Saturday, May 24, 2003
Hadeb Hamed Hamed, the tribe’s sheikh, sat on mats on the prison officer’s porch, and said: “The Americans promised us food and medicine and freedom. But we have lost our homes, our land, our crops. Now we live in prison with nothing, and they ignore us.
“It is the allied forces that have done this to us. When we run out of food, I don’t know what we will do.”
In fact, he does know, because with starvation looming, he has been talking about it with the other elders.
“If we don’t have a solution, we will fight the Americans even if they kill us. It is better than sitting here with nothing and just dying,” he said.
"The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates. `Security' sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can't just give up land.
"Above all else, reaffirm your position that first terrorism stops, and then negotiations begin." [more]
There is little for humanity to cheer about in the organization's "Vital Signs 2003," which outlines how the continued failure to address widespread poverty serves as a lightening rod for health, social and environmental problems across the world.
The consumption choices of the rich and the inability of political leaders to act has brought this situation to bear, says Michael Renner, coauthor and project director of Vital Signs 2003, and there are few signs that things will change anytime soon. [more]
Friday, May 23, 2003
In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops.
After screening the videotape last fall, the European Parliament called for an investigation. The United Nations has authorized an official investigation into the film’s allegations, but only if the security of its members can be guaranteed. And security is hard to find in northern Afghanistan. Since this documentary was filmed, eyewitnesses have been tortured. Others have disappeared or been killed.
Watch brief excerpts (Part I; Part II) from a 50 minute documentary,
Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death by Scottish journalist Jamie Doran and Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi. Hear Doran talk about the massacre and its implications and why there's been no investigation into suspected war crimes.
Yesterday, Amy Goodman played a speech by Dr. Helen Caldicott on Nuclear Proliferation and the Invasion of Iraq
. There’s no transcript, but you can download the audio. In one section, she describes a meeting with Reagan during his presidency. She says it scared her silly. As a medical doctor, she’s trained to do quick calculations of a person’s IQ (it’s so doctors can determine if their patient can follow directions on perscriptions, etc.). She says Reagan’s is probably about 100. Caldicott is brilliant; highly recommended.
Also from Democracy Now!, check out: New York Times Reporter, Chris Hedges was Booed off the Stage and had his Microphone Cut Twice as he Delivered a Graduation Speech on War and Empire at Rockford College in Illinois.
Bush Proposes Universal Time Zone
At the United Nations today President George W. Bush announced a proposal to unify all the world's time zones into a single Universal Time Zone (UTZ), formerly known as the Eastern Time Zone.
"It's unfair to the United States that other countries have the advantage of being in tomorrow while the US is stuck in today," said Bush. "If it's 9 PM in Washington D.C., it's already tomorrow in London or Paris. That patently unfair."
Bush continued, "Right now, Americans are losing jobs to other countries whose workforce can give overnight service during their normal daylight hours. We'll level the playing field and keep more jobs in the US with the UTZ." BBspot
"I saw it. The TV monitors show Nazis, Hitler, and an atomic explosion, and somewhere in the midst of all that the face of George W. Bush can be seen for a second or so." "Why would such a peace-loving president so emotionally engaged with the struggle of the common man ever be included alongside such dark images?"What could the filmmakers have been thinking? Is it too late to start a boycott of this film? ... Maybe if enough pressure can be exerted, they can have the offensive image removed before they press the DVD!"
I am speechless. I'll let the two gentlemen in question handle this one:
Irrational Reactionism: The Last War on Terror, by valis
"There ought to be limits to freedom."
"We come not as conquerors, but as liberators."
-- George Bush
"Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to insure our domestic security and protect our homeland."
"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death."
-- Adolf Hitler
Texas TV stations pull CBS 'Hitler' miniseries
"The Nazi concept, if you will, is still very real, and I think anything we do to give that particular thinking a venue, a format, is a mistake," Remy said.'Hitler' Exec. Producer Fired Over Remarks
American Rings Warning Bells, Sacrifices Job for Country
"It basically boils down to an entire nation gripped by fear, who ultimately chose to give up their civil rights and plunged the whole nation into war," Gernon said in the interview. "I can't think of a better time to examine this history than now."
Thursday, May 22, 2003
An excellent WSJ
piece this morning, showing that Ahmad Chalabi, the scumbag tapped by Resident Bush to preside over Iraq, did not
embezzle $30 million from a Jordanian bank as has been widely reported. No, he seems to have been complicit in the disappearance of a full $158 million. The Journal
notes that courts found that Chalabi, too cheap to pony up the cash to transport his deceased father's body for burial, stuck his Petra Bank (a/k/a Piggy Bank) for the $35,000 bill. As per Journal
usual, this piece ends on an up-note:
They say they would arrest Mr. Chalabi if he returned to the kingdom, and he would be liable for the penalty assessed. But in an odd twist of Jordanian law, because Mr. Chalabi's absence had left him not legally entitled to a defense, upon his return he could mount a defense and in that way challenge the court ruling.
He says he has no plans to return.
I wonder why.
The idiot son
editing the idiotic Sun
, on the commencement of hostilities in Iraq, is alleged to have assembled his poor staff for a champagne toast to mass death, calling Bush's jihad "my war." One wonders if the bigoted
lightweight is likewise willing to appropriate the war's aftermath
Beer, Patriotism and Testosterone Dept:
I hadn't realized that the NHL playoffs are a fight for the survival of the free world
. WorldNetDaily [thanks, walker]
He said Evian's main goal would be "to build the institutions and rules of a global democracy, open and interconnected", a swipe at the American administration, which has little patience for such rhetoric.
How else can we embarass Bush? How about if Bob Graham were to pull a Daniel Ellsberg? We could hope for a situation where Bush appears in public without a script, but this seems unlikely. The latest edition of the collective American memory is about to pull the phrase "presidential press conference" from it's list. Bush can't appear at a real press conference because he's too stupid. Oh, but look at him swagger. He's sure full of something. Whatever it is, there is a minimum of a brain attached. And then, of course, there are the strings that lead back to the puppetmaster: Karl Rove.
Yes, I believe Bush truly is dumb but the people surrounding him are not. They are vile, vicious, and evil. But not dumb.
But how can you embarass a man who cannot feel shame? How can you embarass a man who is incapable of feeling compassion for others?
No matter. As long as there are people who care about the truth, people like Karl Rove and his puffed-up frat boy will not win. A healthy appetite for the actual truth is the best antidote to their turbo-paced mendacity campaign. Embarass Bush by seeking the truth.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Tonight on Wednesday May 21, two dissident members of the Federal Communications Commission will host the final public hearing on the upcoming FCC rule changes on media ownership. FCC chairman Michael Powell is pushing an accelerated deregulation of media which will allow an unprecedented consolidation of media ownership into the hands of even fewer corporations. His new rules are due to be voted on June 2nd. Democracy Now! will be webstreaming tonight's event live between 6 and 10 p.m.The audio will also be archived on this page.
Dissident FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps will both speak tonight at the event, "Media and Democracy Hearing: Where Are We and What's Next."
Other speakers include legal media expert Christopher Yoo of theVanderbilt University Law School; Amy Goodman, producer of "Democracy Now!"; John Sugg, Senior Editor of Creative Loafing; Jabari Simama, Director of the City of Atlanta's Office of Community Technology; and Loretta Ross, Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education. All of the panelists will discuss the impact of media ownership rules on diversity in programming, viability of independent production, the variety of editorial, cultural and ethnic voices and barriers to industry entry. Most importantly, public comment will follow the panelists presentation.
Evidence is mounting to suggest that between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the recent war, according to researchers involved in independent surveys of the country.
Which brings us to IndyMedia, the newswire that lets almost anyone post articles -– many of which are unique and excellent bits of reporting, and some of which emphatically aren't. Those apolitical computers at Google News have had an on-again, off-again love affair with the IndyMedia reports, and IndyMedia itself rages with speculation it has been cut off from the News Google site, or is about to be cut off, or was cut off but is now back on. By some accounts, Google News is avoiding Indy Media as an expression of pro-war "patriotism," by other accounts it's been pressured to do something about IndyMedia postings considered anti-Semitic. Whatever the case, IndyMedia –- all of it -- is off of Google News. You can tell by conducting a Google News search for IndyMedia and sorting it by date; nothing comes up after May 16.
So a uniquely editor-free, computer-generated news service feels the need for human intervention after all. Why? To block out a uniquely editor-free, citizen-generated news service. Will Google News now steer clear of every Middle Eastern publication to have ever given voice to an anti-Semitic remark?
Conrad Black's Hollinger, which owns the Telegraph newspaper group, is under mounting pressure from a major company shareholder to explain nearly £45m in executive payments.
In a letter filed with the New York securities and exchange commission ahead of tomorrow's annual general meeting, Tweedy Browne claimed £120m had been paid to Lord Black and his management since 1995.
The firm's lawyer, Robert E Curry, has asked non-executive directors - who include US defence adviser Richard Perle and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger - to "take all action necessary, including litigation" to recover the money paid to executives.
Portland police are offering a reward for your help in identifying several anti-war protestors.
Police arrested several dozen people during the recent anti-war protests - but some of those taken into custody - didn't carry identification and refused to give their real names.
Congo: 230 bodies found in streets
The bodies were recovered after a rise in fighting between rival Hema minority and Lendu majority for control of Bunia and fears of a Rwanda-style genocide.
Ethnic killings between the groups have consumed at least 5,000 lives between July 2002 and March 2003, according to the U.S.-based group, Human Rights Watch
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
In one weekend we saw the first president to enter office with a criminal conviction climb into a Navy jumpsuit, 31 years after vanishing for seven months from his military reservist tour, only to use a U.S. aircraft carrier and thousands of troops as a backdrop for what amounted to a campaign commercial.
In that same weekend, the nation's own Inspector Javert of morality, former drug czar and self-appointed virtue czar William Bennett, gets caught blowing $8 million at casinos during those same years he was wagging his finger at the last president and much of America for sins of character. In the immortal words of Daffy Duck, "Ha, ha. It is to laugh."
Iraq's interim administrator L. Paul Bremer III today designated the car alarm as Iraq's new national anthem, calling the decision an "important step on the road to normalcy."
By giving the nod to the car alarm as the country's new anthem, interim administrators are hoping to dispel the widespread impression that lawlessness reigns in the newly liberated country.
In other Iraq news, the smash hit "Uday, Where's My Car?" topped the box office chart here for the third week in a row.
The hit comedy tells the tale of two clueless Iraqi teens who lose their car to Uday Hussein, along with one billion Euros in small bills.
But as Tom Tomorrow reports
That .02 rating really makes you a player
Joe Scarborough, whose show I--along with the vast majority of Americans for a change--have never watched, is claiming that his influence is so vast that MCI was forced to drop Danny Glover from its ad campaign.
Before this meme is spread too widely, I want to note that last winter, well before the war, well before Joe Scarborough even had a television show that no one was watching, I had dinner with a friend who is well-placed within the ad agency which produces those MCI commercials, and according to my friend, the scuttle even then was that MCI was trying to figure out a way to dump Danny Glover because they didn't want to be associated with his anti-war views.
In short, Scarborough's victory is as nonexistent as his triumphalism is pathetic.
Afterthought: here's an MCI contact page. Let them know what you think of their decision. Remind them how easy it is to switch long distance carriers.
Yes, let's all contact MCI, why don't we? Of course, even without their canning Glover it's not like they're an ethical company, are they?
[drmenlo : samizdat] Still, they managed to score the Iraq cell phone contract
. So, somebody must like them, right? Boycott MCI/Worldcom
Overall, it's hard to conceive of anything sillier than the schedule the Senate has laid out. Indeed, the first President Bush had a name for such activities: "voodoo economics." The manipulation of enactment and sunset dates of tax changes is Enron-style accounting, and a Congress that has recently demanded honest corporate numbers should now look hard at its own practices.
As Bush rapes the U.S. Treasury above-board using his rubber-stamp House and Senate to shift more and more money up into the richest hands, a trillion dollars goes missing from The Department of Defense
. How else has Bush been raping America's wealth? Hm, let's see . . . arm a country and make money (Lockheed Martin/Heritage Foundation, Carlyle Group, etc.), then declare war on the same country and make money (Lockheed Martin/Heritage Foundation, Carlyle Group, etc.), then award more of the nation's money to the companies chosen to go in and clean up the mess (Bechtel, Halliburton, etc.).
Oh yea, and be sure to throw in by-now meaningless words like freedom and democracy now and again so that the uninformed masses of this country actually cheer you on as you're raping their country. Stupid proles. Deserve what they get, right Leo?!
Monday, May 19, 2003
In a display of what might be called Saddam's revenge, the discredited dinar soared by about one-third against the dollar on Thursday and is now at its highest value since 1996. Its remarkable comeback is likely to cause heartburn for American officials here, and not just because Iraq's currency of choice bears a portrait of the former dictator on every bill.
A potentially bigger problem is that the dinar's surge and the dollar's plunge have wiped out a big part of the purchasing power of the $20 emergency payments American administrators have been handing out to workers in lieu of their unpaid monthly salaries.
On Kifah Street — the gritty and occasionally violent open-air meeting place for hundreds of currency traders and cigarette smugglers — the most prevalent theory for the dinar's startling surge was that the Americans did it to themselves by flooding the market with more dollars than people wanted to spend.
With the Americans handing out $20 payments to several million Iraqi workers and preparing to give $40 to about one million pensioners, traders said they were essentially speculating on a looming saturation of dollars. "If you have one million pensioners getting $40 apiece, that's $40 million coming onto the streets," said Ahmed Muhammad Ali, a trader on Kifah Street. "What did you expect would happen?" (reg. req.)
"The land of Israel was originally owned by God," said Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a Republican presidential contender in 2000. "Since He was the owner, only He could give it away. And He gave it to the Jewish people."
Calling the peace proposal "a Satanic road map," Earl Cox, executive producer and host of Front Page Jerusalem, a radio program, asked, "Do any of you believe [Palestinian leader] Yasser Arafat will embrace traditional family values? There will be a mosque on all the holy sites. How can anyone who's a Jew or a Christian support such a proposal?"
"We may have disagreements about who [the Messiah] is," Mr. van de Hoeven said, "but He is not coming back to a mosque but to a third temple."
A Valis original
...This is obviously extreme paranoia. These "delusional America-haters" have sided with the enemy. Remember, there are evil boogeymen hiding under every single bed in every home in America. Without a KGB-style police state to "root them out", they will strike again. They will take away your freedom. They will come over here wielding swords and force everybody to grow beards.
Don't believe me? You must be a "terrorist" yourself...
Sunday, May 18, 2003
Arundhati Roy, speech delivered at the Riverside Church in Harlem, New York, on May 13:
Democracy, the modern world’s holy cow, is in crisis. And the crisis is a profound one. Every kind of outrage is being committed in the name of democracy. It has become little more than a hollow word, a pretty shell, emptied of all content or meaning. It can be whatever you want it to be. Democracy is the Free World’s whore, willing to dress up, dress down, willing to satisfy a whole range of taste, available to be used and abused at will. [more]
Roy's speech is also available
on the Outlook India
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