Thursday, April 27, 2006

Smoke Kills

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click here

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Such Extremes

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Technology Used for Warfare
According to Aljazeera, military researchers in the United States are trying to create super-warriors. By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.

Friday, April 21, 2006

American Terrorist

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No Charges For Terrorism
A member of Alpha 66, a U.S.-based terrorist group with a long history of criminal actions against Cuba, has been found with an arsenal of over 1,000 in southern California. This man is a known terrorist and now has been caught once again. But since he is a terrorist on the side of America and its evil deeds he will not be treated like one, but a regular crimminal breaking common laws. No efforts will be made to stop the group itself. America says they are against terrorism, but they treat their own very lightly.

Looking Up

We are afraid of stars.
We are obsessed with Stars.
References to stars litter our life: gold stars; shooting stars, I bumped my head and saw stars; superstar; star signs, mega-star; stars in our eyes; a twinkle in the eye; twinkle, twinkle little…
Yet at night we make light - light, light, we need more light – we make light of…
so much wasted light that we blot out the stars.
Perhaps it is not the dark that we are truly afraid of, but rather to stand under the night sky, without the glare of progress, and gaze up at the stars.
Is it because we are afraid of the insignificance of our species? Perhaps even more frightening, for those who wish for reasons, is the concept of some god, some force out there that, unlike us, is in control of things.
It’s a man thing, I guess, the need to control; to be in control.
Each star is a singularity, you cannot look at one and know them all. Contemplation of the sky requires patience. (Arcturus) There are those who gave and give the stars names – the names we hear are a chart of our rise. (Cassiopeiae) These names are a testament to how long we have been conscious beings. (BD+38° 3238 aka Vega) Capable of instilling meaning into symbols. (QZ Sagittarii) Names for the burning balls of flame that lie out there in the greater part of our environment.
Insignificant yes. But understanding this makes us less insignificant.
Surely there cannot be any greater gift than thought.
It is thought that makes us equals to the stars.
We are all stars.

This is probably one of the most positive things I've written.
I dedicate it to littlebitofsonshine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Justice / Hypocrisy

The atrocities committed by the SADF in Angola and Mozambique have been swept under the carpet in the rush for Truth & Reconciliation in South Africa.
This article by Kola Odetola posted on Global Echo asks the right questions.

For a view from the perspective of a white conscript involved in one of these 'operations' see my post What is it Good For?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Education Tyranny

Every now and then I’m reminded that no matter how jaded you get, some idiot’s still going to come along and surprise you. What follows is a result of attempting to enter into dialogue on a blog which, on first impression appeared well informed and enlightening.

What is it with people who use their education as an excuse to belittle those who either a) do not conform to their world view or b) they think are beneath them? As if by understanding and using words like ‘paradigm’ they find themselves unable to understand their own arrogance and elitism. Ironically, many of them spout all sorts of righteous understanding about the state of the world, leading the unsuspecting newcomer to believe they have entered into enlightened dialogue.

It must be fun to lash out with self-gratifying bile, but to come even close to enlightenment you need to be clean – how can you claim moral high ground when your prejudice is hanging out? You need to shed the ‘isms’, starting with egotism and working your way through sexism; racism and bigotry (And I know bigotry isn’t an ‘ism’ smartarse).

At the risk of sounding preachy, it is important to realise that, rightly of wrongly, education is a privilege not afforded to everyone in equal measure (some not at all) and to use your education against those who you feel have a lesser education, is morally corrupt; ignorant and frankly reeks of class elitism.

Unfortunately education and a sharp wit do not necessarily equate to intelligence, if it did we would quite possibly be living in a far more progressive world where the many are not abused by the few; where education could be used to improve the situation rather than to climb some cliquey ladder while kicking those who you perceive to be on a lower rung.

Hey, I know that on the scale of world problems this may appear a small issue, but I believe that we need intelligent dialogue in our attempts to change the way things are going, and dialogue cannot be termed intelligent when it is laced with prejudice.

There are those out there that advertise themselves as serious commentators; going under names that invoke revolutionary thinking (my name is Che) and posting well informed analysis of current affairs. They even appear to adhere to some or other ideology. Fair enough, but a closer look reveals minds more interested in measuring penis length than stretching understanding.

Clever and witty comebacks are fine, as punctuation in any dialogue, but when they become the dialogue then all construction is lost and we fall into egotism and public masturbation. To those who wish to continue, please feel free to correct my punctuation and grammar. Prove me wrong.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Deja Vu - Again

Semour Hersh broke the story on Vietnam's Mai Lai massacre in which the US army spent a few hours killing every man, woman and child -- all unarmed civilians -- in the vicinity, about 500 all told, in which women were raped and babies were used as target practice. Hersh brought it all out in the open.

He didn't end the war any more than did those less stupid and more sensitive of the US by protesting in the streets. But along with them, he helped that population's less crazy acquiesce and finally accept victory of the Vietnamese over American invaders. For that he received a Pulitzer prize and several other awards.

Hersh did not rest on those laurels. He let the world know of the "The Samson Option" that Israel was secretly stockpiling nuclear weapons. Hersh made lie of US bombing Sudan's pharmaceutical factory under pretense it was used for terrorist activity. That was before he broke the story of Abu Ghaib prison torture.

It is hard to believe most US political writers and the wish-they-were's of foreign fawners are so dumb as to believe the tripe they parrot in defense of US actions and societal attitudes. So, if not stupid, then consider them whores for whatever gain. Semour Hersh is not one of them. He stands tall as defining what is taught as the job of a journalist.

The crazies of US war interests are now glorying in process of soon enlarging their nightmare. But, this time those too timid in self interest to oppose will not be able to claim surprise or mouth justifying official reasons for barbarity to come. That's because the investigative reporting of Semour Hersh has penetrated the smoke screen one more time.

That is in a New Yorker magazine article which reveals US intentions and planning to very soon initiate a seemingly unavoidable and probable nuclear bombing war over Iran. You know something of that nature is coming because you've seen the preview of the last being repeated, embelished with a new title.

Now however, you get the details yet only guessed. The New Yorker story is long and detailed. Hersh does little tossing of opinion but a lot of backing what he's discovered. It is worth reading if for no other reason than you may miss what is soon to unfold. You could run short this time around on the luck required to survive and protest your next war.

Friday, April 07, 2006

US Military Murders

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Iraqi Police Report Details
Civilians' Deaths at Hands of U.S. Troops

As I read this article posted below I wondered how Americans can bear to be who they are. Living high on the blood of those who die for their needs. It takes a twisted mind to enjoy ones life when others around the world must pay so dearly for it. Demented American mentality, so deluded as to be immune from the suffering they cause.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad. The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers'animals and blew up the house, the document said.

Accusations that U.S. troops have killed civilians are commonplace in Iraq, though most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated. Navy investigators announced last week that they were looking into whether Marines intentionally killed 15 Iraqi civilians - four of them women and five of them children - during fighting last November.But the report of the killings in the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi, eight miles north of the city of Balad, is unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it. The report, which also contained brief descriptions of other events in the area, was compiled by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with United States military assistance. An Iraqi police colonel signed the report, which was based on communications from local police.
The case involves a U.S. raid conducted, according to the official U.S. account, in response to a tip that a member of al-Qaida in Iraq was at the house. Neighbors, interviewed by a special correspondent for Knight Ridder, agreed that the al-Qaida member was at the house. They said he was visiting the home's owner, a relative. The neighbors said the homeowner was a schoolteacher. According to police, military and eyewitness accounts, U.S. forces approached the house at around 2:30 a.m. and a firefight ensued. By all accounts, in addition to exchanging gunfire with someone inside the house, U.S. troops were supported by helicopter gunships, which fired on the house. But the accounts differ on what took place after the firefight.According to the U.S. account, the house collapsed because of the heavy fire. When U.S. forces searched the rubble they found one man, the al-Qaida suspect, alive. He was arrested. They also found a dead man they believed to be connected to al-Qaida, two dead women and a dead child. But the report filed by the Joint Coordination Center, which was based on a report filed by local police, said U.S. forces entered the house while itwas still standing."The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 persons, including five children, four women and two men," the report said. "Then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals.

"The report identified the dead by name, giving their ages. The two men killed were 22 and 28. Of the women, two were 22 years old, one was 30 and one was 75. Two of the children were 5 years old, two were 3, and the fifth was 6 months old, the document said. A special correspondent in Ishaqi, said autopsies at the hospital in Tikrit "revealed that all the victims had bullet shots in the head and all bodies were handcuffed." Ibraheem Hirat Khalaf, whose brother Faiz owned the house and was among the dead, said he watched and heard the assault from his home 100 yards away. He said that U.S. troops used six missiles from helicopters to destroy the house as they were leaving.Abu Hijran, 38, and a neighbor, said those in the house were liked and respected, though the wanted al-Qaida member was not as well known.Rasheed Thair, an employee of Ishaqi, said that the town was in a state of shock over the killings. "Everyone attended the funeral," he said. "We want the Americans to give an explanation for this horrible crime which took the smile and the dream of a spring night from 11 people, and destroyed even the simple toys of children."

Ba Rong, Ba Chi

It won't really make any difference that I understand and acknowledge social value to establishment of religions. They will be here anyhow. With the god part removed in its con capacity to scare people to granting protective cover for ruling politicians, religions are a manner of coding social morays. That is nice in that they imprint and thus extend the job of parents beyond teaching years.

The primary problem of established religions' preferred behavior listings is that, though they sound nice, they don't seem to work very well. More modern attempts also have shortcomings. Mao's little red book has a lot of good stuff but is just too long except for waving in processions. Those which sneak through Che's diary and Fidel's speeches are too restricted in distribution. Contemporary political blabbering in reference to constitutions and laws are universally regarded as bull shit by any with brains who struggle to get through life with minimal hindrance.

Now we have a new set called "Ba Rong, Ba Chi", the eight honors and disgraces, which were recently put forth by Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao. They are concise and said in original language to have a nice memory enhancing poetic effect when put to music. For myself, aside from apparent gratuitous ruler gifting of the nation loving and law abiding stuff, they appear to take in the necessary for a decent society.

-- Love the country; do it no harm.

-- Serve the people; never betray them.

-- Follow science; discard superstition.

-- Be diligent; not indolent.

-- Be united, help each other; make no gains at other's expense.

-- Be honest and trustworthy; do not spend ethics for profits.

-- Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless.

-- Live plainly, work hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.

Hu is on the way to visit Bush. I doubt the concepts will transfer.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Viva Chavez!

The following story is from the BBC

Venezuela takes back oil fields

Venezuela has been trying to tighten its grip on the oil industryVenezuela has taken control of two oil fields operated by French firm Total and Italy's Eni.

The government said it had taken the step after failing to agree a deal with the two firms which would give it a majority stake in new ventures.

President Hugo Chavez has been working to strengthen state control over oil production in the country.

So far, 16 oil firms have agreed to change their operations into joint ventures with state oil firm PDVSA.

US based Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Spain's Repsol are among the companies that signed the agreement on Friday.

In an interview on state television, Minister Rafael Ramirez said the government took over the fields operated by Total and Eni on Saturday.

"We are waiting for a resolution with these operators after they exhausted the possibility of entering into the mixed companies," Mr Ramirez added.

Legal action?

Total's Jusepin field produces about 30,000 barrels of oil a day, while Eni's Dacion field produces almost 60,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Eni has vowed to fight the takeover which it declared illegal
"Eni believes that this action by PDVSA is a violation of Eni's contractual rights," it said in a statement.

The company added it was considering possible legal action and would be seeking compensation.

Total confirmed its oil field had been taken over, but declined further comment
Tighter controls

Last year, Mr Chavez declared 32 oil exploration deals in the country illegal - prompting the change to the contracts.

PDVSA officials had voiced fears that the previous agreements were disguised attempts to privatise the country's oil industry.

However, some oil firms have refused to sign new deals, arguing that they have pumped millions into operations in Venezuela, and now may not see any return on their investment.

Venezuela is currently the world's number five crude oil exporter.
The government has been tightening its grip on the oil sector to raise additional funds to fight poverty in the country.

As well as demanding firms give up majority control of their Venezuelan oil ventures, the government is also demanding firms pay more taxes.

Last month, BP was slapped with a back tax bill of $61.4m (£35m) covering 2001 to 2004.

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