American Samizdat

Friday, February 28, 2003. *
A Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders: [Many articles have been written on the illegality and the immorality of Bush's plans to attack the people of Iraq. While many of these articles are excellent, they are not usually directed at the people who need to read them the most — the members of the armed forces of the United States. If you find this information useful, please forward this article to anyone you know in the military or to websites that they would frequent...]
posted by emg at 10:04 PM
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Excerpts from John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation sent to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell:

Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart...

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.
We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?

For those without the benefit of a Classical education, oderint dum metuant means Let them hate as long as they fear. You can read this letter in full at The New York Times.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:55 PM
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LibertyThink Homeland Propaganda
Alert Level Remains at Orange ("High")

In response to Tom Ridge's decision to lower the Terror Alert level to Yellow, perhaps due to the untimely death of Mr. Rogers, LibertyThink has carefully evaluated the situation and decided to maintain the status of the Homeland Propaganda Advisory System to level Orange, the second highest level on the scale. A High condition is declared when there is a high risk of propaganda attacks.
Tom Ridge has issued the following statement today:
"Detained Al Qaeda operatives have informed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials that Al Qaeda will wait until it believes Americans are less vigilant and less prepared before it will strike again."
We believe that what Ridge is implying is that there is an inverse reality to lowering the Terror Alert level to Yellow and we will be offering the impression that Americans will appear "less vigilant", and thus subject to higher risk of terrorist attack.

Note that this level (Orange) of the Homeland Propaganda Advisory System is equivalent to the Justification Stage in Ottosen's system.

Citizens are advised to be on a high level of alert for the dead baby story or any event whose apparent urgency brooks no delay - specifically, no time for cool deliberation or negotiating on peace proposals. Human interest stories are ideal for engendering this atmosphere.
Also see: LibertyThink Homeland Propaganda Alert Level Raised to Orange ("High")
posted by valis at 2:59 PM
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War is hell — but damned profitable!

For awhile, it looked like corporate America wasn't going to get to share in the spoils of our glorious upcoming war with Iraq.

I know that the usual thieves in the Defense Industry have already been profiting by the buildup, but aside from the obvious players, other segments of the economy have yet to exploit war fever to their advantage — until now.

Finally, the corporate media giants have stepped up to claim their share of war economy profits.

Fox News Channel, led by its infamous naturalized wingnut, Rupert Murdoch, has used its close ties to the Bush Cartel and its utter lack of journalistic ethics to convince the average American nimrod that it and it alone speaks the truth about the coming war. And while the numbers are relatively small, this important part of the conservative media machine has trounced CNN and MSNBC in the so-called Cable News ratings war; proving that when people find a media outlet that represents their narrow views, they don't dare change channels, lest they be exposed to another viewpoint that makes them question their own.

Fortunately (for them), the danger of this happening is becoming less and less likely.

In order to attract more of the factless Fox crowd, CNN is now promoting the war very heavily; even to the point of creating the Iraq Tracker for your browser so that you can keep up-to-date on the latest developments when Bush's war commences.

Radio giant Clean Channel Communications, with its 1200 stations in lockstep with it's conservative management hasn't sit still in its war planning either.

According to columnists Cary Spivak and Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sales personnel for the six Milwaukee area Clear Channel stations sent a memo entitled, "Planning for the Possibility of War with Iraq" to over 1,000 companies which "laid out the buying opportunities that could come from an attack."
"In the event of a war our coverage of these events allows for additional commercial inventory allotments,"wrote Keith Bratel, sales chief for six Milwaukee stations, including WMIL-FM (106.1) and WISN-AM (1130). "This could allow more than normal availability for advertisers."
According to Bratel, his memo was "largely lifted from one that was sent by Jeff Tyler, marketing manager for the six Clear Channel stations in Madison."

I suspect that this memo has circulated to all 1200 Clear Channel stations. But don't think that these two exemplary American business types are just about increasing corporate profits.

Tyler, like Bratel, said he hopes the situation with Iraq doesn't come to [war], offering the standard platitudes about armed conflict.
"Obviously, guys could be dying and women could be dying," Tyler said, "and it's a horribly tragic thing."

Still, business is business.

"Everybody has had the same problem since 9-11," Tyler said. "Everybody has concerns about the placement of advertising during times of crisis."
So when the war begins and the threat of pre-empted advertising looms, be sure to tell those companies who support the war effort to keep on buying radio time.

It's the patriotic thing to do.

In the meantime, I've got to sign up for the Iraq Tracker. I don't want to miss one exciting moment of Bush's boondoggle!

posted by Michael at 2:21 PM
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Thursday, February 27, 2003. *
War Protesters Use Telephone to Lobby
Thousands of calls and e-mails protesting the prospect of a war with Iraq flooded Senate offices today, making it impossible to reach Senators or their staffs. Senators were inundated whether they had supported the war or not, as protest organizers urged telephone and internet users to contact Senate offices across the board. NPR's Andrea Seabrook discusses the protest.

Watch it live: http://www.moveon.org/onlinehq/index_04.html

Also see: Anti-war protesters flood Senate, White House offices with calls in 'virtual march'

From the front: As ones who volunteered their Kung Fu to set up and admin Voice/Fax dialing servers, all we can say is, "Jam the Circuits Baybee, Yeah!"
The call volume is estimated at over one million calls. Circuits were jammed, but on the lighter side, those staffers that were forced to field the calls and messages were sent "care packages" of snacks and such. Dissent hax0r stylee.

posted by Joseph Matheny at 12:58 PM
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A voice in the MSNBC wilderness is silenced


It just got a lot tougher to make any real headway against the conservative hate machine.

Yesterday, Phil Donahue's MSNBC show was abruptly axed. While this had been rumored for quite some time, the ending demonstrated corporate despicability at its worst and was insulting as hell to a man who deserved much better.

Rather than be allowed to even work out the week presenting both sides of important public issues as he has been doing for the past six months, MSNBC simply yanked the show and lengthened Countdown: Iraq by an hour. Apparently a glitzy presentation the administration's push toward war is a safer corporate bet than a lively discussion of the issue. In fact, in a column by Rick Ellis of www.allyourtv.com, he writes this:

At least some of the executives at [MSNBC] were concerned that Donahue presented a challenge for the company, at a time when the U.S. was preparing to go to war. I quoted a report which had been leaked to me, which described a possible "nightmare scenario" where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
It must be noted that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the largest US defense contractors in the country; hence one of the company's reasons for concern.

Donahue's response was quick and to the point:

"We were hoping to break through the noisy drums of war on Cable and become a responsible platform for dissenters as well as Administration supporters. The New York Times op-ed page features a variety of views regarding the Bush war on Iraq, including regular columnists who have been quite critical of the Administration's foreign policy team. MSNBC's voice should be no less diverse."
When the Donahue show began, there was an uproar by wingnuts not used to being questioned in depth about their positions and there was a call to boycott the program. But there were enough responsible conservatives who ignored the boycott and got a much better shake than liberals do on the average hate machine program.

A couple weeks ago, it was announced that Mike Savage (AKA Michael Wiener) had been hired by MSNBC. I've never heard this guy's radio show, but having read excerpts from his book, Savage Nation, lead me to be amazed at the amount of hatred one man can dredge up. Whether opportunistic entertainer or mad extremist, this former health guru has become the latest filth-monger to attract the attention of the kind of people who will ultimately destroy this country from within.

Finally, just yesterday, MSNBC announced with great fanfare that Dick Armey, the great liberal-hater and former House Leader would join the network as a contributor. With Donahue's exit, MSNBC's conservative lockstep march to the right in is proceeding quickly.

As Donahue said yesterday, "the hiring of Mike Savage, Dick Armey and Joe Scarborough suggest a strategy to out-Fox FOX."

But why would anyone who watches Fox switch to the cable outlet of the great liberal media Satan, NBC? Your average brain-dead Fox viewer doesn't understand objectivity vs bias. He only wants to believe what he is told...and Fox does that blatantly and without subterfuge.

The irresponsibility and ethical bankruptcy of GE/NBC/MSNBC shouldn't surprise anyone who knows how the television game is played, but as voices of dissent continue to be silenced, this little medium known as the Internet will play a larger and larger role in disseminating the truth.

Spread the word!
posted by Michael at 10:22 AM
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'Mister Rogers' Dies of Cancer at 74

Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74.
[more]

I watched a lot of Mr. Rogers when my kids were little. This world just lost a very good neighbor.
posted by Gordon at 7:55 AM
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Wednesday, February 26, 2003. *
From: spamfilter.gov
To: newworlddisorde@chek.com
Cc:
Date: Wed, Feb 26th 2003 00:36:52
Subject: Virtual Protest

Thanks for adding your email address to The Department of Homeland Security Database.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/homeland/
posted by New World at 4:34 PM
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NEWSWEEK EXCLUSIVE: THE DEFECTOR'S SECRET

In August 1995, Hussein Kamel, the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein who headed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs, defected, saying he "could not continue to tolerate the oppression of the Iraqi people and the savagery of the regime." This was of course the same Hussein Kamel who was behind Iraq's bizarre 1980s quest for a "supergun," who was accused of gassing Iraqi citizens, who committed atrocities at Kerbala and Najaf, and was personally responsible for a sizeable percentage of that savagery.

The time was right: Iraq had declared that it would terminate its (limited) cooperation with the U.N. and its weapons inspectors unless the devastating sanctions regime against Iraq were lifted. Further, Washington was reported at the time to have been "sending massive military reinforcements to Jordan and the Gulf on the pretext of protecting Jordanan against Iraqi threats or pre-empting Iraqi troop movements in the direction of Kuwait" despite Jordanian insistance "that it faces no threat from Iraq or Iraqi military buildup near its border" and Kuwaiti denial of "knowledge of any troop movements," as the Mideast Mirror reported at the time. How fortuitous that someone could be dredged up willing to tell the Associated Press that "All [Iraqi] army units were informed to enter Kuwait and the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia. The move was reversed after . . . our [Kamel and his fellow defectors'] departure," thus justifying a vastly unpopular parcelling of military resources.

Kamel's CIA handlers expected the proverbial intelligence windfall, though a none-too-close close read of the papers at the time was enough to let one know what game was being played: The Sunday Timeswrote of ''wary negotiations'' over how much Kamel would disclose and under what circumstances. A more plainspoken "Western official" told The Times' Michael Theodoulou that Kamel was "looking for a quid pro quo for talking." The opportunity to preen for CNN cameras was initially enough, and Kamel told all who would listen about imminent popular uprisings in Iraq and about a revived supergun program "'meant for long-range attack and also to blind spy satellites. Our scientists were seriously working on that. It was designed to explode a shell in space that would have sprayed a sticky material on the satellite and blinded it.''

"Information provided by Gen. Kamel," Ben Barber and Bill Gertz wrote later in The Washington Times, "helped convince the U.N. special commission that Iraq had failed to scrap chemical, biological and ballistic missile programs." Iraq would claim that the information provided by Kamel was "incomplete," and would invite Rolf Ekeus' U.N. inspectors to a erstwhile chicken farm to receive metric tons of documents on Iraq's programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the long-range missiles to convey them. The weapons themselves destroyed, Iraq claimed, the documents were all that remained.

It now turns out that Kamel's "tale raises questions about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," writes Newsweek's John Barry, a 10-year veteran of the inspections beat. His article in the March 3 edition begins:

Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them.
Barry then notes that Kamel's revelation was "hushed up" by U.N. inspectors to make Iraq, nervous over not knowing the content of the Kamel-U.N. talks, disclose information it otherwise would not have.

It seems that the hush-up will have the ultimate effect of causing the likely deaths of unknown numbers of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen and greater numbers - also unknown - of Iraqi civilians. After all, for the current crew locking down the block of 1600 Pennsylvania, the Kamel episode "should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself" - at least as long as a pesky inspection regime is proving a hindrance to war. In that case, the amazingly incomplete disclosures of palace intriguers now serve as rationales and rationalizations for the latest imperial exercise. Add them to the avowals of paid dissidents, and the half-baked confections offered by think tankers.

Incidentally, Kamel was murdered upon returning to Iraq after realizing the U.S. would not support his bid to serve as savior of the Iraqi people. The CIA, meanwhile, denied Barry's report within hours of its publication.
posted by Grady at 10:33 AM
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Tuesday, February 25, 2003. *
Ari Fleischer laughed off stage
VIDEO
Q -- the French press is quoting actually two different diplomats from the United States State Department that -- they're highlighting that the United States is giving some sort of agreements or benefits to Colombia -- and other non-members of the Security Council --

MR. FLEISCHER: I haven't seen the story. And you already have the answer, about what this will be decided on. But think about the implications of what you're saying. You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition. (Laughter.)
transcript
posted by valis at 11:40 PM
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Operation Northwoods
CODENAMED Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving [Lyman L] Lemnitzer* (right) and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.

Also see:
  • NORTHWOODS: A PLAN FOR TERROR TO JUSTIFY WAR
  • Culture and Life: Operation Northwoods and the two towers

  • posted by Joseph Matheny at 6:52 PM
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    Between Iraq and a Hard Place
    MUST SEE TV
    The comedy trio Bremner Bird and Fortune bring their viewpoint on the Iraqi crisis in their own unique way.

    Watch Part 1 (12 min 39s)

    Watch Part 2 (13 min 56 s)

    Watch Part 3 (9 min 27 s)

    Watch Part 4 (14 min 20s)
    posted by valis at 5:15 PM
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    The Assassination Business

    Thirty years after President Ford banned the assassination of foreign leaders, it appears that President Bush has put the United States back into the assassination business — at least hypothetically.

    According to Eric Krol of the (Chicago) Daily Herald,

    President Bush recently told Sen. Peter Fitzgerald he would order the assassination of Saddam Hussein "if we had intelligence on where he was now and we had a clear shot," the Illinois senator said Monday.

    Such an order would represent a major shift away from a nearly 30-year U.S. ban on assassinating foreign leaders. That ban was put into place during the Ford administration in response to criticism of CIA-backed plots in the 1960s and 1970s.

    The question of whether to resume this dangerous foreign policy is an interesting one. If by assassinating Saddam, the lives of thousands of innocent Iraqis as well as those of American military personnel could be saved, I don't think a policy like this should be dismissed out of hand. The great unknown, of course, after any abrupt change or loss of leadership in a country is the amount of sheer chaos that its people would be subjected to, and unless there is a strong political force ready to take over immediately, there could still be a great deal of suffering.

    In addition, the use of assassination in the past was always a highly-political decision and more often than not, the target of the assassinations were not enemies of their own people, but merely enemies of special interests in this country.

    So while it would be highly desirable to get rid of the Mideast madman, I'd hate to consider who would eventually wind up on Bush's "hit list".

    posted by Michael at 5:31 AM
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    Monday, February 24, 2003. *
    In God He Trusts: How George Bush Infused the White House With A Religious Spirit
    Bush's born-again Christianity cannot be questioned. Indeed, it dovetails with his widely attested lack of intellectual curiosity, his seemingly utter certainty of his convictions and with the difficulty of persuading him to change a mind already made up. Few mortals can compete with God for his ear.

    Mr Bush's Christian fervour only confirms suspicions that the looming war with Iraq is indeed a "crusade" against Muslims, exactly as Osama bin Laden suggests. For world-weary Europe the presidential language evokes mirth and queasiness in equal measure. A European leader who spoke in such terms would be laughed off the stage. An American one who speaks this way only increases the fear that simplicities of faith, and a habit of seeing a hideously complicated world in a black-and-white, good or evil fashion, are a recipe for disaster. [more] [via]

    Crazy fuckin' fundamentalists.

    posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:07 PM
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    Declassified Mk-Ultra Project Documents

      Artichoke Project
      Bluebird Project
      Pandora Project
      Mk-Delta Project
      Mk-Naomi Project
      Mk-Action Project
      Mk-Search Project
      Mk-Ultra Project
    posted by Joseph Matheny at 8:09 PM
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    Operations Pipe Dreams And Headhunter Put Illegal Drug Paraphernalia Sellers Out Of Business
    National Sweep Shuts Down Retailers, Distributors and Internet Sites
    Attorney General John Ashcroft and Acting DEA Administrator John B. Brown, III today announced the indictment of 50 individuals on charges of trafficking in illegal drug paraphernalia. The charges are the culmination of two nationwide investigations code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter and include indictments against national distributors of drug paraphernalia and businesses nationwide. DEA offices in Boise, Idaho; Des Moines, Iowa; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Dallas and Tyler, Texas were involved in these investigations.

    "With the advent of the Internet, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has exploded," Ashcroft said. "The drug paraphernalia business is now accessible in anyone's home with a computer and Internet access. And in homes across America we know that children and young adults are the fastest growing Internet users. Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge. This illegal billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement. Today, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, under the leadership of Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and Associate Deputy Attorney General Karen Tandy, has taken decisive steps to dismantle the illegal drug paraphernalia industry by attacking their physical, financial and Internet infrastructures." >> |
    posted by Joseph Matheny at 7:31 PM
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    Israel/Palestine

    Labour out in cold as Sharon shifts to right
    New pact dashes hopes of talks with Palestinians

    The Israeli Labour party last night finally ruled out joining a national unity government with Ariel Sharon after the Israeli prime minister insisted on including a rightwing party as a partner.

    Amram Mitzna, the Labour leader, said that Mr Sharon had missed a "historic opportunity" by refusing to agree to a framework for peace with the Palestinians.

    Instead, Mr Sharon has chosen the National Religious party as a coalition partner. The NRP's major constituency is the settlers in Gaza and the West Bank. It rejects any evacuation of the settlements and the formation of an Arab state between the Mediterranean and the river Jordan.
    [more]

    Israel's continued domination and destruction in the Bethlehem area

    Kids are gathered round a burned-out car in Bethlehem's Manger Square. There is no school today, their town is under curfew. A Palestinian ambulance is stopped and searched in the rain. It's another day under Israeli military occupation.

    For weeks Israeli soldiers have been invading and reinvading the Bethlehem area, holding the residents captive in their homes. In the past two nights Israeli soldiers abucted 20 Palestinians from the Bethlehem area, adding them to the approximatly 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held, largely without charge, in Israeli jails.

    A man who lives in a refugee camp called a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ambulance for his sick child last night. UNRWA informed him, "We are under orders to not move." This is the United Nations, too afraid of the Israeli military to use its own ambulance service. UNRWA is also talking about the one million Palestinians who could starve to death in the West Bank when the US officially declares war on Iraq -- and an expected punishing curfew is implemented.
    [more]

    It's only Sderot. Only us

    Focusing exclusively on our victims while ignoring the other's victims is morally contemptible, but above all this it has grave political ramifications. With such selective and distorted information at the disposal of the Israeli public, it is little wonder the country has moved so far to the right. Every sensible person who is nourished by the Israeli press would reach the same conclusions. If the Palestinians really are firing rockets at us while they are ensconced securely in their homes, as could be understood from the reports of the Israeli media, the political conclusion is clear: the only solution is force. If there is no occupation, no appalling wrongs and no war crimes, the only possible conclusion is that the Palestinians really were born bloodthirsty. The news pages and the current events programs on radio and television shape public opinion in this way more than a thousand learned and enlightened op-eds.

    "We have different views partly because we see different news," the columnist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times last week. Krugman was talking about the great divide that has opened up between Europe and the United States, but his comment is even more true of the Middle East. Every night the Arab world - and to a lesser degree, the Western world - is exposed to images of atrocity from the territories, whereas the Israeli viewer doesn't have a clue about what is happening less than an hour's drive from his home. He knows only about the brutal suicide bombings and the Qassam rockets.
    [more]
    posted by Gordon at 10:54 AM
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    How Bush buys positive war spin
    It's war. The nation's president is mad with imperial delusions. There is a burgeoning anti-war movement whose message of morality and peace screams for just a smidgen of fair attention from the media. Liberties face vicious attacks from the very leaders who have sworn to defend the Constitution; the press responds with yawns and shrugs. Courageous dissenters stand up against the power of the administration, and are derided or ignored by disdainful newspapers and TV chattering heads.

    At Atlanta's media Coxopoly, the issue is simple. Follow the big bucks. Pentagon spin is accorded the status of holy writ, the president is granted unconditional support -- and Cox executives who disagree are forced to choose between their principles and their jobs. The president gratefully responds with legislation that squashes press competition, and enriches Cox and other media conglomerates to the tune of billions of dollars.

    No, I'm not talking about next month at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I'm talking about 1970-'72. (more)

    This, the media, is where the war for whether war is acceptable is fought and won. We stand in relation to the media as the people of Iraq stand in relation to our techno-military juggernaut.
    posted by Bruce at 10:54 AM
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    TOTALITARIANISM FOR DUMMIES

    In a brave move by the literary publishers the book 1984 has been re-branded and re-marketed as "totalitarianism for dummies"

    Now in a bright yellow cover with a photograph of George Bush emblazoned across it with the slogan "I did it and I can't even pass high school exams" the book explains in easy terms and step by step guides how to control your population with a state of "Permanent War", how to set up your own "Ministry of Truth" and how to control the minds of your minions with Doublethink.

    The thought police and ministry of truth have been merged into one by the president as the homeland security department and plans are underway to install a two way screen into the homes of millions of gullible Americans for their own safety.

    ...George bush has been thought to say "After I created a climate of fear, the oppression of my own citizens was a synch"

    Also see: Aldous Huxley: The Ultimate Revolution, March 20, 1962
    Aldous Huxley discusses using terrorism to create willing slaves out of the population. Questions / Answers
    posted by valis at 9:17 AM
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    Congratulations to the weblogs acknowledged by receiving the 2002 Medley Medals from the wonderful Lynette Millet of Medley.
    posted by emg at 1:23 AM
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    Sunday, February 23, 2003. *

    Strange Bedfellows?


    I guess it was too much to expect real political debate from Bill Maher's new HBO show, Real Time. I truly wanted to add his show to my TIVO Season Pass list, but after watching his first effort, I just can't do it.

    Maher started his show off with a spunky opening monologue...and included the sharp wit we'd come to know from Politically Incorrect. A bonus for Maher is that being an HBO program, he is also able to spice up his shtick with censor-free street language whenever he wants. This was all good.

    Then came his debate with Republican Congressman and Bush lock-stepper Dana Rohrbacher. Here Maher was less impressive. While Rohrbacher continually stressed the party line on Iraq, Bill seemed more intent on getting in his pre-written one-liners than in seriously debating the issues. Still, on balance, it was good to see some arguments on television against the soon-to-be war.

    The show's nadir came next. Here was the Politically Incorrect-like discussion that included Professor and Author Michael Eric Dyson (on the left), comedian Larry Miller (center/right) and media wacko and political wonk's wet dream, Ann Coulter (on the bull-goose looney right).

    After introducing Coulter as his "clubbing buddy", the level of intelligent conversation dropped below the radar as Coulter and Maher promoted not only her recent moronic diatribe, Slander, but took every opportunity to pre-sell her next book, Treason, which is unfortunately due out this spring.

    Fellow Liberals, grab your pith helmets! A shit storm of hateful wrath from this wacked-out dame is gonna fly once again!

    As much as he'd like us to believe he's just being fair and objective by having his hate-addled buddy on his program, her inclusion demonstrates to me only one thing: Maher is first and foremost an entertainer and the issues he discusses are perhaps important to him, but not important enough to deny one of the most objectionable human beings I've ever heard another forum to spew her hatred with extreme prejudice.

    The simplicity of her logic and the bankruptcy of her intellect was demonstrated once again when she repeated the rallying cry from her State of the Union column. I suspect that brilliant demagoguery such as the following will pepper her next book (excuse the expression, Annie) quite liberally.

    "Bush got a raucous standing ovation at his State of the Union address when he announced that 'this year, for the first time, we are beginning to field a defense to protect this nation against ballistic missiles.' The excitement was noticeably muted on the Democrats' side of the aisle. The vast majority of Democrats remained firmly in their seats, sullen at the thought that America would be protected from incoming ballistic missiles. To paraphrase George Bush: If this is not treason, then treason has no meaning."

    Isn't it going to be wonderful to have a nimrod like Ann Coulter defining for America what treason is? Yet this is what the harpy screamed about during the discussion.

    I've spent too much time over the years listening to more and more contemptible people getting airtime, just because they bring in an audience! Public executions would probably be as popular as the Super Bowl, but I'm not sure this is the direction we want America to take.

    I know it's like pissing into the wind to expect the corporate media giants (or recently-fired talk show hosts) to pass up ratings for responsibility, but I don't have to pass on the outrage of having Ann Coulter on television even if Bill Maher is the new darling of the left with his book, "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden".

    Bill, I expected better from you.

    posted by Michael at 7:11 PM
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    Israeli Onslaught Continues; 11 More Palestinians Dead
    With world attention on Iraq, Sharon is making his moves in Gaza, leaving 11 dead and several family homes destroyed or occupied. The total killed last week was 33.
    posted by A.Q. at 4:13 PM
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    Canadian in Passport Fiasco; humiliated by US Immigration in Chicago. Is this because INS officers still don't know the difference between Indians and Muslim Asians? Toronto Star
    posted by emg at 3:49 AM
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    Perhaps the only reason to watch the Grammy Awards is to see if this happens. [via Drudge Report]
    posted by emg at 3:46 AM
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    Fascism Blows - Remembering the "White Rose"

    Remember the last War on Terror?
    60 years ago, on Feb. 22 1943, three students of the Munich-based resistance group “White Rose” were executed for inciting young people to rise against Hitler - a fact that many young Germans today are unaware of.

    On a clear February day in 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl entered the deserted atrium of the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich bearing a suitcase full of leaflets containing a passionate appeal to Germans to engage in "passive resistance" against Hitler and the Third Reich.

    They worked swiftly, dropping stacks of the explosive leaflets throughout the corridors, just minutes before the atrium would be flooded with students leaving lectures and classes. Before hurrying outside to safety, the brother and sister, on a last-minute urge, decided to get rid of the remaining few documents in the suitcase.
    Also see:
    posted by valis at 2:03 AM
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    Saturday, February 22, 2003. *
    The Kunduz Getaway

    In an interview which aired on PBS' Now with Bill Moyers this week, Seymour Hersh relayed the story of how, following a 2001 battle near the Afghan town of Kunduz, the "cream of the crop of Al Qaeda" were allowed to escape into Pakistan with Donald Rumsfeld's authorization. Hersh first wrote about this in a January 2002 New Yorker article.
    posted by Bill at 10:13 PM
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    Israel/Palestine

    The Story of Yoni Ben-Artzi

    Those of you who are long time readers here, know my opinions of the Israeli army. To quote from my FAQ:

    1. The IDF is the main reason that Israel continues to illegally occupy the West Bank and Gaza, and refuses to reach a just and permanent solution with the Palestinians.
    2. The IDF is the key institution that undermines democracy in Israel, and perpetuates inequality and corruption in Israeli society.


    There are so many stories I can tell about the corruption and cruelty of the army that I saw and experienced in my ten years of service. Tonight, I will tell just one, the story of a 20 year old boy, Yoni ben-Artzi.
    [more]

    FERAS AL BAKRI - A HERO IN THE MIDST OF HORROR
    By Anne Gwynne

    “3 Palestinians killed and 25 injured in Nablus” say the headlines. Tells you nothing at all…

    I have just come from Raffidia Hospital on the North Mountain in Nablus, formerly the most beautiful and prosperous city in the ancient, cultured and peaceful land of Palestine, where most of those 25 people were taken and where one of the injured, FERAS MABROUKI aged 21, has just died of the wounds he sustained a few hours earlier. Also under the sanitized ‘3 dead’ heading come AYMAN KAMAL abu ZANT aged 20, and MOHAMED- SAMIR TAKRURI, aged 35. All, I am told, murdered by shots to the head - all human beings with families suddenly and grievously bereaved tonight. Three more innocents murdered - three more Martyrs in Nablus.

    Under a continuous, year-long, brutal, illegal military occupation, the suffering of the people of Nablus goes on day after day in ever-escalating terror inflicted upon them by what the people here can now only describe as the crazy and totally evil Jewish-Israeli soldiers. Today demonstrated that, in the most terrible fashion. The desperately injured and the dead in the Hospitals of Nablus are witnesses-without-a-voice to the murderous assault upon an innocent civilian population on a sunny, shopping-eating-laughing Sunday afternoon.
    [more]

    As the world focuses on Iraq, the bodies pile up in Gaza

    The question hung over the concrete rubble and twisted iron support rods, the ruined buildings where Palestinians said three young men were killed when the Israeli army demolished them this week.

    Is the Israeli military taking advantage of a time when the world is not paying attention to what is going on here, when media coverage is focusing on Iraq, to step up its campaign in the occupied territories?

    In the past week, while the world's press focused on the UN security council and Baghdad, the violence has suddenly surged. In six days, at least 30 Palestinians have been killed in a series of Israeli operations, chiefly in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Nablus.
    [more]

    Peace hopes sink as Sharon rules out Jerusalem deal

    The Israeli prime minster, Ariel Sharon, last night further entrenched his obstacles to a peace settlement by ruling out the division of Jerusalem or the return of Palestinian refugees from negotiations.
    [more]
    posted by Gordon at 9:57 PM
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    Friday, February 21, 2003. *
    Israelis Separate Christians from Bethlehem
    After the wall is built, the Bethlehem municipality will even need military permission to send trucks to collect the rubbish. The wall is part of what has become known as Israel's "Berlin Wall", electrified fences and concrete walls the Israeli government is building around the West Bank to seal it off and stop Palestinian militants crossing into Israel.
    posted by A.Q. at 10:34 PM
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    Reports about North Korea are disturbing.




    We don't want to act as though the sky is falling on our heads..



    But North Korea's Nuclear capability is quite frightening. The CIA says their ballistic missiles could hit the west coast. Their leader is a bit loony, too.

    This is all taken from one of two (count 'em, two) very funny Tom Tomorrow/Tom the Dancing Bug-like parody sites of our new Department of Homeland Security Website. The other is here.



    3. After an attack, beware of giant terrorists roaming the streets. Seal up oversize doors in your building with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

    posted by Philip Shropshire at 6:56 PM
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    French Jokes Gain Wide Audiences in America
    With the nation tired of hearing jokes about reality television, humorists are looking for a new target -- and have homed in on one that has caught the attention of a frustrated American public.

    David Letterman: "France wants more evidence [of Iraqi violations]. The last time France wanted more evidence, it rolled right through France with a German flag."

    Dennis Miller: "The only way the French are going in is if we tell them we found truffles in Iraq."

    Jay Leno: "I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get the Germans out of France!"

    Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: "Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It's not known, it's never been tried."

    Blunt again: "Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day -- the description was: 'Never shot. Dropped once.'"
    posted by New World at 4:03 PM
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    Botched vaccinations blamed for Aids in Africa
    The African Aids pandemic was caused more by careless use of needles in healthcare than by unsafe sex, a report published today by an international group of scientists says.

    They estimate that more than half the cases of Aids in Africa before 1988 were caused by unsterilised needles. The claim, directly challenging the belief that 90 per cent of cases were sexually transmitted, implies that the African Aids pandemic is largely the result of unsafe medical practices and mismanaged vaccination campaigns.

    The team says that the evidence was discounted because of “preconceptions about African sexuality and a desire to maintain public trust in healthcare”.
    posted by New World at 2:36 PM
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    Seven States Sue Bush on Global Warming
    Island, Maine, Connecticut and Washington. The states said President George W. Bush administration's current policy regarding carbon dioxide emissions -- the prime culprit behind global warming -- violates the clean air act. The landmark action seeks to compel the EPA to revise national regulations governing power plant emissions. According to the states the EPA has repeatedly failed to update the nation's air pollution standards for power plants, despite a requirement from the clean air act that the EPA tests the air's pollutant levels and revise the standards every eight years. "At a time when the rest of the world is taking steps to reduce CO2 emissions, our nation is not even attempting to slow the growth in emissions ... it is imperative that the Bush administration establish a responsible and forward-looking national environmental policy," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
    posted by New World at 2:22 PM
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    A Frat Boy's Revenge

    Newsweek's White House reporter, Howard Fineman, says that rather than making Bush rethink his push towards war with Iraq, the worldwide protests last weekend served to strengthen his resolve. What's more, Fineman thinks he knows why.

    Here it is. Shaped by the Yale of the ’60s and by his own father’s career, the president views the demonstrators as weak-willed moral relativists, afraid to take on — as only faith-filled and freedom-loving leaders can — forces of evil on earth.
    The president’s stark, black-and-white outlook stems from many sources, among them his Bible-centered faith, his success at quitting drinking “cold turkey,” his upbringing on the playgrounds of West Texas and the fierce sense of mission.

    But his view of the wider world was shaped as much by Yale as by anything else. The New Haven of the mid-’60s was divided into two cultural worlds, and Bush knew only one of them. He was a fraternity man — a fraternity leader, in fact — who had little sympathy or contact with the “other side” of the campus, the portion then helping to nurture a radical “Black Power” crusade and the potent antiwar student protests of the late Vietnam years.

    Bush was a loyal son (his dad was a prowar member of Congress), a defender of the Old Social Order at Yale (though Bush himself was utterly without its preppy snobbery, racism or anti-Semitism) and a proud DKE who saw the increasingly dominant liberals on campus as pretentious hypocrites (because, he said, many “radicals” had trust funds). Above all, they were that species most despised by the frat house world: intellectual show-offs. (more)

    The intellectual show-off derogation, however, is little more than a continuation of the anti-intellectual mindset that begins in grade school. Terms like nerd, braniac and others were a way for those less able or willing to grasp the concepts and ideas of education to unify with each other. By the time those same lines are drawn in college, intellectual curiosity is slighted by those same types as intellectual braggadocio.

    This same cultural divide can be seen by those who display the bumper sticker, Proud Parent of an Honor Student, while others stubbornly promote their child by this bumper sticker: My kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.

    Similarly, it appears that the real war Bush and his ideological ilk are fighting is the one that has been simmering in this country for forty years or more — the cultural war!

    Bush's well-known lack of intellectual curiosity is something that seems to go with the "frat house" mindset. Fineman relates this story:


    [At Yale,] Bush wasn’t oblivious to social change. DKE was open to blacks and Jews, and the future president was aware of — and not afraid of — the thickening ethnic mix around him. Lanny Davis, a Yale friend (and Democratic political antagonist), tells a story that makes the point. A resident in their dorm was an immigrant from India. He wore weird outfits and was generally viewed as an exotic, even pathetic, character. One day in the dorm lounge, the outcast walked by a cluster that included Bush and some friends. “Why do they even let in somebody like that?” someone asked aloud. “It’s a waste of money trying to educate him.” Bush angrily turned on the questioner. “Don’t you ever say something like that in my presence again,” he snapped. “He’s got as much right to be here as you do.”

    It would be nice to say that Bush, his cross-cultural curiosity awakened, became fast friends with the fellow — that he plunged into the study of the history of India, its cultures and religions, that he traveled to the subcontinent to see it all for himself. Of course it didn’t happen; Bush entered the White House one of the least-traveled presidents in modern history.

    He wanted to be a gentleman, but that didn’t mean he really had to get to know the guy.

    Well...the gentleman no longer exists. Bush's veneer of compassion and concern are for PR purposes only. His arrogance towards the rest of the world is simply the lazy mindedness of the perennial frat boy whose own pleasures and interests come first and foremost.
    posted by Michael at 6:52 AM
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    Iraq

    I was going to feature some links about Turkey, the inspections, and the million kids that are going to die. You can read them if you want, but I would rather you read this little book. You can download it for free — it's a .pdf file. It's only 39 pages, a bunch of pictures, and the print is big. After reading it ask yourself "Why the fuck are we going to kill these people?"

    On a Small Bridge in Iraq
    Text by: Natsuki Ikezawa
    Photo by: Seiichi Motohashi
    If we can't stop this war, then what hope is there of stopping the next war? International politics will be driven not by discussion , but by military force. In the city of Nasiriyah, a man was painting the curbstones white and green around a traffic rotary. I only saw him for an instant out of a moving car, but I can still see the way his hand worked the paintbrush. A simple action people do the same way everywhere. Just trying to get along, trying to live comfortably with the family and neighbors. What else is there, really? I believe we can still avoid this war
    ------------------------ Natsuki Ikezawa



    [more]

    thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
    posted by Gordon at 2:43 AM
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    Thursday, February 20, 2003. *
    Dear Corpse Lovers:


    The Great Brown God

    is on a hot date with Exquisite Corpse

    and invites you to come along

    flow with us at www.corpse.org



    The Mississippi Corpse

    Wears your blues

    --Andrei Codrescu

    posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:00 PM
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    Cockburn on Hitch's boozing
    Christopher Hitchens, who recently hailed G. Bush as his hero and who devotes his column in the current Vanity Fair to the beneficial properties of booze–citing his own superb mental powers and physical condition as irrefutable evidence.

    In Vanity Fair, he triumphantly refers to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine that asserts that downing a glass of wine, beer or other booze daily can prevent a future heart attack.

    Thus buttressed, Hitchens says that his own rigorous regime of drinking, begun at the age of 15 and continuing to his present age of 53, has enabled him to work prodigiously "while still retaining my own hair and teeth and a near-godlike physique which is the envy of many of my juniors."
    posted by New World at 6:52 PM
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    America to France: Fuck You!
    A few dozen people were on hand Tuesday in Las Vegas to watch a retired Navy veteran crush a pile of French bread, yogurt, and bottles of wine, vodka and Perrier water in the event dubbed "KXNT's 'Flip-off' to the French."

    "This is not a pro-war rally. Just anti-French." (via)

    I wonder if they cooked up some Freedom Fries?
    You can get fries with your burger at a restaurant here, but just don't ask for french fries. Neal Rowland, the owner of Cubbie's, now only sells his fried potato strips as "freedom fries" - a decision that comes as Americans watch French officials back away from support for possible war in Iraq.

    "Because of Cubbie's support for our troops, we no longer serve french fries. We now serve freedom fries," says a sign in the restaurant's window.

    Rowland said the switch from french fries to freedom fries came to mind after a conversation about World War I when anti-German sentiment prompted Americans to rename German foods like sauerkraut and frankfurter to liberty cabbage and hot dog.
    posted by New World at 5:08 PM
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    J.R. Ewing slams Bush as sad figure
    Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing in the popular CBS series "Dallas," told Tagesspiegel that while both Bush and J.R. came from the Texas oil industry, the president was not smart enough to be like J.R.

    "J.R. was so smart he always found a way to win without violence ... he ruined his enemies financially or socially," said Hagman, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

    The former actor, who also played an astronaut in the 1960s TV series "I Dream of Jeannie," called Bush a "sad figure: not too well educated, who doesn't get out of America much. He's leading the country towards fascism."

    The German paper asked whether Bush would appreciate the accusation.

    "It's all the same to me, he wouldn't understand the word fascism anyway."
    posted by New World at 3:30 PM
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    Tricky Dick Nixon: Terrorist
    Even by the standards of the Nixon White House, a plan to blow up Washington's preeminent think tank seemed crazy, presidential counselor John Dean recalled Monday.

    But there was White House aide John Ehrlichman on the phone one day in 1971, telling Dean that ''Chuck Colson wants me to firebomb the Brookings [Institution].'' Describing the incident to several hundred presidential history junkies at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Dean said he was dumbfounded.

    Dean said Colson -- one of President Nixon's top aides -- floated the idea as a way to retrieve certain documents Nixon wanted that were housed in the research center not far from the White House. Colson suggested that, while firefighters were trying to douse the damage caused by a bomb, White House operatives could rush in and seize the papers.

    It seemed incredible, but now that he has listened to earlier tapes, Dean said he has heard Nixon 'literally pounding on his desk, saying `I want that break-in at the Brookings.' ''
    posted by New World at 2:55 PM
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    VIRTUAL MARCH ON WASHIGTON: Spam the Man
    On February 26th, you can join a massive march on Washington without leaving your living room. The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind campaign from the Win Without War coalition.

    Working together, we will direct a steady stream of phone calls, about one per minute, all day ‹ to every Senate office in the country, while at the same time delivering a constant stream of e-mails and faxes. Our message: Don¹t Attack Iraq.

    Please help make the Virtual March a success. To register to send a free fax and make phone calls to Senate offices and the White House, visit: www.moveon.org/winwithoutwar.
    posted by Joseph Matheny at 2:21 PM
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    Sharon says U.S. should also disarm Iran, Libya and Syria
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that Iran, Libya and Syria should be stripped of weapons of mass destruction after Iraq. "These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons mass destruction, and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve," Sharon said to a visiting delegation of American congressmen.

    Sharon told the congressmen that Israel was not involved in the war with Iraq "but the American action is of vital importance."

    Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials that he had no doubt America would attack Iraq, and that it would be necessary thereafter to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea.
    posted by New World at 1:54 PM
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    Prime Minister Tony Blair is under investigation leading to possible charges for criminal bribery with George W. Bush(43) as a co-conspirator
    Cloak and Dagger has been contacted by reliable bank investigators who have uncovered evidence that British PM Blair was involved in criminal bribery. Blair is now under investigation for accepting large bribes from the Bush oil interests.

    The evidence consists of bank transfers from George Bush financial interests to PM Blair's personal accounts via the United Arab Emirates where the investigations into criminal bribery against Blair began.

    The bribery purpose is so that the United Kingdom's PM would be sure to go along with Bush's plan to forcibly seize the Iraqi oil fields while also unseating strongman Saddam Hussein. Part of the bribery plan was to use the Oil fields for collateral to support an out of control US deficit.
    posted by New World at 1:08 PM
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    Professor accused of terrorist sympathies arrested in Florida
    A college professor previously accused of having terrorist ties has been arrested by federal agents in Florida.

    A court hearing is scheduled for this afternoon for Sami Al-Arian (sa-mee al EHR'-ee-an) -- a computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida.

    Al-Arian maintains that he's never advocated violence against others, insisting his words were a statement against Israeli occupation. He says his arrest is politically motivated.

    Bush's favorite terrorist buddy
    According to the July 16 Newsweek, during a campaign speech in Tampa, last year, candidate Bush singled his son, Abdullah, out in the crowd, something done for specially selected, pre-screened individuals to which a candidate wants to draw attention. Calling Abdullah "Big Dude" one of his trademark nicknames reserved for close advisors and White House press, Bush and wife Laura posed for pictures with the Arian family, standing right next to Dr. Al-Arian. The problem is, Dr. Al-Arian is the U.S. frontman for one of the largest terrorist-group coalitions in the world Islamic Jihad which was declared an international terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and which openly promotes death to Americans. Hijackers on Flight 93, which crashed near Pittsburgh, wore red headbands, customary among Islamic Jihad warriors who take their instruction from Iran.
    posted by New World at 12:55 PM
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    U.S. extends betrayal of Kurds to entire Iraqi people; no democracy.
    By not supporting a democratic Iraq, by appointing con-man and a flim-flam artist Ahmed Chalabi as provisional leader, by inviting Turks to occupy Iraqi Kurdistan and promoting some gauzy ill-thought-out vision of a democratic Middle East imposed by force of arms, the Big Idea idealism, which never rested comfortably on the shoulders of a president who detests complexity, comes off as callow, cynical and ... what are the words? Oh, yes: "Absolute bullshit." The ideas and principles upon which the United States was founded -- "liberty," "freedom," "justice for all" -- and for which we allegedly fought and won two world wars and the Cold War, have become mere words, talking points and awkwardly mouthed slogans used to make a case for a war that no one except for a small junta in Washington wants.
    posted by A.Q. at 10:04 AM
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    Pentagon warns public of bloody war

    War is now about "Saddam-ism"
    Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, has begun to talk about the need to "get rid of Saddam-ism", and not just Saddam himself, officials said.

    Administration leaders appeared at pains to avoid over-confidence. "We still do not know how US forces will be received," one senior official told the New York Times. "Will it be cheers, jeers or shots? And the fact is, we won't know until we get there."
    Wait a minute... Perhaps one of our chickenhawk cheerleaders can put down the pom-poms for a second and explain this to me. I thought that everybody (including his government) hated Saddam and can't wait for his removal.

    What happened to people stepping over their dead family members and rushing to the window to proudly display their American flag?

    "Saddam-ism"? Is that the new objective? An undescriptive open-ended judgement based term. If we're going to go into another country and kill people, just this once could the objective be somewhat logical and non-Orwellian?

    I am seriously missing any thread of reality that says Iraqis want to be bombed.

    I mean, as much as I despise the current US regime, a far more disasterous circumstance would be if China was planning on bombing DC.

    But then again.....The American people want regime change. China would be doing its duty to "the international community" for the sake of the children. The US has WMDs and has shown to be threatening to other nations in the region (the globe).

    They would be doing it for their children and their children's children for the sake of the future of the world, not to further their polititcal agenda or to achieve resources.
    posted by valis at 12:59 AM
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    Wednesday, February 19, 2003. *
    Sorry for the length- I got this in an email and thought I should share...

    A letter to the London Observer from Terry Jones (ex Monty Python).
    Letter to the Observer
    Sunday January 26, 2003
    The Observer

    I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's
    running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really
    pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street.

    Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me
    queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me,
    but so far I haven't been able to discover what.

    I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's
    got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is. As for Mr Patel,
    don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he
    is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them
    that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my
    neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But
    that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a
    crime with which to charge my neighbours. They'll come up with endless red
    tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and
    all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible
    things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people.

    Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of
    automaticfirearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until
    recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has
    made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can
    wade in and do whatever I want! And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully
    thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about
    international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim
    fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few
    Muslim countries that have never threatened us.

    That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and
    children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in
    peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way.

    Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is
    that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass
    destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much
    justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has
    for bombing Iraq. Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer
    place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever
    long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it? How
    will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single
    terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's
    committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the
    ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists,
    being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.

    Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future
    terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every
    Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might
    convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be
    for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims? It's the same in my street. Mr
    Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of
    other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look
    at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all
    out. My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using
    the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

    Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason
    for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole
    street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all
    aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar
    terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say
    'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come. It's
    just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to
    what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.
    posted by Kirsten at 9:57 PM
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    Grandmother hurt in Israeli violence
    Anne Gwynne, 65, from Aberystwyth, was hit in the leg by shrapnel while carrying a stretcher through the old quarter of the besieged town of Nablus...[Gwynne] said she was spurred into volunteering for the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees after one of her daughters, who was studying at an American university, was warned she would not be awarded her PhD unless she gave up campaigning for the Palestinian cause.
    posted by A.Q. at 5:37 PM
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    Regime Change, Literally - Jordan's King May Rule Post-War Iraq
    A recently revealed document suggests that until recently, regime change in Iraq was considered not as a U.S. security issue, but as an Israeli one. Brown University Professor William O. Beeman looks at the ill-advised Israeli plan, which was authored in part by Richard Perle, now chairman of the Defense Science Board and Douglas Feith, now U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy.
    posted by A.Q. at 4:14 PM
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    Edward Said speaking in Berkeley tonight...
    Lecture: Edward Said on
    'Memory, Inequality and Power: Palestine and the Universality of Human Rights'
    Feb. 19, 5:30 p.m., Zellerbach Auditorium

    Info re webcast at that site linked above.
    Also, the heads up from S.F. Chronicle
    posted by j at 1:54 PM
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    US plan for new nuclear arsenal

    "The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters" and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document."
    The Los Alamos Study Group says " The Study Group deserves no credit for unearthing this document. We didn’t dig it up, and it was not given to us with the idea that we would publish it. Quite the contrary. We have come to believe, however, that it is our responsibility to make it availability in its entirety, to do so rapidly (e.g. before any war in Iraq) -- and to do so from a position outside Washington, DC in order to enhance the vitality and diversity of debate about U.S. nuclear weapons."
    Here is a summary of some of the important parts of the planning process. These meetings show, in a degree that is rare in publicly-available documents, the bold sweep of nuclear weapons planning in the Bush Administration.

    "Said Study Group director Mello, “These plans deserve outrage -- first in the United States, and throughout the world. It may or may not be obvious that if allowed to proceed further -- especially in the present jingoistic atmosphere now prevailing in Washington -- the process outlined here will be quite hard to stop.
    An html copy of the full leaked strategy
    Via Cursor
    posted by Cyndy at 11:19 AM
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    War (What Is It Good for?)---an examination of artists' responses to war exhibition
    posted by cynthia korzekwa at 1:55 AM
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    Tuesday, February 18, 2003. *
    As a person who prides himself with a certain independence of thought, I find public opinion polls to be sad proof of the average American's utter inability to think autonomously.

    When the thoughts and feelings of over 200 million adults in America can be represented by just a few hundred polled individuals, it seems to me that our system of education has failed miserably, because it's apparent that education in America is focused on teaching what to think rather than how to think.

    This conclusion would, for instance, help to explain some of the results from the latest Time/CNN poll. One question in this poll asked: by going to war with Iraq, would there be a greater likelihood of terrorist acts in the United States?

    77% of those polled believe that terrorist acts would be more likely if we go to war with Iraq.

    Think about this!

    After all the trauma and horror of September 11th, nearly 4 in 5 Americans seem to be resigned to more of the same because a handful of people in the White House have decided that a war with Iraq is somehow in our - or more likely their - best interests.

    This statistic may be the most frightening thing I've heard in a long time. It says to me that tens of millions of Americans are willing to sit idly by while our country is targeted by its enemies because they either can't or won't do anything to stop it from happening.

    I simply don't understand the blind trust the average American puts into a Presidency...but specifically this Presidency!

    We have witnessed policy where, instead of sneaking through advantages for the well-connected as has always been done, the Bush Administration unabashedly promotes the self-interests of corporations and the wealthy while most Americans blindly accept the Administration's ludicrous spin.

    In addition, as a way of making us feel more secure, Americans have swallowed the rationale that our Bill of Rights must somehow be to blame and that we must therefore modify it in places. But it must not -- and probably could not -- be modified by law. Yet as we have seen, even something as fundamental to America as the Constitution can be changed at will by Executive Order.

    Consider this scenario:

    Against the advice of most of the world, the United States invades Iraq. Within days, terrorists attack American embassies and businesses around the world in retaliation and Americans citizens are killed. The war ends quickly, but an occupying U.S. presence in Iraq infuriates an even greater number of people who view the United States as amoral, arrogant, imperialistic and...evil.

    A terrorist event occurs in the United States and kills a number of people. The Bush Administration pushes through Patriot Act II, which gives the government even more power to subvert the Constitution.

    More terrorism on U.S. soil kills more Americans and soon martial law is established as the only way to restore order. With martial law as the rule of law, all power is now in the hands of the executive branch. Political elections can be suspended to minimize opposition, and the United States has now become a right-wing dictatorship -- something we thought could never happen in a democracy as strong as ours!

    Is this scenario merely the fantastic delusions of a left-wing lunatic? My sanity is for others to determine, but there is precedent for concern about all this.

    In an article from last summer by investigative journalist Ritt Goldstein, he writes,

    "When president Ronald Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua he issued a series of executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with broad powers in the event of a 'crisis' such as 'violent and widespread' internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad'. They were never used."

    Note the wording: "national opposition against a US military invasion abroad." Isn't that what we're seeing around the nation today? If these kinds of Executive Orders can be issued by a President Reagan, does anyone reading this believe that such far-reaching powers wouldn't be used by this administration for its own purposes?

    In the same article, Goldstein wrote,

    "From 1982-84 Colonel Oliver North assisted FEMA in drafting its civil defence preparations. Details of these plans emerged during the 1987 Iran-Contra scandal."

    "They included executive orders providing for suspension of the Constitution, the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA."

    "Disturbingly, the full facts and final contents of Mr Reagan's national plan remain uncertain. This is in part because President Bush took the unusual step of sealing the Reagan presidential papers last November. However, many of the key figures of the Reagan era are part of the present administration, including John Poindexter, to whom Oliver North later reported."

    I can't think of another time in American history where so many pieces were in play that could lead to the end of the freedom -- of the very democracy that we have enjoyed for over two hundred years.

    Officials of the Bush Administration, many of whom apparently never trusted those untidy freedoms and rights that much, have achieved a power only dreamed of by dictators and tyrants throughout history.

    According to the Goldstein article, criticism of the Bush Administration's response to September 11 echoed Reagan Atty. General William French Smith's warning about FEMA exceeding its proper authority. One of those critics, former Nixon Presidential Counsel John Dean, is a man who has seen misguided Executive Branch power close up. On June 7, 2002, he warned of the possibility of America sliding into a "constitutional dictatorship" and martial law."

    The very real fear here is that Executive Orders in the hands of a corrupt and ruthless Executive Branch may indeed prove to be the undoing of the United States of America that has survived and thrived throughout two hundred years of brutal wars, civil unrest, constitutional crises, human devastation, physical catastrophes and other great national hardships.

    It's a great mystery why most of the 77% of Americans worried about increased terrorism refuse to do anything about this real possibility. Still, those of us who believe in the America that our founding fathers invested their lives in must continue to raise our voices in dissent.

    We cannot and will not make it easy for those who would dominate us to do so.

    posted by Michael at 8:40 PM
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    "If Halper is right that the young outpost residents are useful instruments of the established settlers and the national government, able to advance a plan the government cannot articulate formally, it is also true that the outpost settlers can be politically extreme, unpredictable and difficult to control. Young settlers sometimes claim lands outside the areas the government has slated for Israeli control; this means that the army has to send soldiers to remote and isolated locations, creating what a senior official in the ministry of defense calls a ''military burden.'' And at the most radical outposts, people talk seriously about replacing the democratically elected Israeli government with a Jewish kingdom or a theocracy. After Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer tried to dismantle 30 unauthorized outposts last fall, the Shin Bet, the Israeli security service, issued a secret report warning of threats to his life from young settlers. One does not have to look too far to find evidence of this. Yehudit Shish, 18, who is from Jerusalem but boards at a girls' school in Kiryat Arba, a settlement next to Hebron, cheerily offered from the trailer where her dorm is, ''I would love to see Ben-Eliezer dead.'' Her only concern about such an assassination is that ''if he got shot, someone just like him would rise up in his place and the secular people would support him even more.'' (Ben-Eliezer stepped down as defense minister and was voted out as leader of the Labor Party in October.)"
    posted by drat at 7:26 PM
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    Gary Fabiano... Living Rooms. Destroyed Living Rooms from the Jenin Refugee Camp, West Bank, April 2002. "...These living rooms that were left in their natural state as families fled the fighting are a reminder of war's unnatural burden on the innocents. If the homes were not completely destroyed and leveled, they were sheared open like human-sized dollhouses, for all to see." From PixelPress.
    posted by Andrew at 6:15 AM
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    Monday, February 17, 2003. *
    Washington shrugs off war protests
    US officials on Sunday dismissed the growing popular opposition, insisting that the administration of President George W.Bush would continue to prepare for war with Iraq in the coming weeks.

    Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, said the demonstrations would not alter US determination to confront Saddam Hussein and help the Iraqi people, either with broad international support or with a narrower "coalition of the willing".
    posted by New World at 2:12 PM
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    posted by New World at 1:39 PM
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    BuyAWar.com
    If there was any doubt in anyone's mind about the need for Operation Infinite Kick Saddam's Ass, it was brushed aside with Gen. Powell's brilliant presentation in front of the United Nations.
    posted by A.Q. at 1:03 PM
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    Sunday, February 16, 2003. *
    Edward Said: A Monumenal Hypocrisy
    Colin Powell's speech, despite its many weaknesses, its plagiarised and manufactured evidence, its confected audio-tapes and its doctored pictures, was correct in one thing. Saddam Hussein's regime has violated numerous human rights and UN resolutions. There can be no arguing with that and no excuses can be allowed. But what is so monumentally hypocritical about the official US position is that literally everything Powell has accused the Ba'athists of has been the stock in trade of every Israeli government since 1948, and at no time more flagrantly than since the occupation of 1967. Torture, illegal detention, assassination, assaults against civilians with missiles, helicopters and jet fighters, annexation of territory, transportation of civilians from one place to another for the purpose of imprisonment, mass killing (as in Qana, Jenin, Sabra and Shatilla to mention only the most obvious), denial of rights to free passage and unimpeded civilian movement, education, medical aid, use of civilians as human shields, humiliation, punishment of families, house demolitions on a mass scale, destruction of agricultural land, expropriation of water, illegal settlement, economic pauperisation, attacks on hospitals, medical workers and ambulances, killing of UN personnel, to name only the most outrageous abuses: all these, it should be noted with emphasis, have been carried on with the total, unconditional support of the United States which has not only supplied Israel with the weapons for such practices and every kind of military and intelligence aid, but also has given the country upwards of $135 billion in economic aid on a scale that beggars the relative amount per capita spent by the US government on its own citizens.
    posted by A.Q. at 6:04 PM
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    American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Says New Ashcroft Bill Erodes Checks and Balances on Presidential Power; PATRIOT II Legislation Would Needlessly Infringe on Basic Constitutional Liberties
    The American Civil Liberties Union today said that new Department of Justice "anti-terrorism" legislation goes further than the USA PATRIOT Act in eroding checks and balances on Presidential power and contains a number of measures that are of questionable effectiveness, but are sure to infringe on civil liberties.

    "The new Ashcroft proposal threatens to fundamentally alter the Constitutional protections that allow us to be both safe and free," said Timothy H. Edgar, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "If it becomes law, it will encourage police spying on political and religious activities, allow the government to wiretap without going to court and dramatically expand the death penalty under an overbroad definition of terrorism." [Full Story]
    posted by Joseph Matheny at 12:42 PM
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    750 Women Go Nude In Protest

    Only the latest in a long string of recent nude protests . . . Needless to say, we like this trend . . . After all, what is more humanist than the human body itself? Unadorned with the corruptive influences of fundamentalist religion (i.e. Ashcroft, Bin Laden, et al.) and clothes gone bad (i.e. Hilfiger, Nike, et al.)?

    posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:29 AM
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    Internet security strategy released
    The White House on Friday released the nation's first cybersecurity strategy, containing about half the recommendations of a wider-ranging earlier draft and largely leaving the task of Internet security to voluntary efforts by corporations and individual Americans.

    After kicking off its crafting of the strategy with a high-profile event in the fall in Silicon Valley, the administration quietly posted the final version on its Web site Friday, saying the low-key release was prudent amid a heightened terror alert.

  • The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (at whitehouse.gov)
  • Mercury News Story Here
  • posted by Joseph Matheny at 10:00 AM
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    roma Chiara and I went to the manifestation yesterday. Participating were 2 - 3 million people (here there are always post-manifestation polemics regarding the actually number) and local news claims that Rome had the biggest turnout worldwide. Most everyone had a rainbow colored banner with PACE written on it.
    Groups of children were also present, their slogan being: pace - pace- la guerra non ci piace.
    And I ran into my next door neighbor who walked with a group of women aged post 50. Their slogan was: soldati, terroristi, noi siamo femministi.
    For awhile Chiara and I walked behind a van blasting Viet Nam era music and we all started singing along stuff like: the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
    It was really all alot of fun.
    Pier Ferdinando Casini, center right and president of the house of representatives, said it was time for the government to listen to the voice of the piazza.
    "In ogni manifestazione popolare, immensa come questa, ci sono luci e ombre, come è fisiologico, ma fino ad ora debbo dire che è una manifestazione pacifica e composta, è una manifestazione di cui il governo e anche il Parlamento debbono tenere conto".
    In other words, People In Piazzas do make a difference.

    stencil revolution

    posted by cynthia korzekwa at 6:53 AM
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    Palestinians are left to pick up pieces of homes
    “Basically, you are penalizing people who didn’t do anything, and depriving them of even the minimal judicial process that had existed before,’’ said Yael Stein of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. “It’s so very wrong – in a civilized state, that’s not how you deal with people.’’
    posted by A.Q. at 1:25 AM
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    Saturday, February 15, 2003. *
    Hey Kirsten, just got back--didn't see ya . . . but if the estimate of one hundred thousand on the streets of Seattle today protesting war on Iraq is correct (and I think it is--it looked like at least double the numbers of the '99 WTO protests, which was estimated to involve 50,000), then that explains it . . . I also liked the sign, "Bush couldn't run a laundromat," and countless more. I also enjoyed the short speech by Sherman Alexie, who recounted an incident that happened to him here in downtown Seattle a few days after 9-11: he had just come out of his health club and was standing on the corner of an intersection when a large truck flying a huge American flag stopped in front of him and the driver yelled, "Go back to where you came from!" He said the driver was halfway down the street before he recovered enough to yell: "You first!"

    In case you're not lucky enough to know about Sherman Alexie, he is inarguably the most famous Native American author alive, if not ever. His eloquence today was as apparent as ever, and although I can't unfortunately recall all of his lines, I do distinctly remember him suggesting that instead of present war plans we should be sending bookmobiles to both Baghdad and the White House. The Americans all across the country who marched today in solidarity with like-minded beautiful people all over the world against Bush's plans for mass murder are the best of America.

    The best of America hates and despises George Dubya Bush.

    And don't you forget it!

    posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:39 PM
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    posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:12 PM
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    TOP SIGNS SEEN AT THE SEATTLE PROTEST

    1. What would Jesus bomb?
    2. Stop Mad-Cowboy Disease
    3. Let's Bomb Texas- They Have Oil Too!
    4. In Sauron We Trust
    and finally...
    4. All Your Base Are Belong To Us
    thank you and goodnight....
    posted by Kirsten at 1:33 PM
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    finally we get on tv

    The staff at Skippy cannot believe their eyes. CNN has actually been reporting on the world wide anti-war protests all day long, as a top, major story. Pictures of millions of demonstrators from cities all over the globe, and interviews with individual protesters.

    Here's a CNN pop-up with coverage from several world-wide cities.

    Here's another covering individual protesters, here in the US.

    And of course, Larry King has Priscilla Presley.

    Fox News is of course, harping on Tom Ridge's oranges, and Msnbc is talking about the Columbia disaster.

    But CNN, we salute you. Actually reporting the news today. Thanks.

    And there were (and still are) protests all over the world.

    One million in London: More than one million people have staged an anti-war protest in London, making it the UK's largest ever peace demonstration, organisers claimed.

    At least an estimated million also gathered in Rome to march.

    400,000 in Paris.

    They must have gotten the permit, because thousands of people are stretched 8 blocks long near the U.N. in New York.

    80,000 people protested in Dublin.

    More than a thousand marchers in Auckland, New Zealand.

    An estimated 20,000 were expected to gather in Beirut.

    Up to 40,000 in Bern, Switzerland.

    othEr crowd estimations: in Syria, a nation on the front line if war comes, some 200,000 protesters marched through Damascus. In Bulgaria, Athens, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand, demonstrations attracted thousands, while the crowds were in the hundreds or less in Bosnia, Hong Kong, Indian-controlled Kashmir and Moscow. Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, Norway, 50,000 in bitter cold in Brussels, while about 35,000 gathered peacefully in frigid Stockholm. Crowds were estimated at 10,000 in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, 5,000 in Capetown and 4,000 in Johannesburg in South Africa, and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    And don't forget, Thousands in Thessaloniki!

    At last, the media is beginning to realize that the U.S. anti-war movement is based in the mainstream.

    for example: in Palm Beach, people took off their clothes for peace (or is that, "for a piece"?)

    in Berkeley, law students raised $18,000 to take out an anti-war ad in the new york times: "There was a total disconnect between what we were learning in the classroom and what was coming out of Attorney General John Ashcroft's office and other Washington, D.C. agencies," says Abby Reyes, a second-year Boalt hall student. "We were quite alarmed, and we started thinking about how many other law students across the nation might be feeling this way."

    Skippy is giving his staff the afternoon off to go participate in the Los Angeles march at Hollywood and vine at 1:00 real time. We expect to be back with a personal report later today.

    All we are saying, is giving Blotopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) a chance.

    posted by skippy at 11:28 AM
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