Friday, September 14, 2007


Inspiring view from a fancy resort about 20 minutes from Ubud. Lodgings range from USD175-400 a night. I paid 50,000 rupiah (about RM18) at Dewi Antara Homestay (no great views but it had a hot and cold shower and I slept extremely well).

THE BALINESE are apparently governed by a strong sense of cosmic order, devolving from the adoration of monarchs who were once worshiped as deities in human form. Their belief in the Law of Karma seems to fortify them against hubristic notions of upward mobility; in Bali you can be a rich tourist without paranoid expectations that the poor folk catering to your whims are just waiting for their chance to rip you off, pick your pocket or mug you in a dark alley.

70% of the craftsmen and business operators in Bali originate from Java.
This young man spends his days patiently pointillizing wooden turtles.
I was never, for an instant, nervous about anyone pinching my bag or making off with my rented bike. Even the few beggars I encountered in Ubud weren’t at all pushy, and were happy to accept a 500-rupiah (less than 20 sen) donation.

My second visit to Bali confirmed beyond any doubt that Ubud – and its verdant environs of well-tended paddies – is where I could easily establish a home away from home. One can “kontrak” or rent a cozy house set amidst the most inspiring landscapes for between RM300-500 a month; count on paying at least RM750 (that’s about 2 million rupiah!) for a luxury villa. Indeed, my Bali vacation has been a powerful incentive for me to become grotesquely rich (as I fully deserve to be).

Understandably - considering Bali’s immense popularity as a tourist destination (it has successfully retained its reputation as “the world’s most beautiful island” for decades) - I was initially anxious that I might find the place overrun by busloads of budget airline tour groups (Malaysians and Taiwanese are notorious for traveling in large, noisy platoons). As it turned out, the only horribly congested areas were the Kuta-Legian “drunken surfer” strip – and two or three shopping streets in Ubud. Everywhere else I ventured, Bali looked its remarkable, unflappable self.

I stayed only one night in Kuta, in a quiet guesthouse just off the busy commercial hub, and did a wee bit of shopping (nylon hammock, music DVDs, a cool shirt). Bumped into a lovelorn Irish gypsy named Eva and dispensed a bit of free advice. Rented a motorbike the next morning - cheap at 40,000 rupiah (about RM15) a day - and off I rode, feeling freer and easier than I have in years. Getting in and out Kuta, though, is quite a feat as the streets are a veritable maze, dusty and dense with traffic. You can’t rely on maps in Bali. Just stop and ask every 10 minutes. You’ll find that everybody is happy to point you in the right direction with a genuine smile.

One of the greatest joys in life is to ride a motorbike through open country without the impediment of a ridiculous crash helmet. True, Bali has been coerced by the diabolical forces of globalization into making crash helmets compulsory - but the rule is rarely enforced, especially outside the crowded urban areas, and this is one sure gauge of a nation that hasn't signed a contract with Dr Mephistopheles!

In Ubud I was surprised to hear somebody call my name. I turned around and caught sight of Andrew Sia’s beaming face. Did a quick U-turn and caught up with him down the road. Andrew (from The Star) was chauffeuring his mum around. He suggested I check out the sacred spring at Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring.

At Gunung Kawi, the royal pura (temple) and amphitheatre  carved out of granite are worth a visit.
11th century meditation cave at Gunung Kawi.
Met another Malaysian, oddly enough also from The Star, at Gunung Kawi. Zafarul was honeymooning with his new bride, Nazmi. He promised to pop me an email. Still waiting, Zafarul!

Private shower at Gunung Kawi - for me the most mystical moment of my brief sojourn there!

[To be continued...]
Text & photos © Antares


Barong, king of spirits, getting ready for the grand cremation of Bali's Queen Mother.
More preparations in Ubud for the Royal Cremation.

WHY ON EARTH did it take me 26 years to return to Bali? My first visit in 1981 stretched over 5 weeks and every day was a Technicolor dream filled with adventure, romance, inspiring vistas, and delicious sensations.

Perhaps the high point of that earlier trip was my encounter with the Bird and the Bearcat in a tourist restaurant on Lovina Beach. I found myself seated opposite two friendly young women who looked Scandinavian. As we chatted over coffee after dinner, somebody shouted: “Wow! Look at the full moon!” So we decided to take a stroll on the beach to revel in the silvery moonshine. Somehow I found myself standing beside the Bird on the surf’s edge. It was a moment of perfect ease and deep tranquility.

Without a word spoken our lips and souls connected.

Bird spoke briefly to Bearcat (her favorite traveling companion and childhood friend of ten years) and jumped on the back of my rented motorbike. We rode off to my humble lodgings and, with only a few coconut palms as our witnesses, I married Agnete "Bird" Holbak under a cloudless Balinese sky. Our honeymoon lasted less than a week before Helle the Bearcat turned up at our charming guesthouse on the outskirts of Ubud. “Your birthday is tomorrow,” Bearcat reminded Bird, “and I can’t let you celebrate without me!” So the three of us saw the Bird turn 24 in Ubud and thereafter, we decided to save money by sharing a room – the Bird and I in one bed, Bearcat in the other. And I thought such things only happen in the movies…

My Danish viking angels flew off to tour Malaysia’s peninsular east coast as planned while I stayed on in Bali another few days. They had my address in KL and promised to reconnect at the end of their journey. As it turned out I decided to cut short my Bali trip so that I could meet up with my dad at Changi Airport, Singapore. He was on his way to Melbourne for heart bypass surgery, accompanied by my mum and sis. The operation, performed by Dr Vincent Chang (the acclaimed heart surgeon who was senselessly murdered a few years later by a Malaysian thug), was successful beyond all expectations. My dad lived another 23 years and died of bronchial congestion in October 2004 at the ripe old age of 88.

Bird and Bearcat did show up at my doorstep in KL and we enjoyed a bonus vacation on Pangkor. I subsequently visited the Bird in Copenhagen a couple of times; and in 1987 Bird, Bearcat and I enjoyed a 10-day reunion in Phuket as the six-legged monster of Laem Promthep.

Stone monkey guards a wayside shrine.
In any case that 1981 holiday in Bali permanently changed my outlook on life, gave it an earth-centered spiritual grounding. The very next year I discovered the enchanting location I now call home. It was the closest I could get to living in paradise without leaving Malaysia. My nearest neighbors are now the Orang Asli who are in many ways like the Balinese – although they sadly lack the aesthetic sense, the unforced graciousness, and the rich tradition of skilled craftsmanship that characterize the Balinese.

Dead trees transformed into magnificent works of art.
Wherever you turn in Bali, you'll see skilled artisans hard at work - and there are expert woodcarvers, stone sculptors, metalworkers, and glassblowers to be found in large numbers, especially in the Gianyar province, where the cultural hub of Ubud is located.

Undoubtedly the people of Bali are an integral part of the island’s irresistible allure. Three million people – give or take twenty thousand tourists at any given time – crowded together on an island no bigger than the state of Selangor. A strong sense of hierarchy and tradition underpins all of Balinese social life - legacy of an era when Hinduism (along with the caste system) arrived on the island with refugees from the shrinking Majapahit empire.

Apart from the aristocracy - and it’s not unusual to meet a few “Anak Agungs” just as “Tengkus” aren’t uncommon in Malaysia, since Royalty everywhere has a penchant for polygamy - Balinese families classify themselves as Brahmanas (priests and scholars), Ksatriyas (warriors), Vaesyas (artisans, farmers, merchants), or Sudras (laborers).

I doubt that the demarcations between the castes are as rigid today as they once might have been, and intermarriage across caste lines must be fairly common these days. Balinese are named according to their status within each family. Every first-born has Wayan as a first name; second-born, Made; third-born, Nyoman; and fourth-born, Ketut.

What about the fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-born?

“The parents are free to name these children whatever they like,” I was informed by a lovely she-male named Nyoman Ayu (left) who took a shine to me.

Striking architectural and cosmological similarities abound amongst the monument-building cultures found along the Asia-Pacific Rim, leading one to speculate on Bali’s ancient links, via the Indian, with the Cambodian, Incan, and Mayan civilizations.

The Pleiadian influence reveals itself in the symbolism of the sacred bull (Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades, is also known as Eta Tauri, and happens to be part of the Taurus constellation). Interestingly, the Pleiades features prominently in the starlore of almost every culture found south of the Equator; while, in the northern hemisphere, the predominant influences are Sirius and Orion. Energetically speaking, one may regard the Pleiades as a "feminine" or magnetic influence and civilizations in the southern hemisphere tend to be more mystical. Whereas the "masculine" or electrical influence of Sirius and Orion tends to inspire civilizations that are more technologically inclined.

[To be continued...]
Text & photos © Antares


Tuesday, September 11, 2007



The sixth anniversary of the 9/11 events will be commemorated in New York City by a historic gathering of researchers, authors, film-makers and activists to proclaim:

The truth of 9/11 is Ready For Mainstream!

This event will establish that the alternative research on 9/11 now completely displaces the official version which has failed to stand up to scrutiny. You'll hear experts present the facts that break through the official myths and bring you new awareness. Learn how our impression of reality has been “engineered” to effect public reaction to reinforce the “Big Lie”. Be part of the solution to break through the illusion, increase our organizational abilities, and effectively mobilize for dramatic changes that recreate our political, social, and economic reality.

9/11 TRUTH: Ready For Mainstream Program

We have a lot of information to deliver so for both Saturday, September 8th, and Sunday, September 9th, plan on afternoon sessions beginning at 1:00 pm ending at 5:00 pm. Then after a dinner break we'll resume for the evening session from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Our speakers will cover:

* Factual evidence on 9/11
* Social engineering in relation to 9/11
* Historical context
* Grounds for impeachment
* Importance of the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative
* The moral imperative of getting to the facts and taking action
* Solutions to get to truth and accountability


“The evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion the collapses [of the three WTC towers] were in fact caused by explosive devices planted well in advance."

- Crockett L. Grabbe, PhD, Research Scientist and Visiting Scholar, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa 1980 - present. Former researcher at Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Author of numerous scientific papers on the subjects of astrophysics and plasma behavior. Author of Space Weapons and the Strategic Defense Initiative (1991). Editor of Plasma Waves and Instabilities (1986). Editor & co-author of Plasma Physics Applied (2006). Contributing author of Advances in Space Plasma Physics (1985), Trends in Geophysics Research 2 (1993), Recent Research Developments in Plasmas (2000), Power in Focus (2004).


“The official story of 9/11 is a bunch of hogwash. It’s impossible. High levels of our government don’t want us to know what happened and who’s responsible."

— Colonel Bob Bowman (USAF Ret), Caltech PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Aeronautics, decorated combat fighter pilot (101 missions in Vietnam), and former head of Presidents Ford and Carter’s ‘Star Wars’ program


“Your countrymen have been murdered and the more you delve into it the more it looks as though they were murdered by our government, who used it as an excuse to murder other people thousands of miles away.”

— Lt. Col. Shelton F. Lankford, USMC (ret) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Pilot


"The government story they handed us about 9/11 is total B.S. plain and simple... there was absolutely no possibility that Flight 77 could have descended 7,000 feet in two minutes, all the while performing a steep 270-degree banked turn before crashing into the Pentagon's first floor wall without touching the lawn... For a guy to just jump into the cockpit and fly like an ace is impossible — there is not one chance in a thousand.”

— Capt. Russ Wittenberg, former Air Force fighter pilot with over 100 combat missions; commercial pilot for Pan Am and United Airlines for 35 years; Wittenberg had previously flown the actual two United Airlines aircraft that were ‘hijacked’ on 9/11


“There is no way that an aircraft on instrument flight plans (all commercial flights are IFR) would not be intercepted when they deviate from their flight plan, turn off their transponders, or stop communication with Air Traffic Control. No way! With very bad luck, perhaps one could slip by, but no, there's no way all four of them could!”

— Capt. Daniel Davis, former NORAD Tac Director


“It is as a scientist that I have the most trouble with the official government conspiracy theory, mainly because it does not satisfy the rules of probability or physics. The collapses of the World Trade Center buildings clearly violate the laws of probability and physics.”

— Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret), Former Political-Military Affairs Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Also served on the staff of the Director of the National Security Agency. 20-year Air Force veteran.


“The issue of knowing who was really behind the 9/11 attacks is of paramount importance to the future of our country, because the ‘official’ assumption that it was the work of 19 Arab amateurs does not match the available facts... Surely [this] constitutes more than sufficient motivation for any patriotic American physicist or engineer to join the search for 9/11 Truth!"

— David L. Griscom, PhD – Research physicist, retired in 2001 from Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, after 33 years service. Fellow of the American Physical Society. Fulbright-García Robles Fellow. Visiting professorships of research at the Universities of Paris and Saint-Etienne, France, and Tokyo Institute of Technology. Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona. Winner of the 1993 N.F. Mott Award sponsored by the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, the 1995 Otto Schott Award offered by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Germany), a 1996 Outstanding Graduate School Alumnus Award at Brown University, and the 1997 Sigma Xi Pure Science Award at NRL. Principal author of 109 of his 185 published works, a body of work which is highly cited by his peers. Officially credited with largest number of papers (5) by any author on list of 100 most cited articles authored at NRL between 1973 and 1988.


"After five years of talking to many individuals in the intelligence community, in the military, foreign intelligence agencies, and a whole host of other people, people from the air traffic control community, the FAA, I came to the conclusion that after five years what we saw happen on that morning of September 11, 2001, was the result of a highly-compartmentalized covert operation to bring about a fascist coup in this country... These people need to be brought to justice, if not by our own Congress, then by an international tribunal in the Hague...”

— Wayne Madsen, Former U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer, specialist in electronic surveillance and security. Formerly assigned to the National Security Agency and the State Department. Currently, investigative journalist, nationally distributed columnist, and author. Senior Fellow, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-partisan privacy public advocacy group in Washington, DC. Frequent media commentator on terrorism and security matters.


"We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to "pancake" at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false."

— Paul Craig Roberts, PhD, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under Ronald Reagan, "Father of Reaganomics," Former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Currently Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. Former William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University. Former Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.


“There is something outrageous at work here. This is not a third-rate burglary of a political campaign headquarters. This involved what is right now the covering up of information that led to the deaths of 3,000 people, changed the course of history, led to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and has disrupted our country, our economy and people's lives... There's something very sinister going on here that really troubles me."

— US Congressman Curt Weldon


"The official story could not possibly have happened... It’s not possible. It’s not operationally feasible. The Commission was a whitewash."

— Catherine Austin Fitts, Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush. Former Managing Director and Member of the Board of Wall Street investment bank, Dillon, Read & Co.

"I knew within hours of the attacks on 9/11/2001 that it was an inside job. Based on my 11-year experience as an FAA Air Traffic Controller in the busy Northeast corridor, including hundreds of hours of training, briefings, air refuelings, low altitude bombing drills, being part of huge military exercises, daily military training exercises, interacting on a routine basis directly with NORAD radar personnel, and based on my own direct experience dealing with in-flight emergency situations, including two instances of hijacked commercial airliners, I state unequivocally: There is absolutely no way that four large commercial airliners could have flown around off course for 30 to 60 minutes on 9/11 without being intercepted and shot completely out of the sky by our jet fighters unless very highly placed people in our government and our military wanted it to happen.”

— Robin Hordon, Former FAA Air Traffic Controller at the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Nashua, NH, 1970 - 1981. Former Certified Commercial Pilot. Former Certified Flight Instructor and Certified Ground Instructor.


"One of my experiences in the Army was being in charge of the Army’s Imagery Interpretation for Scientific and Technical Intelligence during the Cold War. I measured pieces of Soviet equipment from photographs. It was my job. I look at the hole in the Pentagon and I look at the size of an airplane that was supposed to have hit the Pentagon. And I said, ‘The plane does not fit in that hole.’ So what did hit the Pentagon? What hit it? Where is it? What's going on?"

— Major General Albert Stubblebine, U.S. Army (ret), Former Commanding General of U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, 1981-1984. Also commanded the U.S. Army’s Electronic Research and Development Command and the U.S. Army’s Intelligence School and Center. Former head of Imagery Interpretation for Scientific and Technical Intelligence. 32-year Army career.


[Regarding the impact at the Pentagon on 9/11/2001] "When you look at the whole thing, especially the crash site void of airplane parts, the size of the hole left in the building and the fact the projectile's impact penetrated numerous concrete walls, it looks like the work of a missile. And when you look at the damage, it was obviously a missile."

— Major Douglas Rokke, PhD, U.S. Army (ret), Former Director U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project. 30-year Army career.


“With all the evidence readily available at the Pentagon crash site, any unbiased rational investigator could only conclude that a Boeing 757 did not fly into the Pentagon as alleged. Similarly, with all the evidence available at the Pennsylvania crash site, it was most doubtful that a passenger airliner caused the obvious hole in the ground and certainly not the Boeing 757 as alleged.”

— Col. George Nelson, U.S. Air Force (ret), Former U.S. Air Force aircraft accident investigator and airplane parts authority. 34-year Air Force career.


"The US military, not al-Qaeda, had the sustained access weeks before 9/11 to also plant controlled demolition charges throughout the superstructures of WTC 1 and WTC 2, and in WTC 7, which brought down all three buildings on 9/11... A US military plane, not one piloted by al-Qaeda, performed the highly skilled, high-speed 270-degree dive towards the Pentagon that Air Traffic Controllers on 9/11 were sure was a military plane as they watched it on their screens. Only a military aircraft, not a civilian plane flown by al-Qaeda, would have given off the "Friendly" signal needed to disable the Pentagon’s anti-aircraft missile batteries as it approached the building. Only the US military, not al-Qaeda, had the ability to break all of its Standard Operating Procedures to paralyze its own emergency response system."

— Barbara Honegger, MS, Senior Military Affairs Journalist at the Naval Postgraduate School, the U.S. Navy’s advanced science, technology and national security affairs university (1995 - present). White House Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the Assistant to President Ronald Reagan (1981-1983).


"I knew from September 18, 2001, that the official story about 9/11 was false... Anomalies poured in rapidly: the hijackers' names appearing in none of the published flight passenger lists; BBC reports of stolen identities of the alleged hijackers; or the alleged hijackers being found alive; the obvious demolitions of WTC 1 and 2, and WTC 7; the lack of identifiable Boeing 757 wreckage at the Pentagon...”

— Capt. Gregory M. Zeigler, PhD, U.S. Army – Former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer


"The planning of the attacks was technically and organizationally a master achievement. To hijack four huge airplanes within a few minutes and within one hour, to drive them into their targets, with complicated flight maneuvers! This is unthinkable, without years-long support from secret apparatuses of the state and industry."

— The Hon. Andreas von Buelow, PhD, Former Minister of Research and Technology, West Germany, and former State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defense. Member of Bundestag (Parliament) 1969-1994.


"Only secret services and their current chiefs — or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations — have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude... Osama bin Laden and 'Al Qaeda' cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders."

— General Leonid Ivashov, Former Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces on 9/11/2001, and Department Chief for General affairs in the Soviet Union's Ministry of Defense.


“The observed collapse time of WTC 7 [610 feet tall, 47 stories, and not hit by an airplane] was 6.5 seconds. That is only half a second longer than it would have taken for the top of the building to fall to the ground in a vacuum, and half a second shorter than the falling time of an apple when air resistance is taken into account... The great speed of the collapse and the low value of the resistance factor strongly suggest controlled demolition."

— Heikki Kurttila, D.Sc. (Doctor of Technology, Finland), Safety Engineer and Accident Analyst, National Safety Technology Authority (TUKES), Finland. Specialist in the investigation of pressure vessel explosion accidents and the impacts of the shock waves caused by them.


“The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11... The plan [PNAC] shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power... This is a blueprint for US world domination... The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to put the PNAC plan into action, and use force to secure global domination...”

— The Hon. Michael Meacher MP, former British Environment Minister


“My wife and I, transfixed in front of a TV as the horror of 9/11 unfolded, watched as the topmost, undamaged floors of the WTC South Tower started to gradually lean (rotate) in the direction of the damage due to impact. In an instant, the rotation stopped, and that which was rotating began to fall, as if only under the influence of gravity! The fulcrum was no longer there. I blurted out, ‘My god, they wired the building!’”

— Mike Hawryluk, Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Division Chairman, Suffolk County Community College, NY


"The debris found outside the Pentagon is inconsistent with the impact of a Boeing 757 or any aircraft of comparable dimensions. In particular, in the absence of some agency (possibly unknown to physical science) that removed the wings, there is no way to avoid the conclusion that the wings (and therefore the aircraft) were never present in the first place. In this case, no Boeing 757 struck the Pentagon building on the morning of September 11, 2001."

— G.W. (Jerry) Longspaugh, MSc, Retired Aerospace Engineer


"The building WTC 7 was with great probability demolished."

- Jörg Schneider, Dr hc, Professor Emeritus, Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Former President, Joint Committee on Structural Safety, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Elected member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences. Former Vice President and honorary lifetime member of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.


"Research proves the current administration has been dishonest about what happened in New York and Washington, D.C. The World Trade Center was almost certainly brought down by controlled demolitions and the available relevant evidence casts grave doubt on the government's official story about the attack on the Pentagon."

- Rep. Dan Hamburg, MA, Former Congressman from California, 1993-1995. Author, Headwaters Forest Act. Green Party candidate for Governor of California 1998. Currently Executive Director, Voice of the Environment.

“None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” — Goethe