Saturday, January 11, 2003
Riyadh: Linchpin to a new religious order
"The fact is, whether or not the US overthrows Saddam Hussein, its armed forces will remain face to face with the country at the ideological center of fundamentalist Islam. That country is not Iraq; it is Saudi Arabia."
-- US military buildup is sufficient to take over more than one Middle Eastern country.
-- The Islamic tradition that developed in the Turkish Empire, Sufism, teaches love, not quarrels.
-- So far, the House of Saud is not happy about heavy-handed US suggestions to change the curricula of religious schools.
-- And the author concludes:
"A majority of the House of Saud is still an ardent believer of the Salafi branch of Islam and its strict practice as this ideology is the foundation of Saudi rule and, indeed, the country of Saudi Arabia itself. In the presence of these realities, laying the foundation stone of Western democracy and civil society in a country like Saudi Arabia under the shadow of US guns would jolt the foundation of the House of Saud, its patron religious forces and their ideologies."
US Border Patrol has NO PLANS TO MONITOR ARMED VIGILANTES
"TOMBSTONE - The Tombstone-based Civil Homeland Defense began patrolling for illegal Mexican border crossers Saturday, but no apprehensions or incidents were reported.
Chris Simcox, organizer of the volunteer group and publisher of the Tombstone Tumbleweed, planned to start armed patrols this weekend, including one with invited media today."
Gritty article on the consequences of an unregulated porn industry
- LA Times
"The public sees these people as disposable." - David Gurley, staff attorney for the California Labor Commissioner's office. "An alarming number of performers are infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And nobody seems to care."
"There are no condoms on the set. There's no toilet paper in the bathroom. The performers brought boxes of baby wipes. Soiled sheets litter the ground, creating a trail to the bed. For more than two hours, Taylor and Rain engage in unprotected sexual acts with a male performer. During a break, Rain asks director Thomas Zupko for her co-workers' HIV tests. Handed a stack of papers, she flips through the documents. One is missing--Taylor's. Rain asks repeatedly for her paperwork, but she balks. "I don't have [expletive] AIDS," Taylor finally says. "I am not [having sex with] you."'
"Yet actors and actresses are discouraged from wearing prophylactics during filming because porn producers believe the public wants to see unprotected sex. So adult porn stars commonly engage in sexual acts with scores of partners, and then return each evening to their private lives--dating or having relationships with people across Southern California."
"Gay pornographers abide by a different set of rules: No condom, no HIV test, no audience ... The decision is rooted in financial concerns ... "Gay actors and gay viewers don't see unprotected sex as a fantasy. They see it as watching death on the screen."
NRC staff afraid to raise safety issues
- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Only about half of the agency's employees - 53 percent - feel it is "safe to speak up in the NRC."
Employees are worried that the NRC "is becoming influenced by private industry, and its power to regulate is diminishing."
N. Korea Sends U.S. Mixed Messages
North Korea sent sharply mixed messages Saturday, vowing to "smash U.S. nuclear maniacs" in a "holy war" while its diplomats told New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson their country had no intention of building nuclear bombs.
Pyongyang's belligerent message included threats as well to resume long-range missile tests and to begin reprocessing spent fuel rods from its nuclear reactor to make atomic bombs.
Row over Sharon TV blackout
Israeli election officials are due to review an unprecedented decision to take Prime Minister Ariel Sharon off the air during a live TV broadcast on Thursday.
Mr Sharon had called a news conference to rebut allegations of corruption - but the election committee decided he was engaged in unlawful election propaganda and ordered the broadcast be cut.
Spam 'em back to the stone age?
U.S. e-mail attack targets key Iraqis
U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies have begun a surreptitious e-mail campaign inside Iraq, CNN has learned, in an effort to get some Iraqis to defy President Saddam Hussein. Thousands of e-mail messages have been sent out since Thursday, a military source told CNN.
The official says "this is just the beginning of a psychological warfare campaign" to convince the Iraqi leadership they cannot win a war against the United States and its allies. The message includes instructions to the e-mail recipients to contact the United Nations in Iraq if they want to defect.
Senior military sources told CNN this was the first time the military had engaged in this type of "information warfare campaign." Sources say the program was developed by the military and intelligence agencies in recent weeks.
US boosts Gulf presence
The United States has announced that it is sending tens of thousands of additional military personnel to the Gulf in the biggest deployment yet of its military build-up against Iraq.
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed the order to send up to 35,000 reinforcements to the region, including more marines who would spearhead any possible invasion force.
Friday, January 10, 2003
marchin' to the shibboleth...or at least the city library
remember, you kids in the socal area, there is a march and demonstration against any iraqi war tomorrow in los angeles. details here
. apparently martin sheen and ron kovic will be among the speakers.
DNC Inspectors stated today that the absence of a 'smoking bum', and the prompt denials we've had so far, and which by the way are most welcome is not a guarantee that George Bush is not an asshole. Inspectors have scoured the country from Washington to Texas, but he is keeping the evidence well hidden. "We know for a fact that he is an asshole," said the Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. If we could get the White House Staffers to a safe location and guarantee their continued employment they would be willing to confirm the charges. We're sure the fear of being declared enemy combatants by John Ashcroft is having a chilling effect. Still the fact that no one has come forward is a problem. It's time for George to come clean, and just a change of underwear will not be enough. We want regime change. Tom Daschle said that George was in material breach of promises he made during the 2000 Campaign. ." It is simply not possible to be an asshole and compassionate at the same time." We would like to promise to have him out of the White House by February, but due to constitutional constraints it is unlikely we will be able to accomplish it before 2004.
More airstrikes as pressure on Iraq increases
In the sixth coalition strike day in southern Iraq since the beginning of the new year, six U.S. and British warplanes dropped bombs Friday on several Iraqi communications sites south of Baghdad in what the Pentagon said were defensive strikes.
The strikes came as the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency said weapons inspectors in Iraq need more intelligence information from the United States and greater cooperation from Baghdad.
"love those media logos
every different news outlet has their own memorable logo design and headline to further what they believe are the top stories of the day. cnn has that catchy "countdown to iraq" graphic, complete with dramatic music. fox news has the gripping "war on terror" shouting out at you.
but the one we really like is from north korea's government-controlled news agency: world war 3!!the communist nation has warned us officials that another military conflict on the korean peninsula, will finally lead to a third world war. the bold statement appeared in a news article, carried by north korea's government-run news agency. the article also bragged, that north korea would win a "fire to fire" standoff, with the us. the threat showed up just hours, after north korea pulled out of the "global nuclear arms control treaty."
those wacky north korean papers! and we thought we had trouble with rupert murdoch!
wow. good thing we've got all those troops overseas. oh, wait. they're over in another part of the world
. oh yeah.
meanwhile, anna of annatopia
directs us to a empty bottle
, a blog by an ex-pat canadian in south korea (living near the dmz) for an on-the-ground view of the whole situation.
U.S. Condemns N. Korea Quitting Treaty
The United States on Friday condemned North Korea's decision to quit the nuclear arms treaty, calling it ``another step in its confrontation approach to the international community.'' Washington had no comment on Israel, India, or Pakistan
, all of whom have nuclear weapons but have never signed the treaty. North Korea is the first signatory to abandon the NPT.
Israel's academic freedom defended, while Palestine's is destroyed
Yet those who condemned the Paris-VI statement most vigorously had absolutely nothing to say about the devastation that the latest Israeli decision to shut down three universities would cause, let alone the decades of damage the occupation has done to the education of generations of young people. UNESCO Director-General Matsuura, while defending the lofty ideals about education and the need for "tolerance" when it comes to Israeli institutions, had not one word to say about Israel's threat to shut down the Palestinian universities.
Paris airport suspect 'was set up'
Posted here because it might not be at other sources that put the original story at the top of their pages.
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Thank You For Not Smoking, Guns
Bad news for Mr. Bush!
Apparently the result of the U.N. weapons inspectors' recent assignment to find WPM (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in Iraq is JDS: Just Diddly Squat
.U.N. weapons inspectors have not found any "smoking guns" in Iraq but are receiving intelligence from several nations that could be helpful, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Thursday.
Nor apparently any smoking biological or chemical weapons, either. Maybe they should look over in North Korea
, where smoking is encouraged.
But just so it's not a total loss, here's a picture of Hans Blix smiling
Court backs holding citizens as enemy combatants
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the government can hold U.S. citizens as enemy combatants during wartime without the constitutional protections afforded Americans in criminal prosecutions.
In overturning a lower court ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the status of 21-year-old Yaser Esam Hamdi as a citizen did not change the fact he was captured in Afghanistan while fighting alongside Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.
Answer an e-mail, get a subpoena
Let me see if I have this straight: You get a email telling you, "You are hereby informed that (under the privacy act), the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 has sold your information including,
Credit and savings information,
Social Security information,
and Occupation details.
This information has been sold to a third Party \ Parties and this E-mail serves as notification for such action.
This information was sold under the premise for marketing and research.
Under the privacy act you may request to see in writing any information that we have about you. Please write to the following address with a self addressed envelope.
So, you write back and make some further inquires, etc. You of course make all this public, on your website. The next thing you know, you're getting a subpoena that demands: "...all logs recording the I.P. addresses and/or users who visited "http://cryptome.org/sec-con.htm" between 11/7/02 00:00:00 GMT and 11/14/02 23:59:59 GMT. If no such log exists for the specific page in question, please provide any logs that would cover the domain together with an explanation of what the log covers."
Do I have that right?
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
The ever-optimistic editorialists of The Daily Telegraph bowed down
in deep reverential awe before "smart" American munitions a few days back, claiming that thanks to their advent "we can hope that even the enemy dead can be numbered in hundreds rather than millions. When one compares this with the 700,000 Iraqis who have been killed since Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979, one develops a sense of proportion about who is the real threat to the Mesapotamian segment of mankind."
I guess 500,000
is technically a multiple of 100.
Iraq: U.S. Wants to Subjugate Middle East
Coalition warplanes struck air defense targets in southern Iraq on Wednesday for the second time this week, and a key Iraqi official said the United States and Britain were bent on war with Baghdad to subjugate the Middle East.
What A Difference A News Source Makes
It is interesting to note the bias made by these 2 articles which I assume were based on the same speech made today by Tony Blair (the British Prime Minister). Note the headlines:
Blair Calls on World to Back Any War Against Iraq (Reuters)
Listen to the world's fears, Blair tells US (Guardian)
The first article makes it look like Blair has given Bush carte blanche to attack Iraq and that Britain will support him regardless. The section on listening to world opinion is merely a footnote. The second article makes a slight reference to Blair trying to woo sceptics on the possibility of conflict with Iraq but seems to insist that in order to do so, the US must obtain the world's permission.
Is this a clear cut case of right wing bias in the American media or left wing bias in the British? Personally I have always valued the British press more highly (Britain being a country where people actually read newspapers and watch the news as opposed to the US where news is classed as "Infotainment"). Of course here in the States, the radio and TV news have been focussing on Bush's tax cut for the rich. Found on Plastic
Rites of death and killingTerrible failures are highlighted by the suicide bombings in the Neve Sha'anan quarter of Tel Aviv this week.
The failure of the official Palestinian leadership is clear. But as opposed to what is presented in Israel, it's not an operational failure, proving a lack of motivation to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians. It's disingenuous to claim that Yasser Arafat, imprisoned in the Muqata in Ramallah - and needing oxygen tanks to air out his room - could, even if he wanted to, order the security apparatus that he no longer has, the security officers who have been arrested, killed, or are at home, and the street spies who have been killed or wounded, to make their way through the checkpoints and trenches that surround the cities, to find potential suicide bombers.
What he and his ministers and the aides around him do lack is the moral-ideological presence that could create the social-moral pressure and atmosphere against attacks on civilians, pressure that could work on the organizations and on the individuals. Nowadays, there's not a single member of the Palestinian leadership who doesn't understand how Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians sabotage the Palestinian cause and their own personal interests and that of their colleagues, let alone when the murders are committed by those who declare themselves to be the armed wing of the Fatah. Many are genuinely shocked by the scenes of bloodshed.
Bjørn Lomborn: The Verdict
Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty.
In view of the subjective requirements made in terms of intent or gross negligence, however, Bjørn Lomborg's publication cannot fall within the bounds of this characterization. Conversely, the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.
Or, in less polite terms: he is an obfuscator, but just may be too dumb to realize it.
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked what he liked best about America by photographer Harry Benson
in Cavendish, Vermont in 1981, Solzhenitsyn replied: "The air is free in America."
Ah, the good old days . . .
Solzhenitsyn Suffers a Stroke
U.N.: No New Weapon Info in Iraq Paper
Iraq's arms declaration fails to provide new answers to key questions on stocks of biological agents such as anthrax, the nutrients used in their production and the means to deliver them, according to U.N. officials and an Associated Press review of the dossier.
In response to many of the questions, the Iraqis enclosed photocopies of 4- and 5-year-old answers long considered insufficient by inspectors.
UN prepares for huge Iraqi casualties
Up to 500,000 people could suffer serious injuries during the first phase of an attack on Iraq, a confidential United Nations report says.
That includes up to 100,000 wounded in combat, and another 400,000 hurt in the devastation expected during any US-led attack on Iraq.
The UN has confirmed the authenticity of the report, posted on the website of a Cambridge University group which opposes sanctions against Iraq.
The BBC UN correspondent says the United Nations has been somewhat embarrassed by the revelation of the details of its contingency planning, given that the exercise could be interpreted as an assumption that military action against Iraq is almost inevitable. [Ongoing Compilation Here]
Technology is shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, crooks are caught, and individual rights are defined.I've started a new website, Defense Tech (www.defensetech.org), to track these developments. On the site, I'll round up the day's news, link to relevant sources of information, and provide analysis on what's ahead.From Predator drones to biowar defense, computer security to nuclear threats, the site aims to examine the intersection of technology and defense from every angle, covering the exploits of soldiers and hackers, madmen and geniuses, inventors and dictators. Via CDC
Western allies ready troops for Gulf
Britain and France put their forces on alert for a possible war with Iraq, as the US sends ships and thousands of soldiers to the Gulf.Analysis: Signs pointing to war
Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that the chances of war with Iraq have fallen from 60:40 in favour to 40:60. N. Korea Warns 'Sanctions Mean a War'
But the language he used in an important speech to a mass gathering of British ambassadors in London indicates that he is preparing the groundwork to justify a war.
And in any case, do not rely on those odds. Mr Straw himself added that they could change from "day to day".
A defiant North Korea warned that sanctions against it would "mean a war," as thousands of people rallied Tuesday in the communist capital to support the country's military.Report: Britain, France Prepare for War
British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon will announce the call-up of thousands of reservists Tuesday as part of the military build up in the Persian Gulf, news reports said. Meanwhile back at the Ranch
- FBI sources: Informant's story about U.S. infiltrators is false
Some FBI officials now believe an account of five men infiltrating the United States from Canada -- leading to a nationwide manhunt for the men for questioning -- was fabricated, sources inside the FBI said Monday. The alert, based on an account by Michael John Hamdani, prompted widespread news coverage and fears of possible terrorism around the holiday season. The FBI and 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies made finding the quintet a top priority. Now, said sources, the account may have been bogus.
Why the media's conspiracy theory is better than yours
There are numerous additions and inconsistencies between the official story and what actually happened. None of the resources that I have referenced above are "kooky-conspiracy" websites. They are all reasonably respected mainstream media outlets. It's interesting to look back on just a few of the many conspiracy theories that have been proven true. Were Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein "kooky conspiracy theorists" when investigating what is now known as 'Watergate'?
By valis from my weekly column at
"I and the public know, what every school child learns. Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return
." -- Auden
From Sunday'sNew York Times
For months, President Bush has pledged not to use food as a weapon against North Korea. But as the confrontation deepens over the North's nuclear weapons program, the United States has continued to withhold the approval of grain shipments sought by relief groups to avert starvation in North Korea.
The World Food Program, an arm of the United Nations, says the suspension of food aid by the United States and Japan, and severe cutbacks by South Korea, have meant that, for the first time in years, it will miss its food distribution goals in North Korea this winter "by a wide margin."
"We're very concerned about it," said a World Food Program official. "We understand that there are political considerations. But this is a population that is suffering, with women and children the most vulnerable."
Full story's here
Monday, January 06, 2003
Here, mostly because I spotted a guy on the train home who looked a lot like him but probably wasn't, is the links page to the Fifth Aeon Agregore
, which is Phil Hine's home on the web, and a useful archive of Chaos Magick resources. I did a workshop with Phil Hine about nine years ago in Wales, and iit was great fun. If Phil is reading this, hello. You may be amused to hear that the daemon we inaugurated that day near Machynlleth is still alive and well, and living in my teapot. Which reminds me, the kettle boiled some time ago...
Sunday, January 05, 2003
Daily Show Video: Stephen Colbert - So You're Living in a Police State
Stephen Colbert will show us how the curtailing of our civil liberties doesn't have to be oppressive.
from Comedy Central
Marcos threatens war
By the time his followers prepare to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Chiapas' uprising
, the charismatic head of the EZLN guerrillas defied Mexican Government through an open letter published in the local mass media. Marcos pledged war if Fox's administration dares to expel indigenous groups from settlements in the South East of the Chiapas State.
Sit yourself in your favorite chair, pour a tasty beverage, and settle in for a long stretch of reading
:United Nations Security Council Resolutions Currently Being Violated by Countries Other than Iraq
This list does not include resolutions that merely condemn a particular action, only those that specifically proscribe a particular ongoing activity or future activity and/or call upon a particular government to implement a particular action. Nor does this list does include resolutions where the language is ambiguous enough to make assertions of noncompliance debatable, such as UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 on the Arab-Israeli conflict that put forward the formula of "land for peace," to cite the most famous. Similarly, it does not include broad resolutions calling for universal compliance not in reference to a particular conflict, particularly if there is not a clear definition. For example, in a resolution that proscribes the harboring of terrorists, there is no clear definition for what constitutes a terrorist. This list does not include nonstate actors, such as secessionist governments, rebel groups or terrorists, only recognized nation-states.
Resolution 252 (1968) Israel
Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties thereon.
262 (1968) Israel
Calls upon Israel to pay compensation to Lebanon for destruction of airliners at Beirut International Airport.
267 (1969) Israel
Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.
271 (1969) Israel
Reiterates calls to rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem and calls on Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers.
298 (1971) Israel
Reiterates demand that Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.
353 (1974) Turkey
Calls on nations to respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Cyprus and for the withdrawal without delay of foreign troops from Cyprus.
354 (1974) Turkey
Reiterates provisions of UNSC resolution 353.
And many, many more...
::Foreign Policy In Focus: United Nations Security Council Resolutions Currently Being Violated by Countries Other than Iraq
This is a must read.Travels with Mohammed
A trip with lawyer Mohammed Dahla to his childhood stomping grounds in Galilee takes us to the two major shapers of his identity - Sheikh Raad Salah and MK Azmi Bishara - and raises some serious questions about the common future of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. His message is clear: The Jews have already lost their battle for control of this land
As dusk approaches, Mohammed's brown eyes will look straight into my eyes and he'll say: You have to understand that it's not going to work. Your Jewish mind came up with this Jewish-democratic invention, but the invention won't work. So instead of talking and talking the whole day long, through this whole long trip, what we should have done was to sit down together quietly and try to formulate some sort of new, joint constitution. Because you have no other ally: I am your only ally. And instead of going to the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews), you should have come to me. And instead of trying to scrape up half-Jews and quarter-Jews and eighth-Jews from every corner of the world, you should talk to me. Because I am here, in your backyard. I am here and I am not going anywhere.Five rules set by the Kingdom of the Settlements
By Amira Hass
Rule Number 1: Jewish Arabists always know what Arabs mean and what they want, even if the Arabs say the opposite. Therefore Jews don't have to listen to what the Arabs say. The Arabists of Israel know that Azmi Bishara issued a call in Damascus for armed resistance against Israel. Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein decided there's no need to wait until the matter is determined by the courts, which will hear Bishara's clarification (of the very unclear statement he made there), which says he called for an Arab political initiative as a way to help the Palestinian resistance to the occupation. It's interesting that the Arab states not only didn't obey his supposed call for armed resistance, but also accepted the Saudi Initiative, which is based on the two-state solution. Most of the Israeli Arab public was among the first to struggle for that solution. If they had been listened to in time, a lot of lives could have been saved.Inching toward an apartheid state
The assault on the political activity of Palestinians in Israel over the past few days is unprecedented, even compared to the assailment on the Al- Arad movement in the 1960s. Most of the Palestinian public in Israel and all of its prominent leaders express a position in favor of acknowledgment of the State of Israel; but, at the same time, oppose the discriminatory regime that the Jews have established over the last 50 years.
The Israeli regime has firmly established its position as one that first and foremost serves the Jews in Israel and the Diaspora; and in order to do so, it is willing to take harsh measures against the Palestinian public in Israel. Land expropriation, citizenship laws, immigration laws, orientation of capital, and the development and division of the geographic space are all basic components of the structure of the Jewish-Israel regime. All these means constitute tools to strengthen the Jewish majority and exclude the Palestinian minority. In many cases, they even serve as tools to harm the minority.
To see how many US and UK soldiers Bush has killed in Iraq with his lies, click here
Cost of the War in Iraq
"America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
"Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless versimilitude can set that line straight."
--James Ellroy, American Tabloid