YOU WOULD THINK THAT THERE WOULD BE A CRY FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST SAUDI ARABIA. INSTEAD, WE HAVE TO WITNESS THE HYPOCRISY OF ARM SELLING COUNTRIES JUSTIFYING THEIR SALE OF ARMS.
Saudi Arabia has called the accusations it ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its Istanbul consulate “lies and baseless allegations”.
Whether it turns out to be both it has shone a light on the hypocrisy of major foreign policies conducted by the USA, England, and others.
It’s absolutely essential that the international community says clearly that this is not something that can happen.
If it turns out that a run of the mill blok was murdered by a hit squad on foreign soil in the embassy of any country it should represent a fundamental break in how the world deals with that country.
Saudi Arabia has long been a police state.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite marketing himself to the West as a progressive reformer with positive headlines and handshakes, the Saudi government has, with our help, continued a brutal war in Yemen, with dire consequences for civilians which is spiraling into one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. THE WAR HAS KILLED OVER 10,000 SO FAR.
Up to recently, Saudi has harassed women-driving activists. It has bullied Qatar. It’s detained the crown prince’s own family members — at his behest. It’s punished Canada for the mildest of deeds.
The sad fact right now is that the weapons purchasing power of Saudi outweighs human life.
In Saudi Arabia, where a hierarchical culture favors remote, direct leadership, Khashoggi has challenged core Saudi national values, offending not only the royals whose legitimacy he threatened but also ordinary Saudis who rely on these power structures to negotiate the difficulties of everyday life.
President Donald Trump’s response has been pitiful.
To date, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States have registered their “concern” about Khashoggi’s disappearance, but have yet to press Riyadh robustly for answers.
The catch 22 is: If they do apart from arms deals the price of oil could rocket if any sanctions are applied.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
A common complaint about representative democracy is that it creates a distant class of lawmakers who will often collude with vested interests, or become so detached from the lives of the general public, that they will make decisions that the public does not support. By contrast, in a Direct Democracy system, such corruption of decision-making is impossible if every citizen is an equally powerful participant in the process.
However, it does not make any sense to think that direct democracy is somehow ideologically predisposed in any particular direction.
Direct democracy is simply a median-reverting institution.
It pushes policy back toward the center of public opinion when legislatures move too far to the right or left or is it, in fact, an opportunity to organize a kind of socio-ecological revolution to break away from the western development model of politics.
We know that every political system man has invented is open to corruption.
It is obvious that modern western democracies are now confronted with a change in culture mainly due to the integration of migrants, globalization, terrorism, and artificial intelligence.
Direct Democracy is presented as a solution to these challenges mainly by Social Media with its partitions and manipulation of voters with false news and software bots that amplify specific conversations on Twitter and Facebook by posting videos, photos, and biased statements targeting particular hashtags and wordings.
Resulting in phony debates, nurtured by cliches and prejudices that are destabilizing the political systems we have had for hundreds of years.
At what cost?
One of the obvious cost is Brexit and the not so obvious Donald Trump.
It is simply impossible to have direct democracy as the common Googlefied smartphone citizen does not have a grasp of political understanding nor the cognitive capacities to achieve direct democracy.
However, this view cuts against democracy in general.
As it implies that politicians always know better than the average citizen.
This is far from the truth when one looks at the current state of the world that is crying for some common action.
Politicians don’t necessarily show expertise and interest and certainly don’t know all the issues and are not always well informed.
They depend on shortcuts and have to ask other politicians and experts.
This morning I received an email from John Taylo in response to my last post ( The Beady Eye ask’s: Does anyone really know what quantum chips will do.)
He sums up the situation by saying and I quote
” We have yet to invent a political system that will harness the knowledge of mankind. if AI can be used for the benefit of all to reduce poverty and increase living standers of all without wrecking the planet it will be ……. Only dreaming”
I replied “What a dream”
Perhaps I should have said ” Where do dreams come from. Look around you. That is where dreams come from. The only planet we know. ”
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
No one really has the slightest idea how the brain changes after we have learned to sing a song or recite a poem. But neither the song nor the poem has been ‘stored’ in it.
The human brain isn’t really empty, of course. But it does not contain most of the things people think it does – not even simple things such as ‘memories’.
For more than half a century now, psychologists, linguists, neuron scientists and other experts on human behavior have been asserting that the human brain works like a computer.
However the state of our understanding today of an integrated plan of brain function remains incomplete. The brain consists of at least several hundred distinct cell types whose complete classification is still at present elusive.
Ever since man walked out of Africa, developed different cultures and different languages we have being using his brains to kill.
To date we have burnt more neurons on self-destruction than survival.
Step back and view our species objectively from the outside, the way a zoologist would carefully observe any other animal, or see us the way every other creature perceives human beings. The brutal reality could not be more evident or more horrifying.
We are the most relentless yet oblivious killers on Earth.
Our violence operates far outside the bounds of any other species. Human beings kill anything. Slaughter is a defining behavior of our species. We kill all other creatures, and we kill our own. We kill strangers. We kill people who are different from us, in appearance, beliefs, race, and social status. We kill ourselves in suicide. We kill for advantage and for revenge, we kill for entertainment:
I would venture to say that there has not been one day — not one single day — since the beginning of recorded history when one human being has not killed another. And I don’t mean by accident. I mean deliberately. With purposeful intent.
…in thousand and thousands of years.
So is violence in our genes. As Mr Darwin put it; Survival of the Fittest. Evolution requires a struggle to survive, so killing is a must.
Just look at the twentieth century, numerous people were killed in the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, the Jews suffered in the II World War, Ethnic massacres happened in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.
Today, several Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram are butchering people in the name of Islam, while thousands of Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar due to ethnic cleansing the shadow of a nuclear war ( that will bring equality to all, save us all from climate change and mass migration, ) can be summed up in one word: BRAINLESS.
Yet there’s no reason to assume that our empty brains will be adequate vessels for the voyage towards that answer.
Humanity has been trying to figure out how to bring an end to war since living beings evolved into self-consciousness on this planet. This effort now involves thousands of researchers, consumes billions of dollars in funding, and has generated a vast literature consisting of both technical and mainstream articles and books.
This latest up tick in the hostilities between these parties is almost irrelevant at this stage. Each side, of course, insists that it is only defending itself. And it is. Seen from each side’s point of view, all each side is doing is defending itself. Aggression is always called defense. Unfortunately every religion thinks it is the right one.
All that matters today is what it would take to end the killing, to end the aggression and counter-aggression that is threatening to embroil a whole region — and even, conceivably, the entire world at some level, if not directly — in a war that could prove unspeakably tragic for the entire human race, turning anyone that survives into an atheist, as there will be no invisible means of support as everything will glow.
But if there is a biological explanation for something, it is impossible to hold someone responsible for it. This is simply untrue.
This is a question that has been asked for many centuries. The Greeks philosopher Plato explained violent behavior by the fact that humans had a dual character because of their greedy nature. The Church always blamed the devil for possessing violent people.
Branding behaviors as incurable is hogwash fortuitously most humans are endowed with a sense of disgust but our kinship is often exploited by nations and religions, not surprisingly they are two institutions that are responsible for most, if not all, wars.
There is no satisfying answer to the question of why we go to war other than it feels good to protect our kinship.
All behavior is the product of the brain, and the brain is a product of genetics and the environment. Genes change at a glacial pace. But territory and society shift constantly and they are molded by man.
So here is what we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons, representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently. Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever. We never did, never will.
We don’t store words or the rules that tell us how to manipulate them. We don’t create representations of visual stimuli, store them in a short-term memory buffer, and then transfer the representation into a long-term memory device. We don’t retrieve information or images or words from memory registers.
The idea that memories are stored in individual neurons is preposterous:
Given this reality, why do so many scientists talk about our mental life as if we were computers?
Now here is the good or bad news.
Computers do all of these things, but organisms do not. Computers really do operate on symbolic representations of the world. They really store and retrieve. They really process. They really have physical memories. They really are guided in everything they do, without exception, by algorithms.
Uncontrolled Algorithms will kill us. Now more people have mobile phones than have toilets.
Everything we know about the universe tells us that reality consists only of physical things: atoms and their component particles, busily colliding and combining.
If a smartphone could be conscious, and were it to ultimately prove that the one thing the human mind is incapable of comprehending is itself.
Since anything at all that matters, in life, only does so as a consequence of its impact on conscious brains, could you ever know that it was true?
Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight.
The future of the brain and the implications on ethics and human behavior is now in the hands of Algorithms.
Speculating about the ‘algorithms’ of the brain, how the brain ‘processes data’, and even how it superficially resembles integrated circuits in its structure is now all the rage.
In 2013 the European Commission awarded neuron scientist Henry Markram $1.3 billion to pursue an audacious goal: building a simulation of the human brain. It is now in disarray. There’s a fly in the ointment. Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion.
It is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy.
Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.
We are sacrificing efficiency and deep concentration. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones.
It is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: texting, email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction to brainless thought.
Because it is limited in characters, it discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail. Texting discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail, and its addictive problems are compounded by its hyper-immediacy.
Faulty conclusion: All entities that are capable of behaving intelligently are information processors.
It is safe to say that we aren’t completely doomed to continue killing each other, as the advancement of culture appears not to be having a civilizing effect on us.
The enormous industry of print and broadcast journalism serves predominantly to document our killing.
You know who to write to. Write to them. You know whom to contact. Contact them. Right now.Our world’s leaders need someone to lead them. We thought they were going to lead us, but they can’t. Or won’t. So we need to lead them.
With the amount and duration of wars happening right now in 2017, it’s hard not to get desensitized to death and violence. It really is. That means we have to work harder to stay informed.
When it comes to putting a finger on the reasons for Extremism Terrorism we can all cite, 9/11, Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, indeed the list is endless.
We all also know that terrorism roots are hidden the shadows of history. Pathways to terrorism are in fact a politicisation of violence.
Ever bomb, bullet, death of a loved one gives birth to a potential Terrorist, however equally important are the social psychological or psycho-social causes of extremism.
Hundreds of millions have been invested in counter-terrorism policies and
interventions. Yet more than 12 years after the September 11 attacks, there is widespread recognition that governments still find it challenging to measure the effectiveness of their counter terrorism work and to learn from it.
For what it is worth here is my simplistic overview of what causes people to turn to act of unadulterated Barbarism along with a few suggestions to countermand them.
Terrorism research has indicated that neither poverty nor socio-economic deprivation are direct root causes of terrorism. The idea that radicalization causes terrorism is perhaps the greatest myth alive today in terrorism research … The overwhelming majority of people who hold radical beliefs do not engage in violence. And there is increasing evidence that people who engage in terrorism don’t necessarily hold radical beliefs.
This appears to point to that it is very significant to understand why certain individuals develop radical tendencies while others do not.
The underlying reason for extremist aggression is the natural response to frustration. This frustration acting in concert and symbiotically with the violent nature of people has become a real threat to state survival and social solidarity.
Emphasising only one possible cause of terrorism and extremism is all about politics.
With the government calling on police officers, intelligence agents, community workers and even teachers to voice ‘early signs’ of radicalization, it is crucial to understand what radicalization really is – and what causes it.
What we need instead is a sincere effort to actually think about and solve the problem of violent extremism. Governments should “stop being brainwashed by the notion of ‘radicalisation’. There is no such thing. Some people when they’re young acquire extreme views; many of them just grow out of them.
The real reasons are much more complicated.
There are many reasons behind why an average person may do something harmful to an innocent person while seeing it as a good deed.
These reasons are multi-dimensional and to explain them in simple, tip-of-the iceberg terms will only add to the confusion, rather than bring meaningful understanding.
Put generally, a few of these reasons are the world’s lack of a moderate, moral and fair role model, in addition to a lack of access to proper education in many places, lack of basic resources for many people, too much repression, autocratic rulers, closed-minded and egocentric leaders, personality factors, family upbringing, a tarnished sense of pride, among many others.
There is much less chance of any young person becoming radicalized if they have not viewed their life through a prism of discrimination or deprivation, have not seen particular events, such as the Iraq war, as requiring a direct and personal response and have not joined groups with violent ideologies and aims.
Individual socio-psychological factors, include grievances and emotions such as: alienation and exclusion; anger and frustration; grievance and a strong sense of injustice; feelings of humiliation; rigid binary thinking; a tendency to misinterpret situations; conspiracy theories; a sense of victimhood; personal vulnerabilities; counter-cultural elements.
These are contributed to by : Social factors, Political factors, Ideological/religious factors Culture and identity crisis, Trauma and other trigger mechanisms, Group dynamics Radicalizers/groomers. Social media.
Hatred spreads hatred only, a dull and meaningless life fuels this hate.
It is no secret that most people who engage in terrorist violence today come from marginalised neighborhoods or ghettos.
Violent extremism is an extension of radicalization from a relatively benign expression of a viewpoint to the use of violence to achieve a particular goal.
What can be done to make a difference?
All of those countries that sell arms to promote their economies should be crying wolf, they should be a shamed and have sanctions placed on them.
The police and relevant agencies might require closer relationships in the future with companies such as Facebook and Google to assist them in identifying red flags for vulnerable individuals. However, what needs to be clear as well is that Internet Service Provider (ISP) are not watchdogs in the service of the government’s.
The ISP needs to focus on online content and messaging, rather than exploring how the internet is used by individuals in the process of their radicalization. As society increasingly embraces the internet, so opportunities for those wishing to use it for terrorism have grown.
There is an assumption that the internet plays a part in some individuals’ radicalization… but [there are] no large-scale studies showing this to actually be the case or measuring the extent of the internet’s role in such processes.
Theology remains the prevalent scapegoat for extremism, but each human is an independent moral agent and must be judged for their own actions and choices.
At the end, targeting extremism is about targeting ideas more than individuals.
On a global scale, radicalisation and extremism have led people to travel to conflict zones to fight in foreign wars. If they were not effects on the way out they will certainly be by the time they wish to return. Different individuals have different motivations for engaging in such behaviour, making it hard to pinpoint exactly when alarm bells should sound for family, friends or authorities.
Effective counter-radicalization programs must be inclusive of local minority
communities and their leaders. Top-down policies are unlikely to succeed.
Radicalization and violent extremism will continue to be issues of concern, but to those that have lost love one it is too late to introduce Prevent strategy. They have only consolation, to honor their pain and loss by forgiveness, not by turning the other cheek but by grasping and living their lives to the full, adding there voices to hope and love, as an extremist does not think this way.
Overall, the more virtue a person uses to bring unconditional good to this world, the more he has climbed up the ladder of humanity.
There is no denying that Judaism, Christianity and Islam contain in their sacred books verses and chapters that are distasteful, awkward, unpleasant, and (especially from our modern point-of-view) morally dubious. Not only scholars of religion, but all those who attempt to take those scriptures seriously, are forced to grapple with those issues.
I think that blaming the texts themselves is somewhat misleading—especially since the vast majority of these religions’ adherents show no inclination to act out the troubling content of their own faiths’ sacred texts.
Forming the mind and shaping the heart:
These, I believe, are two simple but equally necessary approaches which are incumbent upon all of us, to help stem the tide of radicalization—not by circumventing our sacred texts, but by delving into them more profoundly, in ways that offer greater benefit for everyone.
The Question is:
How can democracy respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials?
Harmony and Tolerance have to be earned by affording opportunity to all, not inequalities or diluting Human Rights laws.
Terrorism is a strategy of weakness that is hoping to provoke their enemies into overreacting. In essence terrorism is a show that is designed to capture our imaginations, and make us feel as if we are sliding back into medieval chaos.
In most cases the overreaction to terrorism poses a far greater threat to our security than the terrorists themselves.
They may provoke us but in the end it will depend on our reactions.
With the coming era of Artificial Intelligence inequality is going to contribute to our disturbed world far beyond terrorism if we don’t vet all AI Algorithms to ensure they comply to our human values. ( See previous posts)
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