Saturday, November 30, 2002.
What now for liberals and Democrats? Exactly what does this past election mean for the left? While progressives have complained for years that the Democratic Party isn't liberal enough, 54% of Democrats say the party too left of center. Where exactly does that leave us? Are we to conclude that America is simply not ready for a progressive agenda? That most progressives simply do not identify as Democrats? That the polls are flawed? One thing is for certain: if Democrats want to win, they must create a clearly alternative to Republicans with a solid plan for change. In his open letter to Nacy Pelosi Todd Gitlin provides some advice for balancing these concerns. Meanwhile: Al Gore and John Kerry have come out swinging.
What can you do to encourage the use of clean energy? One simple thing you can do is offset your power consumption by buying clean energy. I completely offset my home electrical use for only $10 a month. This doesn't necessarily mean that all the power in my apartment is coming from clean energy, but it does mean that an equal amount is being purchased and used in place of fossil fuels somewhere.
How U.S. Think Tanks Interact With The Military: "RAND operates three DOD-sponsored, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). . . . Over time, RAND developed complementary lines of research for the Army, as well as for other federal clients such as the intelligence community. And the DOD steadily increased the number and diversity of its external sources of research, also using others in the growing world of 'think tanks' such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Brookings Institution."
Amnesty Says Two Chinese Internet Users Were Executed: "Foreign companies, including Websense and Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft have reportedly provided important technology which helps the Chinese authorities censor the Internet. Nortel Networks along with some other international firms are reported to be providing China with the technology which will help it shift from filtering content at the international gateway level to filtering content of individual computers, in homes, Internet cafes, universities and businesses."
Friday, November 29, 2002.
A XMAS CAROL
On the twelfth day of fascism
John Ashcroft gave to me
Twelve digital implants
Eleven years protesting
Ten less amendments
Nine internment camps
Eight surveillance cameras
Seven TIPsters tipping
Six snoops a-sniffing
Four airport friskings
Two detained Muslims
And a Department of Homeland Security
Another Century of War?
A foreign policy that is both immoral and unsuccessful is not simply stupid, it is increasingly dangerous to those who practice or favor it. That is the predicament that the United States now confronts.
A recent post to the invaluable nettime-l mailing list linked to this fascinating read. Before clicking on the link, try to guess the author's identity from the below:
The Clinton administration would like the Federal government to have the capability to read any international or domestic computer communications. The FBI wants access to decode, digest, and discuss financial transactions, personal e-mail, and proprietary information sent abroad -- all in the name of national security. To accomplish this, President Clinton would like government agencies to have the keys for decoding all exported U.S. software and Internet communications.
Don't think I saw Lummox Taranto, Chuck Johnson, and their unoriginal followers - all deploying the "Our Friends the Saudis" headline with wearying regularity - link to this one. Some quotes:
"We're treating all Saudis as if they're terrorists. Our inability to distinguish between who is a friend and an enemy turns everyone into an enemy. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy."
"Does that mean one must leave the Republican Party in order to fight for liberty? Maybe so..."
Thursday, November 28, 2002.
American Indians Hold Thanksgiving Day of Mourning: "The greatest single acts of terrorism to date were not perpetrated by Osama bin Laden, but by the US military when it dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
Shhh! American Prisoners Being Held In Afghanistan: "Guerrillas have captured five more American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is an extension to the list of 40 American soldiers who have been missing for more than a year now." (via LibertyThink)
Wednesday, November 27, 2002.
Kissinger named to head 9/11 probe
"Dr. Kissinger will bring broad experience, clear thinking and careful judgment to this important task," Bush said at a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. "Mr. secretary, thank you for returning to the service of your nation."
And the comedy award winner is...
Not, but here's something so silly and juvenile I thought it'd never get a mention elsewhere, yet it did - a Stand Down post mentions this really stupid joke which, depending on how you like stupid jokes, can be funny, or simply idiotic, or both, but I thought it was clear enough the joke was precisely on the peace movement, not the reverse. I mean, after all, they do have a point. The levels of inefficacy that current "opposition" to anything our governments decide has sunken to are something close to what the site suggests, indeed... No particular reference, just a sad fact of life in western democracies as of November 2002.
There's always a risk of self-congratulatory pats on the back among even the best-intentioned protest movements. The efficacy of protests doesn't depend on their nature or scope alone, seen as public opinion is not that relevant to political decisions of the highest order like, indeed, wars, or economic policies. The strongest effect of lack of popular support for war, as detected by polls, is usually of forcing the war-posse governments to supply slightly stronger justifications to press their case (hopefully not involving the expectation of new attacks...). I know that sounds cynical, but it's true. That doesn't devalue the right to protest itself, seen as it's one of the foundations of democracy (elections were granted as a foundation of our political system only after riots and people demanding the right to vote - nevermind that voting has become a more limited choice than what was contemplated in Henry Ford's motto "customers can buy cars in any colour they like, provided it's black" ).
Still, in practice, protesting today has become a waste of time, unless one is focused on very precise, very specific and possibly local issues. How can you protest against "globalization", for instance? Try protesting against the local factories disregarding environment protection laws and it's more likely to succeed. It also makes more sense. War is also a local issue, in that every government planning to join the military effort on Iraq is going to devolve huge funds to that support, taking them away from other sectors of public investment that might be more necessary. So, fair enough to protest against it. But what about the rest? Why are there no huge protest movements when the issues are not related to US intervention, or the military? Why are so many people ready to criticize the hypocrisy of dressing a war for oil in terms of "exporting democracy" but spend so little effort checking how pipeline projects are being implemented in ways that betray all existing laws and established conventions, not to mention human rights and environmental principles? Check this for instance:
A consortium of corporations taking over the laws - that's even more worrying a possibility than the US bypassing international conventions and agreements to wage a unilateral war. Shouldn't it deserve the same if not even more attention? I'm not aiming at anything here, and the primary responsibility for lack of information on these issues is obviously at the mainstream media level. But just a thought for well-intentioned protesters worldwide: the side-issues sometimes are even more relevant than the bigger picture.
Marion "Pat" Robertson, pastor of the warblogging flock, continues to draw wild generalizations, saying that Muslims "want to kill the Jews and they also consider America the Great Satan, and they want to kill us. It's just that simple," though he later said that he "knew plenty of Muslims who were lovers of peace," thus unambiguously contradicting himself.
In an earlier Washington Times piece, Robertson reported regretting George W. Bush's pronouncement of Islam as "a religion of peace," saying of Bush that "He is not elected as chief theologian," obvious as Bush wasn't properly elected at all.
In an interview with CNN's Martin Savidge, Robertson then revealed his lack of familiarity with both doctrinal Christianity and practical Islam, and clarified that his exception was not so much with the "President's" phrasing as with the Koran itself.
Some days earlier a prominent idiot offered his support to Robertson, the letter offering same was then posted to Robertson's website, presumably to suggest that the business community likewise is ignorant of and prejudiced against Islam.
Yet Pat, Ralph Reed, and the Christian Coalition are as popular as ever, both in America and
Tuesday, November 26, 2002.
Restore access to information
...by volunteering incriminating information to the government under Homeland Security provisions, companies will be shielded from an inquisitive public. Officials at nuclear power plants, for example, could keep information about safety flaws from the public by providing it to the government. Never mind that an unknowing public might be at greater risk of an accident or faulty work than from terrorists.
Too much information is too much power
The bill also imposes sharp penalties against whistleblowers: A federal employee who releases secret information could face up to a year in prison. A spokesman for the ACLU called the House language "a disaster for the public's right to know."
Would You Like Corruption With Your Radioactive Waste?
Act surprised: "Congressional investigators on Tuesday were weighing a demand from Nevada’s senators that they look into allegations of fraud and abuse at Yucca Mountain — the site of the nation’s future nuclear waste repository. The senators, both opponents of storing the radioactive waste in Nevada, said new statements by whistleblowers suggest 'serious defects in the scientific process' used to pick Yucca as a storage site."
American Gulf War Veterans Association Calls for Rumsfeld Resignation
Sung to the tune: "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands"
If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy,
If the corporate scandals growin', bomb Iraq.
And your ties to them are showin', bomb Iraq.
If the smoking gun ain't smokin'
We don't care, and we're not jokin'.
That Saddam will soon be croakin',
Even if we have no allies, bomb Iraq.
From the sand dunes to the valleys, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections;
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
While the globe is slowly warming, bomb Iraq.
Yay! the clouds of war are storming, bomb Iraq.
If the ozone hole is growing,
Some things we prefer not knowing.
(Though our ignorance is showing),
So here's one for dear old daddy, bomb Iraq,
From his favorite little laddy, bomb Iraq.
Saying no would look like treason.
It's the Hussein hunting season.
Even if we have no reason,
Monday, November 25, 2002.
Bush signs Homeland Security bill
President Bush signed legislation Monday creating a new Department of Homeland Security devoted to preventing domestic terror attacks. He promised it "will focus the full resources of the American government on the safety of the American people." The president picked Tom Ridge as the department's first secretary.
Bush's signature launched the most sweeping federal reorganization since the Defense Department's birth in 1947, a process that his spokesman said could take up to two years to complete.
"Behind public preparations for an invasion, British and American aircraft are destroying Iraq's air defences while covert groups of special forces are training Kurdish fighters and preparing equipment."
Sunday, November 24, 2002.
Famed Primatologist Declares Bush Administration a Bunch of Damn Dirty Apes!
The Bush Administration has been accused of being many things ever since it started the War on Terror , and now it looks like yet another colorful description can be added to the list : that they are nothing more than a bunch of hairless apes, specifically chimpanzees. That is , if a recent comparison between the Bush Administration and chimpanzees by famed primatologist Richard Wrangham, author of 1996's Demonic Males is to be believed.
One wonders: if you, say 2 or 3 years ago had wanted a make a bet on Bob Barr -- of all the people: that Bob Barr -- becoming a consultant for the ACLU -- what odds would you have made? Yet, here it is:
Defeated G.O.P. Congressman to Be Consultant for A.C.L.U.
Bellona Times No, the goal of Total Information Awareness is to help the administration follow its real vocation: maintaining political power through hypocrisy; that is, through a combination of personal secrecy and public libel. The Bush family relies on confidential deals, insider trading, erased records, and so on, while the far-right Republican Party has proven to its own satisfaction that any criticism of their policies can be deflected by launching non-sequitur counterattacks on their critics. Intelligence agencies -- "I know everything about you; you know nothing about me" -- are the coziest nests for such rodents.
Saturday, November 23, 2002.
US bank in hot water after telling clients to pull out of unionised firms
Describing pension plans as "toxic" for shareholders, the analysts argue that union firms are more likely to provide retirement and healthcare benefits that could eat into corporate profits.
"Rigidity in labour costs, processes and pension requirements, while perhaps beneficial to employees, may prove toxic to shareholders," the note says.
onegoodmove "There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community."
OSCAR WILDE, The Critic as Artist, 1891
Friday, November 22, 2002.
Guerrilla News Network - Vaccine Nation
Stephen Marshall, November 20, 2002
In what is shaping up to be one of the most draconian weeks since the Bush Administration took power, Tuesday’s Senate ratification of the Homeland Security Act leaves little doubt that corporate interests have a major stake in the post-9/11 re-engineering of American law.
Girl harassed at high school for wearing "Free Palestine" shirt
An Arab-American student at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School said she was frisked by a school security guard this week after wearing a "Free Palestine" T-shirt and a Palestinian flag pin to class.
Yusra Awawdeh, 16, told the Daily News yesterday she was humiliated when the guard yanked her from Spanish class Tuesday and took her into a dean's office.
Yusra, an American of Palestinian descent, said a female school safety officer patted her down and told her to remove her shoes and socks while a female dean looked on.
The student said she was told to empty her pockets and that the guard also checked to see if she was hiding anything around her abdomen.
Thursday, November 21, 2002.
Christian Coalition Plans Massive Pro-Israel Rallies Across U.S.
Also known as the "Let's-Expedite-The-Second-Coming-Which-Entails-Death-Or-Xtian-Conversion-For-All-Of-The-Aforementioned-Jews-Plan." Also available as a fine dinette set. Buy yours now and don't get left behind!
Jose Bove gets sentenced to 14 months in jail for destroying two fields of gm crops. I can still picture him standing on top of a stopped bus in the middle of a halted intersection in downtown Seattle, the day before November 30, 1999, surrounded by an outbreak of fleshy democracy. Jose Bove is a living folk hero, and not only that--he's an internationally-recognized living folk hero. Globalize genuine folk heroes! Long live Jose Bove!
Wednesday, November 20, 2002.
Judge wants to give RTF webmaster12 months in prison
JUDGE REJECTS PLEA FOR RAISETHEFIST.COM, SHERMAN AUSTIN
Raisethefist.com, Sherman Austin went to court on Monday, Sept 30th to plead guilty to felony: 18 U.S.C. 842 (p)(2)(A): DISTRIBUTION OF INFORMATION RELATING TO EXPLOSIVES, DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES, AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION WITH THE INTENT THAT SUCH INFORMATION BE USED IN FURTHERANCE OF A FEDERAL CRIME OF VIOLENCE.
The plea bargain was to give Austin a felony conviction with 1 month in jail, 5 months in a half-way home and 3 years supervised release. As the prosecutor read the factual basis of the plea agreement in court, Judge Wilson immediately turned defiant, saying 1 month in jail was not acceptable. He expressed that posting such information regardless of any intent should be illegal, (this of course completely disregarding the 1st amendment and the thousands of NON-ANARCHIST web sites which distribute bomb making instructions), stating that the offense is too serious for Austin to serve only 1 month in jail. Judge Wilson argued that Austin should serve more than 12 months, even though the sentencing is between 6-12 months for Austin's criminal history category under violation 18 U.S.C. 842.The judge also attempted to make Austin out as a terrorist, saying he didn't care how old he was, that his political philosophy behind his reasons of posting the information made it a very serious federal offense, with the intent that the information be used for malicious destruction at international events of foreign commerce.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002.
Zapatista leader Marcos breaks silence
Marcos wrote that some Zapatista sympathizers "are carrying out autonomy and resistance ... against us," in a letter that was published Monday by the newspaper La Jornada, and reportedly delivered by Zapatista representative Fernando Yanez.
He also referred to "the disorganized rebellions we are suffering in the EZLN," the formal name of the movement that rose up in the southern state of Chiapas to demand greater Indian rights.
In a somewhat more bitter tone than his past statements, Marcos which insulted all of Mexico's main political parties, left and right.
"The federal government and the Chiapas government say 'the Zapatistas are finished,' when the only thing that's running out for the Zapatistas is their patience."
The City of the Dead - Part 2
From Aron, former Israeli soldier and current peaceblogger. As mentioned on this blog earlier this week, it is important for everyone to remember that Jews and Israelis are often at the forefront of the peace movement in the Middle East. These people need to be supported to the fullest, as they often face the harshest possible reactions because of their interest in negotation, peace, and understanding. This first person account of being a soldier in Hebron is illuminating as it underscores the divisions in Israeli society between the ultra-extreme settlers (especially the Hebron settlers) and the rank-and-file Israeli soldier who probably just wants to get home and carry on with his life. More great essays, links and more at Aron's Israel Blog.
Monday, November 18, 2002.
Let's go back to the future and the question of whether this new "crusade" will again be the testing ground of bleeding-edge (sick) technologies. Iraq: World's First Scalar War?
"In what is called an "exothermic mode" the howitzers (a Tesla Howitzer) can cause a blast of heat at the interference zone, an explosion of near-nuclear proportions. It could topple buildings and cause other destruction. Or it could be set wide and heat the atmosphere in that region. Or it could be set to simply destroy all electronics in that interference (target) zone, or to destroy the hubs of the electric power grids of a very wide area. Although it seems unbelievable, the actual energy of the blast is not traveling through space to hit the target, but actually being made to emerge from the local vacuum in the interference (target) zone."
War or no war, fly zone or no fly zone, UN or no UN: international laws of contradiction
Just time to pass a resolution, send inspectors, and voilà, Iraq 'breaching UN resolution'. Quick and painless. If only wars were really like that. Short and to the point, exactly like UN resolutions are. Or, rather, not... The safe stage of "multilateral" action has been set, but it's really no more than a show, when the room for interpretation has been left limitless. And especially when the very first "breach!" cry comes not from inspections - which haven't even started yet - but from something that may or may not be contemplated in the Security Council decisions. The space occupied by that "or" includes everything from total invasion to continuation of the air-strikes that have been offered to Iraqis as complimentary gifts of western democracy for the past ten years.
As a short reminder that war on Iraq has never really stopped since 1991, so it can't really start again (how about that for complicating further the knots of what remains of "international law", by now conveniently tangled up in a huge bundle of hypocrisy that, as usual, only bombs can untie), here's a quick overview of the issue with the no fly zones. If you don't get bored/sick/tired of the usual justifications, counter-justifications, sophisms and "humanitarian" excuses, especially those regarding civilian casualties. Take your pick:
...the no-fly zones were not authorised by the United Nations and they are not specifically sanctioned by any Security Council resolution...
See how useful is the UN when you need a "legal position"? You can get any resolution to mean exactly anything you like. Don't you just wish it worked like that for your tax returns, but no, on that sort of thing, the laws are usually overly precise.
Ford connived in junta abductions
The car giant Ford is being investigated over claims that it allowed the military junta to abduct workers from one of its factories in Argentina.
A former Ford worker has claimed that company directors in the South American country allowed 25 union members to be seized by the army during the 1970s. Workers, who were held for a year, claim they were beaten and taunted with execution by their captors.
Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral is now investigating the accusations made by 61-year-old Pedro Norberto Troiani, who was one of those abducted.
According to Troiani, executives of Ford’s Argentinian operation allowed soldiers to move freely inside the General Pacheco plant, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the run-up to the 1976 military coup led by General Jorge Videla.
He claims that on the day the military grabbed power, a number of workers were seized and held in a shed in the grounds of the factory, Ford’s largest in Argentina.
Troiani told the court that after the coup "two or three more disappeared each day". He added: "The soldiers grabbed people and threw them into trucks belonging to Ford."
Commenting on the allegations against Ford, prosecutor Felix Crous said: "There was a great deal of hate in this society. After the coup, witnesses say the directors of the company were festive. They joked and teased the workers that from then on there would be no more workers’ rights debates."
A NY Times article A Snooper's Dream (sign in required) give more information about Total Information Awareness
"The program, known as Total Information Awareness, is a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which helped develop the Internet and a host of cutting-edge military technologies. It is run by John Poindexter, the retired Navy rear admiral who was Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and, in that capacity, helped devise the plan to sell arms to Iran and illegally divert the proceeds to the rebels in Nicaragua. Sentenced to six months in jail for lying to Congress (a conviction later overturned on appeal), the admiral was never particularly contrite about his deceit, asserting at one point that it was his duty to withhold information from the American people."
"Mr. Poindexter is pursuing a scheme he thought up right after 9/11 and then sold to the Bush administration."
I've read many things in my search for what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Nothing I've read has affected me quite like this piece. I have just posted the end of this essay. It's a must read.
Living with the Holocaust: The Journey of a Child of Holocaust Survivors
In the context of Jewish existence today, what does it mean to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel? Does it mean preserving a Jewish demographic majority through any means and continued Jewish domination of the Palestinian people and their land? What is the narrative that we as a people are creating, and what kind of voice are we seeking? What sort of meaning do we as Jews derive from the debasement and humiliation of Palestinians? What is at the center of our moral and ethical discourse? What is the source of our moral and spiritual legacy? What is the source of our redemption? Has the process of creating and rebuilding ended for us?
thanks to Electronic Intifida
It's instructive to look at the Palestinian's attack in Hebron Friday night. The Israeli government tried to make it look like an attack on civilians during the Sabbath while, in fact, it was purely a military attack. An attack that is entirely legal and justified. The Nazis, at the Nuremburg war crime trials, tried to justify their destruction of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto; they were fighting Jewish terrorists; they were only maintaining order. The Tribunal thought otherwise. It established that those being opressed under a military occupation had every right to resist. The Palestinians were only doing the same thing as the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto — fighting for their freedom.
The actions of the right-wing Israeli government and settlers only show how far they have slid into this ugliest of racist barbarism. They scurry around trying to make the situation even worse in order to carry out their morally depraved plans.
It could be easy to paint all Jews and Israelis with this paint brush. Just don't forget that some of the most impassioned voices crying against this outrage are Jewish.
Israel falsely claims "massacre" of "worshippers" in Hebron
News media and public officials did not wait for the full story to emerge before jumping to the conclusion that Jewish "worshippers" had been killed in a Palestinian ambush in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday. In fact, those killed were all Israeli soldiers and armed paramilitary settlers
Fear and loathing in Hebron
Amira Hass hears about the travails of Arab residents and finds herself exposed to settler wrath.
Every weekend, including this past Friday, at around 5 P.M., soldiers take up positions on the roof of the home of Hussam Jaber in Wadi Nasara in the eastern part of Hebron. The three-story home is located on a narrow street that turns southward from the "worshipers' way" from the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The entire wadi, the hills that surround it, the houses of the neighborhood, the grapevines and the olive and peach groves spread beneath the roof like a relief map.
A catastrophic response
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday joined the demands of the Hebron and Kiryat Arba settlers when he spoke of the need for territorial continuity between Kiryat Arba and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Putting Palestinian "Terrorism" into Perspective
Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti, General Secretary of Fatah on the West Bank and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wrote earlier this year to the Washington Post, "Want Security? End the Occupation."
Sunday, November 17, 2002.
90 Arrested at Army Base Protest
More than 90 people, including at least six nuns, were arrested for marching onto Fort Benning grounds Sunday during an annual protest of a U.S. military program that trains Latin American soldiers.
feel anger at the deliberate teaching of violence," Caryl Hartjes, a nun from Fondulac, Wis., said as she entered the compound, where she arrested.
About 6,500 protesters gathered for the 13th annual demonstration by the School of the Americas Watch, which continues to protest the Nov. 19, 1989, killings of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador. Protesters said they demonstrate because people responsible for the killings were trained at the School of the Americas, a Fort Benning-based program that was replaced last year by a new institute. Protesters say the change was only cosmetic.
Israel rejects black Hebrews as Jews
Calling themselves the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, their origins are rooted in their charismatic leader, Ben Ammi Ben Israel. Ben Ammi, who was a foundry worker named Ben Carter in Chicago, had a vision in 1966 that his African ancestors were descended from one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.
Since 30 disciples followed him to Israel in 1969, the community has established many celebrated professional gospel choirs and R&B singing troupes, sent their Hebrew-speaking offspring to Israeli universities and even represented the country in the annual European-wide Eurovision Song Contest.
Israeli authorities reject the claims that the black Hebrews are authentic Jews, and have insisted in vain that they convert to Judaism so they can be recognized as full citizens. The native-born members are as stateless as their immigrant parents and the grandchildren of the original founders might not even be eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Update: Israelis, Palestinians spar over Hebron "massacre"
Palestinians on Sunday blasted Israel for describing as "a massacre" a militant ambush that killed 12 soldiers and security men in Israeli-occupied Hebron, saying the world had rushed to judgment as a result.
Unarmed civilians were not among the dead in Friday night's attack on Israeli forces who had just escorted Jewish settlers home from Sabbath eve prayers, but the "massacre" report spread fast from the Foreign Ministry of Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Massacre" allegations have boomeranged against Palestinians too in the propaganda war shadowing the bloodshed on the ground.
The Price of Freedom
In a newsweek article about Bob Woodward's new book In the War Room Evan Thomas writes:
In the war in Afghanistan last fall, the United States bought off more enemy fighters than it killed. In one case, the CIA offered $50,000 to a Taliban warlord to defect. When the commander asked for time to think about it, a Special Forces A Team laser-guided a JDAM precision bomb to explode next door to his headquarters. The next day the CIA man called the commander back with a new offer. How about $40,000? This time the commander said yes.
Saturday, November 16, 2002.
the shitstorm cometh
America prepares to light the Iraqi fuse, Middle Eastern powder keg prepares to explode
by Geov Parrish
This is a war with the most clearly imperial aims of any major global conflict in a generation; the Bush Administration proposes to redraw Asia's maps to America's lasting economic, political, and military advantage. But once you start proposing to erase international boundaries, a funny thing happens: other people also start thinking about where to redraw them. And as developments suggest this week from Jordan to Kabul to whichever phone booth bin Laden is dropping rupees from, a number of people are already doing more than just thinking.
Iraqi army is tougher than US believes
The US claims a war against Saddam would be quick. Wrong, says analyst Toby Dodge, the conflict could be long and bloody
If Mr Bush orders US troops to invade Iraq to topple the regime, it will not only be the most important and risky decision of his presidency, but a momentous event in world politics. The only thing certain about it is that it will not be as simple as Mr Rumsfeld says.
Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War
The United States is marching, two steps forward and one step backward, toward war with Iraq. The Bush administration has articulated its reasons for war, but has produced no official estimates of the costs. Although cost estimates are often ignored when war is debated, most people recognize that the costs in dollars, and especially in blood, are acceptable only as long as they are low. If the estimates of American casualties mount to the thousands, if the costs to the economy are major tax increases or a deep recession, or if the United States becomes a pariah in the world because of callous attacks on civilian populations, then decision-makers in the White House and the Congress might not post so expeditiously to battle.
Waiting on a Countervailing Force
Europe Versus America
by Edward Said
Certainly Europe generally and Britain in particular have a much larger and more demographically significant Muslim population, whose views are part of the debate about war in the Middle East and against terrorism. So discussion of the upcoming war against Iraq tends to reflect their opinions and their reservations a great deal more than in America, where Muslims and Arabs are already considered to be on the "other side", whatever that may mean. And being on the other side means no less than supporting Saddam Hussein and being "un- American". Both of these ideas are abhorrent to Arab and Muslim- Americans, but the idea that to be an Arab or Muslim means blind support of Saddam and Al-Qa'eda persists nonetheless. (Incidentally, I know no other country where the adjective "un" is used with the nationality as a way of designating the common enemy. No one says unSpanish or unChinese: these are uniquely American confections that claim to prove that we all "love" our country. How can one actually "love" something so abstract and imponderable as a country anyway?).
Revenge of a Child
By Uri Avnery
So what makes them do these things? What makes other Palestinians justify them?
Rabbi in Hebron Says Annihilation of Non-Jews Acceptable
A prominent Israeli rabbi with thousands of followers said during a Sabbath homily in the settlement in Kiryat Arba'a Saturday that halacha, or Jewish religious law, "essentially supported the annihilation of non-Jews in Israel."
A Conversation on Israel and Palestine
Sharon's Last Option: Build a Wall So Tall Even Birds Can't Fly Over
Byrne: How has it come to this, Martin... how is it that the mighty Israeli army--one of the world's most powerful -- with its helicopter gunships, with its tanks, with it's missiles, can be losing to this relatively small, relatively under-armed if fanatical group of Palestinians?
Transfer's Real Nightmare
Fighting the W. Bank harvest of hatred
In the olive groves: Zionist immigrants protect Palestinians from Zionist settlers
As Settlers Pray for the Dead, Israel Weighs Retaliation
Contrary to its front page coverage of today, the New York Times online now portrays the attack in Hebron (denounced as an act of terrorism worldwide) as a military operation which killed 12 combatants, 9 military and 3 armed settler security guards. According the Times, the first "Bullets smashed into the armored jeep, fracturing its bullet-proof glass. Hearing the gunshots, guards from Kiryat Arba raced down the hill...into a wall of gunfire."
"In a very practical sense, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were a tremendous success. September 11, 2001 dramatically advanced the agenda of a tiny group of radicals who perceive that the only way to achieve their goals is by driving the worlds of Islam and Christianity into a cataclysmic confrontation. ", writes Ismail Royer, in "Who are the Radicals?". "These radicals are not just Muslims; they are Christians and Jews as well. Under examination, the ultimate goals of the radical pro-Israel fringe, extremist Christian fundamentalists, and Al Qaida are startlingly similar. The line between the camps becomes quite fuzzy, a subject that A True Word hopes to examine in future articles. "
Friday, November 15, 2002.
Penn rally backs action against Iraq
"I just hope this demonstration will let people know that college students aren't just hippie-type people who are all anti-war," Light said Thursday.
About 20 students gathered near the flagpole at the center of campus Thursday. Eventually nearly 40 people stood in the cold to listen.
British Empire blamed for modern conflicts
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the Balfour Declaration of 1917 - in which Britain pledged support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine - and the contradictory assurances given to Palestinians, were not entirely honourable.
"The Balfour declaration and the contradictory assurances which were being given to Palestinians in private at the same time as they were being given to the Israelis - again, an interesting history for us, but not an honourable one," he said.
Mr Straw blamed many territorial disputes on the illogical borders created by colonial powers.
"The odd lines for Iraq's borders were drawn by Brits," he said.
No War? Think Again
Don't get too comfortable just because Saddam said yes to the U.N. weapons inspection resolution. Or should we say, Mr. Bush is not getting too comfortable, and we bet Saddam isn't either.
Just a quick look around the headlines make it pretty apparent that War is inevitable:
USA Today - Iraq: Failure to comply may spark invasion
Business Week - An Iraq Attack: The Odds Now
Sydney Morning Herald - wSplit emerges over what triggers war
CBS News - U.S. Warns Iraq: Don't 'Play Games'
Toronto Star - U.S. has doubts as Iraq allows checks
icWales - Bush Still Looks for Showdown
Canadian Globe and Mail - Deception won't be tolerated, Hussein warned
Fox News (there's a surprise!) - Rumsfeld: Saddam Would 'Like to See' Terrorist Attacks If U.S. Goes to War
Rather than reporting the news, these headlines seem to be preparing the world for an inevitable war (and the consequences of an increase in terrorists attacks during and afterwards).
Say your prayers to whatever God you believe in, folks.
Thursday, November 14, 2002.
Reports From a Tightrope
Palestinian journalist working for Israeli TV may have the toughest job in news media as his allegiance is questioned by both sides. One in an occasional series of stories about Israelis and Palestinians who defy divisions by the LA Times.
It's time to reassess Al-Qaeda, writes Charles Heyman of Jane's. However, I'm not so sure that his analysis really is a "reassessment", meaning a "different assessment". I haven't seen any credible evidence that Al-Qaeda is something other than what Heyman now thinks it is, so his "reassessment" looks more like support for earlier and similar assessments:
"Better now to look at Al-Qaeda as a cross between a merchant bank, providing venture capital for terrorist operations and a terrorist consultancy. Possibly 5,000 trained terrorists from Afghanistan are at large, and it is likely that they are infiltrating Muslim groups (many of these groups totally innocent) in a number of countries worldwide. These Al-Qaeda terrorists are almost certainly identifying the radical individuals who are likely candidates for future operations and adding terrorist expertise and operational value to these local groups."
Gary Snyder on Buddhist Anarchism: "No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets."
Hacktivists or Cyberterrorists? The Changing Media Discourse on Hacking
Especially after September 11, the national debate on the security of cyberspace has intensified. It has negatively influenced movements that rely on hacking (like hacktivism), or other anti-hegemonic forms of Internet use, such as free access, open source, or privacy protection. Hackers and online political activists are now forced to defend themselves against being labeled by the authorities as cyberterrorists.See also: Hacktivismo and CultDeadCow
Wednesday, November 13, 2002.
No War This Week
In a move devastating to Mr. Bush's chance to get some crude oil for his friends in the petroleum industry, Saddam Hussein said yes to the U.N. resolution demanding unconditional weapons inspections in Iraq.
"We hereby inform you that we will deal with Resolution 1441, despite its bad contents," said a letter from Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
We ourselves have had lunches with bad contents and know how difficult it is to digest. However, this pretty much puts any invasion plans on hold, at least for a week. Iraq's compliance, combined with the recent tape indicating that Osama bin Laden might still alive, would create active debate as to the advisability of focusing military might on an Iraq invasion, if the media were actually objective, and we weren't living in Bizarro World ("bin Laden am still alive! Then we am going after Hussein!").
Here's a nifty little piece of interactive cool stuff from CBSNews, showing things like the dates of inspections, world opinions, layout of our troops in the gulf, a who's who of hawks in DC, and an advertisement for the CBS Early Show.
However, as this little article from CNN shows, it's only a matter of waiting till Saddam does something Bush doesn't like:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the Bush Administration had not seen the letter -- but warned that if it contained "any false information or omissions, that would be considered a violation," of the resolution.
Does that include spelling errors? Saddam, there's no I-T after B-U-S-H!
George Catlin... Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears, Second Chief, in Full Dress (1832, oil). From George Catlin and His Indian Gallery at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "...When Catlin first traveled west in 1830, the United States Congress had just passed the Indian Removal Act, requiring Indians in the Southeast to resettle west of the Mississippi River. This vast forced migration - as well as smallpox epidemics and continuing incursions from trappers, miners, explorers, and settlers - created pressures on Indian cultures to adapt or perish. Seeing the devastation of many tribes, Catlin came to regard the frontier as a region of corruption. He portrayed the nobility of these still-sovereign peoples, but he was aware that he painted in sovereignty's twilight."
In the name of Fatah
When journalists report that a certain Palestinian group is an "armed wing of Fatah" (the movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat), what does that mean? Amira Hass writes in Ha'aretz about "Fatah's failure":
"... the senior and mid-level echelons of the Fatah don't have real control over those who pick up a gun in the name of Fatah. As opposed to the centralized decision-making processes in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement any three youngsters can join together, decide they are a military cell, and conduct this or that "operation" sometimes "responding" to a call by their leaders not to go over the Green Line, and sometimes going over the line. ..."
"... the Fatah leadership failed to create a clear and logical plan for an independence campaign when it became clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Israeli occupation was not coming to an end through pleasantries, because the PA found it difficult to give up the benefits of being a ruling movement under the auspices of Oslo. The Fatah leadership did not dare demand obedience of its people in the national liberation movement and prohibit methods that were "popular" because of their vengeance, but damaging in the long run, because Fatah's failure as a government disappointed most of the Palestinian people."
Tuesday, November 12, 2002.
A raw nerve?
Mr. Putin gets a wee bit touchy when grilled about the Russian policy towards Chechnya:
Get circumcised, angry Putin tells reporter
Monday, November 11, 2002.
A Moment for Those Fallen in Battle
Today is Armistice Day, better known as Veterans' Day, originally designed to honor those brave soldiers fallen on the battlefields of World War One, now expanded to include honoring all American soldiers from all times.
I come from a military family; my father, my aunt and uncle, my sister, and the men who married both my sisters have served in the armed forces. My father was on one the subs in Tokyo Bay when the surrender was signed on the USS Missouri. He was a pharmacists' mate on the sub in the Pacific throughout the war. I honor him, and I miss him greatly.
I have often maintained that the military is not the problem; it's the politicians who make the wars. The military are the ones that clean up the mess the politicians make.
Please take a moment to think of those who had died fighting for this country. Take a moment to think of those who, unless a miracle of miracle happens, will die on the sands of Iraq at a politician's behest.
And, in honor of Armistice Day, here are views on invading Iraq by some men and women who have actually served in our armed forces:
At Navy School in Monterey, Voices of Skepticism about Iraq War
When former Secretary of the navy James Webb gave a speech last Thursday at the naval postgraduate school in Monterey slamming the bush administration's threatened war with Iraq, an outsider might have expected the officers assembled there to give him a frosty reception. In fact, the opposite occurred. The respectful, admiring welcome he received gave an unusual, somewhat counterintuitive glimpse into the often- closed world of the U.S. military. Among the Naval postgraduate school's students and faculty, at least, it seems that independent, critical thinking is alive and well.
marine general speaks out against bush's war plans
i'm not convinced we need to do this now. i am convinced that we need to deal with saddam down the road, but i think that the time is difficult because of the conditions in the region and all the other events that are going on. i believe that he can be deterred and is containable at this moment. as a matter of fact, i think the containment can be ratcheted up in a way that is acceptable to everybody.
veterans comment on actions against iraq
you have to avoid war as much as possible because war is hell no matter how you look at it. there's no winner...i hate to see young people go to war...their lives get ruined, the lives of their families get ruined.
vets differ on war against iraq">veterans comment on action against iraq
we either get him disarmed or we get rid of him, one of the two...i know what it can do to mankind, and it isn't a pretty sight...i'm not for war, but if that's what it takes...a lot of families will be broken up. a lot of children will be left fatherless and motherless. i hope it doesn't come to war...
So, are you still hanging onto that hope that perhaps we might not go to war? Last week (Nov. 3) our local paper here in humid Raleigh NC had a job posting. Not just any job posting though. Please go here and read the letter that some thoughtful clearheaded individual wrote to the editor.
Sunday, November 10, 2002.
Eric Blair, at Warblogger Watch, notes that "Bill Quick is running a most bloodthirsty warblog contest. When I first started up WBW I would have been all over it, but now it just kind of seems desperate and sad. Here are a few highlights, my last word, unless one of these nuts goes postal and starts picking off brown people with a Bushmaster." Desperate and sad it may be, but I'm afraid it increasingly represents the mainstream. Reading some of the venom these pathetic ignorants are spouting serves to help us remember what kind of country we live in, if waking up painted blue all over last Wednesday morning hasn't already done it for you.
we didn't know women were a minority
california representative nancy pelosi has all but locked up the job of house minority leader.
her main competition to the job, martin frost, dropped out of the running and endorsed ms. pelosi on friday. this leaves only harold ford as her only challenger, but most feel that pelosi has secured enough votes for victory.
ms. pelosi will replace dick gephardt, who, since our mother told us if we can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, we will say nothing about.
asked for a comment, the republicans said, "ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. losers."
apparently there are no republicans in italy
over 450,000 people marched in florence italy this weekend as a protest of impending war in iraq and globalization in general.
the protests were peaceful, unlike those against the g8 last year.
"police in florence said about 450,000 people took part in the demonstration, the highlight of an anti-globalization gathering here that started wednesday and ends sunday. the figure was more than twice the number expected. organizer vittorio agnoletto estimated the crowd at 800,000 to 1 million."
why can't the u.s. turn out those kind of numbers for our protests? oh yeah, because we're stuck in first amendment zones!
addendum two of our favorite things in blogtopia (yes! i coined that phrase!) also cover this story, as talkleft reports about it on stand down, the no war blog.
where have all the mothers gone?
Rome. buon giorno my friends! For the past week there’s been so much controversy about permitting the European Social Forum to have their convention-manifestation in Florence. Many argued that it was stupid to risk in Florence, because of it’s artistic patrimony, that which happened last year in Genova with G8. But, while the right on one hand was waging a media blitz against the pacifists accusing them of potential violence, on the other hand they were in Parliment literally fist fighting among themselves.
One of the nastiest anti-Social Forum blasts came from Oriana Fallaci, Florentine living in New York, who, once physically beautiful, is now old and sour. She encouraged the citizens of Florence to “show their balls” (I guess she was desperate to see some....) and protest against the presence of Social Forum even encouraging merchants to close their shops with a “chiuso per lutto” (closed for mourning) sign. (Must I add that Fallaci writes for Corriere della Sera, newspaper owned by right-wing premier, Berlusconi?)
One of the main concerns of the manifestation was that of the War of Prevention in Iraq. Where are our mothers? Why are women so willing to donate their sons to war? Why don’t women care about risking their sons’ limbs, lives and psyches? Do we have children just for decorative purposes and/or narcisstic needs? Mothers should be the first to protest against war!
The manifestation was a great success with 500,000 to 1,000,000 people from different countries and cultural backgrounds all united by basic common principals. Many Florentines stood in their windows clapping the demonstrators. Many even offered them food and water and the use of their bathrooms since many of the shops were closed. Even my son, Sergio, was there representing the family, I'm proud to say!
more:The Significance of the European Social Forum--Gino Strada: "Emergency simbolo contro la guerra"--Social Forum: Al Corteo 6000 Agenti; Ci Sara' Cofferati--European Social Forum A festival of resistance
Saturday, November 09, 2002.
US troops watched Northern Alliance massacre prisoners
A British documentary claims to have proof that American troops watched as Northern Alliance soldiers allegedly slaughtered thousands of captured Taliban fighters during the Afghan war.
The makers of Channel Five's Afghan Massacre say they have evidence that US special forces were present during the alleged atrocities - in which 3,000 are said to have died - but did nothing to stop it.
A last word on the dangers posed to world peace should go to a Californian rabbi, Haim Dov Beliak , who studied at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Israel when it was the ideological center for the settler movement. He is quoted in a sober analysis (published recently in the National Catholic Reporter) of the apocalyptic, Christian Zionist movement which supports both the Occupation and the settlements. Rabbi Beliak is troubled that "the American public knows little about the settlers. There is a profound lack of curiosity about them." They are, he believes, "deeply problematic because they are going to cause World War III. They are not dealing with normal political reality. There is a complete denial of any rights Arabs might have."
Blinded by the Right:
America Stumbles into the Ditch
Would anyone have believed that in the year 2002 America would join ranks with fanatics driven by fabricated stories more than 2500 years old as the basis for foreign policy? Our acceptance of Sharon's administration and its savage policies also means we have accepted the fanatics of Islam who use the same God as the Israelis to justify their atrocities. These mythologies become the motivating tools of those in power to justify their purpose. They grab at the opportunities present -- fear inflicted by enemies of the people, righteous behavior demanded by their God, promise of rewards in the hereafter for those joining against the forces of evil, and ultimate victory for the myths that gave them purpose to carry out their desires. It is unfortunate that America has been hoodwinked into supporting beliefs that should have died a quiet death years and years ago. What a mockery of international law, of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights, and America's proclaimed belief in Democracy and the inherent rights guaranteed to all people is our obeisance to the whims of those who would find recourse to oppression in the pages of a mythological text.
Netanyahu's power play clouds US relations
Likud leadership hopeful rejects independence for Palestinians
The binational option
A growing number of articles and analyses by Palestinians and their supporters are warning that the "two states for two peoples" option is fading, and the goal of a Palestinian state should be exchanged for the establishment of a binational state. At the same time, polls among Israeli Jews show there is a majority, albeit slim, in favor of a Palestinian state.
US Army Ordnance Corps Newsletter reports on P2OG
The United States should create an elite group of counter-terror operatives to make the war on terrorism pre-emptive and proactive, duping Al-Qaeda to undertaking operations it is not prepared for and thereby exposing its personnel.
US aims to control Iraqi oil: Yamani
The United States is planning a war against Iraq primarily to gain control of Baghdad's rich oil resources and thus decrease its dependence on Saudi crude, a former Saudi oil minister and co-founder of OPEC said on Thursday.
"I have no doubt that the aim of striking Iraq is oil, and not the weapons of mass destruction or changing the regime," Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani, who was Saudi oil minister in the 70s and 80s, told Okaz daily.
The United States has been working to gradually decrease its dependence on Saudi oil, but after the September 11, 2001 attacks, it is seeking to accelerate the process by occupying Iraq, Yamani said, echoing the charges of Baghdad and other opponents of a US attack.
More propaganda from C(IA)NN
CNN is reporting that al Qaeda has, on a Web site, claimed responsibility for "bombing nightclubs and whorehouses in Indonesia."
I'm willing to believe anti-"Jewish-Crusader alliance" terrorists are claiming responsibility for Bali—as opposed to Muslim Indonesians with specific, domestic goals or any of the other possible suspects. But this article, confidently headlined "Al Qaeda admits Bali blasts on Web," seems weirdly flimsy. Having read it, a fairer headline might have been, "Unknown persons on unnamed Web site say Al Qaeda bombed Bali."
For starters, CNN doesn't provide a link to the purported al Qaeda Web site, or much information about it. (I couldn't find any links to the site elsewhere.) It only says it "has been used in the past by al Qaeda to claim responsibility for attacks, including the synagogue fire in Tunisia in which mainly German tourists died, and strikes on two ships in Yemen."
Labeling the Bali attack "al Qaeda" seems mostly a way to portray it as another battle in a global attack on the West fought by a well-coordinated army of Islamic militants. That may be a politically useful way to conceptualize what's happening, but does it reflect reality?
CNN Report Claiming Al-Qaida Responsibility For Bali Is More Disinfo
Jihad Unspun went to work to verify this report and has learned through sources that this claim is entirely false. CNN said that Al-Qaida had targeted "nightclubs and whorehouses in Indonesia" in a Web site message which also boasted of its aim to hit inside Arab and Islamic countries which are part of a "Jewish-Crusader" alliance. This statement alone raised eyebrows as it appears to be aimed at increasing tensions within the Islamic community itself.
Indonesian Police Yet to Name Group Behind Bali Blasts
Indonesian Police Chief Da'i Bachtiar said on Saturday that the interrogation of suspects in the Bali bombing remains to focus on individual suspects and has not directed to find links with any possible groups behind the attacks.
"We have not moved to investigate any possible group. We are still focusing on the individual suspects," Bachtiar was quotyed by Detikcom online news service as saying in Semarang, capital of the Central Java province.
He said the investigation would be very likely to find clues tothe involvement of certain groups, but "We'd be better waiting until the probe on Amrozi and other suspects are concluded."
The Military & CNN by Alexander Cockburn
Col. Christopher St. John, commander of the U.S. Army's 4th PSYOPs Group, was quoted by a French Intelligence correspondent, present at the symposium, as (in the correspondent's words) having ``called for greater cooperation between the armed forces and media giants. He (St. John) pointed out that some Army PSYOPs personnel had worked for CNN for several weeks, and helped in the production of some news stories for the network.''
Guilty-conscience philanthropist and economy destroyer George Soros on trial for insider trading
The trial relates to an attempted takeover of the French bank Societe Generale in 1988.
The bid was led by the corporate raider Georges Pebereau, who built up a substantial stake in the bank, before trying to take control.
The bid failed, but not before Societe Generale's share price had more than doubled.
Mr Soros and three other defendants are accused of using inside knowledge to make millions of dollars.
They allegedly bought Societe Generale stock when it was cheap, before cashing in their investment when the price rose after the bid became public.
If the 72-year old is found guilty, he faces up to two years in prison and a multimillion dollar fine.
Friday, November 08, 2002.
Hekmatyar Says The War On Civilizations Has Begun
Correspondent: Do you think a "clash of civilizations" has begun?
Hekmatyar: Yes, the war between the civilizations has indeed begun, and this war will continue forever. I think that those who deny the existence of this war and raise slogans for reconciliation, understanding and dialogue between the civilizations are deceiving the world and themselves. The slogans of reconciliation and cooperation are Western slogans. They are being used to crush the resistance. The Western civilization has launched a fierce war against the other civilizations. The Westerners are calling on others to surrender and not to resist. They want their civilization to be the dominant one in the world. Otherwise, what does reconciliation mean at a time when the West is launching its war against us? How can understanding be reached when the United States has established military bases in many Islamic countries and occupied the most important strategic points in the world by force, when Bush declared his crusader war, the Italian prime minister (Silvio Berlusconi) announced that he defeated communism and will defeat Islam, and the German foreign minister stated that the West will not accept the shari'ah authority in Afghanistan? They are trying to impose their way of life on the poor peoples.
Oh Boy More Fear And Gluttony
Darkness falls across the land, flowers wilt, the GOP takes full, and frightening, control
By Mark Morford
As noted crusty and ruthless and largely unpleasant former Clinton adviser James Carville observed just after the election, "The American people just don't have a clue as to what's coming."