January 20th, 2006

Chris Keeley

The war on terror, if you like, was a cover for these activities. And that's why they needed this fa

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray on Why He Defied UK Foreign Office by Posting Classified Memos Blasting U.S., British Support of Torture by Uzbek Regime

Thursday, January 19th, 2006


We spend the hour with the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. The British government has stopped the publication of his book. In a Democracy Now exclusive, Murray tells why he defied the British Foreign Office by posting a series of classified memos on his website. Murray was fired as ambassador to Uzbekistan after he openly criticized the British and U.S. governments for supporting human rights abuses under the Uzbek regime. [includes rush transcript]

A new Human Rights Watch report examines the state of human rights around the world. On Wednesday the group released its 2006 annual report which accused the Bush administration of undermining human rights around the world by the way its waging the so-called war on terror.

The group also called on Congress to set up an independent panel and investigate U.S. human rights abuses. These are excerpts of what Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch had to say.

Later in the day White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan responded to the charges.

  • Scott McClellan, White House press secretary.

Another country highlighted in the Human Rights Watch report is Uzbekistan - the former Soviet Republic that sits in Central Asia north of Afghanistan. The report accuses Uzbekistan of having a "disastrous human rights record."

Three weeks ago the former British Ambassador to the country, Craig Murray, defied Britain's Official Secrets Act by posting a series of classified memos that he wrote from his days in Uzbekistan, which up until recently was a close U.S. ally.

Fearing that the British government would shut down his website, Murray encouraged other website owners to republish the material on their sites. Hundreds have since taken up the call.

In one classified memo from July 2004, Murray wrote, "We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services via the US. We should stop... This is morally, legally and practically wrong."

A summary of one of Murray's memos read: "U.S. plays down human rights situation in Uzbekistan. A dangerous policy: increasing repression combined with poverty will promote Islamic terrorism." In another secret memo Murray estimated the Uzbek government was holding up to 10,000 political and religious prisoners.

One revealing letter that Murray posts online is from now-indicted Enron CEO Kenneth Lay to then-Texas governor George W Bush in which Lay crosses out the words "Governor Bush" and writes "Dear George." In it, Lay writes he is "delighted" Bush is meeting with the Uzbek ambassador to the US and tells Bush of Enron's plans in Uzbekistan.

Perhaps the most damning memo is one that was not written by Murray but by a British legal advisor named Michael Wood. In the memo, Wood claims that using information extracted through torture is not technically a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

All of the memos date from between August 2002 and October 2004 - the period when Murray served as British ambassador to Uzbekistan. He was removed from the post in part because of his outspoken criticism of Uzbekistan's human rights record.

  • Craig Murray, joins us today in his first interview in the United States since he posted the memos online.

- For more information: CraigMurray.co.uk
- Link to classified documents
- Craig Murray is testifying at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration.
- Link to letter from Enron CEO Kenneth Lay to George W. Bush
See below:


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Chris Keeley

Carl Buell's Photoshop paleo-wildlife illustrations


Carl Buell's Photoshop paleo-wildlife illustrations

Carl Buell is a renowned paleo-wildlife illustrator who uses Photoshop to "paint" his masterpieces. (He posts about his process on his excellent blog, Olduvai George.) From an interview with Buell on Unscrewing The Inscrutable:

 38 78136067 C73B76B68C O DS: When did the prehistoric beast interest develop, and how did that proceed to the forensic reconstruction?

Like most kids I was fascinated with dinosaurs, but I also liked real live animals to the point of being an empath. I spent every spare moment (and more) in the woods surrounding my grandfather's farm. Except for when I was playing baseball, I lived, breathed, and dreamed animals and the outdoors. Ned Colbert (from the American Museum of Natural History) and his wife wrote some wonderful books about prehistoric mammals and birds that I just ate up.

I mostly drew modern creatures however, until I got the job as natural history illustrator for the New York State Museum in 1978. I was only there a short time (bad life decision) but that Mastodon mount in the old museum really added gas to the fire.

Link (via Drawn!)

Chris Keeley

the beauty of a psychoactive drug called dimethyl tryptamine

Joe Rogan rants on the beauty of DMT

On some FM radio talk show in a flyover state, "Fear Factor" and "Man Show" star Joe Rogan rants for rather a long time about the beauty of a psychoactive drug called dimethyl tryptamine, and the neurological neccesity of dreams.

This is shore 'nuff one weird listen. All this time, I thought he just force-fed maggots to out-of-work models. Who knew he was a neuroscience buff? MP3 Link.

Excerpts of note:

# Life is a massive fuckin' mystery... and the best way to crack it is massive doses of psychedelics.

# Los Angeles is a cancer. It fucking stinks. Why do people keep having babies here? I believe it's our fucking purpose. Much like yeast makes bread rise or mold takes over a fucking sandwich.

# We are bacteria. That's what it's about.

Speak for yourself, maggot-boy. (via Wayne Correia's list, thanks T. Bias )

posted by Xeni Jardin at 05:50:50 PM


Chris Keeley


Edgar Allan Poe wrote classics such as "The Raven" and
"The Tell-Tale Heart." He died when he was 40.
Chris Keeley

Franklin admitted handing over classified information to two former employees of the American Israel

Pentagon Analyst Gets 12 Years for Passing Secrets (Correct)

(Corrects amount of fine in second paragraph.)

By Jeff St.Onge

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A former U.S. Defense Department analyst was sentenced to about 12 1/2 years in prison for passing classified documents to an Israeli diplomat and two men who worked for a pro-Israel lobbying group.

Lawrence A. Franklin, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk until June 30, 2004, was also fined $10,000 today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He pleaded guilty in October and, pending completion of his cooperation in the government's investigation, prosecutors said today they may ask for a reduction in his prison term.

``That's what we're hoping for,'' John Hundley, Franklin's lawyer, told reporters after the court hearing.

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Chris Keeley

Baby Shamble Kate

Pete Doherty back in court

Pete Doherty back in court
Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty leaves Thames Magistrates court in East London on Jan. 20 after admitting possession of heroin, crack cocaine, morphine and cannabis. Sentencing was adjourned until Feb. 8.


Chris Keeley

Recovery Poster Boy

Downey, Jr. at Sundance

Downey, Jr. at Sundance
Robert Downey, Jr., left, and his wife Susan Levin wait for the start of the opening night screening of "Friends With Money" in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 19.
Chris Keeley

Tom Judd's Everyday drawing project, consisting of a page a day for a year, is mind-blowing

Tom Judd's Everyday book of drawings

 Everyday Month Days Page160
I absolutely love looking through artists' sketchbooks. The informal drawings of a great illustrator can be an excellent way to see the world through her or his eyes. Tom Judd's Everyday drawing project, consisting of a page a day for a year, is mind-blowing. (His new project is called Once-A-Week and that week's drawing will be auctioned every Saturday on eBay.) From his description of Everyday:
365 PAGES AGO I HAD A VERY SILLY IDEA. Draw a page everyday for one year. Each day I spent around 1 hour on the page, sometimes more, sometimes less. There was never any planning or preparation, I would just go at it whenever I had a spare moment in my day and had something I needed to write or draw. Some of the drawings are observational and some are just plain weird. Monsters and things seem to crop up a lot (robots too). I have no explanation for this and don't really care because its my book and I drew what ever I wanted on that particular day.

Link (via Drawn!)