Daily Archives: June 17, 2011

Himmler’s daughter aged 81: She works with neo-Nazis and helps SS officers evade justice


Himmler and Gudrun in the war years. He ran the Gestapo, the S.S. and the extermination programme, which murdered six million Jews

Daily Mail | Jun 17, 2011

By Allan Hall

Waving goodbye to her grandchildren, Gudrun Burwitz has the look of a woman ready to live the rest of her days in peace and quiet.

Instead, the 81-year-old daughter of Heinrich Himmler still works at a ruthless pace to keep the Nazi flame alive.

Mrs Burwitz has always nurtured the memory of her father, believing the man who ran the Gestapo, the SS and the extermination programme which murdered six million Jews, to be good and worthy.

And despite her advanced years, she continues to help the ageing remnants of the Nazi regime to evade justice.

As the leading figure in the shadowy and sinister support group Stille Hilfe –Silent Help – she helps bring succour and financial help to those still at large.

Said to have been formed in 1951 by a clique of high-ranking SS officers and right-wing clergy in Germany, it exists ‘to provide quiet but active assistance to those who lost their freedom during or after the war by capture, internment or similar circumstance and who need help to this day’.

Now it is in the hands of Mrs Burwitz. And her work has taken an even more sinister turn. She has become ‘grandmother’ to a new breed of female Nazis on the radical right.

These disciples of Hitler wear the traditional dirndl dresses of Bavaria and their hair in plaits.

Andrea Roepke, an expert on Mrs Burwitz, said: ‘The Silent Help is not only about former National Socialists. It collects money too for the neo-Nazi movement.’

Mrs Burwitz, who lives in Munich with her husband, is fighting to keep Klaas Carel Faber, 89, from being extradited back to his homeland from Germany.

The Dutchman served with the SS in Holland where he murdered defenceless Jews in cold blood.

And her latest client is Soren Kamm, a Danish SS officer wanted in his homeland for murder in wartime.

Kamm, 90, is wanted in conjunction with several murders, including the execution of newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen in Copenhagen.

In 1946, a Danish court sentenced one of Kamm’s associates, Flemming Helweg-Larsen, to death in the same case and citing the same evidence material.

Helweg-Larsen was executed the same year.

Germany has refused to act on an EU extradition warrant although Kamm has admitted his guilt in a TV interview.

Mrs Burwitz, the ‘Princess of Nazism,’ as one historian called her, lives in a maisonette in the Munich suburb of Furstenried with her husband Wolf-Dieter.

‘I never talk about my work,’ she told the Mail. ‘I just do what I can when I can.’

An intelligence official said: ‘She is over 80 but pin sharp. She likes it if you think of her as some Mrs Doubtfire figure but that is not the case.’

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Communist China, Maoist insurgents, a dethroned prince and the Rockefellers to build $3 billion ‘Buddhist Mecca’ in Nepal


Bodhi tree and the Mayadevi pond in Lumbini, Nepal, November 2006/Bpilgrim

China is providing funds to Nepal to build a $3 billion (£1.9bn) ‘Buddhist Mecca’ to attract millions of pilgrims and spiritual tourists to the birthplace of the religion’s founder Gautama, Lord Buddha.

Telegraph | Jun 17, 2011

By Dean Nelson, New Delhi, Peter Foster in Beijing

Lumbini is a Unesco world heritage site that attracts half a million pilgrims every year from China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Thailand to its sacred ponds, gardens and temples.

Planners hope to build an airport, hotels, convention centres, new highways, temples and a Buddhist university at the site on Nepal’s Western border with India, where Lord Buddha was born about 2,600 years ago.

The scheme is supported by a Chinese government-backed foundation and has brought together an unlikely alliance of Nepali government ministers, Prachanda, the former prime minister and leader of the Maoist insurgency, and Paras, the former crown prince, whose family Prachanda ousted from power.

It also has the support of Steven Clark Rockefeller, the heir to the Rockefeller dynasty.

According to Nepali officials devout Buddhists spend more time at the other three main pilgrimage sites in India because Lumbini does not have the infrastructure necessary for longer stays.

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China plans to help Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini

Sarnath, in India’s Uttar Pradesh, where Buddha first taught “dharma” or natural law, Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and Kushinagar where he found “nirvana” in death, are all drawing increasing numbers of high-spending tourists, and Nepal’s government wants to increase its share of the spoils.

China and Nepal signed an agreement earlier this year to develop the site, and the Beijing-based Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation has launched an ambitious campaign to raise the $3 billion required for the site to be transformed into the world’s leading Buddhist pilgrimage site.

Prachanda has made a number of fund-raising trips to Singapore and Malaysia, and hopes the project will create new jobs in Lumbini, a poor area.

China’s involvement in a project close to the border with India has caused discomfort in New Delhi, where the government has traditionally regarded itself as a patron of the Buddhist world through its hosting of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.

Vietnam and US in joint venture to clean up Agent Orange damage


Vietnamese mine sweepers in Da Nang demonstrate how areas will be cleared of unexploded ordnance. Photograph: Richard Nyberg/AP

Countries work together for first time to tackle contamination caused by wartime spraying of chemical defoliant.

Vietnam’s Red Cross estimates up to 3 million Vietnamese have suffered health-related problems from Agent Orange exposure.

guardian.co.uk | Jun 17, 2011

Vietnam started the first phase of a joint plan with the US on Friday to clean up environmental damage caused by the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, a lasting legacy of the Vietnam war.

The work concentrates on a former US military base in central Vietnam, where the defoliant was stored during the war that ended more than three decades ago.

It is the first time the two sides have worked together on the ground to clean up contamination.

A statement by the US embassy in Hanoi said Vietnam’s ministry of defence will begin sweeping areas near the Da Nang airport for unexploded ordnance. It will then work with the US Agency for International Development to remove dioxin – a chemical used in Agent Orange – from soil and sediment at the site. This action is expected to begin early next year.

US aircraft sprayed millions of gallons of the chemical over South Vietnam during the war to destroy guerrilla fighters’ jungle cover.

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Vietnam Agent Orange cleanup starts: US

Contamination from dioxin which has been linked to cancers and birth defects – has remained a thorny topic between the former foes. Washington was slow to respond to the issue, arguing for years that more research was needed to show that the wartime spraying caused health problems and disabilities among Vietnamese.

Virginia Palmer, the US embassy chargé d’affaires, said: “As secretary of state Hillary Clinton remarked while visiting Vietnam last October, the dioxin in the ground here is ‘a legacy of the painful past we share’, but the project we will undertake here, as our two nations work hand-in-hand to clean up this site, is a sign of the hopeful future we are building together.”

The $32m (£19.7m) project will remove dioxin from 29 hectares (71 acres) of land at the Da Nang site. A 2009 study of the area by the Canadian environmental firm Hatfield Consultants found chemical levels that were 300 to 400 times higher than international limits.

Two other former US airbases in the southern locations of Bien Hoa and Phu Cat also have been identified as sites where the defoliant was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes during the war, allowing spilled dioxin to seep into the soil and water systems.

Vietnam’s Red Cross estimates up to 3 million Vietnamese have suffered health-related problems from Agent Orange exposure. The US has said the number is far lower and that other health and environmental factors are likely to blame for many illnesses and disabilities.

U.S.-Vietnam begin Agent Orange clean-up

Japanese scientists: “Let them eat shit”


Flushed with success? Mitsuyuki Ikeda with his edible excrement concoction

Japanese scientist makes a ‘delicious’ burger out of… human EXCREMENT

The scientists argue that the new patties are far kinder to the environment as cattle create such a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Daily Mail | Jun 17, 2011

It takes the saying waste not, want not, to a whole new level.

A Japanese scientist has developed a ‘meat’ burger made out of human excrement.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, came up with the novel approach to number ones after Tokyo Sewage asked him to come up with a way of using up the city’s waste.

Mr Ikeda found that the poo which filled up the system was packed with protein because of all the bacteria.

His research team extracted the proteins to create an artificial steak, which is turned red with food colouring and flavoured with soy.

In a YouTube video posted recently he explained: ‘We add reaction enhancer and put it in the exploder to produce the artificial meat.’

It is made up of 63 per cent protein, 25 per cent carbohydrates, three per cent lipids and nine per cent minerals.

But how has it gone down with the public? Well the team claims that in initial tests people reported it was delicious and tasted like beef.

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And despite its unusual origins, the scientists argue that the new patties are far kinder to the environment as cattle create such a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ‘meat’ is currently 10 to 20 times more expensive that your average beef burger due to research costs, however Professor Ikeda hopes to bring costs down over time.

He added that the ‘green’ credentials of the poo pate would help consumers to overcome any ‘psychological barriers’ they might have.

Shit Burger: Japanese Researcher Creates Artificial Meat From Human Feces

IBM: Resistance is unnecessary, the Borg will be assimilated comfortably


“Star Trek” captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is fitted with gizmos for a fictional Borg transformation. The blending of humans and hardware will probably be more artful in real life by 2111. Paramount Pictures

This wouldn’t be a Borg-like assimilation, in which humans look increasingly like machines. Rather, the machines would blend into the human body.

IBM thinks about the next 100 years

MSNBC | Jun 16, 2011

By Alan Boyle

A hundred years from now, will we be assimilated by the machines? Or will we assimilate them? These are the kinds of issues facing International Business Machines as the company begins its second 100 years.

Right now, most folks are thinking about the past 100 years at IBM, which is celebrating the centennial of its founding on Thursday. But for Bernard Meyerson, the company’s vice president of innovation, it’s all about the next century.

“That’s pretty much what we think about,” Meyerson told me today.

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Meyerson has plenty to look back on, including his own not-so-small part in IBM’s past innovations. When his cell phone dropped the connection during our telephone conversation, he called back and casually mentioned that he had a hand in creating the transistors built into that cell phone. And when I asked him to explain, he said, “I actually invented the technology known as silicon-germanium.”

It turns out that IBM has played a behind-the-scenes role in all sorts of technologies, ranging from semiconductor development to barcodes to Wi-Fi. “IBM is a funny company,” Meyerson said. “We don’t force you to put a little sticker on anything that says, ‘We’re the smart guys.'”

IBM Centennial Film

But enough about the past: What about the future? “Going forward, you have tremendous opportunities,” particularly when it comes to making sense of the huge databases that are being built up in all sorts of fields, Meyerson said. For example, imagine a system that can take medical records from the 285 million people around the world with diabetes, anonymize those records and analyze them, looking for potential new treatments or preventive measures.

“The fact is, there is no mechanism today that could do that, and the reason is that medical data is unstructured,” he said. There’s little consistency in how the records are kept, and medical conditions might be described in different ways by different doctors.

When you put together the volumes of data and the numbers of people that have to be covered in these massive, unstructured data sets, the figures mount up to quintillions of bytes. That’s the challenge facing new types of computing tools — for example, the Watson supercomputer, which won a highly publicized “Jeopardy” quiz-show match earlier this year. Now Watson is being put to work on a tougher task: making sense of medical records, which is just the kind of job Meyerson has in mind.

Still other challenges await. Watson-style computers could digest the millions of data points involved in tracking the flow of highway traffic, then develop models to predict where the tie-ups could arise before they actually happen. The computers of the next century will have to handle a wide range of “big data” challenges, ranging from climate modeling to natural-language search engines for multimedia.

Meyerson doesn’t expect Watson to answer that challenge completely. A hundred years from now, Watson will almost certainly be considered a quaint antique, much like the tabulating machines that were made back in 1911.

“Watson specifically is not the issue, as much as the combination of Watson’s ability to interpret natural language, the capacity to store ‘big data’ and apply data analytics to come up with solutions for society,” he said. “In the absence of natural language, you’re going to have a short, unhappy life attempting this work. Without that key ingredient, how are you going to take the interaction of humans and machines to the next level and make it easy?”

What will the next level be in the year 2111? “Honestly, at 100 years I’m genuinely unsure,” Meyerson said. The past century has shown that the pace of technological advancement can be highly variable, depending on what kinds of breakthroughs come to the fore. But if Meyerson had to bet on one particular game-changing technology, it would be coming up with a direct interface between computing circuits and the human brain.

“If it turns out that there is a very natural way to communicate data back and forth without being obtrusive, then the whole world changes,” he told me. This wouldn’t be a Borg-like assimilation, in which humans look increasingly like machines. Rather, the machines would blend into the human body.

Does that sound like a grand dream for the next century? Or a nightmare?