American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, April 26, 2003
Messianic Jewish terrorists have been using toy-bombs to kill and maim as many Palestinian children as possible, according to a report published in the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam newspaper Monday.

The report quoted an official from the Ramallah-based Jurist organization, Haq, as saying that the Jewish terrorist group, Niqema (Hebrew for revenge), has carried out several bombings in Jerusalem, Sur Baher, Yatta, Jenin and Hebron. [more]

Link via New World Disorder.
A global coffee crisis caused by overproduction and a slump in wholesale prices is having a devastating impact on some of the world's poorest communities and the Earth's most endangered wildlife, a study published yesterday suggests.

Coffee farmers are being forced into poverty by falling prices and many are trying to maintain their livelihoods by increasing production of cheaper varieties of coffee at the expense of the environment. [more]

A tactic of the Palestinian intifada has spread ominously to Iraq, less than three weeks after US tanks rolled into the middle of Baghdad.

American troops are coming under attack from Iraqi children throwing stones, replaying scenes from the West Bank and Gaza Strip that were broadcast on state-run television before the fall of Saddam Hussein. [more]

. . . via Jorn, venerable blog-godfatha.
Is Bush taking lessons from Julius Caesar? Apparently so. When Caesar's short but bloody conquest of the Celtic tribes led to the founding of the Roman province of Gaul (modern France) in 52 B.C. he divided the country into three parts. Well-connected sources tell us that Bush plans to divide Iraq into three parts as well: Premium, regular and unleaded.
Katrina vanden Heuvel at the The Nation
On the chests of the men had been scrawled an Arabic phrase that translates as "Ali Baba - Thief."

A military officer states that the men are thieves, and that this technique will be used again.

No word yet from the newly liberated Iraqi people about some of them being summarily found guilty of theft, forced at gunpoint to strip, having a racist phrase written on their bodies, and then made to walk naked in public. No doubt the Arab/Muslim world is impressed by this display of "democracy," "freedom," "due process," and "no cruel or unusual punishment."

We wonder if the soldiers will be using this technique on their comrades who stole $13.1 million in Iraq. Or the journalists who looted Iraq's art. [more]

Friday, April 25, 2003
I'm guessing the administration has its hands so full of problems of its own making, this is the last sort of thing it can afford to respond to right now: a real humanitarian crisis in the making. Not that they would do anything anyway.

The Zimbabwean government has turned piecemeal repression of opposition activists into a campaign of full-scale systematic violence in recent weeks, taking advantage of the world's focus on the Iraq war.

Human rights organisations have documented a startling rise in attacks on supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change. In the past month, doctors have reported hundreds of patients seeking treatment for injuries they claim were sustained at the hands of state officials.


The home of Margaret Kulinji, secretary of the MDC's women's league, was invaded by 16 soldiers in uniform at about 1am on March 22. Armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, truncheons and lengths of hosepipe, the men carried a list of MDC officials who were their targets. They beat Ms Kulinji with their fists and rifle butts, kicked her and whipped her with the cord of her iron. They also beat her mother.

"They forced my mother to open her legs and they abused her with the mouthpiece of the AK rifle," said Ms Kulinji, grimacing as she looked at her sleeping in the next hospital bed.


Local campaigners say the army and police, working from lists of MDC members and officials, went from house to house, subjecting them and their families to savage beatings and torture. Often the squads had informers with them who pointed out the MDC supporters, they say.
Brave Contrarian Christopher Hitchens offers his support to the equally brave white men standing up against egalitariofascist terrorist bitches who would defile gender-segregated golf clubs.

Keep fighting the good fight, old boy.
Willamette Weekly has a long story on how Portland IndyMedia has been taken over by "a radical clique."
Less than an hour after the "See you on the streets" threat was posted anonymously, a response came from "Jed Duncan," who called the threat-maker a "wingnut" and a possible police provocateur.

The response, with its anti-violence message, soon disappeared--apparently removed by someone operating the website.

Only the threat remained.

I see this sort of thing frequently in the Pacific Northwest: small groups of black Carhart clad violent anarchists drowning out all other messages and generally giving activism a bad name. Does this sort of thing happen elsewhere? Any Harbingers from Portland out there care to comment?


Deva's Response.

A Look at Who Got in Where Shows Preferences Go Beyond Racial Ones


GROTON, Mass. -- Of the 79 members of the class of 1998 at the Groton School, 34 were admitted to Ivy League universities.

Not Henry Park. He was ranked 14th in his class at Groton, one of the nation's premier boarding schools, and scored a stellar 1560 out of 1600 on his SAT college-admission test. But he was spurned by four Ivies -- Harvard, Yale, Brown and Columbia universities -- as well as Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most of the students in Mr. Park's class who were accepted by those universities had less impressive academic credentials than his. What they had instead were certain characteristics such as money, connections, or minority status that helped them vault over him to the universities of their choice.

"I was naive," says Mr. Park's mother, Suki Park. "I thought college admissions had something to do with academics." She and her husband, middle-class Korean immigrants from New Jersey, scrimped to send their son to Groton because of its notable college-placement record.

In the coming months, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a landmark challenge to affirmative action by white applicants who had been rejected from the University of Michigan. The decision will likely have sweeping ramifications for the role of race in admissions to public and private schools. But a look at the fate of Groton's class of '98 shows that minority status is just one of several factors that can trump academic merit in college admissions. Indeed, students who are white and privileged regularly benefit from affirmative action of another kind. [more for subscribers]
Thursday, April 24, 2003
"American Psycho, it pretty much sums up what's going on," said Scott Matthews, a clerk at Toronto's Exile where the shirt also has sold out several times in the last two weeks. The $10-decal, which can be ironed onto an array of clothing items, officially became the shop's hottest seller when Susan Sarandon sauntered in and bought one, he said.

The executive Council of Edo Okpamakhin summoned an emergency meeting this past weekend to evaluate the inscrutable act of violence that marred the Saturday April 12 National Assembly elections in Nigeria. It has been widely reported in the news media that the elections were marred with violence, intimidation and killings. It will be recalled that Edo Okpamakhin recently issued a warning to INEC concerning the need to ensure free and fair elections for the survival of our nascent democracy. The violence that marred last Saturday’s elections forced an emergency meeting of the leaders of Edo Okpamakhin resident in the United States to evaluate all options open to Nigeria to make sure that the violence and killings are not repeated in subsequent elections, beginning next Saturday April 19. The continued slip of Nigeria into lawlessness, anarchy, and violence is certainly not conducive for a smooth democracy.
The Bush administration has made far-reaching but low-visibility civil rights policy decisions through regulation, litigation, and budgetary activity—reversing longstanding civil rights policies and impeding civil rights progress, according to a new report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund.

"The Bush Administration Takes Aim: Civil Rights Under Attack," catalogues the various policy decisions of the administration which, in the aggregate, illustrate a pattern of hostility toward core civil rights values and signal a diminished commitment to the ideal of non-discrimination. [more]
In the chaos of Baghdad, two Iraqi musicians struggle to preserve their music school. All that remains after looting is a song of peace.
Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of ground forces in Iraq, issued a proclamation putting Iraq's politicians on notice, saying, "The coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq." He warned that anyone challenging the American-led authority would be subject to arrest.


"Nobody has authority unless General McKiernan says so," General Whitley advised. "Mr. Zobeidi and Mr. Chalabi have no authority. If we say you run the railroad, you run the railroad. If anybody comes and tells you differently, tell us. We will ask them to stop interfering. If we have to, we will arrest them."
Whole piece here.
Jonah Goldberg's disgrace of a mother with a neat and handy summation of her neoconservative colleagues in a piece on New York City, "New Home of the Right-Wing Gloat."
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
from MadCowMorningNews
VENICE, FL - April 24 -- For at least four years while living in Hamburg during the 1990’s terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta was part of a 'joint venture' between the U.S. and German Governments, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, an elite international “exchange” program run by a little-known private organization with close ties to powerful American political figures like David Rockefeller and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The jointly-funded government effort picked up the tab for Atta on sojourns in Cairo, Istanbul, and Aleppo in Syria during the years 1994 and 1995 and employing him as a “tutor” and “seminar participant” during 1996 and 1997.

Moreover Atta’s financial relationship with the U.S. - German government effort, known as the may even extend back to his initial move from Egypt to Germany in 1992, after being “recruited” in Cairo by a mysterious German couple dubbed the “hijacker’s sponsors” in a recent news account in the Chicago Tribune.

In the years before he became a ‘terrorist ringleader,’ Atta was enjoying the patronage of a government initiative overseen by the U.S. State Department and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the German equivalent of the U.S. Agency currently supervising the secretive bidding race for tens of billions of dollars of post-war reconstruction contracts in Iraq, the Agency for International Development. - MUST READ -
Also see: Even stranger, both Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris were providing celebrity endorsements to Hilliard's operation well after the company's Lear (N351WB) had been busted by DEA agents armed with machine guns.
No, not really. From today's Washington Post:
As Iraqi Shiite demands for a dominant role in Iraq's future mount, Bush administration officials say they underestimated the Shiites' organizational strength and are unprepared to prevent the rise of an anti-American, Islamic fundamentalist government in the country.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

When it comes to many of the "anti-terror" policies and laws being fastened upon us, the "cure" may be more deadly than the disease.

Are we giving up essential liberties in the war on terror for the promise of safety? In the name of security are we concentrating and institutionalizing power in such ways that we are inviting terror far beyond what any terrorist group could ever hope to inflict on us?

Recall that throughout history — and particularly in the past century — governments have been by far the primary and most lethal instruments of terror. Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and their fellow dictators have proven the most efficient terrorists.

Wielding unbridled power, they have turned the state into an instrument of terror, death, and destruction. In our stampede to safety after the 9-11 attacks, have we been rushing headlong into a deadly trap?
The US military has revealed it is holding juveniles at its high-security prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, known as Camp Xray. The commander of the joint task force at Guantanamo, Major General Geoffrey Miller, says more than one child under the age of 16 is at the detention centre. None of the children have been charged with a crime.
Monday, April 21, 2003
Undercover among America's secret theocrats

In the process of introducing powerful men to Jesus, the Family has managed to effect a number of behind-the-scenes acts of diplomacy. In 1978 it secretly helped the Carter Administration organize a worldwide call to prayer with Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, and more recently, in 2001, it brought together the warring leaders of Congo and Rwanda for a clandestine meeting, leading to the two sides' eventual peace accord last July. Such benign acts appear to be the exception to the rule. During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise. "We work with power where we can," the Family's leader, Doug Coe, says, "build new power where we can't."

...they forge "relationships" beyond the din of vox populi (the Family's leaders consider democracy a manifestation of ungodly pride) and "throw away religion" in favor of the truths of the Family. Declaring God's covenant with the Jews broken, the group's core members call themselves "the new chosen."
Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad. The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.
On this Friday evening, Wiser is surrounded by wealthy folks who think similarly. The occasion is the annual meeting of a Boston-based group called Responsible Wealth, whose 700 members belong in the top 5 percent of wealth nationally and whose mission is to close the economic divide that it says has created a “second Gilded Age.” After a round of applause for the waitstaff and an MC’s mention of how the Westin was picked because it’s a union hotel, Bill Gates Sr. delivers a keynote address on the subject about which he has been stumping across the country: his opposition to repealing the estate tax. Over the following weekend, the crowd will go on to attend workshops with titles like “Freeze the Tax Cuts” and “Corporate Accountability.”

The greatest gulf
Jonathan Raban argues that, apart from the immediate cost in human life, military intervention in Iraq has also represented a disastrous failure of imagination and a fatal inability to understand the role of history - and religion - in the region

Whatever its immediate apparent outcome, the war on Iraq represents a catastrophic breakdown of the British and American imagination. We've utterly failed to comprehend the character of the people whose lands we have invaded, and for that we're likely to find ourselves paying a price beside which the body-count on both sides in the Iraqi conflict will seem trifling.

Passionate ideologues are incurious by nature and have no time for obstructive details. It's impossible to think of Paul Wolfowitz curling up for the evening with Edward Said's Orientalism, or the novels of Naguib Mahfouz, or Seven Pillars of Wisdom, or the letters of Gertrude Bell, or the recently published, knotty, often opaque, but useful book by Lawrence Rosen, The Culture of Islam, based on Rosen's anthropological fieldwork in Morocco, or Sayyid Qutb's Milestones. Yet these, and a dozen other titles, should have been required reading for anyone setting out on such an ambitious liberal-imperial project to inflict freedom and democracy by force on the Arab world. The single most important thing that Wolfowitz might have learned is that in Arabia, words like "self", "community," "brotherhood" and "nation" do not mean what he believes them to mean. When the deputy secretary of defence thinks of his own self, he - like me, and, probably, like you - envisages an interiorised, secret entity whose true workings are hidden from public view. Masks, roles, personae (like being deputy secretary for defence) mediate between this inner self and the other people with whom it comes into contact. The post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic self, with its autonomous subjective world, is a western construct, and quite different from the self as it is conceived in Islam. Muslims put an overwhelming stress on the idea of the individual as a social being. The self exists as the sum of its interactions with others. Rosen puts it like this: "The configuration of one's bonds of obligation define who a person is . . . the self is not an artefact of interior construction but an unavoidably public act."

Broadly speaking, who you are is: who you know, who depends on you, and to whom you owe allegiance - a visible web of relationships that can be mapped and enumerated. Just as the person is public, so is the public personal. We're dealing here with a world in which a commitment to, say, Palestine, or to the people of Iraq, can be a defining constituent of the self in a way that westerners don't easily understand. The recent demonstrations against the US and Britain on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Sanaa and Islamabad may look deceptively like their counterparts in Athens, Hamburg, London and New York, but their content is importantly different. What they register is not the vicarious outrage of the anti-war protests in the west but a sense of intense personal injury and affront, a violation of the self. Next time, look closely at the faces on the screen: if their expressions appear to be those of people seen in the act of being raped, or stabbed, that is perhaps closer than we can imagine to how they actually feel.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Here’s a question: what if the Wachowski brothers’ 1999 film The Matrix was not just an entertaining piece of sf-action-adventure hokum. What if, instead, it is all true? Imagine it as a message sent via the medium of the Matrix itself (Hollywood cinema) from someplace outside the Matrix, to wake us up to our human condition, to alert us all to the fact ‘that we are slaves’. If so, then we are not living the lives we thought we were living; we are instead inhabiting a virtual reality composed by oppressive machine-intelligences. What if this were literally true? How would it appear to us? Well, clearly, it would appear exactly as our lives presently appear to us. Unless we get ‘unplugged’, unless we become enlightened, we cannot see past the illusion that has been created for us.

What should we do in this circumstance? Should we collaborate with the machines and not rock the boat? Or should we fight, free ourselves and eventually free everybody else? Clearly, says The Matrix Warrior, this latter. This is a book that proceeds from the assumption that the situation described in The Matrix is real, and tells you where to go from there.

Another: Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix

This thought-provoking examination of The Matrix explores the technological challenges, religious symbolism, and philosophical dilemmas the film presents. Essays by renowned scientists, technologists, philosophers, scholars, social commentators, and science fiction authors provide engaging and provocative perspectives. Explored in a highly accessible fashion are issues such as the future of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The symbolism hidden throughout The Matrix and a few glitches in the film are revealed. Discussions include "Finding God in The Matrix," "The Reality Paradox in The Matrix," and "Was Cypher Right?: Why We Stay in Our Matrix." The fascinating issues posed by the film are handled in an intelligent but nonacademic fashion. Link to Slashdot Article with more links.

Also see: Our former articles on more "Matrix Philosophy"
  • How to live in a simulation.
  • Are you living in a computer simulation?
  • We're living in a Matrix...possibly.
  • Powell's Books

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