Friday, March 31, 2006
America, Take Resposnsibility For Yourself
Bush was given more to discuss in his visit to Cancun Mexico this week than just his plans for immigration and its repercussions. He was also hit with the fact of his countries rampant drug abuse that needs to be supplied from other than his own country. (Due to prior arrangements and finances and power).
As a nation, America is addicted to drugs, legal and not legal. They feel their illegal addictions can be cured by stopping the flow until there is none available so they must choose something legal. This is an absurd theory and has yet to produce anything but disaster and more of their addicts.
Violence rages in the border cities as this need tries to be met and a war is made from it. It seems America makes a war of everything they can. They are not going to be able to stop their citizens cravings and needs, obviously they don’t want to or they would not be pushing so many similar legal drugs everywhere you turn. Keeping certain drugs illegal gives them the power to undermine a country and ruin its economy.
Speaking of America, the Mexican Attorny General said in an article in todays El Unviersal,
"At least they now accept co-responsibility for the problem," he said.
"In the past, U.S. policy toward drugs resembled "that of the ostrich: to bury its head in the sand and blame everyone else."
"Even so, more needs to be done on the U.S. side.
"It is a problem that in large part they provoke because they are the main consumers, the dirty money comes from there and the people who live from drugs are not here: they are over there selling in the streets." But the attorney general warned that the war against drugs would be won only if U.S.authorities were successful in reducing demand at home.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Escape While You Can
Deserted though is not a proper word for it. Because one must first desert principals and morals and a good heart in order to participate in what they demand. Perhaps it should more likely be called escaping the enemy, which their own captors, the American military has become. What if you weren’t born to kill? Not believing in killing should not be a crime. Those men should be called our heroes, they refused, if anyone is going to claim that in this disaster to all who touch it.
And if these men escape that trap because it goes against them, why should others stay in America which is the cause of this predicament when escape is, still, so much simpler. Why did they let themselves be taken in the first place? They know the military is for oppression. If you stay in the war and kill or stay home and make that killing possible, you’re the same, in principle. All good people should feel the ship sinking, the stink taking over, their freedoms being choked, their lives lined up for easy use, their minds bent till they accept killing as an answer with no more than a complaint.
American citizens are in danger. Their own country is going to start rounding them up and sorting them out. The whole situation is soon to clamp down and escape a thing hard to accomplish.
Below is an excerpt from an article telling of one mans discovery of the empty and waiting FEMA concentration camps in America.
"In searching the Internet, I have discovered that there are about 600 of these prison sites around the country. They are manned, but yet do not contain prisoners. Why do they need all these non-operating prisons? What are they waiting for? We continuously hear that our current prisons are overcrowded and they are releasing prisoners because of this situation. But what about all these facilities? What are they really for? Why are there armed guards yet no one to protect themselves against? And what is going to be the kick-off point to put these facilities into operation?
Once a major disaster occurs (whether it is a real event or manufactured event does not matter) Martial Law is hurriedly put in place and we are all in the hands of the government agencies (FEMA) who thus portray themselves as our protectors. Yet what happens when we question those in authority and how they are taking away all of our freedoms? Will we be the ones detained in these camp sites? And who are they going to round up? Those with guns? Those who ask questions? Those that want to know what's really going on? Does that include any of us? The seekers of truth?
When first coming across this information I was in a state of total denial. How could this be? I believed our country was free, and always felt a sense of comfort in knowing that as long as we didn't hurt others in observing our freedom we were left to ourselves. Ideally we treated everyone with respect and honored their uniqueness and hoped that others did likewise.
It took an intensive year of searching into the hidden politics to discover that we are as free as we believe we are. If we are in denial, we don't see the signs that are staring at us, but keep our minds turned off and busy with all the mundane affairs of daily life.
We just don't care enough to find out the real truth, and settle for the hand-fed stories that come our way over the major media sources television, radio, newspaper, and magazines. But it's too late to turn back to the days of blindfolds and hiding our heads in the sand because the reality is becoming very clear. The time is fast approaching when we will be the ones asking "What happened to our freedom? To our free speech? To our right to protect ourselves and our family? To think as an individual? To express ourselves in whatever way we wish?"
Once we challenge that freedom we find out how free we really are. How many are willing to take up that challenge? Very few indeed, otherwise we wouldn't find ourselves in the situation that we are in at the present time. We wouldn't have let things progress and get out of the hands of the public and into the hands of those that seek to keep us under their control no matter what it takes, and that includes the use of force and detainment for those that ask the wrong questions.
Will asking questions be outlawed next? Several instances have recently been reported where those that were asking questions that came too near the untold truth (the cover up) were removed from the press conferences and from the public's ear. Also, those that wanted to speak to the press were detained and either imprisoned, locked in a psychiatric hospital, slaughtered (through make-believe suicides) or discredited.
Why are we all in denial over these possibilities? Didn't we hear about prison camps in Germany, and even in the United States during World War II? Japanese individuals were rounded up and placed in determent camps during the duration of the War. Where was their freedom?
You don't think it could happen to you? Obviously those rounded up and killed didn't think it could happen to them either. How could decent people have witnessed such atrocities and still said nothing? Are we going to do the same here as they cart off one by one those individuals who are taking a stand for the rights of the citizens as they expose the truth happening behind the scenes? Are we all going to sit there and wonder what happened to this country of ours? Where did we go wrong? "
Monday, March 27, 2006
Chad - Same Story?
This from The BBC
Thousands flee from CAR violence
Thousands of people have fled their homes to escape violence in the north of Central African Republic (CAR). Aid agencies estimate that more than 7,000 refugees have crossed the border into Chad in the past few weeks. A BBC reporter who visited the area says refugees claim government troops are systematically killing men and boys they suspect of backing rebel groups.
Central African Republic President Francois Bozize has blamed rebel groups for the unrest. The United Nations refugee agency is struggling to cope with the refugee influx into neighbouring Chad, and is warning the situation could become "catastrophic".
About 50,000 more refugees are thought to be hiding in the forest after being forced to flee their villages. The BBC's Stephanie Hancock has been to the village of Bedakusan, in the border region of Chad, and says that for the last month the usually sleepy village has been home to more than 2,500 refugees fleeing the unrest. The refugees were exhausted, many had walked for days through the bush to reach safety, our correspondent says. They claim government troops are travelling from village to village in the north of CAR, entering villages and simply opening fire on anyone who is male.
They say that age is no barrier - many refugees told our correspondent they saw boys of just two or three years old shot dead. Correspondents say international aid agencies have known for some time that a new human tragedy is unfolding in the north of the CAR. But while the agencies can just about function in regions such as Darfur and eastern Congo, the level of insecurity in the northern CAR is so bad they cannot operate there at all, correspondents say.
Mr Bozize has blamed rebels opposed to his administration and bandits for the killings, but correspondents say the refugees are adamant that the culprits are government troops, decked out in their distinctive green berets. Mr Bozize seized power three years ago, and since he stood successfully in a presidential election last year, a rebel movement has emerged in the north.
This from allAfrica.com
Chad: Mounting Unrest in East Threatens Aid Effort, WFP Says
March 24, 2006Posted to the web March 24, 2006 Dakar
Mounting violence in eastern Chad, which aid workers say has forced thousands of Chadians from their homes, "could seriously impede" humanitarian relief efforts in the region, where aid groups are assisting nearly a quarter-million refugees from Sudan's Darfur conflict, the UN food aid agency said on Friday.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a communique that unrest is hindering efforts to evaluate how dire the situation is for families recently displaced by violence. "We are at an extremely delicate stage in Chad - right on the edge," said Stefano Porretti, Chad country director for WFP, which is providing food for more than 207,000 men, women and children who have fled Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region.
Violence from the Darfur conflict has repeatedly spilled over into eastern Chad, but the instability has increased in recent months with incursions by various armed groups and - just last week - fighting between Chad forces and rebels holed up in a mountainous area straddling the border. One aid worker said at least 25,000 Chadians have been displaced by the latest unrest. And the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said late last month that some Chadians were fleeing over the border into Darfur. WFP called the fresh population movements "worrying".
While an initial WFP assessment found that Chadians in the border zone have substantial foods stocks thanks to a good harvest, "there are very real fears that people would soon require essential humanitarian assistance," WFP says, adding, "it is difficult to assess the magnitude of needs because of current insecurity".
"The longer the insecurity in the area persists, the more serious the situation will become," Porretti said in the WFP statement. "Most people affected by the recent violence have enough food for another month or two, but after that, things are far less certain." In recent months aid workers have had to temporarily evacuate certain posts serving some of the 12 refugee camps, and UNHCR is looking to move about 16,000 refugees from one camp farther into Chad because of increasing insecurity.
Conditions for refugees and the increasingly burdened local population are all the more worrying with the approach of the lean season and the rains, expected in June, which each year swallow up many of the region's roads, cutting off access to refugees. Porretti said WFP's operation for the refugees is "clinging on by its fingertips" financially, adding that new needs created by the fresh violence will require more donor support.
And finally an altogether different view
Friday, March 24, 2006
Jim Crow Goes Fishing
March 23, 2006
Speaking in Cleveland, President Bush called on Congress to end “catch and release” practices on the border with Mexico. He wasn’t referring to recreational fishing enthusiasts who catch large mouth bass, snap a picture and then release them back into the water. He was talking about INS (now Homeland Security) agents who round up undocumented workers trying to cross the border, harass and threaten them, and then issue them summons to appear in American court. President Bush and Congress are preparing legislation that makes it clear that they have as much (or little) respect for immigrant workers as they have for freshwater fish.
In typical fashion, the House Republicans have passed bill HR 4427 (the Sensenbrenner bill) that only a Klansman could love. It makes simply being an undocumented worker in the United States a felony, and it makes it illegal for anyone (teachers, social workers, firefighters, anyone) to help that person in any way. HR 4437 dismantles forty years of civil rights legislation and officially reintroduces Jim Crow into American law.
Now that the Congressional brutes have staked out the Fascist Right, President Bush and Republican Senate “moderate” Alan Specter are sanding off a few of the rough edges and presenting their ideas as “mainstream.” Not to be outdone, the “me too” Senate Democrats are putting their own lipstick on the Sensenbrenner pig and asking immigrants rights activists to take it to the dance. Sen. Edward Kennedy has teamed up with that champion of civil rights Sen. John McCain to push his own version of a “guest worker” program. Here the word “guest” is used the sense of: “The United States is keeping over 500 guests in Guantanamo Bay.”
Kennedy’s bill will bring back the Bracero Program, which was used during World War II. Then, hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers were shipped into the US to fill labor shortages as indentured servants, legally bound to the will of the US government and private employers. When the war ended, they were rounded up and herded back to Mexico, having been cheated out of a good portion of their poverty level wages.
Not wanting to be left too far behind, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has waded into the debate. Of course, she won’t put forward any clear proposal of her own other than to endlessly repeat the nonsense that Mexican immigrants pose a “security threat” to American citizens.
Unfortunately, Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern has signed on, along with the American Chamber of Commerce, to a version of the new “guest worker” program as well. Given that SEUI has pioneered organizing undocumented workers and leading the fight for immigrants rights within the labor movement, this is a big step backwards and another tragic example of excepting the logic of subordinating the interests of workers to what Democratic Party leaders deem “acceptable.”
The one thing we can be sure of is that ALL of the proposals that are on the table now are bad news for immigrant workers and their families. That’s why 300,000 immigrants and their supporters marched in Chicago a couple weeks ago. That’s why tens of thousands will march in Los Angeles this weekend. That’s why hunger strikers are camped out in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco and plan to take their protest to Sen. Feinstein’s office on Monday, the day the Judiciary Committee is set to make its recommendations to the full Senate.
The protesters have simple solutions to simple problems.
First problem: there are 12,000,000 undocumented workers in the United States today. The American economy cannot function without them. They do some of the hardest jobs for the lowest pay. They pay some of the highest taxes as a percentage of their income and they get almost nothing back from the government. They are treated like criminals and face racist abuse at the hands of police, federal agents and employers.
First Solution: just like in 1986, a general amnesty should be declared so that these workers and their families can come up out of the underground and join American society as citizens or legal residents, whichever they choose.
Second Problem: 4,000 people have died crossing the Mexican-American border in the past half-decade, more than died in the 911 attacks.
Second Solution: demilitarize the border. If American corporations can run all over the world, why can’t hard-working people from Mexico come here to do jobs that American citizens don’t want so that they can feed their families?
Third Problem: All workers wages and benefits, be they immigrant or native born, are on a race to the bottom. Often, corporations pit one group against another.
Third Solution: As the old saying goes, we need one big union, on both sides of the border. It’s time to put the “international” in the union’s names back into practice. Important and determined efforts have already been made in this direction, especially by SEIU and the United Electrical Workers union. However, as long as the union leadership puts coalition (meaning handing over tens of million of dollars in members’ dues money) with the Democratic Party leadership over and above coalition with Mexican workers, those efforts will continue to be only a symbol of the potential power of cross-border organizing.
Of course, none of these solutions are “realistic” in today’s political climate, which is precisely why we need a new movement to change it. In the meantime, Congress should be told in no uncertain terms to stop arguing over what color hat Jim Crow should wear. Instead, they should shut their mouths and listen to the marchers and hunger strikers.
For more information and a comparison of the current legislation, go to the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: http://www.nnirr.org/.
Todd Chretien is running for US Senate as a Green Party member against Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
"Worried by the sometimes harsh tone of the immigration debate unfolding in the United States, the Mexican government on Monday took its message directly to the American public: As your neighbor, we want to work with you to fashion a solution.
In full-page ads in The New York Times, Washington Post and other newspapers, the Mexican government acknowledged a shared responsibility to address illegal immigration and to stem its citizens´ northward exodus by creating more jobs at home.
The Dallas-based public relations firm that created the ad, Allyn & Company, who has long-standing ties to the Bush administration and worked for the president during his campaigns for Texas governor and national office, said it was part of Mexico's effort to "correct misconceptions" U.S. residents might have about their southern neighbor.
America has always needed and will always need their best workers for their country to exist as it does. Mexicans have always crossed that border and America conveniently looked the other way. This issue of immigration is being agitated all out of proportion in their country so as to distract the people from their impending doom by the sell out of their own government against them and to make them weak and vulnerable to fear for themselves. America is a lucky nation to have these workers and now misguided reasoning and the always right there racism of their people threatens to tip the balance and spoil a good thing. Below is a third article, demonstrating what they believe and how they promote their propaganda to create this latest outrage against humanity.
In a post-9/11 world, Americans can't afford to leave the borders so poorly guarded. Continuing to neglect this problem leaves America at a greater risk for future attacks.
Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution reads: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion." Today, however, America is being overrun by foreigners like never before. Allowing anyone and any illegal substances to enter our nation through Mexico is reckless and irresponsible, and the fact that our government spends billions of dollars to protect us from terrorism means little if we continue to ignore this urgent crisis. The only effective solution is one that has been proposed by San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter. He introduced legislation in November to build a reinforced fence that would span the entire border. Our elected officials need to stop beating around the bush and finally secure our border with Mexico to ensure the safety of all Americans.
Monday, March 20, 2006
The Farcical End
This from ZNet linked here.
The Us Press Is Supposed To Be Challenging The Lies Of This War, by Robert Fisk, March 19, 2006
It is a bright winter morning and I am sipping my first coffee of the day in Los Angeles. My eye moves like a radar beam over the front page of the Los Angeles Times for the word that dominates the minds of all Middle East correspondents: Iraq. In post-invasion, post-Judith Miller mode, the American press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war. So the story beneath the headline "In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of US" deserves to be read. Or does it?
Datelined Washington - an odd city in which to learn about Iraq, you might think - its opening paragraph reads: "Despite the recent arrest of one of his would-be suicide bombers in Jordan and some top aides in Iraq, insurgency mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi has eluded capture, US authorities say, because his network has a much better intelligence-gathering operation than they do."
Now quite apart from the fact that many Iraqis - along, I have to admit, with myself - have grave doubts about whether Zarqawi exists, and that al-Qai'da's Zarqawi, if he does exist, does not merit the title of "insurgency mastermind", the words that caught my eye were "US authorities say". And as I read through the report, I note how the Los Angeles Times sources this extraordinary tale. I thought American reporters no longer trusted the US administration, not after the mythical weapons of mass destruction and the equally mythical connections between Saddam and the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001. Of course, I was wrong.
Here are the sources - on pages one and 10 for the yarn spun by reporters Josh Meyer and Mark Mazzetti: "US officials said", "said one US Justice Department counter-terrorism official", "Officials ... said", "those officials said", "the officials confirmed", "American officials complained", "the US officials stressed", "US authorities believe", "said one senior US intelligence official", "US officials said", "Jordanian officials ... said" - here, at least is some light relief - "several US officials said", "the US officials said", "American officials said", "officials say", "say US officials", "US officials said", "one US counter-terrorism official said".
I do truly treasure this story. It proves my point that the Los Angeles Times - along with the big east coast dailies - should all be called US OFFICIALS SAY. But it's not just this fawning on political power that makes me despair. Let's move to a more recent example of what I can only call institutionalised racism in American reporting of Iraq. I have to thank reader Andrew Gorman for this gem, a January Associated Press report about the killing of an Iraqi prisoner under interrogation by US Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jnr.
Mr Welshofer, it transpired in court, had stuffed the Iraqi General Abed Hamed Mowhoush head-first into a sleeping bag and sat on his chest, an action which - not surprisingly - caused the general to expire. The military jury ordered - reader, hold your breath - a reprimand for Mr Welshofer, the forfeiting of $6,000 of his salary and confinement to barracks for 60 days.
But what caught my eye was the sympathetic detail. Welshofer's wife's Barbara, the AP told us, "testified that she was worried about providing for their three children if her husband was sentenced to prison. 'I love him more for fighting this,' she said, tears welling up in her eyes. 'He's always said that you need to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do'".
Yes, I guess torture is tough on the torturer. But try this from the same report: "Earlier in the day ... Mr Welshofer fought back tears. 'I deeply apologise if my actions tarnish the soldiers serving in Iraq,' he said."
Note how the American killer's remorse is directed not towards his helpless and dead victim but to the honour of his fellow soldiers, even though an earlier hearing had revealed that some of his colleagues watched Welshofer stuffing the general into the sleeping bag and did nothing to stop him.
An earlier AP report stated that "officials" - here we go again - "believed Mowhoush had information that would 'break the back of the insurgency'." Wow. The general knew all about 40,000 Iraqi insurgents. So what a good idea to stuff him upside down inside a sleeping bag and sit on his chest.
But the real scandal about these reports is we're not told anything about the general's family. Didn't he have a wife? I imagine the tears were "welling up in her eyes" when she was told her husband had been done to death. Didn't the general have children? Or parents? Or any loved ones who "fought back tears" when told of this vile deed? Not in the AP report he didn't. General Mowhoush comes across as an object, a dehumanised creature who wouldn't let the Americans "break the back" of the insurgency after being stuffed headfirst into a sleeping bag.
Now let's praise the AP. On an equally bright summer's morning in Australia a few days ago I open the Sydney Morning Herald. It tells me, on page six, that the news agency, using the Freedom of Information Act, has forced US authorities to turn over 5,000 pages of transcripts of hearings at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. One of them records the trial of since-released British prisoner Feroz Abbasi, in which Mr Abbasi vainly pleads with his judge, a US air force colonel, to reveal the evidence against him, something he says he has a right to hear under international law.
And here is what the American colonel replied: "Mr Abbasi, your conduct is unacceptable and this is your absolute final warning. I do not care about international law. I do not want to hear the words international law. We are not concerned about international law."
Alas, these words - which symbolise the very end of the American dream - are buried down the story. The colonel, clearly a disgrace to the uniform he wears, does not appear in the bland headline ("US papers tell Guantanamo inmates' stories") of the Sydney paper, more interested in telling us that the released documents identify by name the "farmers, shopkeepers or goatherds" held in Guantanamo.
I am now in Wellington, New Zealand, watching on CNN Saddam Hussein's attack on the Baghdad court trying him. And suddenly, the ghastly Saddam disappears from my screen. The hearing will now proceed in secret, turning this drumhead court into even more of a farce. It is a disgrace. And what does CNN respectfully tell us? That the judge has "suspended media coverage"!
If only, I say to myself, CNN - along with the American press - would do the same.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Like It Is
The shit is so deep with W & Co it's almost dizzying, which is of course the point. You barely have time to focus on one single embarrassing historic catastrophe -- lying about the war, say, or lying about Katrina, or lying about torture -- and suddenly you're blindsided by new scandals, like PlameGate, wiretapping, Abramoff, the Dubai debacle, global warming denial, cutting veteran's benefits or Medicare, Delay, Cunningham, Frist, intelligent design, cash handouts to oil, mining, and natural gas multinationals -- whew.
Suddenly stealing the 2000 election seems like peanuts, and Clinton's blowjob seems like that zit you had for an entire weekend in High School.
It's like the GOP is giving us their version of the joke in that film The Aristocrats:"An arrogant silver-spoon asshole posing as a down-home bumpkin walks into a talent agent's office and says, 'have I got the act for you.' He starts the act by wrapping himself in the flag and carrying the cross, and then begins sodomizing the entire armed forces by sending them one by one into an illegal and immoral hellhole of plunder and torture, mumbling 'bring it on, bring it on' with every thrust.
"Then he brings in the families of the dead to act out over two thousand military funerals and turns his back on them, pantomiming the ripping up of veteran health benefits while embracing a bed-ridden Mary Matalin made up to look like Terry Schiavo. The Vice President then enters the office and pisses all over the grieving mothers as Donald Rumsfeld watches a writing machine sign the death certificates before wiping his ass with them and handing them to the weeping fathers.
"In an interesting flourish to appeal to a multi-ethnic audience, the bumpkin hangs the families of over 200,000 Iraqis from the roof so they can watch through the office window, screaming in a horror we can't hear since the windows are closed.
"The bumpkin pauses to catch his breath and gargle with a $700 bottle of champagne and the agent tries to kick him out, realizing full well no rational audience in the modern world would sit for such an abysmal vaudeville, let alone pay for it, but the bumpkin points his finger at the agent and tells him to shut up, 'No one interrupts me until I want to be interrupted, and then it's not called interruption, it's called dialogue.'
"The act then escalates in ways that even the agent is horrified by, and this from a man who during his thin years booked strippers and barn sex acts at backwater Klan rallies.
"The bumpkin brings almost a million people from the South into the tiny office, axes a sewage pipe in the ceiling, and rides on a stationary bike with Lance Armstrong as the drenched descendants of slaves are flushed out into the hallway and onto the street. He and Lance act out riding all the way to California, floating really, atop the flood of shit and piss as a group of retired actors enter to play senior citizens being force fed over-priced Lipitor while the bumpkin lectures them on the biggest threat to their survival -- Social Security.
"After sitting through close to eleven hours of an ever-escalating narrative that includes lecturing the heads of India and Pakistan (played by Ron Silver and Stephen Baldwin) on the differences between their cultures, the talent agent -- terrified to ask a question and getting labelled either unpatriotic or un-Christian since the bumpkin is still wrapped in the flag and holding the cross -- braves a meek interruption in the most subservient tone he can muster, 'How does it end?' "To which the bumpkin responds 'um,' and looks to the wings for a line cue. It is at this moment the agent realizes the bumpkin is in fact not a man at all but a huge puppet, when he sees crouching behind the bumpkin a porcine man whose fake smile barely hides the bitter contempt he has for the puppet, the agent, the potential audience and show business in general, and that this man has his arm up the puppet's ass.
"The puppet turns back to the talent agent and furrows his brow just long enough for the agent to realize it's not resolve that's being expressed but a futile search for something that might sound at once homespun and clever, but, having run out of time on the long road to clever, the puppet simply settles for rude."'It never ends,' says the puppet."Flabbergasted, the agent blurts, 'what do you call this act?' knowing the ticket price to such an extravagant epic would surely be out of each for the average theatergoer and would therefore require a pithy title to catch the eye of the uber-rich. The bumpkin pauses for affect and, not knowing what an affect is so much as being dimly aware that smiling sometimes can create one, smiles and replies,' it's called "Compassionate Conservatism."
Whereas in real life the talent agent would simply kick this pathetic puppeteer out of the office and move onto more substantive talents like Jessica Simpson or Tom Cruise, in the world of the joke the porcine puppeteer merely sells out an open-ended theatrical run with advance ticket sales to members of the Wal-Mart and Carlisle dynasties. Then he lets people off the street in for free, only to pull a bait-and-switch at the two hour mark and charge them a 'convenience charge.'
The joke is, of course, that this isn't a joke; it's our lives.
It's clear that the intended victims of all this GOP shock and awe are us. And so we whine about the unprecedented parade of immoral abominations and wonder why each new one isn't 'the one that brings them down.' We rub our eyes and spit, 'lying about a war?! Spying on our fellow citizens? Torture?!' in amazement that any single one of these near biblical catastrophes wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back.
Finally, deflated, we pick up the remote and lay back on the couch and say to ourselves, 'I guess the world isn't what I thought it was. If everybody thinks these things are okay and I'm the only one that thinks the entire White House should be emptied, I guess I'm just out of touch with my countrymen. Maybe I'm just overreacting and I need to get with the program. Hmmmm. The Oscars are on.'Which is of course the goal of the programming. The medium is the message, and the medium of Karl Rove is 500 channels of catastrophe, 24 hours a day. Don't think for one second they haven't planned this, done studies of it. They're smart enough to figure out the way you use the internet and the blogosphere and instantaneous news is that when disaster strikes you do nothing; simply hem and haw and float half-assed denials and within a nanosecond some new episode will take center stage, and Jay Leno and Jon Stewart will have fresh meat for monologues about non-issues like Cheney's quail hunting which is a lot funnier than the story of the Afghani cab driver hanging from his toes as his ribs are broken at Guantanamo.
The worst part of the 'Compassionate Conservative' act is we are not just the audience, we are participants. Given the freedom to leave the theater, throw vegetables at the performers, tar and feather the theater owner, run the performers out of town, or burn the theater to the ground, we send the kid to the snack bar for nachos and sit back and await the next scene in history's longest running porn act, hoping the actors in the next skit will maybe bring on something new.
And the skit they'll be coming on with next is called 'Bomb Iran Now.'
Because if we're not willing to get up off the couch to impeach a cabal of lying thieves that have not only stolen our democracy but are dismantling our very national identity right before our eyes -- daring us to call them on it -- we might as well just stand and applaud as the next wave of actors take the stage.
Hell, they'll probably have an audience participation segment where we can feel like we're actually contributing to the narrative -- you know, like American Idol., or the Electoral College.
Because it's public knowledge in the sane world -- you know, all global media outside the American ideological stranglehold, where things like being anti-torture gets you labeled a chickenshit--that Iran will be invaded. The Pentagon has admitted the plans are in place, and Israel has made public its plans to attack in June, and, when Israel says they're going to bomb someone, what that means is American bombs are dropped by American planes paid for by American tax dollars -- but manned by an Israeli pilot.
And then when the terrorists -- er, I mean attacked Iranians -- launch a retaliatory attack on Israel -- er, I mean defend themselves -- who's kids are gonna come to Israel's defense in the name of freedom?
Why shouldn't they continue the performance? We're glued to it.
We can't believe we have the power to simply bring down the curtain.Why? Because the curtain coming down is what really scares us. That would mean the show is over, leaving in its wake a deafening mental silence in which we may have to actually turn to the person in the seat next to us and begin writing a show of our own, which is so much harder than surfing the remote.
And the show we will be writing? It'll be called 'Democracy in Action.'
Friday, March 17, 2006
1 Did the war begin in 1991 with the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia?
2 Did Germany deliberately provoke the civil war?
3 Did the US really remain 'passive and disinterested' during this war?
4 Did the World Bank and the IMF help destroying this country?
5 Did the media give a phony image of 'our friends' Tudjman & Izetbegovic?
6 Did the media hide the essential history and geography of Bosnia?
7 Was the topic 'Serb aggressors, Croat and Muslim victims' correct?
8 Did Serbia initiate a program of ethnic cleansing?
9 Did the media correctly report on Srebrenica?
10 Were the first victims of the war killed by the Serbs?
11 Was the famous image of the 'concentration camps' false?
12 Were we given the true stories on the three large massacres in Sarajevo?
13 Was the largest ethnic cleansing of the war committed by the Croat Army?
14 Did the US use depleted uranium weapons also in Bosnia?
15 Was the war against Yugoslavia the US's 'only good war'?
1 1991 OR EARLIER?
Did the war begin in 1991 with the secessions of Slovenia and Croatia?
NO. In 1979, the BND (German CIA) sent a team of secret agents to Zagreb. Mission: to support Franjo Tudjman, a racist former Nazi youth, who actively promoted ethnic hatred and did all he could toward the break-up of Yugoslavia. Germany supported and financed this Croatian holocaust denier, and sent him arms before the war.To what end? Berlin never acknowledged the existence of the unified Yugoslav state which had courageously resisted German aggression in the two world wars. By once more breaking Yugoslavia into easily dominated mini-states, Germany sought to control the Balkans. An economic zone it could annex in order to remove it from local authority, to export German products to it, and to dominate it as a market. And a strategic route toward the oil and gas of the Middle East and the Caucasus. In 1992, the Bavarian Interior Minister declared: "Helmut Kohl has succeeded where neither Emperor Guillaume nor Hitler could." (see the parallel maps 'Yugoslavia in 1941--in 1991', Liars' Poker, pp 68-69)
2 GERMAN WILL?
Did Germany deliberately provoke the civil war?
YES. At the beginning of the Maastricht Summit in 1991, German Chancellor Kohl was alone in wanting to break up Yugoslavia and precipitously to recognize the 'independence' of Slovenia and Croatia, in defiance of both International Law and the Yugoslav Constitution. But the rise of German power would impose this madness on all its partners. Paris and London fell right in line.According to The Observer of London: "Prime Minister Major paid dearly for supporting German policies toward Yugoslavia which all observers said precipitated the war." In effect, all the experts had warned that this 'recognition' would provoke a civil war.
1. Nearly every Yugoslav Republic was a mix of diverse nationalities. Separating the territories was as absurd as dividing Paris or London into ethnically pure municipal districts.
2. By favouring the neo-fascist Tudjman and the Muslim nationalist Izetbegovic (who also had in his youth collaborated with Hitler), it was certain that panic would be provoked among the important Serb minorities who had lived for centuries in Croatia and Bosnia. Every Serb family had lost at least one member to the horrible genocide committed by the Croat Ustashe and Muslims agents of Nazi Germany in 1941-45.
Only Tito's Yugoslavia had been able to bring about peace, equality and coexistence. But Berlin, then Washington, wanted once and for all to break this country they saw as being 'too far to the Left' (see question 4).
3 A PASSIVE USA?
Did the US remain 'passive and disinterested' during this war?
NO. Lord Owen, special European Union envoy to Bosnia, and later a well-placed observer, wrote in his memoirs: "I greatly respect the United States. But in recent years (92-95) this nation's diplomacy has been guilty of needlessly prolonging the war in Bosnia."
What was its aim? While the Germans were busy taking control of Slovenia, Croatia and, eventually, Bosnia, Washington put pressure on Izetbegovic, the Muslim nationalist leader in Sarajevo: "Don't sign any peace agreements proposed by the Europeans. We will win the war for you on the ground." Washington then prolonged for two years the horrible suffering inflicted on all the people of Bosnia.
By what means?
1. Setting aside all the advantages Berlin had gained in this strategic region of the Balkans.
2. Dividing and weakening the European Union.
3. Installing NATO as the Continental European policeman.
4. Restricting all Russian access to the Mediterranian Sea.
5. Imposing its military and political leadership on all the other wars being prepared.Because the war against Yugoslavia was at the same time a non-declared war against Europe. After the fall of the Berlin wall, US strategies were geared toward stopping, at all costs, the emergence of a European superpower. So everything was done to weaken Europe militarily and politically.
4 WORLD BANK & IMF
Did the World Bank and the IMF help destroying this country?
YES. In December 1989, the IMF imposed draconian conditions on Yugoslavia which forced liberal prime minister Markovic to beg for aid from George Bush Sr. This 'help' was aimed at destabilizing and bankrupting all large state-owned businesses. The World Bank dismantled the banking system, laid off 525,000 workers in one year, then ordered the immediate elimination of two out of every three jobs. The quality of life fell dramatically.
These policies and the growing incidence of work stoppages in solidarity with displaced workers in all the Republics heightened the contradictions among the leaders of the various Republics to whom Belgrade could no longer provide financing. To get themselves out of this mess, the leaders had to resort to divisive tactics and invested greatly in nationalist hatreds. This war was ignited from abroad. Like so many others.The war against Yugoslavia was a war of globalization. All the great Western powers sought to liquidate the Yugoslav economic system which they found too Leftist: with a strong public sector, important social rights, resistance to the multinationals...
The real reason for these various wars against Yugoslavia can be read in this reproach (this threat?) from the Washington Post: "Milosevic was unable to grasp the political message of the fall of the Berlin wall. Other Communist politicians accepted the Western model, but Milosevic went the other way." (4 August 1996).
5 "OUR FRIENDS"
Did the media give a phoney image of 'our friends' Tudjman & Izetbegovic?
YES. The hyper-nationalist Croat and Muslim leaders were presented as the pure victims, great anti-racist democrats. But their past as much as their present should have alerted us:When he took power, Franjo Tudjman declared: "I'm happy my wife isn't a Jew or a Serb." He hurriedly renamed the streets that had carried the names of antifascist partisans, reinstated the money and the flag of the old genocidal fascist regime, and changed the Constitution in order to run off the Serbs.During his 1990 electoral campaign, Izetbegovic reissued his 'Islamic Declaration': "There can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic religion and those social and political institutions that are non-Islamic." He set up a corrupt and mafia-ridden regime based primarily on the lucrative black market and the hijacking of funds from international aid. He called for assistance, with Washington's blessings, from Islamic mercenaries, most notably from al Qaeda (Osama Bin laden himself was granted Bosnian citizenship).
Once the war had started, serious crimes were committed by all three camps, but by hiding these histories, the situation was rendered incomprehensible.
6 HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
Did the media hide the essential history and geography of Bosnia?
YES. We were made to believe that the Serbs were the aggressors, that they had invaded Bosnia from outside its borders. In reality, three national groups had been living in Bosnia for a long time: the Muslims (40%), the Serbs (34%), the Croats (17%). And one should not forget that 7% of 'Yugoslavs' were born of mixed marriages or preferred to eschew narrow national identities. Dividing Bosnia according to nationalities, as the EU did, was absurd and dangerous. Because this diverse population was completely intermingled: the Muslims lived primarily in the cities while the Serbs and Croats made up the peasantry and were dispersed throughout the sub-regions. Bosnia could not be divided without civil war.
In fact, the Serbs of Bosnia did not fight to invade the territories of 'others', but to save their own lands and establish corridors of communication between them. It was an absurd and bloody situation, with all the ravages of a civil war, but this civil war was provoked by the great powers.
7 "GOOD GUYS" AND "BAD GUYS"
Was the presumption of "Serb aggressors, Croat and Muslim victims" correct?
It is not a question of denying the crimes committed by the Serb forces. The ideology one finds in the writings of Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic is extremely right wing. But in reality, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, on all sides, certain criminal and political forces used the methods of war to seize territory and riches. In the three camps - Croat, Muslim and Serb - militias committed grave crimes. To the detriment of all the people. Thus, in August 1994, the Muslim nationalist leader in Sarajevo, Izetbegovic, attacked the Muslim region of Bihac, controlled by Fikret Abdic, who had distanced himself from Izetbegovic and wanted to live in harmony with his Serb and Croat neighbours. In this offensive, Izetbegovic was aided by six US generals.
Remaining silent to the crimes of 'our friends' but demonizing whoever resists us is classic war propaganda. Numerous media lies were totally fabricated by a US public relations firm, Ruder Finn, Colleagues of the famous Hill & Knowlton, who created the media lie about Kuwaiti incubators stolen by the Iraqis.
8 "ETHNIC CLEANSING"?
Did Serbia initiate a program of ethnic cleansing?
NO. If one believes that ethnic cleansing was actually the program of 'the dictator Milosevic', one has to admit that this program was sadly ineffective. Because throughout the war years and still today, one of every five inhabitants of Serbia is a non-Serb. In Belgrade there are and have always been many minorities living without any difficulty: Muslims, Gypsies, Albanians, Macedonians, Turks, Hungarians, Gorans . . .
In reality, contrary to the image given by the press, Serbia is today the only state of the ex-Yugoslavia, along with Macedonia, that remains 'multinational'. On the other hand, all the NATO protectorates - Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo - practiced an almost total ethnic purification.
Milosevic objected to the excesses committed by the Serb militias in Bosnia. His wife made several declarations against them. An embargo was even applied by Serbia against Karadzic. Certainly, part of Serb public opinion was influenced by racist nationalism. But this was due precisely to Germany and the great powers having plunged the country into civil war and thus into hatred.
Did the media correctly report on Srebrenica?
NO. Even if it's a matter of condemning abominable crimes, historical truth - necessary for reconciliation - is not served by the propagandistic processes that brandishes the term 'genocide', by the obfuscation of the fact that that some of the victims died in combat or by the systematic exaggeration of the numbers. Inquests have determined that many of the 'victims' were found some months later voting in subsequent elections or even taking part in other battles with Izetbegovic's army. This information was and remains deliberately obscured. From the U.N. Secretary General's 1999 Report on Srebrenica, it emerges that the idea of a "Srebrenica massacre" was already in the air at a September 1993 meeting in Sarajevo between Bosnian Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic and members of his Muslim party from Srebrenica.Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people. It is interesting to return to a curious UN report, written a year and a half earlier by Kofi Annan: "Izetbegovic had learned that a NATO intervention into Bosnia was possible. But it would happen only if the Serbs forced their way into Srebrenica and massacred at least 5,000 people [sic]." A massacred predicted a year and a half before it happened! (UN Report of 28-29 November)
General Morillon also informed us that "It is Izetbegovic's people who opposed the evacuation of all those who had asked to be taken out, and there were many." His conclusion: "Mladic fell into a trap at Srebrenica."
The general public did not know that Srebrenica, described as a "safe area", was not in fact simply a haven for refugees, but also a Muslim military base. The general public did not know what Lord Owen knew and recounted in his important 1995 book, Balkan Odyssey (p.143), namely that in April 1993, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was extremely anxious to prevent Bosnian Serb forces from overrunning Srebrenica.
Shortly before the Bosnian Serb attack on Srebrenica, the Muslim troops stationed in that enclave carried out murderous attacks on nearby Serb villages. These attacks were certain to incite Serb commanders to retaliate against the Srebrenica garrison. Meanwhile, the Muslim high command in Sarajevo ordered the Srebrenica commanders, Oric and his lieutenants, to withdraw from Srebrenica, leaving thousands of his soldiers without commanders, without orders, and in total confusion when the foreseeable Serb attack occurred. Surviving Srebrenica Muslim officials have bitterly accused the Izetbegovic government of deliberately sacrificing them to the interests of his State.
Despite unprecedented efforts over the past ten years to recover bodies from the area around Srebrenica, less than 3,000 have been exhumed, more than 50% of these bodies identified are soldiers from both sides, an estimated half being Serbs as well as mass graves of Serbian and Muslim citizens -who died in the vicious combats that took place during three years of war. However only a third have been properly identified.
So why did the media hide the events essential to an understanding of this drama? In the beginning, this region was inhabited by Muslim AND Serbs. The latter were run off in 1993 by an ethnic cleansing committed by the Muslim nationalist troops of Izetbegovic. French general Morillon, who commanded the UN force there, charges: "On the night of the Orthodox Christmas, the holy night of January 1993, Nasser Oric led raids on Serb villages. . . . There were heads cut off, abominable massacres committed by the forces of Nasser Oric in all the neighboring villages." (Documents of information from the French National Assembly, Srebrenica, t 2, pp. 140-154) The desire for vengeance does not excuse the crimes committed later. But why systematically hide the crimes of 'our friends'?
10 FIRST VICTIMS
Were the first victims of the war killed by Serbs?
NO. June 28, 1991, the Slovenian police executed (at least) two unarmed soldiers of the Yugoslav national army who had surrendered at Holmec, a post on the Austrian border. This was acknowledged by the newspaper Slovenske Novice. It has also been 'established from the very beginning' that three soldiers of this same Yugoslav army were executed at a post on the Italian border after surrendering themselves. (Facts and testimony reported to the ICY at The Hague, cfr Forgotten Crimes, Igor Mekina, AIM Ljubljana, 11/02/99).
11 CONCENTRATION CAMPS?
Was the infamous image of the 'concentration camps' false?
YES. Fabricated by Bernard Kouchner and Médecins du Monde, this image showed some 'prisoners' held, seemingly, behind barbed wire. One of them had terribly protruding ribs. Kouchner had pasted beside the photo a guard tower from Auschwitz and the accusation 'mass extermination'. To hammer home the message "Serbs = Nazis". He thus abetted a campaign of demonization launched by the US public relations firm Ruder Finn.But the whole thing was faked and taken from a report by British TV channel ITN. The trickery became obvious when one viewed the footage shot at the same time by a local TV news crew. In reality, the British camera had been deliberately placed behind the two lonely strands of barbed wire that formed a fence surrounding an old enclosure for farming equipment. The 'prisoners' were on the 'outside' of the barbed wire. Free because they were refugees in this camp to escape the war and the militias who would force them to fight. In the complete film, the only prisoner who speaks English declares to the ITN journalist three times that they are being well treated and are safe. The man with the protruding ribs (gravely ill) was called to the foreground when all his mates looked to be in too good a shape. Kouchner's montage was a gross falsehood. (Cfr Liars' Poker, p. 34)
There certainly were camps in Bosnia. Not for extermination, but rather for the preparation of prisoner exchanges. Violations of Human Rights were committed here. But why were the UN reports on this subject hidden from us? They accounted for six Croat camps, two Serb camps and one Muslim camp.
Were we given the true stories on the three large massacres in Sarajevo?
NO. Three times Western public opinion was shocked by these terrible images: dozens of victims blown to bits in front of a bakery or in the marketplace of Sarajevo. Immediately the Serbs were accused of having killed civilians by bombarding the city. This despite numerous contradictions in official communications.
But never was the public informed of the results of inquiries made outside the UN. Nor of the reports which accused the forces of president Izetbegovic. Furthermore, high Western officials knew about them but kept them carefully hidden. It was only much later that the editor-in-chief of the Nouvel Observateur, Jean Daniel, admitted: "Today I have to say it. I heard, in succession, Edouard Balladur (French Prime Minister at the time), François Léotard (Minister of the Army), Alain Juppé (Foreign Minister) and two 'high-ranking' generals, whose confidence I will not betray by naming them, tell me (. . .) that the shell fired on the marketplace was itself also from the Muslims! They would have brought carnage upon their own people! Was I afraid of this observation? Yes, the Prime Minister answered me without hesitating... "(Nouvel Observateur, August 21, 1995)
Why these manipulations? As if by chance, each massacre took place just before an important meeting to justify some Western measures: an embargo against the Serbs (92), a NATO bombing (94), a final offensive (95). NATO and Izetbegovic applied an essential principle of war propaganda: justify the offensive with a media lie, a 'massacre' to shock public opinion.The official version of the siege of Sarajevo hides several points:
1. The Serb forces certainly committed serious crimes. But the civilians who wanted to flee through a tunnel that permitted them to leave the city were stopped by the Izetbegovic regime. He wanted to maximize the clientele for his black market, hijacking international aid money.
2. It was especially important to present a black and white image of a victim people and their aggressors. In reality, even in Sarajevo, Izetbegovic's snipers regularly killed the inhabitants of Serb sections of the city without anyone ever speaking of it.
3. Some equally grave atrocities went down, for example, at Mostar. But here they were due to fighting between the Croat and Muslim forces that had long before run off all the Serbs.
13 THE LARGEST "CLEANSING"
Was the largest ethnic cleansing of the war committed by the Croat army?
YES. On August 4, 1995, a hundred thousand Croat soldiers, a hundred and fifty tanks, two hundred troop transports, more than three hundred pieces of artillery, and forty missile launchers attacked the Serb population of the Krajina. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forced to leave this region which they had inhabited for centuries. The worst atrocities of the war were committed: the Croat forces killed the elderly who could not flee, and burned 85% of the abandoned houses.Clinton called the offensive 'useful'. Madeleine Allbright said: "The retaking of the Krajina could lead to a new strategic situation which might be favourable for us." Worse yet: the United States advised Croatia in carrying out its offensive, according to an admission by the Croatian foreign minister. Furthermore, it was Washington that took charge of the 'democratic' training of this army. (Liars' Poker, pp. 193-194)
14 URANIUM BOMBS
Did the US use depleted uranium weapons also in Bosnia?
YES. At an international conference, "Uranium, the victims speak", organized in Brussels in March 2001, a Bosnian doctor presented a Bosnian Serb forest ranger, a victim like many others of multiple atypical and fast moving cancers after having been exposed to DU in areas of US bombardment. A Bosnian health official laid out some statistics: the population of a Serb neighbourhood of Sarajevo bombed by US planes in 1995, (a population later expelled from that city), showed a five-fold increase in various types of cancer. The weapons using depleted uranium allowed the US - but also France and Great Britain - to get rid of waste materials from their nuclear plants. These by-products seriously pollute the earth as well as the underground water table, causing cancer, leukaemia and monstrous birth defects (including babies born to contaminated GIs). In short, use of these depleted uranium arms transformed several countries into nuclear waste dumps for eternity. (video and brochure "Uranium, the victims speak").
15 THE ONLY "GOOD WAR"
Was the war against Yugoslavia the US's only good war?
NO. The United States tried to make believe that it had fought a “humanitarian war”. And to present itself, for once, as a defender of Muslims. But in reality Washington and Berlin provoked this war. Deliberately. In the selfish interest of conquering certain strategic objectives: the economic colonization of the Balkans, gaining control of the routes for transporting oil, and the fight for world domination.
The USA has never fought a humanitarian war. And it was not the fireman in this war against Yugoslavia; it was the fire-starter. It was guiltiest of inflicting suffering on all the people. The USA can not be, on the one hand, the friend of the Muslims in the Balkans, and, on the other, their worst enemy in Palestine and Iraq. The US is the Muslims' enemy everywhere. And the most dangerous enemy of all the people of the world. It threatens Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and even points to threatening china some day in the not too distant future.
Its war strategy has no other goal than to maintain an unjust economic order, to dominate and exploit every country on earth to the end of further enriching a small handful of super - billionaires.
This is why it is so important to unmask all the media lies and to make the truth known about the war against Yugoslavia: It was a war of aggression.
Casey At The Bat
The United States declares baseball ITS "national pastime" and celebrates what it calls THE "World Series". Millions and millions of dollars are spent paying professional athletes in quest of claiming that championship of US teams.
But the times, they are a changing, and there is a further world out there. Other nations decided they'd like in. This year, a truer World Baseball Classic, which is a round robin competition engaged in by 16 teams of the best from around the world.
Some baseball is played in Mexico but its leagues are characterized by on and off existence. The largest cities have a hard time supporting a team if at all. Excelling at the sport in those few cities that do is not a way to get rich. Last night Mexico beat the best of the all star professionals of the US team and knocked it out of the running for world championship.
Remaining games will be played in the US. Those yet competing are South Korea, Japan, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. US president Bush, experienced as previous owner of a losing team, tried to keep Cuba out but was forced to relent.
Don't hold your breath for a customary presidential TV spot photo opportunity Whitehouse congratulatory gathering should Cuba win it all. Imagine Fidel Castro, a former professional pitcher, showing up to embrace fellow baseball aficionado Bush as handshakes and hugs go all around.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
"President Vicente Fox on Tuesday announced state-owned oil giant Pemex had hit serious pay dirt in the Gulf of Mexico: a deep-water exploration well known as Noxal had tapped a field off the coast of the southern state of Veracruz that could contain as many as 10 billion barrels of oil. If the field pans out, it would be one of the largest in the nation´s history and go a long way toward bolstering Mexico´s rapidly declining petroleum reserves."
Here is an older article claiming this find was not so.
Another interesting article on oil and Mexico: "Arizona has approved the construction of an oil refinery based on Mexican oil and a pipeline from Guaymas. The 3 to 4 billion dollar project is bad for Mexico. Jobs and income will be lost and a dangerous dependency on the US will increase."
Conflicting stories, scandals and secrets, favors and revenges. Oppression and suppression of the peoples rights. Presidents dividing up what is not theirs to take or give. These things should be looked into, because where there is oil there is greed and corruption.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Rights Vote 170 to 4
The United Nations General Assembly today approved formation of the new U.N. Human Rights Council by a vote of 170 to 4. Those voting against were United States, Israel, Marshall Islands, and Palau. I did not know Marshall Islands and Palau were terrorist nations too.
The UN General Assembly vote on establishing the new Human Rights Council is a fairly devastating comment on current US global prestige as well as the effectiveness of diplomacy as practiced by US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.
While the US has said much about the human-rights behavior of many UN member states, there is a strong feeling that Washington and its ambassador do not really have the moral standing to hector others.
The three nations the US led in opposing the new council are probably the top per capita recipients of US cash - along with the Federated States of Micronesia, which even Bolton couldn't bully enough.
Bolton's grandstanding played well for domestic audiences - but got nowhere with the rest of the world, not least because the rest of the world had its own sources for what had happened in negotiations and did not rely on Bolton and the US State Department for details.
Read the Asian Times article for how the US as shown by Bolton just doesn't get it but continues dozing in blissful ignorance of its goofy dream and ignoring the rest of the world trying to shake it awake from what appears to them a horrendous nightmare.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
by Angelique Chrisafis
March 13, 2006
From behind the makeshift barricade of tables, desks and chairs that sealed off the amphitheatre of the Sorbonne, a 21-year-old philosophy student crawled out and made his way down to the wall of riot police that kept watch outside one of France's most prestigious faculties yesterday.
Florian had been up all night leading angry philosophical debates among the 150 students holding the first "occupation" of the Sorbonne since student protesters took over the building in Paris's Latin Quarter in 1968. On that occasion, it was Vietnam, Algeria and the antiquated rules of their superiors that spurred students to action. These days, it is something far closer to home: unemployment and a hugely controversial government measure to try to combat it.
The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, wants to force a measure through France's parliament designed to alleviate unemployment, paradoxically by making it easier to fire workers aged under 26 years. The measure would introduce a new form of work contract, le contrat de première embauche (first employment contract), which gives employers the right to let employees go after two years. The hope is it will spur employers to hire young people safe in the knowledge they are not obliged to retain them.
But the move has provoked a vigorous backlash. More than 400,000 people joined street demonstrations across France earlier this week, and by early yesterday about half of the country's 88 universities had been shut down by student sit-ins. Mr de Villepin's popularity has plummeted, and his refusal to back down could dent his ambitions for next year's presidential elections.
On Wednesday night, the cobbled streets around the Place de la Sorbonne rang out with muffled cries from the university's main lecture theatre as students, enraged that the government was ignoring their street protests, overran the faculty and barricaded themselves in. By midnight, the street was filling up with students shouting their support from outside and police riot vans. Sheets painted with slogans against the "CPE" were unfurled from the windows.
"Everyone should have the basic human right to work,"said Florian, who would not give his surname. "But there is no hope for young people in France. The contract is a joke, it protects no one. People are desperate. We feel we have the support of the people in the street but that the government just doesn't care."
Read the full Zmag story.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Death of Freedom
On Christmas Eve, I dropped in on Brian Haw, whose hunched, pacing figure was just visible through the freezing fog. For four and a half years, Brian has camped in Parliament Square with a graphic display of photographs that show the terror and suffering imposed on Iraqi children by British policies. The effectiveness of his action was demonstrated last April when the Blair government banned any expression of opposition within a kilometre of Parliament. The High Court subsequently ruled that, because his presence preceded the ban, Brian was an exception.
Day after day, night after night, season upon season, he remains a beacon, illuminating the great crime of Iraq and the cowardice of the House of Commons. As we talked, two women brought him a Christmas meal and mulled wine. They thanked him, shook his hand and hurried on. He had never seen them before. "That's typical of the public," he said. A man in a pin-striped suit and tie emerged from the fog, carrying a small wreath. "I intend to place this at the Cenotaph and read out the names of the dead in Iraq," he said to Brian, who cautioned him: "You'll spend the night in cells, mate." We watched him stride off and lay his wreath. His head bowed, he appeared to be whispering. Thirty years ago, I watched dissidents do something similar outside the walls of the Kremlin.
As night had covered him, he was lucky. On 7 December, Maya Evans, a vegan chef aged 25, was convicted of breaching the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act by reading aloud at the Cenotaph the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq. So serious was her crime that it required 14 policemen in two vans to arrest her. She was fined and given a criminal record for the rest of her life.
Freedom is dying.
Eighty-year-old John Catt served with the RAF in the Second World War. Last September, he was stopped by police in Brighton for wearing an "offensive" T-shirt, which suggested that Bush and Blair be tried for war crimes. He was arrested under the Terrorism Act and handcuffed, with his arms held behind his back. The official record of the arrest says the "purpose" of searching him was "terrorism" and the "grounds for intervention" were "carrying placard and T-shirt with anti-Blair info" (sic). He is awaiting trial.
Such cases compare with others that remain secret and beyond any form of justice: those of the foreign nationals held at Belmarsh prison, who have never been charged, let alone put on trial. They are held "on suspicion". Some of the "evidence" against them, whatever it is, the Blair government has now admitted, could have been extracted under torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. They are political prisoners in all but name. They face the prospect of being spirited out of the country into the arms of a regime which may torture them to death. Their isolated families, including children, are quietly going mad.
And for what? From 11 September 2001 to 30 September 2005, a total of 895 people were arrested in Britain under the Terrorism Act. Only 23 have been convicted of offences covered by the Act. As for real terrorists, the identity of two of the 7 July bombers, including the suspected mastermind, was known to MI5, and nothing was done. And Blair wants to give them more power. Having helped to devastate Iraq, he is now killing freedom in his own country.
Consider parallel events in the United States. Last October, an American surgeon, loved by his patients, was punished with 22 years in prison for founding a charity, Help the Needy, which helped children in Iraq stricken by an economic and humanitarian blockade imposed by America and Britain. In raising money for infants dying from diarrhoea, Dr Rafil Dhafir broke a siege which, according to Unicef, had caused the deaths of half a million under the age of five. The then Attorney-General of the United States, John Ashcroft, called Dr Dhafir, a Muslim, a "terrorist", a description mocked by even the judge in his politically-motivated, travesty of a trial.
The Dhafir case is not extraordinary. In the same month, three US Circuit Court judges ruled in favour of the Bush regime's "right" to imprison an American citizen "indefinitely" without charging him with a crime. This was the case of Joseph Padilla, a petty criminal who allegedly visited Pakistan before he was arrested at Chicago airport three and a half years ago. He was never charged and no evidence has ever been presented against him. Now mired in legal complexity, the case puts George W Bush above the law and outlaws the Bill of Rights. Indeed, on 14 November, the US Senate effectively voted to ban habeas corpus by passing an amendment that overturned a Supreme Court ruling allowing Guantanamo prisoners access to a federal court. Thus, the touchstone of America's most celebrated freedom was scrapped. Without habeas corpus, a government can simply lock away its opponents and implement a dictatorship.
A related, insidious tyranny is being imposed across the world. For all his troubles in Iraq, Bush has carried out the recommendations of a Messianic conspiracy theory called the "Project for a New American Century". Written by his ideological sponsors shortly before he came to power, it foresaw his administration as a military dictatorship behind a democratic facade: "the cavalry on a new American frontier" guided by a blend of paranoia and megalomania. More than 700 American bases are now placed strategically in compliant countries, notably at the gateways to the sources of fossil fuels and encircling the Middle East and Central Asia. "Pre-emptive" aggression is policy, including the use of nuclear weapons. The chemical warfare industry has been reinvigorated. Missile treaties have been torn up. Space has been militarised. Global warming has been embraced. The powers of the president have never been greater. The judicial system has been subverted, along with civil liberties. The former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who once prepared the White House daily briefing, told me that the authors of the PNAC and those now occupying positions of executive power used to be known in Washington as "the crazies". He said, "We should now be very worried about fascism".
In his epic acceptance of the Nobel Prize in Literature on 7 December, Harold Pinter spoke of "a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed". He asked why "the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought" of Stalinist Russia was well known in the west while American state crimes were merely "superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged".
A silence has reigned. Across the world, the extinction and suffering of countless human beings can be attributed to rampant American power, "but you wouldn't know it," said Pinter. "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest.
To its credit, the Guardian in London published every word of Pinter's warning. To its shame, though unsurprising, the state television broadcaster ignored it. All that Newsnight flatulence about the arts, all that recycled preening for the cameras at Booker prize-giving events, yet the BBC could not make room for Britain's greatest living dramatist, so honoured, to tell the truth.
For the BBC, it simply never happened, just as the killing of half a million children by America's medieval siege of Iraq during the 1990s never happened, just as the Dhafir and Padilla trials and the Senate vote, banning freedom, never happened. The political prisoners of Belmarsh barely exist; and a big, brave posse of Metropolitan police never swept away Maya Evans as she publicly grieved for British soldiers killed in the cause of nothing, except rotten power.
Bereft of irony, but with a snigger, the BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce introduced, as news, a Christmas propaganda film about Bush's dogs. That happened. Now imagine Bruce reading the following: "Here is delayed news, just in. From 1945 to 2005, the United States attempted to overthrow 50 governments, many of them democracies, and to crush 30 popular movements fighting tyrannical regimes. In the process, 25 countries were bombed, causing the loss of several million lives and the despair of millions more." (Thanks to William Blum's Rogue State, Common Courage Press, 2005).
The icon of horror of Saddam Hussein's rule is a 1988 film of petrified bodies in the Kurdish town of Halabja, killed in a chemical weapons attack. The attack has been referred to a great deal by Bush and Blair and the film shown a great deal by the BBC. At the time, as I know from personal experience, the Foreign Office tried to cover up the crime at Halabja. The Americans tried to blame it on Iran. Today, in an age of images, there are no images of the chemical weapons attack on Fallujah in November 2004. This allowed the Americans to deny it until they were caught out recently by investigators using the internet. For the BBC, American atrocities simply do not happen.
In 1999, while filming in Washington and Iraq, I learned the true scale of bombing in what the Americans and British then called Iraq's "no fly zones". During the 18 months to 14 January, 1999, US aircraft flew 24,000 combat missions over Iraq; almost every mission was bombing or strafing. "We're down to the last outhouse," a US official protested. "There are still some things left [to bomb], but not many." That was six years ago. In recent months, the air assault on Iraq has multiplied; the effect on the ground cannot be imagined. For the BBC it has not happened.
The black farce extends to those pseudo-humanitarians in the media and elsewhere, who themselves have never seen the effects of cluster bombs and air-burst shells, yet continue to invoke the crimes of Saddam to justify the the nightmare in Iraq and to protect a quisling prime minister who has sold out his country and made the world more dangerous. Curiously, some of them insist on describing themselves as "liberals" and "left of centre", even "anti-fascists". They want some respectability, I suppose. This is understandable, given that the league table of carnage of Saddam Hussein was overtaken long ago by that of their hero in Downing Street, who will next support an attack on Iran.
This cannot change until we, in the west, look in the mirror and confront the true aims and narcissism of the power applied in our name: its extremes and terrorism. The traditional double-standard no longer works; there are now millions like Brian Haw, Maya Evans, John Catt and the man in the pin-striped suit, with his wreath. Looking in the mirror means understanding that a violent and undemocratic order is being imposed by those whose actions are little different from the actions of fascists. The difference used to be distance. Now they are bringing it home.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Mr. Danger, as named by Hugo Chavez, has given people an unexpected hope. As seen in this article translated from the Spanish. "We, Latin-Americans, confirm that something must be right with Mr. George Walker Bush, for in the end, and without him wanting it, he has united more and more people around the globe in solidarity and given them the clarity to know that Earth should not and will not be annexed to his Majesty Bush’s Empire, and that its inhabitants deserve and demand respect. Yes, something must be right with Bush, something wonderful and prodigiously beautiful. The increasing union of people around an achievable hope is the best testimony."
Bush has made claims that Bin Laden helped him to win his fraudulent election. In his own words, "I thought it would help remind people that if Bin Laden doesn’t want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush.”
This article goes on to say, "Whenever one is guided by fear, the irrational and rational blend easily. Fear alone could have given Bush an election and there is no doubt that there was fear pervading US. Both Bin Laden’s video and the continuous reiterations by the mass media of attacks and destructive images, along with those anthrax attacks that came and vanished, so effective and at the same time so ephemeral, helped build an atmosphere adequate not only for Bush’s win, but also allowing him to pass the National Security laws; the most far reaching and illegal laws of US history. Today, these laws squash human and civil rights, to include home privacy, freedom of speech, of religion, and academic freedom.
Like Umberto Eco said, "We should not pretend that governments are led by philosophers and erudite people, but may rightly expect people with good sense and lucid ideas. Bush demonstrates that is easier and easier for leaders to gain the citizenry’s support by means of fear, distrust and hate, and more and more difficult to attain it through sincerity".
May the people of America soon realize, it is their government itself that should be their main fear.
Friday, March 10, 2006
The ChangesThe Further Left Library has been moved to a new location after being terminated by its Lagunanet hosting service. That is, we've been kicked off. Our users should update saved address links as appropriate.
The Library's previous direct link to http://lagunanet.net.mx/pocho will cease to function. At least temporarily however, there is a redirect at that address which connects to the front page of the Library at its new location. I hope but am not sure Lagunanet will continue to allow that. Any connection attempts to individual Lagunanet Library pages which might appear in search engines such as http://lagunanet.net.mx/pocho/somepage.htm will produce a Not Found error.
The addresses http://furtherleft.tk and http://flroominfo.tk redirect connections to the Library and Chat Room information page respectively. They have been modified to link now to the new host. Their annoying pop up advertising is still there. You get what you pay for and the tk domains are free.
The Library's new storage site has the address http://furtherleft.net. It will present no pop ups, advertising, or unexpected connections and should be the preferred Library link. This Forum's left column links to the Library and its separate pages have been modified to reflect the change. The Chat Room and this Forum are hosted on other systems and remain unaffected.
The BackgroundLagunanet is a local private internet service provider here in Mexico. It was the only act in town when initiating its business in 1997, at which time I began using it, first by normal phone connection and later by high speed wireless. It is primarily a one person operation in its technical sense. Service reliability depended on that person's physical presence during restricted working hours.
The local area is subject to frequent and usually brief power outages during which time neither my computer nor Lagunanet's functions worked and often failed to restart on their own. That Lagunanet tended failing to reinitiate service until the operator attended was of little concern during early use, email, internet browsing, and later chatting in and maintaining existence of the Yahoo Further Left Chat Room. That was the case until the Library was installed on Lagunanet in 2004. It became a greater matter of concern last June when Yahoo shut down chat rooms and we moved ours to the EveryWhereChat system.
Now there was a desire of keeping a presence in the room around the clock and working it in close conjunction with the Library. Telmex, Mexico's national phone service, had by that time installed local ADSL high speed internet service. It was less expensive and more reliable. I moved my internet connection there while the Library's hosting remained at Lagunanet.
I received a phone call from a personal friend who associates loosely with Lagunanet saying it will quit hosting the Library site. The explanation given was that Lagunanet's unreliable service resulted from denial of service attacks directed to them because of hosting our Library. That is a form of disruptive internet hacking which automatically sends multiple connect requests to a service provider with object to flood and overload its devices and thus bring it down. I have differing thoughts about that.
We encountered deliberate disruption attempts when our Chat Room was on Yahoo. They were entirely of a psychologically childish nature such as impersonation, lying, and defaming. There were no instances of technical hacking. They occurred because there was no facility on Yahoo for controlling user access.
That has changed since we moved the chat to the EWC system where destructive intent is recognized and prevented from beginning. We know who our users are and of what they are capable. There are none with either desire or expertise to engage in technically disruptive hacking.
Experience has shown that would be non professional disrupters are primarily interested in playing personal ego enhancing games and always seek credit for nefarious accomplishment. They knowingly or otherwise quickly and obviously give themselves away. That has been true whether motivation was based on political stance or no more than public psychological masturbation. We've yet heard no such cry for credit wafting from the bushes (double intendre intended).
So if it isn't the little boy who lives down the lane, who does that leave? Ah, professionals who know what they are doing and operate in the dark! Think CIA, FBI, PGR, M8, perhaps Mr. Bush himself fresh out of night classes in computer science.
Whomever the attacking hackers might be, they seem to have a pretty good fix on the nature of Lagunanet's and my common local electrical power grid. Their claimed attacks which take Lagunanet out and prevent its return tend to occur at the same time my own household lighting and computer power click off.
There are would be leftists who might like to think they are big enough in schemes of wishful revolution to deserve such attention. We are not among them. All one needs do is take a close look at the full contents of Further Left Library and then cruise comparatively around the web. There are many others than the Library which would make better targets but somehow seem to exist with little problem.
I know nothing of the inner workings of Lagunanet's business or technical operations. Nor have I any information beyond that of a friend's phone call claim of our Library's attracting denial of service attacks. I doubt my phoning friend understands what such are, and the Lagunanet operator has not contacted me. I would like to have details showing how our Library is at fault. That that might help protect us in the future.
There are two operative downsides to the move we've made. One follows from many of the Library's internet hits coming through search engine queries which pick up on page content. Those links are to Library pages on Lagunanet which no longer exist. It will take some time before the search engines remove the old and note those pages at the new site.
Another disadvantage of the move is because several of the pdf format files in the Library's Book Exchange section were too large to upload to the new site and that section had to be scrapped. Many of the search engine results were directed to that material. Some of the Book Exchange content might be replaced by html coding portions of it. Doing so would take some time and effort however.
There will be several advantages to the move. A major one should be gain in reliability. The new system also offers several new functions which might be applied to enhance use of the Library.
A few weeks ago there was an international business meeting in a Mexico City hotel owned by a United States Company. It included representatives from both the US and Cuba. The US government on basis of US law and contrary to that of Mexico forced the hotel to remove the Cuban guests, refuse them refund of payments, and send their money instead to the US treasury. The incident caused an indignant uproar within Mexican society but the Mexican federal government did nothing about it. If you see yourself as the little guy on the block (and not moving further left), you tend not to disfavor the neighborhood bully.
It is easy to blame overt governmental censorship of US media as behind Americans' apparent blatant ignorance not only of other nations and societies but also their own. It is too easy, and that is its fallacy. Governments and those who structure social constraints don't have to impose restrictions on those who fear them. Assumed fear amid collective ignorance is sufficient for self imposition.
All media outlets including internet service providers are businesses. As that, they rank business success over confronting bullies upset over what is not a business concern. I've cast doubt on the veracity of Library culpability for Lagunanet's unreliability but understand it is a business existing realistically in the world as deemed by the person who runs it. A real estate vendor or a garden club using their services would not come to mind as a hacker target. A leftist web site might.
It becomes again a matter of the little guy shying from a perceived neighborhood bully, even if the bully is imagined. As it effects you and I as users of the Library, the end result, whether through self censorship or that externally forced, amounts to censorship period, regardless of the dynamic of its being.
So, we'll just go elsewhere and continue shouting. If the same should occur again, we'll repeat and keep repeating as necessary. We know the neighborhood bully is naked.