Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Venezuela's Pyramid Shopping Mall Torture Chamber

Al Jazeera: Venezuela faces food and medical supply shortage (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

From the WSJ (23 June 2017), a follow-up from my earlier post on Venezuela's crisis, as the country defiantly departed the Organization of American States:
"Almost two decades after Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez, came to power in an electoral landslide, his country’s transformation seems to be taking an ominous new turn. A country that was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest is seeing its democratic institutions collapse, leading to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than oil-rich ones.

Mr. Chávez’s successor, President Nicolás Maduro, has called for a National Constitutional Assembly to be elected on July 30 to draft a new constitution, in which ill-defined communal councils will take the place of Venezuela’s traditional governing institutions, such as state governments and the opposition-dominated Congress. The new assembly appears to be rigged to heavily represent groups that back the government.

The Maduro government says that the new assembly will find a peaceful way forward for a country enduring an economic depression and standing on the brink of civil conflict. The government says it is building on the legacy of Mr. Chávez, a military man who vowed to fight corruption, dismantle the venal old political establishment and be a voice for millions of poor Venezuelans. But the opposition, which is boycotting the assembly vote, calls it a naked attempt to end democracy and turn the country into a Cuba-style communist autocracy. The government’s own attorney general calls the vote illegal.

The 545-member assembly, a modern-day soviet, would hold unlimited power while it writes a new governing charter, which could take years. Meantime, the assembly is widely expected to scrap next year’s presidential elections.

'This is the last battle for democracy in Venezuela,' says David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University.

For the U.S., the prospect of a new Cuba sitting atop trillions of dollars of oil reserves is profoundly unpleasant. For the past decade, Venezuela has aligned itself with Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Whether it thrives or implodes, Mr. Maduro’s petrostate could cause far greater headaches to the U.S. and Latin America than isolated Cuba. An implosion could mean bigger shipments of cocaine to Central America and the U.S., as well as a massive increase in the current flow of tens of thousands of refugees already fleeing the country for the U.S., Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere. And a consolidation of power could let Mr. Maduro deepen his partnership with U.S. adversaries.

The Trump administration has criticized Mr. Maduro’s plans to change the constitution, urging 'respect for democratic norms and processes.' The U.S. has called for Venezuela to free political prisoners, respect the opposition-controlled congress and 'hold free and democratic elections.'

Mr. Maduro’s move has aggravated Venezuela’s political crisis. The opposition, sensing a do-or-die moment, plans to ramp up daily street protests. Some 80 people have died in such demonstrations in the past three months, and the president is unlikely to ease off on the tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

'Maduro’s ultimate aim is to turn Venezuela into Cuba. And we will not accept being put in that cage,' says Julio Borges, the head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

Venezuela’s momentous new step isn’t taking place amid the kind of revolutionary euphoria that Mr. Chávez may have imagined before he died of cancer in 2013. Rather, it is being pushed by an unpopular government trying to keep power amid an economic implosion.

By year’s end, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk by nearly a third in the past four years—a plunge similar to Cuba’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and one rarely seen outside of conflict zones. In a nation estimated to be sitting on as much oil as Saudi Arabia, it is common to see poor families rummaging through garbage for food, even as the wealthy pack nearby gourmet restaurants.

Inflation was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 720% this year; it is expected to surpass 2,000% next year. Shortages are so acute that three out of four Venezuelans lost an average of 18 pounds last year, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities. Diseases not seen there in decades, such as malaria, are back."

Protestas en Venezuela 22 de junio 2017 (23 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube. More from 22 June here.

Political prisoners in Caracas are transported to a former drive-in shopping mall, now prison, called the Helicoide. Failed Architecture provides a full history on the ominous building, which already had a negative, creepy reputation. There are rumours that there are underground tunnels under El Helicoide which reach out into different parts of the city. Image Source: arquitecturayempresa.

The Washington Post reports that political prisoners are transported to a pyramid-shaped complex called the Helicoide, where they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement:
"The headquarters of the Venezuelan intelligence service is a vast pyramid-shaped edifice known as the Helicoide, a former shopping mall which now functions as an interrogation pen for political prisoners and protesters.

The 30-year-old economics student had heard enough about the infamous building to be terrified as he was led into a dank cell in early April — his eyes blindfolded, his wrists bound by his shoelaces.

'You’re going to die here,' a guard informed him, he later recalled.

The student had been detained after throwing rocks at an anti-government protest. During the 12 hours he spent inside the Helicoide, he said, the guards pummeled his torso, gave him electric shocks and ignited a type of powder in his cell that had the effect of tear gas, causing him to press his face into the concrete floor to escape the fumes."
One Youtuber denies it all; he says no one is hungry and the neighbourhoods in Caracas are almost all quiet. You can watch his dashcam video from 23 June 2017 here. The video had a high number of dislikes. Another video from the same day, via El Pais, shows a scene with a man heard yelling in the distance, supposedly from a prison cell, that he is being tortured. A fortune teller read Tarot cards to predict Venezuela's future.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Anniversaries: Monumental Masonry

Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The 24th of June 2017 is the 300th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry, more precisely, the first collective of organized Masonic lodges. On the Feast of St. John the Baptist in 1717four London lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron ale-house, and formed the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster; later it became the Premier Grand Lodge of England. The four lodges were named for the pubs where they normally met: the Goose and Gridiron; the Crown; the Apple-Tree tavern; and the Rummer and Grapes tavern.

Image Source: Time Out London.

To celebrate, London's Grand Lodge is opening for the public for a few hours. If you are in town, not a member, and would like to look inside, now is your chance:
Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen St, WC2B 5AZ will be open from 10am to 5pm on June 24. Entry to the building and ‘Rough to smooth: Art inspired by Freemasonry’ (Jun 24-Jul 1) is free.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools

How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tweet of the Day: The Solstice

Welcome the Summer Solstice 2017

Image Source: mindbodygreen.

Welcome to Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For a description of the importance of the solstice to ancient people and pagans, go here.

Ivan Kupala Day in Eastern Europe. Image Source: CNN.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). London Philharmonic Orchestra (David Nolan, Bryden Thomson). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Amy Van Artsdalen / pinterest.