Saturday, May 25, 2013

Moscow's Gay Pride Rally Interrupted by Arrests and Assaults of Activists

Nikolai Alekseev being taken away by police.

by Madison Reed

Nikolai's at it again.  Moscow's LGBT community again defies Russian law.  A bill approved by Russia's Duma in January, is awaiting final approval to become the law of the land - to prohibit the dissemination of  "gay propaganda" to minors, with stiff financial penalties and possible jail time.

Moscow's LGBT community was again, recently denied a permit to hold a Gay Pride rally to coincide with International Day Against Homphobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.  Thirty of community were arrested, and two LGBT activists were assaulted by a conservative protester, according to RIA Novosti.  Neighboring Kyiv's LGBT community also held a Gay Pride rally today.


 "Homosexuality is a sin before God."  ~Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill

Of course all of this must be a ray of hope and great pride and joy for conservative American Christians, who see Russia as a possible door of hope for the promotion of the gay-hating conservative Christian values gospel rooted in the Bible's Old Testament.  They had their hand in helping resuscitate Russia's buried homophobic attitudes after its emergence from decades of Soviet Communism.  It's still too early to predict whether Russia will desert them.

Nikolai Alekseev signals victory as he sits with other members of Moscow's LGBT Community being driven away in the police van.

Photos: Shared by Nikolai Alekseev

Related news:
Ukraine States First Gay Pride March


Friday, May 24, 2013

What is not permitted is prohibited: Silencing Civil Society in Belarus

Nothing has changed in Belarus. To the contrary, in the past year, life has become more difficult for the Belarusian people.
Ending unfriendly, onerous, expensive tourist visa hurdles, that require Belarusian citizens to travel to Russia to apply for a U.S. visa, and many times to other countries that themselves require a visa approval before they can travel to the foreign embassy to apply for another visa to enter the country that they intend to travel to, would go a long way to help release the stress and isolation that they obviously must feel. Visa applications are expensive to Belarusians. The visas are never guaranteed, and they often involve travel just to apply for the visa.
Some bordering EU states like Poland have eliminated visa application fees for Belarusian citizens, but the required paperwork and uncertainty as to whether they will be given a visa, is discouraging.
Why isn't the West doing more to help Belarusian citizens?  ~Madison Reed

What is not permitted is prohibited: Silencing Civil Society in Belarus

Amnesty International written statement to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 May – 14 June 2013)

A report from Amnesty International
Hundreds of persons in Belarus every year are directly deprived of their rights to freedom of association and assembly. Civil society organizations face closure, and individuals face prosecution if they criticize the authorities. Any form of public action, even a one-person picket, is subject to permission which is rarely granted, and peaceful demonstrators face fines or short prison sentences. Civil society activists face repressive legislation, presidential decrees, and overzealous interpretation of these laws and decrees by ministry officials and judges.
The lack of freedom of peaceful assembly in Belarus came to the world’s attention in December 2010, when a mainly peaceful demonstration following the presidential elections was brutally suppressed by law enforcement officers. Hundreds of protesters were beaten, arbitrarily arrested and summarily sentenced. All the main opposition presidential candidates and many prominent opposition activists were imprisoned. Mykalau Statkevich, Pavel Sevyarynets, Eduard Lobau and Zmitser Dashkevich remain in prison to this day. 
1. Freedom of Association
In Belarus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must register with the authorities or their members face the possibility of prosecution for acting in the name of an unregistered organization. NGOs face stringent requirements for registration. While registration may be a legitimate administrative requirement in order to be able to obtain legal personality as an organization, or to obtain benefits such as tax exemption for charities, the failure to register is not reason to prohibit individuals from exercising their right to freedom of association. 

Article 15 of the Law on Associations states that the decision to refuse registration can be taken, in cases where there have been violations of the regulations for registration “if such infringements are irreversible.” Civil society organizations are frequently denied registration in violation of the legislation for minor faults in documentation which could be easily remedied. Organizations that are refused registration can appeal to a court, but Amnesty International has been unable to find any examples of successful appeals against a refusal to register. 

Once registered, NGOs face close monitoring of their activities and may be suspended or liquidated for even minor violations of legislation. For instance, Dobraya volya (Good Will), an NGO offering advice and support to foster and adoptive parents, was suspended for two months in November 2012 for violating the Law on Association because, among other things, the name of the organization on its rubber stamp was spelt with two capital letters rather than one, as in the registration documents. 

1.1 Criminal prosecution – Human Rights Defenders
Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code criminalizes any activity on behalf of an unregistered organization, including political parties and religious organizations, and imposes a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. In 2011, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission stated that “by its very existence Article 193-1 has a chilling effect on the activities of Non-governmental organizations” and that “the restriction is so severe that it not only restricts freedom of association but also freedom of opinion and expression to an unjustifiable degree.”
The lack of impartial prosecution and independent judiciary facilitates the conviction and imprisonment on politically-motivated charges of high profile human rights defenders. Ales Bialiatski, the Chair of the unregistered human rights organization Human Rights Centre Viasna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights has paid a very high price for his human rights activities. On 24 November 2011, after a trial that violated international fair trial standards, he was sentenced to four and a half years on charges of “concealment of income on a large scale” (Article 243.2 of the Belarusian Criminal Code) for the use of his personal bank accounts in Lithuania and Poland to support his organization's human rights work in Belarus. Since its derecognition the Human Rights Centre Viasna had been barred from opening a bank account in its name in Belarus, and its members had no choice but to use bank accounts in neighbouring countries to fund their human rights work. Amnesty International considers Ales Bialiatski to be a prisoner of conscience, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

1.2 Excessive restrictions
In order to register an association or a trade union, the founders are required to have a business address and to provide a notarized letter of guarantee and proof of ownership of the premises from the landlord. In Belarus, where private landlords can be pressured by the state not to provide premises, this requirement prevents many people from exercising their right to freedom of association. 

This requirement is a particular problem for independent trade unions. In January and February 2012 workers at the Granit gravel quarry in Mikashevichy tried unsuccessfully to rent premises and secure a legal address so that they could register an independent trade union. As a result, registration was refused and the founders of the independent trade union have since faced reprisals for their attempt to set up the trade union. 

NGOs face excessive restrictions on their access to funding. Since 2011, Article 21 of the Law on Associations prohibits Belarusian NGOs from keeping funds in banks and other institutions abroad, while there are no such restrictions for individuals and commercial enterprises. NGOs that accept foreign donations “in violation of the law” face administrative penalties. 

2. Freedom of Assembly
According to international human rights standards the exercise of the right to freedom of assembly should not be subject to previous authorization, but at the most should be subject to a prior notification procedure. In Belarus organizers must apply for permission at least 15 days before an event. Local authorities are obliged to inform the organizers whether their application has been successful or not less than five days before the event. Any publicity of the event before official permission is given is banned. 

2.1 Over regulation
The Law on Mass Events which came into force in 1997 provides detailed regulations for the conduct of public events. Even an action by a single person may fall under the Law on Mass Events.
The Law effectively prevents any demonstrations in the centre of large cities by providing an exhaustive list of where public events are prohibited including any location less than 200 metres from the President’s residence, the National Assembly and metro stations. 

Article 15 of the Law on Mass Events provides for the immediate liquidation of any organization that fails to abide by the law or that organizes assemblies that cause “serious damage or violate the rights and legal interests of citizens, organizations, or state or public interest.” 

Furthermore, Presidential Decree No. 11 (7 May 2001) “On Certain Measures for Improvement of the Procedure for the Conduct of Assemblies, Rallies, Street Processions, Marches and other Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus” requires organizers of public events to provide copies of certificates and contracts concluded with state service providers for public order and security, medical facilities and cleaning of the location at the end of the meeting. Many applications are rejected because of a failure to provide evidence of such contracts. 

2.2 Administrative prosecutions – Environmental Activists
In 2012 at least 15 human rights activists, environmentalists, journalists and opposition activists were prosecuted under Article 17.1 of the Administrative Code for swearing in public while exercising their right to freedom of assembly. The punishments imposed range from a fine to 10 days imprisonment. 

On 18 July 2012, Tatyana Novikova from the anti-nuclear NGO, Ekodom and Russian environmentalist Andrei Ozharovski were detained on their way to deliver a letter to the Russian embassy in Minsk on the occasion of the visit of Dmitry Medvedev. They wished to communicate their opposition to the construction of the nuclear power station at Astravyets, a joint venture with Russia. Tatyana Novikova was sentenced to five days detention, and Andrei Ozharovski received a 10 day sentence for swearing in public. 

Law and practice in Belarus are not in line with international standards on freedom of peaceful assembly and association. 

Amnesty International calls on the Belarusian authorities to: 

release immediately and unconditionally all those who are detained solely for the peaceful expression of their political or other opinions; 

immediately abolish Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code;

ensure that NGOs are not denied registration because they have found it impossible to obtain premises for a business address; 

abolish the administrative prohibition and criminal liability for accepting foreign grants and lift the prohibition on associations keeping funds in banks in foreign countries; 

bring the Law on Mass Events into line with Belarus’ international human rights obligations, by reducing the restrictions on the location of events to only those which in the particular instance are demonstrably necessary for a permissible purpose recognised in international human rights law, removing the requirement on organizers to provide for services to cover the event, and removing Article 15 of the Law on Mass Events providing for the liquidation of any organization that fails to abide by that law. 



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

British Soldier Beheaded by Attackers Shouting "Allah'u'-Akhbar!"

Oh the peace and beauty of 21st Century Islamic civilization, the step-child of the Abrahamic faith-based family - the great whore of Babylon.  ~Madison Reed


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scientists Announce the Discovery of Evidence of a Transgender Gene

"This research suggests that extra long copies of the Androgen Receptor gene potentially affect testosterone function in the brains of male-to-female transsexuals."  ~Professor Andrew Sinclair, University of Melbourne

Article from the Daily Mail Reporter,

Transsexual men who 'feel' female are likely to have an unusual version of a gene that affects the male sex hormone testosterone, a study has shown.

The discovery was made by scientists who examined DNA from 112 male-to-female transsexuals.
Maltan Transgender Woman Joanne Cassar

In many cases there was a longer version of a gene known to modify the action of testosterone.

The alteration may 'under-masculinise' the brain during its development in the womb, the researchers believe.

Study leader Dr Vincent Harley, from Prince Henry's Institute in Clayton, Australia, said: 'There is a social stigma that transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice; however, our findings support a biological basis of how gender identity develops.

'As with all genetic association studies it will be important to replicate these findings in other populations.'

The findings are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Professor Andrew Sinclair, from the University of Melbourne, said: 'This research suggests that extra long copies of the Androgen Receptor gene potentially affect testosterone function in the brains of male-to-female transsexuals.....

Article continues here: 

Image Source: Transgriot


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ayahuasca: Humanity's Spiritual Teacher from the Plant Kingdom

Native Preparing the Ayahuasca Twin Herbs for Cooking  (Photo: Chris Kilham)

by Dennis McKenna
On a personal level, ayahuasca has been for me both a scientific and professional continuing carrot, and a plant teacher and guide of incomparable wisdom, compassion and intelligence. My earliest encounters with ayahuasca were experiential; only later did it become an object of scientific curiosity, sparked in part by a desire to understand the mechanism, the machineries, that might underlie the profound experiences that it elicited.

As a young man just getting started in the field of ethnopharmacology, ayahuasca seemed to me more than worthy of a lifetime of scientific study and so it has proven to be. Pursuing an understanding of ayahuasca has led to many exotic places that I would never have visited otherwise, from the jungles of the Amazon Basin to the laboratory complexes of the National Institute of Mental Health and Stanford; it has led to the formation of warm friendships and fruitful collaborations with many colleagues who have shared my curiosity about the mysteries of this curious plant complex. These collaborations, and more importantly, these friendships, continue, as does the quest for understanding. Though there have been detours along the way, always, and inevitably, they have led back to the central quest. Often, after the fact, I have seen how those apparent detours were not so far off the path after all, as they supplied some insight, some skill, or some experience, that in hindsight proved necessary to the furtherance of the quest.

Just as ayahuasca has been for me personally something of a Holy Grail, as it has been for many others, I have the intuition that it may have a similar role with respect to our entire species. Anyone who is personally experienced with ayahuasca is aware that it has much to teach us. There is incredible wisdom and intelligence there. And to my mind, one of the most profound and humbling lessons that ayahuasca teaches – one that we thick-headed humans have the hardest time grasping – is the realization that you monkeys only think you’re running things.

Though I state it humorously, it is nonetheless a profound insight on which may depend the very survival of our species and our planet. Humans are good at nothing if not hubris, arrogance and self-delusion. We assume that we dominate nature, that we are somehow separate from, and superior to, nature, even as we set about busily undermining and wrecking the very homeostatic global mechanisms that have kept our earth stable and hospitable to life for the last four and a half billion years. We devastate the rainforests of the world; we are responsible for the greatest loss of habitat and the greatest decimation of species since the asteroid impacts of the Permian-Triassic boundary, 250 million years ago. We rip the guts out of the earth and burn them, spewing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. At the same time, we slash and burn the woody forests that may be the only hope for sequestration of the carbon dioxide that is rapidly building to dangerous and possibly uncontrollable levels. For the first time in the history of our species, and indeed of our planet, we are forced to confront the possibility that thoughtless and unsustainable human activity may be posing a real threat to our species’ survival, and possibly the survival of all life on the planet.

And suddenly, and literally, “out of the Amazon,” one of the most impacted parts of our wounded planet, ayahuasca emerges as an emissary of trans-species sentience, to bring this lesson: you monkeys only think you’re running things. In a wider sense, the import of this lesson is that we need to wake up to what is happening to us and to the planet. We need to get with the program, people. We have become spiritually bereft and have been seduced by the delusion that we are somehow important in the scheme of things. We are not. Our spiritual institutions have devolved into hollow shells, perverted to the agendas of rapacious governments and fanatic fundamentalisms, no longer capable of providing balm to the wounded spirit of our species; and as the world goes up in flames we benumb ourselves with consumerism and mindless entertainment, the decadent distractions of gadgets and gewgaws, the frantic but ultimately meaningless pursuits of a civilization that has lost its compass. And at this cusp in human history, there emerges a gentle emissary, the conduit to a body of profoundly ancient genetic and evolutionary wisdom that has long abided in the cosmologies of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon who have guarded and protected this knowledge for millennia, who learned long ago that the human role is not to be the master of nature, but its stewards. Our destiny, if we are to survive, is to nurture nature and to learn from it how to nurture ourselves and our fellow beings. This is the lesson that we can learn from ayahuasca, if only we pay attention.

I find it both ironic, and hopeful, that within the last 150 years, and particularly in the last half of the 20th century, ayahuasca has begun to assert its presence into human awareness on a global scale. For millennia, it was known only to indigenous peoples who have long since understood and integrated what it has to teach us. In the 19th century it first came to the attention of a wider world as an object of curiosity in the reports of Richard Spruce and other intrepid explorers of the primordial rainforests of South America. In the mid-20th century, Schultes and others continued to explore this discovery and began to focus the lens of science on the specifics of its botany, chemistry and pharmacology (and, while necessary, this narrow scrutiny perhaps overlooked some of the larger implications of this ancient symbiosis with humanity).

At the same time, ayahuasca escaped from its indigenous habitat and made its influence felt among certain non-indigenous people, representatives of “greater” civilization. To these few men and women, ayahuasca provided revelations and they in turn responded (in the way that humans so often do when confronted with a profound mystery) by founding religious sects with a messianic mission – in this case, a mission of hope, a message to the rest of the world that despite its simplicity was far ahead of its time: that we must learn to become the stewards of nature, and by fostering, encouraging and sustaining the fecundity and diversity of nature, by celebrating and honouring our place as biological beings, as part of the web of life, we may learn to become nurturers of each other. A message quite different, and quite anathema, to the anti-biological obsessions of most of the major world “religions” with their preoccupation with death and suffering and their insistence on the suppression of all spontaneity and joy.

Such a message is perceived as a great threat by entrenched religious and political power structures, and indeed it is. It is a threat to the continued rape of nature and oppression of peoples that is the foundation of their power. Evidence that they understand this threat and take it seriously is reflected by the unstinting and brutal efforts that “civilized” ecclesiastical, judicial and political authorities have made to prohibit, demonize, and exterminate the shamanic use of ayahuasca and other sacred plants ever since the Inquisition and even earlier.

But the story is not yet over. Within the last 30 years, ayahuasca, clever little plant intelligence that it is, has escaped from its ancestral home in the Amazon and has found haven in other parts of the world. With the assistance of human helpers who heard the message and heeded it, ayahuasca sent its tendrils forth to encircle the world. It has found new homes and new friends in nearly every part of the world where temperatures are warm and where the ancient connections to plant-spirit still thrive, from the islands of Hawaii to the rainforests of South Africa, from gardens in Florida to greenhouses in Japan. The forces of death and dominance have been outwitted; it has escaped them, outrun them. There is now no way that ayahuasca can ever be eliminated from the earth, short of toxifying the entire planet (which, unfortunately, the death culture is working assiduously to accomplish). Even if the Amazon itself is levelled for cattle pasture or burned for charcoal, ayahuasca, at least, will survive, and will continue to engage in its dialogue with humanity. And encouragingly, more and more people are listening.

It may be too late. I have no illusions about this. Given that the curtain is now being rung down on the drunken misadventure that we call human history, the death culture will inevitably become even more brutal and insane, flailing ever more violently as it sinks beneath the quick sands of time. Indeed, it is already happening; all you have to do is turn on the nightly news. Will ayahuasca survive? I have no doubt that ayahuasca will survive on this planet as long as the planet remains able to sustain life. The human time frame is measured in years, sometimes centuries, rarely, in millennia. Mere blinks when measured against the evolutionary time scales of planetary life, the scale on which ayahuasca wields its influence. It will be here long after the governments, religions and political power structures that seem today so permanent and so menacing have dissolved into dust. It will be here long after our ephemeral species has been reduced to anomalous sediment in the fossil record.
The real question is will we be here long enough to hear its message, to integrate what it is trying to tell us and to change in response, before it is too late? Ayahuasca has the same message for us now that it has always had, since the beginning of its symbiotic relationship with humanity. Are we willing to listen? Only time will tell.

Dennis McKenna is an American ethnopharmacologist and author. His research led to new frontiers of the inner-space; one of the most experienced psychonauts on the planet. His new book, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss! tells the story of his brother Terence McKenna:

“Terence McKenna is a legend in the psychedelic community: He is remembered as a radical philosopher, futurist, raconteur, and cultural commentator. He was and is one of the most articulate spokesmen for the post-psychedelic zeitgeist. He is one of the prime originators of the 2012 mythos with all its attendent apocalyptarian anxiety. I am the younger brother of Terence McKenna. I want to write a memoir telling the real story of our intertwined life together over the last 60 years, and of the ideas, adventures and explorations (both inner and outer) that we shared. I am Terence’s only brother; I am the only one who can tell this tale, from this unique perspective. Terence died in 2000, but his ideas live on the Net and in his books (e.g. True Hallucinations, Food of the Gods, The Archaic Revival, The Invisible Landscape and others).

The time has come to tell his story.  In reality, it is our story.” For more information about Dennis and his upcoming book, see

To directly experience indigenous plant medicines under the guidance of master Amazonian Shamen, please visit Guaria de Osa.


Related:   Toé, the 'Witchcraft Plant' That's Spoiling Ayahuasca Tourism
                Ayahuasca: A Plant for Healing the Soul

                A Plant That Teaches 


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Very Exciting Discovery of Protein that Can Rejuvenate Aging Hearts Quickly

Drs. Richard Lee and Amy Wagers
“In this study, we were able to show that a protein that circulates in the blood is related to this aging process, and if we gave older mice this protein, we could reverse the heart aging in a very short period of time. We are very excited about it because it opens a new window on the most common form of heart failure.”  ~Dr. Richard Lee

Researchers have identified a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for a form of age-related heart failure, finding in mice that hearts reduced in size and thickness and resembled healthy hearts of younger mice when the protein GDF-11 was injected.

Two Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers — a stem cell biologist and a practicing cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — have identified a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for the form of age-related heart failure that affects millions of Americans.

Click here to read the remainder of the article at Harvard Stem Cell Institute.


Researchers establish link between racism and lower intelligence

by Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri

Findings taken from numerous research projects strongly indicate that prejudice, racism and intolerance are more likely to be present in individuals with greater cognitive rigidity, less cognitive flexibility and lower integrative complexity.

Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice.

We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups.

In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology.

A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status.

Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.

Full Story: Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes

Source: Psychological Science


Friday, May 10, 2013

The Cure for Gray Hair Has Been Discovered - At Last!

An April 2013 study will no doubt leave the hair dye industry seeing red.

According to a joint group of researchers at Germany's Institute for Pigmentary Disorders at E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald and the UK's Centre for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford, they've come across a cure for gray hair. 

First, a mini science lesson: Gray hair is the result of oxidative stress that causes hydrogen peroxide to accumulate in the hair follicle. In response, the hair strand then essentially bleaches itself, from the inside out. 

In the study, the process appears to be thwarted with the application of a topical complex called PC-KUS, which converts hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. The research also revealed that the compound worked similar magic for a group of 2,411 patients with the skin condition known as vitiligo, which is marked by white patches on the skin caused by pigment loss. 

Could it really be true-finally, a cure for gray hair? 

Click here for the remainder of the story.


CIA Official Breaks Silence About Contact with Grey Alien and E.T. Technologies

"Eisenhower was going to invade Area 51."  ~CIA Interviewee