Saturday, September 21, 2002
The Murder of Arafat
by Uri Avnery
While I am writing this, Yasser Arafat is still alive. But his life is hanging on a thread.
When we visited him the last time in his bombed-out Mukata'ah compound in Ramallah, I warned him that Sharon is determined to kill him.(...)
Now Sharon believes that he can achieve his aim. He needs only Bush's approval. Not necessarily a formal confirmation. A subtle hint will suffice. Half a word. A wink.
It will be easy to implement the decision. An incident can be put in motion: soldiers enter the office in order to capture "wanted" people, somebody opens fire, Arafat will be shot "by accident". Arafat may draw his pistol, soldiers will "have no alternative" but to return fire. A shell may hit the office "by mistake", Arafat will be buried under the rubble. After all, in war accidents happen. A lot of accidents.
Sharon never wanted to "deport" Arafat to Gaza or any other place in this world. He wants to deport him to the next world. Now this is possible.
Therefore, it is necessary to speak out bluntly and unequivocally:
Morally, the murder of Arafat, the historical leader and elected president of the Palestinian people, is reprehensible. Like the murder of Rabin.
Legally, the murder of Arafat is a war crime.
Politically, it will be said about the murder of Arafat what a French statesman said about another political murder: "It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake!"
Arafat is the man who decided, 28 years ago, to start on the road to a settlement with Israel, in order to realize this way the national aspirations of the Palestinian people. At the time, that was an incredibly bold decision, and he took it long before Rabin and Peres even dreamed about Oslo. I know, because I was an eye-witness to the beginnings of the process.
Since than, Arafat has not changed by one iota the decision he took then: to seek conciliation with Israel within the framework of peace that will include an independent Palestinian state, return to the pre-1967 border with mutually agreed adjustments, Jerusalem capital of both states, withdrawal of the settlers, suitable security arrangements, a mutually agreed solution of the refugee problem.
On this basis, peace is possible even now. Immediately. But Sharon rejects is with both his fists. He wants a Greater Israel, the extension of the settlements, and, eventually, the elimination of the Palestinian presence west of the Jordan. [read more]
Pacifist 'peace team' heads to Iraq: "Mauger plans to stay 'indefinitely' to report the stories of Iraqi citizens for newspapers and television stations in his home state, using video and audio equipment. He's not an apologist for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But Mauger and others in Voices in the Wilderness, the Chicago-based group organizing the trip, believe the suffering of the Iraqi people has not been highlighted enough. They oppose a U.S. attack and want an end to sanctions."
Facing Mortality With Mischief Rather Than Tears The dying cancer patient with a dark, dry wit met one of his doctors for breakfast last week and handed over his two most recent CDs, one titled "Life'll Kill Ya" and the other "My Ride's Here." In his familiar baritone, Warren Zevon explained the gifts to the physician: "These are my last two albums. Maybe now you'll understand that eerie acceptance of death you keep asking me about."
Israel plants flag in Palestinian HQ:
Israel planted its flag in Yasser Arafat's compound Saturday, and shell bursts shook his offices, chipping away at the building in an ever-tightening siege designed to make the Palestinian leader surrender militants or leave into exile.
Soldiers with loudspeakers in the evening shouted to the estimated 200 people holed up in Arafat's offices to evacuate the building – the last one still standing in the compound – or else troops would blow up the building.
200 Israelis refuse conscription:
Jerusalem More than 200 young Israelis called up for the national service said in a petition released Tuesday that they would refuse to serve in an "army of occupation".
The 213 petitioners accuse Israel of "committing war crimes and violating human rights" in the Palestinian territories, and back any form of refusal to do military service.
Israel tells the U.S. it will retaliate if attacked by Iraq:
The prime minister's position reflects a widespread belief among Israeli politicians and generals that Arab leaders perceived Israel's restraint in 1991 as weakness. Throughout his military and political career, Mr. Sharon has always held to the view that any attack on Israel must be promptly and powerfully punished.
Israel threatens to use nukes in coming war and totally destroy Iraq:
If Iraq strikes at Israel with non-conventional weapons, causing massive casualties among the civilian population, Israel could respond with a nuclear retaliation that would eradicate Iraq as a country. This grave assessment, from American intelligence, was presented last week to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Harvard president sees rise in anti-semitism on campus:
"Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists," he added, "profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities."
Israel divestment backers slam Harvard president's remarks:
"He's a Jew. He's concerned about anti-Semitism. I'm a Jew. I'm concerned about anti-Semitism," said Danny Fox, MIT assistant professor of linguistics. "I think it's bizarre to relate the actions like the divestment campaign to anti-Semitism, and it's also dangerous. I don't quite understand what he means by that."
An Israeli company installs an electronic fence around Jerusalem:
This system which is actually used on the borders with Lebanon and the borders with Gaza to monitor any attempt to infiltrate into the city during day or night times and under all weather conditions.
The Iron Wall by Vladimir Jabotinsky:
Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say 'no' and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.
hmmm... where'd the archived postings go?
and now we using blogger pro, maybe yourstruly
would like to support the person shelling out good hard cash,
so drop me a note Doc, and lemme know where we can donate.
now, w/out any clue of what transpired hereabouts in early Sept.,
we'll proceed on our witless & clueless way and provide item we
only just noticed today, from the BuzzFlash folks,
Stepford Citizen Syndrome: Top 10 Signs Your Neighbor is Brainwashed,
and we credit Chuck T & his Looka for the heads up on that item.
The Fifty-first State?
by James Fallows
Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders—and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?
Over the past few months I interviewed several dozen people about what could be expected in Iraq after the United States dislodged Saddam Hussein. An assumption behind the question was that sooner or later the United States would go to war—and would go with at best a fraction of the support it enjoyed eleven years ago when fighting Iraq during the Gulf War. Most nations in the region and traditional U.S. allies would be neutral or hostile unless the Bush Administration could present new evidence of imminent danger from Iraq.
A further assumption was that even alone, U.S. forces would win this war. The victory might be slower than in the last war against Iraq, and it would certainly cost more American lives. But in the end U.S. tanks, attack airplanes, precision-guided bombs, special-operations forces, and other assets would crush the Iraqi military. The combat phase of the war would be over when the United States destroyed Saddam Hussein's control over Iraq's government, armed forces, and stockpile of weapons.
What then? [read more]
Friday, September 20, 2002
Signs of Water Found on Distant Planets: "If the discovery is confirmed, it will fuel speculation that the Galaxy is teeming with life."
Earth to Life: HELP! Neutralize the Chimp!
Mexico City Declares Air Pollution Emergency, Orders 350,000 Cars Off the Streets: " . . . as the city declared its first pollution alert in almost three years after ozone levels reached about 2.5 times acceptable limits. "
Video of New York police brutality: "In the video, one can see 26-year-old Anthony Carty, already in handcuffs, being subdued by at least six police officers. Many of the onlookers shouted to officers to "ease up," and moments before that, witnesses say Carty was sprayed with pepper spray or mace. Then, while being escorted to a waiting patrol car and held by three other police officers, Officer Charles Dorcent, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, struck Carty, who was already handcuffed."
The Rape of a Nation
It has been many months since I last wrote anything that I believe would be a contribution toward the struggle of Palestinians for freedom, independence and most importantly justice. I found that my inability to write was part of both an inner and external struggle as a deep sadness has been rooted in my heart and for so many months weaved itself around me--body and soul. Since September 2000, the outbreak of the Palestinian struggle for independence, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, I have born witness to the rape of a nation, people and land. In my thirty-one years on this earth I have gone though many struggles -- beginning as a young girl to womanhood to belonging to a 'minority; and being a firm and strong believer and follower of feminism. However, nothing in my thirty-one years prepared me for witnessing the rape of a nation and what I truly believe is outright ethnic cleansing of a people--all in broad daylight and on prime time TV. [read more]
Killings of dozens once again called "period of calm" by US media
Many US media reports were quick to declare that two suicide bombings in Israel on September 18 and 19, in which eight Israelis were killed, had brought an end to a period of "calm" simply because there had been no similar attacks for six weeks and few Israelis had been victims of Palestinian violence. In fact, the bombings came at the end of a particularly bloody period in which dozens of Palestinians, most of them unarmed civilians, and a large number of them children, had been killed and injured by Israeli occupation forces. In effect, the definition of "calm" or a "lull in violence" inherent in these reports is 'only Palestinians are being killed.' [read more]
PILGER: ISRAEL'S ROUTINE TERRORISM
A country held captive
It's very sad, this Mitzna business with the empty chairs, and now the illegal donations. Because it proves that not only is there no room in the political arena for people with good intentions, but also for people who think differently. Our democracy has been commandeered by one man. [read more]
Free U.S. Military Photos in the public domain. That’s right, copyright free high-rez images of Bush & chums, gear, and our boys in action, all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Great for powerpoint, procurement, and parody. Go get your Photoshop on.
Apple-pie disorder: Anatol Lieven congratulates the Bush administration. Its oft-stated desire to bring democracy to the Arab world is a stroke of 'malign brilliance'. By tapping into an American missionary tradition, the new imperialists have succeeded in co-opting the liberal intelligentsia. The promise of unconditional peace at the point of a gun sits at the end of their messianic charge. Tony Blair rides alongside: the 'heir of Gladstone, a muscular imperial Christian righting the world's wrongs, whether the world wants this or not.' [Open Democracy].
Earlier in the week, Rush Limbaugh became excited to report that the five alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Florida were all registered Democrats. Under the heading, "Al-Qaeda Terrorists Urge: Vote Democrat!", Rush says:
You've of course heard of the capture of the Buffalo Five, the Al-Qaeda cell up there at the mouth of the Erie Canal. Well, guess what we've learned about them, ladies and gentlemen? They're all registered Democrats. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Plus, they're all for gun control – except for themselves.
Well, The Smoking Gun have something for Rush. They write:
With that in mind, we wanted to let Rush know that we've just uncovered the political affiliation of another American outlaw (and, unlike the Buffalo guys, this degenerate has actually been found guilty of something). David Westerfield, who was just convicted of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, is also a registered voter, according to San Diego County Registrar of Voters records. Now we're not sure what conclusions can be drawn from the fact that this pervert Westerfield is a Republican, but we're dying to hear Rush explain it all to us.
As Rush would say, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Cul-de-sacs and soup kitchens: the new suburban poor: "Here and nationwide, the suburb is changing: Long a symbol of middle-class stability and wealth, it's faced with a level of hunger and lack not seen since its post-World War II beginnings. The new service-based economy has enticed lower-income workers to the more expensive suburbs as staff in burgeoning strip malls and steakhouses."
Right-wing governments 'increase suicide rates'
So, I propose that all Republicans should be labeled. Like cigarettes. "The Surgeon General has concluded that listening to right-wing rhetoric may cause you to go nuts and off yourself."
Education Week: "The Department of Education is in the process of a massive overhaul of its Web site to make it easier to use and to remove outdated data—and ensure that material on the site meshes with the Bush administration's political philosophy."
The Guardian has a nice profile of Nelson Mandela. Excerpts :-
'Say what you like about Nelson Mandela, but he is not a man known to bear a grudge or lose his temper easily. Having waited 27 years for his freedom, he emerged from jail to preach peace and reconciliation to a nation scarred by racism. When he finally made the transition from the world's most famous prisoner to the world's most respected statesman, he invited his former jailer to the inauguration. '
'So when he criticises US foreign policy in terms every bit as harsh as those he used to condemn apartheid, you know something is up. In the past few weeks, he has issued a "strong condemnation" of the US's attitude towards Iraq, lambasted vice-president Dick Cheney for being a "dinosaur" and accused the US of being "a threat to world peace". '
'Coming from other quarters, such criticisms would have been dismissed by both the White House and Downing Street as the words of appeasement, anti-Americanism or leftwing extremism. But Mandela is not just anyone. Towering like a moral colossus over the late 20th century, his voice carries an ethical weight like no other. He rode to power on a global wave of goodwill, left office when his five years were up and settled down to a life of elder statesmanship. So the belligerent tone he has adopted of late suggests one of two things; either that some thing is very wrong with the world, or that something is very wrong with Mandela. '
[ ... ]
'In order to be deserving of accolades, history must first be rewritten to deprive them of their militancy. Take Martin Luther King, canonised after his death by the liberal establishment but vilified in his last years for making a stand against America's role in Vietnam. One of his aides, Andrew Young, recalled: "This man who had been respected worldwide as a Nobel Prize winner suddenly applied his non-violence ethic and practice to the realm of foreign policy. And no, people said, it's all right for black people to be non-violent when they're dealing with white people, but white people don't need to be non-violent when they're dealing with brown people." '
[ ... ]
'He made similar waves in the US when he refused to condemn Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gadafy and Fidel Castro. Setting great stock by the loyalty shown to both him and his organisation during the dog days of apartheid, he has consistently maintained that he would stick by those who stuck by black South Africa. It was wrong, he told Americans, to suggest that "our enemies are your enemies... We are a liberation movement and they support our struggle to the hilt." '
'This, more than anything, provides the US and Britain with their biggest problem. They point to pictures of him embracing Gaddafi or transcripts of his support for Castro as evidence that his judgment has become flawed over the years. But what they regard as his weakness is in fact his strength. He may have forgiven, but he has not forgotten. His recent criticisms of America stretch back over 20 years to its "unqualified support of the Shah of Iran [which] lead directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979". '
(In other words, Mandela is loyal to those who were loyal to him. This is something which, in the 1980s, Western human rights and anti-apartheid groups predicted would happen after the fall of apartheid. In the long run, it may be better to support the right people than the expedient people).
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Yahoo! announces in a news bulletin that a probe has found that the U.S. Knew of Jet Terror Plots, noting that intelligence agencies had received many more reports about possible strikes than was formerly disclosed. A sample:
The reports were generally vague and uncorroborated. None specifically predicted the Sept. 11 attacks. But collectively the reports "reiterated a consistent and critically important theme: Osama bin Laden's intent to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States," [Eleanor Hill, staff director of the joint House and Senate intelligence committee investigation of the terrorist strike] said.Meanwhile, MSNBC reports that administration officials' support for the inquiries is less-than-complete: "Are we getting the cooperation we need? Absolutely not,' Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said on NBC’s 'Today' show."
BWB and BWS of America
Big Warblogging Brothers and Big Warblogging Sisters of America have remained the experts in maintaining the fervor for war since its founding on 9/11/2001. There have always been those who waved the flag and sent children to war in foreign lands, who have protected the Homeland from threats both foreign and domestic BWB and BWS lead the fight against evil doers every day of their lives. Americans adrift, those with only one flag, those who fly it only on holidays, those that are tired of thinking for themselves receive mentoring from these proud Americans and have shown a real understanding of the views expressed by the BWB and WBS of America. Studies have shown marked improvement in levels of aggression for those being mentored. They have all acquired a knack for committing logical fallacies in their arguments. Of ratting on their neighbors, but that is only the TIP of the iceberg. They have gained confidence in defending a sentimental emotional view of the world. WBB and WBS is a way of connecting with models of stupidity, arrogance, and feeling good about it. Think back to your first experience on the internet. Think about the first war blogging brother or sister who shared their world view with you. They introduced magic into your world and your eyes opened for the first time like wild flowers. You're contact with one of our mentors can be your ticket to a giant ego. Never again will you be afraid of the facts.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines success as a "desired outcome." Well then, thanks to our volunteer warbloggers, success abounds! Our BWB and BWS are helping members of the internet community learn, grow and achieve in ways that otherwise may not have been possible. And here's the kicker: Success is achieved without ever having to think for yourself! Here are some of our favorite success stories.
Capt Scott and Glenn
"I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today without Glenn's influence. I'd be sitting on some park bench dreaming about blow-jobs. I was headed in that direction. Glenn is so modest, so cool, so manly. He has no idea what he's done for me." It was only a year ago that Big Warblogger Glenn was matched with Capt Scott. Capt Scott has fond memories of late night sessions with Glenn learning the ins and outs of obfuscation. Glenn was patient even when Scott made posts that got him rightly fisked and when those nasty liberals fact checked his ass. Glenn taught him how to fight back. I remember his patience, he was as patient as could be. I must have made the same mistakes dozens of times. The thing I remember most was the day he permalinked me. I still get chills down my spine. I hardly ever think about blow-jobs anymore. Those were incredible moments for me.
Pejman and Lileks
Pejman and Lileks were matched as Little and Big Warbloggers in August. Holy poo said Pejman on learning the news. Today Pejman is all grown up the proud father of the "Adopt-A-Bomb" program. Lileks and Pej still exchange emails at least once a week Pej requesting a permalink Lileks saying no. What Pej remembers most are the little moments when their names were linked in print at Warblogger Watch. Pej was so happy with the program and his growth as a warblogger that he has become a Big Warblogger himself which leads us to the next success story.
Misha and Pejman
Pejman was matched at his request with Misha a cute little Rotweiller. You're my bitch now he was heard to say. Misha listens carefully to the instructions from his mentor. He has already learned several important warblogger commands. He understands Sic that dude deserves a fisking, but is having trouble understanding the concept of "Fact Check His Ass", he does a lot of sniffing around, but to date hasn't had any success. They seem happy together however. Pej says, "I like patting his head and the way he does whatever I say".
Asparagirl and Sasha Castel
Asparagirl was paired with Sasha
On a sadder note the Brothers and Sister's today mourned the passing of mentor War Now but seemed undaunted, word was circulating that "War in Two Or Three Weeks" would take his place.
Overall the success of the program is undeniable, the military has been mobilized. George is refusing to accept yes as meaning yes. More Americans than ever before are behind bars. Criticism of the government is at an all time low, and Tom Ridge has taken off his orange shirt and is once again wearing yellow. George assures us that maybe twenty or thirty years from now he wont need to where any shirt at all. "I'll never end the war until terror is well terrorless," he said.
This program is in no way related to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America
The news spread rapidly ...
"So we're all like, "Hey, let weapons inspectors back in!" and they're all like, "Dude, you pulled out, inspectus interruptus was your idea from the last time you bombed, and you're like spying on us anyway!" and we're all like "Shyeah, as if, let us in or we bomb you!" and they're all like "This is sooo like just a pretext, we say yes and you'll find something else!" and we're like "No, dude, we swear, no pretext and we're serious and we have lots of bombs!" and they're all like "Let me talk to Kofi okay?" and Kofi's all like "Yo, yo, dude!, they mean business and they have bombs fer sher, we've seen 'em!" and they're all like "Jeez, okay already, your inspectors that you pulled out anyway can come in again" and now we're all like "Psyche, dude! Too late! Not good enough! Give us a minute to think of more demands before we bomb you anyway!" So like, what I want to know is, isn't that the very definition of pretext?" - Pen-Elayne
Santa Cruz thumbs nose at DEA
Gives away free medicinal marijuana
Office of Homeland Security issues cold weather security alert
"With colder weather comes heavier clothing, and that means a security problem", explained a spokesperson for the Office of Homeland Security. "In warm weather, when people wear shorts and t-shirts, it is difficult to hide assault weapons or personal nuclear devices in ones clothing. However, bulky winter clothes, unfortunately, make ideal places to hide the exotic weaponry so common to members of the Axis of Evil."
Therefore, he went on to explain, they will be forced to conduct random strip searches of citizens to protect the U.S. from possible terrorist attacks. "The searches will be conducted as quickly as possible, and you be allowed to leave your skivvies on if the temperature is below freezing".
These are the first two installments of a series.
Our strength is in the camps
In the first of a series, a PLO representative turned academic argues that the refugees remain at the core of Palestinian national identity
This morning exactly 20 years ago a terrible massacre was unfolding in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. Some of us lost friends there, some relatives, but all Palestinians come together annually to commemorate those who died, as well as the thousands killed at the Tal al-Za'atar camp in 1976 and the many massacres that made us refugees in 1948 - such as Deir Yassin, Abu Shusha, Tantura, Eilaboun, and Husnaynia.
How many Palestinians became refugees, and where are they now? The story of the Palestinian refugees is not simply unknown, it is concealed. [read more]
No peace without an end to exile
In the second of a series, a Palestinian academic says that any Middle East deal which ignores the rights of the refugees will be rejected
A few weeks before the al-Aqsa intifada began in September 2000, an extraordinary public meeting took place at Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem. There were others at Palestinian refugee camps all over the region. A cross-party British parliamentary commission was actually asking the refugees what they thought about their future, peace and the right of return. They were taking the testimony of dozens of groups of refugees, popular committees, old people, children. This was unprecedented, for during the last 10 years of the Oslo process, the issue of the refugees had been comprehensively removed from the negotiating table - many thought for good. They were instead to be resettled either in a new state or in the host Arab countries, against their will and international law. [read more]
thanks to Gush Shalom
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
A Skeptical Look at September 11th
How We Can Defeat Terrorism by Reacting to It More Rationally
Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris
Human beings might be expected to value each life, and each death, equally. We each face numerous hazards-war, disease, homicide, accidents, natural disasters-before succumbing to "natural" death. Some premature deaths shock us far more than others. Contrasting with the 2,800 fatalities in the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001 (9/11), we barely remember the 20,000 Indian earthquake victims earlier in 2001. Here, we argue that the disproportionate reaction to 9/11 was as damaging as the direct destruction of lives and property. Americans can mitigate future terrorism by learning to respond more objectively to future malicious acts. We do not question the visceral fears and responsible precautions taken during the hours and days following 9/11, when there might have been even worse attacks. But, as the first anniversary of 9/11 approaches, our nation's priorities remain radically torqued toward homeland defense and fighting terrorism at the expense of objectively greater societal needs. As we obsessively and excessively beef up internal security and try to dismantle terrorist groups worldwide, Americans actually feed the terrorists' purposes.
Fascists for Che: White supremacists (try to) infiltrate the anti-globalization movement:
The racist National Alliance and other white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are piggybacking on anti-globalization and anti-Israeli occupation movements with a new enthusiasm by adopting anti-corporate and pro-Palestinian rhetoric, hoping to recruit young activists drawn to the post-Battle of Seattle political milieu.
Progress at Sri Lanka peace talks
More than 65,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The use of suicide bombers against civilian targets in the conflict was common and highly deadly.
Pot raid angers state, patients
Suzanne Pfeil understands why federal agents burst in just after dawn with guns drawn and handcuffed her. That's routine in drug busts. What she can't understand is why agents kept ordering her to stand up after they saw her crutches and leg braces next to the bed.
CIA begins training Palestinian officers:
According to Israeli sources, this is a very "preliminary" stage of a U.S. plan to implement reforms in the Palestinian Authority. The program was developed by a CIA team that spent several weeks in the region and met with senior Palestinian officials.
oh, this cannot bode well...
but that's been the case since Nov. of '00, no?
HHS Seeks Science Advice to Match Bush Views
and okay, now we wonder,
how long it will be till there's a bill announced
to cease teaching Evolution in public schools...
oh, dem bastids...
& this, jessferdahalibut:
The War Prayer, Mark Twain
For those of you worried abut the mysterious cessation of Unknown News, I would like to allay your fears and let you know that Helen and Harry Highwater are currently experiencing technical difficulties and will be resuming broadcasting shortly. Furthermore, they miss you all and I can only vouch that this sentiment is more than returned by the alternative news-lovin' community. Hurry back, Highwaters!
Cronies in Arms
By Paul Krugman
In February 2001 Enron presented an imposing facade, but insiders knew better: they were desperately struggling to keep their Ponzi scheme going. When one top executive learned of millions in further losses, his e-mailed response summed up the whole strategy: "Close a bigger deal. Hide the loss before the 1Q."
The strategy worked. Enron collapsed, but not before insiders made off with nearly $1 billion. The sender of that blunt e-mail sold $12 million in stocks just before they became worthless. And now he's secretary of the Army. [read more]
Monday, September 16, 2002
More on the US nuclear reactors going to "Axis of Evil" country North Korea:
Apparently the State Department has convinced itself light-water reactors can't be used to make bombs. But they can -- something the State Department does recognize when discussing Russia's plans to build the same reactors in Iran.
Sokolski and Gilinsky, writing in The Washington Post, cited a study by the Lawrence Livermore weapons laboratory, which says upon the first scheduled refueling -- about 15 months after the reactors go into operation -- an LWR will contain about 300 kilograms of near-weapons grade material. Assume North Korea diverts that material to bomb-making, and it could have "a couple of dozen bombs in a couple of months."
Yet the program's backers argue, straight-faced, that because North Korea knows it will eventually be caught, it will be afraid to do this. Never mind that North Korea, like Iraq, is still keeping out UN weapons inspectors.
Paulo Freire and Eco-Justice: Updating Pedagogy of the Oppressed for the Age of Ecological Catastrophe
Freire's book was one of a handful of books that helped to organize people so as to stop the Vietnam war. Can it stop the war on terror too? I argue that it can help, if properly updated to speak to certain Green concerns within the anti-globalization movement.
A Witness from the Past
From Josephus to Sharon
by Uri Avnery
That may be a hint of what's to come. Sharon plans a full-fledged attack on Gush Shalom and all the serious peace camp, in order to silence all criticism and frighten other opponents into silence. His words are not only designed to pressure the state prosecution into putting the Gush activists on trial, but are also a simple incitement to murder, very much like his speeches on the eve of Rabin's assassination.
What frightens Sharon so much? It seems that the Gush Shalom activity causes many soldiers to think, for the first time, about the possibility that certain actions are not only immoral and sabotage all chances for peace, but also violate Israeli and international law and might constitute war crimes. After all, the great majority of the soldiers are reasonable persons. Sharon hears the echo. In order to silence the message, he chooses to silence the messenger. I believe that even Josephus Flavius will not help him to achieve that. [read more]
While this might not be as newsworthy as the latest suicide attack or Israeli bombing, Palestinian democracy is stirring. They seem to be calling Bush and Sharon's bluff.
An Arab parliament that speaks its mind
Between the burdens of the occupation, the poverty, the gang and organization wars, the curfew, the closures, the liquidations, the home demolitions and the relocations, someone latched onto a thin golden thread that came out of the frayed and tattered Provisional Palestinian Constitution - and fomented a revolution. (...)
But this democratic development was not executed for the benefit of either Israel or the United States. There is no doubt that it was accelerated by the pressure of the occupation, because in conditions like these, even small mistakes are unforgivable, and the corruption of the few becomes more blatant against the background of the general shortage. But we should not be under any illusions: the basic demands of the Palestinians will not change just because they decided to clean their stables, while, in any case, the government in Israel will not agree to pick up the gauntlet if the Palestinian regime is changed. Both to introduce democracy for the Palestinians and to give up territories for them? [read more]
Fighters' Talk, by Ran HaCohen
A refuser described the mission that made him refuse. Last year, he said, we were ordered to destroy a Palestinian house in the territories because of a balcony added to it without a permit. It was a clear Israeli provocation: it had been expected to develop into a battle, and it did. He described dragging crying children out of bed, wondering how long it would take before they become suicide-bombers. He described how, after a cease-fire order was given, fire went on. Another army unit that happened to be in the area kept shooting, ignoring the order. No one ever bothered to check who they were, nor did he believe it was an exception. The battle ended with six Palestinians wounded and one soldier shot in his leg. The next day he heard it all on the radio: "During a military operation, our soldiers were attacked and returned fire."
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Remembering September 11 1973 - Were the lives of those killed at the World Trade Centre more valuable than the innocents murdered in Chile's US-backed coup, asks Tito Tricot...
"In what kind of a world are we living? Can we stand idly by while in the name of the fight against terrorism countries are bombed or invaded by the US war machine? I think not, especially because, irrespective of the horror of the World Trade Centre attacks, the US has no moral right to impose its will on our continent. After all, we in Latin America have ample experience with US terrorist tactics. In our continent alone 90,000 people disappeared as a direct result of the operation of the School of the Americas and US "counterinsurgency" policies - 30 times more than the victims of the World Trade Centre."
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Possibly the most significant article this year:
An Editorial from Jane's,
9/11: in search of context and meaning
"Fiction, non-fiction, news, news analysis and opinion... And unfortunately we continually mix and merge these groupings, using them in similar ways and often believing them to contain similar weight and importance." "We now tend to respond to the news rather than attempting to get behind it and create policy."
This article also explains how XML can actually help us make sense of the world.
Great ideas on the various categories that help you evaluate the significance of information.
Don't miss this one.
Secret blueprint for US domination revealed:
The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'
It also calls for the US to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars' as a 'core mission'.
- spotlights China for 'regime change' saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia'.
- and pinpoints North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes and says their existence justifies the creation of a 'world-wide command-and-control system'.
ISLAMISTS DIVIDED: Le Monde diplomatique, September 2002:
Since last September the gap between Islamic militants and peaceful movements has widened. But in Egypt there has been a quiet revolution as the largest radical group has renounced violence and denounced Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.[Subscription only, sorry]
Useful, informative military history of the Iran-Iraq War (from the Federation of
Chemical warfare in the Iran-Iraq War
(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1984).
A map of the Iran-Iraq War. Informative. Here is a list of countries
which gave military support to _both_ sides :-
the USA, Brazil, the UK, France, East Germany, Switzerland,
Italy, the USSR, China, North Korea. Many more countries gave
military support to either one side or the other.
The United States and the Iran-Iraq War. (Z Mag)
'The war between Iran and Iraq was one of the great human
tragedies of recent Middle Eastern history. Perhaps as many as a
million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were
made refugees. The resources wasted on the war exceeded what
the entire Third World spent on public health in a decade.'
[ ... ]
'France became the major source of Iraq's high-tech
weaponry, in no small part to protect its financial stake in that
country. The Soviet Union was Iraq's largest weapon's supplier,
while jockeying for influence in both capitals. Israel provided arms
to Iran, hoping to bleed the combatants by prolonging the war. And
at least ten nations sold arms to both of the warring sides.'
'The list of countries engaging in despicable behavior, however,
would be incomplete without the United States. The U.S. objective
was not profits from the arms trade, but the much more significant
aim of controlling to the greatest extent possible the region's oil
resources ... '