• More Than Just Words

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    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.

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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.

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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.

Psyclone

So what is Psyclone about? 

front coverPsyclone is a novel with a difference. Its function is to connect people with information that is being kept from them. It achieves this not only through the novel itself, which is packed with little-known, suppressed, and censored information, but also through an 85-page appendix that provides the reader with all the research and data sources used by the author. A dedicated website serves as an additional appendix and hosts streaming video content from a variety of radical and contemporary filmmakers and journalists.

The information in Psyclone can be grouped into Problems and Solutions. There are various groups and individuals out there who are doing an excellent job of raising awareness about the various problems we face. Knowing how things got to the state they’re in, the players in the game and their strategies is essential. Psyclone doesn’t stop there and presents scientifically tried and tested technology and techniques, and leading-edge thinking that have the potential to stimulate a radical shift individually, socio-politically and globally, and ‘quantum-jump’ an evolutionary advancement throughout the human race.

The following is a list of some of the content keywords considered for inclusion in the novel’s metadata:

Psychological Operations/PsyOps, Revolution,General Strike,Conscience Campaign, Freedom Fighters,Conscious Evolution,Human Potential, Civil Disobedience, Lawful Rebellion, Life After Death, Mind Control, Out Of Body Projection, Remote Viewing, Resistance, Suicide Bombing, Telepathy, Terrorism, Torture, War, Resistance, Cognitive Dissonance, Surveillance Self-Defence, War Profiteering, DU/Depleted Uranium, U.S. Drug Trafficking and Paedophile Prostitution, Vaccination Dangers, Mobile Phones, Celldar, Echelon, Martial Law, Grand Chessboard, London Bombings 7th July 2005, Urban Guerrilla, Global Financial Meltdown, Synthetic Telepathy, Mind Control, ID Cards, Internet Threats, Psychological Freedom, Civil Disobedience, Prozac, ADHD, Ritalin, Motionless Electromagnetic Generator, Microchips, Silver Colloid, Fluoridation, Education, Operation Paperclip, Milgram experiment, Zimbardo experiment, Shock Doctrine, Mammograms, Scalar Technology… 

As I said, a novel with a difference. Another difference is that since its release, as well as the hardcopy which has been available through most usual (and a few unusual!) channels, Psyclone has been made available by its independent publisher free in a variety of ebook formats. The reasoning behind that is the primary aim of the book, which is to connect people with important information, not making money.

2nd EditionThe new ebook-only edition has consolidated Psyclone’s function as a unique reference resource. The main difference between the 1st and 2nd editions is the presence of footnote reference numbering throughout the body text. The numbers are active hyperlinks which link to the relevant entry in the comprehensive appendix database. Each entry features a URL to an external datasource where readers can find additional and supporting data. The high level of interactivity that this enables is the essence of the Psyclone project. Psyclone is participatory. Being a spectator is no longer an option with a future. The future is in our hands.

The free download offer ends Friday.

Click here for the PDF

All formats are available through The Centre of the Psyclone

 

 

 

‘He’s the Universal Soldier, and he really is to blame…’

The War Prayer

Written by Mark Twain around 1904-05, the short story The War Prayer wasn’t published until 1916, six years after his death. Faced with opposition from family and friends who feared it might be taken as sacrilegious and unpatriotic, Twain himself refused to publish it saying, “No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead.”

In April 2007, journalist and Washington Monthly president Markos Kounalakis directed and produced an animated short film based on Twain’s piece, also entitled “The War Prayer.” Narrated by Peter Coyote, it features Lawrence Ferlinghetti as the Minister, and Eric Bauersfeld as the Stranger.

 

 

Download a PDF of The War Prayer

Monument to a King

Remembering MLK’s Legacy, and Resisting Today’s Wars

by William Loren Katz

This weekend it has taken a hurricane to postpone the dedication of the long-awaited monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington — the first time a man who is not a president, not a white man, and not a war leader has been so honored on the Mall. Major corporations contributed to this monument, so the question is how will Dr. King be presented to the American public and remembered by children. One clear viewpoint was offered this January 13th when the Pentagon commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an address by Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel.

In the final year of his life, King became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Johnson frankly told a packed auditorium of Defense Department officials. However, Johnson hastily added, today’s wars are not out of line with the iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner’s teachings. “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.” Really?

Dr. King’s first anti-war speech, “Declaration of Independence from the War In Vietnam” delivered on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York City, is not only eloquent and passionate but also carefully reasoned and as uncomplicated in its message as its title. Dr. King knew his call for U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam would bring challenges to his leadership and moral purpose from his enemies, many of his friends in the civil rights movement, and lead to increased FBI harassment. He was denounced by the New York Times, the Washington Post as well as his usual foes. He had dared to speak at a moment when U.S. officials from the president down warned that communism’s triumph in Vietnam would lead to victories across Asia and beyond, and had made Americans as fearful of communism as they are of today’s terrorists.

But King was resolute. “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” King said. He minced few words, referring to “my own government” as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Has much changed today when the U.S. boasts the largest military budget in history, one larger than all other countries around combined? The United States still has bases on every continent, and its armed forces fight in and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for longer than it fought in World War II. Weekly we hear the government contemplates air strikes against Iran’s nuclear building sites, or even an invasion.

Dr. King called for withdrawal from Vietnam. Had he lived, would he not have also called for a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? Would he have failed to see parallels that are as obvious as they are frightening?

Early in his address, Dr. King pointed out that “our leaders refused to tell us the truth” about our war in Vietnam. Can we ever forget that the U.S. attack on Iraq was initiated to destroy weapons of mass destruction that never existed, and retaliate against a Saddam Hussein and Iraq that had no part in the 9/11 attacks on the United States? In the name of Iraqi freedom our leaders ordered the torture of prisoners, and promoted democracy by supporting corrupt leaders who lack popular support. The people of Vietnam, King said, “must see Americans as strange liberators.” In Afghanistan today those who suffer from drone attacks directed from afar, and from other deadly searches for terrorists, do not see us as liberators. They see a distant power occupying and oppressing innocent civilians, and see the United States as doomed to fail as earlier foreign invaders.

“The madness of Vietnam,” Dr. King said in 1967, will “totally” poison “America’s soul.” He told how U.S. involvement in Vietnam “eviscerated” its war on poverty begun by President Lyndon Johnson, and instead had its “funds and energies” and “men and skills” drawn into a war “like some demonic, destructive suction tube.” What happens to “America’s soul” as the U.S. budget spins out of control, joblessness and hopelessness reaches proportions known only during the Great Depression?

Dr. King emphasized how the Vietnam War was “devastating the hopes of the poor at home” and “sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight in extraordinarily high proportion relative to the rest of the population.” In 2011 a volunteer army draws even more heavily on the poor, those without jobs, men and women losing hope of finding meaningful work. Dr. King said then “I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” Would the man who organized a Poor People’s Crusade before his assassination be silent now?

Toward to the end of his address at the Riverside Church, Dr. King said: “Somehow this madness must cease. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam and the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam…. The great initiative in the war is ours. The initiative to stop must be ours.”

Was not Martin Luther King, Jr. reaching beyond Vietnam when he warned of “approaching spiritual death” and called for “a significant and profound change in American life and policy” and insisted that “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values”? Was he only speaking of Vietnam when he said, “War is not the answer?”

We the people have to make sure it is not the Pentagon version but the real legacy of Dr. King is acknowledged and celebrated. We owe that to future generations.

William Loren Katz, author of forty books on American history, is currently a visiting scholar at New York University, his university affiliation since 1973. His website is williamlkatz.com. Dr. King’s entire Riverside Church speech can be read or heard at: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence2.htm.

A Book to Change the World

Psyclone is a story, ‘an amazing story’, of what’s going on in the world and what we, every one of us, can do to make it better.

Classified as Contemporary Fiction,  every piece of information and fact conveyed through internal and external dialogue in the novel with one exception is based on facts and information expanded on and linked to in an 86-page appendix. Within the appendix you will find a ream of suppressed and censored information that could change your life and change the world.

We are in a special, privileged, “information rich” position with access to more information via the Internet than it’s possible to read or digest in a single human lifetime. There is no reason why we can’t understand who we truly are and where we are going. There is no reason why the average individual can’t be fully empowered. We can accelerate the transition of our species out of the “era of slavery” into the era of physical and spiritual freedom if we study, analyse, question and act on the information in Psyclone.

This kind of  information needs to be shared between as many people as possible.

For that reason, as well as being available in hardcopy online through the Centre of the Psyclone website and everywhere else books are sold, it can also be freely downloaded in a variety of eformats (epub, mobi, pdf) from the Centre of the Psyclone and multiple online sources.