MAY 2005

Arts, Book Reviews Etc.

24 February ­ 8 May 2005
Thursday - Sunday 12-6pm

Mark Dean   Peter Collis   Chiara Pirito   Chris Cornish   susan pui san lok   Mattias Härenstam   João Seguro   Zineb Sedira   Semiconductor
Previews on consecutive Wednesdays until 8 May

27 April - 8 May

Sonic Inc. Live Performance, Wednesday 4 May at 7.30pm (venue open 6-9pm)

Dissatisfied with merely subverting existing software and digital systems to their ends, Semiconductor have been developing customised software with which to create their distinctive soundscapes where sound is synonymous with image. Sonic Inc. is a real-time 3D drawing tool that charts the beginning of an artificial world and its shapeless inhabitants.  

This live, cinematic performance charts an unformed landscape evolving with simple "life forms" that grow according to the soundscape.  Forming as basic structures and developing into creatures, they learn to move autonomously, grow, respond to and build their own environments.  

Going back to the basic building blocks of computational visual language, Sonic Inc. reveals as much about the birth and development of the microchip as it does about the world it projects.

Presented as fictional documentaries, Semiconductor¹s Sound Films present the physical world in flux through a combination of digital and analogue procedures. These works are set in the future; histories yet to be considered. Semiconductor are UK artists Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt.  Semiconductor present three related works, during the final weeks of Lightsilver. The Sound of Microclimates, 2004, Inaudible Cities, 2002 and premiere of  Sonic Inc., 2005.

Lightsilver explores the physical, conceptual and historical impact of the landscape tradition on the ideas of contemporary artists. Territory that has been conventionally explored through other mediums is here broadly extended to the moving image. An evolving montage of projections links the cinematic tradition of vista-making with the metaphoric potential of an age-old genre ­ the appearance of that portion of land which the eye can view at once. Nine artists rotate new commissions across three spaces, each entering the sequence on one screen before proceeding to the next the following week. Every fresh work has an impact on the triptych, asserting its presence and shifting the kaleidoscope before the next incoming piece changes interpretation again.

22 Newport Street
SE11 6AY
020 7582 6465

Deconstructing Hollywood
Propaganda Sleazes Onto The Big Screen

By Mark Green and Wendy Campbell

Edison may have invented the 'motion picture', but Jewish immigrants from Europe "invented Hollywood". Remarkably, in the century since Meyer, the Warner Brothers and a handful of other Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants who began the 'studio system', Hollywood maintains a distinctly Yiddish accent. Some critics, however, posit that Hollywood doesn't play fair, since it employs the mesmerizing power of cinema to manipulate the mindset of complacent viewers. How? By relentlessly injecting sordid scenarios and denigrating images of once respected American archetypes and institutions. Recent targets: the Catholic Church and , as usual, Arabs.
For just one very recent example out of many, is the comic-book styled action film "Sin City". Here, many of the villains are sporting multiple crucifixion crosses, a symbol held sacred by many Christians, and mixed in with a smattering of swastikas. Indeed, the film's arch-villain turns out to be a satanic, cannibalistic Catholic cardinal! OK, this is fictional entertainment, but Hollywood knows that these scenarios have a visceral, even subliminal, impact. That's basically why we don't see any Hollywood-fabricated demons sporting stars of David, a symbol revered by many Jews, not do we see any 'rabid rabbis' dished up for popular entertainment.
The unspoken code of Tinseltown is this: Jewish archetypeds and religious sensitivities are to be respected. Others may be casually smeared.
Although Catholics and Arabs are expected to survive this non-lethal, but inherently pernicious onslaught, considering the laudatory treatment Hollywood's Jews regularly heap upon themselves when portraying their brethren, it's becoming a bit of an outrage, as it should. How is it that Jews, Arabs and Christians receive such different treatment under Hollywood's gaze?
In polite terms, the Jewish presence in American film and media is "without peer".
In many ways, Hollywood is an "insider" kind of business. While talent is essential, there is a political element to success in Hollywood. One must pass muster with the specifically Jewish dictates of political correctness. Otherwise, one may find oneself very unemployed and ignored. It took an actor/producer with the stature of Mel Gibson to buck this kosher Hollywood code to produce and distribute his controversial, but wildly successful film "The Passion". He endured a tidal wave or organized, Jewish protest, including death threats to his family. Not surprisingly, Bob and Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films declined to distribute "The Passion" assuming it would offend their crowd and/or fan the "eternal" flames of "anti-Semitism". On the other hand, the Weinstein brothers did distribute "Sin City" as well as Michael Moore's much ballyhoo-ed "Fahrenheit 9/11". Why? Both films respected the unwritten kosher code: vilification and defamation of Arab and/or Christians is perfectly fine, but one must never-- even in the context of analyzing terrorism or U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East demean Israel, Zionism or neo-conservatism. In fact, in "Fahrenheit 9/11", Michael Moore totally ignored the roles of Israel, Zionism and neo-conservatives, while he threw in a gratuitous, hefty dose of Arab-bashing. Good boy, Michael! Here's a million dollars!
For the ambitious film-maker, it's important to remember these three things:
One: Jews remain at the top of the Hollywood food chain.
Two: They intend to remain there.
Three: Don't' forget those first two things.
Not unless you are very rich and famous, such as Mel Gibson, for one mega example. The Weinstein brothers of MiraMax declined to distribute Mel Gibson's film "The Passion", fearing it would offend the sensibilities of many Jews and /or fan the flames of "anti-Semitism". However, the Weinstein brothers have no problem with producing or distributing films such as "Sin City" nor even Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" since he didn't mention Israel or neocons or Zionism at all, and he threw in plenty of gratuitous Arab-bashing.
Like it or not, the "gate-keepers" of American mass media are disproportionately of Jewish stock. Though they famously disdain "white racism", prevailing Hollywodd customs affirm aggressive white Jewish networking. The results are nothing less than astonishing.
America, it's now acknowledged by many, has come to "think Jewish", as attitudes have 'magically" shifted on matters such as race, 'minority rights', school prayer, abortion rights, celebrating "the holidays"(very pagan and very much against God's word), and "promoting our values" via an aggressive mission to imporse democracy in all Mid-East countries except for the ethnocentric Jewish state of Israel. OK, Israel may qualify as a "democracy" in the same way the white, apartheid South Africa did, but there's one huge difference: concerted interevention from around the world finally brought the segregated Apartheid country of South Africa to its knees. White racial discrimination was declared "evil". Interestingly, Jewish activists played a decisive role in that campaign. But incredibly, Jewish Israelis and international Zionists, both Jewish and now so-called Christian Zionists, suffer no similar intense pressure, except by a growing grassroots movement of human rights and peace activists, who, thus far, lack any real significant political clout. Without apology, Israel and its supporters get to play by their own rules.
It's no accident that America's expanding global militancy implicitly hold the "security" of the Jewish state as its centerpiece. And with the help of vital U.S. aid, Israel militarily maintains its commitment to a segregated society, with hellish consequences for the indigenous non-Jewish Palestinians.
How are the highly placed "friends of Israel" able to bamboozle so much of the world? Through a complicated but interconnected array of media and grass-roots propaganda, political pressure, complex legalisms, victim hood identity via The Holocaust, and raw political muscle. In today's America, just an allegation of "anti-Semitism" can damage the career of public figures. And to fortify this taboo, Americans are regularly fed a hefty ration of Holocaust lore. As a sidebar, here's an additional fact that would be funny if only it wasn't true: Holocaust "experts" are almost all Jewish. Does their collective obsession produce scholarship, or an appetite and license to propagandize? In any case, for the latest Holocaust news, one need simply to turn on the TV or pick up any "major" newspaper. Yest an accurate telling of the Jewish experience in American should spotlight not suffering or persecution, but success, acceptance, privilege and influence. Jews are America's preeminent success story.
Although reportedly less than 3% of our population, Jewish per capita income is unsurpassed, as is their presence at our nation's top universities and think tanks. As noted, American Jews make up a majority of Hollywood's ruling class and beyond that, Jewish "over-representation" is an accomplished fact in law, medicine and general media, including print and TV. This is no small matter. With the average American watching over four hours of TV or film every day, and perusing the mainstream newspapers and magazines, these figures are evidence of a profound ethnic imbalance in the management and dissemination of news and information. For America's Jews, this translates into formidable political power.
The enduring fact remains that who ever owns and controls the media, can also leverage public opinion, and from there, government policies.
Indeed, Jewish media mavens have the means to easily advance their particular viewpoint of history, with far reaching consequences. And with the Jewish state of Israel embroiled in a condition of near-perpetual war since its founding in 1948, the question must be posed: might many of our country's most accomplished editors and story-tellers, who qualify as Israeli-Americans, have at least a minor conflict of interest?
Put another way: how can they not?
After all, Israeli "security" remains the essential focus of organized Jewry. Countless pro-Israel organizations famously apply incessant pressure on government officials, political parties, candidates, journalists and fellow "tribe-members" to lobby on Israel's behalf, since billions of dollars in U.S. aid are harnessed to advance the Jewish state's regional hegemony.
Consequently, maintaining a public willingness to favor America's present interventionist, (pro-Israel/anti-Arab-non-Jewish) foreign policy is an essential component in any scenario culminating in The Final Zionist Solution. It's essential therefore that American gentiles "think correctly" on key Jewish issues. Thus, when Jewish interests are at stake, good and evil are neatly drawn (preferably in clear, unambiguous fashion) so that American consumers of news and entertainment can easily and passively draw the proper conclusions. Thus Arabs (particularly Palestinians) are "terrorists", Nazi demonology is a growth industry, and Holocaust Revisionism (widely misrepresented as "Holocaust Denial") is being peddles as a threat to global security. In fact, in numerous "free, Western democracies", such as Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, for example, to question the version of The Holocaust promoted by Zionists, including the six million figure and the gas chambers, is an actual crime punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Ernst Zundel was deported from the U.S., ostensibly on "visa violations", to Canada where he spend two years in solitary confinement. Then, he was just recently was deported to solitary confinement in a German jail. His crime? Publicly questioning these aspects of the Holocaust. Who's next?
Organized Jewry, progenitors of "speech codes" on countless American campuses, are raising the bar from censoring to criminalizing speech.
A balanced view of history does matter, yet when the facts don't fit, the media gate-keepers can purposefully misinterpret, obfuscate or simply overlook them. This may explain why, for instance, there is so little media interest in the annihilation of 20 million anti-Bolshevik Russians preceding WWII. After all, 20 million Russians killed by their own government is the all-time tsunami, (hollocaust )of war crimes. But who were the perpetrators? Where are they now? The average American simply knows nothing about the 'over-represented' Jewish role in Communism's pernicious rise. Of course, this oversight is no accident.
Considering that over 275 million humans have perished in wars during the past century, America's nurtured obsession with, and elevation of, Jewish suffering in Europe during WWII might be seen as a peculiar idiosyncrasy. Indeed, many surmise that the American Mind is indeed under Zionist management. The irony of our nation's preoccupation with Jewish war causalities during WWII 55 years after the fact becomes even more repellent when we consider the horrendous, ongoing persecution of gentiles in Palestine-Israel under Jewish occupation. The fundamental Palestinian crime: living in Palestine-Israel without the proper Jewish DNA.
As for American cinema, there has been a sea of changes in the past generation. There's now a multicultural array of celebrities, including many Jewish ones. On the downside, Christianity doesn't get the kind of coverage it enjoyed when Frank Capra was directing. Thus, we are treated to seeing an array of stock Christian con artists, whores and criminals. As for Arabs, they're still welcome to play terrorist schemers, religious fanatics, or just plain unsavory characters. This is the mean-spirited side to "American" film that goes unacknowledged and unchallenged.
Recently, after reading several glowing reviews, we succumbed to seeing the afore-mentioned over-praised, over-hyped, action-revenge movie, "Sin City". Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, with "special guest director Quentin Tarantino", "Sin City" is a gritty, sexy, violent and surrealistic foray into a stylized, comic-book version of post-modern urban mayhem. By contemporary standards of blood-letting, this film delivers far more than its share, but there's probably worse in circulation. "Sin City's" denigration of Christian icons, however, approaches new excesses, something that was also very evident in Tarantino's previous "Kill Bill" movies.
Not only do many of the villains in this hyper-violent yarn wear gaudy necklaces and earrings hung with Christian crosses, even multiple layers of them, "Sin City" manages to associate blue eyes with depravity, although for Hollywood, that's nothing new.
The two heroic characters (and they were not wearing any Christian crosses, or swastikas, of course) where portrayed by Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis. It's Willis' character who finally manages to kill the the evil Catholic priest.
At any rate, we can rest assured that Hollywood shall likely refrain from depicting Jews in such a negative fashion. As for the rest of us, we are not supposed to complain. In fact, we're not even supposed to NOTICE, since it might indicated a racial loyalty which for anyone else except for Jews, is a modern sin.
This very real double standard speaks volumes about who holds real power in contemporary American.
Some suggestions: Denounce double standards. Reject subversive imagery. Go forth and create new media. Break new grounds. Question taboos. Take advantage of the available modern tools to do so. Eschew passivity. Take action!
In a true democracy, EVERYONE has a voice. We advise that you use it. Or you may lose it.
Mark Green and Wendy Campbell practice what they preach. For more information about their views and their taboo-shattering documentaries, please visit

The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and the Last Caste
Thinking the unthinkable, a Confucian union:Lawrence Taub

you got the wrong Taub here mate..........Taub (pianist)

By Jan Krikke

JOMTIEN, Thailand - In 10 to 15 years East Asia will form a political-economic union along the lines of the European Union. It will follow the reunification of the two Koreas, likely to occur around 2007. A "Confucian" union will integrate Japan into East Asia the way the EU integrated Germany into Europe. By about 2020, the East Asia Union will be the world's most powerful bloc, ahead of the EU and US-led North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA). And its core will be

Making these bold predictions is Lawrence Taub, an American futurist living in Tokyo, who recently visited Thailand. Taub has a long record of forecasting global trends in astonishing detail. In the 1970s, he predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall, Iran's Islamic Revolution, and the entry of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). His most recent book, which includes some of these futurist
concepts, is The Spiritual Imperative: Sex, Age, and the Last Caste.

Is Taub risking his reputation by predicting a Confucian Union between China, Korea and Japan? Tensions are rising between Japan and South Korea over fisheries and possibly mineral-rich islands and sea beds between Japan and China over oil and gas-rich islands where exploitation is contested. Resentment toward Japan runs deep in both China and Korea, over colonialism and World War II atrocities, and a union of almost any sort between the three countries would seem improbable to most observers. But Taub is adamant. "Enemies can become friends almost overnight," he told Asia Times Online in a sit-down interview.

Taub predicted the formation of a Confucian Union in his book, but during an interview with this correspondent he proposed an additional reason: that Korea and China would be able to "neutralize" any Japanese military threat by absorbing it into a political union. That makes the overall
argument for a Confucian Union even more compelling.

"France and Germany formed the European Union less than a decade after fighting a bitter war. The EU integrated Germany into the European family of nations and neutralized its militaristic tendencies. But more importantly, the formation of unions is a sign of our times. Regional economies are banding together. They integrate their economies to pack a bigger punch in the global trade arena. Unions like NAFTA, ASEAN, the EU, and Mercosur [a South American economic union] make individual states stronger vis-a-vis other blocs."

Macro-history with a twist

Lawrence Taub is not an average, popular political observer or predictor of the future. He is among a select group of scholars to have developed a comprehensive macro-history. Macro-historians rely on "grand narratives" of human history to forecast future scenarios. Recent examples are Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations. Most historians and political commentators usually focus on their own areas of expertise - economics, technology, culture, business - which narrow the scope of their forecasts. Moreover, they tend to be Eurocentric and male-oriented. Taub is neither. His macro-history draws on Indian and Chinese thought, and like few other macro-historians, he claims women will play a key role in shaping the future.

When asked about other historians, political commentators and futurists, Taub quoted the American poet John Godfrey Saxe: "Though each was partly in the right, all were in the wrong." He pointed to Alvin Toffler's "third wave" theory as an example. "Toffler accurately describes the transition from agricultural to industrial to post-industrial society. That's a valid model, but it's only part of the picture. Toffler's macro-history could not predict the rise of East Asia as the world's leading economic center, nor the emergence of religious fundamentalism as the strong political force that it has become, which in the long run will evolve and have profound socio-economic implications in the future."

The caste model

The centerpiece of Taub's macro-history is what Taub calls the Caste Model, a remarkable synthesis of the ancient Indian Theory of Caste and actual historical development. Most observers agree that the world's economic center of gravity is moving from the West to East Asia, but Taub's Caste Model gives this historical shift a theoretical basis. Taub argues the world is in the midst of a transition from the merchant caste age to the worker caste age.

Taub explained that the merchant caste age was dominated by capitalists, industrialists and landowners. Its source of power was capital and its social ideal the "self-made man". The worker caste age is dominated by technocrats and bureaucrats. Its source of power is scientific and managerial knowledge, and its social ideal is the "organization man". Taub acknowledged that East Asia also has its merchants, but he argued that Confucian Asia is more in tune with the worker caste age than either Europe or the United States.

Taub said several factors will make the formation of a Confucian Union inevitable, among them a shared cultural heritage and growing international competition. "Despite a turbulent past and lingering animosity, the three countries speak the same cultural language, and their economies are increasingly integrated. Last year, China replaced the United States as Japan's largest trading partner. With the largest dollar reserves in the world, Japan and China resemble two mountain climbers linked by a rope. Technological cooperation between China, Japan and Korea is growing. Over-reliance on US-made software has fueled concerns about national security and industrial espionage and led to an initiative to develop CJK Linux, an Asian version of open source software."

Korean unification

Taub believes a reunified Korea will precede the formation of a Confucian Union. Asked about how reunification would come about, he said it would not be a repeat of the German experience. "North Korea is much poorer than East Germany was at the time," he told Asia times Online. "Spontaneous reunification is unlikely. But there will be a parallel with the German example. Just before it happens, when it will seem impossible, the momentum toward reunification will surge rapidly. The momentum is likely to start building in 2006, with reunification probably in 2007. The last hurdle will be the fate of North Korea's current leaders. They will insist on guarantees they won't be thrown in jail. China may offer them asylum."

Confucianism, communism, nationalism

Taub said he does not foresee problems with democratic Japan and Korea forming a political union with communist China. He believes pragmatism will prevail. He also pointed out that communism has become a mere label in China's political theater, but argued at the same time that communism and Confucianism have many similarities.

"Confucianism and communism, especially as introduced by Mao [Zedong] Ho [Chi Minh], and Kim [Jong-il], were compatible," he said. "Confucianism, like communism, has no Godfather figure. And communism's strong state sits well with Confucian tradition, which is centered on the group, the family, the community, and the state. When the Deng Xiaoping government initiated reform, the
ideological transition was smooth. The government didn't have to worry about the weight of opposing tradition, only about the Gang of Four - Mao's wife Jiang Ching and her three Cultural Revolution radical allies. All it had to do was go from socialism without a free market and private enterprise to socialism with a free market and private enterprise."

Taub has argued the name "socialist democracy" is not an oxymoron. "It perfectly describes the half-communist, half-capitalist hybrid system that all industrialized or industrializing countries are currently developing," he said. "It is a system that is half market and private business-driven and half highly central-government-regulated. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan also have that system - in fact Japan pioneered it - but they call themselves capitalist. Most Western European countries call themselves social democracies, which sounds pretty close to socialist democracy."

William Kelly, intercultural communications lecturer at the University of Southern California who wrote a foreword to Taub's books, pointed out that nationalism - strong in China and Korea and growing in Japan - will not necessarily be a hindrance to the formation of a Confucian Union. "It is obvious that the only way to fulfill the desire for national glory as well as economic success is by getting together in a union and being stronger than the other two blocs [the EU and NAFTA]," said Kelly. "First, Japanese militarism could be neutralized by such a bloc. But the real future danger could be Chinese rather than Japanese nationalism, since there is much resentment and a sense of
grievance behind it."


How should the United States respond to Asia's growing economic clout? Taub said America would do well to support the formation of a Confucian bloc. "The United States' main fear is that China will dominate global trade and technology, and emerge as an economic and military threat to the US," he said. "China has to make political and economic reforms before it can become a global power, but it eventually will make these reforms. This will transform China into a liberal democracy like Japan and Korea. Liberal democracies don't make war on each other. So it's not likely China will pose a military threat to the US. That's the paradox of the current worker caste age. A country can't become a real global military threat until it becomes a liberal democracy. But then it is no
longer a threat."

The American government frequently pressures the Chinese government to further reform its system. Taub agrees with this approach, but points out that the US also needs reform. If the US doesn't overhaul its social-economic system, he said, it will drop too far behind the EU and the emerging Confucian bloc. "The US, like all other advanced countries, has a worker-age system, and its ruling elite is mainly worker caste. But half its mind is still stuck in the merchant age: money and wealth at any price. The United States' merchant caste and its world view made the US the leading country in the world. This explains why countries that reach the top in one age, tend to lose power in a subsequent age. They find it hard to change a winning formula, even as the system starts
cracking at the seams. The first impulse is to reach for patches."

Taub said the foreign and domestic policy of US President George W Bush reflects this merchant-age backwardness. "The invasion of Iraq was, in part, classic merchant age: start a war for business purposes - oil, weapons, reconstruction contracts, etc. The United States' merchant-minded leadership is making it hard for working Americans to do their jobs, and use their professional/managerial skills to keep the country competitive. Medical and legal costs are out of control, 45 million people lack health insurance, teachers are underpaid and undervalued, and filing lawsuits is a national pastime that squanders precious resources. If China has to make reforms to become competitive, the US must make reforms to stay competitive."

(Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.


A new film "McLibel," directed by Franny Armstrong, chronicling the the famous trial will open in theaters starting with New York, Chicago and Los Angeles on May 20.  The film tells the true story of Helen Steel and Dave Morris, two ordinary people whom, after being sued for libel by McDonald's, stood up to the corporation. The case has been described as the biggest
corporate PR disaster in history.

They refused to apologize for distributing a leaflet that asked consumers to ponder the question: "What's Wrong with McDonald's?" and listed the company's transgressions. Filmed over a 10-year period, the documentary follows the lives of Steel and Morris as they transform from anonymous
non-profit activists into unlikely global heroes.

The 'McLibel 2' defended themselves through the longest trial in English history to date.

Cultivate Health from Within: Dr. Shahani’s Essential Guide to Probiotics

by Dr. Khem M. Shahani, Dr Betsy F. Meshkesher and Dr. Venkat Mangalampalli, Vital Books Publishing, P.O. Box 152, Ridgefield CT. 2004 www.vitalhealthbooks .com

Here’s a book to change your view on germs forever.

‘Probiotics’ are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut, helping us to digest our food and maintain a healthy immune system. If we’ve overlooked our relationship with our own bacteria up until now, then this new book will open up a whole new exotic world of friendly bacteria that keep us in good health. Cooperating with this inner life could add years to our lives. "At birth and throughout life, the large intestine is a bacterium’s idea of paradise. The human gut provides food, shelter, and warmth for these microbes to proliferate. Most of us are aware of the changes that have occurred in the outer world of Earth today - the macroecology. Just as toxic chemicals have harmed the macroecology, for many of us, our inner world - the microecology of the gastrointestinal system - has also been harmed and changed." Apparently there are three and a half pounds of bacteria in the human intestines; more bacteria than there are people in the world, at several thousand billion, and more than the total number of cells in the human body! In the healthy body, less than one percent of these bacteria are pathogenic, but in the wrong environment, they can spiral upwards in numbers and cause anything from mild distress to virulent disease and death.

More than 400 species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been identified, which promote the production of lactic acid that removes detrimental pathogenic bacteria from the system. They belong to six major groups and more minor groups; but very few have yet been researched. By providing our probiotic bacteria with a healthy food supply – ‘prebiotics’ - a flourishing community is maintained throughout our gut that protects us against numerous disease conditions. The prebiotics, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), available in common healthy foods, encourage the proliferation of beneficial gut bacteria.

The book gives a comprehensive review of the disadvantages of the overuse and abuse of antibiotics in human and animal health and especially as growth promoters in animals. It describes how the action of beneficial bacteria can eliminate resistant pathogenic bacteria from the gut after antibiotic use, and how they heal a leaky gut so that disease cannot take hold. The authors recommend a lifestyle that enables probiotics to prevent disease, rather than using antibiotics to suppress symptoms or to give a (often temporary) cure. "When an oral antibiotic is swallowed, beneficial bacteria are killed, allowing yeast to grow unchecked in the intestines. Their tendrils poke holes in the lining of the intestinal walls creating a "leaky gut." Yeast can then escape and infiltrate other bodily tissues, causing suppression of the entire immune system." "When prescribed for cold or flu, antibiotics are worthless; yet this is a common practice. According to several studies, children who were given antibiotics for acute ear infections suffered double the rate of adverse effects as compared to children who were given placebos."

Khem M. Shahani is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers on the role of lactobacilli and gastrointestinal bacteria in human nutrition and health. He has worked for many years at the University of Nebraska where he and his team isolated, developed and optimised exceptional strains of lactic acid bacteria, which have become internationally acclaimed for their probiotic qualities and distributed worldwide.

This work is the continuation of an age-old tradition that has been largely forgotton in developed countries. Eating the LAB-fermented milk (yoghurt) of cows, sheep, goats, camels and horses was said to be the cause of longevity in Eastern Europe. The probiotic Lactobacillus bulgaricus was named after observing very old but fit people living in Bulgarian villages. The authors describe 24 major beneficial effects of probiotics, with compelling accounts of the research that backs up these claims. Live yoghurt, other high calcium foods, and assorted green vegetables, suddenly feature strongly on the shopping list. Some examples of benefits described after taking probiotics are given in the Box.

Some benefit of probiotics
  • augments the immune system
  • alleviates anxiety
  • prevents arterial disease, lowering cholesterol
  • prevents and controls diarrhoea
  • inhibits food pathogens and enhances food preservation
  • inhibits tumours and carcinogenesis
  • fights fungal/yeast/candida infections
  • promotes/aids liver function and detoxification
  • produces natural antibiotic-like agents that fight and prevent bacterial infections
  • prevents osteoporosis
  • promotes longevity

On the subject of tumour suppression, the authors write: "Over the last 30 years, several studies have revealed that lactic cultures possess anticarcinogenic properties and are capable of suppressing tumor growth through various mechanisms. The most effective organism for this purpose is L. bulgaricus, but a review of findings from Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, Japan, and the United States show that antitumor properties have also been credited to special strains of Bifidobacterium infantis, S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus, L. helveticus, L. casei, and L. lactis.

The advantages of the natural probiotic route to good health for the newborn, young and old alike are explained, beginning from the newborn child receiving its first microbes through mother’s milk. However, the mothers’ gut microecology is now thought to be imbalanced, so that the health of a breast-fed baby’s gut today is comparable to that of a formula fed baby of a generation ago.

A description of the connection between gut bacteria, sleep and the immune system is really fascinating, while practical advice on how good health can be achieved and maintained makes this book more than just a very good read.

The lead author has received numerous scientific awards for his original research and has convinced clinicians around the world of the outstanding health benefits available from probiotics. Now he and his coworkers have made this complex subject accessible for mass readership. The book is attractively laid out with diagrams and a strong structure that treats the material from a variety of perspectives. The style is lucid, fresh and descriptive. It ends with a chapter on frequently asked questions that addresses many practical areas of interest for the reader, plus a full list of references to the text.

Looted 1937- and if it reached Rome complete, why now broken up to Return it?
A crowd of Ethiopian ministers, priests and other VIPs cheered and clapped as it landed.

AXUM OBELISK 1,700 years old Weighs 160 tons 24m tall Looted in 1937 Return costing $7.7m Due to be re-erected in September

"I am excited, overjoyed and delighted," said Ethiopian Culture Minister Teshome Toga.

"This is a very historical moment for us, we have waited so long to have the obelisk back," he said.

Peeling bells and chanting priests could be heard from a nearby cathedral, reports the AP news agency.

The ornately decorated 24-metre (78ft) obelisk is regarded as an outstanding example of architecture from the ancient city of Axum, itself seen as one of the four great kingdoms of the ancient world. It stood for years outside the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, despite an Italian commitment to send it back to Ethiopia.

Looted Assets,An ugly fight over small change

By Yair Sheleg, Haaretz, 10 Apr 2005

"Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor and the Unfinished Business of
World War II" by Stuart E. Eizenstat, Public Affairs, 400 pages, $30
translation by Idit Paz, Maariv, 364 pages]

As someone who has spent several years covering the negotiations on restitution payment for property that belonged to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, this book did for me what the memoirs of statesmen do for veteran political correspondents. It has given me a glimpse, at long last, of the goings-on behind the scenes, filled me in on conversations of which I knew only bits and pieces, and provided a clear picture of interests I presumed were at work, but never knew for sure. I savored every word.

Stuart Eizenstat is indeed the best man to tell the story. He was the Clinton administration's top representative on Holocaust affairs throughout the president's eight years in office, and kept the job even when he was U.S. ambassador to the European Union, undersecretary of commerce, undersecretary of state and deputy secretary of the treasury. Not at all coincidentally, as we shall soon see, these were also the most successful years of the restitution campaign.

Unsurprisingly, the Israeli press has allowed the book and the fascinating drama it portrays to slip by unnoticed, in much the same way that the story of the restitution battle in real time has gone largely unreported (except by Haaretz, Globes and Israel Radio). The international media, on the other hand, has splashed it time and again across the front page. Even Maariv, which owns the publishing company that put out the book and was supposed to run an interview with Eizenstat on the eve of its publication, bowed out in the end.

The old, shopworn excuse is that Israeli newspapers have no patience for
Holocaust stories except around Holocaust Day (which is not true - in recent years, at least, the situation has changed radically). I think it has to do with a much more serious illness suffered by the Israeli media: impatience with complicated, detail-laden stories that drag out for a long time. Which is exactly what this story is.

Eizenstat called his book "Imperfect Justice" as a way of saying that whatever restitution has been made, it is very limited and has come far too late. Entire families were wiped out, leaving no heirs to claim the money. Many others, turned away for decades, died without seeing a cent. Unintentionally, however, the content of the book suggests another meaning for the title. Justice has not only been meted out partially, but what has been done has not always been done for the sake of justice. Many vested interests having nothing whatsoever to do with historic justice were involved in this international battle over billions.

Eizenstat charts them all. Those who led the battle on the Jewish side, Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer, leaders of the World Jewish Congress, took advantage of the recovery of Jewish assets to invest their organization with renewed importance. President Clinton's backing was largely due to his personal commitment to Bronfman, one of the Democratic Party's chief donors. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who called for sanctions against the Swiss banks if they refused to pay their debt, did so as an election ploy. He was seeking another term as senator for New York, where a large percentage of the voters are Jews (in the end, another candidate won -
also Jewish).

As for the lawyers, it was clear what was in it for them. They took a public debate over a matter of principle and turned it into a series of private lawsuits (although this added to the pressure on the banks, insurance companies and relevant governments). They were motivated almost entirely by the huge sums they would rake in. For the record, most of these lawyers were Jewish. Eizenstat minces no words in his criticism of the conduct of the lawyers (with the exception of a select few such as Mel Weiss and Michael Hausfeld, who worked pro bono at least in the suits against the Swiss banks). In fact, the only one who comes out of this book clean as a whistle is the Don Quixote-ish U.S. government
official who goes by the name of Stuart Eizenstat.

It is interesting to see how American civil servants used the issue to further their political interests. Alan Hevesi, the New York City comptroller, was a major player in the economic pressure on Swiss banks. He threatened to stop investing the pension funds of city hall employees in these banks, in the hopes of contending for mayor of New York one day (although his Jewish ties also had something to do with it: Hevesi's grandfather was the chief rabbi of Budapest). The threat by insurance commissioners in various states - they are also political appointees - to impose sanctions on European insurance refusing to pay
the families of Holocaust victims for policies taken out before the war, is
explained in the same light. Even Edward Korman, the federal judge who dealt with some of the lawsuits, was not free of ulterior motives. According to Eizenstat, he owed his seat on the bench to Senator D'Amato. All this raises some intriguing thoughts about the benefits of this political appointment system, which is so maligned in Israel.

The Holocaust survivors, on the other hand, play a very small role in Eizenstat's book. They merely supply the motive for the action, and sometimes not even that (the lawyers seek them out and advise them to sue). "Imperfect Justice" is the story of a hard-nosed political and economic negotiation process. Here and there, Eizenstat injects references to the claimants and their stories, as if trying to remind himself and his readers of what we are really talking about. The Israeli Holocaust survivors, who are so central to the media reports in Israel, are of very little importance in his account.

The bad guys in Eizenstat's book, apart from the attorneys, are those who refuse to pay up - banks, insurance companies - as well as the governments of two countries. The Swiss government acted as if it had nothing to do with the banks' misdeeds, refusing to get involved or put pressure on the banks. Yet under a pretense of neutrality, the Swiss government collaborated economically with the Nazis during the Holocaust, and that included accepting gold looted from the Jews. Its guilt is thus greater than that of the banks, which "merely" declined to return money. It was the Swiss National Bank, and not the commercial banks, that were the principal financial brokers and hence responsible for receiving Jewish property and gold directly from the Nazis.

The other government Eizenstat criticizes is the Israeli government, which tried to stay out of the fray because it did not want to endanger its political ties with the countries involved in the litigation. Instead, Israel authorized the world Jewish organizations to represent its citizens in the courts.

Through the back door, this book also offers some keen insights about American Jews, of whom Eizenstat is a shining example. He is not an assimilated Jew, but neither is he a "professional Jew," a person who has built his career around service to the Jewish community. It turns out that Eizenstat - who admits that in this respect he is not much different from the majority of American Jews - knew practically nothing about the Holocaust when he was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. He came from a modest home permeated by Judaism, but the Holocaust was never discussed. He doesn't remember ever speaking to a Holocaust survivor.
He never learned about the Holocaust in elementary school, high school or college. Even if he had been interested, he writes, there were no courses on the subject. Only in 1995, at the age of 52, did he discover that three of his grandfather's sisters had perished in the Holocaust. For Israelis, who virtually imbibe the Holocaust with their mother's milk, and are sure that all Jews in the world are the same, this admission certainly comes as a jolt.

Another dominant feature is Eizenstat's perception of himself as first an
American civil servant and only second, a Jew. He never forgets for a moment that his job is not only to seek justice for the Jews, but to protect the interests of the U.S. government - and that means not harming America's relations with friendly countries like Switzerland. He does not hesitate to hush up Jewish organizational leaders whom he believes have gone too far in their demands or are endangering America's broader interests.

Toward the end of the book, serious doubts begin to creep into the reader's mind about whether the whole battle was really necessary. Not that the cause itself is not perfectly legitimate and justified. It is hard to accept the fact that on top of millions of Jewish lives being cut short, their property remains in the hands of the robbers. But Eizenstat's account certainly increases the misgivings that have been there from the start: Was going to battle over this issue wise? Has it done more harm than good? The point is not so much that anti-Semitism has reared its head in some places - why should the anti-Semites be the ones to determine what Jews have a right to fight for? - but that Jewish self-respect is compromised to a certain extent. The restitution campaign has dwarfed the Holocaust itself, turning into an ugly fight over small change.

In a bid to defend these lawsuits, the World Jewish Congress emphasizes over and over that they are effective not in financial terms, but as a way of creating awareness. The battle over Jewish assets has prompted most European countries and a few in other parts of the world (such as the U.S.) to establish commissions of inquiry to examine how they dealt with the Holocaust. While this does imply that the battle was worth fighting, one wonders if it should have been conducted solely as a historical investigation from the start. And assuming that such an inquiry would not have been launched without the material claims, wouldn't it have been more sensible to settle at a relatively early stage, as long as committees were established and the countries in question agreed in principle that compensation was due?

The parties seem to have embarked on the ordinary psychological negotiating strategy of each side aiming for the "maximum." But the sums that were finally settled on cannot "do justice," and after being divided up between hundreds of thousands of survivors, nobody is substantially better off (apart from the lawyers, who pocketed millions).