Analysis & Polemic

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Genome for the people


BY MARK HENDERSON


Corporate feudalism is hampering research, says an eminent geneticist


It has become a widespread belief that the mapping of the human genome will
lead to a new era of medicine. Shortly before the first drafts were published
with great fanfare in February, Francis Collins, the director of the US
National Genome Research Institute and a founder of the public-sector Human
Genome Project, laid out a vision of a future in which mankind will call on
unprecedented resources in the fight against disease.
By 2010, Collins predicted, scientists will have developed tests for dozens
of genetic illnesses. A decade further down the line, there will be
gene-based designer drugs for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and
schizophrenia. Cancer treatment will be transformed, and every patient will
be prescribed medicines that are tailored to his or her own genetic
fingerprint. In 30 years’ time most Britons will live to the age of 90, and
human beings will be able to manipulate their evolution by genetic
engineering.


While some scientists quibble over the timescale of Collins’s prognosis, few
question the enormous potential of the genome to transform human life. Yet
eight months after the project’s success, many of its architects are raising
concerns about the scientists’ approach to realising its medical fruits.

Louis Lingg writes: "RAND has recently published, and made available on-line, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy.

Chapters include: The Networking of Terror in the Information Age; Gangs, Hooligans, and Anarchists--The Vanguard of Netwar In the Streets; Networking Dissent: Cyber Activists Use the Internet to Promote Democracy In Burma; Emergence and Influence of the Zapatista Social Netwar; Netwar in the Emerald City: WTO Protest Strategy and Tactics; Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism: The Internet as a Tool for Influencing Foreign Policy; The Structure of Social Movements: Environmental Activism and Its Opponents.

From RAND press release: 'The authors also find that, despite their diversity, all networks built for waging
netwar may be analyzed in terms of a common analytic framework. There are
five critical levels of theory and practice: the technological, social, narrative,
organizational, and doctrinal levels. A netwar actor must get all five right to be
fully effective. The most potent netwarriors will not only be highly networked
and have the capacity for mounting "swarming" attacks, they will also be held
together by strong social ties, have secure communications technologies, and
project a common "story" about why they are together and what they need to
do. Like Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda, these are the most serious
adversaries. But even those networks that are weak on some levels may pose
stiff challenges to their nation-state adversaries.'"

jim writes: "bifo, one of the most intelligent and committed of Italian social theorists, has written:


panic war [make world transcript]

bifo




i want to talk about attention economy and digital labor, and panic and
the global war. at the end, i want to show that all this has something to
do with the would-be, with the future self-representation of work. i read
in this beautiful paper [the make world paper], global processes are
running out of time and space. running out of time, global processes are
running out of time. i start from this sentence.

Anonymous Comrade writes: "Passion and Reason

by Umberto Eco

from Der Spiegel
http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/literatur/0,1518,1639 07-3,00.html
(original Italian; re-translation from German by Kermit Snelson)



The religious wars that have drenched the world in blood for centuries all
arose from a passionate attachment to simplifying binaries: we vs. they, good
vs. evil, black vs. white. If Western culture has proven fruitful, it is
because it has been forced to "liberate" itself from such damaging
simplifications through the spirit of inquiry and criticism.



Of course, this has not been invariably the case. Hitler burned books,
condemned "degenerate art" and killed members of "inferior races", but he too
belongs to the history of Western culture. But if we are to prevent new towers
from collapsing, even those that will come after us, it is the best aspects of
our culture which we must discuss with young people of every skin color.

hydrarchist writes: "

It has become a trivial remark, even a ridiculous one, indeed, it is being
made by all and sundry: in the aftermath of the demolition of the WTC and
the imperial war on Afghanistan, with the amount of "collateral damages"
increasing out of sight, we all have entered a new phase of social life and
conflict.
This phase is heavily affected by paranoia, war propaganda, will to
censorship, restriction of such civil rights as free speech, re-embellished
mcCarthysm and angry mobs demanding new *berufsverboten* in the sinister
light of the rhetoric on the "clash of civilizations".
Back to the home front. Another Cold War. The Empire asks for it.


However, the events of September 11th have "only" made more apparent and
explicit the fact that after Genoa we had entered a *catastrophic* realm
already.
By "catastrophe" I don't mean the end of the world, but a new topology, a
space created by an abrupt discontinuity.
The threshold was in via Tolemaide on July 20th. There we experienced a
sudden displacement. Less than two months later we experienced a second
one, like a "fold-in" and "cut-up" of public space. This forced us to
re-think our approach.
Such a discussion is still going on and there's no rabbit in our hats. All
I can say is that none of the phenomena I am going to describe exists
anymore, at least not in Italy and certainly not in its original
form.
As a matter of fact, the only white overalls one sees on TV or on the
papers these days are related to anthrax and biological warfare.
On the other hand, we are not starting over: there can be no doubt that the
multitudes of people who have challenged global capitalism all around the
planet are still willing to do it. On last sunday, more than 200,000
thousands people demonstrated in Perugia, Italy, against the US bombings of
Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of people did the same here in Germany. The
more "collateral damage" the Empire causes on Afghanistan, the less people
are willing to accept excuses.
I know, it is harder than ever, but only fools thought it would be easy.

hydrarchist writes: "
Who will watch the watchmen?

-- Richard Stallman, October 2001

Who will watch the watchmen? The question was first posed in Latin, but it is just as important today as it was 2,000 years
ago. Power has to be kept in check, as the founders of our country knew when they designed a system of checks and
balances in the U.S. Constitution. Any agency that has the power to protect us from enemies also has the power to do us
great harm.

Police must be able to search for evidence, if they are to catch terrorists or other criminals. But when police can get access
too information about us too easily, they regularly abuse their power. (See "Cops tap database to harass, intimidate.") It is
vital to protect citizens from police intrusion. In the United States, we do this by requiring the police to go to court and obtain
a search warrant.

Readers interested in the following story may also wish to read our earlier piece:World Bank Responds to Four Demands from Mobilization for Global Justice.

Joe Stiglitz: The Globalizer Who Came In From The Cold



The World Bank's former Chief Economist's accusations are
eye-popping - including how the IMF and US Treasury fixed the
Russian elections




by Greg Palast, The Observer, London, October 10, 2001



"It has condemned people to death," the former apparatchik told
me. This was like a scene out of Le Carre. The brilliant old
agent comes in from the cold, crosses to our side, and in hours
of debriefing, empties his memory of horrors committed in the
name of a political ideology he now realizes has gone rotten.



And here before me was a far bigger catch than some used Cold War
spy. Joseph Stiglitz was Chief Economist of the World Bank. To a
great extent, the new world economic order was his theory come to
life.

hydrarchist writes: "A Crash of Strategic Thought?


Paul Virilio
, an essayist who has written a lot about war, diagnoses a completely novel form of conflict.


The massive destruction of September 11 has taxed the term "war". Is
that self-evident to you?


Absolutely. The great terrorism which is beginning doesn't have anything to do with the small terrorism of the 20th century. On September 11, 2001 we entered in historic fashion a form of war at once worldwide and "accidental ". Clausewitz qualified as
"substantial" war as the continuation of politics by other means. But he also noticed, regarding Napoleon in Spain, that
"substantial" war could decompose, fall apart, stop pursuing
its political objectives and become a sort of frenzy impossible to
put down. That latter form was "accidental" war, and civil wars
constitute a known form. But that which has just begun is without
reference. Up to now "accidental" war was local, not global. We are
involved despite ourselves in a new form of war that we must learn like a foreign language.

Louis Lingg writes: "Pakistani site dawn.com has posted an essay by Kaiser Bengali: Understanding the Taliban.

An excerpt: 'Even by nineteenth century standards, the Taliban are an anachronism. It is, however, necessary to see where they have come from and how the
Taliban phenomenon has come about. The US decision to engage the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by mobilizing the Islamic clergy in
Afghanistan and Pakistan ordained death and destruction for millions of Afghans. Millions more streamed as refugees into neighbouring
countries. Amongst them were hundreds of thousands of orphans.

These orphans were collected in scores of madrassahs in Afghan refugee camps and in Pakistani cities run by the same clergy. These orphans
grew up through childhood, adolescence and youth in an environment completely devoid of women. They have never known the love and care
of mothers and elder sisters. They have never seen the benign smiles of grandmothers or aunts. They have never played with younger sisters
or female cousins.

These products of the madrassahs - the Taliban - are thus a unique breed of men. Their harshness towards women, towards their opponents
and, indeed, towards themselves should be seen in this context. They are the byproducts of the human destruction wreaked by the US-USSR
clash in Afghanistan. They are certainly not men who will be cowed down by the American display of its awesome firepower.'"

nomadlab writes: "first it was a Pakistani businessman and three Arab
Americans being removed from the planes they had tickets for
because of fearful
passengers and crews.


then Eighty passengers and five crew members were held aboard a jet for three hours after it landed because a passenger said a man had dispersed a powdery substance in the ventilation system.


The substance was confetti from a greeting card that a man had accidentally spilled, FBI spokesman Andrew Black said.


and yesterday a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Newark, N.J. was diverted to North Carolina after two men were seen huddled together and speaking a foreign language in the back of the plane, officials said.


Officials at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport initially received reports that the men were trying to break into the cockpit, said Aviation Director Jerry Orr. It turned out to be two orthodox Jewish men praying together in the back of the plane, he said."

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