American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, January 25, 2003
Pentagon Eyes Mass Graves for US GIs
The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in Iraq or future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon.

Since the Korean War, the U.S. military has taken great pride in bringing home its war dead, returning bodies to next of kin for flag-draped, taps-sounding funerals complete with 21-gun salutes.

But the 53-year-old tradition could come to an abrupt halt if large numbers of soldiers are killed by chemical or biological agents, according to a proposal quietly circulating through Pentagon corridors. [more]

Friday, January 24, 2003
life in palestine

Mountain of Fire
Nablus Under Lockdown

Not content with the injuries they inflicted yesterday, the Israelis have today become even more violent, and the following incidents occurred just in our small area. They beat, kicked and spat on two accredited photographers for Reuters and AP, knocked over a 65- year-old UK grandmother (me) with a blow in the back from a rifle butt, and beat up one of the young Ambulance Drivers when he was stopped in the mud of Beit Fouriq to change a wheel. Soldiers also injured a baby (who needed hospital treatment) with a blow from a rifle butt, refused for ages to return my passport, kept ten or more ambulances at a time waiting at a newly set-up tank-point (road-block), and generally made a nuisance of themselves. These huge tanks swivel their large caliber shell-firing gun straight at you while you wait in the ambulance, and today, for the first time, I was able to see all the way down the barrel--even considering what is normal here, that was pretty amazing--the mouth of this unbelievable weapon not three feet from my eyes. I also took a VERY close look at the rest of the death-delivering monster, paid for by the Tax dollars of US citizens, and ran my hand along the side from end to end. Inside this metal container soldiers live all day--no wonder they are quite crazy.

Ambushed in Hebron Hills
Ta'ayush Activists Attacked by Settlers

Last Saturday, January 18, approx. 20 Ta'ayush activists, together with a few members of the CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams), went to South Hebron Hills region, in order to help Palestinian farmers to plow their land. Ta'ayush activists, who have established long-term relationship with the people of South Hebron Hills, and are working to prevent their expulsion by the Israeli government, arrived in order to assist the Palestinians with the plow mission, in a non-violent way and with great concern to the safety of the Palestinian farmers.

The group arrived in the region at morning hours and were attacked, on their way to the fields, by settlers who were armed with guns and stones. The settlers threw stones and fired their guns in the air, while chasing and beating the peace activists. The settlers also damaged some of the Palestinian farmer's gear; they pushed one tractor down the valley and stole the equipment that was on it. Only after army and police forces arrived on the scene, the group was able to pull back the tractor (which was damaged in thousands of Shekels, according to the estimations). The plowing was not carried out.

Israelis detain hundreds without trial
Kafkaesque nightmare awaits arrested Palestinians

Nima Abu Alia's neighbours told her from bitter experience not to even bother looking for her son, Eyad, for at least a week. The 23-year-old was snatched on Wednesday from the family home in Deheisheh, near Bethlehem, by an Israeli army squad in the dead of night.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
Russian Source: US 'Will Attack Iraq Next Month'
"According to the information we have, the operation is planned for the second half of February. The decision to launch it has been taken but not yet been made public," the source said.

The source claimed that toppling the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, was a pretext allowing the US to acquire control of Iraqi oilfields.

"The military operation against Iraq will be conducted by a combination of means. Strikes will be from the air, land and sea," the source said, claiming that Washington expects the military campaign to last for around a month. [more]

The Guilt-Free Soldier
"It's the morning-after pill for just about anything that produces regret, remorse, pain, or guilt," says Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, who emphasizes that he's speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the council. Barry Romo, a national coordinator for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, is even more blunt. "That's the devil pill," he says. "That's the monster pill, the anti-morality pill. That's the pill that can make men and women do anything and think they can get away with it. Even if it doesn't work, what's scary is that a young soldier could believe it will." [more]
Helen Thomas on President-Select George W. Bush: "This is the worst president ever . . . He is the worst president in all of American history."

Hear, hear, Helen! [via Unknown News]

Why We Know Iraq Is Lying is the title of an op/ed by Condaleeza Rice in today's NYT. However she fails to make any valid points, as nimbly demonstrated by Joe Conanson below in Salon:

Former Chevron director Rice doesn't argue for immediate invasion of Iraq by the (very small) coalition of "the willing." In fact, the national security advisor seems unable to offer any argument for military action at all. Nor does she cite any new evidence -- or old evidence -- that Iraq possesses nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Instead, she complains that Baghdad has failed to behave as forthrightly as South Africa, Ukraine and Kazakhstan did when those nations decided to dismantle their nuclear arms programs. But those countries had nuclear weapons. There is still no evidence that Iraq does or ever did. [am sam note: these countries were also approached in a peaceful and not threatening manner, imagine if they had been]

Rice doesn't bother with a justification for war, but she does her best to frighten readers with those empty missiles. What she says is worthy of careful parsing: "Last week's findings by inspectors of 12 chemical warheads not included in Iraq's declaration was particularly troubling." As noted here earlier, the discovery of those rusting shells by the inspectors proved that UNMOVIC is doing its job well -- and that if Saddam Hussein is concealing proscribed weapons, the inspectors will eventually find them.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Zander's Peace /War school project poll

via Rittenhouse I learned of this poll
Zander "designed the two polls that you see in the left column and right column. The LEFT poll asks opinions of people that believe Peaceful solutions are the way to solve the problems in Iraq, or are generally against military means being used. The poll on the RIGHT is for people who believe that a military solution IS the answer to the problems. Please help me out...."
He's getting a good response from the blogging community. I'd like to see him get an overwhelming response.
Librarians and Privacy: Big Brother is Reading Over Your Shoulder
NPR's Larry Abramson reports on librarians' concerns that anti-terrorism laws will require them to violate their patrons' privacy. Librarians are holding workshops to learn about their responsibilities and options.
Listen Here.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Garofalo lights up campus with wit
Comedian takes on the media, government, teen pop stars
"The news disrespects us," Garofalo said. "How is the world supposed to make decisions, especially about Iraq, when we don't get relevant information? The information we get includes words like 'evil-doers' -- is this a fucking bed-time story?"

She spoke out against the pending war with Iraq but encouraged students to form their own opinions.

"We might as well live in a gated community if we choose to invade Iraq," she said. "The pro-American status might just come to bite us in the ass. I'm not saying that I hate America. I'm saying that I hate the arbitrary imperialism of a country who wants to make all the rules."

Garofalo also pointed out the "stupidity" of the American public.

"People say the American people aren't stupid. ... America is like the drunken frat guy of nations," she said as NU students burst into giggles.
Not on tonight's news (in the US): Israeli troops devastate West Bank village market
Israeli soldiers demolished 62 shops at a market yesterday, destroying the livelihood of hundreds of Palestinians. In the early morning, about 300 troops streamed into the market, just outside the village of Nazlat Issa. They brought seven bulldozers.

The Israeli authorities said they were demolished because they were built illegally, despite the fact that the shops had been in business for 10 years and were built by Palestinians on Palestinian land. What is actually illegal, this action, or the shops themselves which had no purpose other than allowing 3,000 Palestinians to have a place to buy and sell goods? Don't look for this story on your evening news, and the whitewash of Israel's illegal and immoral occupation goes on and on.
Could the Pentagon disable the Internet or portions of it in the event of war?
Bruce Schneier Founder and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security thinks so. "My guess is that the U.S. military could disable large parts of the Internet, at least for a while, if they wanted," writes Schneier in this month's issue of Cryptogram. "But I doubt that they would do so; it's far too useful an asset, and far too large a part of our economy. More interesting is whether they would try to disable pieces of it. If we went to war with country X, would we want to disable their portion of the Internet, or remove connections between their Internet and our Internet? Depending on the country, a low-tech solution might be the easiest: disable whatever undersea cables they're using as access. Could the U.S. military turn the Internet into a U.S.-only network if they wanted? That seems less likely, although again a low-tech solution involving the acquiescence of companies like Cable & Wireless might be the easiest. One important thing to remember here is that you only want to shut an enemy's network down if you aren't getting useful information from it. The best thing to do is to infiltrate the enemy's computers and networks, spy on them, and surreptitiously disrupt select pieces of their communications, when appropriate. The next best thing is to passively eavesdrop. After that, the next best is to perform traffic analysis. Only if you can't do any of that do you consider shutting the thing down. "
NPR Rant From Sam Smith
WHILE CRISP, CRITICAL ANALYSIS is difficult when one is only half awake, your editor is reasonably certain that Nominally Public Radio's morning news show is losing interest in news, favoring instead - and lengthening - non-political features of the sort you'd normally read in a dentist's office. This morning, for example, I dozed off twice only to find that the feature on fishing on Russia was still droning on, so I pulled the quilt over my head and successfully achieved a hat trick of somnolence.

The shift could be the result of NPR's boss, ex-government propagandist Kevin Klose, finally hitting his stride, or perhaps advice from broadcast consultants who may have suggested that members of America's establishment did not want to hear the painful results of their peers' hegemony. In any case, the network that brings you the aural Prozac of Diane Rehm and a mindless quiz show in which celebrities try to recall what they read in the paper last week is now doing quite a good job of knocking the news out of the news.

It is, of course, precisely the wrong time for this. For example, "Morning Edition" could easily fill a fortnight's worth of slots by simply reporting the damage being done to each of the constitutional amendments. Or, now that many - if not most - Americans don't actually favor unilateral action against Iraq, they might actually interview someone who represents that view as other than an occasional oddity.

Propaganda is not just about thinking a certain way about things; it's also about not thinking about certain things at all. Since the arrival of George Bush, the media has done a particularly fine job of keeping our minds off what is happening to us. It is not just bad journalism. It's a lie. If there was ever a time for hard news, this is it. - SAM SMITH
Monday, January 20, 2003
Lying Bastards: from Paul Krugman's Off the Wagon "The administration's top economist certainly changed his mind about deficits very late in the game. Glenn Hubbard, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, recently denied that deficits raise interest rates and depress private investments. Yet Mr. Hubbard is also the author of an economics textbook; as Berkeley's J. Bradford DeLong points out on his influential Web site, the 2002 edition of that textbook explains how, yes, deficits raise interest rates and depress private investment."
Sunday, January 19, 2003
As Goes Rutland, So Goes The Nation

The Rutland, Vermont, Herald puts yesterday's DC protests at 200,000, which probably a fair median. There were undoubtedly more, and most media are putting it at less, so we'll happily take 200,000.

There were also rallies in El Paso, and Montana, and las vegas-reno, and North Carolina, and Orange County Calif, and New Jersey, and Minneapolis, and all over the world, including Japan and and Germany and London, Moscow, Liverpool, Damascus and Tokyo, and

On the left coast, tens of thousands in San Francisco marched against the war. Unfortunately, some anarchists had to get into the act and broke windows and tossed newspaper boxes. This is not going to help our cause, kids! Leave your black clothing and attitudes at home next time!

In Dc, the protests are still going on today. And, about a dozen got arrested:

When the marchers met another group of demonstrators waiting at Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, there was a surge of enthusiasm and some began running toward, and over, the barricades blocking that section of the street. Police forced them face down on snowy grass and bound their wrists with plastic handcuffs. A dozen police were on horseback and many more were on the scene, warning people that anyone going over the barricades would be taken into custody.

Sorry, Mr. Helpful!
War Games from What's Left
It's not about facts it's about what Bush can sell. War, just another product to peddle and George just another huckster.
what's it gonna take... † oh those rabid warmongers not gonna like seeing this on their breakfast table...
before every newspaper in the country will run
this story on page one, ABOVE the goddam fold, as the truth will continue to be buried unless we continue to make enough racket to be heard. Did your newspaper have anything at all about the demonstrations on it's front page? If not, write a letter to the editor and let them know you think that they are doing a shoddy job of reporting an important story, remind them of the responsibility and legacy of a free press in this country, the value of unbiased reportage as opposed to simple regurgitation of "facts" as provided by the white house press office, because if you don't start making a stink now, you might as well resign yourself to the fate you deserve, a government that is not environmentally conscious, that is responsive only to powerful lobbys and vested special interests, that has no agenda to assist the increasing numbers of economically disadvantaged amongst us from falling into even greater depression, that shows every indication of willingness to ignore the separation of church & state, remains dismissive of the values of human liberty & dignity, and contributes to the steady & insidious erosion of human rights within it's own borders.
Paul Boutin : Astroturf "demonstrating genuine leadership"

An alert Google user noticed that dozens of local newspapers from Boston to Honolulu have run the same letter to the editor under different names nationwide (the Eschaton weblog posted a partial list).

It's not the first time a form letter has been a hit, but you'd think by now it would be easier to catch them. Idly curious as to who authored and distributed it, I've left a couple of phone messages with people whose names have appeared in print under the letter, which reads...

When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership. The economic growth package he recently proposed takes us in the right direction by accelerating the successful tax cuts of 2001, providing marriage penalty relief, and providing incentives for individuals and small businesses to save and invest. Contrary to the class warfare rhetoric attacking the Presidentís plan, the proposal helps everyone who pays taxes, and especially the middle class. This year alone, 92 million taxpayers will receive an immediate tax cut averaging $1,083 - and 46 million married couples will get back an average of $1,714. Thatís not pocket change for a family struggling through uncertain economic times. Combined with the Presidentís new initiatives to help the unemployed, this plan gets people back to work and helps every sector of our economy.

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