American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, August 10, 2002


Obey Giant: The Mandate That Grabbed a Generation

Graphic artist Shepard Fairey -- chatting on a cell phone as he readies to tell a New York advertising firm just how it's done -- is the poster boy of a new American irony, a mixture of sincerity and cynicism that leaves question marks in the eyes of many and a wad of cash in the pockets of a few.

No, really. He is the poster boy. Since 1989 he and countless followers have illegally pasted his propaganda-style artwork across much of our urban landscape: on billboards and buildings in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. [more]
Friday, August 09, 2002
War is a Racket by Smedley Darlington Butler, Major General - United States Marine Corps [Retired]: "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out."
US helping "axis of evil" country North Korea to build nuclear reactors. "The 1994 U.S.-North Korean agreements said the two reactors would not be used for military purposes. How this will be enforced in unclear. The United States also pledged to supply North Korea with fuel until the new reactors are put into operation." Here's some info on ABB Ltd. Rumsfeld used to sit on the board of directors.

North Korea: Next in Line After Iraq. "Unless inspections start in the next few months, North Korea might quickly move up the list of 'evil' countries considered worthy of a preemptive US strike, as Iraq may be."
Israeli forces arrest American pro-Palestinian peace activist Adam Shapiro. "Shapiro, 30, who gained notoriety when he spent a night in Yasser Arafat's besieged headquarters in April, was roughed up by the troops, said his wife, Huwaida Arraf. Supporters said Shapiro was trying to videotape the Israeli troops, who used tear gas and stun grenades, when he was arrested."
Thursday, August 08, 2002
Earth Summit II: Online

Radio Earth Summit
People around the world affected by the activities of multinational corporations are sending their sound messages to this year's Earth Summit in Johannesburg. Radio Earth Summit is broadcasting their voices. Please send Your Story about a corporation and your thoughts about the Earth Summit in Jo'burg this August.
All material on the site is in MP3 format, broadcast quality, copyright free and downloadable. There are free-to-rebroadcast interviews with Arundhati Roy, Manu Chau and many others...

Amarc WSSD Community Radio Project
In recognition of the impact of WSSD proceedings on the lives of the African community, Amarc Africa is organizing a global community radio broadcast to cover the event. This broadcast will enable communities to get a glimpse of what is being discussed, and how that will affect their lives. The broadcast is being carried out in collaboration with South Africa’s National Community Radio Forum (NCRF).
Coverage of the WSSD will also be web-cast live on the internet, with links to Amarc’s Voices Without Frontiers site http://www.amarc.org/vsf and http://vsf.waag.org and on http://www.africapulse.org site.

Diversity Radio at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Tune into Diversity Radio during the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, bringing you diverse voices and thoughts from Johannesburg, South Africa. Interviews and information from the grassroots to political figureheads, from the radicals, reformists to the mainstream, from the social movement to the corporateheads. Diversity Radio will cover the actions and events and bring you the issues discussed - as well as those not discussed. They are looking for contributions, click here for details.

The Stakeholder Forum
The Stakeholder Forum is supporting a wide range of stakeholder activity in the preparations for this years Earth Summit in Johannesburg. It is also running a large consulatative event at the summit looking at radio and sustainability with a two day meeting for 'radio and sustainability'players in Jo'berg, just before the Summit 24th-26th August. For more information see www.earthsummit2002.org or email to Ruth Grier.

OneWorld TV
Watch the focus edition on the World Summit on OneWorld TV from August 26. Videos from Jo'burg and related to the topic.

OneWorld.net Special Report on the Earth Summit
Visit this OneWorld.net Campaign site to get the latest news and updates and numerous links to background reading.

Debt Channel Discussion Forum
DebtChannel.org will launch the Discussion Forum: “From Monterrey to Johannesburg”. This online event discusses issues such as sustainable development strategies, aid and debt, and the way the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development Summit (WSSD) should tackle them. Register online.

The Daily Summit
The Daily Summit will be reporting live from the World Summit.
The site will offer an original and fast-moving take on the summit. One of its main functions will be to act as gateway to the crescendo of news, views, ideas, arguments, and proposals that will be published on the web.
Israel/Palestine

Indict the Murderers of Oslo!!
by Uri Avnery

How 90 Peruvians became the latest Jewish settlers
When a delegation of rabbis travelled to Lima to convert a group of South American Indians to Judaism, they added just one condition: come and live with us in Israel. As soon as these new Jews arrived in the country, they were bussed straight to settlements in the disputed territories. So how are they coping? Neri Livneh tracks them down

I would have done the same
My son was killed by a Palestinian fighter. But Israel's occupation is to blame for his death

Israeli 'restraint' still means terror for the Palestinians
Curfews, shootings and house demolitions happen daily

The army is dictating policy

Israel Widens Its Range of Reprisals

Palestinians Lose Their Lifelines
West Bank Villagers Cut Off From Jobs, Doctors, Shops
Read "Operation Enduring Disaster," a lengthier treatment of the some of the shortcomings of The War Against Terror (TWAT) with Central and South Asian historical context. From Outlook India.
Nicaragua's president calls on lawmakers to strip ex-president of his immunity
Former President Arnoldo Alemán faces all kinds of corruption charges. I bet he never saw this coming from his own former vice-president. Their political party isn't happy either.
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Very bad news from the Right Reverend's Washington Times:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, after months of some members resisting a new war, now fully back using military force to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Administration officials said in recent interviews that some Joint Chiefs members initially raised some objections or "what ifs." The chiefs worried about casualties, Saddam's likely use of chemical weapons against American troops and an open-ended occupation of Iraq once the dictator is evicted from Baghdad. [more]

The Joint Chiefs having decided on the above matters, who will the task of deciding on the necessity and righteousness of the proposed war fall to?
Tired of all that blood for oil? Roll up to your elected representative on your own home brewed biodiesel using any of these handy guides. (Goggles recommended. Diesel vehicle required.)
Seán Hillan... The Professionals, #2 (1989, photomontage). "...The street is High St. in Newry, where my mother's parents lived, and is prominent in my few early memories. The idea of both the red bus and the '45 wielding eejit appearing in it is both exciting and horrifying." From Photomontage by Seán Hillan. Fabulous scalpel-and-glue photomontages based on Hillan's own documentary photographs shot in northern Ireland, 1983-1993.
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
Unelected President George W. Bush's favorite preacher man and serial slanderer of Islam Franklin Graham, another nonentity who would have starved to death were it not for his old man, is up to it again, CAIR reports. Lil' Graham, who remarked last October that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion," took to Rupert Murdoch's stagnant airwaves and told the dithering duo of Hannity and Colmes - who actually came across worse than God's delegate - the following:

Well, first of all, let me just put it this way. If a Roman Catholic put on dynamite and walked into a mosque in Saudi Arabia, in Medina or Mecca and said in the name of Jesus Christ and the church of Rome, I now blow you all up, and then took his life and killed everybody around him, the pope would be on television within hours denouncing this man and saying he does not represent the church. He doesn't represent Jesus Christ. And they would be raising money, not for the family of this man, but they would be raising money for those Muslim victims that died. There has not been the condemnation of the clerics.


The above is an absolute mess. Is Graham sanctifying mammon, likening the World Trade Center to Mecca and Rome? Is he saying the Wailing Wall was slammed by airplanes? Big Al Colmes was specific in what he was referring to in his question, which was as follows: "And you were widely quoted as saying after September 11 that Islam is a very evil and wicked religion on an NBC show. Do you regret that? And do you feel that that could be interpreted as not being the most tolerant comment?"

The CAIR press release reported Graham had made his claims earlier in the day:

Graham appeared on Hannity's nationally-syndicated radio program where he made similar remarks and claimed that Muslim leaders have failed to condemn terrorism, despite the fact that all major American Muslim groups condemned the 9/11 attacks and other acts of terrorism. When a Muslim caller tried to offer a balancing view, Hannity cut his microphone. When other callers openly stated that "Islam is evil," neither Graham nor Hannity challenged those bigoted views.


The CAIR press release is reprinted here at Ummahnews.com.
Palestinian Malnutrition Found: Malnutrition and anemia have reached critical levels among Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and are growing worse in the West Bank because of interruption of food supplies during the Palestinian uprising, according to a study commissioned by the US Agency for International Development and released here yesterday.
Jim Romenesko's MediaSpews:

A few weeks ago, Jim Romenesko, keeper of the water cooler around which media types and their admirers gather, posted a letter from a Margaret Nowak. The note, about the Daniel Pearl anthology, struck me as crass, and its author as obtuse. I took it more as an indication of how piss-poor our media is and of the stupidity functionaries than as an offense by Mr. Romenesko. Ms. Nowak in her own words: "But what's the news value of such tomes, apart from being just another book getting hyped? It would be interesting to hear from a marketing person how many of these types of books are sold, and for how long, before sales wane."

Yes, I, too, usually consult the guys at marketing when looking for enduring value.

A few weeks later, Mr. Romenesko, in an unfortunate departure of his senses, allowed a far more objectionable person appropriate the letters page and the person of Daniel Pearl. Said this person: "Among other things, James Taranto's amusing daily website often calls attention to stories about the Middle East and Islamic terrorist groups that other news outlets ignore, downplay, or perhaps are afraid to run, after seeing what Bin Laden supporters did to Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl." Even a casual read of Mr. Pearl's output would urge against his invocation as cover for someone else's monomaniacal obsession with Arabs/Muslims/Middle Easterners, which borderlines on the outright racist.

A few days later, someone writing from NPR called the op cit letter-writer on the above, saying "the word 'courageous,' at a minimum, to those writers who actually leave their office." Suggesting that the above lapse was possibly something more than a lapse, Mr. Romenesko again allowed the Taranto-defender to mount his combination soapbox-hobby horse and note, "the Wall Street Journal's offices were damaged by the same Islamic fundamentalist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center. Since Taranto continues to reside in Manhattan -- a prime target for further acts of terrorism -- Taranto and his New York-based colleagues at the Journal deserve full marks for physical bravery, as well."

This is really too much. James Taranto presumably showed up to work unwittingly on September 11, thus making him a hero. Ditto for his continued residence in New York City. Would the letter-writer also allow that the editorial board of Workers World and the bulk of the staff and columnists of The Nation are also heroes? Does employing the term to cover 7,322,564 dilute it at all? Would James Taranto not better demonstrate his courage by, say, removing himself from a secure Financial District office to, say, a storefront set-up in the Middle Eastern neighborhoods along Atlantic Avenue or in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn?

This, though, is recent, and though Mr. Romenesko may have been unwise in his selection of letters to print, the content of same can be blamed only on those writing in. A deeper problem with the MediaNews site is its relentless toadying to the hacks of yesteryear who stubbornly refuse to die and the chasing of non-stories at the glossier, more fabulous magazines, a practice worthy of a separate post. This is all acceptable as gossip, as Mr. Romenesko formerly billed his site, though it is suspect for the newsie that he has reinvented himself as.

Witness yesterday's link to a New York magazine piece on New York Post gossip columnist Neal Travis. Most noteworthy for Mr. Romenesko is a joke made Post owner Rupert Murdoch and repeated by Mr. Travis. Writing from the Poynter Institute, the following quote from Mr. Travis appearing three paragraphs down was apparently unimportant:

"There was a very fast-rising politician, for example. I knew that he'd been out to Aspen with his current girlfriend, and that he had a penchant for not paying his bills. So I called him. I said, 'I've got a good story here; they just faxed me your bill.' He said, 'That's going to ruin me, Neal. That's going to ruin me.' I said, 'Well, I've got a four-inch column. You've got till two o'clock.' So he came up with a scurrilous story about one of his friends."


It's acceptance of this sort of hackwork, validated by Mr. Travis's supposed "hard-living" and adherence to a venerable journalistic credo (blackmail, in the vernacular) unintelligible to these J-school sissies, along with the rise of those same J-school sissies, that has brought the American press into such disrepute. With journalists generally tending toward the bland, I can understand Mr. Romenesko's desire to note those differentiating themselves, though, as he should when selecting letters for publication, he may want to be a bit more judicious when doing so.
US Tries to Halt Rights Suit Against Exxon
The US is trying to quash a human rights lawsuit launched by Indonesian villagers against Exxon Mobil, claiming it could undermine the war on terrorism.

The State Department warned that the action alleging complicity in human rights abuses by the oil group could have a "potentially serious adverse impact" on US interests and the struggle against terrorism.

The lawsuit was filed last year by the International Labour Rights Fund on behalf of 11 villagers in the Indonesian province of Aceh. They claim Exxon Mobil, which operates a natural gas field in the province, paid and directed Indonesian security forces that carried out murder, torture and rape in the course of protecting the company's operations in the 1990s. [more]

Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies by Thomas E. Ricks
A briefing given last month to a top Pentagon advisory board described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that U.S. officials give it an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets invested in the United States.

"The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader," stated the explosive briefing. It was presented on July 10 to the Defense Policy Board, a group of prominent intellectuals and former senior officials that advises the Pentagon on defense policy.

"Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies," said the briefing prepared by Laurent Murawiec, a Rand Corp. analyst. A talking point attached to the last of 24 briefing slides went even further, describing Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. [more]

This seems pretty explosive to me. Isn't Papa Bush in real tight with the Saudis? How is the Bush Dynasty going to manage this?
Monday, August 05, 2002
"Law enforcement has the right to enforce the law of the land, but the First Amendment is also the law of the land, and right now those laws are coming into conflict," says Joyce Meskis. She ought to know. She helped write Protecting Customer Privacy in Bookstores, a pamphlet for the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. She probably didn't realize that she would eventually be following her own advice...

Now put down that book and back away slowly, citizen.

War and Forgetfulness - A Bloody Media Game
Three and a half years ago, some key information about U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq briefly surfaced on the front pages of American newspapers -- and promptly vanished. Now, with righteous war drums beating loudly in Washington, let's reach deep down into the news media's Orwellian memory hole and retrieve the story.

"U.S. Spied on Iraq Under U.N. Cover, Officials Now Say," a front-page New York Times headline announced on Jan. 7, 1999. The article was unequivocal: "United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors ferreting out secret Iraqi weapons programs.... By being part of the team, the Americans gained a first-hand knowledge of the investigation and a protected presence inside Baghdad."
Double warning against Iraq war

America's National Security Adviser during the Gulf War warned President Bush yesterday that invading Iraq would cause an “explosion” in the Middle East and consign the United States to defeat in its War on Terror.

Brent Scowcroft, who remains close to the Bush family, urged the President to concentrate on trying to broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians while separately pursuing terrorist threats to the United States. But he said that by going to war with Iraq without linking President Saddam Hussein and September 11, Washington was risking a conflagration in the Middle East that would also engulf its efforts to defeat global terror groups.
A fascinating read from the Command & General Staff College’s Military Review. When reading, remain mindful that the piece, though written in an awkward undergraduate style, was presumably prepared by one of the country’s finest and most imaginative military minds. On finishing, take a moment or two to contemplate precisely how fucked we are. J. Michael Brower writes:

As the price of security, albeit with trepidation and reluctance, U.S. citizens must cashier some freedoms, much treasure, and many lives. Since terrorists have declared a perpetual war on America, America must place itself on a permanent war footing against them.


It’s nice to see matters put so plainly, though I’m sure most Blogspot bombardiers will continue to say that they haven’t noticed any diminutions of freedom. I only wish Review editors had provided the name of Mr. Brower’s warblog so we could read him regularly.
The Indisputable Science of Global Warming
The Climes They Are A-Changin'

Not to suspect that a dirty little word lies at the center of the controversy spawned by the most recent Bush administration document on climate change. In the June EPA policy paper "Climate Action Report 2002," the government admitted that climate change is not only real but getting worse, that human activities are the most likely cause, and that the negative consequences are real and dangerous, a clear and present threat. This dirty little word may have been the reason conservative leaders have privately pressed to have EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman fired from her position—for producing a document that provides the most realistic, scientifically accurate picture of the problem available from current research. This dirty little word may be the main reason President Bush is eternally trying to distance himself from this itchy environmental problem, this foreign cause touted by Russians, Europeans, and Japanese. The word: liability. [read more]
The Renewed Israeli Occupation
2 million Palestinians under curfew for 45 days!

Sharon tells A-G to weigh proceedings against Gush Shalom

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday ordered Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein to look into reports that activists from the Gush Shalom peace organization are monitoring Israel Defense Forces officers in order to report them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Sharon said it was "inconceivable" that a political organization could try to deter reservists from carrying out their orders in the territories by threatening them with legal action in an international court. [read more]

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Some Questions to the pilots of the F-16 who comitted the massacre in Gaza , Haaretz, July 24 2002

Those who took part in the liquidation of Salah Shehadeh and 14* other human beings, among them 6 children, and 2 babies (and 150 wounded).

Do you know the concept "manifestly illegal order"?

Is the order which you followed one of them?

Is there a limit to what you would be willing to do? [read more]

thanks to Gush Shalom

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Sharon's Bloody Hands
Shehadeh Death Count

Like the "Energizer Bunny from Hell", Ariel Sharon just keeps killing and killing and killing.

On July 23, 2002, as everyone knows by now, Ariel Sharon ordered the assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, while he slept, with his wife and children. The assassination was completed using a 1-ton bomb dropped from an American-made F-16 fighter plane. The ensuing explosion destroyed not only Shehadeh's apartment building but several other apartment buildings directly adjacent.

14 civilians including 9 children were killed along with Shehadeh and his bodyguard.

European negotiators have said that a cease-fire agreement was 95% complete and probably would have been announced the same day as the assassination.

This would have been a milestone in the peace negotiations as it would have been the first time in history that all of the major Palestinian militant groups would have agreed to cease their attacks on Israelis - both civilians and soldiers. It is said that the agreement would have stopped attacks both in Israel and in the occupied territories.
(...)


This page will keep track of all the deaths and injuries attributed to the assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, both from the initial bombing and from retaliation attacks.[read more]

thanks to Gush Shalom

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Defined by terrorism

The chief of the Shin Bet security service, Avi Dichter, told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this week that, "The damage that Salah Shehadeh caused the State of Israel is no less than that caused by bin Laden to the Americans." However, he did not bother to note whether the damage was caused before or after the "targeted interdiction" of Shehadeh, whose Hamas organization is now promising to liquidate 100 Israelis in retaliation for the Gaza bombing. [read more]

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US, Israel sign non-extradition pact

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and US Undersecretary of State John Bolton Sunday signed an agreement intended to prevent citizens of either country from facing charges in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. [read more]
Sunday, August 04, 2002
Get ready for war

It appears the U.S. really will invade Iraq. With no apparent thought given to the thousands of casualties on both sides, de-stabilization of the entire Middle East, loss of just about every ally we have except maybe Britain - well, the whole thing is quite mad. Adventurism at it's worst, cynically done, at least in part, as a desperate ploy to aid Bush & Co. in the midterm elections.

We bloggers and netizens have a powerful tool in our hands with the Internet. Blogs, email, and websites can be used to organize anti-war actions and strategy, and to spreading word of news and demonstrations fast. I suspect we will be getting lots of practice - and soon. The time to organize is now. And to realize that most of the world already opposes an invasion of Iraq. more


Send George Bush a dog biscuit.
The Plaster Casters of Chicago (Cynthia Plaster Caster, mid-'70s publicity shot). From Cynthia Plaster Caster. "...Hi, I'm Cynthia and I'm a recovering groupie. I make plaster casts of penises and breasts that are attached to rock stars and other talented earthlings."

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