The Passing of a Visionary

‘Some day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time.’

Arthur C. Clarke, arguably the greatest futurist and space sci-fi novelist of our times, never went out of the earth’s atmosphere. But he did arrange for some DNA from his hair to be sent into orbit.

Prevented from space exploration by an injury sustained from a crippling two months of a polio related disease, Clarke set up a dive shop in the southern shores of Sri Lanka because diving ‘it’s the closest thing that comes to the weightlessness of outer space’ and according to Mr. Clarke, he was ‘fully functional underwater’.

The dive shop was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami, but Arthur never let go of his dream. A true visionary, he contributed more to space study and I am sure explored the wonders of the terrestria much more enjoyably from his home in Sri Lanka than he ever could have being an astronaut.

Born in 1917 to a postal engineer turned farmer, ACC got hooked on science fiction when he was 11. An a few years later started writing his own. He is noted for several predictions concerning the advancement of science and the best and most noted so far is his idea of the triangulation of the earth by 3 satellites providing seamless communication throughout the planet. Some 50 years after his prediction, the first of these satellites ‘Early Bird’ was launched and the geostationary (remaining stationary in relation to Earth) orbit is nor known as the Clarke Orbit.

He envisioned the ‘space elevator’ to be a much easier and cheaper way of traveling to outer space and said that they would invent it ’50 years after everyone stopped laughing’

But the reason that science fiction fans all over the world liked and admired him was because of his ability to transport you into a world of futurism, where nothing is impossible and the enterprising spirit of the human race is glorified in its achievements.

Be it from the mystery and awe of 2001: A space Odyssey, the majesty and scope of Rendezvous with Rama, the intrigue of Childhoods’ End, Hammer of God etc, etc. Clarke’s novels show you the rational in the seemingly irrational, the possibilities at a dead end and the infinite reach of possibility while all the while basing you in the reality that you are in. They are a journey that will transform your very soul.

He freed our wings of imagination and broadened our horizons teaching us that accepting the impossible is only one step away from experiencing it.

His last wishes, as expressed by him in a video recorded for his 90th birthday were for mankind to discover extra terrestrial life, the world to adopt clean energy sources, and for a solution to be found for the Sri Lankan civil war.

So Mr. Clarke, as you join the ranks of the dead, Let me thank you for all the wonderful times spent reading your words, for all those journeys into far off universes, encounters with advanced alien civilizations and insight into the possibilities of the future. May Allah have mercy on your soul.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s latest novel ‘The Last Theorem’ is due to be published in a few months – the Arthur C. Clarke foundation.

Of Spies, Lies and Secret Prisons

A Yemeni national allegedly held prisoner in CIA secret prisons talks about his experiences.

Khalid al-Maqtari’s story starts in the Iraqi prison of Abu Gharib after the US military raided a suspected arms market in Fallujah. He was then handed over to US Military Intelligence to face 28mnths of solitary confinement coupled with torturous treatment at the hands of his captors. After 9 weeks of interrogation at Abu-Gharib, Khalid probably thought he had seen it all, he was subjected to a regime of beatings, sleep deprivation, suspension upside-down in painful positions, intimidation by dogs and induced hypothermia.

Now this might not seem like classic Rambo style chopping off fingernails and hammering your toes into pulp, but they have all the more effects on prisoners because they focus on the mental as well as the physical aspects and can be maintained for long periods and successfully ‘break’ a man. Also there is the added concern of ‘marked’ prisoners because people are obviously going to be more inclined to believe a man talking about ‘secret CIA prisons’ and ‘torture’ etc, etc, if half his toes are mashed up and he’s missing 10 feet of intestine.

Anyway, what followed for Khalid was 3 months of stress positions, sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of hot and cold, sensory deprivation and disruption with bright lighting and loud music or sound effects in Afghanistan where he incidentally made a few friends with some other er, ‘guests’. Then he was flown to another CIA ‘black site’ possibly in Eastern Europe. He was declined access to legal counsel, family and friends, the International Red Cross or any person other than his captors and interrogators.

Khalid was released to the Yemenese authorities last year where he did not encounter any friendly treatment. and at long last he is now a free man.


All fabricated lies? Well the CIA would like us to think so.

Amnesty International has evidence that a flight belonging to an alleged CIA front company landed in Kabul from Abu-Gharib coinciding with the date of Khalid’s transfer. The European council has uncovered evidence that CIA secret prisons existed in Poland and Romania.

Destroyed tapes, fessed up accounts of water-boarding, is America really living up to the standards of equality and justice for all it projects to the outside world? The answer I believe is very complicated, but it definitely does not shed a favorable light. It all comes down to the sustenance of power and the ensurement of capitalism. And the exploitation of mere citizens of less powerful countries is just a side effect in the great game of international mystery and manipulation played by the super-powerful.

More on this soon…

The Democratic Change Agent?

The US presidential race gets more intense as the two remaining Democratic candidates battle out the last few remaining states, as the world watches, every single word they say being reviewed and looked at again for possible meanings and nuances, the mudslinging shifts from the candidates themselves to their subordinates with the latest example being Clinton supporter Ferraro.

Obama seems to have taken a bit of a complacent attitude when it comes to throwing punches. Calmly responding to Clinton’s criticisms with craftily thought of responses and hardly venturing any punches of his own. This placid attitude is what has come to define Barrack Obama; one might say it has been one of his key selling points or competitive advantages in this race. The integrity, openness and catalyst-for-change image he portrays may or may not be his true self, but I wonder about his knee-jerk reactions when that photo of him in an African traditional garb was released, is he really as self accepting and as open as he seems?

Clinton on the other hand, is a raw politician; she is an experienced member of the Establishment, the ‘Corporatocracy’ and capitalism that has defined political America for a long time. The only unconventional thing about her is the obvious fact that she is a woman. She portrays herself as powerful, capable and realistic. She is not afraid to rip apart a competitors reputation when it suits her and her belief that the end justifies the means has set apart her campaign from the rest of the Democrats'. Her approach may seem more politically traditional but will she be able to withstand the momentum Obama seems to have gained so far?

Perhaps it is all the mystery and eloquence of Barrack Obama that has got him so far along this race. And perhaps the next few months will tell if he’s got what it takes to be scrutinized under a stronger and stronger light and still make it through, or if Clinton will turn out to be right and prove him to be a man of a lot of words but of little substance. But one thing is for sure, whoever comes out on top with the Democratic nomination will not be able to easily write off the political might Republican John McCain.

But that, of course is a story yet to be told.

The fall of Fallon

Admiral Fallon, celebrated war hero and commander of the US Forces in a vast area including the Horn of Africa and holder of responsibility for Afghanistan and Iraq, expresses his honest views about pending conflict in the world and is apparently painted by the media as ‘The Strongest Man Standing Between the Bush Administration and War on Iran’.

Ok. So far things seem to add up pretty evenly. But here’s what follows. The Bush Administration positively balks at events and Admiral Fallon promptly announces he is stepping down. But here is the weird part, both the Bush administration and the Admiral released statements saying that his words were misinterpreted and that there was no conflict of ideas between the admiral and the Bush administration. Ok fine, so the admiral said something, the media misinterpreted it, Bush got pissed off and both his people and the admirals rushed to clarify the situation. So why the hell did he step down then?

In my opinion and I suspect in many others this incident does indicate conflict between the Bush Administration (with their barely concealed trigger happiness) and the hierarchy of the US military. Probably Adm Fallon was a controversial figure to start with and they finally told him ‘Enough is enough’.

Looking back at his previous comments (which also caused flutters in the White House) where he told al-Jazzera that the war on Iran ‘should not happen’ its pretty safe to assume that at least some of the top military brass in the US think that war on Iran is not a wise idea. This comes at a time when the US is struggling to maintain an agenda of economic and moral pressure on Iran. The very reasoning behind which borders on hypocrisy.

Hello Everybody!

Hello every body i am The Whackster. i am new to blogging and i hope to blog about anything and everything under the sphere of imagination.. my interests extend from the extremely boring and mundane to the outlandish and insane and i like bouncing ideas off peoples heads just to see what they think.

i believe the world is heading for super-conflict with the existing superpowers being increasingly challenged by previous under-dogs. and since i am pretty sure that they will not concede power quietly there is increasing likelihood to witness pockets of flourishing diplomatic discord and rebellion throughout various locations of strategic importance.

whether they will go quietly in the end or enter a roaring bloodbath i yet cannot say, but this blog will be home to my views and ideas about the world and where it is heading and more importantly a place for me to learn about your views about world events and learn from them. so i hope all of you here in the blogosphere welcome me with open arms and join me in applauding a future of freedom, equality and justice.