torturer and, worse, of the public that condones the torture. What's more, torture destroys a nation's moral high ground — which is why military commanders consistently oppose it — and incites further acts of terrorism. Torture has consequences.

>> Read Full Article


Hey - I Know That Dead Guy

CATEGORY: Autopsy, Field Trip, Friends

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: Stunned at seeing a fellow classmate on the slab during your latest visit to the Medical Examiner's Office? Shock and/or disappointment at the cadaver selection for your Autopsy Tour is now a thing of the past with Modern Evil's new online booking service - The PostMortem Party Planner. Secure a stiff of your choice, select a time and even choose from the wonderful a la carte options of meals, drinks and music. Like a Ticketmaster for Death, The PostMortem Party Planner makes your Medical Examiner's Office visit a day you'll never forget.

School Autopsy Tours Canceled

Maureen Feighan / The Detroit News

WATERFORD -- For the first time in nearly a decade, the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office isn't offering public school tours this year after a bizarre coincidence this past spring in which a high school group from Waterford watched the autopsy of a 14-year-old girl from the same district.

Oakland County officials said they decided to stop the tours after they were contacted by the girl's parents, who found out about the tour from a student on it and were very upset. Tours are still available for paramedics, police cadets and more career-oriented groups.

Mike Zehnder, the county's director of public services, acknowledges it was "a poor decision" to let the tour go on given the circumstances. But the medical examiner had no legal obligation to contact the girl's parents or keep the autopsy private.

"It was just an unfortunate situation," Zehnder said. "... It was a very popular learning experience (the school tours), but given the human side of this, they were discontinued. I know how I would've felt" as a parent.

Each August, Bob Gerds' phone would ring so incessantly he couldn't keep up with it. One high school science teacher after another would call, hoping to claim a coveted spot to tour the medical examiner's office, which Gerds oversees, and watch an autopsy. By mid-August, tour slots for the entire school year were often filled.

Gerds said he told the teacher who brought the Waterford Kettering High School group in March that the autopsy they'd be observing was of a Waterford middle school student but she said it was OK to proceed.

"She said it was fine," Gerds said. "I told the students that if any of them knew this girl, they should not go back there."

Rhonda Lessel, a Waterford School District spokeswoman, said the teacher talked to her class beforehand and asked whether the group wanted to continue. The class was made up of mostly 12th-graders with some 11th-graders.

None of the students knew the girl, who had committed suicide, but one did know the girl's brother, according to a parent whose child was not on the tour.

"I believe the teacher did what she thought was in the best interest of the students," Lessel said. Lessel said the teacher was not disciplined.

Watching an autopsy -- where attendants open the deceased's chest and skull so a doctor can examine each organ, including the brain, to determine a cause of death -- could be traumatic for a young person, especially if he or she knew the deceased, said Z. Wendy Karougian-Moore, a psychotherapist from Southfield.

Depending on his or her background, "it might be like post-traumatic stress disorder," Karougian-Moore said. "...They could experience nightmares."

For nearly a decade, a trip to the Oakland County Medical Examiner's office was one of the hottest field trips in town for high school biology and forensic science classes. Drawn in part by television shows like "CSI," more than 2,500 people a year used to the tour Oakland's facilities.

Oakland County, which has a glass observation and platform attached to its examining room so tour groups can observe autopsies, was one of the last counties in Michigan to allow high school group tours.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office discontinued its school tours a couple years ago because students weren't taking them seriously, said Chief Investigator Albert Samuels. Macomb County lets high school groups tour its building but not watch autopsies.

"We were finding out that a lot of the (high school) students were treating it like a trip to the planetarium," Samuels said.

Before the March incident, Waterford Schools had routinely sent groups to Oakland's medical examiner's office to witness autopsies as part of a class curriculum, Lessel said.

"It extended learning beyond the classroom," she said.

Robin McGregor's daughter, Alex, who graduated this past spring from Waterford Kettering, was supposed to be part of the tour in March from Kettering's CSI, or crime scene investigation, class. She didn't end up going because she was out of state picking up a scholarship.

"From a parent's perspective, if that was my child, I'd be upset," said McGregor, the former president of the PTA, which did later discuss the incident with its members so parents were aware of it. "But my daughter wants to be a doctor so she'll have to see stuff like this. The kids have learned a lot of good things from seeing these autopsies in the past."

Zehnder said he's gotten complaints from roughly a dozen teachers, disappointed the tours have been discontinued.

"It is a shame, but it was a decision that was made and we have no plans to change it," he said.


The Devil Made Me Do It

CATEGORY: Possession, Swearing, The Devil

DIVISION: Modern Evil

NOTE: "Cuss words" are really the only true way of distinguishing whether you are possessed by the Devil or by a friendlier spirit. If you swear while "under the influence", then you're mixed up in devilry. However, if your language is clean, even though your voice is deep and you're predicting how people will die, then rest assured that you're merely a vessel of divine revelation.

Pelahatchie Students Claim Girl Possessed By Devil

PELAHATCHIE, Miss. -- Students at a Pelahatchie high school said, for three days this week, a girl there spoke in tongues and made grave predictions for her classmates.

Some of those predictions included when students would die.

Pelahatchie High School students called the 16 WAPT newsroom convinced that an evil spirit had taken over Lashundra Clanton.

"It was disturbing to a lot of students," Pelahatchie sophomore Rob Sparks said.

This week, Sparks said one of his classmates came to school in tears. She was speaking in a deep voice, he said, and sometimes spoke in tongues.

Sparks said Clanton told students about little known facts in their past and made predictions on how some of them would die.

"It made some students cry and leave school," Sparks said. "Some have not returned yet."

Sparks and his classmates said they think an evil spirit possessed the girl. They were so convinced that Sparks and his friends brought bibles to school and had a devotional.

"Some believe, some don't." Clanton said. "They say it was the devil, but the devil only tells lies. Everything I said was the truth."

Clanton said she admits she spoke in tongues and made predictions for her classmates. But she said it was God speaking through her, not the devil.

"I didn't cuss anyone out," Clanton said. "If it was a demon, I would have tore that school up. I would have thrown desks and everything. I didn't say no cuss words at all."

Pelahatchie school officials wouldn't comment, but Clanton's mother said the school had counselors and a youth pastor talk to her daughter.

Joyce Spann said she believes God is using her daughter to touch students at Pelahatchie High School.

"They said they didn't know what to do," Spann said. "They didn't know how to handle the problem and they really didn't come up with a solution."

Sparks' father said he's unsure what to believe about Clanton's experience. But he said that school officials should have told parents about what happened. Instead, they heard it from their children.

"It disrupted class, and I think they could have done a little bit better," Clint Sparks said.

Clanton continues to go to class. She said God hasn't spoken through her since Wednesday.

Her mother said the school didn't punish her daughter, though officials warned her that if she disrupts class, they will send her home.

Meanwhile, around town and especially in Pelahatchie's churches, people have been debating if Clanton is delivering messages from God, from the devil or any spirit at all.

We Have Killers Walking Among Us

CATEGORY: Crime-Solving, Murder, How-To

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: It couldn't be easier to get away with murder these days. Given the CSI perception of crime-solving, just follow these simple rules and you'll be able to slaughter with a smile on your face and a skip in your step: 1. Never know your victim, 2. Enter and leave the murder scene within seconds, 3. Act entirely at random.

More Murderers Are Getting Away With It


CHICAGO — Despite the rise of DNA fingerprinting and other "CSI"-style crime-fighting wizardry, more and more people in this country are getting away with murder. FBI figures reviewed by The Associated Press show that the homicide clearance rate, as detectives call it, dropped from 91 percent in 1963 _ the first year records were kept in the manner they are now _ to 61 percent in 2007.

Law enforcement officials say the chief reason is a rise in drug- and gang-related killings, which are often impersonal and anonymous, and thus harder to solve than slayings among family members or friends. As a result, police departments are carrying an ever-growing number of "cold-case" murders on their books.

"We have killers walking among us. We have killers living in our neighborhoods," said Howard Morton, executive director of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons. "It is a clear threat to public safety to allow these murders to go unsolved."

The clearance rate is the number of homicides solved in a year, compared with the number of killings committed that year. The solved killings can include homicides committed in previous years.

The number of criminal homicides committed in the U.S. climbed from 4,566 in 1963 to 14,811 in 2007, according to the FBI. The clearance rate has been dropping pretty steadily over the past four decades, slipping under 80 percent in the early 1970s and below 70 percent in the late 1980s. In cities with populations over 1 million, the 2007 clearance rate was 59 percent, down from 89 percent in 1963.

Detectives say homicides generally become harder to solve as time goes by, as witnesses die and memories fade. Yet cold-case detectives say their units are often understaffed. And local police are getting less help for cold cases from Washington. Funding for the main federal program for such cases was cut 40 percent from 2005 to 2007.

Richard Walton, author of "Cold Case Homicides: Practical Investigative Techniques," attributed the falling clearance rate to a "significant change in crime patterns."

Many slayings nowadays are gang- and drug-related killings _ often, drive-by shootings that involve a burst of gunfire so indiscriminate that killer and victim don't know each other.

"And that makes it difficult for investigators," Walton said. "With the gangs and the drugs, we don't have that ability to establish motive, opportunity and means."

>> Read the Article


How Ethical is a Killer Robot

CATEGORY: War, Ethics, Killer Robots

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: The whole point of a killer robot is to be unethical, to give its operator an "arms-length" alibi and [by extension] free-reign to unleash hell as desired. But we get the point of planting an article in a major newspaper, creating a media-trail so that when it all goes "wrong" [read: as planned] they can say that it wasn't their intention. We understand it and we love it, you sneaky Pentagon devils.

Pentagon Hires British Scientist to Help Build Robot Soldiers That 'Won't Commit War Crimes'

By Tim Shipman in Washington

The US Army and Navy have both hired experts in the ethics of building machines to prevent the creation of an amoral Terminator-style killing machine that murders indiscriminately.

By 2010 the US will have invested $4 billion in a research programme into "autonomous systems", the military jargon for robots, on the basis that they would not succumb to fear or the desire for vengeance that afflicts frontline soldiers.

A British robotics expert has been recruited by the US Navy to advise them on building robots that do not violate the Geneva Conventions.

Colin Allen, a scientific philosopher at Indiana University's has just published a book summarising his views entitled Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong.

He told The Daily Telegraph: "The question they want answered is whether we can build automated weapons that would conform to the laws of war. Can we use ethical theory to help design these machines?"

Pentagon chiefs are concerned by studies of combat stress in Iraq that show high proportions of frontline troops supporting torture and retribution against enemy combatants.

Ronald Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech university, who is working on software for the US Army has written a report which concludes robots, while not "perfectly ethical in the battlefield" can "perform more ethically than human soldiers."

He says that robots "do not need to protect themselves" and "they can be designed without emotions that cloud their judgment or result in anger and frustration with ongoing battlefield events".

Airborne drones are already used in Iraq and Afghanistan to launch air strikes against militant targets and robotic vehicles are used to disable roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.

Last month the US Army took delivery of a new robot built by an American subsidiary of the British defence company QinetiQ, which can fire everything from bean bags and pepper spray to high-explosive grenades and a 7.62mm machine gun.

But this generation of robots are all remotely operated by humans. Researchers are now working on "soldier bots" which would be able to identify targets, weapons and distinguish between enemy forces like tanks or armed men and soft targets like ambulances or civilians.

Their software would be embedded with rules of engagement conforming with the Geneva Conventions to tell the robot when to open fire.

Dr Allen applauded the decision to tackle the ethical dilemmas at an early stage. "It's time we started thinking about the issues of how to take ethical theory and build it into the software that will ensure robots act correctly rather than wait until it's too late," he said.

"We already have computers out there that are making decisions that affect people's lives but they do it in an ethically blind way. Computers decide on credit card approvals without any human involvement and we're seeing it in some situations regarding medical care for the elderly," a reference to hospitals in the US that use computer programmes to help decide which patients should not be resuscitated if they fall unconscious.

Dr Allen said the US military wants fully autonomous robots because they currently use highly trained manpower to operate them. "The really expensive robots are under the most human control because they can't afford to lose them," he said.

"It takes six people to operate a Predator drone round the clock. I know the Air Force has developed software, which they claim is to train Predator operators. But if the computer can train the human it could also ultimately fly the drone itself."

Some are concerned that it will be impossible to devise robots that avoid mistakes, conjuring up visions of machines killing indiscriminately when they malfunction, like the robot in the film Robocop.

Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist at Sheffield University, best known for his involvement with the cult television show Robot Wars, is the leading critic of the US plans.

He says: "It sends a cold shiver down my spine. I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination is terrifying."


Its Beginning to Look Alot Like Krampus

CATEGORY: Christmas, Krampus, Santa

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: Goat-headed Christmas cheer is something we can all use at this time of year. So leave it the Europeans to invent the anti-Santa, Krampus, a 7-foot-tall horned devil to scare the bejesus out of kids who have been naughty. But we like him so much we're putting him to work on other holidays - maybe Valentine's or Mother's Day.

Run, Kris Kringle, Krampus Is Coming!

In Austria, Santa keeps track of who's been naughty and nice -- and unleashes a 7-foot-tall horned devil on the naughty. He's called the Krampus, and he's unlike any Christmas tradition you've ever seen.

Santa's all well and good, but darker things have always lurked in Austria's woods. Take the Krampus, a towering, hairy creature with a long, long tongue, goat's head and horns and cloven feet. Krampus is no dancing Greek satyr. Instead, he roams rural Austria clad in chains and carrying a stick, terrifying misbehaving children on Dec. 5, the night before St. Nicholas' Day.

Depending on who you believe, Krampus is very old indeed. Some say the tradition stems back to the pre-Christian era, and that the Krampus known and feared by Austrians today is a version of an ancient god incorporated into Christian holidays.

There's no doubt that today the frightening figure is an integral part of Christmas celebrations in some parts of Austria and Hungary (where the local version is spelled Krampusz). Krampus brings punishment back to the Christmas holiday, threatening naughty children with more than a lump of coal in their stocking.

The modern tradition goes something like this: On Dec. 5, the day before St. Nicholas arrives with his sack of gifts, local men dress up in goat and sheep skins, wearing elaborate hand-carved masks. They make the rounds of village houses with children. When the kids open the door, they're frightened by Krampus-clad men waving switches at them and ringing loud cowbells. In some towns, kids are made to run a Krampus-gauntlet, dodging swats from tree branches.

Krampus gets his name from "Krampen," the old German word for claw. The ceremony was widely practiced until the Inquisition, when impersonating a devil was punishable by death. In remote mountain towns the tradition survived in violation of the church's edicts. In the 17th century Krampus made a comeback as part of the Christmas celebrations, paired with St. Nicholas as the jolly fellow's dark alter ego.

In the mid-1950s, well-meaning educators feared that the frightening apparition might scar children for life. One anti-Krampus pamphlet distributed in Vienna was earnestly entitled "Krampus is an Evil Man." As with most old traditions, Krampus has been somewhat commercialized and toned down. Today the tradition often devolves into a mid-winter bacchanal, where scaring kids takes a back seat to heroic bouts of drinking. The town of Schladminger is home to a sort of Krampus convention, with more than a thousand goat-men roaming the town's streets, harassing the town's young women.


Finally, a Fake Holiday We Can Support

CATEGORY: Booze, Prohibition, Celebration

DIVISION: Modern Evil

NOTE: What better excuse is there to get grinning-drunk on a Friday than Dewar's Repeal Day Celebration. December 5th, 75 years ago, prohibition was washed away by an amber wave of booze as America returned to her senses as well as her national partying ways. Not only was it a victory for democracy, but it was a realization that without liquor we are very, very dull.

The 21st Amendment

Ratified December 5, 1933

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The 18th Amendment

Ratified January 16, 1919

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Dewar's Repeal Day Celebration is this Friday, December 5, 2008.

Why Isn't Patrick Swayze Near Death?

CATEGORY: Death, Movie Star, Over

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: If there's any out-of-date Hollywood Movie Star that should be near death, its Patrick Swayze [at number 4 on the list of: 1. Macaulay Culkin, 2. Rob Schneider, 3. Pauly Shore]. So why isn't he? He's got pancreatic cancer. He made lousy movies. And nobody cares that he has pancreatic cancer. Really, death would be the best move for his comeback.

Patrick Swayze Denies Reports He is Near Death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze, who has pancreatic cancer, on Tuesday denied tabloid stories that he is near death.

Swayze, 56, said in a statement he was home with his family for the holidays after finishing work on his new television series "The Beast."

"The only thorn in my side being that many tabloids have been consistently reporting lies and false information about me and those close to me," Swayze said.

Lately, he said, "they're reporting that I'm on my last legs and saying goodbye to my tearful family."

The National Enquirer has reported Swayze's cancer spread to his liver. The Globe, another tabloid, placed the actor's photo on its cover with the headline "Swayze Deathbed Secret!"

Tabloid reports said Swayze had only weeks to live when the actor revealed in March he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Since then, he has started work on the FBI drama "The Beast".

"Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease and from the moment I was diagnosed, I knew I was in for the fight of my life," Swayze told People magazine.

"It's a battle, and so far, I've been winning. I'm one of the lucky few that responds well to treatment."

The Texas-born Swayze has starred in dozens of film, TV and stage roles. But he is best known for playing dance instructor Johnny Castle in the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing."

"Genocide Went Beyond my Wildest Imagination"

CATEGORY: Genocide, War, Khmer Rouge

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: The only thing worse than being in a war is living next door to one because war is a sloppy cesspool that always spills over. But one man's hell is another man's opportunity. So when the Vietnam War spilled over into Cambodia, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge cleaned up the mess by creating their own. And genocide as a system of government gained a little more legitimacy.

Priest Tried to Warn of Cambodia's Insanity

By Erika Colin

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- Francois Ponchaud was a newly ordained Catholic priest when he arrived in Cambodia in 1965 from a small village in France.

He was sent to do missionary work. But within a decade he would become a crusader against the worst genocide since the Holocaust.

"I was staying by the Cambodian people's side," Ponchaud said, "through the good and the sadness and the suffering."

When he arrived at age 26, Cambodia was a peaceful place: a bucolic land of villages, peasants, rice paddies and Buddhist monks. Ponchaud studied Cambodian history and Buddhism, became fluent in Khmer, made friends and immersed himself in the culture -- falling in love with the country and its people.

But the peacefulness was short-lived.

By 1970, Cambodia was descending into chaos as the Vietnam War spilled across its borders. In the countryside, the Americans were carpet-bombing Vietcong outposts. In the capital, Phnom Penh, Washington was propping up a corrupt government.

From the jungles, a sinister and brutal communist rebel group called the Khmer Rouge was fighting to overthrow Cambodia's U.S.-backed regime.

On April 17, 1975, Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. They began to reinvent Cambodia according to an insane blueprint. They emptied the cities, including some 3 million in the capital, forcing all the residents into the countryside -- and toward a dark future.

>> Read Full Article


Fake Penis Felony

CATEGORY: Felony, Fake Penis, Drug Test

DIVISION: Modern Evil Products

NOTE: Shooting bottles in the woods or target practice on the range is OK, but take your loaded weapon into a bank and wave it around - now, you've got problems. A fake penis works the same way. Waggle it happily at a party or shoot ketchup through it in the privacy of your own home - it's all good. But use it to subvert drug tests and you'll be locked up where the waggle parties are nasty.

H.B. Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Fake Penis to Cheat Drug Tests

Reports: Robert Dennis Catalano helped sell Whizzinator, Yellow River devices, designed to thwart drug tests.


A Huntington Beach man pleaded guilty before a U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh this week to selling products such as the Whizzinator, which has a prosthetic penis to help people cheat workplace drug tests, according to published reports.

Robert Dennis Catalano, 62, of Huntington Beach; George W. Wills, 65, of San Pedro; and their company Puck Technology Inc., in Signal Hill, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Contraptions called the Whizzinator, Yellow River and Number 1 sold by the company allowed men and women to simulate urination in order to register a false negative during testing, the Review said.

The Whizzinator attracted the attention of Congress in 2005 when a National Football League player tried to cheat a drug test. Then-Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith was detained at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with the prosthetic and a packet of dehydrated urine. A House subcommittee held a hearing but no action was ever taken, reports said.

Actor Tom Sizemore also was caught with one after he attempted to evade drug tests while on probation, reports said.

Company website, which is still online, said "The Whizzinator is an easy to conceal, easy to use urinating device with a very realistic prosthetic penis. It is designed to be comfortably worn as an undergarment for extended periods of time and has been extensively tested and proven to work under real-life conditions."

The devices were sold from October 2005 through May 2008. If convicted, Catalano and Wills could face up to eight years in prison and a fine of $500,000, reports said.

As part of the investigation, undercover purchases of the products were made on Sept. 8, 2006, and Feb. 7, 2007. The company has stopped operating, according to the paper.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20 before U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone, reports said.


One of My Principles is to Have No Principles

CATEGORY: War Criminals, Prosecution, Law

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: While one man's evil is another man's sacrament, the moderators in between can only rely on law. In that light, defending dictators, terrorists and war criminals becomes a straight forward job with the added benefit of enormous media profile. And let's face it - you'll very quickly attract the filthiest, richest bastards on the planet. With war never ending, you'll never be out of work.


"There Is No Such Thing as Absolute Evil"

He has met Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Che Guevara. He defended 'Carlos the Jackal' and Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. Jacques Vergès, 83, is probably the world's most notorious attorney. His latest client is Khieu Samphan, the former head of state of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, who is on trial for war crimes.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Vergès, are you attracted to evil?

Jacques Vergès: Nature is wild, unpredictable and senselessly gruesome. What distinguishes human beings from animals is the ability to speak on behalf of evil. Crime is a symbol of our freedom.

SPIEGEL: That's a cynical worldview.

Vergès: A realistic one.

SPIEGEL: You have defended some of the worst mass murderers in recent history, and you have been called the "devil's advocate." Why do you feel so drawn to clients like Carlos and Klaus Barbie?

Vergès: I believe that everyone, no matter what he may have done, has the right to a fair trial. The public is always quick to assign the label of "monster." But monsters do not exist, just as there is no such thing as absolute evil. My clients are human beings, people with two eyes, two hands, a gender and emotions. That's what makes them so sinister.

SPIEGEL: What do you mean?

Vergès: What was so shocking about Hitler the "monster" was that he loved his dog so much and kissed the hands of his secretaries -- as we know from the literature of the Third Reich and the film "Der Untergang" ("Downfall"). The interesting thing about my clients is discovering what brings them to do these horrific things. My ambition is to illuminate the path that led them to commit these acts. A good trial is like a Shakespeare play, a work of art.

SPIEGEL: You are currently on stage at the Madeleine Theater in Paris, as the main character in a one-person play you wrote.

Vergès: It's about me, of course, about the lawyer's profession and the nature of trials. In every trial, a drama unfolds in front of the public, a duel between the defense and the prosecution. Both tell stories that are not necessarily true, but possible. One is declared the victor in the end, but this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with justice.

SPIEGEL: Are there any people whose defense you would not take on out of principle?

Vergès: One of my principles is to have no principles. That's why I would not turn down anyone.

SPIEGEL: Let's say, Adolf Hitler…

>> Read Full Article

Do These Sneakers Make Me Look Neo-Nazi?

CATEGORY: Fashion, Neo-Nazi, Culture Code

DIVISION: Modern Evil

COMMENT: If clothes make the man then what are you made of? Sending signals is why we dress the way we do, so Neo-Nazis have cottoned onto the original approach of looking very chic while telegraphing their ethos. Sure this is nothing new, but we welcome the appropriation of fashion brands for nefarious purposes. Ralph Lauren could easily become the darling drapery of suicide bombers, while Taliban everywhere would be better suited in Prada.

Thor Steinar and the Changing Look of the German Far Right

By Rachel Nolan in Berlin

Shaved heads, bomber jackets, black boots with white shoelaces -- it used to be easy to spot a neo-Nazi. But young far-right extremists are wearing more stylish and more coded clothes.

Lilian Engelmann never thought she would see neo-Nazis on her block. The young art curator works in a gallery in the trendy district of Mitte, a neighborhood in central Berlin. Her neighbors include an international cinema, designer hat store, Vietnamese restaurant and -- as of last February -- a store called Tönsberg, which sells clothing popular among right-wing extremists.

"By coming here, the neo-Nazis tried to come into the center of society," Engelmann told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Once local residents and shopowners learned that Tönsberg planned to sell the clothing brand Thor Steinar, they organized against the store. The group led by Engelmann and other shopowners called itself the "Mitte Initiative Against the Far Right," and mounted regular protests.

Neo-Nazis are a fringe group in Germany, where Holocaust denial, praise of Adolf Hitler and the display of Nazi symbols are all illegal. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the government's domestic intelligence agency, estimates there are about 40,000 active members of the German far right. The agency can shut down Kameradschaften, gangs or brotherhoods which tend to be violent, but many other groups in the neo-Nazi scene often fly under the legal radar -- like rock bands with suggestive lyrics or stylish clothing companies with coded symbols. As long as they don't display swastikas or explicitly support Hitler or his party, these groups are left alone.

Do These Sneakers Make Me Look Neo-Nazi?

Thor Steinar goods were banned in 2004 because of the logo's similarity to symbols worn by SS officers. But the company has rebranded, and its new look is legal. This presents a dilemma for Engelmann's group. Symbols and speech not obviously related to Nazism are protected by German law. So instead of trying to run the store out, her group decided to educate passersby about Tönsberg.

>> Full Article Here


Monsters in Court

CATEGORY: Bullying, Monsters, Struggle

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: Bullies are the common monsters of daily life, and a vital metaphor for our personal journeys. But the truth about our conquering quests, as Hollywood movies confirm time and again, is that the victories are few while the defeats are many. Casualties from monster battles litter the landscape. So what to do in defeat? Litigate, of course!

MySpace Bullying Led to Teenage Suicide, Court Hears

By The Guardian

A teenage girl hanged herself after being taunted by messages on her MySpace account, an American court has heard, in a case that could have wide-reaching ramifications for social networking websites.

Prosecutors say Megan Meier, 13, from Missouri, killed herself after receiving nasty messages that she believed had come from a teenage boy but had actually been written by Lori Drew, 49.

The trial is being billed as America's first cyber-bullying prosecution and a potential precedent for punishing online harassment.

In his opening statement to jurors in Los Angeles, the prosecutor, Thomas O'Brien, said Drew, her daughter and an employee of Drew's "hatched a plot to prey on the psyche" of a girl she knew was "vulnerable, suicidal and boy-crazy".

The court heard that Drew posed as a teenage boy named Josh Evans on MySpace and exchanged messages with Megan.

"Her purpose was to tease Megan Meier, to tease her, to humiliate her and to hurt her," O'Brien said. "One of her plans was to print out the conversations and take it to Megan's school and let people make fun of this depressed 13-year-old girl."

Megan's mother, Tina Meier, told the court that late in 2006 she found her daughter "sitting at the computer crying" after getting into an online dispute with "Josh Evans" and a couple of girls.

"She said, 'They're saying mean, horrible things about me,'" Tina Meier testified. "I told her to get off (MySpace)."

Less than an hour later she found her daughter hanged in the closet. Megan had struggled for years with depression and school bullying.

O'Brien told the court that after Megan received a message saying the world would be better off without her, she sent a response saying: "You are the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over."

Drew's defence lawyer, Dean Steward, told jurors his client did not violate the Computer Use and Fraud Act, used in the past to address computer hacking, and reminded them Drew was not facing charges dealing with the suicide.

"This is not a homicide case," he said.

Drew has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing computers without authorisation. Each count carries a potential sentence of five years in prison.


"I Checked to See If He was a Little Bit Alive"

CATEGORY: Murder, 8-year-old, Family

DIVISION: Modern Evil

EDITORIAL: A young and very real 'Michael Myers in the making' describes matter-of-factly finding his dead dad, who he murdered, after school - and a nation is shocked. We're just surprised that he's the only elementary-aged killer out there. Maybe there could be more like him with freer access to guns earlier in the child development cycle.

8 Year Old Murder Suspect will be Released from Custody with Restrictions

By Dan Marries/KOLD News 13

The eyes of the country are focused on the small town of St. John, Arizona. Home to 3,500 people, residents remain in shock two weeks after an 8 year old boy allegedly shot and killed his dad and another man. On Wednesday, Nov. 19th under heavy security, the boy was in Apache County Superior Court where a judge granted him a two day release.

Prior to the hearing deputies used a blanket to shield the boy as he was shuffled into court. What was expected to be a half hour hearing ended up lasting more than two hours. Reporter Donna Rossi from our sister station in Phoenix was in the courtroom, "we saw him walk in and he had a long sleeve blue shirt and dark pants. He looks like a 8 year old that's the bottom line, however, something looked completely out of place, he had on leg shackles and you could hear them shuffling as he walked to the defense table."

Over the objection of prosecutors, the judge will allow the boy to be released from a juvenile detention facility for two days so he can spend Thanksgiving with his mom but there are stipulations as explained by Betty Smith Apache County Superior Court Administrator, " there's to be no cable TV, no video games were included in those limits he placed." The judge also ordered there to be no knives or guns in the house.

A lot was said about the release of the video by the Apache County Attorney's Office on November 18th in which police questioned the boy for an hour. The judge ordered no more video or audio will be given to the media. From now on it will only be transcripts released. Rossi says the boy was fidgety during today's hearing, playing with his face and putting his arm around his mom at times, "at one point, he turned to some of the people in the front row who walked into the courtroom with his mother and he smiled at them, not a huge smile and then he mouthed the words, 'love you."