American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 22, 2003
Saddam, The Media and Us:
Test Your Knowledge
By Michel Collon
In 1991, the mainstream media in Europe as well as in the US funneled an accumulation of media lies intended to convince public opinion to support a war against Iraq. Today, many European governments have distanced themselves from Bush's tactics. Can we assume that the European media will tell us the whole truth right now? Have they subjected all the information that has been trotted out over the last twelve years to a critical evaluation? Here is a media test.

Answer the following questions:

1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.
TRUE FALSE

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).
TRUE FALSE

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.
TRUE FALSE

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).
TRUE FALSE

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.
TRUE FALSE

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.
TRUE FALSE

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.
TRUE FALSE

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.
TRUE FALSE

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!
TRUE FALSE

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?
TRUE FALSE


1. Saddam was punished starting from the moment he invaded Kuwait in 1990.

FALSE: The US Congress first decided to impose an embargo against Iraq in 1989 after he had made an appeal to the countries of the Middle East to unite in order to become more independent of the USA.
Why have the mainstream Western media carefully hidden the history of Kuwait? It had always been part of Iraq. But British colonialists granted it independence in 1920 "in order to weaken Iraq and to deprive it of access to the sea" (quoted from a letter written by the British governor at the time). No country in the region recognized this separation. And all the successive Iraqi regimes have sought ways to regain this lost province.

2. Saddam is solely responsible for the murderous Iran-Iraq War (1980-1998).

FALSE: It’s true that Saddam unleashed this war, unfortunately, after Iranian provocations, one of which was the attempted assassination of Tariq Aziz. It was Iran’s leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, who refused to sign a peace treaty and made the war last eight years.
But most important here is the diabolical strategy of the United States: divide and conquer. The US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that he hoped that this war "would last as long as possible and that the greatest possible number of people die on both sides." In fact, the USA never tolerated a Middle Eastern state that had the means to resist Israel, and it has attacked Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians… And Iraq has faithfully supported the Palestinians.

3. Saddam willfully gassed 5,000 Kurdish civilians in Halabja.

DOUBTFUL: Let us recall the numerous media lies that were launched in 1991 when the USA and Europe attacked Iraq: incubators supposedly stolen by the Iraqi army from Kuwait City, the oil lake attributed to Saddam (but which was in reality the work of the US army) the alleged torture of Western pilots who were taken prisoner, the nonsense about the "fourth largest army in the world" presented as if it were a threat to all of us…. All of these charges collapsed (see Attention, médias! Les mediamensonges du Golfe, EPO, Bruxelles, see http://www.freeflights.net/carl1/attmedia.htm).
As far as Halabja is concerned, in the January 31, 2003 edition of The New York Times, Stephen C. Pelletiere, a CIA officer in charge of following this war, and professor of the U.S. Army War College, refuted Bush, pointing out that 1) the gassing occurred by mistake during a battle between the Iraqi and Iranian armies; and 2) it was almost certainly the work of the Iranian army, the only one that possessed this type of gas (cyanide-based) used in the battle. His conclusion: "There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them."
Whatever one may think of it, what would people say if Cuba bombed Washington because the United States had committed serial war crimes, attempted to assassinate Castro and to invade the island, and had accumulated weapons of mass destruction in Guantanomo Bay?

4. Saddam possesses the most dangerous weapons in the world (Bush, January 2003).

FALSE: Israel clandestinely acquired and illegally possesses 200 nuclear warheads, and denies it and refuses any inspection. Israel has imprisoned Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli engineer who was courageous enough to reveal the existence of this nuclear arsenal. This is the great taboo for the Western media. Why must Iraq, a sovereign state, disarm itself when Israel threatens the entire region?
But the greatest danger comes from the USA itself, which has used nuclear weapons (Hiroshima), chemical weapons (Vietnam – Agent Orange) and bacteriological weapons (Cuba). Today, the USA refuses to commit itself to not using nuclear weapons, even against a non-nuclear country. Under the pretext of a "threat." Hitler was also claiming to be "threatened" by Poland.
It's worth noting that even in 1991, when he was attacked by the West, Saddam did not use chemical weapons.

5. The West ought to eliminate Saddam because he is a tyrant.

HYPOCRITICAL: The United States has supported and still supports the worst dictators on the planet: Mobutu, Pinochet, all the dictators in Latin America, and Turkish generals…. because they serve the United States' economic interests.
The true objective of the USA was defined in July 2002 by one of Bush's close aides, Senator Lugar: "[W]e are going to run the oil business. We are going to run it well, we are going to make money; and it's going to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq because there is money there."
Esso, Shell and BP rank among the TOP 15 multi-national corporations. Before 1958, they colonized and pillaged Iraq. Driven out by a revolution of national liberation, they have never stopped wanting to recapture the second largest oil reserves in the world. And they want to oust their French and Russian competitors (Total and Lukoil, respectively). Washington wants to use total blackmail to control the energy supplies of its rivals: Europe and Japan.
The United States' economy is in bankruptcy: imports exceed exports by $450 billion per year. It is holding up only because of German and Japanese loans. And by confiscating petro-dollars from the Middle East, thanks to corrupt emirs and sheiks they impose on puppet states in the Gulf.

6. Saddam is incapable of being a model for any society.

ANSWER: Saddam represents the Iraqi nationalist bourgeoisie, which drove British colonialists out of the country in 1958. Because of this, he presents two different faces.
On the one hand, he certainly does not represent a "model for society" for those who advocate a socialist society and democracy as the only means of assuring the well being of the entire population.
But, compared to the other regimes in the Middle East, his balance sheet is much more positive: instead of pouring petro-dollars back into US multi-national corporations, he used them — and all Western observers have recognized this — to develop education, health care and, in general, the economy of his country.
Iraq is also the only secular state in the Middle East. In his administration, it is not unusual to see women holding important positions, and men working for them. Compare that to the other neighboring countries…

7. Saddam was an instrument used by the USA, and it's out of the question to consider him to be an anti-imperialist.

ANSWER: We must start with facts, with economic reality. The aggravation of the crisis and the global economic war push the multi-national corporations of wealthy countries to leave the capitalist class in each third-world country nothing more than crumbs from the cake. They know how to take complete control of a strategic country, with its enterprises, and its raw materials.
In order to survive, the local bourgeoisie often has no recourse other than opposing imperialism. Its resistance has the effect of involving the largest part of the population in the struggle. However, in order to resist a planetary threat which is today represented by the United States and its allies, it is in the interest of the people that the anti-imperialist front be as large as possible.
What is the principal contradiction in Iraq today? That between the country and the threat of imperialist occupation. To bring another conflict into the foreground, the one between the Iraqi bourgeoisie and its population, plays into Bush's hands.
Imagine a man and his wife having a fight. A thief appears who wants to seize their property and set fire to their home. Which task has priority? Continuing the argument or putting out the fire?

8. But it would be good, all the same, if we got rid of Saddam.

ANSWER: Good for whom? At this moment, Saddam represents the independence of his country, that is to say the right to refuse to give oil away for free to multi-national corporations. Any "imported" leader — whether he is brought in by bombs or by blackmail — will be a puppet. To say "we must replace Saddam", amounts, in the current balance of power, to letting the ruling class of the United States and Europe do whatever it wants.
To replace rebels with puppets is the global strategy of re-colonization. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's Secretary of State, stated: "Saddam's Iraq as well as Arafat's Palestinians need new leaders … capable of leading reforms as in Serbia and in Afghanistan." Let's take a look at the results. In Afghanistan, ten ministers out of sixteen carry a US passport, and President Karzaď is a hired hand of the US multi-national oil company, Unocal. In Serbia, the price of a loaf of bread has gone from four to thirty dinars; the cost of electricity has increased fourfold, depriving people of electric power as well as heating (170,000 families in Belgrade alone). The IMF has demanded that 800,000 workers be let go from firms before privatizing everything for the exclusive benefit of multi-nationals.
Such made-in-the-USA "democratic leaders" are spearheading the re-colonization of the world. It is a merciless process for the country's workers and farmers.

9. All the same, it is impossible to support Saddam!

ANSWER: The first question for any anti-imperialist is: Must everything possible be done to prevent the United States from completely dominating the world, yes or no? The answer is of course, yes. Because, if we let the balance of power deteriorate further to their advantage, it will result in a new fascism that will threaten all the peoples of the world.
When Hitler and Mussolini were menacing the world, it was necessary to support all those who resisted them. Including, for example, the Ethiopian dictator, Haile Selassie, who opposed the Italian invasion.
Is it then necessary to support the resistance of the Iraqi people and their leaders against invasion? The answer is also yes.
After Iraq, Bush will seize Iran, Syria, or even Saudi Arabia. If Washington completely controls the Middle East (and the other great strategic regions: Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central Africa, Maghreb, the northern part of Latin America…), the balance of power will be even more disadvantageous during the next wars planned by Bush.
And when the USA occupies a region, the conditions of the struggle become much worse for all the people living there, whether it's the struggle for the right to eat, the struggle for democracy, for the environment or for the solidarity of peoples. A US military occupation is the worst of catastrophes for these various peoples, and for the balance of power in the world. If Iraqi leaders resist US imperialism, is it a good thing to do for their people? Yes.
A Communist Iraqi fled Saddam and took Algerian citizenship. He returned in April 2002 with our mission as an "Inspector of Peace," and stated clearly: "Today, my duty as a Communist is to defend my country and its raw materials from the USA. With the present regime, if necessary. As soon as the threat has been neutralized, it will be up to the Iraqi people to decide whether to transform the regime or to replace it. To let wealthy countries decide instead is merely paternalistic colonialism."
The imperialist countries advocate the suppression of the sovereignty of third-world states in order to justify their rapacious interference, and they are able to threaten all people who resist globalization. But the right to sovereignty is something acquired by the anti-colonial struggle, and it is necessary to preserve it.
This is why the global interest of peoples is to support the countries and leaders who resist seizure by the United States. This does not imply approval of all of their actions, past or present, nor the rest of their political program. But its counter-productive to place such criticism in the foreground at the moment when Bush is looking for a way to swing international public opinion in his favor.

10. Finally, shouldn't one say "Neither Bush nor Saddam"?

ANSWER: This is what the dominant tendency in the Left in Europe has been inclined to say for the last twelve years, and it has borne extremely negative consequences.
In 1991, under the slogan of "Neither Bush nor Saddam," it said "no" to war but "yes" to an embargo against Iraq. In reality, it was another form of warfare: and soon there were two million victims.
In 1995 and 1999, with the slogan of "Neither NATO nor Milosevic," it approved (and in some cases even demanded) NATO bombardments. It was a prelude to imposing an IMF government and a NATO occupation in Kosovo, which today lives under a reign of terror led by the Albanian mafia and the ethnic cleansing of the national minorities: Serbs, Roma, Jews, Muslims, Turks, etc.
In 2001, with "Neither Bush nor the Taliban," they shut their eyes to the neocolonial occupation of Afghanistan, whose goal is to construct a US pipeline and the installation of military bases in the heart of Central Asia. We have heard "Neither Sharon nor Arafat" many times.
Tomorrow, we will hear more "Neither … nor …" propositions when Washington attacks Iran, Korea, Colombia (where a war has already started), the Philippines or other countries. It will always be done with the same humanitarian pretexts; it will always be done with media lies to demonize those who put up resistance. Now is the time to return to the true fundamental position of the Left, which must of necessity be anti-colonialism: the aggressor and the victim of aggression must never be put on the same footing; the war propaganda and media lies disseminated by the ruling class must be unmasked; and most of all, the hidden economic interests behind each war must be denounced.
Subsequently, the only possible anti-imperialist position is to say "no" to the global war and to support the resistance people put up against it. The "Neither … nor …" proposition is condemned to paralysis. The "Neither … nor …" proposition prevents the growth and unification of resistance to US imperialism.

Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich

Planning for martial law?
Civil libertarians say the Bush administration may give the military scary new police powers in its secret planning for a bunker-based, post-disaster shadow government.

When the Washington Post revealed the existence of an American "shadow government," operating secretly in Tora Bora-style mountain bunkers over the six months since Sept. 11, it shocked even some congressional leaders, who learned about it March 1 from the Post, not the Bush administration.

Now civil libertarians on the left and right are raising new questions about the shadow government -- about its secrecy, its leadership, and the way it involves the military in domestic roles. In particular, plans to have the military assume domestic police functions in case of national emergency alarm some scholars and advocates, who believe the shadow government could be an early step on the way to martial law.
Take a Look, George



"One of the first American casualties in the war against Iraq is a Baltimore man, and his family shared their feelings about the war Friday...He is identified as Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Waters-Bey, 29, of northeast Baltimore, WBAL-TV 11 NEWS reported.

"As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey's father, Michael, said: 'I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son.' He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him."

"It's all for nothing, that war could have been prevented," said Waters-Bey's sister, Michelle. "Now, we're out of a brother. [President] Bush is not out of a brother. We are."
The Moron Majority, by Ted Rall
Decades of budget cuts in education are finally yielding results, a fact confirmed by CNN's poll of March 16, which shows that an astonishing 51 percent of the public believe that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

. . . Furthermore, no one really believes that the GOP is interested in liberating the oppressed people of Iraq. America's role in the world, after all, typically involves funding dictators--as Bush is currently doing in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan---not democrats.

Great points. America's pathetic public education system only leads to a nation of the easily-led. When you look at cuts in education, censorship in education (no Howard Zinn! He's "anti-american!"), or changes in education such as those sought from the barely-concealed fundamentalist 'intelligent design' group, you are looking at one of the most subtle yet highly effective means of repression any dictatorial power has. Conversely, free computers, free uncensored net access, and a passionate, ongoing encouragement to all Americans--especially young--to get into the free flow and exchange of information and ideas is one of the most rebellious actions Americans can take right now in their efforts to usurp the present global dictatorship of George W. Bush. Now more than ever, America should know what the rest of the world already understands: the US corporate media is nothing but an extension of the White House--and the White House is nothing but a megalomaniacal mass murderer and thief which cloaks itself in the language of the free. Swallow or spin.
We Are In A Nation Ruled By Madmen Who Will Bury The U.N.
Before announcing a state of war Bush pumps his fist and boasts, "Feels good."

Donald Rumsfeld walks around quoting Al Capone.

Richard Perle calls an internationally respected journalist a terrorist for disclosing how Perle would profit from an Iraq war.

And then Richard Perle celebrates the death of the U.N.

Like it's yet unleashed Guernica-bombing campaign, touted as "Shock and Awe" the brazen, thuggish extremism of the Bush administration is meant to numb the American public into submission.

And, for the most part, the strategy has succeeded. [more]

Friday, March 21, 2003
CNN censors war reporting

I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile.

But I don't want let you down -- I'm chronicling the events of my war experiences, the same as I always have, and hope to come to agreement with CNN in the near future to make them available to you in some shape or form, perhaps on this site.

In the meantime, thanks for participating in this remarkable forum. It's been a remarkable experience to be your witness here.

-- Kevin Sites.
Operation Stupid Fuck gets rollin'
The war has begun.

I'm utterly disgusted by Bush and the Rumsfeld Crony Machine and everything on down to those weaselly brown-nosers at NPR, formerly a place where you could get a fair amount of semi-balanced news in this godforsaken media snowjob of a navel-gazing Hamburglar nation.

I've protested and waved my signs (downloaded off of Anti-War.us like the one you see here), done "online activism," called my Congresspeople, circulated my petitions, written letters to the editors, and all that cheesy stuff that's preaching to the choir. How adorable. Does it do any fucking good? Probably not. I just don't know what to do instead.

Anyone have an opinion on whether we should just glide into the Silent Zombie Mode preferred by most Americans, leave the whole debate up to the transfixed Right Wing nutbars who let AM Radio talk shows tell them what to believe? Or some overexcited, self-important "anarchists" in black hoodies: closing down local bridges, throwing a rock at a local bookstore -- is this the way to effect real political change or is this masturbatory, violent bullshit? When evil assholes are in power (not that evil assholes aren't usually in power), what should one DO about it? Sit around going, "There isn't anything we can do about it. Please pass the Twinkies." ??

Seriously. What do we do about it? Like a good little ultra-entitled, middle class, educated, pretentious white girl, I'm getting out of the USA. Assuming I don't get nuked in some terrorist action at LAX on the way out, I'll talk to y'all when I get back. We'll solve the world's problems. No, really.

Peace out, maaaaan.

xoxo

tif

magdalen a t corporatecollapse.com

PS:
There's a nice rant on the STARE blog (formerly IncuBLOGula) by Dr.Menlo. Read it over yonder at Incunabula. Much less whiny than mine.
Raimondo excoriates the breakaway extra-legal actions by black bloc anarchists and others in San Francisco and elsewhere yesterday as off the wall theatrical adventurism which will discredit the anti-interventionsist movement. Scott Handlemann calls the same tactcis by militant queers and other "small mobile clusters" "fourth generation protest", a creative breakthrough. My head is with the Raimondo position. If (as it appears) the U.S. government under Bush &cohorts really has gone around the bend on the way to 5-10 years of semi-continual "small wars" varying between low and high-intensity, covert and overt, then an opposition needs to be running to run a marathon. That means being disciplined, patient and concentrating its energies on steady education and mass legal and peaceful protests. Yet I can't but find Handleman's perception that just repeating demonstrations will not be enough when you have a regime essentially deaf to protest. I guess it's just the praxis action vs. action faction conundrum all over again (though I'm too young to have been "of age" in the late 60s early 70s). I'm not about to go the Handleman route, but the the question of how to really effectively face and overcome this "small war" mad government persists.
Robert Fisk is in Baghdad: check out the right column of this page for frequent blog-like updates.
China denounces Iraqi War:

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the beginning of the attack took place "in disregard for the opposition of the international community." "Military action against Iraq is violating the norms of international behavior," Kong said

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that China "strongly urged an end to military actions against Iraq so as to avoid hurting innocent people," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Tang also told Powell that China is "deeply worried about humanitarian disasters, regional turbulence" and other ramifications of the war, the report said.

I snorted over how the invaders, occupiers, and plunderers of Tibet, who have presided over revolting human rights abuses, could say all this with a straight face.

And then I realized that for generations to come, that's just how seriously anyone else in the world will take U.S. criticism of other nations' unprovoked aggression.

ACTIVISTS: SAME BULLDOZER WHICH KILLED CORRIE USED TO BREAK UP MEMORIAL VIGIL

Haven't found anything corroborating it other than the piece excerpted below, but last night on NPR Adam Shapiro or one of his affiliates said that a vigil honoring Rachel Corrie had been broken up by Israeli Army troop and armor - allegedly including the same bulldozer which killed Corrie. The activist said that an identification number painted on the vehicle was identical to the one emblazoned on the bulldozer which felled Corrie. This from the International Solidarity Movement:

The mourners then marched to the barbed wire fenced that marks the boundary between the Occupied Gaza Strip and Egypt where they mounted the ISM banner and placed more flowers on the ground.

The tank was then joined by two others and three bulldozers. When the Rafah activists saw that one of the bulldozers was the same one that was used to murder Rachel several of them began to weep.

The tanks and bulldozers then began to drive around the crowd at high spee’ forcing several people to jump out of their way to avoid being run over. As they did this they also flung sound grenades and tear gas canisters into the crowd but fortunately the tear gas dispersed harmlessly in the stiff wind. The mourners refused to surrender to the intimidation and again laid their flowers and posters on the war machine’ [sic] which left the area after a few minute' [sic] leaving only the original tank.
Round-up of some anti-war moods as the obscene travesty of the junta ( er, administration's) war of conquest (excuse me, glorious democratic liberation) begins:

elegiac
morose
depressed
trepidatious
perceptive
crotchety (and I think prophetic)
intrepidly muckracking
probably bombed (and unfortunately I don't mean drunk)
apologetic (sic)
morally ambivalent
righteously pissed
spaced out
wacky
still officially a hawk but coming to his senses
philosophical
Illness as Metaphor: "Is the war making you ill? In San Francisco, a group called Direct Action to Stop the War put out the call to call in sick the day the United States invades Iraq. Most peace demos thus far have been held after work and on weekends in order to guarantee higher turnouts and to avoid interfering with the working day, but the rapidly maturing anti-war movement is looking for ways to dust off the old connections between war and capitalism by monkeywrenching the economy." Village Voice
"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."


— Samuel P. Huntington

Military Sites in the US of A 'A' to 'Z', letter 'C' ('D' to follow shortly). Ummm, do with these what you will. For instance, there might be some civil disobedience happening at one of these facilities, and you could go down there to watch. E-Journal of Modern Strategy
Thursday, March 20, 2003
PATRIOT, n.

One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Ari's Spin Zone

Before I take your questions, there's one item I would like to point out to you. The President would like to thank the growing number of nations that have joined in the coalition of the willing to disarm Saddam Hussein. As of today, there are more than 35 countries currently committed to the coalition, and that number is growing. Contributions from nations include direct military participation; logistical, intelligence and political support; specialized chemical and biological response teams; over-flight rights; and humanitarian and other aid. [emphasis mine]

The text above is a portion of Ari's statement at today's press conference. I've often wanted to be one of the press allowed to ask a question. Here is a possible exchange I would have had today with Ari.

Q I have a question and a follow up.
Mr. Fleischer: Go ahead
Q Am I correct in assuming that countries such as Turkey are members of the coalition because they are allowing over-flight rights?
Mr. Fleischer: Yes that is correct.
Q Since France is allowing over-flight rights do you also consider them a member of the coalition?
Mr. Fleischer: Well that's a complicated question ... next question please.
US offers Israel billions in aid
Israel's Finance Ministry said the package consisted of $1bn in direct military aid and $9bn in loan guarantees.
"I'll make those creeps sing..." Captain America is now Judge Dredd.
"Due to the inhuman and illegal Middle East war launched by Bush the Second, and his far-rightist planners of the new Pox Americana, in defiance of the United Nations and most of the population of the world, we at City Lights Bookstore will close our doors for the day when US Forces begin their attack, hoping that everyone will join us in demonstrating for peace."

–Lawrence Ferlinghetti

We will be closed Thursday, March 20, and reopen again on Friday, March 21.

The rejection by President Bush of the Kyoto agreement on global warming has led to a consumer backlash around the world. On this site, ECRA charts the campaigners’ progress and lists the brands for consumers to avoid.

Bush says God is on his side. Saddam says God is on his side. The Pope, instead, says God is disgusted.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
"Today I weep for my country," said West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd. "No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. ... Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.

"We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance," Byrd said, adding: "After war has ended the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe."
BBC Bloggers in Baghdad, Amman, Qatar, Northern Iraq and Washington report on War
WorldLink TV: an oasis of reason

At the edge of the great desert wasteland we know as the American corporate media there exists a tiny oasis of objectivity and counterpoint called WorldLink TV.


This haven of non-corporate information registers as a single voice against the martial trumpeting of the huge network conglomerates and their satellites on cable. Yet I've come to rely on this channel more and more to give me a perspective rarely taken by media in this nation today: that of looking at the important issues of the day from a distinctly non-American point of view.


This is not so say that it is anti-American. Instead, programming on WorldLink TV strives to allow entertainers, filmmakers, newsmakers and documentarians from around the world to express the issues of their lives in a non-filtered and non-exploitative way.


I discovered WorldLink TV a few years ago when I first got interested in that eclectic musical genre known as World Music. For a few hours each day, they would feature foreign music videos that ran the gamut from the sounds of the powerful Afro-Celt Sound System through the feel-good Brazilian beat of Antonio Carlos Jobim to the creative imagery of Uzbeki folk rock videos and a myriad of interesting creative ventures in between.


According to a 2001 article about WorldLink TV,


The initial programming concept for the channel was to "bring the world to America" through a combination of news, current affairs shows, documentaries, cultural programs and feature films not found elsewhere on American television. Popular offerings have included Karachi Kops, a documentary series about a police precinct in Pakistan; Jamaica E.R., set in the Kingston Public Hospital; and world music videos.

Since then, they've expanded their offerings to include documentaries by independent American media producers who can rely less and less on the increasingly politicized PBS Network to present their productions.


With the aggressive bellicosity of our current Administration, World Link TV has taken on a new, more important role: that of a counterbalance to the right wing thrust of American corporate media. Since the definition of left wing and liberal in today's doublethink culture is anything not adhering to the dogmatism of the right, World Link TV is undoubtedly considered another example of that absurd wingnut creation called liberal media bias.


By the standards of the rest of the world, however, it is no more liberal than the BBC or even Radio Free Europe; except that it refuses to present issues from an exclusively and rabidly pro-American point of view as does the American corporate media.


So with war in Iraq a mere hours away, I find World Link TV to be the most refreshing and thought-provoking source of dialogue and information on television. And it's apparent that they take their role of being advocates for the world as a whole very seriously.


One of the most topical and important new programs is called The Active Opposition – Iraq: The Campaign for Hearts and Minds. According to WorldLink's website:


Host Peter Coyote and selected guests examine the Bush Administration’s “Iraq message”, and its particular mix of rational and emotional arguments to rally the American people behind its buildup to war. Using video clips from recent speeches by George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, the program focuses on the administration’s media strategies which appeal directly to human emotions, including:

THE POLITICS OF FEAR: What is Iraq’s real threat to the US and other countries of the middle east?

THE POLITICS OF COMPASSION: How can the world stand by and watch while the Iraqi people are subjected to rape, murder and torture?

THE POLITICS OF HOPE: Will the overthrow of Saddam Hussein lead to an open Western-style democracy or another strongman loyal to us in the short term who will be eventually overthrown?

IRAQ: THE CAMPAIGN FOR HEARTS AND MINDS will deconstruct the media spin and examine the administration’s message in a broader context.

Except for PBS's Now with Bill Moyers, this hour and a half exchange is like nothing I've seen on television in recent months. The analyses of this Administration's manipulation of American Hearts and Minds is dangerous to non-thinking citizens and possibly subversive to proto-despots like John Ashcroft. For these reasons, it is a must-see. Yet you can be assured that it will never be seen anywhere else on television.


It is just this kind of informative programming that guided our country through the social and cultural travails of the 20th century. Now, without broad access to dissenting opinion, the American public has slowly been conditioned to blindly accept the slant of the media and the spin of the newsmakers.


No more explicit example of this can be seen than (a majority of) the American peoples' docility at accepting this artificial Bush-created war that will most certainly place America and Americans in harms way. Most incredibly of all, it seems to me, is that we as a nation have taken on the arrogance and cavalier attitudes of the Bush braintrust, and are willing to go our own way regardless of what anyone else in the world thinks.


The precedents taken by their extremist viewpoints could create the most critically unstable world since the dawn of the nuclear age. Yet, like lemmings, Americans seem content to follow George Bush toward a precipice of doom.


The question is...is it already too late?




Thought for the day


"How bad do you have to suck to lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein?"- Bill Maher

Where were you when the mass murder in Baghad began?

Let's not mince words. Let's not parrot their carefully crafted and mendacious wording; language is the unseen front. The US has begun the massacre of Iraqi civilians in order to overthrow their leader and steal their oil. Regime change, my ass--I'll take mine with merlot and truffles. Meanwhile, here in the States, our civilian safety has just gone down the storm pipes with a jet pack on. Now we need to worry about terrorist attacks and martial law. The US has crumpled the UN Charter and tossed it in the shredder. Now as I write this President-Select Shrub is on the radio lying his ass off--can he say anything at all that's true? He wouldn't know how to begin to tell the truth. He would attempt to describe the color of a fire truck and end up with spit on his chin. Fucking motherfucker--how dare you steal the US election, snub all forms of international law, declare war on affirmative action, cheap AIDS drugs, the US economy, safe sex, clean air and water, commit the US military to civilian massacre and still get up in front of the American people and lie your despicable ass off. Andy Rooney said last Sunday on 60 Minutes that Americans shouldn't hate their presidents. Andy Rooney is a senile fool. I hate mass murderers. I hate George W. Bush.

If Armageddon isn't reached soon I predict America will recover from the sociopathic rule of Boy King Bush. The world will recover. Hold on. Lick your wounds. Mourn the dead. Spread the word. But most of all plan to build a true world coalition which will never again let a lone dictator like George W. Bush slip through their collective fingers and threaten the world with unbelievable and murderous fundamentalist madness. I'm buying a world flag this weekend to hang on my wall to help with my hope, to help with my vision of an alernative global mythos. I will continue with my meagre web activity. I will continue to tell anyone who cares to listen in my own life (and to some who won't). We lost the battle to stop this mass murder but--Eris help us--we won't lose the war. Peace. Nonviolence. Love. These are the most powerful memes of all. Embrace them and fuck them. Shave your bush.

Keep fighting. I love you all.


War has begun
By way of abuddahs, by way of jimslog, garnered from DEBKAfile, war-in-earnest has begun.
"Fighter-bombers took off from USS Kitty Hawk Wednesday night for bombing missions over Iraq, after allied bombers began strafing Iraqi artillery across country. US long-range B-52 bombers stood armed and ready for takeoff on airstrips at British Royal Air Force base at Fairford, in Gloucestershire."

  • ...and now, a word from our sponsors...this war is brought to you by ...

  • Red Alert would end some personal freedoms
    FBI and other federal officials in NJ outline Homeland [In]Security's "Red Alert" response: it will mean Martial Law.
    If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state's anti-terror czar says.
  • IMF admits no clear proof globalization helps the poor
    "Theoretical models" show that financial integration can increase economic growth in developing countries, the research found, but in practice it is difficult to prove this link.

    "In other words, if financial integration has a positive effect on growth, there is as yet no clear and robust empirical proof that the effect is quantitatively significant," the new report said.

    The paper concludes that countries must carefully balance integration in the world economy with strong economic policies and the building of strong institutions, including banks and regulatory systems.
    The dead American
    Washington state college student activist killed by Israeli soldiers
    by Geov Parrish

    Yesterday, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old senior at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., was killed by Israeli soldiers in the Rafah Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip.

    Corrie was run over -- and run over again, when the army bulldozer backed up over her a second time -- as she tried to prevent soldiers from demolishing a Palestinian home in the camp. She was in Palestine as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), among the most prominent of several nonviolent groups that in the last year have been bringing international activists -- primarily Americans and Europeans -- to work as peacekeepers: witnessing Israeli treatment of Palestinians, trying to provide assistance to Palestinian civilians wanting accompaniment as a form of protection against the Israelis, and afterwards bringing the stories of what they see back home to their own countries.
    [more]

    Rachel's war
    This weekend 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip. In a remarkable series of emails to her family, she explained why she was risking her life

    Hi friends and family, and others,

    I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me - Ali - or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say, "Bush Majnoon", "Sharon Majnoon" back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: "Bush mish Majnoon" ... Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, "Bush is a tool", but I don't think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.
    [more]

    Rachel's war (additional emails)

    I got a number of very thoughtful responses to the email I sent out last night, most of which I don't have time to respond to right now. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, questions, criticism. Daniel's response was particularly inspiring to me and deserves to be shared. The resistance of Israeli Jewish people to the occupation and the enormous risk taken by those refusing to serve in the Israeli military offers an example, especially for those of us living in the United States, of how to behave when you discover that atrocities are being commited in your name. Thank you.
    [more]
    Found this over at Sam Smith's Progressive Review:
    Sunday, March 16, 2003

    By TOM BALDWIN
    Gannett State Bureau
    TRENTON

    If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state's anti-terror czar says.

    ...

    A red alert would also tear away virtually all personal freedoms to move about and associate.

    ...

    "You literally are staying home, is what happens, unless you are required to be out. No different than if you had a state of emergency with a snowstorm."
    Yes, just like a snowstorm, when, for fear of prosecution I sequester myself in my home, renounce - inter alia - my freedom of association, and take in the radiant heat that only a burning Bill of Rights can provide.

    UPDATE: FBI Detention of "sympathizers" stateside noted by Atrios.

    UPDATE II: My fears were largely baseless. According to Anton Scalia, "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires" and that though in the course of the never-ending war "the protections will be ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum. I won't let it go beyond the constitutional minimum."

    This comes as a great relief.
    Tuesday, March 18, 2003
    LibertyThink Homeland Propaganda
    Alert Level Raised to Red ("Severe")


    In response to the Department of Homeland Security announcement of an operation which has been dubbed Operation Liberty Shield, LibertyThink has carefully evaluated the situation and decided to raise the status of the Homeland Propaganda Advisory System to level Red, the highest level on the scale.
    Ted is addressing Tony Blair but of course what he says applies equally to George W. Bush

    Ted Honderich: Security one week. Morality the next.
    It's enough to turn the stomach It is cant to say Saddam is responsible for a war about to happen, when you are massing armies and about to attack

    Ted Honderich is Grote Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University College London
    When saying "we're all Palestinians" really means something

    Imagine, if you will, that Washington wanted to demonize Israel. The death of Rachel Corrie, a young American who died after an Israeli bulldozer ran over her as she tried to protect Palestinian homes in Rafah, would have been splashed across the front-page of every newspaper. We'd know who she was, where she went to school, who her parents were, what her aspirations were, what her college marks were. But as it is, Rachel Corrie's death will be quickly forgotten, if it were even noticed, and the script will continue as the script-writers in Washington have written it: Sharon is a man of peace defending Israel from Palestinians, who are terrorists and would-be suicide bombers consumed by irrational hatred of Jews.

    Wage Peace --- Mary Oliver

    Wage peace with your breath.
    Breathe in firemen and rubble,
    breathe out whole buildings
    and flocks of redwing blackbirds.
    Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
    and freshly mown fields.
    Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
    Breathe in the fallen
    and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
    Wage peace with your listening:
    hearing sirens, pray loud.
    Remember your tools:
    flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
    Make soup.
    Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
    Learn to knit, and make a hat.
    Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
    imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
    or the gesture of fish.
    Swim for the other side.
    Wage peace.
    Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
    have a cup of tea and rejoice.
    Act as if armistice has already arrived.
    Don't wait another minute.


    Monday, March 17, 2003
    Sunday, March 16, 2003

    Photo story: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist

    A clearly marked Rachel Corrie, holding a megaphone, confronts an Israeli bulldozer driver attempting to demolish a Palestinian home, Rafah, Occupied Gaza, 16 March 2003.
    New Mexico bill upholds Constitution, spits in Feds' eye
    Isn't it nice to have some GOOD news to pass on for a change?
    The state of New Mexico has passed a bill that affirms Constitutional liberties, no matter what the Feds say. The bill instructs state cops to refuse to cooperate in unconstitutional searches and wiretaps, to abstain from assisting the INS and to ignore TIPS snitches. Likewise, librarians are required to post signs warning patrons that the FBI could be snooping on their reading habits, and the state official in charge of homeland security is required to get twice-annual disclosure from the Feds about the names and dispositions of every victim of unconstitutional secret arrest, detainment and surveillance. GO NEW MEXICO! (Via)
    Richard Perle's Lunch With the Saudis
    A New Yorker article on Defense Policy Board chairman and unofficial godfather of the neocon hawks Richard Perle is creating waves inside the beltway. Titled "Lunch With the Chairman," Seymour Hersh's article provides stunning details of a private lunch between Saudi industrialist Harb Saleh al-Zuhair and Perle which took place in France earlier this year. The meeting was brokered by none other than Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi playboy and arms dealer extraordinaire, best known for his starring role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

    While Perle claims the meeting was set up on Zuhair's behest to discuss the future of Iraq, there was a second more important item on the agenda: "to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme." Perle is a managing partner in Trireme Partners L.P., a venture-capital company whose main business is to invest in companies dealing with homeland security and defense.

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