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The Credibiity of the Terrorist WMD Threat
International terrorism poses one of the greatest strategic challenges in the modern age as groups have become able to cross borders and carry out operations globally; and has gained a renewed focus since the events of September 11th 2001. It is possible that terrorists might attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction which could then be used anywhere in the world. The term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ itself is a relatively new term and normally encompasses chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (CBRN). These are incredibly varied in their effects as well as their availability, and whilst terrorist groups might want to acquire such “weapons of terror”, the effectiveness of such weapons compared to conventional explosives may be disputed. Aum Shinrikyo for example is probably the most famous terrorist group to acquire and use weapons that would now be classified as WMDs, but was only able to do so due to its considerable financial resources, and even then “failed in all 10 of its biological weapons attacks” whilst the Sarin gas attack in 1995 caused roughly the same number of fatalities as “the average Palestinian suicide bomber attack.” In this essay I will examine the component parts of the term weapons of mass destruction (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) individually to assess the credibility of international terrorists using such weapons. I will show that although it is credible that terrorists would want to use such weapons and may attempt to do so in the future, conventional explosives have thus far proven more effective and in my opinion, it is far more likely that conventional terrorism will remain at the forefront of terrorist tactics.
Chemical terrorism is a potentially devastating form of WMD terrorism and certainly presents a credible threat to the international community. Toxic chemical agents such as chlorine and phosgene (which were first used as chemical weapons during the First World War) are found in many industry sectors and can easily be acquired and adapted for use in chemical weapons, although these devices will not be as effective as nerve agents, which are much more difficult to produce and require sophisticated laboratories to do so. Even so these weapons carry the potential to cause large amounts of casualties, although the vast majority of these would most likely be injuries rather than fatalities, and can be used effectively to create fear and encourage panic. Hamas is just one group that has pursued chemical weapons in the past, often lacing shrapnel used in suicide bombs with chemical agents, such as in December 2001 where “nails and bolts packed into explosives detonated…at the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem were soaked in rat poison” in order to kill those survivors of the initial blast who were hit by shrapnel, and they have also attempted to acquire and use cyanide in attacks. So far however the effect of these chemical weapons seems limited and have been used in conjunction with conventional explosives rather than separately. Chemical weapons are also dependent on various factors including temperature and humidity, and when dispersed outside they become unpredictable due to wind conditions. In 1990 for example the Tamil Tigers attacked a Sri Lanka Air Force fortification using chlorine gas which was released to drift over the fort, and succeeded in injuring over 60 government soldiers and enabled the Tamil Tigers to take the fort, but then drifted back over their own positions. These chemical agents are rarely particularly effective, and it is noted that the Tamil Tigers used the chlorine gas simply because it was a weapon that they had to hand at the time and it suited a particular battlefield need. As a result terrorist organisations may try to utilise the potential of more deadly chemical weapons such as nerve agents, which I shall now discuss.
The cultivation of nerve agents such as Sarin or VX, is significantly more expensive than the procurement of other more basic agents, and requires considerable amount of expertise. Despite this it is still credible that terrorists could make use of such weapons as they have done in the past, most famously perhaps the Tokyo subway attack in 1995. Aum Shinrikyo had already carried out an attack using Sarin gas in 1994 in the city of Matsumoto, targeting three judges hearing “a lawsuit over a real-estate dispute in which Aum Shinrikyo was the defendant” and which they were likely to lose, subsequently killing 7 and wounding approximately 500. Following this, the Aum Shinrikyo cult group (now known as Aleph) carried out possibly the most successful chemical terrorist attack in 1995, releasing Sarin on the Tokyo subway system and causing 13 deaths and injuring approximately 6,300. In a subsequent raid on Satyan 7, a “supposed shrine to the Hindu god Shiva”, it was found that the building “housed a moderately large-scale chemical weapons production facility” which was designed to produce thousands of kilograms of Sarin a year, although at the time of the Tokyo subway attack it was no longer in service. This attack was the most devastating chemical attack by a terrorist group, and yet other attacks carried out using conventional explosives have been more effective, such as the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 where 301 people were killed and 5,000 were injured. It is unlikely that a chemical attack will occur again on such a large scale due to the amount of expense involved, as Aum Shinrikyo remains at this time “the only group that had the financing and the motivation to create or obtain a true military-grade CW agent”. It is also important to note that Aum Shinrikyo is an apocalyptic group, and it is relatively unlikely that a more politically motivated group, even one such as Al-Qaeda would carry out a mass casualty chemical attack. The threat of a small-scale chemical attack is very credible with the availability of resources but the effectiveness of such a weapon would be fairly limited, and would actually probably be less effective than a conventional attack.
Bioterrorism is a very real threat to the international community today as it can be both disruptive as well as destructive. There are many different forms of Biological weapons that could be used, “Some are contagious and can spread rapidly in a population, while others, including anthrax and ricin, infect and kill only those who are directly exposed.” This diversity in effects can enable a group to carry out either targeted or indiscriminate attacks depending on their goals but both types, if carried out correctly, have the capability to majorly disrupt the targeted state or region. A biological attack is a much more realistic threat than a nuclear attack largely because “Unlike nuclear arms, dangerous germs are cheap and easy to come by”, whilst their effects on people can potentially reach the same scale as a nuclear bomb. For a more disruptive but by no means less devastating attack, a group could potentially target crops and livestock, disrupting a state’s food supply and economy. Biological warfare itself has been in use for centuries; in the Siege of Caffa in 1346 for example the Tartar forces, who were suffering from an outbreak of plague, ordered the infected corpses loaded onto trebuchets and hurled into the city in an attempt to kill all its inhabitants. In the Second World War the British planned to drop 5 million linseed cakes contaminated with anthrax spores into Germany which would then be consumed first by cattle, and then by Germans who subsequently ate the infected animals, whilst simultaneously creating a food shortage for the surviving population through the death of the remaining cattle. This attack (known as Operation Vegetarian) was never put into action however Gruinard Island, the island on which the cakes were tested, was only cleared of contamination in 1990 which suggests the possible long-term effects such an attack could cause. I shall now examine different types of biological weapons as well as possible future threats.
Perhaps the most well-known biological agent that has been used as a weapon is anthrax, a disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis, largely because of the relative ease with which it can be cultivated and the various ways it can cause infection which each cause different symptoms (inhalation, contact with a break in the skin, or ingestion of anthrax-tainted meat). Causing infection on a large scale with anthrax is however incredibly difficult. This is perhaps best shown by Aum Shinrikyo’s failed anthrax attack in 1993, in which members of the group attempted to aerosolise a “liquid suspension of Bacillus anthracis in an attempt to cause an inhalational anthrax epidemic”, and in the process create the conditions for another world war. The attack caused a foul odour and some minor cases of appetite-loss; nausea and vomiting, but failed to infect a single person, and it was only discovered that it had been an attack using anthrax during an investigation following the Tokyo subway station attack in March 1995. The most successful attack using anthrax was perhaps the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States which occurred shortly after the events of September 11th. The attacks caused 22 cases of anthrax infection of which “Eleven of these were inhalational cases, of whom 5 died; [and] 11 were cutaneous cases (7 confirmed, 4 suspected).” Although the attack did not cause mass-casualties, it did cause major disruption and caused the temporary closure of the government mail service, as well as widespread fear of finding anthrax spores in the mail. There is also the threat of terrorists using the Botulinum toxin, one of the most deadly toxins known, which “poses a major bioweapon threat because of its extreme potency and lethality; its ease of production, transport, and misuse”. To cause more widespread damage terrorists could attempt to utilise contagious diseases such as the Ebola virus or even possibly avian influenza, and there is evidence to suggest that Aum Shinrikyo did at least contemplate the possibility of using the Ebola virus as a biological weapon. The use of contagious diseases in particular could become a major tactic for terrorist organisations in the future as it has the potential to cause widespread mass-casualties. The relative ease in the cultivation of agents such as anthrax and Botulinum, as well as the widespread and possibly transnational effects that contagious viruses could cause, makes bioterrorism a credible threat to the international community. However at this time it would appear that it would be extremely difficult to cause a crisis such as an epidemic and would probably therefore be limited to small scale attacks designed to cause more fear than casualties.
Radiological terrorism is perhaps one of the most credible threats to the international community, although arguably is also the least effective. The most credible use of radiological terrorism would probably be through the use of a radiological weapon, otherwise known as a ‘Dirty Bomb’ or a radiological dispersal device (RDD), which is designed to kill or injure “through the initial blast of the conventional explosive, and by airborne radiation and contamination (hence the term “dirty”).” They are realistically more weapons of mass disruption rather than destruction, but their capacity to create both large scale casualties and mass panic cannot be underestimated. A dirty bomb is a more realistic terrorist threat than a nuclear bomb largely because of the relative ease in its manufacture, as it is simply a conventional explosive with a radioactive isotope packed inside it; when the explosive detonates the isotope is dispersed over a large area thereby causing contamination over a wide area. There are a vast number of radioactive isotopes that could be used to make a dirty bomb and many of them are in the public domain, one example being caesium-137, a radioactive isotope that has widespread uses including certain cancer treatments. There have been two cases of terrorists attempting or threatening to use RDDs, though neither was successful in being carried out. The first occurred in 1995 in Moscow, when Chechen separatists buried a package containing Caesium-137 in Izmaylovsky Park, announcing it to the press in order to prove their ability to create and if necessary use a radiological weapon. The second instance of radiological terrorism was in December 1998, when the Chechen Secret Service discovered a dirty bomb “consisting of a land mine combined with radioactive materials”, which was quickly disarmed.
The relative ease in which a dirty bomb could be manufactured makes it far more likely than a nuclear bomb, however there are other possible forms of radiological terrorism that are perhaps less likely but potentially more dangerous, although there are no actual records of them occurring, including distribution in ventilation systems or the use of aircraft to powdered or aerosol forms of radioactive material. It is also theoretically possible that a terrorist organisation may attempt to attack a nuclear power station, following which a large enough explosion may allow the mass dispersion of a large amount of nuclear material, although safeguards and security arrangements should be able to deal with this threat. Although a successful radiological terrorist attack has not yet occurred, there are examples of the effects that radioactive materials have on humans, leading to increased fear about the possibility of attack. In September 1999 as just one example two thieves attempted to steal a container of radioactive materials from a chemical factory in Chechnya, but after half an hour one of the suspects died and the other collapsed, “even though each held the container for only a few minutes.” The threat to the international community from radiological terrorism is fairly credible given the relative ease in procurement and manufacture, and there is speculation that Al-Qaeda may have succeeded in creating a dirty bomb due to evidence found by British Intelligence agents and weapons researchers in 2003, although the device itself has not been found.
Nuclear terrorism is perhaps the most feared, and most unlikely, form of WMD Terrorism facing the world today. It has been argued that with increased amounts of uranium and particularly plutonium in circulation, due to more emphasis being placed on nuclear power, it is becoming far more likely that terrorists could acquire and build a nuclear weapon with relative ease. This argument follows that it is not only likely that terrorist organisations will attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, but they will also use them as a first resort weapon as a means of advancing their aims. In the context of Al-Qaeda, Busch notes that “bin Laden has declared obtaining nuclear weapons to be a religious duty” and that Al-Qaeda has been researching into this technology. This conflicts with bin Laden’s own statement made in November 2001 in which he said that he was already in possession of nuclear and chemical weapons, but that they would only be used as a deterrent, although perhaps the integrity of this statement can be debated in both its claim of ownership and professed intent. Governments and media seem to have a tendency to create worst-case scenarios regarding WMDs, most of which are relatively unrealistic. Albert Mauroni, a senior policy analyst with Northrop Grumman, notes as an example that the “US government fixates on scenarios that envision terrorist use of ten-kiloton nuclear weapons…worst-case scenarios that have little basis in reality” and this in itself can lead to the fear of the attack overshadowing the credibility or otherwise of a real attack. The intent for terrorist organisations to acquire nuclear weapons is certainly real, as is the possibility that they would use them as a first resort weapon, however I shall now examine the credibility of such groups being able to actually obtain them.
There are two main areas that governments are particularly concerned about regarding the acquisition of nuclear weapons or the technology to build them by terrorists: the theft, sale, or capture of warheads; and the theft of civilian nuclear material. In the first instance there is the threat that terrorists could attempt to “Steal, buy or otherwise acquire a ready-made nuclear weapon; or take over a nuclear-armed submarine, plane or base.” The most likely victim of such an attack in the modern world at the moment is Pakistan, which at this time is faced with “a greater threat from Islamic extremists seeking nuclear weapons than any other nuclear stockpile on earth”. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities have come under attack at least three times in the period 2007-2008 by terrorist groups, and with both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda having relocated to the country from Afghanistan there is a significant danger of such facilities being taken over and used against a wide range of targets, including Coalition forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. To counter this threat the United States has opted for a quick reaction strategy, creating a specialist force to “seal off and snatch back Pakistani nuclear weapons” in the event of terrorist groups or other militant forces manage to acquire a weapon or the materials to build one. The likelihood of terrorists buying nuclear weapons is fairly low as such weapons could be traced on use to the manufacturer, providing incontrovertible evidence against the guilty party, which would usually be a state.
The other method that could be used to attempt to acquire a nuclear weapon is that of the theft of civilian nuclear material from nuclear power stations or reprocessing plants. However, these isotopes cannot effectively be used as a nuclear weapon in the state they are used in nuclear power facilities. Uranium is typically only enriched to 4% in a nuclear power station whereas it needs to achieve 85% enrichment to be used as a nuclear weapon, and to “obtain weapon-grade plutonium, nuclear-weapon states have reprocessed spent uranium fuel from special production reactors.” International safeguards should be able to prevent illegal enrichment of uranium from occurring, and it seems unlikely that a non-state actor would be able to build the necessary facilities to achieve sufficient enrichment of uranium themselves or create weapons-grade plutonium without the nations like the United States noticing, at which point they would in all likelihood be able to destroy or capture such a facility. The possibility of terrorist organisations creating nuclear fusion weapons is even more unrealistic as again such an act could not go unnoticed (due to the need to test a fission bomb first) and could easily be disrupted. The threat of international terrorist organisations acquiring nuclear fission weapons is theoretically credible, although with the safeguards that are rapidly being put into place to prevent both nuclear material and weaponry from falling into the hands of terrorists; I would argue that it is simply much easier and cheaper to use more conventional weapons and at the time of writing no nuclear terrorist attack has taken place.
Weapons of mass destruction could potentially cause devastation on a scale that no other weapon at this time can achieve. A well planned chemical or biological attack could theoretically kill thousands or even millions of people, whilst a radiological weapon would cause the necessary evacuation of an area and again could possibly cause large-scale casualties. The issue with these weapons is that they only have the potential to cause such damage, and historical precedents would suggest that it is a very complicated and difficult task to achieve such devastation, even if a group is able to procure such a weapon. A nuclear weapon would have a much larger and more destructive effect, as it is the only weapon of mass destruction that also destroys buildings, but the likelihood of a terrorist group acquiring or building one is fairly low at the moment. Conventional explosives have proven to be more effective than attacks involving WMDs at this point, and though it is theoretically possible that international terrorist groups might acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them upon acquisition, I believe that the use of conventional explosives will continue to dominate terrorist attacks.
Actually, if they can live with the fact that men have a sexuality to cope with, and if they aren't feminists, women, at least some of them, are quite OK.
Why ever more fathers are killing their children: Top criminologist reveals her research into this sickening trend
His neighbours said he was like any other loving dad. They'd often seen him and his wife take their two children to the park, and they'd pop out to local restaurants for dinner together.
So why on earth did Julian Stevenson apparently brutally kill his own children? How could a father turn on his own flesh and blood and attack them so viciously?
The 48-year-old Briton has reportedly admitted cutting the throats of his two children — Matthew, ten, and Carla, five — after he was allowed to see them alone for the first time since his bitter divorce from their French mother.
After killing the children, Stevenson escaped his blood-splattered flat in Lyon, France, on a pair of rollerskates.
While I was as horrified as anyone else at the brutality of this killing, I have to admit that I wasn't in the least bit shocked.
As a criminologist specialising in murder, I have just completed research into the phenomenon of parents killing their children.
And my discoveries left me wondering not how it could happen — but just how soon it would be before another case of parental murder would hit the headlines.
Perhaps the most terrifying thing I have learned from my research is that the incidence of parents murdering their children is becomingly increasingly common. There have been 71 cases since 1980 - and the numbers are speeding up alarmingly.
In the Eighties, fewer than one child a year was murdered by a parent. Over the past decade, numbers have risen to two or three a year - a rate that is increasing steadily.
Though mothers are also capable of murdering their children, the vast majority of murders - 59 of the 71 - are committed by men. I call them Family Annihilators because they cold-bloodedly plot their family's destruction.
And the reason why these apparently normal, loving men turn into ruthless killers? Family breakdown, which, of course, is also on the increase.
I examined all of the cases of murders by parents of their children since 1980, looking at everything from the fathers' jobs to the day of the week they committed the murder — and uncovered some quite extraordinary patterns.
In seven out of ten cases, the children have been at the centre of a bitter family break-up.
Of course, I wouldn't for a minute suggest that divorce inevitably leads to murder.
Far from it.
However, what's extremely worrying is that there is a small minority of men who find it impossible to cope when their families break up.
These men come from all walks of life. They include doctors, businessmen, electricians, lorry drivers and security guards.
But they all seem to have one thing in common. They feel that their masculinity is being threatened.
In getting divorced, they believe they are losing the one thing that makes them feel like successful men: their families.
In murdering their children, they are, in some twisted way, wresting back control not just of their children, but often of their wives, too.
Killing their children is the most shocking and dramatic way they can think of to shout to the world: 'Look how powerful I am.'
In murder, many are also seeking the ultimate revenge. They know that in killing their children they are killing the things that are most precious to their former wives.
Horrifically, many of these men leave notes at the scene, blaming their ex-wife for the tragedy. Some even add the extra twist of writing: 'I hope you will be happy now.'
In so many ways, then, the case of Julian Stevenson is very typical if he is eventually found guilty of the killings.
He was in the throes of a bitter custody battle with his French ex-wife, Stephanie. He had been banned from seeing his children alone after attacking her in 2010, so last weekend was his first unsupervised access visit with his children in three years.
There are two patterns that Family Annihilators follow — both equally dangerous for children.
The first scenario is that the parents are living together, but the family is fracturing, often because the husband or wife is having an affair. The father can't bear the thought of losing his children and is often raging at his wife, so he exacts the ultimate punishment.
In the second scenario — as in the Stevensons' case — the marriage is already over, the family has broken up and the children are living with the mother.
Far from satisfied with the outcome and filled with impotent rage, the father wants revenge.
I don't know about Stevenson's wife, but often the trigger is that the spouse is with a new partner or is pregnant. He may have been dreaming of a reconciliation: now he has to face the reality of losing his wife for ever.
In half of all cases of Family Annihilator, the murderer kills his former wife, too.
One of the most chilling examples is that of 53-year-old Brian Philcox, a security guard from Runcorn, Cheshire, who was in the middle of a bitter marriage breakdown. In June 2008, on Father's Day, he collected his children — Amy, seven, and Owen, three — and drove them to a remote beauty spot in Snowdonia, North Wales.
After sedating them with drugs and makeshift chloroform masks, he joined them on the back seat of his Land Rover and waited for exhaust fumes to kill them all.
Meanwhile, he'd left a booby-trap bomb in his home, designed to explode when his ex-wife opened a note he had left addressed to 'The Bitch'. Luckily, it failed to explode.
For most parents, the thought of sitting down and plotting how we are going to take our children's lives isn't just abhorrent, it's simply unimaginable.
But that is exactly what these fathers do. They spend weeks — sometimes months — planning every gruesome detail.
And perhaps most frightening of all, they are able to do it all while keeping up a facade of normality. While they are plotting, no one guesses what's on their mind.
The terrifying truth is that these men are silent killers. In most cases, no one has seen the clues — not their wives, not their friends and not their families. Friends and neighbours often say they appear to be loving and devoted fathers.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, most murders occur between Friday and Sunday nights. I'm sure this is because weekends are commonly when estranged fathers get to see their children alone — giving them the opportunity to kill.
The way that Stevenson is alleged to have murdered his children — by slitting their throats — is horrifying in its violent brutality.
Incredibly, though, it's not rare. In fact, one of the most shocking things my research has uncovered is that one-third of men stab their children to death.
Stabbing usually occurs where the murderer is full of violent rage and anger and wants to damage his victim's appearance.
It's a violent way to kill, and a horrible way to die. But these men seem to want to inflict maximum damage on their children as a way of proving just how powerful they are — and as a means to inflict the maximum pain on their wives.
It appears that Stevenson was a violent alcoholic, with a record of attacking his wife. In this, he is uncommon. Fewer than 10 per cent of Family Annihilators have a record of domestic violence.
Even more frightening, perhaps, most have no record of mental illness. They have simply slipped beneath the radar.
But the most disturbing aspect of my research is that, as far as I can see, these parent-on-child killings are going to continue happening with increasing regularity. Marriages are going to continue breaking up. Fathers are going to continue feeling aggrieved and powerless.
And there is no way of predicting which men are going to carry on being loving fathers — and which are going to act on these feelings and turn into Family Annihilators.
95 percent of the victims of work accidents are men. Because women are cowards, and just want to rule from behind.
Jeremy Hunt 'asked FGM survivor if she could still have orgasm'
Jeremy Hunt has been accused of asking a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigner whether “girls like you” can still have an orgasm.
Nimco Ali claimed the Health Secretary found her via a Google search and that he had no idea about FGM at the time.
The former civil servant, who is the director of the Daughters of Eve non-profit organisation, told the News Roast podcast that the pair met at his Whitehall office four years ago.
“This man is the Secretary of State for Health but he has no idea about FGM and I don’t think he even reads his briefings,” said Ms Ali, recalling her thoughts at the time.
She added that he probably got in touch after reading a newspaper article about the subject, "so then he ‘googled’ and found me."
She said: "So I got an email to say ‘will you come in and speak to the Secretary of State and I said ‘yes’ because we need data and the NHS is, like, right at the forefront.
After waiting in his office, Ms Nimco said he walked in "rolling up his sleeve, and said he just did a night shift for the hospital."
Then she said he asked: "What I really want to know Nimco, is, can girls like you have an orgasm?"
She said: It was his first direct question. My reply was: ‘Well, it depends how good you are Jeremy. Because 80 per cent of the clitoris is actually internal, but let’s move’.”
News Roast presenters Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein called his question “disrespectful” and “crude”.
But Ms Ali replied: “I think he is privileged enough to ask those questions.”
Asked if the two then started dating, she said: “I have boundaries.”
Ms Ali went on to praise the former under secretary for public health, Jane Ellison, for her campaigning on FGM.
An FGM survivors’ ability to have an orgasm depends on the type of FGM and cutting they have suffered.
Mr Hunt’s health department has since started publishing annual statistics for FGM and the latest data revealed nearly 5,500 new cases in 2016.
Met Police inspector Allen Davis last month said the force still did not know where in the UK FGM was taking place.
The Department of Health refused to comment on Ms Ali's allegation.
The purpose of feminism is to destroy male sexuality. It's either you or them. Hope you get that message.
What Would Happen in a Brain Transplant?
Stop right there, Cleona. In a brain transplant, who’s the recipient and who’s the donor?
Here’s one way to think about it. Although a brain transplant at the moment is impossible, no doubt that won’t always be so. What will probably become feasible first isn’t a brain transplant but a head transplant.
This simplifies matters in two respects. First, on a practical level, it sidesteps the fantastically complicated project of reconnecting the brain to the multitude of sensory organs and blood vessels in the head. Second, and more important for present purposes, it goes a long way toward answering your question. While there’s a lot about the brain we don’t know, no one disputes that it’s the seat of consciousness. What’s more, the head as a whole contains most of the tools—eyes, ears, speech apparatus, facial muscles—that we use to interact with the world.
With that in mind, it’s obvious we’re not talking about grafting a new brain or head onto someone’s body; we’re talking about grafting a new body onto someone’s head. The self that lives in that head remains the boss.
As for personality...well, that’s a broader question, which we’ll get to by and by.
Currently the dealbreaker is the spinal cord—as yet there’s no way to reattach a severed cord to a brain. Some think stem cell research may yield a way to splice the two together. A more exotic possibility is severing the brain at midpoint and connecting the upper lobes—and thus, presumably, the higher functions and consciousness—of one individual to the brain stem, spinal cord, and body of someone else. The rationale seems to be that we keep all the control circuitry needed to operate the body intact and put someone new in the driver’s seat. However you slice it, it won’t be easy.
The practical science of brain transplants has been slow to evolve, and often grotesque. In 1954 Russian scientists transplanted the head and upper thorax of a puppy onto a larger dog, creating a two-headed dog. In 1965 one of the pioneers in the field, Robert White, topped this by transplanting the brain of a donor dog into the neck of another, thus briefly creating a two-brained dog. In 1970 White and his colleagues transplanted the head of a monkey onto another’s headless body. The resulting monkey lived for eight days. Not only could it use its senses, it tried to bite the hand of a researcher.
In all three cases, the host body simply provided life support for the transplanted head or brain. There was no neurological connection between the two, and the newly added brain wasn’t in any sense the master of the body.
But give it time. Current schemes for head transplants involve keeping the bodies of donor and recipient in deep hypothermia and using ultra-sharp knives to cleanly cut each patient’s spinal cord at the neck in hopes that the nerve cells will fuse when the brain end of one is joined to the body end of the other. A special glue promoting such fusion would be applied to the severed ends; blood vessels, muscles, etc., would be hooked up appropriately.
When the day arrives that brain transplants become practical, they won’t be performed by mad scientists. On the contrary, a rigorous matching program will undoubtedly be established to ensure that brain, body, and soul are as compatible as possible, minimizing any question of personality change. Still, as a thought experiment, consider:
Jane and John crash their motorcycles into each other. Helmetless Jane is left brain-dead but otherwise intact; John’s brain is fine, but his body is mangled beyond repair. With death imminent, genius surgeons successfully implant John’s brain in Jane’s body. Who wakes up, Jane or John?
The memories and consciousness clearly will be John’s. But while the brain is the seat of the intelligence, personality to an unknown but surely significant degree is formed by the interaction between brain and body. To cite the most obvious difference, John’s XY brain now finds itself in an XX body. True, the hypothalamus, which plays a key role in hormone regulation, is located in the brain, but other equally important glands aren’t.
More generally, John’s brain must map itself to Jane’s body, which at minimum could result in a completely different set of movements and mannerisms. Maybe you’d just get one of those comical scenarios beloved of screenwriters: a woman’s body with a man at the controls. The example of transsexuals, convinced they’re one sex despite a body proclaiming they’re the other, strongly suggests the brain trumps all.
Then again, maybe John becomes psychotic due to the brain/body disconnect.
But there’s a third possibility. John wakes up thinking he’s male, but after his body imprints itself decides: please, call me Jane.
Dictatorship is the only honest political system. Rulers rule for their own benefit, or maybe (maybe!) the interests of a ruling class. That is why warlordism is the political system of the future.
'Devout' Saudis partying on booze, drugs and hookers while Briton faces flogging which could kill him
Drunkenly passed out on a roadside following a night of wild excess, this shocking image gives a rare insight into the secret world behind Saudi Arabia’s strict Islamic veil.
The young woman, wearing a traditional black burka, stumbled from a party held by expats in the capital Riyadh - where booze, drugs and sex flow freely.
A British insider has revealed for the first time how Saudis from elite circles use social networking apps like Tinder to source prostitutes, cannabis, black market abortion pills and 99 per cent proof moonshine.
He said: “Saudi Arabia prides itself with presenting its hard-line and devoutly religious face to the world, but beneath the surface everything is available at the right price and people turn a blind eye in one of the world’s richest countries where money is never a issue.”
Our disturbing snapshot emerged as a British grandfather faces 350 lashes after breaking the law in Saudi Arabia when he was caught with home-made wine.
Karl Andree, 74, who has battled cancer and suffers from asthma, was arrested in Jeddah in August last year for breaching the country’s strict anti-alcohol laws.
Saudi Arabia is ruled by a devout brand of Islam known as Wahhabism, which metes out barbaric punishments including public beheadings and floggings, and is enforced by roving Islamic morality police, the Muttawa.
But illegal vice trades are thriving in the desert state famous for pilgrimages to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
“Potent 99 per cent proof booze is distilled from potato mash inside many of the western communities in compounds and sold freely in all the major cities in Saudi,” an ex-pat told the Sunday Mirror.
“It is far stronger than the homemade wine Karl Andree was allegedly caught with and is regularly bought in plastic water bottles for a few pounds by dealers."
Around 210,000 people have signed an online petition urging David Cameron to step in and save Andree from a flogging.
Son Simon, 34, said: “He is very humbled by the support. He can’t believe it and thanks everyone.”
Simon added: “The Government has had assurances from the Saudis that my father won’t be lashed.
“However, I’ve heard of other cases where lashings still go ahead, so it doesn’t really give us comfort.”
Our exclusive pictures show how one notorious bootlegger has mocked up labels for bottles of Captain Philips booze – inspired by movies starring Hollywood star Tom Hanks .
The source said: “The parties are pretty crazy even by western standards. Many compounds have hot tubs and you often see people have sex in them.
“Moonshine is sold in plastic cups and sold per drink like it would be at a normal bar.
“Police officers in Saudi are only paid the equivalent of a salary of £700-per–month.
“They are open to kickbacks from dealers and will often just confiscate the booze for themselves."
An illegal drugs trade is also rife inside major cities, fuelled by cannabis and strong amphetamines smuggled in from Yemen and Syria.
The source said: “Drugs are easily bought in Saudi Arabian cities – especially hash which is popular with the locals.
“The real drug of choice is Captagon – a strong amphetamine popular with ISIS fighters who want to stay alert.
“Rich young Saudi men love it and it has led to a deadly craze known as Drifting where they speed expensive sports cars up to 100mph and then slam on the hand brake for fun.
"They do it wired on Captagon and it is killing lots people every year.”
Our source says the trade in illicit pills is stronger than ever.
He said: “Rich young male Saudi’s will send friends to trawl parties for drunk western girls and invite them back to their mansions.
“They will also try to contact them on Tinder which has become a huge tool and is used by thousands of people looking to hook up.
“It has caused a boom in unwanted pregnancies and any unmarried ex-pat of migrant who gets pregnant faces a hellish time and will eventually be thrown out.
“It is a country of wild contradictions.”
Our source said that despite the draconian punishments on offer to lawmakers, it is only the poor and migrants who live in great fear.
The numbers of public beheadings at Riyadh’s central square known by locals for its grim nickname Chop Chop Square are down.
You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.
Dignitas suicide: British man ends his life at Swiss clinic as he could not face dementia
He chose to travel to the controversial Dignitas clinic because he could not face the agony of the incurable disease
A British man has become the first dementia sufferer to die at a controversial suicide clinic.
The 83-year-old man ended his life at Dignitas in Switzerland because he could not face the agony of the progressive, incurable disease.
He also wanted to spare those closest to him from any burden and strain his illness might put on them.
The unnamed man, said to be from a wealthy professional background, was in the early stages of dementia.
He is believed to be the first to use the clinic’s services solely because of dementia.
And last night it was claimed his family, including his widow, backed his decision “100 per cent”.
The man took with him a report from a psychiatrist stating he was mentally competent to choose to kill himself.
And last night one campaigner told how the pensioner was “so grateful at the end.”
Retired GP Michael Irwin, 81, had arranged for him to see a psychiatrist to produce a report saying he was mentally competent.
He revealed that the man’s wife had made the travel arrangements for the trip to Zurich.
Mr Irwin, who did not travel with the couple, said yesterday: “His family were 100% behind him.
"I have spoken to his widow since and she felt that it was handled in a very dignified and proper manner.”
“She is extremely happy about how everything was arranged.”
He added: “I have been four times with people to Switzerland.
"Two were terminally ill, one was very disabled and one was in her mid 80s so I have seen how it is handled by the Swiss. It is a very dignified procedure.
“You have got to be a very determined person to be able or willing to make that kind of journey.
“He knew of how things would deteriorate and took what I think is a sensible decision… both for himself and his family.”
But news of the assisted suicide will cause outrage among right-to-life and healthcare campaigners.
Critics claim it carries the implication that those with dementia should consider killing themselves.
Experts point out that sufferers can live for years with the condition.
It is also likely to widen the debate over the circumstances in which assisted suicide should be permitted.
The vast majority people who have chosen to die at Dignitas are those with terminal illnesses such as cancer or severe physical disabilities.
Campaign group Care Not Killing described the development as “alarming”.
Mr Irwin – nicknamed Dr Death - claims to have helped at least 25 people to die at the clinic. In the past he has been interviewed by police, but never arrested.
Although legal in Switzerland, assisted suicide is a criminal offence in the UK and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
More than 800,000 people in Britan suffer from dementia – around one in ten of all those between 80 and 84.
Mr Irwin defended the pensioner’s right to take his life before his condition deteriorated.
He said: “It takes three or four months on average from the day you make an application until the actual day you die in Zurich.
"So when people have a chronic problem or a slow-developing condition such as motor neurone disease, dementia or are severely disabled you have a crucial time factor.
“It’s important to stress that with early dementia, you are still then mentally competent for quite some time to make a decision about going to Dignitas.
"It’s important that diagnosis is made at an early time to give an individual that choice.”
Lord Falconer, a former Lord Chancellor, launched a private member’s bill in the Lords earlier this month to make assisted dying legal for the terminally ill.
Novelist Sir Terry Pratchett, 65, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, is also a supporter and has become a flagbearer in the campaign to change the law.
Mr Irwin, co-ordinator of the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide, says the legal right should be extended to elderly people suffering from medical conditions and those who are severely disabled or enduring unbearable suffering.
He added: “This topic of old-age rational suicide should now be openly discussed. Lord Falconer’s bill will be focusing only on the terminally ill.
"The other two categories, the severely disabled and the elderly with medical problems, should be equally well discussed nowadays, especially with an ageing population.”
The number of dementia victims in the UK is set to rise to more than a million by 2021 – and 1.7 million by 2050.
Mr Irwin argues that elderly sufferers may prefer thousands of pounds that would be spent on their care to go to their grandchildren.
He said: “The desire to ‘stop being a burden’ on one’s family, and to avoid squandering financial resources perhaps better spent on grandchildren’s further education, could become the final altruistic gesture, especially when combined with a wish to stop prolonging a life that is both futile and very unpleasant.”
He claimed: “Part of what makes a patient’s suffering intolerable could be the realisation that it is ruining other people’s lives.
"Then, a doctor assisted suicide could be a rational moral act.”
But critics fear that if euthanasia was legalised there would be pressure to widen the category of people to be included.
A spokesman for Care Not Killing said: “It’s hugely alarming and shows the real agenda of those seeking a change in the law.
"What they are looking for is assisted suicide or euthanasia almost on demand.
“We’ve been warning about an incremental approach, as once you change the law you get more and more cases like this, which is why we are so worried.
“We know that people who are vulnerable, disabled and terminally ill will be most under pressure.”
More than 200 Brits have died at Dignitas since it first opened in 1998.
Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg has previously said he plans to kill himself if he begins to suffer from dementia.
The arts presenter, 73, whose mother had Alzheimer’s disease until her death last year aged 95, said: “Legal or illegal, I will do it.”
He added: “We can’t keep sending people to Switzerland. We should say, given certain conditions, it’s fine.”
£5k and all over in 30 minutes
The price of a suicide at Dignitas is believed to be around £5,000.
But the full service, including funerals, medical costs and official fees, can be as high as £7,000.
Clients must register as a member and send copies of their medical records with a letter explaining why things have become intolerable.
A doctor then assesses them. If he gives the “green light”, administrative staff will schedule a date and offer advice on hotels.
Finally the client is filmed drinking the lethal solution of barbiturates in water to prove they took it themselves.
Those who cannot lift a glass press a button so a machine administers it.
Most people take between 30 minutes and an hour to die.
Brits who've died at Dignitas
MORE than 200 Brits have died at Dignitas in the past decade.
One of the most controversial deaths was in 2006 when terminally ill Craig Ewert, 59, was filmed dying at the clinic for a television documentary.
The programme, which sparked fury from anti-euthanasia groups, was the first time a suicide had been shown on British TV.
Retired university professor Craig had motor neurone disease.
In February 2009, millionaire husband and wife Peter Duff, 80, and Penelope, 70, who both had terminal cancer, were the first British couple to die together at the centre.
Top orchestral conductor Sir Edward Downes, 85, and his 74-year-old wife Joan died at the clinic five months later.
Lady Downes had terminal cancer while her husband was nearly blind and becoming increasingly deaf.
Daniel James, 23, who was paralysed in a rugby accident, was the youngest Briton to die at the clinic.
His parents Julie and Mark James, of Sinton Green, Worcester, took him to there in 2010.
They said the ex-England under-16 rugby player had repeatedly said he wanted to die.
The CPS said it was not in the public interest to prosecute his parents.
No one who has helped any of the Brits to die at Dignitas has been prosecuted.
Suicide is not a crime but it is illegal to encourage or assist suicide while in England or Wales, regardless of where the suicide takes place.
The majority of clients at Dignitas take between 30 minutes and one hour to die.
Voice of the Mirror: Dignity is a right too
Assisted suicide is a deeply emotional and ethical issue which understandably creates strong feelings.
Our report on an 83-year-old with dementia who ended his life at the Swiss Dignitas clinic adds another dimension to the debate.
This paper believes both sides of the argument should be heard and respected.
Some campaigners will fear this case could lead to a relaxation of the rules and place pressure on the vulnerable who feel they are a burden on their family and loved ones.
Others will argue the laws should be changed so those who are dying and feel they have no quality of life do not have to travel to Switzerland to end their life in dignity.
Nor will they think it is right that those who assist in such deaths, out of compassion, should be liable to prosecution.
Lord Falconer, a former lord chancellor, is seeking to change the law to make assisted dying legal for the terminally ill.
Any such legislation must be sensitively crafted and we should consider carefully before extending such rights to people with long-term conditions such as dementia.
There is much debate to be had but it would be wrong to ignore the wishes of those who, in very rare cases, want to kill themselves.
Mahatma Gandhi was just another Indian creep. When he couldn't get it up anymore, he vowed celibacy. For him, this meant: no penetration, ejaculation. That's easy for an impotent guy. But even impotent men are sexual. For Gandhi, the pervert trickery were his "experiments". Spend the night in nakedness with undressed women, young girls, even female children. Do harmony, but no penetration. Gandhi's creepy chastity.
Child sexuality: Recent developments and implications for treatment, prevention, and social policy
Although the research on the effects of childhood incest experiences and sexual encounters with adults is still limited, some consistent trends emerge across studies. Such sexual experiences may be traumatic, inconsequential, or possibly even positive. There does not appear to be any basis established by research for regarding the determinants of the effects of childhood sexual experiences as fundamentally different from the factors operating in adult sexual experiences. The perception of the child of being a willing or unwilling participant is the aspect of such experiences with the single greatest explanatory power in accounting for differences in the child's evaluation of the experience and in the long term effects. From the research, rational policies can be derived for the areas of treatment, prevention, and law. The proposals presented follow logically from what is now understood about the effects of sexual experiences on children. Those who see the purpose of law and social institutions as being the enforcement of a particular morality or the protection of children from all sexual experience will sympathize with neither the approach nor its conclusions. But there are those who would have the law support the right of sexual self-expression and development of everyone's fullest potential as a person, protecting these from violation and intrusion by society as well as by other members of society.
Child sexuality: Recent developments and implications for treatment, prevention, and social policy. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/16509326_Child_sexuality_Recent_developments_and_implications_for_treatment_prevention_and_social_policy [accessed Jun 30, 2017].
Neomasculinity is defined by its view on females, and particularly on feminism. It is NOT defined by opinions on race, homosexuality, or religion. For a United Front, we can accept any opinion as long as it matches our views on females and feminism.
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