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Lost in Cambodia

The name of Malcolm Caldwell is remembered now by very few people: some friends, family, colleagues, and students of utopian folly. In the 1970s, though, Caldwell was a major figure in protest politics. He was chair of CND for two years, a leading voice in the anti-Vietnam war campaign, a regular contributor to Peace News, and a stalwart supporter of liberation movements in the developing world. He spoke at meetings all over the country, wrote books and articles, and engaged in public spats with such celebrated opponents as Bernard Levin.

The name of Kaing Guek Eav is, arguably, known by even fewer people, at least outside of Cambodia. Instead it is by his revolutionary pseudonym "Duch" that Kaing is usually referred to in the press. Duch is the only man ever to stand trial in a UN-sanctioned court for the mass murder perpetrated by the Cambodian communist party, or the Khmer Rouge, in the late 1970s. His trial on charges of crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and homicide and torture concerning thousands of victims, drew to a close in November. Justice has taken more than 30 years, but a verdict and sentence are expected sometime in the next few weeks.

Although their paths crossed only incidentally, the two men shared two main interests. They both had a pedagogic background: Caldwell was a history lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, while Duch, like many senior Khmer Rouge cadres, started out as a schoolteacher. And they both maintained an unbending belief in Saloth Sar, the leader of the Khmer Rouge revolution, who went under the Orwellian party title of Brother Number One, but was known more infamously to the world as Pol Pot. It was an ideological commitment that would shape the fate of both men and they held on to it right up until the moment of death – in Caldwell's case, his own, for Duch, the many thousands whose slaughter he organised.

In each circumstance, the question that reverberates down the years, growing louder rather than dimmer, is: why? Why were they in thrall to a system based on mass extermination? It's estimated that around two million Cambodians, more than a quarter of the population, lost their lives during the four catastrophic years of Khmer Rouge rule. What could have led these two individuals, worlds apart, to embrace a regime that has persuasive claim, in a viciously competitive field, to be the most monstrous of the 20th century?

When Caldwell appeared at SOAS for an interview in the late 1950s, the senior faculty thought that they had landed one of the academic stars of the future. Caldwell, who took his PhD at Nottingham University, had gained a reputation as a bright young talent and, according to college legend, he presented himself as a sober scholar.

"So they hired him," recalls Merle Ricklefs, a former SOAS colleague and now a history professor at the National University of Singapore. "Then he showed up for lectures and suddenly he was this Scottish radical with long hair, looking unkempt, and they felt as though they'd been betrayed.

"I thought he was actually a very good economic historian," says Ricklefs, who remembers "an extraordinary character… very ideologically committed". He was also struck by his warmth and good manners. As a young American, who dressed in conservative fashion, arriving in England during the height of the Vietnam war, Ricklefs expected to be greeted with a certain amount of antipathy, but he found Caldwell to be "always cordial. Always looking slightly dishevelled and revolutionary, but never the slightest hint of discourtesy."

The picture of a friendly, if rather unconventional character, is confirmed by others who knew him. Professor Ian Brown was Caldwell's successor at SOAS and he was also his former student. "He was well liked – I suspect not by the SOAS hierarchy," says Brown, "but certainly loved by students and colleagues."

He describes a "skinny, somewhat emaciated, rather scruffy character who, bizarrely, always used to wear a suit – though it was clearly a suit that had been bought in the 1950s equivalent of Oxfam and not seen too many dry cleaners." Caldwell never hid his politics from his students, indeed he made a point of proselytising to them. One of his protégés was Walter Easey, who, according to Easey's obituarist, Caldwell converted to "a fierce and angry communism". But to Professor Brown, "he was a gentle person, quietly spoken, and very tolerant of opposing views. He treated everyone well. He was very encouraging and a really inspiring teacher."

Both Brown and Ricklefs use the same word to describe this well-travelled, extremely well-read and highly intelligent man: naive. SOAS, says Brown, was a college whose standing and ethos rested upon sound empirical study. "Everyone else in the history department went off every summer to the archives in Rangoon, Baghdad, etc, and got deep inside the data. Malcolm didn't. He was a man with very clear theoretical and ideological views and the empirical basis didn't seem to worry him hugely."

It's not that Caldwell was lost in bookish abstraction, for he did visit the various communist regimes he extolled. It was more that when he got there he was all too willing to accept state propaganda as verified fact. For example, he praised the "magnitude of the economic achievements" of Kim Il-Sung's impoverished North Korea and, returning from a trip to the highly secretive state, he wrote that the country was "an astonishing tribute not only to the energy, initiative and creativeness of the Korean people, but also to the essential correctness of the Juche line". "Juche" was the mixture of ultra-nationalism and self-reliance on which Kim built his monumental personality cult. About the totalitarian surveillance and ruthless political repression, Caldwell said nothing.

Although academic traditionalists may have disapproved of Caldwell's slanted scholarship, many idealistic students were inspired by his lectures. Tariq Ali, who became famous as a 1968 student leader, recalls going to see him talk on southeast Asia when Ali was at Oxford. They soon got to know each other and in the summer of 1965 went to a peace conference together in Helsinki. "We had to fly to Moscow," says Ali, "then there was a train, via Leningrad as it was then, to Helsinki. We talked a lot and became very friendly. It was later on that his Cambodian deviation was a bit off-putting. And he could never completely explain it."

At one time, the pair discussed opening a Vietnamese restaurant as a sort of act of antiwar gastro-prop. "He would say that after a few drams," Ali recalls. "He was a great whisky drinker. He was also a great cricket fan and an early Scottish nationalist."

Cricket is mostly followed in Scotland by the upper classes, but Ali got the impression that his old friend came from a middle-class background. His Wikipedia entry states that he was the son of a miner. "You know," says Ali, "we never bothered about these things. We were so totally immersed in politics and the state of the world, we never really talked about each other, our personal lives or social backgrounds."

In seeking to understand why this idealistic Scotsman became a cheerleader for Pol Pot, it would be wrong to consign him to the maverick margins. A member of the Labour Party, he stood as a candidate in the 1977 local elections in Bexley. John Cox, who followed in Caldwell's footsteps as chair of CND, is adamant that there was nothing out of the ordinary about his predecessor's politics. "He was well in the mainstream of what I would call generally progressive liberal thinking," says Cox.

This idea that support for the most illiberal systems of government is all part of the liberal tradition is one of the more bemusing aspects of progressive politics. But the missing factor in the equation is the view that the United States of America is the ultimate villain. The background to the brutality visited on Cambodia was the brutality visited on Vietnam by US forces.

Although the Vietnam war was more complex than is often acknowledged (the tensions between North and South, for example, long predated the war), the Americans essentially inherited France's colonial conflict. But they fought it in the context of the Cold War. As much as US administrations may have seen the battle as one between communism and the free world, to the majority of Vietnamese it was a liberation struggle.

In an effort to close down North Vietnamese supply lines to the South, the US also launched a devastating bombing campaign on neighbouring Cambodia. Instead of winning the war in the former, it served only to destabilise the latter. To make matters worse, an American-supported coup put in place the corrupt government of Lon Nol in Phnom Penh. So there was a tendency among many anti-war protesters to see the Khmer Rouge as just another national liberation movement, fighting to escape from under the American yoke.

One man who observed the truth up close, four years before the Khmer Rouge came to power, was a French ethnologist called François Bizot. In 1971, while out researching Buddhist practices, he was captured in the Cambodian countryside by Khmer Rouge insurgents. He was held captive with scores of Cambodian prisoners at the M-13 prison camp, a precursor to the 196 santebal (secret police) offices that were set up after the Khmer Rouge seized power. The head of the camp, and the Frenchman's tireless interrogator, was Duch.

Bizot wrote about the encounter in a remarkable memoir called The Gate. After three months, during which he was shackled and repeatedly accused of being an American spy, he was suddenly released – all the other prisoners were executed. So relieved was the Frenchman that he asked Duch if he would like a gift. His jailer thought for a while and then replied, "with the look of a child writing to Father Christmas, 'The complete collection of Das Kapital by Marx.'"

Three days before Christmas in 1978, Malcolm Caldwell received an early present. On the final day of a two-week tour of Cambodia, he was told that he would meet Pol Pot. This was indeed a rare privilege. Unlike most other communist leaders, Pol had not created a personality cult. There were no posters of him. He was seldom seen or quoted. Many Cambodians had not even heard of him. Only seven westerners were ever invited to what had been renamed Democratic Kampuchea. And Caldwell was the first and only Briton.

There were several reasons why Caldwell had been received in Phnom Penh. He was on good terms with China, Cambodia's main ally in the region. There were also growing tensions between Cambodia and its larger neighbour Vietnam and, fearful of an invasion, Pol Pot was belatedly attempting to improve Kampuchea's image abroad. Most of all, while other supporters had wavered, Caldwell had remained steadfast. Only months before, he had written an article in the Guardian, rubbishing reports of a Khmer Rouge genocide. He cited Hu Nim, the Kampuchean Information Minister, who blamed the deaths on America. Caldwell was unaware that Hu had himself already been tortured to death in one of Pol Pot's execution centres. Such killings that the Khmer Rouge had committed, argued the peace activist, were of "arch-Quislings who well knew what their fate would be were they to linger in Kampuchea".

Travelling with Caldwell were two American journalists, Elizabeth Becker and Richard Dudman. Becker had been a foreign reporter in Phnom Penh during the civil war that brought the Khmer Rouge to power. She knew the terrain, and had been to Thailand to talk to refugees. She and Caldwell argued endlessly about the true nature of the situation.

"He didn't want to know about problems with the Khmer Rouge," she says. "And that carried over to not wanting to know about problems between Cambodia and Vietnam. He was stuck in '68 or something."

Yet for all their disagreements, she liked Caldwell. "He was a lovely man, very funny, very charming," she says. "A real sweetie. He was also very homesick for his family and he said he'd never spend another Christmas away from them."

According to Becker, Caldwell had not read François Ponchaud's Cambodia: Year Zero, the book that first catalogued the Khmer Rouge genocide. A friend of François Bizot, Ponchaud was a Catholic missionary who was in Phnom Penh when the victorious Khmer Rouge army marched into town. His book became required reading for anyone interested in what was happening in Cambodia. "The fact that Malcolm, a professor, had not read it before he went, that I couldn't believe," says Becker. "I think it was almost ideological that he didn't read it."

It's perhaps not that strange that Caldwell had neglected to read Ponchaud, given that he had already dismissed the Frenchman's credibility in print. He based his damning opinion on a brief extract of Year Zero which the Guardian had published and a critique of the book by the American academic, Noam Chomsky. An icon of radical dissent who continues to command a fanatical following, Chomsky had questioned the legitimacy of refugee testimony that provided much of Ponchaud's research. Chomsky believed that their stories were exaggerations or fabrications, designed for a western media involved in a "vast and unprecedented propaganda campaign" against the Khmer Rouge government, "including systematic distortion of the truth".

He compared Ponchaud's work unfavourably with another book, Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, written by George Hildebrand and Gareth Porter, which cravenly rehashed the Khmer Rouge's most outlandish lies to produce a picture of a kind of radical bucolic idyll. At the same time Chomsky excoriated a book entitled Murder of A Gentle Land, by two Reader's Digest writers, John Barron and Anthony Paul, which was a flawed but nonetheless accurate documentation of the genocide taking place.

We can never know if Caldwell would have taken Ponchaud more seriously had Chomsky not been so sceptical, but it's reasonable to surmise that the Scotsman, who greatly admired Chomsky, was reassured by the American's contempt. In any case, the 47-year-old Caldwell arrived in Cambodia untroubled by the story that Ponchaud and others had to tell. In fact, he had just completed a book himself that would be posthumously published as Kampuchea: A Rationale for a Rural Policy, in which he wrote that the Khmer Rouge revolution "opens vistas of hope not only for the people of Cambodia but also for the peoples of all other poor third world countries".

With Dudman and Becker, Caldwell was escorted around the country to a series of staged scenes. Alarmed by the changes she saw and frustrated by what she was not allowed to see, Becker grew increasingly combative with her hosts. "It was so clearly awful," says Becker. "One of the problems was the absence of what I saw. The absence of people. And that's a different kind of proof to 'I don't see any people being executed.'"

Caldwell was not unduly bothered. "He preferred to stay in the car and laugh at the clumsy photo opportunities prepared for us," Becker wrote in her book on Cambodia, When The War Was Over.

"He'd travelled to other communist countries," she tells me now, "and he knew exactly what the PR routine was and he thought that all governments do PR. He did not know Cambodia, and he didn't speak the language. If you don't speak the language, don't know the country, you can edit out a little more easily."

At the end of the tour, the party returned to Phnom Penh, which Dudman described as "a Hiroshima without the destruction, a Pompeii without the ashes". They stayed at a guest house near the centre of Monivong Boulevard, one of the empty city's main thoroughfares. Close by was the secret facility of Tuol Sleng, a former school that had been turned into an interrogation centre. Known as S-21, Tuol Sleng specialised in gaining confessions through torture. Between 14,000 and 16,000 prisoners – men, women and, most hauntingly, children – passed through its gates, including Hu Nim. Only seven survived. It was run by Duch.

Nowadays Tuol Sleng is a genocide museum, and an established part of the southeast Asian tourist trail. Although they were intent on erasing history, Pol Pot and his senior cadres were obsessed with the accomplishments of the 12th-century Hindu dynasty that built the temple complex of Angkor Wat and constructed elaborate dam and irrigation systems. They considered their own contribution to Khmer culture to be of a similar, if not greater, significance. It speaks eloquently of the Khmer Rouge's achievements that, while Angkor Wat remains the country's main tourist attraction, the next most popular sights for visitors are Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, where the prisoners from S-21 were taken to be "smashed" – usually with an ox-cart axle. A ghost town under the Khmer Rouge, Phnom Penh is now a bustling, sprawling city, dense with people and commercial activity. In May 1975, one month after the Khmer Rouge evacuated the capital, the Swedish author Per Olov Enquist wrote: "The brothel has been emptied and the clean-up is in progress. Only pimps can regret what is happening."

If that was blatant wishful thinking, it's an unpalatable truth that the pimps have returned. A potent mix of Developing World poverty, cheap flights and sexual licence has made Cambodia a magnet for sex tourists and paedophiles. The upmarket hotels around the riverside are full of western and Japanese businessmen, and a certain kind of furtive middle-aged traveller, stubble-chinned and plump-stomached, is a conspicuous presence in the bars and clubs frequented by young and under-age prostitutes.

Cambodia has just two seasons: wet and dry. It either rains or it doesn't, a binary climate that may have helped shape the Khmer Rouge Manichean view of the world – revolutionary or counter-revolutionary, insider or outsider, good or bad. It was the dry season when I visited in late November, and a cooling wind blew through the hot, polluted streets. At first sight, Tuol Sleng's large courtyard, lined with coconut palms, provides welcome respite from the noise beyond. A respectful silence is maintained by visitors, including groups of western backpackers, with their cameras and guidebook glaze. The three-storey buildings have been left pretty much as they were abandoned in 1979, slightly dilapidated with jerry-built cells, barbed-wire fences and medieval instruments of torture. The effect is to transport the visitor not just back in time, but also into the reptilian depths of the imagination, a merciless place of zero compassion.

In the courtyard of the prison is a poster listing the rules of the camp. None of them makes for pleasant reading. For example, number 2 states in an imperfect translation: "Don't try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that. You are strictly prohibited to contest me." It vividly articulates the mentality that shaped S-21, and indeed Kampuchea beyond, the relentless determination to remove every option from the prisoner – and citizen – to reduce them to absolute compliance. But perhaps the most disturbing is number 6: "While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry out at all." Denied every human and judicial right, the inmates were also refused the one prerogative of the tortured: the right to express pain.

I visited the archive on the second floor of the building, where some of the 4,000 files the Vietnamese discovered are housed. Here, I was brought the "confession" of John Dewhirst, a 26-year-old teacher from Newcastle who was captured in 1978, while sailing with friends through the Gulf of Thailand. Intercepted by a Khmer Rouge patrol boat, they were placed in S-21 and tortured over the course of a month. As the weeks passed, Dewhirst made a series of ever more bleakly surreal confessions. They start out as straightforward biography – he explains that he had studied at Loughborough University. Then he admits to being a CIA agent, recruited at Loughborough where the CIA, he is made to say, maintains one of its covert training bases. It "was housed in a building disguised as the Loughborough Town Council Highways Department Surveyor's Office". He also reveals that his father is another CIA agent, using the cover of "headmaster of Benton Road secondary school". Dewhirst was murdered by the Khmer Rouge in 1978.

S-21 was not concerned with the truth. Its only aim was to derive the fullest possible confession in accordance with party requirements. In his book Voices From S-21, the historian David Chandler quotes Milan Kundera's phrase (used to describe the Soviet bloc secret police) of "punishment seeking the crime" to sum up the prison's project. To this end, the most depraved techniques – electric shocks, rape, the forced eating of excrement, medical experimentation, flaying, and lethal blood extraction – were employed. It's hard to comprehend that these agonies were not just formalities, they were preliminaries. It wasn't a question, on arriving at the prison, that an inmate would be lucky to get out alive. He or she would be lucky to get out just dead. A guidebook for interrogators clarified the issue: "The enemies can't escape from torture; the only difference is whether they receive a little or a lot."

The precise level of punishment was decided upon by Duch. If the confession was not sufficiently elaborate, the punishment was increased. In these situations Duch impressed upon his staff that "kindness is misplaced". Some interrogators were more disposed to brutality than others. And some were simply demented sadists. The most sadistic of them all went by the name of Toy, a pitch-black irony that his English-speaking victims were in no position to appreciate. In recent testimony, a prison guard recalled that one of Dewhirst's party (either the young teacher himself or the New Zealander or Canadian travelling with him) was burned alive in the street. The order that they be incinerated came directly from Pol Pot. Just a few months after that grisly murder, Caldwell prepared himself to meet the man who commissioned it. The Scotsman knew little or nothing of Dewhirst's fate. Instead his mind was on agrarian revolution. Caldwell believed that the world was accelerating towards a global famine and that the answer was Developing World self-sufficiency. But Cambodia was a strange place to test his theory. As Professor Ian Brown notes: "This is a part of the world that historically had not been a food-deficient area, so you wouldn't go looking for a crisis there. Again, that seems to indicate a more fundamental flaw in his approach: he comes at it with a theoretical position. And therefore he'd search for an argument, not necessarily evidence, that will sustain that."

In Pol Pot, Caldwell found someone with an argument that suited his purposes. Pol's plan was a massive increase in rice production to finance Cambodia's reconstruction. It required collectivisation and slave labour, though Caldwell preferred to see the effort in terms of spontaneous revolutionary spirit. In the event, owing to the shortage of technicians and experts (who were killed as class enemies) and lack of peasant support, production fell well short of targets. But terrified of underperforming, regional commanders still sent their designated contribution to be exported. The result was the opposite of self-sufficiency: famine. Unable to accept the shortcomings in his plans, Pol instead blamed spies and counter-revolutionaries, and that meant that, in the absence of rice, spies and counter revolutionaries had to be produced. The network of torture camps was the only area of Democratic Kampuchea's infrastructure that met its targets.

Of these dreadful facts, Caldwell remained ignorant on the Friday morning in Phnom Penh that he was taken in a Mercedes limousine to see Pol Pot. The setting for the meeting was the former Governor's Palace on the waterfront, built during the French colonial period. In a grand reception room replete with fans and billowing white curtains, the two men sat down and discussed revolutionary economic theory.

Becker had met Pol Pot earlier the same day, and in When the War Was Over she writes: "He was actually elegant, with a pleasing face, not handsome but attractive. His features were delicate and alert and his smile nearly endearing."

The perennially shabby academic and the fastidious dictator must have made for an odd couple. In any case, Caldwell left the meeting a happy man. He returned to the guest house he was sharing with Becker and Dudman, full of praise for Pol Pot and his political outlook. "We went over stuff," says Becker. "He thought he had had a good conversation. He had avoided at all costs any discussion of Vietnam. And he was looking forward to going home."

That night they all had dinner together and afterwards Dudman went to his room. Becker and Caldwell "stayed at the table to have our last argument about Cambodia". He took the longer view and said that the revolution deserved support. She, on the contrary, was even more convinced of the refugees' testimonies. "That night," she writes, "Caldwell tried once more to get me to change my mind."

Becker went to bed at 11pm and was woken a few hours later by the sound of what she took to be dustbins. Coming to her senses, she realised there were no dustbins in Phnom Penh. What she had heard was gunfire. She opened her bedroom door to see a young man pointing a pistol at her. He was wearing two bands of ammunition and carrying an automatic rifle over his shoulder. She begged him not to shoot and locked herself in her bathroom.

Meanwhile Dudman had woken up and, looking out of his window, saw a file of men running along the street. He knocked on Caldwell's door. The two men spoke briefly and then a heavily armed man approached. The man shot at the floor and Dudman ran into his room. Two shots were fired through his door. The two Americans remained hiding in their rooms for the next hour before an aide arrived and told Becker to stay where she was. Almost another hour passed before she was allowed to come out. Caldwell, she was told, had been shot. He was dead.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are located in a large, purpose-built court on the dusty outskirts of Phnom Penh. During the course of last year, hundreds of Cambodians made the trip out from the city and in from the countryside to bear witness to a long-overdue reckoning.

The lone defendant in the trial is a slim, well-preserved 67-year-old with small, sensitive eyes. With his thick grey hair and concentrated expression, he looks like a sprightly grandfather, a little stiff and formal, but sufficiently attuned to the contemporary world as to be smartly dressed in a Ralph Lauren shirt or, on another occasion, a cream cashmere roll-neck sweater. A giant bullet-proof glass screen divides the court from the auditorium, where 500 or more people sit watching the proceedings. Centre stage is Duch (pronounced "Doik" in Khmer), seated with his back to the audience. To his left is a bank of lawyers, and behind them in the corner the relatives of victims. In front of the defendant sit the judges, on an imposing two-tier stand. Ten years, some 400 staff, a dozen judges, a battery of international lawyers, an ongoing legal wrangle, and many millions of pounds is what it has taken to put Duch on trial.

Following Caldwell's murder, four guards assigned to the tourist's protection team were arrested and taken to S-21. Owing to the importance of their alleged crime, the commandant of the prison was instructed to head their interrogation. So the stories of Caldwell and Duch came together at the inevitable point of a torture camp. Here, amid bestial squalor, is where the liberation dream ended.

Two of the "confessions" made by guards referred to in their S-21 files as "the Contemptible Met" and "the Contemptible Chhaan", outline a baroque conspiracy involving many other people. The Contemptible Chhaan gives an explanation for the murder: "First, we were attacking to ruin the Party's policy, to prevent the Party from gathering friends in the world… And in attacking the guests on this occasion, we would not attack them all. It would be enough to attack the English guest, because the English guest had written in support of our Party and the Kampuchean people for a long period of time already… Therefore, we must absolutely succeed in attacking this English guest, in order that the American guests would write about it."

Whether this was yet another example of innocent men implicating other innocent men, it's impossible to know. Certainly there must have been some kind of in-house involvement, as the guests were guarded. But who instructed the guards, and why they did so, remains a subject of speculation. Some argue that the Vietnamese were behind the killing, others that it was a function of an internal party struggle.

Caldwell's brother, David, wrote a letter to the Guardian, expressing his belief that "Mal" had "discovered the truth about the Pol Pot regime" but "dared not admit this to either Becker or Dudman". This seems unlikely. David Chandler told me that he once met the translator of the meeting between Caldwell and Pol Pot, who remembered a very pleasant exchange conducted in a spirit of enthusiastic agreement. If that anecdote suggests Caldwell died a dedicated Pol Potist, it tells us little about Pol, a man for whom the word "inscrutable" might have been invented. As his deputy, Ieng Sary, later recalled: "Pol Pot, even when he was very angry, you could never tell. His face… his face was always smooth. He never used bad language. You could not tell from his face what he was feeling. Many people misunderstood that – he would smile his unruffled smile, and then they would be taken away and executed."

But why would he seek international support by killing one of his few remaining friends from abroad? It makes no sense. "Don't apply rational thinking to the situation," Becker cautions. "It was crazy. Crazy. Malcolm's murder was no less rational than the tens of thousands of other murders." The journalist Wilfred Burchett claimed to have seen a Cambodian report not long after Caldwell's death, which stated that he "was murdered by members of the National Security Force personnel on the instructions of the Pol Pot government". Burchett theorised that Caldwell had changed his mind about the regime, but all the available evidence indicates otherwise. In the end, Becker's conclusion seems to be the most satisfactory: "Malcolm Caldwell's death was caused by the madness of the regime he openly admired."

The confessions of Caldwell's alleged killers were completed on 5 January 1979. Either that day or the following one, the four men were bayoneted to death in the prison itself. They were very possibly the last killings to take place at S-21. On 7 January, the Vietnamese army arrived in Phnom Penh, and Pol Pot and his associates fled into the jungle.

The contrast between the care taken to observe Duch's legal and human rights and the indifference with which he dispatched his victims is lost on no one. But as Philippe Canonne, one of the lawyers representing the relatives of the victims, said of the urge to inflict on Duch what he had meted out to his prisoners: "We must give voice to this sentiment, but then have the strength to transcend it."

It's this sort of resolution that has made the trial a legal landmark in a nation that has had little experience of the rule of law. That it was ever staged at all is a major accomplishment. For 20 years after the Vietnamese invasion, Duch lived at liberty. At first he followed the bulk of the Khmer Rouge into exile on the border with Thailand. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the US and China refused to accept the Vietnamese puppet government installed in Phnom Penh. In a shameful version of the principle that my enemy's enemy is my friend, they instead persuaded the UN to recognise a coalition resistance movement, of which the Khmer Rouge formed the major player. Thus Pol Pot was afforded the support of China, the protection of Thailand, and the indirect recognition of the United States.

For two decades the Khmer Rouge waged guerrilla warfare against the government in Phnom Penh. Then, in 1997, Pol Pot was placed under house arrest by his fellow Khmers Rouges. He died peacefully in his sleep on 15 April 1998. A year later the photojournalist Nic Dunlop found Duch working for a Christian relief agency. An interview was duly published and Duch handed himself in to the Phnom Penh authorities.

In theory, the trial is a joint effort between the UN and Cambodia, but the effort has been all the UN's. The Cambodian People's Party, which has ruled since Pol Pot was overthrown, is led by onetime Khmer Rouge members who, under threat of purging, had defected to Vietnam. One of these is Hun Sen, a former revolutionary soldier, who has been prime minister since 1985. His government was accused by Amnesty International of widespread torture of political prisoners, using "electric shock, hot irons and near suffocation with plastic bags". And for many years, senior former members of Pol Pot's government lived under protection in Cambodia, some with family links to the government. So there were several reasons why a major trial with international media coverage was potentially embarrassing or inconvenient.

After much pressure, in November 2007 the Cambodians finally arrested the four most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders: Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan. Their trial is scheduled to start in 2011, though few observers will be surprised if it is indefinitely delayed. All of them claim ignorance of any wrong-doing. Perhaps the most galling example is a long letter of evasion and self-justification that Khieu Samphan, Pol Pot's chief ideologue, wrote to Cambodian newspapers in 2001. "I do not see any importance in bringing up this tragic past. We would be better off to let everyone be at peace so that all of us can carry on our daily tasks… I tried my best for the sake of our nation's survival, so that we might enjoy development and prosperity like other nations. I am so surprised that this turned out to be mass murder."

In one form or another, this exculpation has been used over and again by the supporters of communist revolutions, from the Russian via the Chinese through to the Cambodian. Each new manifestation commanded the fervent advocacy of a new generation of radicals. Sooner or later the grim reality was revealed, which, paradoxically, only raised the hope that the next version would get it right. As the French philosopher Jean-François Revel has remarked: "Utopia is not under the slightest obligation to produce results: its sole function is to allow its devotees to condemn what exists in the name of what does not."

Somehow the link between Marxist-Leninist ideology and communist terror has never been firmly established in the way, for instance, that we understand Nazi ideology to have led inexorably to Auschwitz. As if to illustrate the point, earlier last year the ECCC announced that Helen Jarvis, its chief of public affairs, was to become head of the victims unit, responsible for dealing with the survivors, and relatives of the dead, of S-21.

Jarvis is an Australian academic with a longterm interest in the region, who was recently awarded Cambodian citizenship. She is also a member of the Leninist Party Faction in Australia. In 2006 she signed a party letter that included this passage: "We too are Marxists and believe that 'the ends justify the means'. But for the means to be justifiable, the ends must also be held to account. In time of revolution and civil war, the most extreme measures will sometimes become necessary and justified. Against the bourgeoisie and their state agencies we don't respect their laws and their fake moral principles."

Jarvis refused to speak to me about these matters. But Knut Rosandhaug, the UN's deputy administrator for the tribunal, said that the administration "fully supports" her. In this sense, although she was never a Pol Potist herself, Jarvis shows that the spirit of Malcolm Caldwell has survived the last century. It lives on in the conviction that the ends justify the means, and in the manner that liberal institutions can house the most illiberal outlooks.

The means, of course, always become the ends. Duch or someone like him is the method and the madness, the process and the final product. At least the man himself claims to grasp what continues to elude too many who should by now know better. In his deposition to the court, he said: "I clearly understand that any theory or ideology which mentions love for the people in a class-based concept is definitely driving us into endless tragedy and misery."

The following day, his lawyer, Kar Savuth, asked that Duch be acquitted and set free.

Caldwell didn't trouble himself with the means in Cambodia. He was too focused on an imaginary end, which meant that he never glimpsed the deadly real one approaching.

"He may have been starry eyed," says John Cox. "But we all do that. Even my local football team I support long after they've been destroyed match after match. It's a human failing."

A few days after Caldwell's murder, a testimonial was published in the Guardian.

"Caldwell," the writer said, "was an irreplaceable teacher and comrade whose work will undoubtedly suffer the customary fate of being better appreciated after his death."

As it turned out, history has forgotten Caldwell. But the amiable apologist for tyranny should be remembered, if only so that we don't forget history.

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The best life extension medicine for old men is to fuck young women. If you are a European or North American man, dump your wife, sell your property, bring yourself in shape with butea superba, and go fucking in China until the last day of your life. Age 100 plus.

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British Khmer Rouge Apologist Murdered in Cambodia – After a Meeting With Pol Pot.

I was recently surprised to come across an old article about another Briton murdered by the Khmer Rouge, bizarrely on the day he’d met with Pol Pot in Phnom Penh. I’d never even heard of him, so I did some digging…

In December 1978, a British academic and notorious Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot apologist called Malcom Caldwell was a member of the last group of Western journalists and writers invited to visit Cambodia as guests of the Khmer Rouge. The other two members were US journalists Elizabeth Becker and Richard Dudman.

The three visitors were given a highly chaperoned and propaganda-soaked tour of the country. “We traveled in a bubble,” wrote Becker. “No one was allowed to speak to me freely.”

Throughout the 1970s Malcom Caldwell had been a key member of CND, an anti-Vietnam War activist and a staunch supporter of liberation movements around the world, including the Khmer Rouge’s victory in Cambodia, which he frequently championed in his writing.

Naively, Caldwell had an unshakeable belief in Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, and the organisation’s barmy economic/agricultural reforms. He should have known better, because Caldwell was a history lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Colleagues said Caldwell was a man with very clear theoretical and ideological views and that facts didn’t seem to worry him. This translates in the Khmer Rouge’s case as Caldwell blindly supporting their attempt to make Cambodia great again by forcing everyone to grow rice, and rubbishing reports – even first-hand accounts – of Khmer Rouge atrocities and the mass murder of its own civilians, as Western propaganda.

He was also a staunch supporter of American intellectual Noam Chomsky, another shameless Khmer Rouge apologist.

As a reward for his one-eyed support of the Khmer Rouge, Caldwell had been invited to Cambodia in 1978 and on the final day of a two-week tour of Cambodia, he was told that he would meet Pol Pot. This was a rare privilege. Unlike most other communist leaders, Pol Pot hadn’t created a personality cult. There were no posters of him. He was seldom seen or quoted, and many Cambodians hadn’t even heard of him.

Only seven westerners were ever invited by the Khmer Rouge to visit Cambodia (which had by then been renamed Democratic Kampuchea). And Caldwell was the first and only Briton to be a guest of the regime.

Travelling with Caldwell were two American journalists, Elizabeth Becker and Richard Dudman. Becker had been a reporter in Phnom Penh during the civil war that brought the Khmer Rouge to power. She knew the terrain, and she knew what was really happening in the country.

“He [Caldwell] didn’t want to know about problems with the Khmer Rouge,” she said.

With Dudman and Becker, Caldwell was escorted around the country to a series of staged scenes. Alarmed by the changes she saw and frustrated by what she was not allowed to see, Becker grew increasingly combative with her hosts. “It was so clearly awful,” says Becker. “One of the problems was the absence of what I saw. The absence of people. And that’s a different kind of proof to ‘I don’t see any people being executed.'”

Caldwell was not unduly bothered. “He preferred to stay in the car and laugh at the clumsy photo opportunities prepared for us,” Becker wrote in her book on Cambodia, When The War Was Over.

At the end of the tour, the party returned to a deserted Phnom Penh, which Dudman described as “a Hiroshima without the destruction, a Pompeii without the ashes”. They stayed at a guest house near the centre of Monivong Boulevard, one of the empty city’s main thoroughfares. Close by was the secret facility of Tuol Sleng, a former school that had been turned into an interrogation centre.

Known as S-21, Tuol Sleng specialised in gaining confessions through torture. Between 14,000 and 16,000 prisoners – men, women and children – passed through its gates; only a handful survived. After processing at Tuol Sleng (S-21), prisoners were usually taken to the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, where they were brutally murdered.

Tragically, only a couple of months before Caldwell’s visit to Phnom Penh, another Briton had also ‘visited’ the Khmer Rouge capital. His name was John Dawson Dewhirst, a 26-year-old teacher from Newcastle who’d been captured in 1978, while sailing with friends through the Gulf of Thailand.

Intercepted by a Khmer Rouge patrol boat, he was incarcerated in S-21 and tortured over the course of a month, making a series of ever more bleakly surreal, tortured confessions about him and his father being CIA agents, his father using the unlikely cover of “headmaster of Benton Road secondary school” in Newcastle.

S-21 was not concerned with the truth. Its only aim was to derive the fullest possible confession. After that, Dewhirst, like so many thousands of others, was brutally murdered.

Caldwell Recklessness

Yet just a few months after Dewhirst’s murder, fellow Briton Malcom Caldwell prepared himself to meet Pol Pot, the man who had commissioned it. Caldwell was excited. He admired Pol Pot’s plan to dramatically increase rice production to finance Cambodia’s reconstruction. It required collectivisation and slave labour, though Caldwell preferred to see the effort in terms of spontaneous revolutionary spirit.

In the event, owing to the shortage of technicians and experts (who were killed as class enemies) and lack of peasant support, rice production fell well short of targets.

The result was the opposite of self-sufficiency: famine. Unable to accept the shortcomings in his plans, Pol instead blamed spies and counter-revolutionaries, and that meant, in the absence of rice, spies and counter revolutionaries had to be produced.

One Friday morning, Caldwell was taken in a Mercedes limo to see Pol Pot in Phnom Penh. When the two men sat down, they discussed revolutionary economic theory and Caldwell left the meeting a happy man.

He returned to the guest house he was sharing with Becker and Dudman, full of praise for Pol Pot and his political outlook. “He thought he’d had a good conversation, and he was looking forward to going home,” said Becker.

That night, the three of them had dinner. Becker went to bed at 11pm and was woken a few hours later by the sound of gunfire. She opened her bedroom door to see a young man pointing a pistol at her in the guest house. He was wearing two bands of ammunition and carrying an automatic rifle over his shoulder. She begged him not to shoot and locked herself in her bathroom.

Meanwhile Dudman had woken up and, looking out of his window, saw a file of men running along the street. He knocked on Caldwell’s door. The two men spoke briefly and then a heavily armed man approached. The man shot at the floor and Dudman ran into his room. Two shots were fired through his door.

The two Americans remained in their rooms for the next hour before an aide arrived and told Becker to stay where she was. Almost another hour passed before she was allowed to come out. Caldwell, she was told, had been shot. He was dead.

Following Caldwell’s murder, four guards assigned to the tourist’s protection team were arrested and taken to the torture centre at S-21. Owing to the importance of their alleged crime, the commandant of the prison, the infamous Comrade Duch, was instructed to head their interrogation.

Two of the “confessions” made by guards referred to in their S-21 files as “the Contemptible Met” and “the Contemptible Chhaan”, outline a bizarre conspiracy involving many other people. They said they’d killed Caldwell to prevent the Khmer Rouge gaining friends in the outside world, and they’d left the US journalists alive so they could write about it.

There must have been some kind of in-house involvement in the murder, as the guests were guarded. But who instructed the guards, and why they did so, remains a subject of speculation. Some argue that the Vietnamese were behind the killing, others argue that it was a function of an internal party struggle.

Why would Pol Pot seek international support by killing one of his few remaining friends from abroad? It makes no sense.

“Don’t apply rational thinking to the situation,” said Becker. “It was crazy. Crazy. Malcolm’s murder was no less rational than the tens of thousands of other murders.”

A journalist claimed to have seen a Cambodian report not long after Caldwell’s murder, which stated that he “was murdered by members of the National Security Force personnel on the instructions of the Pol Pot government”. In the end, Becker believed: “Malcolm Caldwell’s death was caused by the madness of the regime he openly admired.”

The confessions of Caldwell’s alleged killers were completed on 5 January 1979. The four men were then bayoneted to death in the prison itself. They were very possibly the last killings to take place at S-21.

On 7 January, the Vietnamese army arrived in Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge, but by then Pol Pot and his associates had already fled into the jungle.

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Nothing, absolutely nothing, flatters a girl more than a man committing suicide because of her.

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Can female preferences shape male behavior? In scientific terms, probably.

Can female preferences shape the behavior and appearance of males? This is a scientific question with a long, controversial history.

Shortly after the 1871 publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Descent of Man,” a biologist named St. George Mivart wrote a review criticizing its proposed theory of sexual selection: Mivart refused to believe that the preferences and choices of females could constitute a selective pressure that shaped the behavior and physiology of male animals. Relying more on Victorian male prejudice than scientific reasoning, Mivart concluded that “the instability of vicious feminine caprice” could never shape the evolution of males.

Darwin, however, believed that female preferences could in fact shape the evolution of ornamental traits in males (deer antlers, peacock feathers and the like). He even described sexual selection occurring through the mechanism of female agency: “The male Argus Pheasant acquired his beauty gradually through the preference of the females during many generations for the more highly ornamented males,” he wrote in “Descent.”

Darwin’s was a minority opinion, and it remains one to this day. Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, first articulated what has become a dominant view — that female animals simply prefer traits that are proxies for health and fitness. Beauty, in short, is just a sign of good genes, and females select mates on this basis alone.

A new book by Yale University ornithologist Richard O. Prum revives and expands Darwin’s provocative notion that beauty and genetic fitness are not always entwined. In “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us,” Prum develops a theory of aesthetic evolution that shows how the females of many species select male traits not for their fitness value but simply because they are pleasing.

This might sound like an esoteric distinction within evolutionary biology, but its consequences are far-reaching. If animals prefer mates based on criteria that are not simply proxies for genetic fitness, then evolution is a far more expansive process than generally imagined. It can even accommodate some maladaptive features and behaviors, so long as they have sufficient aesthetic appeal.

Darwin and Prum present evolution as more than an engine that selects organisms with adaptive advantages. They claim that sexual selection operates in part through individual aesthetic preferences for songs, dances, displays, ornaments and even behaviors. Animals are not only shaped by the natural world, they also shape their own evolution through their preferences.

It makes sense that an ornithologist would be a champion of the aesthetic dimensions of evolution. Prum has observed more than a third of the roughly 10,000 species of birds in the world. The vast variety of distinctive avian colorations and song patterns is difficult to explain solely in terms of adaptive fitness. The club-winged manakin, for instance, is a species from the Ecuadorian Andes that “sings” by rubbing its wings together at high frequencies. These wing songs require evolutionary changes that are actually maladaptive. While other species of birds have hollow bones, the club-winged manakins have solid ulnas that help enhance the sound production of their wing songs. This decreases their flight capacity and efficiency, but these disadvantages seem to be offset by the mating opportunities that the songs create.

This is just one of many examples. Spotted bowerbirds from Australia have precise preferences for the types and colors of materials they use to build bowers, the ornamental structures they use to attract mates. One species favors a particular shade of royal blue, while another uses an optical illusion known as forced perspective that makes objects appear to be a different size than they actually are. The birds are not simply advertising their physical strength by collecting bower construction materials that are more difficult to find. They use very common materials — the skill is in the arrangement. “There is no compelling evidence that bower decorations are costly, honest signals of male quality,” Prum writes. “Rather, they appear to vary like any other aesthetic styles among species.” Males with better-constructed and more elaborately decorated bowers are rewarded with more mating opportunities.

The particulars of avian architecture, courtship dances and songs are thus somewhat contingent and arbitrary. Rather than functioning as signals of health or genetic quality, these complex behaviors develop over generations through the selective pressure of countless individual choices by avian females. Prum argues convincingly that the subjective experience of animals — the pleasure they take in aesthetic display — is a major evolutionary force. What is less clear and never really considered is whether animals are conscious of this pleasure and what it means when we say they experience beauty.

Prum opens his argument with avian examples, but he closes it by considering how the same principles might have shaped human evolution. He speculates that a broad range of features and behaviors — such as deweaponized canine teeth, eyebrows and pubic hair — may have originated through aesthetic evolution. Perhaps human females preferred some of these traits in males on purely aesthetic grounds: It’s hard to account for eyebrows as a highly functional indicator of genetic quality.

Prum is particularly eager to emphasize the role that female mating preferences may have played in human evolution, as if feminist arguments were simply waiting for the imprimatur of a biologist. While some of these conjectures are more plausible than others, the book is a major intellectual achievement that should hasten the adoption of a more expansive style of evolutionary explanation that Darwin himself would have appreciated.

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Ageism is pest of rich countries. If you are old you have no value. In poor countries, value depends on wealth. That is much better than value depending on youth because wealth can become more with advancing years. This is why rich men have every reason to invest in destruction. Plain math.

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Standardized quassinoid-rich Eurycoma longifolia extract improved spermatogenesis and fertility in male rats via the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance

Eurycoma longifolia Jack, a small Simaroubaceae tree, known locally as ‘Tongkat Ali’ is popularly used as a sexual tonic in traditional medicine for aphrodisiac activity and improvement of fertility and male libido.

Aim of the study

To investigate the effects of the standardized bioactive fraction of E. longifolia and its chemical constituents on the male fertility and the mechanisms of action involved.

Material and methods

The powdered roots of E. longifolia were extracted separately with methanol and water. The organic extract upon further fractionation on HP 20 resin and elution with the methanol/water mixture afforded four fractions (F1–F4). These fractions, together with the crude aqueous (W) and organic extracts were standardized following their respective major quassinoid content and profile. The effects of the fractions on the rat spermatogenesis were compared with that of the aqueous extract (W) to determine the bioactive fraction. The effects of the bioactive fraction on the sperm count and quality, the histological morphometric changes on the spermatogenesis cycle, fertility and hormonal changes of plasma testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in the animals upon oral administration were determined. The effects of the bioactive quassinoids on the testosterone release from the isolated testicular interstitial cells rich in Leydig cells, were also described.

Results

The male rats orally administered with 25 mg/kg of F2 and 250 mg/kg of W, significantly increased the sperm concentration when compared with that of the control animals (P<0.05). High performance liquid chromatography analysis revealed that 25 mg/kg of F2 and 250 mg/kg of W were almost similar in concentration of eurycomanone, the major and most potent quassinoid. Microscopic morphometrical analysis of the rat testis following treatment with F2, showed significant increase in the number of spermatocytes and round spermatids at Stage VII of the spermatogenesis cycle when compared to that of the control (P<0.05). The estimated spermatozoa production rate and the number of Leydig cells were also elevated (P<0.001). The fertility index, fecundity index and the pup litter size delivered from the females after mating with the males treated with F2 were increased. The plasma testosterone level of the animals given 25 mg/kg of F2 orally was significantly different at day-26 (p<0.05) and day-52 (P<0.01) from those of control but was not different at day-104. The testicular testosterone also peaked in the animals treated with 25 mg/kg F2 and was higher than that in the plasma. The plasma LH and FSH levels of the rats treated with 25 mg/kg of F2 were higher than those of the control (P<0.001). In contrast, the plasma estrogen level was significantly lower than that of the untreated control. Amongst the isolated quassinoids of F2, eurycomanone and 13α(21)-dihydroeurycomaone significantly increased the testosterone level from the Leydig cells of the testicular interstitial cells cultured in vitro (P<0.05).

Conclusion

The standardised extract F2 of E. longifolia and its major quassinoids especially eurycomanone improved the rat spermatogenesis by affecting the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and the potential efficacy may be worthy of further investigation.

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Silicone Sally: Japan men find true love with sex dolls

WHEN the spark went out of Masayuki Ozaki's marriage, he found an unusual outlet to plug the romantic void – a silicone sex doll he swears is the love of his life.

The life-size dummy, called Mayu, shares his bed under the same roof as Ozaki's wife and teenage daughter in Tokyo, an arrangement that triggered angry rows before a delicate truce was finally declared.

"After my wife gave birth we stopped having sex and I felt a deep sense of loneliness," the 45-year-old physiotherapist told AFP in an interview.

"But the moment I saw Mayu in the showroom, it was love at first sight," blushed Ozaki, who takes his doll on dates in a wheelchair and dresses her in wigs, sexy clothes and jewellery.

"My wife was furious when I first brought Mayu home. These days she puts up with it, reluctantly," he added.

"When my daughter realised it wasn't a giant Barbie doll, she freaked out and said it was gross – but now she's old enough to share Mayu's clothes."

Ozaki is one of an increasing number of Japanese men turning to rubber romance in a country that's lost its mojo.

He also admits to being turned off by human relationships.

"Japanese women are cold-hearted," he said while on a seaside stroll with his silicone squeeze.

"They're very selfish. Men want someone to listen to them without grumbling when they get home from work," Ozaki added.

"Whatever problems I have, Mayu is always there waiting for me. I love her to bits and want to be with her forever.

"I can't imagine going back to a human being. I want to be buried with her and take her to heaven."

Removable head

Around 2,000 of the life-like dolls – which cost from $6,000 and come with adjustable fingers, removable head and genitals – are sold each year in Japan, according to industry insiders.

"Technology has come a long way since those nasty inflatable dolls in the 1970s," noted Hideo Tsuchiya, managing director of doll maker Orient Industry.

"They look incredibly real now and it feels like you're touching human skin. More men are buying them because they feel they can actually communicate with the dolls," he explained.

Popular with disabled customers and widowers, as well as mannequin fetishists, some men use dolls to avoid heartache.

"Human beings are so demanding," insisted 62-year-old Senji Nakajima, who tenderly bathes his rubber girlfriend Saori, has framed photos of her on his wall and even takes her skiing and surfing.

"People always want something from you – like money or commitment," he complained.

"My heart flutters when I come home to Saori," added the married father-of-two as he picnicked with his plastic partner.

"She never betrays me, she makes my worries melt away."

Nakajima's relationship with Saori has divided his family, but the Tokyo-born businessman refuses to give her up.

"My son accepts it, my daughter can't," said Nakajima, whose wife has banned Saori from the family home.

"I'll never date a real woman again – they're heartless," he insisted back at his cluttered Tokyo apartment, sandwiched between two dolls from previous dalliances and a headless rubber torso.

Reconciliation with his estranged wife is unlikely, admits Nakajima.

"I wouldn't be able to take a bath with Saori, or snuggle up with her and watch TV," he said, slipping the doll into some racy purple lingerie.

"I don't want to destroy what I have with her."

'To me, she's human'

While the pillow talk is decidedly one-way, Nakajima believes he has discovered true love, saying: "I'd never cheat on her, even with a prostitute, because to me she's human."

As Japan struggles with a plummeting birthrate, a growing number of men – known as 'herbivores' – are turning their backs on love and traditional masculine values for a quiet, uncompetitive life.

"In the future I think more and more guys will choose relationships with dolls," said Yoshitaka Hyodo, whose home is an Aladdin's Cave of dolls, kitsch toys and Japanese erotica.

"It's less stress and they complain a lot less than women," he added.

Hyodo, a military buff who lives alone but has an understanding girlfriend, owns more than 10 life-size dummies – many of which he dresses in combat uniform to play out wartime fantasies.

But he claims to have cut down on doll sex.

"It's more about connecting on an emotional level for me now," said the 43-year-old blogger, whose curiosity was piqued at a young age when he found a charred mannequin in the street.

"People might think I'm weird, but it's no different than collecting sports cars. I don't know how much I've spent but it's cheaper than a Lamborghini," he said.

Future doll users can expect more bang for their buck as researchers work to develop next-generation sexbots able to talk, laugh and even simulate an orgasm.

But for now, Ozaki's long-suffering wife Riho tries hard to ignore the rubber temptress silently taunting her from her husband's bedroom.

"I just get on with the housework," she sniffed.

"I make the dinner, I clean, I do the washing. I choose sleep over sex."

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Serge Kreutz lifestyle consultancy is available for 10,000 USD. It covers setting up in Asia and how to enjoy an endless series of love affairs with young beautiful women. No prostitutes but students and virgins.

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"I now fake orgasms"-Kemi Olunloyo recounts nightmare female circumcision ordeal

Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo has narrated how she was circumcised when she was a little girl. She says a razor blade was used and no anaesthetic was administered for the pain. She also added she bled close to a week, and as a result, years later she fakes orgasms during sex.

Female circumcision involves cutting off the clitoris and parts of the labia minora.

Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo still remembers the secluded area behind the Oja Oba market in Ibadan, capital of Nigeria’s Oyo state, where she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).

Olunloyo, now a renowned journalist in Nigeria, was five-years-old when her family took her and her sister to visit an old man, who made the two girls lay on his laps “and then cut part of our vagina and clitoral area off.”

Nearly 50 years later, memories of the encounter that would leave an indelible mark in Olunloyo’s life are still vivid in her mind.

“There was no anaesthetic and a sharp razor blade was used. I remember my sister and I screaming afterwards. We went home bleeding in diapers and, for a week, it was like we were little girls with menstrual periods. My mom was bathing us and diapering us. Deep down, mom was not happy for some reason,” Olunloyo told IBTimes UK.

After years of resentment towards her mother, Olunloyo finally confronted her in 2012. “She burst into tears telling me that our late paternal grandmother ordered my dad to have us do it,” she explained.

“This tradition is over 70-years-old. Our grandmother was a traditional Muslim woman who dictated many rules to her young son, my dad.”

Lifelong repercussions

Some women and girls who undergo FGM, have their entire genitalia cut and “sewn closed.”

Olunloyo’s genitalia were only partially removed, meaning she did not experience difficulties while giving birth.

However, the psychological and physical consequences of the mutilation still linger in her life.

“Calling it an operation is nothing. It was a cultural barbaric act used to decrease the female libido. It caused me post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for life,” she said.

“I don’t experience orgasm during sex and when I tried to promote the use of sex toys among Nigerian women, men started attacking me saying I was discouraging African women ‘from the real thing’.

“Sex is not important. I have no libido or urge to have sex and I’ve been celibate for 10 years. Millions of women in Nigeria go through this, but they cannot talk or be outspoken like me. It is shameful and a disgrace to them,” she continued.

“Many women say they fake orgasms and others have husbands who go out to prostitutes and girlfriends. FGM has destroyed marriages here.”

On the practice and prevalence of FMG in Nigeria, she said

“Oyo state still practices it . Only the Ijebus people across the Yorubaland where I am from in Nigeria don’t do it at all.”

“My message to girls who have been through it is to stay strong and get into support groups. I would like to be a UN Ambassador and travel around Africa forming support groups in communities and educating girls about sex education the right way, instead of cutting part of their genitals off causing a lifelong traumatic problem,” she concluded.

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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.

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New Cannabis Strain Designed to Help Women Orgasm

It’s well-known that cannabis can have an aphrodisiac effect on the consumer, but there’s a new strain on the California cannabis market that the original grower claims is specifically designed to enhance the sexual experience of women, and even help them achieve orgasm.

The strain is called Sexxpot and grower Karyn Wagner developed it. Sexxpot’s parent strain is Mr. Nice, which has a solid reputation for offering sensual, aphrodisiac effects. Mr. Nice comes from two popular strains – G13 and Hash Plant.

Wagner’s goal was to take the best sex-enhancing characteristics of Mr. Nice and figure out how to intensify those feelings. Sexxpot was the result of Wagner and her company brainstorming about how to take Mr. Nice and develop it into Ms. Even Nicer.

Wagner and her crew claim to have succeeded with this goal, offering a unique selling point on the Sexxpot strain. A strain allegedly designed to help women orgasm is sure to see steady market growth.

It might seem counterintuitive, but Sexxpot has a relatively low THC level of 14 percent. Wagner thinks that since the strain has less THC that it may actually be a better for improving sex as opposed to the heavy hitters.

The thought process is that lower THC could be just enough to heighten the senses while still relaxing and removing inhibitions. A high THC strain, or especially a dab, could leave the occasional toker on the couch. Sexxpot is still predominantly indica, tending to lean towards more intense body highs. Wagner and her team wanted to make sure that this strain wasn’t so strong that users ended up spaced out before they were even able to get into bed.

Sexxpot is only available in California for now, but as the market continues to grow – and the strain’s popularity continues to rise – that will likely change. This particular approach to a strain is one of the many interesting ones that growers, entrepreneurs and other cannabis professionals have thought of. It is a hint towards the future of cannabis – specific strains designed for very specific things.

Is Sexxpot truly the first of its kind, or do you know of any other strains designed with similar intentions? What strains have you found that help your sex life? Let us know in the comments.

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It's not that it would be terribly difficult to manufacture Sarin nerve gas. The small Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult produced loads of it for attacks in Japan in the early 1990's. It's just that medieval Arabs are too stupid to handle it. They can't even do mustard gas for which the recipes are on the Internet. That saves European cities.

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A world of nose jobs and tummy tucks

Trends in cosmetic procedures may vary globally depending on ethnic preferences, but the fundamentals of health and beauty are universal

RACONTEUR

Some 20 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures were performed worldwide in 2014, according to latest figures from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) which has more than 2,700 certified surgeons in 95 countries. Not a huge surprise that it was women who committed to the knife, needle and beam, with ISAPS reporting more than 17 million cosmetic surgeries globally, representing 86.3 per cent of the total. For non-surgical cosmetic procedures, Botox was top of the list for both men and women.

So what is everyone having done? Breast augmentation has the highest global tally among women, with liposuction second and eyelid reduction (blepharoplasty) the most popular surgery for men.

Women are opting for ‘mummy makeovers’, where two or three cosmetic surgery procedures are performed in one operation

North America still leads the way with more than four million procedures carried out every year. An American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) 2014 survey showed 286,254 breast augmentations were performed. And 24.7 per cent of all Botox procedures in the world are in America.

Is the choice of procedures determined by geography? “What women and men are looking for in terms of cosmetic surgery does vary according to where they live,” says Martha McCully, an American beauty expert and founding beauty director of Allure magazine. “In New York City, youth-enhancing cosmetic surgery is popular. The standard is an eye lift performed in the doctor’s office, or neck or breast lift.” Ms McCully adds that there are “tribes” of different looks across the United States. “So if the look in Manhattan Beach, California, is to have perky but not large breasts, then there will be an awful lot of 40-somethings getting similar implants,” she says. “Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu seem to show it off a little more than New Yorkers, in my opinion. On the Upper East Side of New York, if women don’t work but they want to maintain a look, they are going to the same surgeons for their eye lifts and breast lifts.”

On the other side of the world, there are a lot of people seeking non-surgical cosmetic solutions for sun damage and pigmentation problems, according to Shonagh Walker, a beauty journalist, based in Sydney. “Increasingly, women are opting for ‘mummy makeovers’, where two or three cosmetic surgery procedures are performed in one operation,” she says.

Globally we are now seeing the influence of new technologies and procedures, along with social and cultural influences, that have led to particular trends emerging. Iranians want rhinoplasty, Brazilians go for buttock enhancements, Germany has the most penile enlargement surgeries worldwide and in South Korea there is a trend to have a baby face combined with a womanly body (so-called bagel girls – baby faced and glamorous). And it is worth noting that more than a third of South Korean 20-somethings have had a cosmetic procedure of some sort.

Cosmetic surgery expert Wendy Lewis, who advises clients worldwide on cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures, says: “The internet is the great beauty equaliser for research, but ethnic traits are considered to be beautiful. In South Korea women look to reduce their cheekbones, using Botox to create a slimmer jaw line; in China women use Botox to reduce the circumference of their calves and in Japan nasal implants are still popular.”

UK consultant plastic surgeon Simon Withey adds: “Twenty years ago it seemed there was a strong tendency for patients to request ‘Westernisation’ of features. Now patients are much more likely to identify with someone with similar ethnicity, but whose features they prefer to their own.”

Consultant plastic surgeon and founder of London clinic Cadogan Cosmetics, Bryan Mayou, who performed the first liposuction procedure in the UK 32 years ago at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, says he sees global patterns.

“There is a pattern and it changes not just on cultural grounds, but also on grounds of availability,” he says. “If a new procedure becomes available then people think they have a problem. For example, when it comes to using fillers in lips people didn’t realise they had small lips until there was a means of making them fuller.

“In terms of different nationalities, the Iranians in my view have splendid large, refined noses and look aristocratic, but many of them want a hump reduced. Middle Eastern men are more concerned now with their looks and want eyelifts, plus they tend to be pot-bellied and want liposuction.

“With my female Indian patients, the abdomen is bared in their clothing so that becomes a focus with many wanting liposuction. I see a lot of Russian girls who want bits of liposuction and breast surgery – many are newly divorced so they come in to get their confidence back. We also get a few Chinese clients who say they don’t trust Chinese surgeons.”

In terms of procedures worldwide, Brazil is second after the US. Buttock augmentation (gluteoplasty) is a national obsession and of the 319,960 procedures performed globally in 2013, 63,925 were by Brazilian surgeons, according to ISAPS. They even have a beauty contest called Miss BumBum and procedures are tax deductible based upon their ability to enhance mental and physical wellbeing. The public are intrigued by what their favourite star may or may not have had done

South Korea is ranked as having the highest number of cosmetic surgery procedures per capita globally. Double eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is popular to create bigger and wider eyes. Jaw reshaping and rhinoplasty is also sought after. Cosmetic surgery clinics in Seoul have names such as Small Face, Wannabe and Magic Nose.

Germany has perhaps the most surprising cosmetic surgery trend with ISAPS figures showing 2,786 penis enlargement treatments were performed in 2013, which was significantly more than in any other country. Venezuela was second with just 473 procedures.

Tehran is often cited as the world’s “nose job capital” and in 2014 Iran was among countries with the highest number of rhinoplasty procedures per capita globally. “Around 200,000 rhinoplasties are performed every year in Iran, with a view to create a dainty slightly up-turned tip,” says Sultan Hassan, medical director of Elite Surgical. “It is almost regarded as an indicator of elevated social status with documented accounts of patients wearing their nasal splints long after the week recommended.”

But recently state-run Iranian television announced it wouldn’t use actors in films and TV shows if it was obvious they had undergone cosmetic surgery. However, according to Mr Hassan: “The public are intrigued by what their favourite star may or may not have had done. There is a relation between socio-economic affluence and celebrity media awareness with demand for cosmetic surgery.”

Cosmetic surgery adviser Ms Lewis concludes that despite some regional variations, the basics of what is considered attractive do not differ that much globally. “Healthy, even toned skin is considered beautiful no matter where you live,” she says. “Plus, women everywhere are still bothered about carrying extra weight on their tummies, waist, hips and thighs. For men, it is always more about good hair and a slim waistline.

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The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, the first thing you spend it on, is independence.

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