Thursday, 21 April 2016

This unprecedented historical discovery will rewrite our history!

The archaeological establishment is scrambling to find some reason to reject and pour scorn on the extraordinary consequences of the excavations now taking place at Gunung Padang in Indonesia.
Since its first exploration by archaeologists in 1914 the site was thought to be a natural hill with 2500 year-old megalithic structures on top of it. But in 2010 geologist Dr Danny Hilman Natawidjaja (who earned his doctorate at Cal Tech) recognized this “hill” as a possible man-made pyramid and began to explore it using ground penetrating radar, seismic tomography, resistivity survey and other remote sensing techniques, as well as some direct excavations and deep core drilling.
The results were immediately intriguing producing evidence of deeply buried man-made chambers and yielding carbon dates going back as far as 26,000 years. This was the last Ice Age when our ancestors are supposed (according to the orthodox archaeological model) to be have been nothing more than primitive hunter gatherers incapable of large-scale construction and engineering feats. Was it possible that geologist Natawidjaja was unearthing the proof of a lost advanced civilization of prehistoric antiquity? Such ideas are heresy to mainstream archaeologists and sure enough the archaeological establishment in Indonesia banded together against Dr Natawidjaja and his team, lobbied the political authorities, agitated locally and succeeded in slowing down, though not completely stopping, the further exploration of Gunung Padang.
Dr Natawidjaja fought back, doing some high-level lobbying of his own, taking the matter to the President of Indonesia himself. There were further delays to do with elections in Indonesia but just a couple of months ago, in mid-August 2014, the final obstacles were lifted and Dr Natawidjaja and his team moved back onto the Gunung Padang site with full approval to go ahead with their work, including permission to excavate the concealed chambers.

Archaeologists were furious and immediately began lobbying to get the work stopped – fortunately to no avail as preliminary excavations have produced results that prove beyond doubt that Gunung Padang in indeed a man-made pyramid of great antiquity as Dr Natawidjaja had long ago proposed. Even the relatively young layer so far excavated (the second artificial columnar rock-layer beneath the megalithic site visible on the surface) has yielded dates of 5200 BC (nearly 3000 years older than the orthodox dating for the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt) and there are firm indications from the original remote sensing and core drilling work of much older layers below. In short, it is now evident to all that the site is vastly older than the 2500 years that archaeologists had insisted upon for decades. Even the most hostile amongst them are therefore now reframing their assessment of the site and referring to it as “a gigantic terraced tomb, which was part of the biggest megalithic culture in the archipelago.”
For a flavor of the sour grapes the archaeological establishment feel towards Dr Natawidjaja and his team see this recent article from the Jakarta Post:
I asked Dr Natawidjaja for his response to the Jakarta Post article and he replied as follows:
“The article has got the story all wrong.  All excavations were supervised by archeologists from Agency for Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites (BPCB) and University of Indonesia.  The excavation sites have also recently been inspected by the Director for Conservation of Archeological Sites (who is the boss of Miss Desril Shanti ), by the head of the BPCB, and by the Minister of Education and Culture himself.  Afterward, they gave a press conference confirming that all excavations are good and proper.  For information, the head of the National Archeological Center, which is the main office above local Archeological Centers including Bandung Archeological Center, is also a member of the National Team for Gunung Padang. The Jakarta Post article is also wrong about the funding.  The Minister of Education and Culture did indeed announce in the press conference that he would allocate about Rp 3 billion for the research but it has not begun to be disbursed yet.  So far, I and my team are still working willingly on our own funding with the help of the soldiers (TNI) who have been working alongside us.  Of course the TNI have their own funding – but not from that Endowment Fund.”
As to the progress of the work at Gunung Padang, Dr Natawidjaja writes as follows:
“The research progress has been being great.  We have excavated three more spots right on top of the megalithic site in the past couple weeks, which give more evidence and details about the buried structures.  We have uncovered lots more stone artifacts from the excavations.  The existence of the pyramid-like structure beneath the megalithic site is now loud and clear; even for non-specialists, it is not too difficult  to understand if they come and see for themselves.    We have found some kind of open hall buried by soil 5-7 meters thick; however we have not yet got into the main chamber.  We are now drilling to the suspected location of the chamber (based on subsurface geophysic) in the middle of the megalithic site.”

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

CASO Statement about UNGASS on Drugs

Dear Decision-makers,
In the name of People Who Use Drugs in Portugal (and in the name of us all), we would like to contribute to the public debate on drugs, namely during this important moment: the UNGASS on drugs. Therefore, we believe that the knowledge and experiences from PWUD and their organisations should be taken into account in public debates and decision-making processes.
CASO (Consumers Associated Survive Organised) is a non-profit organisation created in 2007 and formally established in 2010; it is an association that advocates for/promotes healthcare, rights and dignity of People Who Uses Drugs. It is the first and only association in Portugal that is led by drugs users and former drug users. We’ve been working at local, national and international level and our work has been focused in contributing with concrete information on the realities of drug users and drug phenomena, as well as with empirical knowledge to complement academic data, thus helping to improve decision-making.
We believe that the 3 international conventions that configure prohibitionism (the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [as amended by the 1972 Protocol]; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) have caused Humankind more harm than good. This legislative framework has lost its ability to operate in our realities in a comprehensive and humanistic way. Therefore, we urge you to promote a thorough reform of the prohibitionism system.
Prohibiting the use of Psychoactive Substances has never stopped Humankind from using them throughout recorded history. The “War on Drugs” and the “Drug-Free Societies” were two big campaigns, supported by moralistic and repressive ideologies, that proved to be incapable of dealing with Drug Phenomena. Beneath a global cover of kindness, these campaigns ended up being against People Who Uses Drugs, their families and friends. These campaigns associated drug users with stereotypes and figures of “evil”, thus creating social representations that highly stigmatise People Who Use Drugs. “Yellow Plague, Chinese and opium”; “Black Devil, cocaine and black people”; “Killer Weed” (a weed that kills the youngsters); “Drugs, Madness, Death” (Portugal) and “The Scourge of Liamba” are some examples of campaigns that generated moral panic and feelings of insecurity in society. To a certain degree, these evil figures and the feelings of insecurity were manipulated and used in political matters, namely in security and healthcare affairs. Scarce resources were made available for the psychosocial support of People Who Use Drugs, their families and friends; and the resources that were actually made available were allocated to reduce drug offer. The majority of funding goes to policies based on moralistic and repressive ideologies, leaving few “leftovers” to the individuals and their specific needs: healthcare, justice, housing, job and education. The self-determination, autonomy, self-knowledge and empowerment for full citizenship are, therefore, compromised in this perpetuating of unbalanced power relationships. This lack of balance conveys the negative message that people are incapable of self-organising, but it also hinders any genuine therapeutic relationship.

Despite all these campaigns, people continue to use psychoactive substances; there are now more users, more diverse patterns of use and more psychoactive substances available. In spite of all the iatrogenic effects (like high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis among People Who Uses Drugs), we can’t catch a glimpse of the promises of a “Drug Free World”. In other words, these actions did not achieve their own goals; they were not flexible enough to deal with reality changes and they were a fertile soil to build a gigantic business. Also, they encouraged the development of a gigantic set of devices to manage drug phenomena in healthcare, justice, security, education, child protection, etc.; however, the drug phenomena have resisted to this model and continue questioning our models and challenging societies, searching for other solutions.
Portugal was a pioneer in moving the focus from crime to healthcare solutions; in 2000/2001, the country introduced in a creative and intelligent set of laws that decriminalised the use or possession of any illegal psychoactive substance. These laws, supported by a National Strategy and Plan, were a positive step to protect the health and rights of People Who Use Drugs. In spite of its positive impact, some users ended up trafficking drugs, in order to support their own addiction; this situation led to violent actions and crime. The majority of users don’t know for sure what they’re using and they have to subject themselves to criminal and highly violent environments (both physically and psychologically). Adding to all this, the Government promotes administrative sanctions and refers users to treatment, even if they are recreational users. The bottom line is that the global moral censorship and ideas like abstinence and cure are still dominant.
In addition to this issue, the necessary scale-up and consolidation of projects and services based on Human Rights, Public Health and Multi-Knowledge approaches (like Harm Reduction, Outreach Work, Peer Work and Involvement), has fallen short.
As for the meaningful involvement of People Who Use Drugs, we feel that the Portuguese Model is moving in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go. For example, we feel that civil society organisations should have been consulted and invited to participate in the preparation for the Portuguese participation in the UNGASS on drugs, for this is a central theme for our community.
We recognise many qualities to the Portuguese Model of Decriminalisation, including its focus on healthcare and not on punishment, the promotion of Harm Reduction projects and also of civil society active and meaningful participation. However, and with so many changes in the world, we feel that it is time for an evaluation and improvement. We fear that this model will lose its operational capacities due to the financial crisis and austerity measures, thus leaving drug users without any type of support.
It is now time to accept the mistakes, to examine facts and evidences and to use this high-level meeting to actively evolve to Humanistic (that actually focus on people, thus promoting their participation in all processes and at all levels) and pragmatic (supported by knowledge from Peers, Harm Reduction and other evidences and a proper needs’ assessments) policies.
A “Drug Free World” is an impossible promise to fulfil. This make-believe “Perfect World” is unattainable and has become an enemy of a “Decent World for Us All”.
The World Governments must have the courage to trust people; to believe that they know what is best for them and that they have the ability to make a decision. Governments and society in general have been entangled in this complex net of interests that does not protect and promote the rights and health of People Who Use Drugs.
We firmly believe that the TIME OF PEOPLE HAS COME!
Nothing About Us, Without Us!

Rui Miguel Coimbra Morais
92 636 90 16