Saturday, August 02, 2003
Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim received a rapturous reception when he brought a program of Beethoven and Brahms and a message of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation to this West Bank town on Saturday.
The renowned pianist and conductor, a longtime critic of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, played a packed and sweltering auditorium at a Ramallah school, the scene of a visit last year that angered some Israelis.
All: After some savage down-time, LibertyThink.com has been rescued from oblivion. A great site devoted largely to Privacy issues, and which becomes part of the SiaNews.com/FriendsOfLiberty.com network.
Pass on the news, please.
Maureen Dowd on US Senate turning on Wolfie and Bush Iraq policy
Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | Maureen Dowd: The sheep turn on Wolfie
Friday, August 01, 2003
former CIA agent Bob Baer attacks Bush terror policy and coddling of Saudi ArabiaSalon.com News | Terror in the Saudi kingdom
The 0.003 Gram Bomb That'll Kill Every-fucking-body
Some much-needed scrutiny finally applied to the "27 kilograms" of cesium-137 seized last month in Bangkok by a joint Thai-U.S. taskforce. Today's WSJ reports that the amount of the material captured was "a fraction of an ounce," and that Thai authorities doubt the claims of the man arrested in the operation that he had more of the material secreted across the border in Laos. The Journal says regarding the mammoth overstatement of the size of the cache that "Thai officials corrected the error shortly later." Not that anyone saw fit to tell the rest of us.
The only other serious treatment of the cesium-137 claims I found came via a June 25, 2003, letter to the editor of the Montreal Gazette where Jaro Franta wrote:
This absurd claim was repeatedly reported by various media around the world, without anyone bothering to check with a single person knowledgeable in the field of radiochemistry. There probably isn't that much Cs-137 in the entire world.If Franta - an apparent engineer with Atomic Energy of Canada - is correct, the Journal in its admirable revisitation of this sad tale overstated the size of the claim by a factor of ten.
Remember that Wacky George's Terror War needs as a prerequisite a terrorized populace. Don't let these deranged a-holes suspend your skeptical faculties as they've suspended your civil rights.
Addendum: There's also this lovely bit in the same Journal article:
In December, for instance, Houston-based oil-services and construction firm Halliburton Co. reported that a radiological instrument used to measure the depth of oil wells was stolen from its compound in Nigeria. Despite an extensive investigation, the radiological materials -- in this case enough americium-241 to contaminate several city blocks -- haven't been found. Halliburton didn't respond to repeated requests seeking comment.Of course they didn't.
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Have you got three minutes. Because that's all you need to learn how to defeat the Republican Right. Just read through this handy guide and you'll have everything you need to successfully debunk right-wing propaganda. [more]
I give this proposal my highest recommendation: 'cheap labor conservatives' - boffo. You see, this really is the heart of the matter, isn't it? Class war. Bone up and let loose. 'Cheap labor conservative' - the key is in the repeat.
More evidence that Bush-Blair policies helps al Qaeda with recruitment
The United States is no longer just a nation. It is now a religion. Its soldiers have entered Iraq to liberate its people not only from their dictator, their oil and their sovereignty, but also from their darkness. As George Bush told his troops on the day he announced victory: "Wherever you go, you carry a message of hope - a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, "come out," and to those in darkness, "be free".'"
So American soldiers are no longer merely terrestrial combatants; they have become missionaries. They are no longer simply killing enemies; they are casting out demons. The people who reconstructed the faces of Uday and Qusay Hussein carelessly forgot to restore the pair of little horns on each brow, but the understanding that these were opponents from a different realm was transmitted nonetheless. Like all those who send missionaries abroad, the high priests of America cannot conceive that the infidels might resist through their own free will; if they refuse to convert, it is the work of the devil, in his current guise as the former dictator of Iraq.
If they show me a stone and I say a stone they will say a stone.
If they show me a tree and I say a tree they will say a tree.
But if they show me blood and I say blood they will say paint.
BAGHDAD — A Japanese reporter was manhandled and temporarily detained by U.S. soldiers Sunday for filming without their permission in an area of Baghdad where they were conducting raids, another reporter who accompanied him said.
Must be part of that "democracy-building" that's going on over there . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
US media lets Bush off the hook but Bush is Bush so some interesting moments emerged: "The main lesson to emerge from the 50-minute session, the first since the invasion of Iraq four months ago, was how easily the chief executive evaded any serious damage - and how the reporters made it easy for him to do so.
The Bush on display was familiar: a bit macho, a bit matey and condescending. On occasion he flashed that unappealing smirk, or a spark of temper when a trusted aide was challenged. For a man who does not like being asked to explain himself, he looked relaxed and in command not only of his audience, but also (by his own unexacting standards) of the English language"
There were the usual odd breakdowns in brain-mouth co-ordination. "I will never assume the restraint and goodwill of dangerous enemies when lives of our citizens are at work," he proclaimed during a chest-beating passage about pursuing the war against terrorism. On occasion he moved his hands silently groping for words. But the ones he finally came up with more or less did the job.
As usual, reporters did not follow up each other's questions. At one point Mr Bush was pressed on the dodgy pre-war intelligence (and the even dodgier use made of it) about Saddam's supposed weapons' programmes. Predictably, he launched into an answer about how much better the world off was without Saddam Hussein.
The reporter pressed him but Mr Bush cut him off, calling the next question - which was about gay marriage. The President, as only to be expected, didn't think it was a good idea. The chance to pin him down was gone.
From then on it was downhill all the way. We saw the truculent Bush ("Since I'm in charge of the war on terror, we won't reveal source and methods," he said of his refusal to declassify 28 pages of the congressional report on the 11 September attacks). Then there was the carelessly dismissive Bush ("I didn't expect Thomas Jefferson to emerge in Iraq in a 90-day period," he said of the shambles there).
Relton Le Blogeur recommends: Wooster Collective : Stickers / Posters / Graf / Culture Jamming
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Back to square one. This article from Asia Times speculates that Karzai, interim governor of Afghanistan is on his way out, because the US would prefer to see a Taliban-friendly government in the country.
You're either with us, or against us. Well, some of you, anyway.
The illegal trade in olive trees has flourished as Israeli contractors, supported by armed guards, clear Palestinian agricultural land where an 80-mile electronic fence is being built to seal off the West Bank.
Thousands of olive trees have been dug up to make way for the 150-ft wide barrier and security zone. Its route usually passes inside Palestinian territory, not along the old pre-1967 border, and thousands of Palestinian farmers say their livelihood is being taken away.
The olive tree is one of the main symbols of Palestine, and one of the region's most enduring and characteristic natural features
Sale of the olive trees emerged after the owner of a contracting company offered two reporters from a popular Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, 100 large olive trees for £150 each.
The reporters found one enormous tree, said to be 600 years old, on sale at an Israeli plant nursery for £3,500. They said the trade was conducted with the complicity of an official in the civil administration, the Israeli military government in the occupied territories.
Buried deep in this Washington Post story:
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.Well, as long as the tactic "works," it surely must be justified!
Wolfowitz: Simple Nutter, Nothing More
There's little point in overanalyzing the intellectual pedigree of the leaders of the Bushite junta, and examining their motive beliefs. A rudimentary once-over of the prime avatar of Bushism, Paul Wolfowitz, shows that it's simple lunacy at base of this bebased agenda.
For instance, did you know that Saddam Hussein's Iraq - one of Ledeen's "crappy little countries" - is singly and solely responsible for every bad thing to befall the world's sole superpower since the first Gulf War? Wolfowitz does. On Meet the Press:
He linked bin Laden to Iraq by saying that the al Qaeda leader first called for the death of Americans because they were stationed in Saudi Arabia to carry out flights over southern Iraq, as part of Washington's post-Gulf War policy. He went on to say that the killings of 19 Air Force personnel in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 17 Navy sailors on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 would not have happened if the United States had not been engaged against Iraq.Facing an enemy of such enormity, of course, one "must be prepared to act on less-than-perfect intelligence in a world where the main threat is terror, even though information about terrorism is inherently murky." Which is to say, one must discard elementary military procedure such as properly identifying targets as enemies before directing fire. We must shoot first and suppress questions later.
And those questions, if ever aired, can be satisfactorily addressed not with factual answers, but with the suggestion of possibility, no matter how remote. Dementia now has this loon seeing WMDs, almost literally, beneath every bed. Witness the nutter on Meet the Press:
"I flew over Baghdad, it's a city, I believe, as large as Los Angeles. You look at all those houses and realize that every basement might contain a huge lethal quantity of anthrax."And these are just Wolofowitz's outbursts of this weekend past.
In the days of yore, anyone claiming that God told them to kill people was rightfully institutionalized. Now such people steal state power and actually institutionalize their mania. Ah, these great days of ever-expanding freedom!
Monday, July 28, 2003
Taliban forces based in Pakistan are intensifying attacks on US and Afghan government forces. According to the top US general in Afghanistan, Taliban fighters and affiliated Islamic militants have divided eastern Afghanistan into three zones for launching attacks. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is offering bounties for killing or capturing US troops.Update: Meanwhile, the Afghan people are getting it in the other end as well.
Afghans are being terrorized routinely -- robbed, beaten, kidnapped and imprisoned -- by gunmen working for faction leaders, local authorities and high-ranking officials whom the United States helped bring to power, an international human rights group said in a report to be released Tuesday.A damning bit:
Young girls and women have suffered disproportionately under the rule of Afghanistan's gunmen and warlords, the report says. Sexual assaults are so endemic that many are too afraid to walk to school or to leave home without wearing a burqa, making it impossible for them to enjoy the freedoms supposedly won with the fall of the repressive Taliban, the human rights group reported.And I was wondering whatever happened to this guy, not to mention this guy.
The U.S. military plans a worldwide on-line futures market to help it predict events in the Middle East. Traders could bet on the likelihood of events ranging from the overthrow of a government to the collapse of an economy or the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.The website is here.
via The Agonist
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Eric Margolis Nails It: Terms of Engagement - Herewith, Definitions to Keep on Top of Current Events
* Liberation - Invasion.
Language is the unseen front, and I've believed for a while now that the number one thing anti-propagandists need to do now (or top of the list anyway) is set up a central clearinghouse for the deconstruction of official word lines--because when news outlets and the general unsuspecting unconsciously parrot their word lines, a majory victory for Karl Rove and his language-perverting cronies is already won. Do not repeat "re-election," because George Bush was never elected. Do not repeat "Iraq war" because it wasn't one; it was an invasion. Etc. To this end, Eric Margolis has moved the resistance along considerably. Use this guide as a key. And resist with your words, as well as your actions.
Also, I'd like to point out that even if I didn't have the slightest compassion for anyone else in the world other than myself and my immediate circle (i.e., a Republican), I would still loathe Karl Rove and his group for what they do to the English language on a daily basis. That ain't English, folks. That's English turned inside out with shackles on and a big, fat-assed hook lying hidden underneath. Eat their language uncritically and you are instantly zombified.
American Samizdat: We Fight Zombies.
I am writing to because we want your help. We have just broken what may become one of the biggest stories on the Internet and we want your assistance and attention.
To cut to the chase, Scoop has just revealed security holes in the U.S. Electoral system. The details follow below and are at the following two links? with pictures?.
Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
a link to the full 40,000 files from the Diebold ftp site
This story is extremely sensitive and potentially explosive. There can be no doubt whatsoever that powerful commercial interests will be acting swiftly to either put a lid on this story, neutralize it via misinformation or law suit. It is vital therefore that it receive as much exposure as possible as quickly as possible.
Here is what I am asking you to do.
If you are a columnist or reporter: Please either write about this yourself - perhaps linking to our source materials - or bring this to the attention of your editor(s) and attempt to get your news organisation to carry a matching or followup story. If you are a webmaster: Please either repost the stories linked below and included at the foot of this email, or post links to them. If you are a list owner: Please post an item on this to your list and encourage your list members to further distribute this story; If you are a programmer: Go look at the code and evaluate what is happening.
Look at this hack job. Is there doubt why conspiracy theories about the death of Uday and Qusay proliferate on the Iraqi street?