American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, December 21, 2002
LibertyThink Quiz: Who said it?
"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation, We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."

a) George W. Bush

b) Adolf Hitler

Hint: The same person who said:

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death."
Bush's Master Plan For The Internet
Bush and his Machiavellian minions will no longer put up with you roaming free into dangerous territory on the internet. You need to be corralled, electronically tethered, kept away from sites promoting conspiracy theories -- in other words, information the corporate media, the official US Ministry of Disinformation, does not want you to read or see. It's now increasingly obvious the Bushites want to lock us up in a hermetically sealed informational box and throw away the key. All the information they consider worthwhile will be pumped in through a one-way hole.


During war, as they say, the first causality is truth. And war -- all the time and everywhere people resist -- is what Bush will deliver. It will be easier for him to accomplish this if you can't read the truth, if you remain ignorant, or if you are obstructed from organizing and speaking out on the internet against war and madness. Bush knows this -- or, at least, those around him know this. The internet, regardless of its trashy and lame commercial characteristics, is a nearly perfect medium for organizing. It's a thorn in the side of neo-cons and fascists everywhere. [more]

Jewish Professors Keep Divestment Drive Alive: "Modeled on an anti-apartheid campaign that led campuses to divest from South Africa in the 1980s, the petition criticizes Israel's actions in the occupied territories and calls on universities to sell any investments in Israel, and in companies that do business there."

The comparisons between the Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and apartheid S. Africa keep cropping up--most prominently when voiced by Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and poet Breyten Breytenbach. See also: On Israeli Terror Groups:

Ateret Cohanim, The Jewish Underground, the Jewish Defense League, Kach, Kahana Khai, Eyal, etc. are among the many groups that planned and/or carried out terrorist attacks against mostly Palestinian civilians from the 1970s onwards . . . [more]
Friday, December 20, 2002
Washington Senator asks why bin Laden is so popular
Patty Murray, a Washington State democrat, asked students at a Vancouver, WA high school to ponder why Osama bin Laden is so popular in third world countries.
"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that," Murray said.

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

An expert on terrorism, who co-wrote a book profiling bin laden and al-Qaida, said Murray's comments, published yesterday in the newspaper The Columbian, were on the mark.

Related links (via Drudge):

U.S. SEN. PATTY MURRAY -- SENATOR ASKS STUDENTS TO PONDER

Murray asks students to weigh bin Laden's appeal
The New Yorker: Online Only We're beginning what could be a hundred-years war if we don't change our policy. I don't think a lot of people, particularly in Washington, particularly in places in the White House, fully understand the dangers of going to a full-scale war. The fact of the matter is that there's no reason for a fundamentalist Muslim to have anything but contempt for Osama bin Laden, because he stands for nothing that has to do with their religion. And we just don't give those fundamentalists a chance to breathe. Our policies push them into his camp too much. I'm not saying anything new—I think Jimmy Carter was trying to say the same thing last week when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Unless we deal with the real issues, the underlying issues around the world that lead to the kind of madness that we saw on September 11th; unless we can deal with some of those underlying problems—the lack of any trickle-down economy in the Gulf world, the complete corruption of the leadership of most of the oil sheikhdoms that we tolerate; until we try to apply pressure to make life better there, we'll have problems in the Middle East. We also have problems with Israel and Palestine that we're not dealing with.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Israel/Palestine

Poverty on the Rise in Gaza as Israel Seeks Billions in US Aid
"There is nearly nothing left, nothing to come back to as the Israeli military moves through crushing homes, infrascruture, life. This is ethnic cleansing .."

Due to this specific targeting of infrastructure, and to the constant closure of the Gaza Strip, unemployment has reached 80% at times. Five people looking for jobs left their home in the Khan Younis refugee camp this week. They tried to leave the Gaza Strip through an Israeli military checkpoint that only allows products to pass through. Israeli soldiers shot and killed every one of them. For a few days the Israeli government and the corporate media put them on Israel's so-called "wanted" list.

A guy from Mawasi has not been home in 2 years. He told me this is Rafah, about 15 minutes from home. He says, "the Israeli government does not want any young people to be in Mawasi, they want to drive everyone away." There are no schools in Mawasi, save for a movable school caravan described as being, "only for emergency cases." By this they mean for the young children, to give them something to do that might possibly help normalize their lives.

They are so stressed by the constant Israeli attack that 50% of the kids are wetting their beds. Sixty-one percent of Palestinian children suffer from anemia in this area, not from a lack of food to be eaten, but from a lack of appetite.

A UNRWA doctor told me, "They're too nervous to eat. They're scared all the time."

The Israeli Defense Minister is in Washington getting approved for an increase in the already 12 million dollars per day that Israel receives from the US.
[more]

Perspectives on the Middle East: A response

Slideshows like this one are not only inaccurate but they are counter-productive in my book. You cannot talk with someone unless you can see the world through their eyes. The "we are 100% right and you are 100% wrong" approach has proven itself a pretty disastrous and bloody path to take. We can't change our enemy, we can only change ourselves; we cannot change how they behave, only how we behave. Isn't that what we teach our children?

So we should start by doing something that shows we want peace, like dismantling settlements in the West Bank. Until we do that, nothing but nothing will ever change in this region. We should not be concerning ourselves with being "right" as this slideshow tries so hard to do; we should be focusing on being "smart." Because until we do that, we'll continue to have two groups on either side of the fence, and sometimes crossing over it, screaming at each other over and over and over, screaming their mantra -- like the author of this slideshow: "It's mine mine mine mine mine mine." And each believing in its truth 100%. And each dying for it.
[more]

The Iron Wall

The American obstacle

Eight Palestinians killed in Israeli raid were unarmed civilians, says UN inquiry

The New York Times gets an 'F' for geography
Canadians to lead weapons inspections team into USA
In the new year, Rooting Out Evil will be sending a team of volunteer weapons inspectors into that greatest of rogue nations, the United States of America.

We have selected the US as our first priority based on criteria provided by the Bush administration. According to those criteria, the most dangerous states are those run by leaders who:

1) have massive stockpiles of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons;
2) ignore due process at the United Nations;
3) refuse to sign and honour international treaties; and
4) have come to power through illegitimate means.

The current US administration fulfills all these criteria. And so, again following Bush’s guidelines, Rooting Out Evil is demanding that his administration allow immediate and unfettered access to international weapons inspectors to search out their caches of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

If they refuse to comply, we will assemble as many volunteer weapons inspectors as possible at a major border crossing between the US and Canada and attempt to cross into the US on a mission of peace. We will be greeted on the US side by Americans who favour true global cooperation, an end to weapons of mass destruction, and a regime change in the US at the next election.
U.S. Senator: Foreign Governments Involved in 9/11
GWEN IFILL: "Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can't?"

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: "Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States."

GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.


...Presumably it's not Iraq, or the war would have started already. So who are the foreign government or governments presumed to be involved in 9/11? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Syria? Turkey? France? Lithuania? Mexico? Why would on earth would this information not be pursued?
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Enron follies video features Shrub yukking up corrupt accounting
The Feds are looking into a video of a 1997 Enron retirement party, which featured "humorous" skits about Enron's corruption -- including a cameo by George W. Bush, yukking it up with his morally bankrupt cronies.

When the pretend Kinder expressed doubt that Skilling could pull off 600 percent revenue growth for the coming year, Skilling revealed how it could be done.


"We're going to move from mark-to-market accounting to something I call HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," Skilling joked as he read from a script. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line." Via BB
2 articles on journalistic cowards:

Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W Bush said what America needed was "a new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims have, alarmingly, come true: John Pilger
You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the media: "the prioritised task of bringing on board journalists of repute to accept our position".

"Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at the vacuities in Tony Blair's "Iraq dossier" and Jack Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb (which his minions rushed to "explain"). But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda.

Robert Fisk: Journalists are under fire for telling the truth
Let us forget, for a moment, that Fox News's Jerusalem bureau chief is Uri Dan, a friend of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the author of the preface of the new edition of Sharon's autobiography, which includes a revolting account of the Sabra and Chatila massacre of 1,700 Palestinian civilians and Sharon's innocence in this slaughter. Then Ted Koppel, one of America's leading news anchormen, announced that it may be a journalist's duty not to reveal events until the military want them revealed in a new war against Iraq.

Can we go any further in journalistic cowardice? Oh yes, we can. ABC television announced, a little while ago, that it knew all about the killing of four al-Qa'ida members by an unmanned "Predator" plane in Yemen but delayed broadcasting the news for four days "at the request of the Pentagon." So now at least we know for whom ABC works.
Voxfux on the run?
At 10AM on Friday the 13th, A combined task force from the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, and Major Crimes Unit raided a Long Island home believed to be that of the political essayist who writes under the pen name Voxfux.

There were simultaneous raids at several locations throughout New York City and Brooklyn.

The case has the potential to be a lightening rod for civil libertarians, coming just days after the passage of the controversial Homeland Security Act. The articles believed to be penned by the mystery writer can be found at www.voxnyc.com.

Maybe Voxfux can be found at one of these.
Trans-Afghan gas pipeline by 2005
The project to build the 1,500-kilometre pipeline from gas-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan has been discussed for 20 years, although its realisation has been thwarted by two decades of conflict in Afghanistan.

The plan for the trans-Afghan link received a major boost in May when the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue the pipeline project.
Filmmaker Michael Moore's E-mail Intercepted/Home Searched by Secret Service
(The Story of a Vietnam Vet Caught in a Government / Celebrity Surveillance Crossfire)
In a not-so-cryptic “message” eventually intended for all U.S. citizens -- but likely one very famous American in particular, three armed U.S. Secret Service agents and a local sheriff employed psychological intimidation to invade the privacy of retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael Moore, 49, of Goldston, North Carolina at his home on December 10, 2002...

In another warning sign of what lies ahead for all Americans regarding police-state abuse of power (thanks to sections of the post-September 11 “Patriot Act” approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bush), U.S. Intelligence intercepted North Carolinian Michael Moore’s email -- likely believing it was written by independent film producer-icon (“Bowling for Columbine”) and author (“Stupid White Men”) Michael Moore. Inother words, they got the wrong Michael Moore.
Here's to you, Dr Robetson. Muslims respond to Pat Robertson's attacks on Islam.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
EU Penatgon to be developed
The European Union is drawing up plans for a "Euro-Pentagon" in Brussels commanded by a defence chief able to launch military operations anywhere in the world.

His staff would be able to draw on an autonomous EU command and control nexus and an intelligence agency with satellite capability.

"If this isn't an EU army then I don't know what it is."
Monday, December 16, 2002
Israel/Palestine

Eyeless in Israel
By Gideon Levy

A foreigner who happened to find himself here wouldn't believe his eyes: A few weeks before the general elections - a period that is supposed to be marked by an airing and sharpening of views - Israel continues to close its eyes, not to see, not to hear and not to know what it is doing to three million people who live less than an hour from our homes. If this crass disregard is hard to accept in normal times - the approach being that what doesn't interest me doesn't exist - on the eve of elections that are considered (as always) critical, it is nothing short of criminal.

Here are a few updates from the past few days: Five unarmed Palestinians, probably desperate workers who were using a ladder to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip to find work, were shelled by a tank and killed on Thursday. On Monday, soldiers killed a Palestinian who was mentally handicapped. On Sunday, soldiers shot two women and three children in Rafah, on the border with Egypt. One of the women, a mother, was killed along with her two children, aged four and 15, and the other woman suffered serious injuries. The soldiers said they thought the women and children were terrorists.

A week ago Friday, 10 people were killed, including one woman and two employees of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, in a failed liquidation operation in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Earlier that week, a 95-year-old woman who was traveling in a taxicab near Ramallah was shot to death by a soldier. And a couple of days before that, soldiers demolished a building, burying under the rubble a 70-year-man who was inside. All told, more than 30 Palestinians were killed in the first 10 days of December, at least half of them innocent civilians. What was once an "anomaly" has become a daily event, and what the army used to investigate, it no longer even reviews.
[more]

Still drunk with power

The War of Independence ended in April 1949. Israel signed armistice agreements with each of the countries that fought against it, and the borders were set. The last to sign was Jordan, and the Green Line was set as the border. In the wake of the agreement, the right-wing parties in the Knesset assailed the prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, for ordering the Israel Defense Forces to stop and not "letting the IDF win" and conquer more territory.

In his reply in the Knesset, Ben-Gurion stated that bringing an end to the war was the most important thing for the victor. Without compromise and concession there is no peace and no end to wars, however victorious. Criticism notwithstanding, there were of course achievements. Those who want proof need only compare the United Nations map of November 29, 1947 - the date of the vote on the plan to partition Palestine between Arabs and Jews - with the map of Israel after the agreement.

In the wake of the great victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, we were drunk with power and intoxicated with the territories we had conquered. If we had succeeded in reaching peace agreements at that time based on the good conditions that accrued to the victorious side, we would have been spared wars and reaped very hefty fruits, even had it entailed returning most of the occupied territories.
[more]

Zionism Unbound

Mideast Violence Moves to the Home Front
For Israelis and Palestinians alike, conflict spills over into other circles of life.

Israel Silent on Food Warehouse Razing
Israeli Government, Military Silent on Army Destruction of U.N. Food Warehouse in Gaza

Even the liberal Israeli paper Ha'aretz keeps two sets of books, so to speak. Not all the articles in the Hebrew edition make it to the English edition. Here are a couple that have been translated.

Converted to Islam?
The Government Will Send You To A Psychiatrist

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog

Who Inspires Whom?
IDF Reports in English Lack Parts Of Hebrew Versions, Reports Haaretz - In Its Hebrew Version Only

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
Sunday, December 15, 2002
George W. Bush, Warlord, by Ted Rall
First he appointed himself President. Now George W. Bush has declared himself God.

As Americans begin their third year of Supreme Court-ordered political occupation, Bush has just signed an impressive new executive order. You may be surprised to learn that it grants him the right to order your execution. No judge, jury or lawyer. No chance to prove your innocence. One stroke of Bush's pen, and bang--you're dead.

Not even your American citizenship, according to Bush, will save your life if and when he decides to kill you. [more]

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has banned an award-winning Palestinian film from their competition because they assert that Palestine is not a country 'according to the UN.' Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty point out the inherent hypocrisy in this:
In 2001, AMPAS accepted an entry from Hong Kong, even though that former British colony is now an administrative region of China, with no status at the U.N. In 2000, the film Solomon And Gaenor, a love story about a Yiddish-speaking Jewish man and a Welsh girl, was a finalist for the Best Foreign Film award, representing Wales. Wales is not an independent state.

Palestine, by contrast, has maintained an officially recognized permanent observer mission at the U.N. for decades and dozens of countries have recognized the state of Palestine and maintain diplomatic relations with it at the ambassadorial level.

This raises the question: Is there a double standard to keep Palestine out of the Oscars? [more]

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