American Samizdat

Wednesday, April 30, 2003. *
On the eve of the U.S. Navy's departure from the Puerto Rican island they used for bombing exercises, residents celebrated and activists laid claim to the property. The Navy is handing over 15,000 acres of land on the eastern end of Vieques to federal authorities. After an extensive cleanup, the property will become a wildlife refuge.

"We are here today to mark the beginning of a new era in peace and prosperity for Vieques," Gov. Sila Calderon said Wednesday to the thunder of applause. "It is a moment of great joy, for we have achieved our dream."
posted by A.Q. at 3:57 PM
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Were They Planted?

After the United States and Britain were shown to be providing bogus and plagiarized "intelligence" documents to the UN Security Council that supposedly "proved" Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program, the world's media is now being fed a steady stream of captured Iraqi "intelligence" documents from the rubble of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence headquarters.

The problem with these documents is that they are being provided by the U.S. military to a few reporters working for a very suspect newspaper, London's Daily Telegraph (affectionately known as the Daily Torygraph" by those who understand the paper's right-wing slant).

posted by Norm at 9:23 AM
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From the "they're gonna welcome us with open arms" folks:
"The Arab" is noisy, exceedingly polite, evasive, honorable to the core, thin-skinned and a whole lot else. At least that's according to A Soldier's Guide to the Republic of Iraq, a booklet prepared by the Army's 101st Airborne Division and distributed to prepare troops for Iraq.

If U.S. soldiers, who are now acting more like peacekeepers than warriors, happen to consult the guide, they will find an odd compendium of stereotypes and gross generalizations presented as absolute fact.
posted by Grady at 6:26 AM
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Tuesday, April 29, 2003. *
Conservative news source News Max lists French companies to boycott. Who wants to counter-strike and support these companies?
posted by Klintron at 9:54 PM
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"Syria Detains, Frees 2 British Commandos who had entered the country from Iraq, detaining them for five days before releasing them, a British news agency reported Monday." Guardian/UK
posted by emg at 4:07 PM
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posted by thistle at 2:10 PM
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The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.
posted by New World at 12:18 PM
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If there is only one thing you read today, this should be it. A must read.

George W. Bush, properly understood, represents the third and most powerful wave in the right's long-running assault on the governing order created by twentieth-century liberalism. The first wave was Ronald Reagan, whose election in 1980 allowed movement conservatives finally to attain governing power (their flame was first lit by Barry Goldwater back in 1964). Reagan unfurled many bold ideological banners for right-wing reform and established the political viability of enacting regressive tax cuts, but he accomplished very little reordering of government, much less shrinking of it. The second wave was Newt Gingrich, whose capture of the House majority in 1994 gave Republicans control of Congress for the first time in two generations. Despite some landmark victories like welfare reform, Gingrich flamed out quickly, a zealous revolutionary ineffective as legislative leader.

George Bush II may be as shallow as he appears, but his presidency represents a far more formidable challenge than either Reagan or Gingrich. His potential does not emanate from an amiable personality (Al Gore, remember, outpolled him in 2000) or even the sky-high ratings generated by 9/11 and war. Bush's governing strength is anchored in the long, hard-driving movement of the right that now owns all three branches of the federal government. Its unified ranks allow him to govern aggressively, despite slender GOP majorities in the House and Senate and the public's general indifference to the right's domestic program.

The movement's grand ambition--one can no longer say grandiose--is to roll back the twentieth century, quite literally. That is, defenestrate the federal government and reduce its scale and powers to a level well below what it was before the New Deal's centralization. With that accomplished, movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth--both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes--are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.
[more]
posted by Gordon at 9:18 AM
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For years, Ben & Jerry's has touted liberal causes. Now there's an ice cream for conservatives.
Star Spangled Ice Cream offers I Hate the French Vanilla, Iraqi Road, Nutty Environmentalist and Smaller Governmint.

The ice cream is made and shipped by Baltimore ice cream maker Moxley's, although Moxley's owner Tom Washburn says his company remains neutral in political matters. "We're just hired to fill an order," Washburn said, noting he'd be happy to make ice cream for liberal causes as well.

Star Spangled Ice Cream is the brainchild of New Jersey corporate lawyer Andrew Stein and two Washington consultants, Frank Cannon and Richard Lessner.
posted by Klintron at 9:03 AM
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Monday, April 28, 2003. *
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rarely keeps his opinions to himself. He tends not to compromise with his enemies. And he clearly disdains the communist regime in North Korea. So it's surprising that there is no clear public record of his views on the controversial 1994 deal in which the U.S. agreed to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for Pyongyang ending its nuclear weapons program. What's even more surprising about Rumsfeld's silence is that he sat on the board of the company that won a $200 million contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors.
Goddamn it, which of our enemies didn't Rummy sell arms to?
posted by thistle at 2:01 PM
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Daniele Buetti... Good Fellows - Looking For Love. Works by Daniele Buetti at Aeroplastics.
posted by Andrew at 9:56 AM
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I'm sure many others would like to join me right now in giving big thanks to John Emerson of Social Design Notes for giving the Samizdat such a cool new look: thanks, John!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:43 AM
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"Fundamentalism means sticking strictly to the script, which in turn means being deeply fearful of the improvised, ambiguous or indeterminate...Since writing is meaning that can be handled by anybody, any time, it is always profane and promiscuous. Meaning that has been written down is bound to be unhygienic...Fundamentalism is the paranoid condition of those who do not see that roughness is not a defect of human existence, but what makes it work."

Terry Eagleton
--The Guardian 22 Feb. 2003
posted by Norm at 7:11 AM
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The Better Rhetor on attempts to silence student poets in New Mexico. Note the literary allusion to Oliver Twist in the fifth line. These kids must be getting educated or something, must be time to fire the teacher.

Bush said no child would be left behind
And yet kids from inner-city schools
Work on Central Avenue
Jingling cans that read
Please sir, may I have some more?
They hand out diplomas like toilet paper
And lower school standards
Because
Underpaid, unrespected teachers
Are afraid of losing their jobs
Funded by the standardized tests
That shows our competency
When I'm in detox. [ . . . ]
posted by Joseph Duemer at 4:48 AM
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Sunday, April 27, 2003. *
"'If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything', Santorum said in an interview published on Monday by the Associated Press."

One can admire the logical consistency of the Senator's position. Bear with me--there's actually a great insight about the nature of sexuality here, though the Senator has it inside out. The problem with the logical consistency in this case is its divorce from historical, legal & political reality, but the insight that lit up the Senator's cortex is that once you admit that sex is a pleasure removed from strictly biological processes, then anything goes. Even "man on dog," to use the solon's memorable language. Freedom is dangerous, Santorum is right in this, but he leaps to the wrong conclusion & his leap is motivated by the fear of sex as pleasure & the desire to impose state control over private behavior. It is a fear that generates all kind of emotional & thus political static, spinning fantasies of fecund welfare queens & hipster sex dens that bear no relation to reality, but rev up social anxieties & the fear of freedom. The philosophical problem is how, once sex is admitted to be pleasurable, does one prevent this from becoming a license for abuse. The answer is simple, really & mostly straightforward in practice. The key is consent. In any reasonable sense of the word consent, animals cannot consent to sex with humans; spouses married illegally & secretly cannot consent to the arrangement; children cannot consent to sex with parents; children cannot in most cases consent to sex with adults; but adults of the same gender can easily & naturally consent to sex with each other. But the Senator is right, once the state sanctions gay sexual pleasure, all sorts of freedoms might blossom. And that would be intolerable to men like Senator Santorum. Pleasure is dangerous to power.
posted by Joseph Duemer at 5:55 PM
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It's amazing how right-wing academics get a pass from critics on the old ivory tower accusation. Left-wing professors are routinely dismissed for being muddle-headed, ideologically drive, & cut off from the real world; but here we have a professional ethicist, Jean Bethke Elshtain, of the University of Chicago, who argues for an imperialist American foreign policy & who dismisses our own government's attack on civil rights as trivial praised by Paul Berman in the Pages of the New York Times Book Review. Professor Elshtain is presented as an intellectual who cuts through the soft-headed balderdash of the left. Now, I am responding to a book review, not the book itself, but if Berman's characterization of the book is accurate, I detect two problems, both logical. The first is Elshtain's characterization of "the left"--in short, her left is a caricature based on selective generalization. That is, the picture she paints of the left is convenient to her purposes. The second logical problem is endemic to academic philosophy--it is called reasoning in a vacuum. In this case the vacuum is historical. Elshtain's reasoning appears to be completely removed from a century of American foreign policy. This is the worst sort of ivory tower intellectualizing, but it's all perfectly legitimate, apparently, when it comes from the right.
posted by Joseph Duemer at 4:56 PM
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Bush lies and manipulates public and Congress
by Carla Binion
See link for a list of links to articles that detail the Bush administration's lies.
Both Orwell and Aldous Huxley have written about dictatorial leaders and their methods of managing public opinion. In Brave New World Revisited, Huxley wrote that tyrants often use propaganda techniques that rely on the following. (1) Repetition of catchwords, (2) Suppression of facts the propagandist wants the public to ignore. (3) Inflaming mass fear or other strong emotional reaction for the purpose of controlling public opinion and behavior.

Huxley talks about Adolf Hitler's propaganda efforts to appeal to the emotions of the masses instead of reason. He notes that Hitler systematically exploited the German people's hidden fears and anxieties. The Bush administration has clearly exploited the American people's fears of terrorism since September 11.
posted by Cyndy at 2:38 PM
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The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. "They ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat," the source said. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, "Washington has to prove its case. If it does not, the world will for ever believe that it paved the road to war with lies", he added: "You can draw your own conclusions."
posted by Gordon at 9:15 AM
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I know the left-blogosphere is all over this with appropriate cynicism, but I just really wanted to scrawl LYING BASTARDS in a public place & this is the most my middle-class upbringing would allow me to do. I don't know, maybe I've got a can of spray paint in the shed.
posted by Joseph Duemer at 8:36 AM
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Found by way of Body & Soul. Read it & weep.
posted by Joseph Duemer at 7:29 AM
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Al Martin story was strategic disinfo; IAO, not DHS

by Charlotte Iserbyt

"...Former KGB counter-intelligence chief, General Oleg Kalugin, who is a Fox News commentator, recently stated that Admiral Poindexter's Office of Information Awareness (OIA) which is involved in spying on United States citizens, had hired both General Yevgeny Primakov and General Aleksandr V. Karpos, former KGB heads, as consultants and advisors. (Primakov in addition served as Russian Prime Minister in the late nineties.)

Al Martin, whose credibility has been questioned by a couple of NewsWithViews.com readers, had previously reported that Primakov and Karpov were hired by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This information was disinformation provided by the Bush Administration to cover up the fact that Poindexter's OIA had hired Primakov and Karpov.

When the Bush administration realized it couldn't get away with lying about the hiring of Primakov and Karpov by Poindexter's OIA, it put out out very effective disinformation to the effect that these two former Soviet spies had a relationship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a lie."
posted by valis at 5:56 AM
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Why does unelected Resident G.W. Bush hate gays? Note, I'm assuming he hates them becuase he aggressively recruits and promotes others hating them; history shows something of an ideological affinity between party heads and their subordinates.

Just a few fucking days ago there was the Santorum mess, for which the Bushites have yet to apologize. Now we get word that the Bush occupied White House is recommending Claude Allen, a former spokesman for Jesse Helms - the man who championed the fight against MLK Day - for a position on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ugh.

According to the May 2, 1984 Christian Science Monitor, Allen, who is Black and was then employed on Helms' North Carolina senatorial campaign, helped devise a campaign portraying Helms' opponent - sitting Governor James Hunt Jr - as an "ultraliberal" for being "tied to" to "black leaders." According to the piece, "[p]hotographs showing such leaders with Hunt become grist for the Helms campaign mill." Which is pretty fucked up on its own. But it gets worse.

In the October 19, 1984 New York Times, Allen was reported to have charged Hunt with the unpardonable crime of having links with "the queers." Allen was reported to have apologized shortly thereafter, but that apology - its text being unavailable - seems terribly insincere in light of a later Times piece:
Mr. Allen said he made the remark after the Hunt campaign ran television commercials saying Mr. Helms was supported by ''right-wing nuts,'' as Mr. Allen put it.

Asked yesterday about his remark, he explained, "I said at the time that we could say the same thing about queer groups" supporting Mr. Hunt.
Those words were recorded March 12, 1985. Sensitivity training is a many-life-long process, it seems.

The media seems largely to have forgotten about Mr. Allen's animus toward the "queers" exrecise of their right to support whomever they want. The last article I found mentioning it was a November 18, 194 Washinton Post item on Uncle Jesse's 1984 campaign. The relevant passages:
Helms shamelessly mined the race issue. He called Hunt a "racist" for appealing to black votes on the basis of his support of civil rights measures. His press secretary Claude Allen, a black, tried to link Hunt with "queers." Allen later apologized.

But Helms didn't waver. On election eve, he accused Hunt of being supported by "homosexuals, the labor-union bosses and the crooks" and said he feared a large "bloc vote." What did he mean? "The black vote," Helms said.
A man so principled that he begrudges the right of "queers" to support candidates of their choosing, and one so desirous to get along that he cannot recognize rank prejudice directed at his fellow Blacks. Such is the mind that Bush calls worthy of adjudicating matters of considerable import.

Why didn't he just tap Instapuppet?

Of course, this is the same rustic jackass that could mistake Arik Sharon for a "man of peace" and Dick Santorum for an "inclusive" type.

Has it dawned on Sullivan that for all the thrill of being allowed to cozy up at the feet of power and, when nobody's looking, to sniff its hair, that he's been sold a mammoth bill of goods?
posted by Grady at 1:57 AM
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Saturday, April 26, 2003. *
Messianic Jewish terrorists have been using toy-bombs to kill and maim as many Palestinian children as possible, according to a report published in the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam newspaper Monday.

The report quoted an official from the Ramallah-based Jurist organization, Haq, as saying that the Jewish terrorist group, Niqema (Hebrew for revenge), has carried out several bombings in Jerusalem, Sur Baher, Yatta, Jenin and Hebron. [more]

Link via New World Disorder.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:46 PM
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A global coffee crisis caused by overproduction and a slump in wholesale prices is having a devastating impact on some of the world's poorest communities and the Earth's most endangered wildlife, a study published yesterday suggests.

Coffee farmers are being forced into poverty by falling prices and many are trying to maintain their livelihoods by increasing production of cheaper varieties of coffee at the expense of the environment. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:39 PM
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A tactic of the Palestinian intifada has spread ominously to Iraq, less than three weeks after US tanks rolled into the middle of Baghdad.

American troops are coming under attack from Iraqi children throwing stones, replaying scenes from the West Bank and Gaza Strip that were broadcast on state-run television before the fall of Saddam Hussein. [more]

. . . via Jorn, venerable blog-godfatha.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:58 PM
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Is Bush taking lessons from Julius Caesar? Apparently so. When Caesar's short but bloody conquest of the Celtic tribes led to the founding of the Roman province of Gaul (modern France) in 52 B.C. he divided the country into three parts. Well-connected sources tell us that Bush plans to divide Iraq into three parts as well: Premium, regular and unleaded.
Katrina vanden Heuvel at the The Nation
posted by Norm at 4:36 PM
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On the chests of the men had been scrawled an Arabic phrase that translates as "Ali Baba - Thief."

A military officer states that the men are thieves, and that this technique will be used again.

No word yet from the newly liberated Iraqi people about some of them being summarily found guilty of theft, forced at gunpoint to strip, having a racist phrase written on their bodies, and then made to walk naked in public. No doubt the Arab/Muslim world is impressed by this display of "democracy," "freedom," "due process," and "no cruel or unusual punishment."

We wonder if the soldiers will be using this technique on their comrades who stole $13.1 million in Iraq. Or the journalists who looted Iraq's art. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:44 PM
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Friday, April 25, 2003. *
I'm guessing the administration has its hands so full of problems of its own making, this is the last sort of thing it can afford to respond to right now: a real humanitarian crisis in the making. Not that they would do anything anyway.

The Zimbabwean government has turned piecemeal repression of opposition activists into a campaign of full-scale systematic violence in recent weeks, taking advantage of the world's focus on the Iraq war.

Human rights organisations have documented a startling rise in attacks on supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change. In the past month, doctors have reported hundreds of patients seeking treatment for injuries they claim were sustained at the hands of state officials.

...

The home of Margaret Kulinji, secretary of the MDC's women's league, was invaded by 16 soldiers in uniform at about 1am on March 22. Armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, truncheons and lengths of hosepipe, the men carried a list of MDC officials who were their targets. They beat Ms Kulinji with their fists and rifle butts, kicked her and whipped her with the cord of her iron. They also beat her mother.

"They forced my mother to open her legs and they abused her with the mouthpiece of the AK rifle," said Ms Kulinji, grimacing as she looked at her sleeping in the next hospital bed.

...

Local campaigners say the army and police, working from lists of MDC members and officials, went from house to house, subjecting them and their families to savage beatings and torture. Often the squads had informers with them who pointed out the MDC supporters, they say.
posted by thistle at 3:09 PM
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Brave Contrarian Christopher Hitchens offers his support to the equally brave white men standing up against egalitariofascist terrorist bitches who would defile gender-segregated golf clubs.

Keep fighting the good fight, old boy.
posted by Grady at 3:05 PM
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Willamette Weekly has a long story on how Portland IndyMedia has been taken over by "a radical clique."
Less than an hour after the "See you on the streets" threat was posted anonymously, a response came from "Jed Duncan," who called the threat-maker a "wingnut" and a possible police provocateur.


The response, with its anti-violence message, soon disappeared--apparently removed by someone operating the website.


Only the threat remained.


I see this sort of thing frequently in the Pacific Northwest: small groups of black Carhart clad violent anarchists drowning out all other messages and generally giving activism a bad name. Does this sort of thing happen elsewhere? Any Harbingers from Portland out there care to comment?


Update

Deva's Response.

posted by Klintron at 12:33 PM
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A Look at Who Got in Where Shows Preferences Go Beyond Racial Ones

By DANIEL GOLDEN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

GROTON, Mass. -- Of the 79 members of the class of 1998 at the Groton School, 34 were admitted to Ivy League universities.

Not Henry Park. He was ranked 14th in his class at Groton, one of the nation's premier boarding schools, and scored a stellar 1560 out of 1600 on his SAT college-admission test. But he was spurned by four Ivies -- Harvard, Yale, Brown and Columbia universities -- as well as Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most of the students in Mr. Park's class who were accepted by those universities had less impressive academic credentials than his. What they had instead were certain characteristics such as money, connections, or minority status that helped them vault over him to the universities of their choice.

"I was naive," says Mr. Park's mother, Suki Park. "I thought college admissions had something to do with academics." She and her husband, middle-class Korean immigrants from New Jersey, scrimped to send their son to Groton because of its notable college-placement record.

In the coming months, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a landmark challenge to affirmative action by white applicants who had been rejected from the University of Michigan. The decision will likely have sweeping ramifications for the role of race in admissions to public and private schools. But a look at the fate of Groton's class of '98 shows that minority status is just one of several factors that can trump academic merit in college admissions. Indeed, students who are white and privileged regularly benefit from affirmative action of another kind. [more for subscribers]
posted by Grady at 7:43 AM
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Thursday, April 24, 2003. *
"American Psycho, it pretty much sums up what's going on," said Scott Matthews, a clerk at Toronto's Exile where the shirt also has sold out several times in the last two weeks. The $10-decal, which can be ironed onto an array of clothing items, officially became the shop's hottest seller when Susan Sarandon sauntered in and bought one, he said.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:31 PM
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The executive Council of Edo Okpamakhin summoned an emergency meeting this past weekend to evaluate the inscrutable act of violence that marred the Saturday April 12 National Assembly elections in Nigeria. It has been widely reported in the news media that the elections were marred with violence, intimidation and killings. It will be recalled that Edo Okpamakhin recently issued a warning to INEC concerning the need to ensure free and fair elections for the survival of our nascent democracy. The violence that marred last Saturday’s elections forced an emergency meeting of the leaders of Edo Okpamakhin resident in the United States to evaluate all options open to Nigeria to make sure that the violence and killings are not repeated in subsequent elections, beginning next Saturday April 19. The continued slip of Nigeria into lawlessness, anarchy, and violence is certainly not conducive for a smooth democracy.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:49 PM
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The Bush administration has made far-reaching but low-visibility civil rights policy decisions through regulation, litigation, and budgetary activity—reversing longstanding civil rights policies and impeding civil rights progress, according to a new report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund.

"The Bush Administration Takes Aim: Civil Rights Under Attack," catalogues the various policy decisions of the administration which, in the aggregate, illustrate a pattern of hostility toward core civil rights values and signal a diminished commitment to the ideal of non-discrimination. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:20 PM
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In the chaos of Baghdad, two Iraqi musicians struggle to preserve their music school. All that remains after looting is a song of peace.
posted by A.Q. at 11:15 AM
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Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of ground forces in Iraq, issued a proclamation putting Iraq's politicians on notice, saying, "The coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq." He warned that anyone challenging the American-led authority would be subject to arrest.

...

"Nobody has authority unless General McKiernan says so," General Whitley advised. "Mr. Zobeidi and Mr. Chalabi have no authority. If we say you run the railroad, you run the railroad. If anybody comes and tells you differently, tell us. We will ask them to stop interfering. If we have to, we will arrest them."
Whole piece here.
posted by Grady at 8:59 AM
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Jonah Goldberg's disgrace of a mother with a neat and handy summation of her neoconservative colleagues in a piece on New York City, "New Home of the Right-Wing Gloat."
posted by Grady at 7:57 AM
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Wednesday, April 23, 2003. *
from MadCowMorningNews
VENICE, FL - April 24 -- For at least four years while living in Hamburg during the 1990’s terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta was part of a 'joint venture' between the U.S. and German Governments, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, an elite international “exchange” program run by a little-known private organization with close ties to powerful American political figures like David Rockefeller and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The jointly-funded government effort picked up the tab for Atta on sojourns in Cairo, Istanbul, and Aleppo in Syria during the years 1994 and 1995 and employing him as a “tutor” and “seminar participant” during 1996 and 1997.

Moreover Atta’s financial relationship with the U.S. - German government effort, known as the may even extend back to his initial move from Egypt to Germany in 1992, after being “recruited” in Cairo by a mysterious German couple dubbed the “hijacker’s sponsors” in a recent news account in the Chicago Tribune.

In the years before he became a ‘terrorist ringleader,’ Atta was enjoying the patronage of a government initiative overseen by the U.S. State Department and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the German equivalent of the U.S. Agency currently supervising the secretive bidding race for tens of billions of dollars of post-war reconstruction contracts in Iraq, the Agency for International Development. - MUST READ -
Also see: Even stranger, both Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris were providing celebrity endorsements to Hilliard's operation well after the company's Lear (N351WB) had been busted by DEA agents armed with machine guns.
posted by valis at 9:45 PM
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No, not really. From today's Washington Post:
As Iraqi Shiite demands for a dominant role in Iraq's future mount, Bush administration officials say they underestimated the Shiites' organizational strength and are unprepared to prevent the rise of an anti-American, Islamic fundamentalist government in the country.
posted by Grady at 8:51 AM
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Tuesday, April 22, 2003. *

When it comes to many of the "anti-terror" policies and laws being fastened upon us, the "cure" may be more deadly than the disease.

Are we giving up essential liberties in the war on terror for the promise of safety? In the name of security are we concentrating and institutionalizing power in such ways that we are inviting terror far beyond what any terrorist group could ever hope to inflict on us?

Recall that throughout history — and particularly in the past century — governments have been by far the primary and most lethal instruments of terror. Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and their fellow dictators have proven the most efficient terrorists.

Wielding unbridled power, they have turned the state into an instrument of terror, death, and destruction. In our stampede to safety after the 9-11 attacks, have we been rushing headlong into a deadly trap?
posted by valis at 11:36 PM
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The US military has revealed it is holding juveniles at its high-security prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, known as Camp Xray. The commander of the joint task force at Guantanamo, Major General Geoffrey Miller, says more than one child under the age of 16 is at the detention centre. None of the children have been charged with a crime.
posted by A.Q. at 6:37 PM
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Monday, April 21, 2003. *
Undercover among America's secret theocrats

In the process of introducing powerful men to Jesus, the Family has managed to effect a number of behind-the-scenes acts of diplomacy. In 1978 it secretly helped the Carter Administration organize a worldwide call to prayer with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and more recently, in 2001, it brought together the warring leaders of Congo and Rwanda for a clandestine meeting, leading to the two sides' eventual peace accord last July. Such benign acts appear to be the exception to the rule. During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise. "We work with power where we can," the Family's leader, Doug Coe, says, "build new power where we can't."

...they forge "relationships" beyond the din of vox populi (the Family's leaders consider democracy a manifestation of ungodly pride) and "throw away religion" in favor of the truths of the Family. Declaring God's covenant with the Jews broken, the group's core members call themselves "the new chosen."
posted by thistle at 9:23 PM
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Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad. The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.
posted by A.Q. at 10:46 AM
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On this Friday evening, Wiser is surrounded by wealthy folks who think similarly. The occasion is the annual meeting of a Boston-based group called Responsible Wealth, whose 700 members belong in the top 5 percent of wealth nationally and whose mission is to close the economic divide that it says has created a “second Gilded Age.” After a round of applause for the waitstaff and an MC’s mention of how the Westin was picked because it’s a union hotel, Bill Gates Sr. delivers a keynote address on the subject about which he has been stumping across the country: his opposition to repealing the estate tax. Over the following weekend, the crowd will go on to attend workshops with titles like “Freeze the Tax Cuts” and “Corporate Accountability.”

posted by Klintron at 10:11 AM
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The greatest gulf
Jonathan Raban argues that, apart from the immediate cost in human life, military intervention in Iraq has also represented a disastrous failure of imagination and a fatal inability to understand the role of history - and religion - in the region

Whatever its immediate apparent outcome, the war on Iraq represents a catastrophic breakdown of the British and American imagination. We've utterly failed to comprehend the character of the people whose lands we have invaded, and for that we're likely to find ourselves paying a price beside which the body-count on both sides in the Iraqi conflict will seem trifling.

Passionate ideologues are incurious by nature and have no time for obstructive details. It's impossible to think of Paul Wolfowitz curling up for the evening with Edward Said's Orientalism, or the novels of Naguib Mahfouz, or Seven Pillars of Wisdom, or the letters of Gertrude Bell, or the recently published, knotty, often opaque, but useful book by Lawrence Rosen, The Culture of Islam, based on Rosen's anthropological fieldwork in Morocco, or Sayyid Qutb's Milestones. Yet these, and a dozen other titles, should have been required reading for anyone setting out on such an ambitious liberal-imperial project to inflict freedom and democracy by force on the Arab world. The single most important thing that Wolfowitz might have learned is that in Arabia, words like "self", "community," "brotherhood" and "nation" do not mean what he believes them to mean. When the deputy secretary of defence thinks of his own self, he - like me, and, probably, like you - envisages an interiorised, secret entity whose true workings are hidden from public view. Masks, roles, personae (like being deputy secretary for defence) mediate between this inner self and the other people with whom it comes into contact. The post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic self, with its autonomous subjective world, is a western construct, and quite different from the self as it is conceived in Islam. Muslims put an overwhelming stress on the idea of the individual as a social being. The self exists as the sum of its interactions with others. Rosen puts it like this: "The configuration of one's bonds of obligation define who a person is . . . the self is not an artefact of interior construction but an unavoidably public act."

Broadly speaking, who you are is: who you know, who depends on you, and to whom you owe allegiance - a visible web of relationships that can be mapped and enumerated. Just as the person is public, so is the public personal. We're dealing here with a world in which a commitment to, say, Palestine, or to the people of Iraq, can be a defining constituent of the self in a way that westerners don't easily understand. The recent demonstrations against the US and Britain on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Sanaa and Islamabad may look deceptively like their counterparts in Athens, Hamburg, London and New York, but their content is importantly different. What they register is not the vicarious outrage of the anti-war protests in the west but a sense of intense personal injury and affront, a violation of the self. Next time, look closely at the faces on the screen: if their expressions appear to be those of people seen in the act of being raped, or stabbed, that is perhaps closer than we can imagine to how they actually feel.
[more]
posted by Gordon at 10:00 AM
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Sunday, April 20, 2003. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:58 PM
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Here’s a question: what if the Wachowski brothers’ 1999 film The Matrix was not just an entertaining piece of sf-action-adventure hokum. What if, instead, it is all true? Imagine it as a message sent via the medium of the Matrix itself (Hollywood cinema) from someplace outside the Matrix, to wake us up to our human condition, to alert us all to the fact ‘that we are slaves’. If so, then we are not living the lives we thought we were living; we are instead inhabiting a virtual reality composed by oppressive machine-intelligences. What if this were literally true? How would it appear to us? Well, clearly, it would appear exactly as our lives presently appear to us. Unless we get ‘unplugged’, unless we become enlightened, we cannot see past the illusion that has been created for us.

What should we do in this circumstance? Should we collaborate with the machines and not rock the boat? Or should we fight, free ourselves and eventually free everybody else? Clearly, says The Matrix Warrior, this latter. This is a book that proceeds from the assumption that the situation described in The Matrix is real, and tells you where to go from there.

Another: Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix

This thought-provoking examination of The Matrix explores the technological challenges, religious symbolism, and philosophical dilemmas the film presents. Essays by renowned scientists, technologists, philosophers, scholars, social commentators, and science fiction authors provide engaging and provocative perspectives. Explored in a highly accessible fashion are issues such as the future of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The symbolism hidden throughout The Matrix and a few glitches in the film are revealed. Discussions include "Finding God in The Matrix," "The Reality Paradox in The Matrix," and "Was Cypher Right?: Why We Stay in Our Matrix." The fascinating issues posed by the film are handled in an intelligent but nonacademic fashion. Link to Slashdot Article with more links.

Also see: Our former articles on more "Matrix Philosophy"
  • How to live in a simulation.
  • Are you living in a computer simulation?
  • We're living in a Matrix...possibly.
  • posted by Joseph Matheny at 8:38 AM
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    Saturday, April 19, 2003. *
    (A Disembodied Voice Speaks to a Burning Bush)





    "The Conversion of St. George" by Caravaggio and Daintily Dirty

    A choir of angels sings Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (and then to the tune of the Who’s My Generation) Talking about my Revelation! People try to put us down, just because we Mow them Down…Talking about My Revelation (and back to Halleleujah Halleleujah!)


    Bush: I’m blind! I’m blind! Once I could see! Now, I’m blind! Help! Help!

    Fleischer: Oh sorry, Mr. President! Let me remove these 7 lamp posts!

    (Fleischer exits with lamp posts; Bush rubs his eyes as one mysterious light source still shines on him. An eerie Disembodied Voice speaks from somewhere)

    more
    posted by rays at 2:37 PM
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    Who is James R. Bath?

    A nodal point in Mark Lombardi's drawing George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens c. 1979-90, 5th Version, 1999, James R. Bath appears in the upper lefthand corner of the 16 1/2" x 41" piece of paper. The spatial syntax of Lombardi's drawings—which map in elegantly visual terms the secret deals and suspect associations of financiers, politicians, corporations, and governments—dictates that the more densely lines ray out from a given node, the more deeply that figure is embroiled in the tale Lombardi tells. Thirteen lines originate with or point to James R. Bath, more than any other name presented. Among those linked to this obscure yet central character are George W. Bush, Jr., George H.W. Bush, Sr., Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Governor John B. Connally of Texas, Sheik Salim bin Laden of Saudi Arabia, and Sheik Salim's younger brother, Osama bin Laden.

    posted by cynthia korzekwa at 2:44 AM
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    Friday, April 18, 2003. *
    Muslim woman's body desecrated with bacon
    "This was done to cause maximum upset. This was not only a Muslim but a human being. The desecration of any body will be condemned by everyone, there is not a sane person who would not be offended by this," Sarah Joseph, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain.

    "It has not come to light yet if this was the act of an Islamaphobe but there has been a rise in such attacks, such as desecration of graveyards. It is quite scary and a bit like 1930s Germany."

    "I thought someone who did this hated Muslims especially," she said. "I don't know why they chose my mum. . . . In life you expect a lot of things, but something so shocking, you couldn't even think it up in the worst horror movie."
    posted by New World at 9:31 PM
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    Thursday, April 17, 2003. *


    Neoconservative Richard Perle, a leading hawk in the Iraq debate, yesterday called for Congress to pass a "Syrian Liberation Act" modeled on the 1998 law that made regime change in Baghdad official U.S. policy.
    posted by A.Q. at 9:36 AM
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    Wednesday, April 16, 2003. *
    The elections are a critical stage of Nigeria's attempt to break a culture of military rule that has prevailed for most of its postcolonial history. That history resonates through the presidential poll: Mr. Obasanjo, a former military dictator whose election in 1999 ended more than 15 years of Army rule, has as his main challenger Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, another former military leader. The country's last attempt to hand over power between civilian administrations ended in a 1983 coup by General Buhari, amid public anger over government corruption and ballot fraud during an election held earlier that year.
    posted by A.Q. at 4:59 PM
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    Some facts you might have missed in the media hoopla over the 'capture' of Abu Abbas:

    1. Abbas was the planner behind the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, but was not on board the ship.

    2. Abbas was not 'hiding' in Baghdad, but had lived there for 16 years, and since 1995 had been allowed by the Oslo accords to travel into the West Bank and Gaza.

    3. The only criminal charge the Americans can still try him on is piracy. There are no current US arrest warrents for Abbas, as the last one expired in the 1990s and was not renewed.

    4. In 1998, the Israeli Supreme Court, citing interim peace deals with the Palestinians, declared Abbas immune from prosecution in Israel over the ship's hijacking.

    5. Two of the hijackers who were actually onboard the ship during the crime have since been paroled.

    These facts are not meant to imply that those who plan terroristic acts that end in the murder of innocents should not be prosecuted, but only to remind readers of the disconnect between the facts and the overheated rhetoric of the United States and its media outlets. If Abu Abbas is indeed one of the world's most wanted terrorists, than the world is a far safer place than we have been led to believe.
    posted by A.Q. at 10:30 AM
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    Tuesday, April 15, 2003. *
    Iraqis Flock to ‘the Mother of All Flea Markets’
    In the Abu Ghorab district on the outskirts of Baghdad, the mother of all flea markets has been set up, and those who looted the capital’s government and other buildings are selling their booty — cigarettes, furniture, sportswear lingerie — at knockdown prices. Nike sneakers were being sold for $2.

    There is also a huge black market in gasoline. Saddam’s army had massive gasoline reserves and in some areas of Baghdad locals are filling their containers with it and selling it at massively inflated prices.
    posted by A.Q. at 4:34 PM
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    The democratization campaign continues:
    United States troops have opened fire on a crowd opposed to the US-installed governor in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least 10 people and injuring as many as 100, witnesses and doctors said.

    ...

    Witnesses reported that US troops had fired into a crowd which was becoming increasingly hostile towards the new governor, Mashaan al-Juburi, as he was making a pro-US speech in the northern oil city.
    Full article here.

    posted by Grady at 9:13 AM
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    Monday, April 14, 2003. *
    RIP Hampton, Welcome Tompkins

    Loaded Images: Dead heroes, living lessons, Black Panthers, and The Murder of Fred Hampton
    By J.H. Tompkins

    I DEEPLY ADMIRED Fred Hampton during the late 1960s, when he was a charismatic Black Panther leader from Chicago. A brilliant speaker, he could transform an unruly crowd into a rapt congregation with the turn of a phrase. Or so it was said; I never met him, but he was my age, and from the sound of things, as streetwise and tough as I was not. The 2,000 miles between Oakland and Chicago only enhanced a presence I'd fashioned from news clippings, photos, rumors, and stories. When the Chicago police murdered Hampton years before the Panthers self-destructed, they spared him and me the complications of the future – dead heroes won't let you down. [more]

    We are pleased to welcome J.H.Tompkins to our ever-growing, ever-outstanding list of Samizdat Harbingers.

    posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:39 PM
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    posted by skimble at 12:48 PM
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    From today's FT:
    A US military translator from an Arab country said at the weekend: "The people are completely desperate and no one seems to know this. All they see in the west is 'Look at the happy free Iraqis'."
    Also, Kurds begin their expulsion of thousands of Arabs from their homes in northern Iraq.
    posted by Grady at 9:31 AM
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    Sunday, April 13, 2003. *
    Our very own Grady Olivier writes Donald Rumsfeld a letter.
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:02 PM
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    Signs of Freedom: Protests in Iraqi Capitol
    A noisy crowd of Iraqis gathered around Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel and raised anti-American slogans on Sunday, signaling that the popular mood in the besieged capital was fast turning against the US troops.

    Fed up with the anarchy and looting as also the breakdown of essential services ever since the start of the war, the protestors yelled that the US troops were doing nothing to help restore normal life in the city.

    “They are guarding oil facilities, but have not done anything as yet to restore essential services like power and water, “ alleged Ali Zuhair. Another of the protestors said that the “Americans were interested only in oil.”
    posted by A.Q. at 3:19 PM
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    Art Church. "...After sometime of writing a daily journal with prayer and scripture, I feel led to put this daily devotional on the web-site for the entire world to see and read. I paint Christian art and I believe this is the best way to illustrate the Bible to Christians and non-Christians by a universal means of the Internet. My art has become a Ministry; a last days Ministry in Revelation revealed 300 ft. and Revelation Revealed II in Europe. A church carries a lot of responsibility, yet to identify a church is I believe a number one priority."
    posted by Andrew at 10:10 AM
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    COMFORTING NEWS
    From the Daily Star:
    Douglas Feith, a top Pentagon official, has reportedly drawn up a contingency plan for a strike on Syria, but it remains under lock and key, unseen by the White House and the National Security Agency
    Under lock and key, just like the "proof" of Saddam's WMDs that Bush and Blair, not wanting to "compromise" their sources, refused to share with the world. Now that Saddam is "no longer in power," and the threat to those sources is, ahem, lessened, can we please see your evidence?

    Returning to Feith's secret plan, if this lunatic has his way, the specifics of that plan will soon be made very clear to the Syrians. And the Iranians. And the North Koreans. And the Libyans; "and I could go on," says the loon.
    posted by Grady at 8:30 AM
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    Saturday, April 12, 2003. *
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:34 PM
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    Got Ya !
    Telephone conversation between George Bush and Al Jazeera after the recent unpleasantness in Baghdad.

    AJ: George
    G: Yes, who is this? How did you get this number?
    AJ: Never mind about that. This is Al Jazeera
    G: Al who. Is that you Gore?
    AJ: No George, this is Al Jazeera the television network
    G: You guys still around I uh I mean what do you want?
    AJ: George, we just want you to know that we are willing to let bygones be bygones.
    G: Yeah, well okay.
    AJ: George we have new GPS coordinates.
    G: GPS what?
    AJ: GPS coordinates of our new location so there will be no more mistakes.
    G: You've got my attention.
    AJ: Are you ready to write down the coordinates.
    G: Ready
    AJ: Okay here they are Latitude: 38.898556 degrees Longitude: -77.037852
    G: Hey thanks I got ya.


    posted by Norm at 10:03 AM
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    Seven Of Diamonds
    Reuters

    Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser, one of 55 people on America's most wanted list of Iraqi leaders, has surrendered to U.S. forces, German public TV station ZDF reported on Saturday.

    General Amer Hammoudi al-Saadi, who liaised with U.N. weapons inspectors before war broke out, gave himself up to U.S. forces in Baghdad on Saturday, ZDF said.

    The station said one of its camera crews had accompanied al-Saadi at his request. His surrender would be the first from the group of 55 the United States wants pursued, killed or captured, ZDF said.

    Al-Saadi told ZDF he did not know where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was. He also insisted Iraq did not possess chemical or biological weapons and denied being a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

    He told ZDF he had stayed at home even after U.S. forces arrived in Baghdad. He said he felt in no way guilty and had therefore voluntarily surrendered to U.S. forces.

    The United States is planning to issue decks of playing cards to its troops depicting the 55 most wanted leadership figures. Al-Saadi, number 55, appears on the seven of diamonds card.
    posted by Norm at 10:00 AM
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    Friday, April 11, 2003. *
    The palace was so large that DeCamp had his men count the rooms and write the numbers on an index card: 142 offices, 64 bathrooms, 19 meeting rooms, 22 kitchens, countless bedrooms, one movie theater, five "huge ballrooms" and one "football-field sized monster ballroom."

    Even a cursory tour took hours, through mirrored hallways, across marble floors, beneath intricately tile-domed entryways.

    DeCamp moved on to another ornate compound where, the night before, his battalion had discovered a hoard of luxury items. He dragged open a door. Inside were vast supplies of TV sets, Moët champagne, Russian vodka, imported American cigarettes, 150 Persian rugs, Parker pen sets, French wines and expensive Lladro figurines. These, according to the colonel, were gratuities handed out by Hussein's functionaries to favored members of the ruling Baath Party. He offered no explanation for the cache of UNICEF children's clothes and toys.
    posted by A.Q. at 11:00 AM
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    US soldiers have shot and killed a Baghdad shopkeeper defending his business with a Kalashnikov assault rifle against looters.

    The 25-year-old merchant pulled his rifle on the thieves when they began ransacking the shop, neighbours said.

    When US soldiers approached the area, the looters told them that the shopkeeper was a member of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen paramilitary force.

    The American troops reportedly opened fire with machine guns, killing the man, the neighbours said.

    An AFP photographer saw the covered body of Mohammad al-Barheini lying on a shelf of his shop, his head in a bag, on the Al-Rashid commercial street in the capital.
    posted by Grady at 10:13 AM
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    Israeli troops shot and critically wounded a 21-year-old British peace activist helping Palestinian children cross a street under gunfire Friday, fellow activists and hospital officials said.

    Tom Handoll was one of 12 members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who Thursday went to the Rafah refugee camp on the Egyptian border to protest at continued Israeli shooting in the area, said ISM member Nick Smith.

    According to Smith, Handoll was shot in the head as he tried to help a group of children cross a street in an area under Israeli gunfire.

    Ali Musa, director of the Rafah hospital, said Handoll's brain had been damaged and that he was "clinically dead."
    posted by New World at 10:04 AM
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    Thursday, April 10, 2003. *
    How neoconservatives conquered Washington
    How neoconservatives conquered Washington -- and launched a war First they converted an ignorant, inexperienced president to their pro-Israel, hawkish worldview. Then 9/11 allowed them to claim Iraq threatened the U.S. By Michael Lind

    April 9, 2003 | America's allies and enemies alike are baffled. What is going on in the United States? Who is making foreign policy? And what are they trying to achieve? Quasi-Marxist explanations involving big oil or American capitalism are mistaken. Yes, American oil companies and contractors will accept the spoils of the kill in Iraq. But the oil business, with its Arabist bias, did not push for this war any more than it supports the Bush administration's close alliance with Ariel Sharon. Further, President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not genuine "Texas oil men" but career politicians who, in between stints in public life, would have used their connections to enrich themselves as figureheads in the wheat business, if they had been residents of Kansas, or in tech companies, had they been Californians.

    Equally wrong is the theory that the American and European civilizations are evolving in opposite directions. The thesis of Robert Kagan, the neoconservative propagandist, that Americans are martial and Europeans pacifist, is complete nonsense. A majority of Americans voted for either Al Gore or Ralph Nader in 2000. Were it not for the
    overrepresentation of sparsely populated, right-wing states in both the presidential electoral college and the Senate, the White House and the Senate today would be controlled by Democrats, whose views and values, on everything from war to the welfare state, are very close to those of western Europeans.

    Both the economic-determinist theory and the clash-of-cultures theory are reassuring: They assume that the recent revolution in U.S. foreign policy is the result of obscure but understandable forces in an orderly world. The truth is more alarming. As a result of several bizarre and unforeseeable contingencies -- such as the selection rather than election of George W. Bush, and Sept. 11 -- the foreign policy of the world's only global power is being made by a small clique that is unrepresentative of either the U.S. population or the mainstream foreign policy establishment.

    The core group now in charge consists of neoconservative defense intellectuals. (They are called "neoconservatives" because many of them started off as anti-Stalinist leftists or liberals before moving to the far right.) Inside the government, the chief defense intellectuals include Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense. He is the
    defense mastermind of the Bush administration; Donald Rumsfeld is an elderly figurehead who holds the position of defense secretary only because Wolfowitz himself is too controversial. Others include Douglas Feith, No. 3 at the Pentagon; Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a Wolfowitz protégé who is Cheney's chief of staff; John R. Bolton, a right-winger assigned to the State Department to keep Colin Powell in check; and Elliott Abrams, recently appointed to head Middle East policy at the National Security Council. On the outside are James Woolsey, the former CIA director, who has tried repeatedly to link both 9/11 and the anthrax letters in the U.S. to Saddam Hussein, and Richard Perle, who has just resigned his unpaid chairmanship of a defense department advisory body after a lobbying scandal. Most of these "experts" never served in the military. But their headquarters is now the civilian defense secretary's office, where these Republican political appointees are despised and distrusted by the largely Republican career soldiers.

    Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the Trotskyist govement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history. Their admiration for the Israeli Likud party's tactics, including preventive warfare such as Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for "democracy." They call their revolutionary ideology "Wilsonianism" (after President Woodrow Wilson), but it is really Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism. Genuine American Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people such as the Palestinians.

    The neocon defense intellectuals, as well as being in or around the actual Pentagon, are at the center of a metaphorical "pentagon" of the Israel lobby and the religious right, plus conservative think tanks, foundations and media empires. Think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) provide homes for neocon "in-and-outers" when they are out of government (Perle is a fellow at AEI). The money comes not so much from corporations as from decades-old conservative foundations, such as the Bradley and Olin foundations, which spend down the estates of long-dead tycoons. Neoconservative foreign policy does not reflect business interests in any direct way. The neocons are ideologues, not opportunists.

    The major link between the conservative think tanks and the Israel lobby is the Washington-based and Likud-supporting Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa), which co-opts many non-Jewish defense experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired general Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq. In October 2000, he cosigned a Jinsa letter that began: "We ... believe that during the current upheavals in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces have exercised remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of [the] Palestinian Authority."

    The Israel lobby itself is divided into Jewish and Christian wings. Wolfowitz and Feith have close ties to the Jewish-American Israel lobby. Wolfowitz, who has relatives in Israel, has served as the Bush administration's liaison to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Feith was given an award by the Zionist Organization of America, citing him as a "pro-Israel activist." While out of power in the Clinton years, Feith collaborated with Perle to coauthor a policy paper for Likud that advised the Israeli government to end the Oslo peace process, reoccupy the territories, and crush Yasser Arafat's government.

    Such experts are not typical of Jewish-Americans, who mostly voted for Gore in 2000. The most fervent supporters of Likud in the Republican electorate are Southern Protestant fundamentalists. The religious right believes that God gave all of Palestine to the Jews, and fundamentalist congregations spend millions to subsidize Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

    The final corner of the neoconservative pentagon is occupied by several right-wing media empires, with roots -- odd as it seems -- in the British Commonwealth and South Korea. Rupert Murdoch disseminates propaganda through his Fox television network. His magazine, the Weekly Standard -- edited by William Kristol, the former chief of staff of Dan Quayle (vice president, 1989-1993) -- acts as a mouthpiece for defense intellectuals such as Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith and Woolsey as well as for Sharon's government. The National Interest (of which I was executive editor, 1991-1994) is now funded by Conrad Black, who owns the Jerusalem Post and the Hollinger empire in Britain and Canada.

    Strangest of all is the media network centered on the Washington Times -- owned by the South Korean messiah (and ex-convict) the Rev. Sun Myung Moon -- which owns the newswire UPI. UPI is now run by John O'Sullivan, the ghostwriter for Margaret Thatcher who once worked as an editor for Conrad Black in Canada. Through such channels, the "gotcha!" style of right-wing British journalism, and its Europhobic substance, have contaminated the US conservative movement.

    The corners of the neoconservative pentagon were linked together in the 1990s by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), run by Kristol out of the Weekly Standard offices. Using a P.R. technique pioneered by their Trotskyist predecessors, the neocons published a series of public letters whose signatories often included Wolfowitz and other future members of the Bush foreign policy team. They called for the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq and to support Israel's campaigns against the
    Palestinians (dire warnings about China were another favorite). During Clinton's two terms, these fulminations were ignored by the foreign policy establishment and the mainstream media. Now they are frantically being studied.

    How did the neocon defense intellectuals -- a small group at odds with most of the U.S. foreign policy elite, Republican as well as Democratic -- manage to capture the Bush administration? Few supported Bush during the presidential primaries. They feared that the second Bush would be like the first -- a wimp who had failed to occupy Baghdad in the first Gulf War and who had pressured Israel into the Oslo peace process -- and that his administration, again like his father's, would be dominated by
    moderate Republican realists such as Powell, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft. They supported the maverick senator John McCain until it became clear that Bush would get the nomination.

    Then they had a stroke of luck -- Cheney was put in charge of the presidential transition (the period between the election in November and the accession to office in January). Cheney used this opportunity to stack the administration with his hard-line allies. Instead of becoming the de facto president in foreign policy, as many had expected, Secretary of State Powell found himself boxed in by Cheney's right-wing network, including Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton and Libby.

    The neocons took advantage of Bush's ignorance and inexperience. Unlike his father, a Second World War veteran who had been ambassador to China, director of the CIA, and vice president, George W was a thinly educated playboy who had failed repeatedly in business before becoming the governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial position (the state's lieutenant governor has more power). His father is essentially a northeastern moderate Republican; George W, raised in west Texas, absorbed the Texan cultural combination of machismo, anti-intellectualism and overt religiosity. The son of upper-class Episcopalian parents, he converted to Southern fundamentalism in a midlife crisis. Fervent Christian Zionism, along with an admiration for macho Israeli soldiers that sometimes coexists with hostility to liberal Jewish-American
    intellectuals, is a feature of the Southern culture.

    The younger Bush was tilting away from Powell and toward Wolfowitz ("Wolfie," as he calls him) even before 9/11 gave him something he had lacked: a mission in life other than following in his dad's footsteps. There are signs of estrangement between the cautious father and the crusading son: Last year, veterans of the first Bush administration, including Baker, Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, warned publicly against an invasion of Iraq without authorization from Congress and the U.N.

    It is not clear that George W fully understands the grand strategy that Wolfowitz and other aides are unfolding. He seems genuinely to believe that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. from Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," something the leading neocons say in public but are far too intelligent to believe themselves. The Project for the New American Century urged an invasion of Iraq throughout the Clinton years, for reasons that had nothing to do with possible links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Public letters signed by Wolfowitz and others called on the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq, to bomb Hezbollah bases in Lebanon, and to threaten states such as Syria and Iran with U.S. attacks if they continued to sponsor terrorism. Claims that the purpose is not to protect the American people but to make the
    Middle East safe for Israel are dismissed by the neocons as vicious anti-Semitism. Yet Syria, Iran and Iraq are bitter enemies, with their weapons pointed at each other, and the terrorists they sponsor target Israel rather than the U.S. The neocons urge war with Iran next, though by any rational measurement North Korea's new nuclear arsenal is, for the U.S., a far greater problem.

    So that is the bizarre story of how neoconservatives took over Washington and steered the U.S. into a Middle Eastern war unrelated to any plausible threat to the U.S. and opposed by the public of every country in the world except Israel. The frightening thing is the role of happenstance and personality. After the al-Qaida attacks, any U.S.
    president would likely have gone to war to topple bin Laden's Taliban protectors in Afghanistan. But everything that the U.S. has done since then would have been different had America's 18th century electoral rules not given Bush the presidency and had Cheney not used the transition period to turn the foreign policy executive into a PNAC
    reunion.

    For a British equivalent, one would have to imagine a Tory government, with Downing Street and Whitehall controlled by followers of the Rev. Ian Paisley, extreme Euroskeptics, empire loyalists and Blimpish military types -- all determined, for a variety of strategic or religious reasons, to invade Egypt. Their aim would be to regain the
    Suez Canal as the first step in a campaign to restore the British empire. Yes, it really is that weird.

    A version of this story appeared in the New Statesman. About the writer Michael Lind, the Whitehead Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, is the author of "Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics."
    posted by cynthia korzekwa at 11:26 PM
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    April 6th: Iraqi National Congress founder, Ahmed Chalabi is flown into the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah by the Pentagon. Chalabi, along with 700 fighters of his "Free Iraqi Forces" are airlifted aboard four massive C17 military transport planes. Chalabi and the INC are Washington favorites to head the new Iraqi government. A photograph is taken of Chalabi and members of his Free Iraqi Forces militia as they arrive in Nasiriyah.

    April 9th: One of the "most memorable images of the war" is created when U.S. troops pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square. Oddly enough... a photograph is taken of a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to one of Chalabi's militia members... he is near Fardus Square to greet the Marines. How many members of the pro-American Free Iraqi Forces were in and around Fardus Square as the statue of Saddam came tumbling down?
    posted by New World at 7:35 PM
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    God Bless America plays. The present, past and future seem to be having a jamboree, merging into a blur. Bashar of Syria, Khatami of Iran, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Li’l Kim of N. Korea, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are all marching around a set of chairs, hoping to sit in one when the music stops. There's one chair too few and the last one to claim one is out. Each time someone loses, a chair is taken away and a huge mysterious beanbag falls from the sky next to the loser.


    Unembedded Reporter (as bullets whiz by his head): Who’s got the Wmds?

    The music stops. Saddam is out. The mysterious bag falls next to him. He's left holding it, so to speak.

    Saddam: Not me! I never had them! Except the ones I purchased from the US and European companies many years ago. (Suddenly, bullets whiz by his head) Ok, Ok..everyone knows I have them…but I whisked them off to Syria just in time to be unable to use them against the US!

    Rumsfeld: You’re out, Saddam. We don’t need you anymore. Now get out of here before we use our expert intelligence on your ass and blow up several innocent citizens with our precisely precise well-placed bunker busters.

    The music starts again….God Bless America…..and stops. Bashar of Syria stands, holding the bag, so to speak.

    Bahar: No, not me! I don’t have the WMDS! (Bullets whiz by his ears) Ok, Ok, I have them now. But I got them from Hussein! And I whisked them off to Iran just in time to be unable to use use them against the U.S. invasion.

    Rumsfeld: You’re out, Syria. We don’t need you anymore. Now get out before we use our expert intelligence on your ass and blow the rest of your country away...(Much of Syria is in flames and several Syrians are seen thanking Marines for liberating them)

    The music starts again. ..God bless America…it goes on a while and stops. The men scramble for the empty chair.

    Khatami of Iran is left standing, holding the bag, so to speak.

    Khatami: No, not me! I don’t have the WMDS! (Bullets whiz by his head) Ok, Ok, I have them now!
    But I got them from Syria and whisked them off to Osama bin Laden just before we were able to use them against the U.S. Invasion.

    (Bullets whiz by his ear) I mean Liberation…sorry.

    Rumsfeld: You’re out, Iran…We don’t need you anymore. Now get out before we destroy more of your country with our......(Much of Iran is in flames and several Syrians are seen thanking Marines for liberating them.)


    The music starts…God bless America..It goes on awhile...

    Hey, stop pushing.

    I'm not pushing.

    Who farted?

    I didnt fart.

    You farted.

    Good God, was that the smell of human flesh coming out your ass?

    I'm not a cannibal!

    You are too!

    Who's the cannibal here?

    The president's men giggle. The music stops. They scramble for the lone chair.

    Osama bin Laden is left standing, holding the bag.

    Osama: Not me! No, I’ve never had WMDs. I didn’t need them to take down America. Just a little looking the other way and some finely trained killers with 17 virgins on their mind. (A bullet whizzes by his ear) Ok! Ok! I have them now! But I got them from Iran and whisked them off to Saudi Arabia just before I could use them against the U.S…..(bullets) liberation.

    Rumseld: You’re out, Osama. We’ll let you know when we need you again. Now go work on a tape. That last one was pathetic.

    The music starts…God bless America…it stops.

    Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is left holding the bag.

    Saudi Arabia: Hmmm…wait…we don’t have…we never had…We are allies.

    Rumseld: It’s ok, Saudi Arabia…we no longer need you. You’re not nearly as powerful as you were. Your oil is no longer worth what it used to be. Now that everyone has been liberated. So get out of here before we decide to liberate your women.

    The music starts…God bless America…it stops.

    Mugabe of Zimbabwe is left holding the bag.

    Mugabe: No, not me.

    Rumsfeld: Who the hell’s this guy?

    Cheney: Not sure. Do you have WMDs?

    Mugabe: No, sir. But I do have an impressive resume of atrocities against civilians. I think if you hold it up to Hussein’s that….

    Rumsfeld: Get out of here! (Bullets whiz by and Mugabe runs out)

    Cheney: How the hell did he get in here?

    Rumsfeld: I don’t know…some dictator from some African country.

    Cheney: Wolfowitz? Is he on the map?

    Wolfowitz: Not yet, Dick. We have our guys working on just how we might exploit the African situation.
    At the moment, we’re making a lot of money on selling weapons…

    The music starts up….God Bless America…the cd begins to skip. Castro and Lil Kim look at each other, confused.
    No, it's a DJ sampling a hip hop version...Castro and Lil Kim eye each other, but keep walking, circling the lone chair.
    Finally, the music stops. Castro lands in Kim's lap. The mysterious bag hits him in the head.

    Everybody starts laughing, wondering what Castro is doing there.

    Kim: You can get off me anytime, Fidel.

    Castro: Wow...whoever called you Lil Kim never played Musical Chairs with you.

    Kim: Get off me, Castro!

    Castro: talk about the Battle of the Bulge.

    Kim: Get off me or I'll call China!

    Castro: We should stick together! Just like the old days.

    (The President's Men are still laughing)

    Rumsfeld: Castro, are you still alive?

    Castro: No sir. (he rises; bows and leaves quietly.) Think about it, Big Kim (winks)...

    North Korea is the only one left; surrounded by the mysterious bags.

    Unembedded Reporter (bullets whiz by his ear, just for the fun of it): Do you have WMDs?

    Li’l Kim: Yes, I believe we do.

    Cheney: Hmmm…diplomacy or liberation?

    Powell: Diplomacy!

    Rumsfeld: Liberation!

    Powell: Diplomacy!

    Rumsfeld: Liberation!

    Powell: Diplomacy!

    Rumsfeld: Liberation!!!!

    Powell (getting in his face) Liberation!

    Rumsfeld: Diplomacy!!!!!!!!

    The two begin to scuffle. Victoria Clarke, dressed in full Dominatrix garb, with a pretty little pink sweater over it; apparently, she’s just come from a Pentagon briefing to the Media.

    Victoria Clarke: Ok, boys…who wants to show me their MOAB?

    All the President's Men immediately fall to their knees, waiting to be liberated.

    Unembedded Reporter (bullets whiz by his heads just for the fun of it): Victoria, what’s your secret?

    Victoria: (shoots him) Oops… I’m not at liberty to say. We wouldn’t want to put the troops in harm’s way, would we? And don't worry about the silly WMDs...I've already planted a few. Now, heel, boys…

    All the President's Men: Yes, Ma’am!

    (Inspired by comments by Mike; don't have his webpage at the moment)



    posted by rays at 4:09 PM
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    A pre-post, or then again maybe just post pre-next war, round-up.

    Iraq War One brought among its unintended consequences the still barely acknowledged scourge of Gulf War syndrome, Timothy McVeigh and Al Queda. Rosenfield thinks about the next wave of hazards.

    Michael Lind chronicles the history of neo-cons and their long march to power over U.S. foreign policy.

    Gene Healy asks:If we don't find any serious WMD, isn't the Pentagon just going to ship in the chem/bio equivalent of the "throw-down" guns bad cops keep around?


    Jeff St.Clair asks:This begs the question: if it was so easy, why was it necessary? How big of a threat was the Beast of Baghdad, after all? Did his rusting army, even the supposedly fearsome Republican Guard, really pose any kind of the threat to the US? Or even the pampered sheiks of Kuwait?


    24/7 real-time battlefield cable coverage shaped mass perception of the war, but Natasha Walter believes the victor in the news wars has been the Internet. (thanks to Cursor)
    The Daily Show moves to the undisputed leadership of left-leaning media satire. (Cursor yet again)
    Pollack imagines Mohammed Said Sahhaf's next career move.
    Oh yeah, and less whimsically he reminds us how under the fog of war intoxication the Senate (in the person of Joe Biden) is sneaking through a mutation of the Rave Act.
    posted by Phil at 3:18 PM
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    "Adahy Wakiza" (formed from the Cherokee words for "Lives in the Woods" and "Determined Warrior") will be a Wildlife Sanctuary, Nature Reserve, Intentional Community, Eco-Village, Spiritual Retreat and Humane and Environmental Sustainability Education Center on 166+ acres of pristine tropical rainforest in the country of Belize, Central America. It is to be the first pod of the Sylvestria Eco-Village Network. The principles of Sylvanism will be adopted as a core philosophical structure of Adahy Wakiza. Sylvanism is the belief that humanity can control it's evolutionary destiny in more creative and positive ways than what has been displayed to date. We can change from Homo Sapiens Sapiens or "man who knows that he knows" (but doesn't necessarily know what he knows or what to do with it!) to Homo Sapiens Sylvestris or "Wise man of the forests" who listens to his accumulated knowledge and uses it to live in accord with and respect the forests of the world and their inhabitants, both animal and plant.

    Adahy Wakiza social structure will be a primal living, primitivist (a la the writings of John Zerzan, Derrick Jensen, and Daniel Quinn et al), anarchistic, egalitarian, pre-agrarian, non-dominionistic.
    posted by New World at 10:50 AM
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    Anonymous Troy Björkman said...
    Hi

    I am a young student of northeuropean origin very interested in living a life under (anarcho) primitivistic terms. I have been trying to find some form of contact information for Adahy Wakiza but that has understandably failed. To be honest I am even starting to questioning its very existence. Nevertheless, if anyone has any information on the village I would really appreciate it if you contacted me. My email is troybjorkman@hotmail.com. Thankyou in advance!

    Troy Björkman
    4:04 AM  
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    Intentional Community is an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives and other related projects and dreams...

    This Web site serves the growing communities movement. We provide important information and access to crucial resources for seekers of community, existing and forming communities, and other friends of community.
    posted by New World at 10:43 AM
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    Wednesday, April 09, 2003. *
    Disinformation Used To Sell Assault on the Constitution

    ...This is a classic example of disinformation, or flatout lies, used to justify this assault on the Constitution and the legal rights of all Americans. The Patriot Act is just the first step, and now congress members themselves are trying to gut congressional oversight, thus making the checks and balances of the 3 branches of government into a joke.

    Evidently Orrin Hatch, Charles Schumer, Jon Kyl, et. all think that nobody will bother to check out the facts. Moussaoui was not a "lone suspect." The FBI did link him to Al-Qaeda. The problem in pursuing the investigation was the branch of Al Qaeda, which the FBI discovered that Moussaoui belonged to.
    posted by valis at 8:17 PM
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    U.S. "Global Dictatorship"
    File it under: "American Image, War's Enhancement of". This from the tepid Bangkok Post:

    Haste makes waste. Attributed to the 16th century English epigrammatist John Heywood, this simple proverb contains a meaningful message: Irrational acts carried out impatiently can backfire, and often do.

    Militarily, the war in Iraq may have been won. Intellectually and politically, that is another question. The pre-war diplomatic battle did not go the way the US government wanted; neither did the early stages of the military battle. The battle for Baghdad is still to come after which will dawn a new era of US global dictatorship and an even bigger battle for the hearts and minds of those who oppose it.

    History will show that the US government never really wanted to avoid war; preparations to execute the suspect began many months ago even though the search for evidence found nothing.

    Efforts made through the United Nations to legitimise the execution included clear and proven efforts to fabricate evidence that would have brought a proper judicial process to an instant halt but in this instance was totally ignored.

    Now, after having all but executed the suspect, the US government is saying that it will find the evidence to prove his guilt. Isnt it supposed to be the other way around.

    And how do we know the evidence is not being planted right at this very moment? Indeed, the US government has waged war against a country in search of weapons of mass destruction, all of which were originally supplied by US and European companies in the first place.

    The distortion of an international diplomatic process, the disinformation campaigns via a servile media, economic arm-twisting and political blackmail have been the order of the day. This is democracy, freedom and American values? Thanks, but no thanks!

    Because violence begets violence, phenomenal battles are still to come as the post-war ripples spread worldwide. Dividing up the spoils is bound to be controversial. Countries which have been good boys (dek dee) will get contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. The rest will suffer the consequences of having backed the wrong dictator. Indeed, there will be no shortage of countries queuing up to appease the dictator to get a piece of the action.

    In UN conferences, the US government will throw its weight around, as it always has. Countries facing financial problems will find themselves rescued by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank _ provided, of course, they liberalise their economies, sell-off infrastructure at fire-sale prices and remove capital currency controls.

    Much turmoil is forecast in the Arab and the Muslim worlds where the battle for hearts and minds is already lost. From the depths of humiliation, hopefully, the Arabs will learn how they have been hoodwinked. Like the Native American tribes, they have been skilfully divided and craftily crushed. Once the control of global oil falls into US hands, the economies of Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and many North African countries will be worthless. The Palestinians can look forward to being transferred to a nice little reservation in Iraq, about the same size as the one they have now.

    As a result, terrorism will continue, forcing Americans to constantly remain alert and spend millions on security, the costs of which are always borne by consumers.

    Already, ordinary Americans living abroad are feeling the heat. They are being told to avoid political discussions or wearing clothes that clearly identify them as Americans. According to a report on the Education site of the official US media mouthpiece, CNN, some American students abroad are passing themselves off as Canadian. This, of course, creates problems for real Canadians, whose government opposed the war.

    In hindsight, had the former Soviet Union won the cold war, the world would have come under a communist dictatorship. We now have a dictatorship disguised as democracy, and using the same means of coercion and disinformation that the communists used, so brilliantly depicted by the British author George Orwell in his classic novels, Animal Farm and 1984.

    As to the future, the world is divided into those who are for US or against US. Hence, global geopolitics will see much soul-searching over this question: To whom is the US administration accountable?

    In a real democracy, accountability is key, along with the means and ability to throw out an unpopular government. In this case, neither is possible. There is no forum where US leadership can be submitted to a vote. Nobody voted this country in and nobody can vote it out. How did this curious situation come about? You tell me.

    The UN, headed by its pro-US commissar Kofi Annan, has lost a fair amount of credibility and legitimacy. Note that when it was known that documents supplied to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency about Iraq buying uranium from some African countries were forgeries, Mr Annan did nothing to investigate this.

    Flawed democracies are bound to fail, and unjust rulers will fall, as they always have. No empire or dictatorship can last. Sooner or later, countries will realise that they did not overcome communism and/or colonialism to fall victim to yet another strain of neo-imperialism and pseudo-democracy.
    Full article - which closes on an optimistic note that I hope is not misplaced - is here.
    posted by Grady at 11:41 AM
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    Hold Your Applause
    It's hard to smile when there's no water. It's hard to applaud when you're frightened. It's hard to say, "Thank you for liberating me," when liberation has meant that looters have ransacked everything from the grain silos to the local school, where they even took away the blackboard.

    That was what I found when spending the day in Umm Qasr and its hospital, in southern Iraq. Umm Qasr was the first town liberated by coalition forces. But 20 days into the war, it is without running water, security or adequate food supplies. I went in with a Kuwaiti relief team, who, taking pity on the Iraqis, tossed out extra food from a bus window as we left. The Umm Qasr townsfolk scrambled after that food like pigeons jostling for bread crumbs in a park.
    posted by A.Q. at 9:54 AM
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    Undersecretary John Bolton on the meaning of the Iraq escapade for others: "We are hopeful that a number of regimes will draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq..."

    From today's FT:
    For other potential targets of western power, however, some hasty reappraisals may be in order. The one that the White House would love to see take hold is that asymmetric warfare may have been oversold as an answer to US power.

    In the end, the main restraints on this power will be self-imposed, flowing from a reluctance to accept the burdens of constant military campaigns and postwar reconstructions unless vital interests are at stake. Prospective military opposition, from any point on the spectrum of capabilities, will not in itself be a deterrent. There is one crucial exception to this proposition, already noted by North Korea. The only apparently credible way to deter the armed force of the US is to own your own nuclear arsenal.
    I'm sure Bolton's lesson is not lost on many.
    posted by Grady at 9:06 AM
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