American Samizdat

Tuesday, December 31, 2002. *

George vs. Saddam

Will the competition never end. Dubya is now claiming that Saddam could cripple the U.S. Economy — Would he do a better job of it than George has already done.

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush warned on Tuesday that a major attack on the United States by Iraq or a group working on its behalf could cripple the U.S. economy.

posted by Norm at 2:45 PM
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Irrational Reactionism: The Last War on Terror
by valis
How has G.W. Bush's reaction to the attacks on September 11th, 2001 differed from that of Hitler's reaction to the attacks of February 27th, 1933? Sadly, not by much. Both implemented policies that were previously planned, such as pre-emptive strikes on sovereign nations, using the attacks as a pre-text. In both cases, governments used “national security” as an excuse to launch an assault on Constitutional freedoms, one under the guise of "Homeland Security", the other under "Fatherland Security".
Originally published in my weekly column at
Also see: The LibertyThink Originals Archive
posted by valis at 12:14 PM
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"Middle East's Only Democracy"...for some
After allowing the candidacy of pro-ethnic cleansing parties and candidates, Israel's election committee is poised to bar virtually all Arab candidates and parties from upcoming elections. While Israeli racism and disenfranchisement against its minority Christian and Muslim population is well known and well-documented, even by the US State department, rarely does it present itself so egregiously, as PR is one of the main weapons of the state. Don't look for this story in your local paper or television news, as it is vital to maintain the mask of "democracy" that Israel wears for the US market.
posted by A.Q. at 9:22 AM
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yah, i know the lie...
the government has our best interests at heart alla' time, eh?
if we had any real glimpse of the truth re U.S. involvement
in these things, perhaps we'd have a more attentive and aware
Nah, who am I kidding...
(from the L.A. Times)
Nun's piercing memoir of torture and her quest for the truth;
bullshit bullshit bullshit...
White House Cuts Estimate of Cost of War With Iraq.
I can hear el residente at breakfast,
alongside cohorts Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, et al...
"fuck you Kofi, I'm a'gonna slam Saddam & you can kiss my ass"

oh yah, merry frikkin' new year...
posted by j at 7:23 AM
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GNN's Spin of the Year
We tried to pick just one Spin of the Week story to feature as our Spin of the Year, but we couldn't. The U.S. government's propaganda machine was in overdrive in '02, trying to rally support for an invasion of Iraq here in the States, and to prop up the image of America the Brand in an increasingly hostile world. Following every twist and turn was a full-time job. Luckily, GNN partners PR Watch were on it. We'd like to thank them for helping our Guerrillas keep track of Bush's War on Tru... I mean, Terror. Here's the lowlights.
"It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the Twentieth Century"

- Alex Carey
Also see: John Stauber GNN video on propaganda
posted by valis at 2:17 AM
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Monday, December 30, 2002. *
Rep. Rangel Calls for Reinstatement of Draft
Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel called yesterday for the reinstatement of the draft, saying it would give legislators pause before authorizing military action.

Rangel, a strident opponent of war against Iraq, said the United States has been "too cavalier" in its foreign policy. Its willingness to place troops in harm's way, the Democrat said, is tied to the fact that many soldiers are volunteers recruited from low- and moderate-income families.

"Realistically, when you talk about a war, you're talking about ground troops, you're talking about enlisted people, and they don't come from the kids and members of Congress," Rangel said on CNN's "Late Edition."
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:20 PM
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More Americans seeking refugee status in Canada post-9/11
The number of Americans making refugee claims in Canada has skyrocketed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to statistics from the Immigration and Refugee Board.

From January to the end of October this year, 191 filed refugee claims citing persecution in the U.S., compared to 81 in 2001, an increase of 135%.

Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said there have been some outrageous human rights abuses in the U.S., including arrests without charges and psychological torture.
posted by New World at 4:53 PM
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in short, you will not be allowed to exercise your conscience...
you will obey and continue to dominate, expel, starve & humiliate
an entire people...
Soldiers Cannot Refuse to Serve, Israeli Court Rules
posted by j at 12:34 PM
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The media (r)evolution marches on
Two media activists & artists from C-Supreme Studios in NY, have created a hip-hop-rock song dealing with the unanswered questions concerning the Sept. 11 attacks. The song is based on info gleaned from and

Listen to entire MP3

Also check out this one
posted by valis at 10:14 AM
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U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup
Although this story was reported (and linked on AmSam) months ago, the Washington Post is finally picking it up and running with it. Will the result be the same? Will lily-livered reporters now have the guts to ask Rummy some hard questions? Only time will tell...
posted by A.Q. at 9:10 AM
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Sunday, December 29, 2002. *
' ... If each of the individuals who are about to die has an average of thirty-years of life ahead, this would be three million years snuffed out. More than a billion days. Let's say two hundred million moments of lovemaking, three-quarters of a billion bursts of laughter, and the same number of tears. A half-billion personal epiphanies, and six billion dreams ... '

Via Unknown News.
posted by steven at 7:43 AM
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Friday, December 27, 2002. *
Pak, Turkmen, Afghan leaders to sign pipeline deal today
Leaders from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan gathered on Thursday to strike an ambitious deal to build a gas pipeline through war-ravaged Afghanistan.

The long-delayed $3.2-billion natural gas pipeline, known as the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, would carry gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan. It would be one of the first major investment projects in Afghanistan in decades.
posted by New World at 1:56 AM
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posted by valis at 1:55 AM
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Thursday, December 26, 2002. *
My Own Private Canivore: CarnivorePE (Personal Edition)
Carnivore is a surveillance tool for data networks. At the heart of the project is CarnivorePE, a software application that listens to all Internet traffic (email, web surfing, etc.) on a specific local network. Next, CarnivorePE serves this data stream over the net to an unlimited number of creative interfaces called "clients." The clients are each designed to animate, diagnose, or interpret the network traffic in various ways.
CarnivorePE is inspired by DCS1000, a piece of software used by the FBI to perform electronic wiretaps. (Until recently, DCS1000 was known by its nickname "Carnivore.") Improving on the FBI software, CarnivorePE features exciting new functionality including: artist-made diagnosic clients, remote access, full subject targetting, full data targetting, volume buffering, transport protocol filtering, and an open source software license.

posted by Joseph Matheny at 7:45 PM
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tell us something we don't already know...
President's Compassionate Agenda Lags
you know that compassion is not in his vocabulary,
along with about 88% of the other words in Webster's;
from the foxy Molly Ivins, courtesy Common Dreams:
Bush Discovers Hunger and Looks the Other Way
posted by j at 7:42 AM
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Wednesday, December 25, 2002. *
Because of a bit of web detournement by RTMark, its host,, is losing its connectivity.'s upline provider, Verio, got a DMCA notice from Dow Chemical in reference to a political parody site an RTMark group called The Yes Men set up. The site, similar to this one at, was designed to look like an authentic Dow site but contained content critical of the Union Carbide and Dow handling of the 1984 Bhopal disaster. (There's also an article about the controversy in the New York Times.) Found on Weblogsky
posted by Joseph Matheny at 4:12 PM
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Local Child Denies Being Naughty Requests presence of lawyer
Local mall Santa George Graham has issued a report which indicates that he and his staff of elves have made "no progress" in their interviews with alleged naughty boy, Ralph Carson.

Carson, six and three quarters going on seven, was brought to the mall on December 21 by his parents in a "last ditch" effort to get the boy to admit to the many instances of poor behavior that have caused chaos in his household for the better part of the year.

The release of the report comes one day after Amnesty International released it's own report blasting the interrogation of Carson. Amnesty says that "three days in a mall" is cruel and unusual at the very minimum and could possibly be considered torture under International Holiday rules.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 2:25 PM
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Bush Team Prepares Environmental Hit List
According to Grist: "The list grew out of an announcement made by President Bush in March, when he urged companies to contact the administration '[if] there are nettlesome regulations which are costly for you to operate your business that you don't think make any sense.'"
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:14 PM
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And The Consequent Rise of the Fourth Reich

excerpted from:
"The reality is that the American people, as individuals, have lost their courage. The government prefers it that way, as a fearful people are easier to rule than a courageous one.

"America has escaped the clutches of a dictatorship thus far only through the efforts of those citizens who, unlike the Germans of the 1930s, have the moral courage to stand up and point out where the government is lying to the people."

Everyone likes to say, "Hitler did this," and "Hitler did that." But the truth is Hitler did very little. He was a world class tyrant, but the evil actually done by the Third Reich, from the death camps to WWII, was all done by German citizens who were afraid to question if what they were told by their government was the truth or not, and who, because they did not want to admit to themselves that they were afraid to question the government, refused to see the truth behind the Reichstag Fire, refused to see the invasion by Poland was a staged fake, and followed Hitler into national disaster.

The German people assumed they were safe from a tyrant. They lived in a Republic, after all, with strict laws regarding what the government could, and more importantly, could not do.

When the Reichstag burned down, most Germans simply refused to believe suggestions that the fire had been staged by Hitler himself. They were afraid to. But so trapped were the Germans by their belief in their own bravery that they willed themselves to be blind to the evidence before their eyes so that they could nod in agreement with Der Fuhrer while still imagining themselves to have courage, even as they avoided the one situation which most required real courage; to stand up to Hitler's lies and deceptions.
posted by valis at 9:27 AM
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Tuesday, December 24, 2002. *
Seattleites Oppose War On Iraq: "A majority of Seattle-area residents oppose war with Iraq, a prevailing sentiment that runs counter to the rest of the state and the nation, according to a new Seattle Post-Intelligencer poll."

I doubt that the rest of the country is so rah-rah . . . In related news to the city versus state contrast, a recent study has concluded that people who live in cities are smarter than those who live in sprawl.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:58 PM
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More good news
U.S. Global Warming Emissions in Biggest Decade Drop: "U.S. greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming fell by 1.2 percent last year, the largest decrease in a decade, due in part to slow economic growth and a milder winter, the government said recently."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:53 PM
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Protesting May Be Good for Your Health: "The take-home message from this research therefore might be that people should get more involved in campaigns, struggles and social movements, not only in the wider interest of social change but also for their own personal good."

Viva Health!
(This one's for A.Q.?)

posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:45 PM
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Dow Sues Penniless Bhopal Survivors: "In a stunning example of corporate insensibility, Dow Chemical, the worlds largest chemical company, and new owners of Union Carbide is to sue survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. While the site of the disaster lies covered in toxic waste and survivors struggle with continuing ill health and deadly pollution from the site, Dow has decided to add to their woes with an Indian lawsuit."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:38 PM
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Bush fired economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey because he was fat
White House aides, explaining the president’s decision to sack his economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey, told The Washington Post that President George W Bush had “complained privately about his failure to exercise physically.”

Does it really matter that the president might crack a few cruel fatso jokes at the expense of some of his employees? Does it matter that he has surrounded himself with aides who found those fatso cracks sufficiently funny, or sufficiently useful, to share with the press?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter. But can’t help thinking it’s revealing about Bush’s character. This is the man nicknamed “The Texecutioner” — because in his five years as governor of Texas, he oversaw the execution of 152 people, more than any other governor in the nation. At times he did so with the smirk one associates with a frat boy making fun of a fat boy: not just rejecting one womann’s plea for a pardon in 1999, but making fun of her as he sent her to the chair, by whimperingly imitating her: “Please, don’t kill me!”
posted by New World at 8:05 PM
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Digital Angel signs with chain
PALM BEACH -- Digital Angel Corp. said Thursday it has signed a three-year agreement with Beverly Enterprises Inc. to sell its monitoring equipment to customers in its nursing facilities.

Digital Angel, whose majority owner is Palm Beach-based Applied Digital Solutions (Nasdaq: ADSX, 46 cents), said Beverly Enterprises will market the products to patients upon admission or discharge.
Also see: Don't forget to check back for the "Chipmobile" schedule!
posted by valis at 4:10 PM
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G.W. Bush - Making sure the terrorists have won
We have been told that the terrorists want to take away our freedoms.

First of all, how could this possibly be done? As a friend recently pointed out: "What do they expect them to do? Come over here wielding swords, forcing everybody to grow beards?" The whole idea of a outside entity taking away the freedoms of the American people is ludicrous.
by valis - Originally published in my weekly column at Also see: The LibertyThink Originals Archive
posted by valis at 12:20 PM
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US Congressman Slams Drug War, Hints at Legalization
"We’ve been fighting this fight for 30 to 40 years, and the problem never goes away....

Don't just talk about education. Don't just talk about eradication. Don't just talk about killing people like Escobar, who’s gonna be replaced by somebody else.

Let's talk about what would happen if we started addressing how to get the profit out of drugs." -- Rep. Dan Burton.
You can watch this pivotal moment in streaming video from C-SPAN. Go one hour and 18 minutes into the file. (But hurry--who knows how long it'll stay up)
posted by valis at 12:19 PM
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Peace Trainer
from the Village Voice on-line,
Zinn and the Art of Anti-War Movement Maintenance
and this site new to me, maybe not to you:
posted by j at 10:27 AM
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US wrecks cheap drugs deal
A last minute Christmas Gift from a compassionate conservative.

Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, last night blocked a global deal to provide cheap drugs to poor countries, following intense lobbying of the White House by America's pharmaceutical giants.

Faced with furious opposition from all the other 140 members of the World Trade Organisation, the US refused to relax global patent laws which keep the price of drugs beyond reach of most developing countries.

posted by Norm at 8:53 AM
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Monday, December 23, 2002. *
Why Iraq's Report Was 'Redacted': To Hide Cheney's Lies

According to the Financial Times, Halliburton (dba Brown & Root) did more business with Iraq than any other contractor, an estimated total of at least $73 million, while Dick Cheney was chairman and CEO. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney lied bald-faced about the dealings.
Two former senior executives of the Halliburton subsidiaries say that, as far as they knew, there was no policy against doing business with Iraq. One of the executives also says that although he never spoke directly to Cheney about the Iraqi contracts, he is certain Cheney knew about them."
posted by valis at 10:36 PM
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N Korea threatens to 'destroy world'
"There can be no earth without Korea," it said. "The army and people of the DPRK will destroy the earth if the enemies dare make a nuclear strike at it. This is their do-or-die spirit."
Don't forget that your government armed them first via Clinton and then Bush.
posted by valis at 9:34 PM
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They lied: TIPS program alive and well
PHILADELPHIA -- The good citizens of Easttown Township, Pa., a tiny Main Line community of rolling hills, elegant stuccos and well-heeled professionals, are on the lookout -- for terrorists.

So are residents of various Philadelphia neighborhoods. And town watch patrols in Neshaminy Valley. And the denizens of Mount Holly. Across the region, regular folks -- from professionals to grandmothers -- are being trained by the government to be lookouts in the fight against homeland terrorism.

Those behind these training programs say they are taking pains to keep them from degenerating into neighborhood spy teams unduly influenced by presumptions and jingoism.

"Our motto is: Watch America with pride, not prejudice," said Michael Licata, who helped develop a widely used community antiterrorism curriculum.
Also see: Police give public radar guns to nab speeding drivers - Here come the speed Stasi - tattle on your neighbors, it's for the children.
posted by valis at 12:16 PM
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Sunday, December 22, 2002. *

Weapons inspectors turn fire on Britain and US

Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, delivered a stinging attack on the US and Britain, accusing them of failing to co-operate with his team.

"If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff," Mr Blix said. Asked if he was getting enough co-operation from Western intelligence agencies, he said: "Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need."
posted by Norm at 10:08 PM
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Why are we supposed to forget about the Anthrax attacks?
What do we really know about the anthrax attacks of October 2001, beside the apparent precedence for framing Arabs for terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction?

When looking for a source tied with a motive, all that really seems to surface is an attempt to promote legislation, namely the USA Patriot Act, as anthrax laden letters were mailed only to the Democratic senate leadership on the same day that they blocked an attempt to rush the Bill through without debate or amendments.
Please read this article from NewsMax, dated September 5th, 2001:
"WASHINGTON - The Pentagon Tuesday acknowledged that the Defense Intelligence Agency intended to develop a new strain of anthrax it fears could be used against the U.S. military and against which a controversial anthrax vaccine might not work."
Also see:
posted by valis at 2:51 PM
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Proof the FBI is NOT infiltrating the peace movement!

FBI warns corporate leaders of possible attacks by antiwar activists

"An email advisory from "the FBI's Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program" Dec, 4 sent to " thousands of 'corporate security professionals,' warns that "a loose network of antiwar groups" opposed "to possible U.S. military action against Iraq, are advocating 'explicit and direct attack upon the war machine.'"

According to the advisory, the week of December 15-21 has been set aside as a "week of action against warmongering."

Damn and here I am, a council member of the Green Party of L.A. County and a volunteer at NION and ANSWER (major antiwar coalitions), and I've heard not a peep about this "week of action". Nor have any of my peacenik pals.

So, either the FBI is either demonstrating spectacular incompetence by alerting corporate America to a nonexistent threat or this is, put on your conspiracy caps kids, a devious plot to cast suspicion upon peaceniks. I go with the former theory, always remembering the wise words of "Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity".

And what triggered this FBI email warning? The article explains that it was a single posting on InfoShoppe, an anarchist site. That was the entire threat. One posting. With no corroboration from anyplace else. And these people are supposed to make us safe from terrorists?

All of which proves FBI could not possibly be infiltrating the peace ovement. Why ? Because if they'd been at NION or ANSWER meetings or surfing antiwar websites or subscribing to antiwar listservs, they'd know that a random post by one person does not a week of action make. Lordy, if they can't even figure out what the peace movement is doing when we post everything in plain sight, how can they be expected to infiltrate the deeply underground Al Qaeda?

Actually, there IS a week of (nonviolent) resistance being planned, but that's in January... We peqceniks are deviously planning it in plain sight so the FBI won't find out...
posted by Bob at 12:51 PM
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My New Year's Resolution... it may be a bit premature, but my new year's resolution is to start posting some good news to this site. It's a public service to point out the fucked up shit going on in this world, but it's also one to point out the truly amazing and inspiring things that people are doing in America and the world. There are people who as we type our flaccid words are helping the sick, the endangered, the oppressed... The people, actions, and random events that make the world a better place deserve to be put on broadblast around the world, celebrated for their stands against injustice, starting from the humble beginnings of this website... so I hope you will all join me in helping to make 2003 a year of peace and goodness by celebrating the good even as we turn a harsh light on the bad.
posted by A.Q. at 1:59 AM
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Ashcroft + Facism = Fashicroft?
"...the agency recently failed to process more than 200,000 change of address forms and then unceremoniously dumped them in the largest underground records facility in the world – an abandoned mine near Kansas City – putting hundreds of thousands at risk of wrongful arrest and deportation for failing to report a change of address."
posted by valis at 12:28 AM
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Saturday, December 21, 2002. *
LibertyThink Quiz: Who said it?
"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation, We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."

a) George W. Bush

b) Adolf Hitler

Hint: The same person who said:

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death."
posted by valis at 10:32 PM
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Bush's Master Plan For The Internet
Bush and his Machiavellian minions will no longer put up with you roaming free into dangerous territory on the internet. You need to be corralled, electronically tethered, kept away from sites promoting conspiracy theories -- in other words, information the corporate media, the official US Ministry of Disinformation, does not want you to read or see. It's now increasingly obvious the Bushites want to lock us up in a hermetically sealed informational box and throw away the key. All the information they consider worthwhile will be pumped in through a one-way hole.

During war, as they say, the first causality is truth. And war -- all the time and everywhere people resist -- is what Bush will deliver. It will be easier for him to accomplish this if you can't read the truth, if you remain ignorant, or if you are obstructed from organizing and speaking out on the internet against war and madness. Bush knows this -- or, at least, those around him know this. The internet, regardless of its trashy and lame commercial characteristics, is a nearly perfect medium for organizing. It's a thorn in the side of neo-cons and fascists everywhere. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:12 PM
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Jewish Professors Keep Divestment Drive Alive: "Modeled on an anti-apartheid campaign that led campuses to divest from South Africa in the 1980s, the petition criticizes Israel's actions in the occupied territories and calls on universities to sell any investments in Israel, and in companies that do business there."

The comparisons between the Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and apartheid S. Africa keep cropping up--most prominently when voiced by Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and poet Breyten Breytenbach. See also: On Israeli Terror Groups:

Ateret Cohanim, The Jewish Underground, the Jewish Defense League, Kach, Kahana Khai, Eyal, etc. are among the many groups that planned and/or carried out terrorist attacks against mostly Palestinian civilians from the 1970s onwards . . . [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:43 PM
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Friday, December 20, 2002. *
Washington Senator asks why bin Laden is so popular
Patty Murray, a Washington State democrat, asked students at a Vancouver, WA high school to ponder why Osama bin Laden is so popular in third world countries.
"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that," Murray said.

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

An expert on terrorism, who co-wrote a book profiling bin laden and al-Qaida, said Murray's comments, published yesterday in the newspaper The Columbian, were on the mark.

Related links (via Drudge):


Murray asks students to weigh bin Laden's appeal
posted by Klintron at 12:07 PM
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The New Yorker: Online Only We're beginning what could be a hundred-years war if we don't change our policy. I don't think a lot of people, particularly in Washington, particularly in places in the White House, fully understand the dangers of going to a full-scale war. The fact of the matter is that there's no reason for a fundamentalist Muslim to have anything but contempt for Osama bin Laden, because he stands for nothing that has to do with their religion. And we just don't give those fundamentalists a chance to breathe. Our policies push them into his camp too much. I'm not saying anything new—I think Jimmy Carter was trying to say the same thing last week when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Unless we deal with the real issues, the underlying issues around the world that lead to the kind of madness that we saw on September 11th; unless we can deal with some of those underlying problems—the lack of any trickle-down economy in the Gulf world, the complete corruption of the leadership of most of the oil sheikhdoms that we tolerate; until we try to apply pressure to make life better there, we'll have problems in the Middle East. We also have problems with Israel and Palestine that we're not dealing with.
posted by Joseph Duemer at 7:31 AM
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Thursday, December 19, 2002. *

Poverty on the Rise in Gaza as Israel Seeks Billions in US Aid
"There is nearly nothing left, nothing to come back to as the Israeli military moves through crushing homes, infrascruture, life. This is ethnic cleansing .."

Due to this specific targeting of infrastructure, and to the constant closure of the Gaza Strip, unemployment has reached 80% at times. Five people looking for jobs left their home in the Khan Younis refugee camp this week. They tried to leave the Gaza Strip through an Israeli military checkpoint that only allows products to pass through. Israeli soldiers shot and killed every one of them. For a few days the Israeli government and the corporate media put them on Israel's so-called "wanted" list.

A guy from Mawasi has not been home in 2 years. He told me this is Rafah, about 15 minutes from home. He says, "the Israeli government does not want any young people to be in Mawasi, they want to drive everyone away." There are no schools in Mawasi, save for a movable school caravan described as being, "only for emergency cases." By this they mean for the young children, to give them something to do that might possibly help normalize their lives.

They are so stressed by the constant Israeli attack that 50% of the kids are wetting their beds. Sixty-one percent of Palestinian children suffer from anemia in this area, not from a lack of food to be eaten, but from a lack of appetite.

A UNRWA doctor told me, "They're too nervous to eat. They're scared all the time."

The Israeli Defense Minister is in Washington getting approved for an increase in the already 12 million dollars per day that Israel receives from the US.

Perspectives on the Middle East: A response

Slideshows like this one are not only inaccurate but they are counter-productive in my book. You cannot talk with someone unless you can see the world through their eyes. The "we are 100% right and you are 100% wrong" approach has proven itself a pretty disastrous and bloody path to take. We can't change our enemy, we can only change ourselves; we cannot change how they behave, only how we behave. Isn't that what we teach our children?

So we should start by doing something that shows we want peace, like dismantling settlements in the West Bank. Until we do that, nothing but nothing will ever change in this region. We should not be concerning ourselves with being "right" as this slideshow tries so hard to do; we should be focusing on being "smart." Because until we do that, we'll continue to have two groups on either side of the fence, and sometimes crossing over it, screaming at each other over and over and over, screaming their mantra -- like the author of this slideshow: "It's mine mine mine mine mine mine." And each believing in its truth 100%. And each dying for it.

The Iron Wall

The American obstacle

Eight Palestinians killed in Israeli raid were unarmed civilians, says UN inquiry

The New York Times gets an 'F' for geography
posted by Gordon at 10:18 PM
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Canadians to lead weapons inspections team into USA
In the new year, Rooting Out Evil will be sending a team of volunteer weapons inspectors into that greatest of rogue nations, the United States of America.

We have selected the US as our first priority based on criteria provided by the Bush administration. According to those criteria, the most dangerous states are those run by leaders who:

1) have massive stockpiles of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons;
2) ignore due process at the United Nations;
3) refuse to sign and honour international treaties; and
4) have come to power through illegitimate means.

The current US administration fulfills all these criteria. And so, again following Bush’s guidelines, Rooting Out Evil is demanding that his administration allow immediate and unfettered access to international weapons inspectors to search out their caches of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

If they refuse to comply, we will assemble as many volunteer weapons inspectors as possible at a major border crossing between the US and Canada and attempt to cross into the US on a mission of peace. We will be greeted on the US side by Americans who favour true global cooperation, an end to weapons of mass destruction, and a regime change in the US at the next election.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 12:19 PM
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U.S. Senator: Foreign Governments Involved in 9/11
GWEN IFILL: "Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can't?"

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: "Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States."

GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.

...Presumably it's not Iraq, or the war would have started already. So who are the foreign government or governments presumed to be involved in 9/11? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Syria? Turkey? France? Lithuania? Mexico? Why would on earth would this information not be pursued?
posted by A.Q. at 9:54 AM
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Wednesday, December 18, 2002. *
Enron follies video features Shrub yukking up corrupt accounting
The Feds are looking into a video of a 1997 Enron retirement party, which featured "humorous" skits about Enron's corruption -- including a cameo by George W. Bush, yukking it up with his morally bankrupt cronies.

When the pretend Kinder expressed doubt that Skilling could pull off 600 percent revenue growth for the coming year, Skilling revealed how it could be done.

"We're going to move from mark-to-market accounting to something I call HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," Skilling joked as he read from a script. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line." Via BB
posted by Joseph Matheny at 9:08 PM
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2 articles on journalistic cowards:

Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W Bush said what America needed was "a new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims have, alarmingly, come true: John Pilger
You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the media: "the prioritised task of bringing on board journalists of repute to accept our position".

"Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at the vacuities in Tony Blair's "Iraq dossier" and Jack Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb (which his minions rushed to "explain"). But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda.

Robert Fisk: Journalists are under fire for telling the truth
Let us forget, for a moment, that Fox News's Jerusalem bureau chief is Uri Dan, a friend of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the author of the preface of the new edition of Sharon's autobiography, which includes a revolting account of the Sabra and Chatila massacre of 1,700 Palestinian civilians and Sharon's innocence in this slaughter. Then Ted Koppel, one of America's leading news anchormen, announced that it may be a journalist's duty not to reveal events until the military want them revealed in a new war against Iraq.

Can we go any further in journalistic cowardice? Oh yes, we can. ABC television announced, a little while ago, that it knew all about the killing of four al-Qa'ida members by an unmanned "Predator" plane in Yemen but delayed broadcasting the news for four days "at the request of the Pentagon." So now at least we know for whom ABC works.
posted by New World at 2:55 PM
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Voxfux on the run?
At 10AM on Friday the 13th, A combined task force from the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, and Major Crimes Unit raided a Long Island home believed to be that of the political essayist who writes under the pen name Voxfux.

There were simultaneous raids at several locations throughout New York City and Brooklyn.

The case has the potential to be a lightening rod for civil libertarians, coming just days after the passage of the controversial Homeland Security Act. The articles believed to be penned by the mystery writer can be found at

Maybe Voxfux can be found at one of these.
posted by New World at 12:16 PM
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Excellent Robert Fisk audio interview from Counter Propaganda.
posted by New World at 10:47 AM
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Trans-Afghan gas pipeline by 2005
The project to build the 1,500-kilometre pipeline from gas-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan has been discussed for 20 years, although its realisation has been thwarted by two decades of conflict in Afghanistan.

The plan for the trans-Afghan link received a major boost in May when the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue the pipeline project.
posted by New World at 9:55 AM
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Filmmaker Michael Moore's E-mail Intercepted/Home Searched by Secret Service
(The Story of a Vietnam Vet Caught in a Government / Celebrity Surveillance Crossfire)
In a not-so-cryptic “message” eventually intended for all U.S. citizens -- but likely one very famous American in particular, three armed U.S. Secret Service agents and a local sheriff employed psychological intimidation to invade the privacy of retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael Moore, 49, of Goldston, North Carolina at his home on December 10, 2002...

In another warning sign of what lies ahead for all Americans regarding police-state abuse of power (thanks to sections of the post-September 11 “Patriot Act” approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bush), U.S. Intelligence intercepted North Carolinian Michael Moore’s email -- likely believing it was written by independent film producer-icon (“Bowling for Columbine”) and author (“Stupid White Men”) Michael Moore. Inother words, they got the wrong Michael Moore.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 9:23 AM
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Here's to you, Dr Robetson. Muslims respond to Pat Robertson's attacks on Islam.
posted by Amir at 6:39 AM
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Tuesday, December 17, 2002. *
posted by A.Q. at 1:45 PM
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EU Penatgon to be developed
The European Union is drawing up plans for a "Euro-Pentagon" in Brussels commanded by a defence chief able to launch military operations anywhere in the world.

His staff would be able to draw on an autonomous EU command and control nexus and an intelligence agency with satellite capability.

"If this isn't an EU army then I don't know what it is."
posted by New World at 10:07 AM
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Monday, December 16, 2002. *

Eyeless in Israel
By Gideon Levy

A foreigner who happened to find himself here wouldn't believe his eyes: A few weeks before the general elections - a period that is supposed to be marked by an airing and sharpening of views - Israel continues to close its eyes, not to see, not to hear and not to know what it is doing to three million people who live less than an hour from our homes. If this crass disregard is hard to accept in normal times - the approach being that what doesn't interest me doesn't exist - on the eve of elections that are considered (as always) critical, it is nothing short of criminal.

Here are a few updates from the past few days: Five unarmed Palestinians, probably desperate workers who were using a ladder to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip to find work, were shelled by a tank and killed on Thursday. On Monday, soldiers killed a Palestinian who was mentally handicapped. On Sunday, soldiers shot two women and three children in Rafah, on the border with Egypt. One of the women, a mother, was killed along with her two children, aged four and 15, and the other woman suffered serious injuries. The soldiers said they thought the women and children were terrorists.

A week ago Friday, 10 people were killed, including one woman and two employees of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, in a failed liquidation operation in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Earlier that week, a 95-year-old woman who was traveling in a taxicab near Ramallah was shot to death by a soldier. And a couple of days before that, soldiers demolished a building, burying under the rubble a 70-year-man who was inside. All told, more than 30 Palestinians were killed in the first 10 days of December, at least half of them innocent civilians. What was once an "anomaly" has become a daily event, and what the army used to investigate, it no longer even reviews.

Still drunk with power

The War of Independence ended in April 1949. Israel signed armistice agreements with each of the countries that fought against it, and the borders were set. The last to sign was Jordan, and the Green Line was set as the border. In the wake of the agreement, the right-wing parties in the Knesset assailed the prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, for ordering the Israel Defense Forces to stop and not "letting the IDF win" and conquer more territory.

In his reply in the Knesset, Ben-Gurion stated that bringing an end to the war was the most important thing for the victor. Without compromise and concession there is no peace and no end to wars, however victorious. Criticism notwithstanding, there were of course achievements. Those who want proof need only compare the United Nations map of November 29, 1947 - the date of the vote on the plan to partition Palestine between Arabs and Jews - with the map of Israel after the agreement.

In the wake of the great victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, we were drunk with power and intoxicated with the territories we had conquered. If we had succeeded in reaching peace agreements at that time based on the good conditions that accrued to the victorious side, we would have been spared wars and reaped very hefty fruits, even had it entailed returning most of the occupied territories.

Zionism Unbound

Mideast Violence Moves to the Home Front
For Israelis and Palestinians alike, conflict spills over into other circles of life.

Israel Silent on Food Warehouse Razing
Israeli Government, Military Silent on Army Destruction of U.N. Food Warehouse in Gaza

Even the liberal Israeli paper Ha'aretz keeps two sets of books, so to speak. Not all the articles in the Hebrew edition make it to the English edition. Here are a couple that have been translated.

Converted to Islam?
The Government Will Send You To A Psychiatrist

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog

Who Inspires Whom?
IDF Reports in English Lack Parts Of Hebrew Versions, Reports Haaretz - In Its Hebrew Version Only

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
posted by Gordon at 4:01 AM
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Sunday, December 15, 2002. *
George W. Bush, Warlord, by Ted Rall
First he appointed himself President. Now George W. Bush has declared himself God.

As Americans begin their third year of Supreme Court-ordered political occupation, Bush has just signed an impressive new executive order. You may be surprised to learn that it grants him the right to order your execution. No judge, jury or lawyer. No chance to prove your innocence. One stroke of Bush's pen, and bang--you're dead.

Not even your American citizenship, according to Bush, will save your life if and when he decides to kill you. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:05 PM
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has banned an award-winning Palestinian film from their competition because they assert that Palestine is not a country 'according to the UN.' Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty point out the inherent hypocrisy in this:
In 2001, AMPAS accepted an entry from Hong Kong, even though that former British colony is now an administrative region of China, with no status at the U.N. In 2000, the film Solomon And Gaenor, a love story about a Yiddish-speaking Jewish man and a Welsh girl, was a finalist for the Best Foreign Film award, representing Wales. Wales is not an independent state.

Palestine, by contrast, has maintained an officially recognized permanent observer mission at the U.N. for decades and dozens of countries have recognized the state of Palestine and maintain diplomatic relations with it at the ambassadorial level.

This raises the question: Is there a double standard to keep Palestine out of the Oscars? [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:24 AM
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Saturday, December 14, 2002. *
Can't Afford Not to Consume
From the blog of Honorary Harbinger Douglas Rushkoff:
Today, most references to collective costs are mistaken for some form of rehashed communism. Meanwhile, the hard left mistakes all notions of free market forces as the tyranny of the individual. (And, of course, to us 'spiritual' folks, the individual doesn't even exist.)

There's got to be a frame of reference for finances that stresses collective costs while acknowledging the efficiency of market forces. If you know the name of this model, let me know.
posted by Klintron at 3:37 PM
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Dubya bellows:

As commander in chief, I do not believe I can ask others to accept this risk unless I am willing to do the same. Therefore, I will receive the vaccine along with our military.
Hey George if you really believe that we want to see you on the front lines leading the troops. Oh, whats that, it was really just another bullshit sound bite. Duh!
posted by Norm at 8:40 AM
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Joe Conason's Journal
at Salon: "After being roundly blasted for excusing Lott, Tom Daschle has tried to sound tougher, and of course failed. Joseph Lieberman and Ted Kennedy made stronger statements but flinched from demanding that Lott step down. Hillary Clinton flinched too, and her statement was pretty lame. Far too few of the Senate Democrats have made themselves heard at all. It's pitiful to watch these Democrats articulate a weaker stance than Bill Bennett and Bill Kristol. They had better take a few minutes to review Lott's full record, available here and elsewhere, and then ask themselves how they will explain this sorry abdication to the decent Americans who have always supported them."
posted by Joseph Duemer at 6:40 AM
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Friday, December 13, 2002. *
pardon our hippyness

excuse our 60's activism coming out again, but the crack staff at skippy wants to remind everyone in the socal area about the candlelight vigil in hollywood tomorrow.

go to for details, but briefly, there will be candle light vigil to stop the war before it starts, at the corners of hollywood and highland blvds. in hollywood, on saturday dec. 14, beginning at about 7:30.

see you there!
posted by Unknown at 5:58 PM
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Parents protest U.S. schools irradiated meat plan - 12/13/2002 - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's plan to allow irradiated meat to be served to millions of U.S. school children is raising the ire of some concerned parents.

Irradiation, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization, exposes food to low doses of electrons or gamma rays to destroy deadly microorganisms such as E. coli O157:H7 and salmonella.

Under the U.S. farm subsidy law enacted in May, the U.S. Agriculture Department must allow government-approved food safety technology such as irradiation to be used in commodities purchased by the federal school lunch program. Some 27 million schoolchildren receive free or low-cost meals daily in the program.

The USDA currently prohibits the irradiated meat in its vast school lunch program, which spends billions of dollars annually to buy meat, vegetables, fruits, and other foods.
posted by Richard at 5:44 PM
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sometimes, Good Things Happen!!!
posted by j at 5:09 PM
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Dow and Burson-Marsteller Suing Parody Websites
Did You Know...
Dow is responsible for the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring about the side-effects of a Dow product, DDT, on North American bird populations. Her work created a groundswell of concern, sparking the birth of many of today's environmental action groups. Another example of Dow's commitment to Living. Improved daily.

Two giant companies are struggling to shut down parody websites that portray them unfavorably, interrupting internet use for thousands in the process, and filing a lawsuit that pits the formidable legal department of PR giant Burson-Marsteller against a freshman at Hampshire College.

The activists behind the fake corporate websites have fought back, and obtained substantial publicity in the process.

A December 3 press release originating from one of the fake sites,, explained the "real" reasons that Dow could not take responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe, which has resulted in an estimated 20,000 deaths over the years. "Our prime responsibilities are to the people who own Dow shares, and to the industry as a whole," the release stated. "We cannot do anything for the people of Bhopal." The fake site immediately received thousands of outraged e-mails .
Within hours, the real Dow sent a legal threat to's upstream provider, Verio, prompting Verio to shut down the fake Dow's ISP for nearly a day, closing down hundreds of unrelated websites and bulletin boards in the process.

The fake Dow website quickly resurfaced at an ISP in Australia.

In a comical anticlimax, Dow then used a little-known domain-name rule to take possession of , another move which backfired when amused journalists wrote articles in newspapers from The New York Times to The Hindu in India, and sympathetic activists responded by cloning and mirroring the site at many locations, including, and, with a twist, Dow continues to play whack-a-mole with these sites (at least one ISP has received veiled threats).

Read the Whole Story Here.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 3:32 PM
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More on the Palestinian "Al-Qaeda"
Ibrahim (not his real name) said during a news conference in Gaza Monday night that he had been contacted by a man who identified himself as Haj Yousuf from the city of Akka, who told him that he was working for Osama Bin Laden and that he was able to carry out bombings in Tel Aviv and Haifa and other Israeli towns.

He told me that all he wanted from me was to declare responsibility for the bombings in the name of al-Qaida, said the masked Ibrahim.

He spoke very nicely and told me he would help me financially; then he asked me to try to enlist a number of sincere Islamic-minded youths to set up al-Qaeda cell in Gaza.

Ibrahim said his contacts with Haj Yousuf (the Mossad agents) became more frequent, adding that at one point the Mossad agent offered him a monthly salary of up to 3000 US dollars.

At a later date, the Mossad agent asked Ibrahim to rent an apartment in Gaza in order to facilitate communications between them. He also promised to provide Ibrahim with a computer and fax machine, saying that communication between the two would be conducted via the internet.

Ibrahim said the man would inject his telephone conversations with a lot of Quranic verses and would exhort him to perform daily prayers, particularly the Dawn prayer.

However, Ibrahim, said he began to be suspicious of the man when he told him that he knew him and his family.
posted by New World at 2:01 PM
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Chavez to be overthrown by the CIA in the next 72 hours
Uruguayan EP-FA congressman Jose Bayardi says he has information that far-reaching plans have been put into operation by the CIA and other North American intelligence agencies to overthrow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias within the next 72 hours.

Bayardi says he has received copies of top-secret communications between the Bush administration in Washington and the government of Uruguay requesting the latter's cooperation to support white collar executives and trade union activists "to break down levels of intransigence within the Chavez Frias administration."
posted by New World at 12:22 PM
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The wrong way to fight terrorism
Lessons from the Middle East that apply to America and the world as well.
posted by A.Q. at 11:44 AM
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Stop The War Conference.
As the US government moves steadily towards a military confrontation with Iraq, resistance to US foreign policy in the Gulf has been growing constantly. With this situation in mind, student activists at the University of Michigan have organized the STOP THE WAR Conference, which will be a productive space both for activists to build connections to increase the effectiveness of the antiwar movement, and for those who want to learn more about the multitude of issues involved in the US war on Iraq.

This conference will be an amazing opportunity to meet and network with other activists and educate yourself on this pressing issue. Conference organizers have gathered a group of experienced activists and world-reknowned intellectuals to give lectures and lead workshops on a wide range of issues.

You can use this website as a tool to learn more about the conference.

If you're planning on coming to the conference, you must register. It only takes a minute, and will ensure that you receive up-to-date information on the schedule of events, in addition to helping us coordinate logistics.

posted by Cyndy at 6:47 AM
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"I began to understand that 'America' in reality belonged to the whole world and not just to Americans. The idea of America had already been invented by the philosophers, the vagabonds, the dispersed of this earth, long before the Spanish ships got there. Those whom we call Americans have only rented it for a time. If they behave badly, we can discover another 'America'.The contract can be canceled at any time."
--Sergio Leone

. . . cool quote via the Musings & Meanderings of an Unabashed Liberal

More on Leone here.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:15 AM
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Thursday, December 12, 2002. *
Invisible killings: Israel's daily toll of Palestinian children
Meanwhile, the steady killing of Palestinian civilians, many of them children, by the Israeli occupation army goes largely unnoticed and unreported.

By consistently emphasizing the suffering of Israelis, and downplaying or ignoring the killings of Palestinians, the media conveys a false impression that Palestinian "attacks" are the principal feature of the conflict. Statistics unambiguously clarify that this impression is the exact opposite of the reality on the ground.
posted by A.Q. at 10:14 AM
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The University of Michigan students vote against war
After weeks of debate and postponements, the Resolution Against a War in Iraq was voted upon and passed, 22 to 13, at last night's Michigan Student Assembly meeting. MSA will now work with anti-war student groups to promote dialogue and educational events pertaining to the war.

It has also been resolved that MSA will urge President Bush not to preemptively or unilaterally start a war with Iraq and encourage the Bush administration to pursue a peaceful diplomatic resolution built upon international support
posted by Cyndy at 6:44 AM
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A striking blow against the axis of evil
WorldNetDaily: U.S. logs Saddam’s son off computer

U.S. officials say Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, has had his e-mail account on Yahoo’s Internet server shut down by the U.S. government, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.

A note posted Nov. 29 on the Internet site belonging to the Iraqi government newspaper Baghdad Babil, which is published by Uday Hussein, stated Uday could now be contacted at a new address:

The note to readers said: ‘’We apologize for changing the e-mail address for reasons beyond our control.’’

It goes on to say the U.S. Treasury Department ordered Yahoo to cancel the old e-mail address even though the newspaper company had paid for its use.
Gee, that should give old Uday some problems — just imagine how long it will take for all his .... acquaintances? ... to realize that they need to use a new address (it helps, of course, that WorldNet publishes it, but anyways.)

I just wonder how long it takes before he is “logged off” his new computer... there must be some sort of remote management software installed, I imagine.

Well, at least it will probably take a while before his spam-level gets back to normal.
posted by Henning at 4:52 AM
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Wednesday, December 11, 2002. *
Dubya Subpoenaed For Texas Rape of Minor (link is to a PDF)
It says in this Texas county court document that Dubya has been accused legally of having sex with a minor, and then using his powers as President to harass her into committing suicide.

Wonder if this will make the media? You can be sure that if it was Slick Willie being accused the Republicrats would see to it that it did.

Link to an HTML version for the PDF impaired.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 2:37 PM
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Bush warns Iraq of harsh response
In a new defense strategy submitted to Congress on Wednesday, President Bush warned Iraq and other hostile countries that the United States is prepared to use "overwhelming force" -- including nuclear weapons -- in response to any chemical or biological attack.
The threat was contained in a White House document called the "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction." Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer called it a declaration "of how seriously the United States would take it in the event that weapons of mass destruction were used."
posted by Joseph Matheny at 12:50 PM
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Israel Silent on Food Warehouse Razing
The three-story building in this northern Gaza town, however, had enough flour, cooking oil and rice stored on its ground floor to feed 38,000 people for a month. The goods belonged to the U.N.-affiliated World Food Program. Israeli troops blew it up anyway, and 2 weeks later have yet to offer an explanation to the UN or anyone else.
posted by A.Q. at 9:28 AM
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Tuesday, December 10, 2002. *
some stars coming out...
and speaking up against the administration's war plans:
Artists United to Win Without War (no web site yet?),
Reuter's news item here;
UPI news item here;
CNN story here, a link there with names of the folks involved.
posted by j at 5:19 PM
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anti-war protests

in honor of human rights day today, there are many planned anti-iraq protests across the world.

reuters says anti-iraq war protestors rally across u.s.

"more than 100 communities in 35 states are playing host tuesday to rallies, marches, and protests by liberal groups and activists against what organizers say are the white house's 'plans to invade Iraq at any cost'," says united press international

"a delegation of priests, nuns and roman catholic lay people is expected in iraq tuesday for the beginning of a series of demonstrations against a possible u.s. invasion of that middle-eastern country," says

8 protestors arrested outside of colo. sen. wayne allard's office last week (scroll down to bottom stroy)

and talkleft informs us that more than 100 celebs have signed an anti-war letter to be send to mr. bush. (don't send it with winona, she might lift something at the white house and get us all in dutch!)

remember, if you're in the socal area, this saturday, dec. 14, a candle light vigil to protest war will be held in hollywood at the corner of hollywood and highland streets at 7:30. please go to for details.
posted by Unknown at 12:38 PM
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Caught whistling Dixie
Four days later, Lott's controversial comment gets some attention. But not from top congressional Democrats
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's big mistake came last Thursday, at a ceremony commemorating the 100th birthday of Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. When it was his turn to speak, Lott boasted that his home state of Mississippi had supported Thurmond's run for president in 1948, and that "if the rest of the country had followed our lead we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."

Thurmond ran in 1948 as an openly pro-segregationist Dixiecrat. Lott's comment, according to the Washington Post, was met by "an audible gasp and general silence."

But perhaps even more surprising is how that stunned silence extended all the way to the Democratic Party. By Monday, many black leaders and black organizations had denounced Lott's remarks. On Monday, Lott said only that his comments "were not an endorsement of [Thurmond's] positions of more than 50 years ago, but of a man and his life." And four days later, few leading Democrats -- including those considering a bid for the 2004 race -- were willing to openly criticize the senator.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 11:34 AM
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Conservative Insider Novak: "Iraq War is for Israel's Benefit"

This is what the hawks in the administration and outside the administration never wanted to happen. They never wanted to have this inspection regime because what this is really about is change of regime in Iraq and change of the political outlines in the Middle East more to Israel’s benefit. That’s what this has all been about, and since it’s very hard to sell that to the American people, they have done it on a weapons of mass destruction basis.

>> More: Transcript Dec. 8, 2002
posted by A.Q. at 11:05 AM
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[Flash with sound] Tune in: America is having some technical difficulties. . .
posted by Hash at 4:25 AM
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Monday, December 09, 2002. *
Anti-War Movement? It's News to Us

Marjie Lundstrom, writing in our favorite newspaper named after an insect, the Sacramento Bee, seems to think that the mass media is missing out on coverage of the anti-war movement. Hey, who are we to disagree with the Bee?

Ms. Lundstrom writes about the decidedly-not-lunatic-fringe that is busy protesting Mr. Bush's march to war:

"The Rocklin schoolteacher who worries about his students' futures. The 68-year-old "stay-at-home protester" who e-mails and writes his elected officials. The 64-year-old semiretired carpenter who proudly stages a war protest in Auburn.

"There is the Sacramento attorney who sees her peace activism as a "matter of logic." And a father who drives his 12-year-old son to the Oct. 26 peace rally in San Francisco. A 51-year-old writer takes a ferry to the rally, too, because she is alarmed by President Bush's "frightening drive to war."

But Ms. Lundstrom thinks the Media are missing the obvious story: that much of mainstream America is anti-war.

"Yet media coverage seems stuck in a 1960s and 1970s Vietnam War-era frame, with journalists confining themselves to protest stories and visual images reminiscent of those times."

"Unlike the early days of the Vietnam anti-war movement...churches and labor unions have edged into this movement much sooner. Those speaking out against attacking Iraq already include the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church and, in this state, the California Federation of Teachers. AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney has expressed reservations to both houses of Congress.

Hey, Marjie, we don't disagree! But don't tell us, tell Walter Isaacson!

(Thanks and a tip of the Bush Kangaroo Hat to The Hamster for directing us to Ms. Lundstrom's article in the Bee).

posted by Unknown at 9:58 PM
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For Fred:

PA uncovers Israelis posing as Al-Qaeda agents
Gaza head of preventive security Rashid Abu Shbak told journalists at a press conference that Israeli agents, posing as operatives of Osama bin Laden's terrorist group, recruited Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"Over the past nine months, we've been investigating eight cases in which Israeli intelligence posing as Al-Qaeda operatives recruited Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," said Abu Shbak, referring to a series of e-mails and phone call conversations.

Abu Shbak said three Palestinians used by Israeli intelligence had been arrested, while another 11 were released "because they came and informed us of this Israeli plot."

The security chief said his services had traced back to Israel cellphone calls and e-mails in which Palestinians were asked to join Al-Qaeda.

"We investigated the origin of those calls, which used roaming, and messages and found out they all came from Israel," he told journalists.

He said they received money and weapons "although most of these weapons did not even work".

The money was provided by "Palestinian collaborators with Israel" directly to the new recruits or "was transferred from bank accounts in Jerusalem or Israel," Shbak said.
posted by New World at 4:35 PM
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Rawls and Us Rawls, Ryan wrote, "had two deep insights. The first was that utilitarianism was fundamentally flawed; utilitarianism, that is, trying to maximise the welfare of a whole society, failed to recognise what Rawls called 'the separateness of persons.'... The second deep insight is thus that we need an account of justice as fairness. What is the crucial question that we must be able to answer if we are to say that social arrangements meet the test of fairness?... Rawls's stroke of genius was to invent the idea of a 'veil of ignorance,' shrouding the folk who make this social contract so that they do not know who they will be, what abilities they will possess, what faith they will adopt, and so on. If they do not know whether they will be winners or losers, smart or dumb, Christians, Jews, Muslims or atheists, they will sign up only for arrangements that protect them whatever happens." [Eric Alterman in The Nation]
posted by Joseph Duemer at 3:14 PM
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color ourowndamnself unsurprised...
Lawsuit Against Cheney's Energy Task Force Dismissed
okey dokey, datz biznezz as usual nowadays, ain't it?
PDF file of the District Court Opinion available here;
in re U.S. District Judge John Bates
posted by j at 1:33 PM
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Sunday, December 08, 2002. *
Be Careful What You Wish For

Gen. Amir al-Saadi, an Iraqi general, "defies" the U.S. and Britain to find any proof of WMD in Iraq. Well, knowing Mr. Bush, he's not one to take a double dare lying down (but he does double down when he dares to lie).

However, apparently the U.S. was right, according to Gen. al-Saaqi, when it contended that Saddam was close to having a "Nagasaki-sized" nuke at the end of the First Gulf War. This is not good news, even if it is old news.

Saddam seems to be calling Mr. Bush's bluff, and that's not a good thing. Because we know that Mr. Bush is many things, but he probably isn't bluffing about invading Iraq.

The U.S. and the other members of the U.N. Security Council has received copies of the Iraqi Arms Disclosure Statement - all 12,000 pages of it. On the face of it, that means it will take at least until Christmas for the lawyers to get through the at least we'll have a happy holiday, assuming the economy holds up, and we aren't any of the 6 percent of the unemployed, the largest surge in unemployment since the end of the last Bush recession 9 years ago.

But, back on point, we are betting that the Bush Administration will find something in the WMD Declaration that won't sit well with them, thus creating an excuse to invade.

Our money is on January...still cold enough to comfortably wear those anti-biological/chemical warfare suits, but soon enough after the holidays to take advantage of the White Sales for the flags that the Bushies assume the Iraqis will want to be waving.
posted by Unknown at 11:47 PM
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Homegrown Border Patrol?
Chris Simcox, owner of the Tombstone Tumbleweed, a weekly newspaper in Tombstone, AZ, made headlines when he issued call for an armed citizen's militia to patrol the border against "invasion" from Mexicans illegally entering the U.S. Simcox exhorted Tombstonians: "Concerned Citizens turn off the T.V. Join together to protect your country in a time of war!"

Simcox apparently sees the militia as an adjunct to the Department of Homeland Security, telling another Arizona newspaper that the citizen militia will be called "Civil Homeland Defense Force". He told reporters that militia members will be patrolling public lands instead of private property as he initially proposed. Members will be armed and patrolling water stations set up by humanitarian groups, Simcox said.

Meanwhile Tuscon's Derechos Humanos (Human Rights) Coalition noting that several murders of Mexicans as they attempted to cross the border have yet to be prosecuted, says that racist groups are behind recent calls to protect the United States from terrorists. And that "the hate mongers wrap themselves up in the flag and shamelessly exploit the anti-terrorism atmosphere of the country."
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:31 PM
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The Headless Economy
Bush's new economic policy: Fire everyone!

The markets fell sharply this morning on the news that the U.S. economy lost another 40,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate spiked to 6 percent. Then the markets rallied on the news that Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsey, the White House's chief economic adviser, had both resigned.

The Bush administration now seems to understand what its many critics—including Moneybox—have been saying for months. Its economic program is nonexistent. In October, Moneybox tagged O'Neill, Lindsey, and Harvey Pitt as the weak links of the Bush economic team: All are now gone, with no replacements in sight. The administration seems to have decided that the cure for a nonexistent economic program is a nonexistent economic team.
posted by Gordon at 1:49 PM
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even god must bow his head to recognize...
the passing of the mighty life force that was Father Philip Berrigan;
But, but, but...
I cannot forget the dying children of Iraq, and the two million dead of our war, sanctions, and depleted uranium. I cannot forget what 78 days of NATO bombing (NATO is a clone of the U.S.) did to Kosovo and Serbia. I cannot forget my shame and sorrow over the second American nuclear war in Iraq, and the third in Yugoslavia. (Despite the spin doctors who control damage, depleted uranium shells and bombs are nuclear weapons). I cannot forget my country's war psychosis - its obsession with better tools for killing, its mammoth war chest, its think tanks and war labs, its sick ambition "to own the weather" as a "force multiplier." I cannot forget that historical moment when Washington abandoned the American people to become the marionette of billionaires, transnational corporations, banks, and deluded lobbyists with deep pockets. Above all, I cannot forget Our Savior turning his face resolutely toward Jerusalem and the Cross. "Whoever wants to come after me, must deny self, pick up the cross and follow me." (Mk 8:34) I will not forget, and I will not go out to pasture. Instead, I will wrestle for faith with my three brave sisters and brothers. A faith which will hopefully embrace worthiness to suffer for the name of Jesus. (Acts 5:41) As the ballad goes: "For swords into Plowshares, the hammer has to fall." Indeed! Our hammers and blood will fall on this hi-tech monstrosity called the A-10, which fired 95% of the depleted uranium in Iraq and Yugoslavia. A hammer is the universal tool, used to build up and tear down, used to extend responsibility for disarmament universally. Disarming the weapons and abolishing war is the #1 business of the world. Nothing so destroys our relationship with God and one another; nothing so threatens the very survival of the planet.

that from An Apology of Sorts
posted by j at 9:06 AM
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Saturday, December 07, 2002. *
Palestinians arrest Israeli agents posing as al-Qaeda
Palestinian security forces have arrested a group of Palestinians for collaborating with Israel and posing as operatives of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, a senior official said yesterday.

"The Palestinian Authority arrested a group of collaborators who confessed they were working for Israel, posing as al-Qaeda operatives in the Palestinian territories," said the official, on condition of anonymity.

He said the alleged collaborators sought to "discredit the Palestinian people, justify every Israeli crime and provide reasons to carry out a new (military) aggression in the Gaza Strip."
posted by New World at 10:55 AM
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Asaf's Letter to the IDF recruitment office requesting to appear before the CO committee

Re:Request for exemption from military service as a conscientious objector in accordance with paragraph 36 of the Military Service Law (unified version) -1986

I, Asaf Shtull-Trauring, a 17 year old high school student, hereby present to you my request for exemption from military service (compulsory and reserve) for reasons of conscience, under the appropriate statutes.

I hereby declare that my political world view and basic values prevent me from serving in the IDF. I see in my refusal to serve in the Israel Defense Forces a basic democratic right, and my duty as a citizen. I cannot allow myself to be a soldier in the IDF, just as I would not allow myself to be a soldier in the South African army during the Apartheid regime. I cannot see myself being part of any military organization that uses its weapons and force against civilians, human rights, democratic rule and a just society.

Salvaging the Wreck

The Likud election results. Attacks in Kenya. More dead in Gaza. President Bush saber rattling about Iraq. Our unquenchable thirst for oil poisoning Spain's beaches and sea birds. Israeli soldiers killing UN officials and getting away with it. The largest US defense budget in history passes with little protest. Henry Kissinger and Elliott Abrams, criminals from years past, return to public office. The world is spinning towards war, hatred, chaos and uncertainty.

Persian Gulf—or Tonkin Gulf?
Illegal "no-fly zones" could be war's trip wire.

In a pair of editorials after the 1991 Gulf War, one of them titled "Don't Shoot Down Iraqi Aircraft," The New York Times called the plan to create vast "no-fly zones" (NFZs) in Iraq "legally untenable and politically unwise." The editorials, based on a careful reading of United Nations resolutions, were explicit: "The [cease- fire] accord permits Iraq to fly all types of aircraft and sets no restriction on their use. Shooting them down would put the United States in the position of breaking an accord it is pledged to uphold." Saying that Washington was entering "new and dangerous territory," the Times warned, "The purpose [of the NFZs] is unclear, probably unwise and maybe even illegal."

In fact, no UN resolution or other international authority exists to legitimize the NFZs, which are currently the scene of an intensifying air-to-ground firefight between an armada of U.S. and British warplanes and an ineffectual Iraqi defense system. The British-American presence over Iraq is a case of might-makes-right, and Iraq's feeble attempts to defend its skies are justified under international law. Yet the NFZs are immeasurably more explosive now because a unilateral U.S. interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted on Nov. 8, provides a pretext for launching the war that President George W. Bush wants.
posted by Gordon at 12:18 AM
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Friday, December 06, 2002. *
For educational purposes, check out what you would have received last week in your email box had you been an employee of the Department of Justice:
The Attorney General
Washington D.C.
November 2002

Dear DOJ Family,

As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the many blessings made possible by the sacrifice of generations that have gone before us. In their first years in the New World, the Pilgrims suffered and sacrificed, paving the way for the America that now exists.

During one particularly harsh time, known as "The Starving," each Pilgrim was allocated a mere five (5) kernels of corn per day. Nothing more was eaten except the seafood which was caught. That disciplined, sacrificial hardship protected the seedcorn that was necessary for future plenty.

This Thanksgiving in America, as I thank God for His blessings and the sacrifices of those who have gone before me, I also give thanks for you. I am grateful for our opportunity to work together to promote freedom around the world. May God bless and protect you, your family and America.


John Ashcroft

posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:42 AM
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