• More Than Just Words

    For evil to triumph, it only needs that the good do nothing.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

    The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

  • Your input and viewpoints are welcome. To leave comments or network posts, click on the individual post.
  • If you don't have an RSS Feed Reader, enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

This Blog Has Moved

This blog is now located, more fittingly, in the Centre of the Psyclone.

There you’ll find all previous posts from here and the Spiral Ladder archived, a separate section, Articles, featuring the most important and practical posts, as well as frequently uploaded content intended to open eyes, free minds, reclaim power and change worlds.

See you there.

The New Updated 2nd Edition of Psyclone is Out!

From the new Centre of the Psyclone blog

Updated Psyclone 2nd Edition Cover

Not only that, but it’s free to download in a variety of formats for a limited time. If you’re looking for or want to give someone something more than entertainment or distraction, something that actually connects to usable information that improves and even changes lives, go download it.

The Christmas Truce

by Aaron Shephard

Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister Janet,

It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!

As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed in our trenches and waited.

But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench, killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.

And the rain—it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans. And with the rain has come mud—a good foot or more deep. It splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he tried to get out—just like in that American story of the tar baby!

Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land, bordered on both sides by barbed wire—yet they were close enough we sometimes heard their voices.

Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common. And now it seems they felt the same.

Just yesterday morning—Christmas Eve Day—we had our first good freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.

During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.

I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.

I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.

“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”

And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.

And then we heard their voices raised in song.

Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .

This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started singing, and we all joined in.

The first Nowell, the angel did say . . . .

In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .

Then we replied.

O come all ye faithful . . . .

But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.

Adeste fideles . . . .

British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.

“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”

There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”

To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”

I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!

“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”

Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!

Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled—British khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.

Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.

“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”

“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.

He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”

He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give me later, and I promised I would.

Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely, I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would like that very much and gave me his family’s address.

Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.

Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”

Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?

As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then all joined in for—I am not lying to you—“Auld Lang Syne.” Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.

I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”

I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”

He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”

And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?

For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.

Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?

All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother,
Tom

About the Story

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has been called by Arthur Conan Doyle “one human episode amid all the atrocities.” It is certainly one of the most remarkable incidents of World War I and perhaps of all military history. Inspiring both popular songs and theater, it has endured as an almost archetypal image of peace.

Starting in some places on Christmas Eve and in others on Christmas Day, the truce covered as much as two-thirds of the British-German front, with French and Belgians involved as well. Thousands of soldiers took part. In most places it lasted at least through Boxing Day (December 26), and in some through mid-January. Perhaps most remarkably, it grew out of no single initiative but sprang up in each place spontaneously and independently.

Unofficial and spotty as the truce was, there have been those convinced it never happened—that the whole thing was made up. Others have believed it happened but that the news was suppressed. Neither is true. Though little was printed in Germany, the truce made headlines for weeks in British newspapers, with published letters and photos from soldiers at the front. In a single issue, the latest rumor of German atrocities might share space with a photo of British and German soldiers crowded together, their caps and helmets exchanged, smiling for the camera.

Historians, on the other hand, have shown less interest in an unofficial outbreak of peace. There has been only one comprehensive study of the incident: Christmas Truce, by Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton, Secker & Warburg, London, 1984—a companion volume to the authors’ 1981 BBC documentary, Peace in No Man’s Land. The book features a large number of first-hand accounts from letters and diaries. Nearly everything described in my fictional letter is drawn from these accounts—though I have heightened the drama somewhat by selecting, arranging, and compressing.

In my letter, I’ve tried to counteract two popular misconceptions of the truce. One is that only common soldiers took part in it, while officers opposed it. (Few officers opposed it, and many took part.) The other is that neither side wished to return to fighting. (Most soldiers, especially British, French, and Belgian, remained determined to fight and win.)

Sadly, I also had to omit the Christmas Day games of football—or soccer, as called in the U.S.—often falsely associated with the truce. The truth is that the terrain of No Man’s Land ruled out formal games—though certainly some soldiers kicked around balls and makeshift substitutes.

Another false idea about the truce was held even by most soldiers who were there: that it was unique in history. Though the Christmas Truce is the greatest example of its kind, informal truces had been a longstanding military tradition. During the American Civil War, for instance, Rebels and Yankees traded tobacco, coffee, and newspapers, fished peacefully on opposite sides of a stream, and even gathered blackberries together. Some degree of fellow feeling had always been common among soldiers sent to battle.

Of course, all that has changed in modern times. Today, soldiers kill at great distances, often with the push of a button and a sighting on a computer screen. Even where soldiers come face to face, their languages and cultures are often so diverse as to make friendly communication unlikely.

No, we should not expect to see another Christmas Truce. Yet still what happened on that Christmas of 1914 may inspire the peacemakers of today—for, now as always, the best time to make peace is long before the armies go to war.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

In 1969 and 70 John Lennon and Yoko Ono spread a specific message of peace around the world. American combat troops had been fighting in Vietnam since 1965, and around 45,000 Americans had already been killed by the end of 1969. Almost half a million US men and women were deployed in the conflict, and opposition to the war was growing as demonstrated by The Peace Moratorium, which was at that time the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved.

Against that backdrop John and Yoko rented billboards in eleven major cities around the world and put up posters that read: “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko”.

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. John explained that what he and Yoko wanted to see was for people all over the world to come together on wanting peace. They wanted to see people talking about peace, working for peace, praying for peace, thinking about peace, publicising peace, doing whatever came to mind for the cause of peace.

They wanted people to get into the idea of “War Is Over” and to state it, believe it, shout it, display it. The idea was that if enough people believe that war is over then we will have a peaceful world. (Those reading this who think the idea is nonsense should bring their perception of what is possible using intention up to date with the scientific findings of The Intention Experiment, the first worldwide double-blind experiments on the effects of focused intent).

In the following video from Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace, John explains his reasoning behind the action.

John Lennon is arguably the most famous peace activist of our time, and the War is Over – If You Want It campaign was a product of his vision and dedication to the cause. If he were alive today you can guarantee that he would be making himself heard and promoting a message of peace. Those who didn’t want peace got rid of John, but his legacy is still with us.

On the Imagine Peace website is the War is Over – If You Want It image in a variety of freely downloadable formats.  Download it print out and display in in your windows, at school, at work, and in your car window. Use it as your avatar or profile picture, send it as a greetings card.

Of all the songs regurgitated over the period, too often this one is conspicuous by its absence. Given its antiwar message and the fact that there has been a war going on fairly continuously since WWII, it’s little wonder that media controllers don’t encourage its being aired. Personally, I’d like to hear the song more often than I do, especially over the coming weeks. In fact, I’d like to see it reach number one in the charts this Christmas.

Hands up who wants peace! Me too, and I can’t think of a better way around this time of year than breathing life into John’s vision. His message was that it’s up to us, we have the power to end war. A message that needs to be heard again.

Download the image, share it, print it out. Again, I can’t think of a card more fitting or cool this Yule. Send in requests to the radio,  download the song.

Many of you will remember the successful move made by Facebook users last year to scupper the plans of the producers of the TV show X-Factor by displacing their contrived hit song with the more sincere Rage Against the Machine song.  The action restored my faith in people and the potential of social networks.

LETS”S DO IT AGAIN!

The easiest way I can think of is just do it yourself, and share the idea with your friends and people. There is a Facebook group with the theme of Make Happy Xmas War is Over (If You Want It) Christmas No.1, but I would question the need. We can act as a group without being ‘part of a group’. I say this suspecting that the men behind the curtain aren’t going to sit by idly while their tool is once more used as a rallying point, and even less so if that message is, like John and Yoko’s, one of love and peace.

Download the image, share it, print it out, put it in your windows at home and in your vehicle; use it as your avatar or profile picture for the season, send it as a greetings card, send in daily requests to the radio, download the song.

In John’s own words, ‘We can get it together. Get it?! Together!’

Peace.

 

Turkeys narrowly reject anti-Christmas motion

From the new Centre of the Psyclone blog

353-tukeysThe Turkeys of England have narrowly rejected a motion that promised to replace old-fashioned Christmas carnage with a bright, death-free 21st century future, due to strong opposition from traditional wings of the shed.

‘I’m not a self-hating turkey,’ said a retired bird from Ipswich and member of the Cage of Lay-it-ere, ‘but my mother taught me to know my place. We were told as eggs we could do anything we liked – accountant, racing driver, you name it – as long as we accepted that, one day, we would end up lying on our backs, feet behind our ears with a carrot up our arse, waiting for Gas Mark 5. I truly believe that if God had meant us to fly, he wouldn’t have invented basting, sprouts, cranberry sauce or the big glass oven shelf.’

Senior flock leaders voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans to replace the annual ritual of humiliation and carnage with a more vegetarian rite, but were narrowly beaten by representatives of the rank-and-filed beaks. Some opposing the idea believed it to be their ordained role in life to be ceremonially slaughtered and trussed up, while others felt the decision could not be made without consulting all poultry currently destined for the dining table, including turkeys within the fold who lived way, way outside the fold.

‘As English Turkeys we clearly can’t fly in the face of Italian chickens and Greek geese, or those very important birds, whatever they’re called, from Africa, or they might come over here and humiliate us by demanding to be eaten,’ gobbled an old black-feathered Turkey wearing a festive Italian chicken costume to emphasise how ridiculous all these foreign views might be.

However, the non-Turkey world has reinforced its stance that turkeys are ripe for the eating. ‘They’re just sitting ducks as far as I’m concerned’ said a metropole. ‘And no, I can’t pretend to have tried to understand their point of view or seen with my own eyes what they’re on about by visiting one of their Norfolk sheds. Not even the big pointy one in the middle of Norwich’

Alice Walker’s Thoughts on Christmas

From the new Centre of the Psyclone blog

Anything We Love Can Be SavedAlice Walker is one of my favourite wordsmiths. Her collection of essays Anything We Love Can Be Saved is a great read and covers loads of ground, as you might expect from a woman who not only writes, but also campaigns on behalf of the oppressed, be they African women suffering the tradition of cliteradectomy or Palestinians living in the largest open-air prison in the world, Gaza (she was with the international Freedom Flotilla that went out to challenge the Israeli blockade following the murder of members of the first flotilla by Israeli forces).

My Face To The Light – Thoughts on Christmas is one of those essays. I’ve taken the liberty of scanning and compiling the pages into a PDF. Just click on the link.

More seasonal stuff to follow.

Peace

Rules of the Road – Principles of Spiritual Activism

Reposted from the Centre of the Psyclone

From the Satyana Institute

The following principles emerged from several years’ work with social change leaders in Satyana’s Leading with Spirit program. We offer these not as definitive truths, but rather as key learnings and guidelines that, taken together, comprise a useful framework for “spiritual activism.”

  1. Transformation of motivation from anger/fear/despair to compassion/love/purpose. This is a vital challenge for today’s social change movement. This is not to deny the noble emotion of appropriate anger or outrage in the face of social injustice. Rather, this entails a crucial shift from fighting against evil to working for love, and the long-term results are very different, even if the outer activities appear virtually identical. Action follows Being, as the Sufi saying goes. Thus “a positive future cannot emerge from the mind of anger and despair” (Dalai Lama).
  2. Non-attachment to outcome. This is difficult to put into practice, yet to the extent that we are attached to the results of our work, we rise and fall with our successes and failures—a sure path to burnout. Hold a clear intention, and let go of the outcome—recognizing that a larger wisdom is always operating. As Gandhi said, “the victory is in the doing,” not the results. Also, remain flexible in the face of changing circumstances: “Planning is invaluable, but plans are useless.”(Churchill)
  3. Integrity is your protection. If your work has integrity, this will tend to protect you from negative energy and circumstances. You can often sidestep negative energy from others by becoming “transparent” to it, allowing it to pass through you with no adverse effect upon you. This is a consciousness practice that might be called “psychic aikido.”
  4. Integrity in means and ends. Integrity in means cultivates integrity in the fruit of one’s work. A noble goal cannot be achieved utilizing ignoble means.
  5. Don’t demonize your adversaries. It makes them more defensive and less receptive to your views. People respond to arrogance with their own arrogance, creating rigid polarization. Be a perpetual learner, and constantly challenge your own views.
  6. You are unique. Find and fulfill your true calling. “It is better to tread your own path, however humbly, than that of another, however successfully.” (Bhagavad Gita)
  7. Love thy enemy. Or at least, have compassion for them. This is a vital challenge for our times. This does not mean indulging falsehood or corruption. It means moving from “us/them” thinking to “we” consciousness, from separation to cooperation, recognizing that we human beings are ultimately far more alike than we are different. This is challenging in situations with people whose views are radically opposed to yours. Be hard on the issues, soft on the people.
  8. Your work is for the world, not for you. In doing service work, you are working for others. The full harvest of your work may not take place in your lifetime, yet your efforts now are making possible a better life for future generations. Let your fulfillment come in gratitude for being called to do this work, and from doing it with as much compassion, authenticity, fortitude, and forgiveness as you can muster.
  9. Selfless service is a myth. In serving others, we serve our true selves. “It is in giving that we receive.” We are sustained by those we serve, just as we are blessed when we forgive others. As Gandhi says, the practice of satyagraha (“clinging to truth”) confers a “matchless and universal power” upon those who practice it. Service work is enlightened self-interest, because it cultivates an expanded sense of self that includes all others.
  10. Do not insulate yourself from the pain of the world. Shielding yourself from heartbreak prevents transformation. Let your heart break open, and learn to move in the world with a broken heart. As Gibran says, “Your pain is the medicine by which the physician within heals thyself.” When we open ourselves to the pain of the world, we become the medicine that heals the world. This is what Gandhi understood so deeply in his principles of ahimsa and satyagraha. A broken heart becomes an open heart, and genuine transformation begins.
  11. What you attend to, you become. Your essence is pliable, and ultimately you become that which you most deeply focus your attention upon. You reap what you sow, so choose your actions carefully. If you constantly engage in battles, you become embattled yourself. If you constantly give love, you become love itself.
  12. Rely on faith, and let go of having to figure it all out. There are larger ‘divine’ forces at work that we can trust completely without knowing their precise workings or agendas. Faith means trusting the unknown, and offering yourself as a vehicle for the intrinsic benevolence of the cosmos. “The first step to wisdom is silence. The second is listening.” If you genuinely ask inwardly and listen for guidance, and then follow it carefully—you are working in accord with these larger forces, and you become the instrument for their music.
  13. Love creates the form. Not the other way around. The heart crosses the abyss that the mind creates, and operates at depths unknown to the mind. Don’t get trapped by “pessimism concerning human nature that is not balanced by an optimism concerning divine nature, or you will overlook the cure of grace.” (Martin Luther King) Let your heart’s love infuse your work and you cannot fail, though your dreams may manifest in ways different from what you imagine.

I Know of no Reason Why The Gunpowder Treason Should Ever be Forgot.

(From the new Centre of the Psyclone blog)

A closer look at the Gunpowder Plot gives new perspectives on the account in itself and in relation to current events.

Most people in Britain have a vague awareness of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, something along the lines of a man called Guy Fawkes was caught in the act of trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and was executed. That it is so vague is down to the fact that the details of the man, the incident and the situation in the country that led to the plot aren’t generally taught and/or discussed. The fact that the incident is given so little detailed attention is in itself suspicious. Over the years my suspicion has deepened to a point where I’m now convinced that the subject has been the victim of a long-running psychological operations (PsyOps) campaign designed to minimise the political lessons of the story. (PsyOps, for those of you who missed that class, have been defined as ‘the planned use of communications to influence human attitudes and behaviour … to create in target groups behaviour, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national objectives…disseminated by face-to-face communication, television, radio or loudspeaker, newspapers, books, magazines and/or posters’.)

An example of the process in connection with the account of the Gunpowder Plot is how in the UK in the 1970’s the 5th of November was still known and referred to as Guy Fawkes night. By the 1990’s the collection by children of money for a straw-filled dummy wheeled around the streets prior to the 5th, the ‘penny for the Guy’, and the burning of the Guy on the bonfire, had been banned and the night no longer called Guy Fawkes Night but referred to by the establishment and media as Bonfire Night. Nowadays the night is called Fireworks Night and public celebrations are often just fireworks demonstrations. Bonfires are discouraged to a point where in recent years in London some people have gathered around a virtual bonfire projected onto a screen.

On hearing the night referred to as anything but Guy Fawkes Night I usually object and remind the speaker that the night commemorates an important occasion in British history and the death of a political martyr. As I’ve said in the article ‘Suicide Bombers and the Promise of Heaven?’ I am, very strongly, against the killing of innocent people, non-combatants, in the course of political, ideological, or any other kind of conflict. It is a fact that innocent people, non-combatants, would have been killed had the Gunpowder Plot been successful. That such an attempt was tried, and the sociopolitical situation that led to it, should not be forgotten though, particularly as it can help us to understand similar events and actions taking place around the world today.

The following section is summarised from this article from the Gunpowder Plot Society, one of the best sources of information regarding the man and the time.

fawks-group_copy

Born in April 1570 Guy Fawkes was the only son of Edward Fawkes, proctor of the ecclesiastical courts and advocate of the consistory court of the Archbishop of York. At around twenty-three years of age he left England for Flanders where he enlisted in the Spanish army under the Archduke Albert of Austria, Fawkes held a post of command when the Spaniards took Calais in 1596 under the orders of King Philip II of Spain. He was described at the time as a man “of excellent good natural parts, very resolute and universally learned”, and was “sought by all the most distinguished in the Archduke’s camp for nobility and virtue”. Tesimond also describes him as “a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and chearful demeanour, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observance”. His extraordinary fortitude, and his “considerable fame among soldiers”, perhaps acquired through his services under Colonel Bostock at the Battle of Nieuport in 1600 brought him to the attention of Sir William Stanley in charge of the English regiment in Flanders, Hugh Owen and Father William Baldwin. Fawkes severed his connection with the Archduke’s forces on 16 February 1603, when he was granted leave to go to Spain on behalf of Stanley, Owen and Baldwin to “enlighten King Philip II concerning the true position of the Romanists (Catholics) in England. England at that time was a society seething with sectarian conflict between Protestants and Catholics. Henry VIII, had broken with the Catholic Church over matters both political and marital. That break had led to the growth of Protestant power in England, particularly in the cities. The more rural areas of England were less inclined to enjoy the change, and violence followed as first one side, then the other, gained the upper hand. After Henry’s death in 1547, according to historian F.E. Halliday, “There followed a disastrous decade, a violent oscillation impelled by greed and fanaticism, out to an extreme Protestantism and back to a medieval Catholicism. Discord in religion and its exploitation for political ends were now to make the creation of order still more difficult.”

By the time James I ascended to the English throne following Queen Elizabeth’s death, the kingdom was populated by a large minority of Catholics who felt themselves unjustly oppressed, mixed amongst a Protestant majority almost paralysed by fear of Catholic intrigue from within and invasion from without. Unfortunately James’ attitudes only made things worse. James was an aspiring dictator, a man who believed himself to be an all-powerful monarch, justified in his regal splendour by the divine right of kings. “Kings are justly called gods,” he wrote, “for that they exercise a manner or resemblance of divine power upon earth.” Like God, he said, kings “make and unmake their subjects, they have power of raising and casting down, of life and of death, judges over all their subjects and in all causes and yet accountable to none but God only.” This belief that he was as a god within his kingdom, accountable to no man or law save himself, was a spark almost certain to set off a social conflagration.

James deliberately antagonised the Catholic minority. A new peace with Catholic Spain may have initially provided a fleeting sense of hope that conditions for Catholics would improve, but that turned out not to be the case. The continuing practice of recusancy, compelling Catholics to attend Protestant services or pay a steep fine, brought about great financial hardship as “farmers and laborers who decidedly preferred the old forms of worship, were deprived of their rites and ministers, and ruined by spies, pursuivants and bad neighbours, who carded off their goods under cover of collecting recusancy fines, till one by one they gave up the struggle and conformed.”

Catholics lived through an ongoing and fluctuating persecution. Priests said Mass secretly at times, more openly at others. For a time it would be dangerous to be a Catholic. At other times, and sometimes in other places, it was a mark of distinction and honor. Embodied in the Penal Code, the persecution was irregular in its working. “It was at no moment … completely enforced…. The degree of its enforcement varied continually in respect to persons, places and times.” wrote the British historian Trevelyan. Catholics, Trevelyan noted, “were made to confine their activity and influence to their own estates, by laws which excluded them from any post in national or local government, and even forbade them to travel five miles from their place of residence without licenses signed by neighbouring magistrates.” Intrigues developed including a radical party, led by the Jesuits, seeking reconversion of the kingdom, by the sword if necessary.

Early on, James had appeased the Catholics by renewing diplomatic ties with Rome. Many Catholics viewed this as a promise of toleration. Maybe the recusancy fines would no longer be collected. Such hopes, however, were dashed and even a group of moderate Catholics, feeling betrayed, hatched a plot to abduct the new king. The plot was relayed to the king by none other than the Jesuit faction in both a betrayal and a stroke of subversive genius. James, thinking as a result that he could trust the Jesuits, did finally implement a plan of toleration in response. Catholicism would be tolerated, so long as Catholics pledged their loyalty to the king and their numbers kept in check.

The Jesuits, for their part, had no intention of declaring their loyalty to the king. But more alarming to the Protestants was the sudden rush of formerly hidden Catholics flocking to services and gatherings that were no longer suppressed. “Whole neighbourhoods were alarmed,” Trevelyan noted, “by great gatherings of Catholic devotees…. James, terrified at the phantoms his first stroke of kingcraft had conjured up,” abruptly reversed course in his policies. “In February 1604 a proclamation appeared ordering all priests to quit the country; in August several were hanged by judges on the circuit, though without instructions from the government; in November the levy of fines from lay recusants was vigorously resumed; in December five men were mining a tunnel from a neighbouring cellar to the wall of Parliament House.”

The Catholic rebellion was hatched by Robert Catesby. Intelligent, industrious, and well educated, Catesby came from a notable family. A distant ancestor had served as councilor to King Richard III. When, with other Catholics, his final hopes for tolerance under James were dashed, he resolved to lead a plot to overthrow the government for good. This would be accomplished beginning with one remarkable act of violence by destroying Parliament and the king in an instant with a gunpowder-fuelled explosion. According to the Gunpowder Plot Society, an historical society dedicated to researching the uprising, “Catesby felt that ‘the nature of the disease required so sharp a remedy,’ and that the Plot was a morally justifiable act of self-defence against the oppressive rule of a tyrant.”

Of the co- conspirators Catesby gathered, Trevelyan retrospectively judged that their motives were pure. “They were,” he said, “pure from self-interest and love of power. It is difficult to detect any stain upon their conduct, except the one monstrous illusion that murder is right.” Among the men was one Guy Fawkes who, after serving with other English Catholics in Flanders, was skilled at siege warfare, and how to tunnel safely and accurately. Following his direction, the conspirators began tunneling toward the foundation of Parliament from the cellar of a nearby building.

The rest, as they say, is history, but still worth looking at in detail.

Modern day phraseology would describe Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators as terrorists. There is, however, another view that questions the old, simplistic one. Author Scott Horton notes in Harper’s magazine that, “Today Guy Fawkes is increasingly viewed as the heroic figure prepared to stand against an unjust and oppressive state, as a martyr and a victim of torture.” Dennis Behreandt comments in The New American that, “Until recently, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were viewed with scorn as traitors and criminals. But were they really? We should deplore the means they chose to effect their planned revolution, but we should use care in our criticism of them lest we indict ourselves. After all, less than 200 years after Fawkes, men like George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin did themselves first plot, then carry out, treason against the British king, and their violent revolution brought forth something unprecedented in history: a new nation uniquely conceived in liberty.”

Personally I can’t agree about the ‘conceived in liberty’ bit given the genocide of the American Indian and the condoning of slavery by the Pilgrim Fathers, but that’s beside the point being made here. Others described as terrorists today would consider their actions, as Catesby did, morally justifiable acts of self-defence against oppressive rule. indeed, the situation described by Trevelyan where people “were made to confine their activity and influence to their own estates, by laws which excluded them from any post in national or local government, and even forbade them to travel five miles from their place of residence without licenses signed by neighbouring magistrates” accurately describes the current situation for Palestinians in their own country. I see it as no coincidence then that people in Palestine are reacting in the same way as other “men of great piety, exemplary temperance, mild and chearful demeanour, and punctual attendance upon religious observances”

_________________________

This thought-provoking article, an excerpt from 9/11 Synthetic Terror by Webster Griffin Tarpley, discusses the Gunpowder Plot in the context of other state-sponsored terrorist actions, and identifies Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators as unwitting patsies in a larger, successful conspiracy.

_________________________

Related is the film, V for Vendetta, the Wachowski’s screenplay adaptation of the graphic novel written and illustrated by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Set in a near-future Britain under an oppressive right-wing government, the story centres around a mysterious revolutionary called ‘V’ whose identity is concealed behind a Guy Fawkes mask he permanently wears. V’s reaction to the fascist state is to try to waken the population up to their personal responsibility with a series of high-profile actions. I’m not a fan of the Hollywood film production model, and V has its share of cringe worthy Hollywood aspects. These are more than made up for though with some excellent  and inspired dialogue that is spookily relevant today. Below is an example:

As Moore asked in an interview in The Beat:” …What do you, the reader [of the graphic novel], think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn’t want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history.”

v_for_vendetta_copy_copy1

If there is one film you should put on your To See list it’s this one. V for Vendetta has been, to my mind, suspiciously under-marketed. This fits, as I see it, with the subtle moves over the years to distance the real story of the Gunpowder Plot from the public’s consciousness, moves I described at the beginning of this article as PsyOps manoeuvres.

It was for that reason I was initially enjoying seeing the Guy Fawkes mask being used and represented more and more in various political actions worldwide. Until, that is, it became obvious that the image, mask, and concept had been co-opted by more than one faction.  (It’s a digression from this post, but I have explained my thoughts and observations in An Anonymous Tip.)

I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

Lynne Stewart Needs Your Support

From the new Centre of the Psyclone blog.

wordpress_header1

As a criminal defense lawyer for over 30 years, Lynne Stewart defended the poor, the disadvantaged and those targeted by the police and the State. Such has been her reputation that judges assigned her routinely to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent. One of these was the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.

In 1994, Stewart joined former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark as part of the legal defense team for Abdel-Rahman. He had been arrested the year before and charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, not actual terrorist acts.

His real crime was being part of an armed Islamic group in Egypt that sought to overthrow dictator Hosni Mubarak, at the time a staunch US ally.

Any group that fights a US ally is slapped with the label “terrorist”. That happened with the armed wing of the African National Congress, because it fought against the US-supported white racist apartheid regime in South Africa.

Stewart came to believe the “Blind Sheik”, as the press called him, was innocent.

Adbel-Rahman was indeed blind, and suffered from other serious medical problems. After his conviction in 1995, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 65 years ― a sentence Stewart called “outlandish”. He was interred in a prison medical facility, where he has remained since.

Stewart continued to visit him in prison, and represent him regarding post-conviction issues. In 2000, Abdel-Rahman asked her to release a statement from him to the press, which she did.

At the time, this action on her part was not viewed as a crime by the US government. But that changed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In 2002, Bush’s attorney-general John Ashcroft announced that Stewart was being indicted on the grounds that, by releasing the statement to the public, she was materially aiding a terrorist group.

The government claimed that the sheik was using the press release to communicate with his group in Egypt, Al-Gama al Islamiyya, which the US arbitrarily labelled a “terrorist” group.

Actually, at the time, Abdel-Rahman backed a ceasefire between the group and the Mubarak regime. However, he left it up to the fighters on the ground to decide whether to continue the ceasefire.

(It should be noted that the new Egyptian government is demanding the US release Abdel-Rahman.)

lynne_nov09-1This was the basis for the “materially aiding” a terrorist group charge. The charge was dismissed in 2003, but she was soon re-indicted on charges of obstructing justice and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism. In 2006, while the Department of Justice demanded a 30-year sentence, Judge John Koetl, handed down a 28-month sentence noting: “By providing a criminal defense to the poor, the disadvantaged and unpopular over three decades, it is no exaggeration to say that Ms. Stewart performed a public service not only to her clients but to the nation.”

That sentence, however, was not to stand as the Second Circuit Appellate Court, withdrew Lynne Stewart’s bail — even though her case is still before the courts — and remanded the case back to Judge Koetl with the harsh demand that he revisit his sentence and issue a severely enhanced one. On July 15, 2010, Judge Koeltl increased Stewart’s sentence from 28 months to 10 years imprisonment. This has become a virtual death sentence for Lynne Stewart as breast cancer that had been in remission prior to her imprisonment metastasised.

LynneStewartJune2013The conservative medical prognosis by the oncologist contracted by the prison is that Lynne Stewart has but 16-months to live. Breast cancer, in remission prior to her imprisonment, reached Stage Four more than a year ago, emerging in her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs.

Despite repeated courses of chemotherapy, cancer advances in her lungs, resistant to treatment. Compounding her dire condition, Lynne Stewart’s white blood cell count dropped so low that she has been isolated in a prison hospital room since April 2013 to reduce risk of generalized infection.

Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, upon a prisoner’s request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons,” life threatening illness foremost among these.

A Compassionate Release was recommended months ago by Warden Jody R. Upton, under whose watch Lynne has been incarcerated at Carswell Federal Prison. Months later a three paragraph response came from Kathleen Kenney, General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C. which stated that Compassionate Release had been denied on the grounds that Lynne’s “health is improving.”

A recent re-application for compassionate release meets all the criteria specified in guidelines issued by the Bureau of Prisons in August 2013. That application is still awaiting approval.

943082_527689673957083_1088822212_nYour action now can lead to her freedom so that she may live out her remaining days with the comfort and joy of her family and those closest to her, including her devoted husband Ralph Poynter, many children, grandchildren, a great grandchild and lifelong friends.

Given the current state of the US administration, the so far called for actions such as contacting various members of the administration, aren’t likely to get much attention, but that shouldn’t prevent us from taking action or letting up on the pressure on the government to do the right thing.

PRESIDENT OBAMA
The White House
Pennsylvania Ave,
Washington, DC 20500

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

CHARLES E. SAMUELS, JR.
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Re: Lynne Stewart, #53504-054 Compassionate Release

MAKE CALLS!!

PRESIDENT OBAMA
(202) 456-1111

ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER
(202) 353-1555

CHARLES E. SAMUELS
(202) 307-3250/3062

Call the US embassy or consulate in your own country.
Sign The PetitionOther actions such as rallys and vigils have been planned to coincide with Lynne’s 74th birthday on October 8th. Join or set up one in your own locale. Let others know about the case and encourage them to do something.

Sign The Petition

Write to her. She needs your support! (I did recently with a letter full of prison and lawyer jokes, in the hope that it might give her a smile on her birthday.)

Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
PO Box 27137
Ft. Worth, TX 76127

For more information:

Justice For Lynne Stewart

The Sentencing of Lynne Stewart ~Michael Smith, Center for Constitutional Rights

The Cruel Persecution of Lynne Stewart: Jailed for the “Crime” of Being the Lawyer of an Alleged Terrorist

The ‘Flu Jab’ – Forewarned is Forearmed I

Tis the season, by which I don’t mean that annual episode of robotic excess and consumption. I’m referring to the time of year when pharmaceutical marketeers (advertising departments, sales reps,GPs, MDs, etc) are busy peddling their big bucks product, the ‘flu jab’.

Now, because they break the skin, immunisations are technically a form of surgery. As such, in most countries, informed consent is required by law. Unfortunately, consent is rarely if ever informed. Knowing what I know of the subject I feel it safe to say that if an individual is ever informed, that is, given access to all the publicly available information, consent is very unlikely to be given.

The following are three articles I have decided to post in their entirety, rather than quote and paraphrase. Information like this needs to be shared as comprehensively and widely as possible. Links to additional sources of information regarding the influenza immunisation and immunisations/vaccinations in general are also provided.

The articles are written from a US perspective, but equally apply elsewhere.

Ineffective Flu Shots Backed by Faulty Science 

Anthony Gucciardi

GreenMedInfo.com

Flu season is approaching, and it’s been a tradition of sorts to prepare with a flu shot. It’s almost ingrained in American culture that the answer to preempt disease is with a ‘harmless’ immunization. With the option to vaccinate at your local pharmacy now, there’s a high chance that many citizens are going to roll up their sleeves, shell out the cash, and take the shot.

It’s interesting to consider, however, that flu shots, while being pushed on the public harder than ever, are shockingly ineffective. There is a noticeable lack of validation for just how effective the flu shot really is at creating a successful immunization.

The science behind vaccines is that they trigger your immune system into responding to a threat. By doing this, the immune system assimilates the capacity to deal with said threat. This makes the effectiveness of a vaccine relative to how it stimulates your immune system. If your immune system is weak, your body will likely skip any immunization process, and you may even end up contracting the virus that you were trying to prevent.

In many cases, the body may not be able to generate a response. If the strain of virus changes, then the immunization you received prior to this becomes useless. Or your immune system may be too burdened to properly respond to stimulus.

It’s noteworthy that flu shots are totally ineffective against new strains of the flu, and they are only partially effective against existing flu strains. Essentially, manufacturers have to play a guessing game in order to produce an effective shot, and if any of the variables change, then the relevance of the flu shot is compromised. This guessing game in creating a flu shot could take 12-18 months, leaving an incredible time lapse in between flu strains and thereby making the guessing game even more difficult to win.

So why take a risk, when we know that vaccines are dangerous and untested? The flu shot has been determined to be 1% effective – odds just about no one would go against if they were told upfront by their doctor. When there are natural alternatives that have proven success in bolstering your immune system’s strength, there is no reason to take this kind of risk in order to lower your flu risk by 1%.

If you take a shot filled with toxic chemicals and an irrelevant strain of a virus, you are actually increasing your risk for illness by weakening your immune system. In contrast, using natural supplements like vitamin D is proven to be much more effective in disease prevention and building up the immune system.

In order to achieve health and wellness, the paradigm of the medical establishment must be eschewed in favor of an individual and personal pursuit of health. The average person is given a halfway response to his health concerns and illnesses. He is given something that may appear good or helpful when in reality it is causing him to become sicker, and depend on the established healthcare system in America.

As the playing field changes, many people are now taking their health into their own hands, empowering them to live stronger, better, and more fully than if they were to blindly trust the answers that are given to them.

___________

3 Reasons to Reconsider Flu Shots

Anthony Gucciardi
GreenMedInfo.com

Flu shots are becoming the most widely recommended vaccine on the planet, with The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) changing their flu shot recommendation from children between 6 months and 5 years old demographic to virtually everyone except those between the ages of 19-49 who are in perfectly good health. Even within this category there is a barrage of organizations warning against avoiding the ubiquitous flu shot.

The fact of the matter is that seasonal flu shots are simply not backed by reputable science, and a number of major studies have even shown that the seasonal flu shot is not effective at all in preventing the flu. Adding fuel to the fire, this ineffective shot comes with pages of nasty side effects that will certainly make you reconsider getting one this year. Here are 3 major reasons you, your family, and the medical establishment should reconsider flu shots as effective flu prevention tools:

1. Seasonal flu vaccines have been found to only be 1% effective

A new major study has numerically determined the effectiveness of the flu shot to be 1%. This means that despite the H1N1-loaded flu jab, there is still a 99% chance that you will not be protected against the flu. The reason for this, despite the faulty science behind the development of the vaccine, has to do with flu strains. It is extremely challenging, to the point of guessing, which flu strain will affect your area. With such a wide selection, it is very rare (about 1%, according to the study), for it to be the correct strain.

The researchers from the study stated:

“The corresponding figures [of people showing influenza symptoms] for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%)” announced the study authors.  In other words, you would have to vaccinate 100 people to reduce the number of people affected by the influenza virus by just one.

The findings do not stop there. The researchers also highlighted other findings about the flu vaccine, which topple the mainstream concept of their safety and effectiveness:

  • “Vaccination had…no effect on hospital admissions or complication rates.”
  • “Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost.”
  • “The analysis howed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions…”
  • “There is no evidence that [influenza vaccines] affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.” — Meaning vaccines do not affect transmission of disease, what they are designed for.
  • “In average conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.”

2. Flu shots have been linked to killer nerve disease

Even government health officials have confirmed the link between the H1N1-containing flu shot and the killer nerve disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. A government agency known as The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a warning over the connection following the phony swine flu pandemic. The news came after mainstream media reported on the fact that even 50% of doctors were refusing the H1N1 vaccine over health concerns.

Neurologists around the world were even warned about the safety of the vaccine by Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of the immunization department for UK’s Health Protection Agency.

The vaccines used to combat an expected swine influenza pandemic in 1976 were shown to be associated with GBS and were withdrawn from use,” she wrote in a letter to neurologists.

3. Vitamin D is over 800% more effective with no side effects

A major clinical trial performed at the Division of Molecular Epidemiology in the the Department of Pediatrics at the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo found that vitamin D was extremely effective in preventing and reversing influenza. Led by Mitsuyoshi Urashima, the study involved 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. This is actually a very low amount of vitamin D, with many natural health experts recommending around 5,000 IUs per day for most individuals. If the researchers used a higher amount like 5,000 IUs, the findings and subsequent percentage would most likely be even more profound.

What the study found was that 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the 4 month duration of the study, while only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This is in comparison to the flu shot being effective in 1 out of 100 participants, with countless side effects.

This means that vitamin D is 800% more effective in preventing the flu than vaccines at 1200 IUs daily. The percentage could likely climb into the thousands if the dosage was upped to the recommended 5,000 IUs per day, and perhaps even higher beyond that.

There is simply no reason to receive a flu shot when natural alternatives like vitamin D exist. Deadly nerve disease, narcolepsy, and overall ineffectiveness are but a few of the negative aspects of the flu shot. Spread the word about flu shots during Vaccine Information Week, starting October 1st.

_______________

The Shocking Lack of Evidence Supporting Flu Vaccines

by Sayer Ji

GreenMedInfo.com

With the flu season ramping up, many are looking to vaccination as a “preventive” approach. Those who abstain are often accused of being uneducated, or worse, socially irresponsible.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

As it presently stands, it is not sound medical science, but primarily economic and political motivation which generates the immense pressure behind mass participation in the annual ritual of flu vaccination.

It is a heavily guarded secret within the medical establishment (especially within the corridors of the CDC) that the Cochrane Database Review, which is the gold standard within the evidence-based medical model for assessing the effectiveness of common medical interventions, does not lend unequivocal scientific support to the belief and/or propaganda that flu vaccines are safe and effective.

To the contrary, these authoritative reviews reveal there is a conspicuous absence of conclusive evidence as to the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in children under 2, healthy adults, the elderly, and healthcare workers who care for the elderly.

What is even more disconcerting is that only one safety study on inactivated flu vaccines has been performed in children under 2 (the population most susceptible to adverse reactions), even though in the USA and Canada current guidelines recommend the vaccination of healthy children from six months old.

Another alarming finding following the global pandemic declared by the World Health Organization in 2009, is that receipt of the seasonal flu vaccine among Canadians actually increased the rate of medically attended pandemic H1N1 infection. Vaccines, therefore, may actually decrease resistance to viral infection via their immunosuppressive actions.

Can Vaccination Replace Natural Immunity?

At the outset it should be acknowledged that there could be no medical justification for vaccination in the first place if it were not for the observation that periodic infection from wild type pathogens confers lasting, natural immunity. In a very real sense periodic infectious challenges are Nature’s immunizations, without which the very concept of vaccination would make absolutely no sense.

The vaccination process artificially simulates and co-opts a natural process, generating a broad range of adverse unintended consequences, many of which have been documented here. Vaccine proponents would have us believe that natural immunity is inferior to synthetic immunity, and should be replaced by the latter.  In some cases they even suggest breastfeeding should be delayed during immunizations because it “interferes” with the vaccine efficacy.

Sounds like naked economic incentives have trumped genuine, serious health concerns for the entire population, especially the very young, the elderly and the sick.

This warped perspective follows from the disingenuous standard vaccine researchers use to “prove” the “efficacy” of their vaccines. The chemical kitchen sink is thrown at the immune system in order to conserve the expensive-to- produce antigen and to generate a more intense immune response – a process, not unlike what happens when you kick a beehive. These chemicals include detergents, anti-freeze, heavy metals, DNA from aborted human fetuses (diploid cells) and other species, etc. Amazingly, vaccine researchers and manufacturers do not have to prove the antibodies actually have affinity with the antigens they are marketed to protect us against, i.e. they do not have to prove “effectiveness,” only “efficacy.” This semantic trick is at the root of how the world has been deceived into accepting interventions so dangerous that their risk, like nuclear power, is underwritten by world governments, not private insurers who know they would go bankrupt paying out claims to the injured.

Another point that can not be understated is that the trivalent (3-strained) influenza vaccines are incapable of protecting us against the wide range of pathogens which produce influenza-like illness:

“Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny noses). Without laboratory tests, doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart. Both last for days and rarely lead to death or serious illness. At best, vaccines might be effective against only Influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses.” (Cochrane Database).

It is therefore exceedingly clear that it is a mathematical impossibility for influenza vaccines to be effective at preventing wild-circulating strains of influenza. Nutritional support, then, becomes the most logical and reasonable solution.

Immune Status Determines Susceptibility To Infection

The fact is that our immune status determines susceptibility. If the immune system is continually challenged with environmental toxicants, nutritional deficiencies and/or incompatibilities, chronic stress, influenza is far more likely to take hold. If your immune system is strong, many infectious challenges occur, are met with an appropriate response, and often go unnoticed. In other words, it is not a lack of a vaccination that causes infection, rather, the inability of the immune system to function effectively. [Note:

In some cases, we may become infected and the ultimate outcome is that we enjoy even greater immunity.]

While there are a broad spectrum of natural substances which have been studied for their anti-influenza properties, vitamin D deserves special consideration due to the fact that it is indispensable to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin) within the immune system, and can be supported for pennies a day.

A study  published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, revealed that children receiving 1200 IUs of vitamin D a day were at 59% reduced risk for contracting seasonal Influenza A infection. Moreover as a secondary outcome, only 2 children in the treatment group versus 12 for the control group, experienced an asthma attack.

There are actually a broad range of preventive strategies that are evidence-based, and available without prescription.

1)   Echinacea Tea: J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34

2)   Elderberry:  J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.

3) American Ginseng:  J Altern Complement Med.  2006 Mar;12(2):153-7.

4) Green Tea: J Nutr. 2011 Oct ;141(10):1862-70. Epub   2011 Aug 10.

5) Probiotics: Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.

6) Vitamin D: PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11088. Epub 2010 Jun 14.