Geek Mythology

April 30, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 8:29 am

Story of an artist by Daniel Johnston

Two days ago I met an old friend . Hes younger than I am and he has always looked up to me and wanted to be an artist. He painted graffiti when he was in his late teens and then got into drawing and performance art when he was in his early 20s. Later he got into meditation and and self exploration. He was kind of nomadic and moved around from place to place,never wanting to settle down anywhere. Eventually he gets into some performance art school and he starts calling me and sounding really strange on the phone, speaking incoherently and also sending me letters that are filled with cryptic and strange messages. I later found out that hes had a mental breakdown and that hes in a home recovering. This guy was still young when it happend, kinda had his whole life ahead of him. Since then I havent seen him much. Only talked to him on the phone every now and then. Hes sounded different when Ive talked with him. Speaking in a monotonous tone of voice.

This weekend he came to Stockholm with his dad to visit some relativies and we hung out a little. He had called me many times making sure that we could meet. When I saw him he looked different. There was something in his eyes that had changed. like the lights where on but nobody was home kind of. His dad told me that he was on heavy medication and they had strong side effects. Still, he was alive and telling me stories of his adventures back home where he lived.

Without really thinking about it Ive started listening alot to Daniel Johnston again. Daniel Johnston is a haunted soul from Texas who writes incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking songs about love and life on his piano and guitar. In some ways my friend reminds me of him, a young kid with all this creativity who is just a bit too sensitive for the world at large. Danny was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that sort of put an end to his mainstream success making him an underground legend. My friend is also going through some tough times right now. This song by Daniel Johnston is dedicated to him.

April 29, 2009

My favorite Daniel Johnston song

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:08 am

Daniel Johnston – Like A Monkey In The Zoo

April 28, 2009

Taliban-Islam,oil,and the new great game in central Asia by Ahmed Rashid. Part 1

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:46 pm

Right now Im reading a book that Ahmed Rashid has written about the Taliban. Taliban means student, in this case student of Islam. The taliban came from the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, where they had grown up having escaped from the war that raged between the Soviet Union and the US backed Mujahedin in Afghanistan. They where young and where schooled in Islam at Pakistani madrassas. They brought this with them when they took the fight back into Afghanistan to defeat the mujaheddin who they thought had become corrupt. The mujaheddin had with US and Saudi support defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 80s. After the Soviets pulled out the Mujaheddin warlords started fighting each other over power in Afghanistan. The Taliban saw them as being corrupt criminals that they needed to purify and cleanse and bring strict Sharia law and order back into the now chaotic Afghanistan.

The Taliban began their raids into Afghanistan with funding coming from within Pakistan. When Kandahar fell to the Taliban the Pakistani government celebrated. In Pakistan the Taliban was seen as ”our boys”. They did this very much to open up trade routes from Pakistan to central Asia that had been blocked during the Afghan civil war. But the Taliban ”immediatley implemented the strictest interpretation of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world. They closed down girls schools and banned women from working outside the home, smashed tv sets, forbade a whole array of sports and recreational activities and ordered all males to grow long beards.”By 1995 the Taliban had taken control of 12 of 31 of Afghanistans provinces.

Many of the Taliban where incredibly young, between the ages of 14 and 24. Having been raised in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan they had gotten their education from Pakistans Koran schools called madrassas. According to Rashid, neither the teachers nor the students ”had any formal grounding in maths, science, history, or geography. Many of these young warriors did not even know the history of their own country or the story of the jihad against the Soviets.” Unlike the Mujahedin they had never seen their own country in peace, and they had been severed from their clan lineages. In this vaccum they hung onto the messianic, puritan version of Islam taught to them in their schools and saw war as being their calling.

Many of them where orphans who had grown up without any women. They had never really known womens company, so locking them up in their homes was not such a big step. They saw god as being on their side and each new victory became proof of this. The Taliban managed to disarm the population, enforce Sharia law and order, and open up closed roads which led to cheaper food prices. All this made them popular with local Afghans. The Taliban conquered the city of Herat and then went on with bolstered confidence to attack the capital of Kabul. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post…

April 27, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 10:00 am

Devo – Mongoloid
Uploaded by djimix08

April 26, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:25 am

April 24, 2009

The Afghan heroin trade

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 4:14 pm

Ahmed Rashids book “Descent into Chaos” has a good and well informed chapter on the heroin trade in Afghanistan. He gives a detailed account of its origins and dynamics. Here is a short summary: Afghanistan is one of the largest drug producing nations on earth. This is partly due to the fact that the Taliban need to fund their uprising against NATO and the United States. The return of the Taliban and the new AlQaeda training camps would not have existed without the new booming heroin trade. The attempts of the Afghan government to build up its society has been made very difficult because of the money generated from the drug trade. Its very difficult to find an alternative source of income to the opium growing farmers.

In 2005 there were an estimated 2 million farmers growing opium in Afghanistan. The opium trade had originated in 1986 in Pakistan when Afghan commanders brought opium seeds into southern Afghanistan and planted it there. From there the raw opium was shipped back into Pakistan and sold by the resistance fighting against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. This was done to fund the war effort. All this was done while both the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence agency called the ISI (short for Inter-Services Intelligence) looked the other way. Several high post officials within the ISI where fired due to their complicity in the drug trade.

The CIA played the same dubious role that they did in the Vietnam war. Outwardly they denounced the heroin trade while letting it continue in their effort to stop the global spread of communism. The CIA refused to deal with the connections between the heroin syndicates, high post Pakistani officials, and the resistance fighters. This caused major frustration with the DEA( the American drug enforcement agency). After the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan America pumped in around 100 million dollars into Pakistan to make it drug free, and this worked, for a while.

During the civil war in Afghanistan that started after the Russians left, the Taliban warlords used drug money to pay their soldiers and buy food from Pakistan. The Taliban also started taxing the opium growing peasents and they exported the heroin through Al Qaedas connections to criminal syndicates in the Persian gulf. The Taliban ceased their opium deals in 2000 when they had been promised legitimacy by world governments if the stopped the drug trade. After their regime was ousted by the US attack on Afghanistan in 2001 this would change.

When the US invaded in Afghanistan after 9/11 in 2001 they worked with certain Afghani war lords who where known drug runners. The war on terror and the war on drugs did not go hand in hand. The British tried to stop the opium production since 98% of the heroin in Britain comes from Afghanistan. They payed over 80 million dollars to Afghan officials to pay to farmers to stop growing opium. This only resulted in more corruption. This resulted in corrupt police and judges which made it very difficult to arrest the smugglers.

The corruption was so widespread that it reached up into the top layers of the Afghan government. The job as a police chief in a top opium producing province was auctioned out at a price of 100000 dollars for a six month work period (this job usually had a wage of 60 dollars!). The Afghan president Hamid Karzai was reluctant to deal forcefully with the situation. Often drug barons got high posts in the Afghan government.

In 2005 the pentagon and the CIA went on the record to say that drug money funded terrorism. It helped the Taliban pay their soldiers, it also helped them buy newer and more advanced weapons, and it helped Al Qaeda build their training camps. Now there where 170000 heroin addicts in Afghanistan that consumed 90 tons of opium in 2005. The drug money effectively crippled every attempt to establish a legal economy because none of the other industries could compete with the winnings from the drug industry.

Most of the countries surrounding Afghanistan have also been pulled into the drug trade. The central asian republics north of Afghanistan have all become transit routes for the heroin that is headed for Russia and Europe. The drug money has helped the ruling elites of these countries get very rich while hiv/aids has spread rapidly amongst the drug using populations. Overall the heroin use has increased by ten times in central asia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Almost 3% of the population above the age of 15 are dependant on heroin in Iran. Almost half of those 170000 people in Iranian prisons are there on drug charges. In 1979 Pakistan was heroin free, and in the year 2000 there where an estimated 5 million addicts. Pakistan is where much of the raw opium from Afghanistan is processed and refined in laboratories before it is smuggled to other parts of the world. After 9/11 opium was once again grown in Pakistan.

April 23, 2009

Pakistan on the brink

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 4:40 pm

On sunday night April 26th the documentary “Pakistan on the brink”, which is about the growing Taliban presence in Pakistan, will air on Swedish television at 10 pm on SVT channel 2. I can recommend watching this because its very interesting stuff. Recently the Taliban secured rule over the SWAT valley in Pakistan and have now through a cease-fire with the Pakistani government established sharia law in that area. These militants have now started to expand into a new territory next to the Swat valley called the Buner region and are now 60 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch says “The Taliban are taking Swat back to the Dark Ages and the Pakistani government is now complicit in their horrific abuses”. Amnesty International has expressed concern that this cease fire agreement will legitimize human rights abuses in the region

Recentley Pakistan has been plauged by a string of urban shoot outs linked to these groups, one in which the Sri Lankan cricket team was targeted. 200 girl schools have been blown up and policemen and teachers have been killed, and there have been public beheadings of government officials. Some religious minded people in Pakistan are happy that there is peace in the SWAT region while liberal Pakistanis see it as giving Al Qaeda and the Taliban a new safe haven. The cease fires that the Taliban are dealing to themselves now are letting them prepare their attacks on the 17000 new US troops being shipped into Afghanistan by the Obama administration this spring.

The Swat valley is strategic for the militants since it is way out of range for the US unmanned bomber drones that hunt Al Qaeda along the Afghan/Pakistani border. The main problem is that the Taliban are unlikely to stop with Swat. They will most probablly try to expand into other areas in Pakistan which is now starting to happend in the Buner region. Apart from this they have already moved into the northwestern frontier province and have also moved in on Peshawar. Its important to remember as this country is rapidly becoming more and more destabilized that it has
nuclear weapons. Should these nukes fall into the wrong hands then there could be grave consequences.

April 22, 2009

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:13 pm

Fresh cut from the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly weekend in Las Vegas that went down two weeks ago, performing here is the great Swedish band Domestic Bumblebees that I have posted many other videos by in this blog…

April 20, 2009

The Queen and I

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 8:35 am

Yesterday I was drifting aimlessly around the city. It was sunday afternoon and I was dead tired after having done alot of work this weekend (more about that later). I slipped into a movie theater and saw the new documentary film called “The Queen and I”. Its a film made by an Iranian woman named Nahid Persson Sarvestani living in exile here in Sweden. She was a part of a communist group in Iran before the revolution in 1979 and she helped to bring down the dictatorship of the Shah. The Shah later died of cancer, but his wife the queen Farah Pahlavi is still living in Paris.

She wanted to get intouch with the queen and ask her questions about the old regime, why they did what they did, and what she thinks about Iran now. The queen agrees to meet her and a long difficult and interesting relationship starts to unfold. The queen still has a loyal following of Iranian royalists around the world who are waiting for her son to return to Iran to claim the throne. She is an incredibly charismatic woman and its hard for the woman making the documentary to remain objective. She comes into the film making process being full of hate and having a hidden agenda to try to expose the queen for being the spouse of this brutal leader who saw to it that so many people where tortured and killed. But she gradually ends up becoming her friend seeing the person behind the mask.

They both long for a new, free Iran, that is not controlled by the priesthood which they both think has ruined the country with its brutal religious rule. They both have had relatives who have suffered because of the revolution. The filmers 17 year old brother was hanged by Khomenis government and the queens daughter Princess Leila Pahlavi, a one time model for Valentino, commited suicide by eating too many sleeping pills. She had acquired a sleeping disorder and anorexia due to all of the stress that the revolution caused her and her family.

All throughout the film Nahid is hesitant to ask the queen the important questions. The painful ones. This is because she is afraid that the queen will withdraw from the project and stop letting her film her. Finally in the end she does ask her about the brutality of her husbands regime, about the tortures and the injustices. The queen says that Iran had to protect itself against Soviet influence. They where neighbours and communist Russia wanted to take over the country and its oil reserves. She then says that all the anti-imperialist people who where against the shah and pro communist who left the country after the revolution all moved to imperialist countries like America or England and made their homes there. None of them moved to China or Russia or other Communist states. She also mentions the old expression that if a person is not politically to the left when he or she is 20 years old then she is not normal. But if they are still politically towards the left after they have turned 30 then they must be insane. This is said jokingly but with a hint of seriousness by her.

All in all I thought that this was an incredible documentary and I hope that you get a chance to see it because it gives history a human face.

April 16, 2009

The last songs last night

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:54 pm

These are the songs that I finished my DJ set with at Riche last nite:

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts-Bad Reputation

The Gipsy Kings-Hotel California

ZZ Top-Sharp dressed man.

Suicidal Tendencies-Institutionalized

Misfits-Bullet

Sleep-Dragonaut

The Dead Kennedys-California uber alles.

Black Sabbath-Paranoid

Rebecca del Rio-Llorando (this is always the last song!)

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