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."
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.
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.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003.
Conservative news source News Max lists French companies to boycott. Who wants to counter-strike and support these companies?
"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
Rumsfeld reassures Arab world US has no intention to establish long term bases in Iraq
US and UK reveal plans to set up bases in Iraq
I'm tending to think 'message dissonance' is part of their strategy...
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.
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.
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.
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?
Daniele Buetti... Good Fellows - Looking For Love. Works by Daniele Buetti at Aeroplastics.
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!
"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."
--The Guardian 22 Feb. 2003
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
Underpaid, unrespected teachers
Are afraid of losing their jobs
Funded by the standardized tests
That shows our competency
When I'm in detox. [ . . . ]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.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.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?
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.Link via New World Disorder.
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.
A tactic of the Palestinian intifada has spread ominously to Iraq, less than three weeks after US tanks rolled into the middle of Baghdad.. . . via Jorn, venerable blog-godfatha.
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
On the chests of the men had been scrawled an Arabic phrase that translates as "Ali Baba - Thief."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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]
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.
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.
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.
In the chaos of Baghdad, two Iraqi musicians struggle to preserve their music school. All that remains after looting is a song of peace.
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.Whole piece here.
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."
Wednesday, April 23, 2003.
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.Also see:
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.
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?
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.
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."
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.
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.”
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.
Sunday, April 20, 2003.
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.
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)
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.
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."
Thursday, April 17, 2003.
The Agonist reports there is a "very real possibility" that Special Forces are currently inside Syria.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Full article here.
Monday, April 14, 2003.
RIP Hampton, Welcome 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.
The cost of the war.
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.
Sunday, April 13, 2003.
Our very own Grady Olivier writes Donald Rumsfeld a letter.
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.”
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."
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 AgencyUnder 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.
Saturday, April 12, 2003.
Although nowhere near complete.
New Section added:
Why the attacks occurred on September 11th: '9- 11 Drills'
Got Ya !
Telephone conversation between George Bush and Al Jazeera after the recent unpleasantness in Baghdad.
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.
AJ: Okay here they are Latitude: 38.898556 degrees Longitude: -77.037852
G: Hey thanks I got ya.
Seven Of Diamonds
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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."
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?
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.
I didnt fart.
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 (getting in his face) Liberation!
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)
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.
"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.
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.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003.
...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.
U.S. "Global Dictatorship"
File it under: "American Image, War's Enhancement of". This from the tepid Bangkok Post:
Full article - which closes on an optimistic note that I hope is not misplaced - is here.
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.
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.I'm sure Bolton's lesson is not lost on many.