...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Vigilant Resolve

The sight of decapitated children, the rows of dead women and the shocking pictures of the soccer stadium that was turned into a temporary grave for hundreds of the slain - all were broadcast to the world only by the Al Jazeera network. During the operation in Falluja, according to the organization Doctors Without Borders, U.S. Marines even occupied the hospitals and prevented hundreds of the wounded from receiving medical treatment. Snipers fired from the rooftops at anyone who tried to approach.
This was a retaliatory operation, carried out by the Marines, accompanied by F-16 fighter planes and assault helicopters, under the code name "Vigilant Resolve." It was revenge for the killing of four American security guards on March 31. But while the killing of the guards, whose bodies were dragged through the streets of the city and then hung from a bridge, received wide media coverage, and thus prepared hearts and minds for the military revenge, the hundreds of victims of the American retaliation were practically a military secret.
The only conclusion that has been drawn thus far from the indiscriminate killing in Falluja is the expulsion of Al Jazeera from the city. Since the start of the war, the Americans have persecuted the network's journalists - not because they report lies, but because they are virtually the only ones who manage to report the truth. The Bush administration, in cooperation with the American media, is trying to hide the sights of war from the world, and particularly from American voters.
Orit Shohat/Haaretz Apr.28.04/Iyyar 7, 5764

link KWSnet Apr. 28.04

Ma'a salaama
...maybe it's just me being paranoid, but i'm seeing a lot more "unusual activity" both out in the town and in the neighborhood. I'm going to lie low. The blog and my email contacts will hibernate for a while. Better safe than sorry.

A Republican�s Case Against George W. Bush
"As a teenager, I experienced the Great Depression. In World War II, I saw war close-up as a Navy Seabee. As a country newspaper editor, I watched the Korean War from afar. As a Member of Congress, I agonized through the Vietnam War from start to finish. During these challenges I never for a moment worried about America�s ultimate survival with its great principles and ideals still intact.
Today, for the first time, I worry deeply about America�s future. We are in a deep hole. I believe President George W. Bush�s decision to initiate war on Iraq will be the greatest and most costly blunder in American history. He has set America on the wrong course.
I must speak out. As best I can, I must bestir those who will listen to the grave damage already done to our nation, and warn of still greater harm if Bush continues his present course during a second term in the White House. "


The Need to Refocus Our Policy Priorities in The War on Terror
In view of the fact that the alleged weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq in 2003 would threaten Israel a great deal more than the United States, I believe that it is highly possible we invaded Iraq last spring as much to protect Israel as to protect the United States.
- seems reasonable to me that the president now re-examine his previous adherence to the principles espoused by Mr. Perle and the Project for a New American Century.
This would require only the courage to (1) stand up to Ariel Sharon, ordering him to remove the wall he is building between Israel and the occupied territories and commence evacuation of its Jewish settlers; (2) make negotiations for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians his top priority in the War on Terror; (3) accept the reality that democracy in the Muslim world may have to include governments which do not have the separation between church and state which has so blessed the United States; (4) specifically reject the philosophy of both Christian and Jewish fundamentalists; and (5) push for an independent Palestinian state with borders close to those agreed on at Taba.
Finally, I suggest that the administration swallow its pride, bring the U.N. back into Iraq, and surrender control of the occupying forces to the United Nations, removing American troops from Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity.


"It is remarkable that a gag provision in the Patriot Act kept the public in the dark about the mere fact that a constitutional challenge had been filed in court," Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director, said in a statement. "President Bush can talk about extending the life of the Patriot Act, but the ACLU is still gagged from discussing details of our challenge to it."

In addition to the hundreds of Iraqis killed, at least eight Marines died

US marines performed an abrupt U-turn today and prepared to hand the siege city of Fallujah over to an Iraqi army led by one of Saddam Hussein�s top generals.
The move was made on a day when ten more US soldiers were killed in Iraq - bringing the month�s death toll to 126.
After the tentative deal was announced in Fallujah, marines and guerrillas skirmished, with blasts and sporadic gunfire heard from the northern part of the Sunni city.
The Fallujah agreement, which was still being finalised tonight, came after intense international pressure on the United States to find a peaceful solution to the stand-off that killed hundreds of Iraqis in the Sunni city.

Ireland Online Apr.29.04

I think they keep counting all the dead people because it's like a sports score. It's as close as they can bring it to a sports score.
Even though both teams don't have an equal number of players; so that killing thousands of Americans isn't the same as killing thousands of Iraqis. But for the audience, for the spectators, it's all they can process - the morality is meaningless to them, it's a contest, it's about winning and losing.
The right and wrong is only at the beginning, to start the game you have to have that; but once it starts it's no longer about right and wrong, it's only about winning and losing, and that means you need a score, and that means you need numbers.

there would be a bonanza

BP's chief executive delivered a serious setback to hopes of rebuilding Iraq when he said that the oil company has no future there.
John Browne, one of Tony Blair's favourite industrialists, indicated he had given up on Iraq because the political and security situation in the country had deteriorated so much.
"We need a government, we need laws and we need decisions. We have not got any of that yet. A whole range of steps need to be taken," said the BP boss as he unveiled new record profits this week.
"It's not obvious to me you need foreign oil companies to do that [redevelopment]." He added that private oil firms could destabilise an already sensitive situation and perhaps it should be left to local state-owned groups.
The pessimistic view about the future in Iraq was expressed hours after Lord Browne had met the prime minister at the launch of a new climate change organisation.


Oil giants such as BP and Shell have joined other businesses, financiers, the UK government and civil society organisations to launch 'The Climate Group', a charity which claims it can speed up greenhouse gas reductions.
The group says it will reduce global warming by pooling "diverse and previously isolated centres of expertise" across industries and continents to "link winning solutions with sources of capital".
Speaking at the launch event of The Climate Group, UK prime minister Tony Blair acknowledged the possibility of "some kind of trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection."
The Climate Group's chief executive, Steve Howard admitted that "some companies in the oil and gas sector have done little or nothing, or seem to have lobbied against attempts to tackle the problem." "The case for change is very compelling and this is no longer just an environment issue, but a social and economic one too," he added.

EurActiv Apr.29.04

Many Iraqi and US lives will be lost if he is appointed

Conteris later added, �The people of Honduras consider you to be a state terrorist for supporting the Battalion 316 death squad. It is time for a Truth Commission in the U.S. to investigate and punish human rights violators like Mr. Negroponte and not reward them.� said Conteris. Nonviolence International is calling for people of conscience around the world to protest the Negroponte nomination and demand a Senate rejection.

The Treatment of Women Saudi Arabia it is an untold story, hidden behind the high walls and barred windows of our houses. Nobody knows the scale because public indifference and the victim's fear prevent these stories coming out. Our towns and cities are home to thousands, tens of thousands, who knows, of unheard screams.
Then we have the treatment of the Indonesian maids. Usually the perpetrators of this routine violence are Saudi women themselves, possibly venting their frustrations and suppressed anger, and demonstrating to the next generation of little Saudis how to treat women, how to treat our guest workers.
Violence apart, consider the lot of the average Saudi woman... American soldier reported the abuse and turned over evidence that included photographs.
"That soldier said, 'There are some things going on here that I can't live with...'"


Occupation Watch


Critical Wildlife Habitat

The Bush Administration's increasingly controversial efforts to hand over Western wilderness and other valuable public lands to the oil and gas industry continue to accelerate: On May 13, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will sell 77 parcels on a staggering diversity of Colorado wildlands. Thirty-one of the parcels are in a Citizens' Wilderness Proposal endorsed by more than 300 citizen organizations, businesses, and local governments. The lease sale also impacts several national forest roadless areas, including roadless lands along Thompson Creek in the White River National Forest. This land includes the largest concentration of old growth spruce-fir on the White River National Forest and perhaps the largest aspen forest in the world, together providing important habitat for elk, goshawk, lynx, and cutthroat trout. Other lands offered in the May 13 lease sale include important wildlife habitat and safeguard sensitive species, while others offer unique recreational and related economic values.
The Colorado sale follows recent contentious lease sales in Colorado and Utah. It represents the latest direct on-the-ground impact of last year's secret deal cut by Interior Department Secretary Gale Norton and former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, which prohibited BLM from protecting future wilderness on any of its land in any state.

World Association of International Studies

The current tendency is to reduce international studies to economics and political science (which until recently played the leading role), reflecting the common belief of capitalists and Marxists that economics and its universal laws are decisive. Recent history has shown that peoples are prone to destructive violence which can wreck their economic interests. Religion and ethnicity are of paramount importance in much of the world. It is for this reason that our fellowship strives to represent the whole rainbow of disciplines. Each one is a focus for theoretical debates, as is the study of international relations itself. Such intellectual exercise can become divorced from reality, and thus doctrinaire and dangerous.

"I have been fighting for a year now, and I have not seen one Al-Qaeda fighter, nor have I heard of one fighting in the resistance."

"The American's war against Iraq is over. Now we have the war of Iraq against America. A war of Iraqis fighting for their country, their homes, their money, and their lives."
Iraq Dispatches

the cooperation of Syria in future oil exports via the Mosul-Haifa pipeline

Hence, unless the pipeline were redirected through Jordan, another country bordering Israel and Iraq with normalized relations with Israel, the pipeline project will require a different regime in Syria. In other words, regime change in both Iraq and Syria is the prerequisite for the project. As Paritzky did not mention a redirecting option, it is safe to suggest that the Israelis are also optimistic about a regime change in Syria in the near future.

Oil pipelines are a highly vulnerable means of exporting oil, requiring a predictable long-term reliability of the countries through which they pass. Knowing this, the Israelis can only begin their technical assessment of the pipeline once they are convinced that the existing political barriers can be overcome. This requires new regimes in Baghdad and Damascus.

to supply Israel with oil

All of this lends weight to the theory that Bush's war is part of a masterplan to reshape the Middle East to serve Israel's interests. Haaretz quoted Paritzky as saying that the pipeline project is economically justifiable because it would dramatically reduce Israel's energy bill.
US efforts to get Iraqi oil to Israel are not surprising. Under a 1975 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the US guaranteed all Israel's oil needs in the event of a crisis. The MoU, which has been quietly renewed every five years, also committed the USA to construct and stock a supplementary strategic reserve for Israel, equivalent to some US$3bn in 2002. Special legislation was enacted to exempt Israel from restrictions on oil exports from the USA.
Moreover, the USA agreed to divert oil from its home market, even if that entailed domestic shortages, and guaranteed delivery of the promised oil in its own tankers if commercial shippers were unwilling or not available to carry the crude to Israel. All of this adds up to a potentially massive financial commitment.

This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria

One of Israel's largest oil marketing firms has won a multi-million dollar tender to supply fuel to US troops in Iraq.
According to a report, the tender awarded to Sonol gasoline company, along with its foreign partner Morgantown International, is valued at $70-80 million.
The company is expected to supply the US forces with 25 million litres of fuel each month.
The tender was issued by the US-based KDR Company, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which has been entrusted with the majority of US military contracts in Iraq.
In recent years, however, Israel has stepped up its imports from Russia and the Caspian region and now reportedly gets most of its oil from former Soviet states.
US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project had been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: ''It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George Bush] and the war in Iraq, to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.
Aljazeera Feb.25.04

After this, it will be hard for them to do these kind of bad things again

Police gunned down machete-wielding militants who stormed security outposts in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south Wednesday, killing at least 112 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Southeast Asian kingdom.
The attackers were mostly teenagers, and were intent on stealing weapons.
They were poorly armed and apparently unaware that police had been tipped off in advance and were lying in wait for them.

Google News

The Australian


Asia Times


Abbas Kadhim
Reflections on the Middle East, Islam, Politics and Theology

Denis Charlet/AFP

"We don't think deadlines are helpful," Kimmitt said Tuesday.

The fighting erupted as a two-day extension to a cease-fire ended. Earlier in the day, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets in the city of 200,000 people, calling on insurgents to surrender.
"Surrender, you are surrounded," the leaflets said. "If you are a terrorist, beware, because your last day was yesterday. In order to spare your life end your actions and surrender to coalition forces now. We are coming to arrest you."

These landraces will survive only as long as the farmers who cultivate them do

The river of cheap American corn began flooding into Mexico after NAFTA took effect in 1994. Since then, the price of corn in Mexico has fallen by half. A 2003 report by the Carnegie Endowment says this flood has washed away 1.3 million small farmers. Unable to compete, they have left their land to join the swelling pools of Mexico's urban unemployed. Others migrate to the U.S. to pick our crops - former farmers become day laborers.
The cheap U.S. corn has also wreaked havoc on Mexico's land, according to the Carnegie report. The small farmers forced off their land often sell out to larger farmers who grow for export, farmers who must adopt far more industrial (and especially chemical- and water-intensive) practices to compete in the international marketplace. Fertilizer runoff into the Sea of Cortez starves its marine life of oxygen, and Mexico's scarce water resources are leaching north, one tomato at a time.
Mexico's industrial farmers now produce fruits and vegetables for American tables year-round. It's ridiculous for a country like Mexico whose people are often hungry to use its best land to grow produce for a country where food is so abundant that its people are obese - but under free trade, it makes economic sense.
Meanwhile, the small farmers struggling to hold on in Mexico are forced to grow their corn on increasingly marginal lands, contributing to deforestation and soil erosion.

Mohammad ali Abtahi
a blog by the Vice President of Parliamentary Legal Affairs, Iran



the bodies of four children

Four schoolchildren were killed by gunfire in Baghdad on Sunday, shortly after a roadside bomb ripped through a United States military vehicle, witnesses said.
Some witnesses said the children, all aged around 12, were shot dead by US troops who had opened fire randomly after the blast on Canal Street in eastern Baghdad. At least five other people were wounded.
The children had left their nearby school to look at the burning Humvee, the witnesses said. Children and some passersby were "celebrating" the attack near the vehicle when the deadly shots were fired.
The US military had no immediate word on the incident.
Reuters Apr.25.04

The reason that the anti-Semitism in Iraq, which is so intense it might better be called a conflagration, can't be discussed in the American news media, which is normally vigilant on this topic, is that it would link the two populations, Iraqis and Jews. This linkage would be detrimental to the fiction that the only players in Iraq, aside from the hapless Iraqis themselves, are the US and its "Coalition", and the US-hating al Qaeda and Muslim fundamentalists generally.
It would surprise a lot of Americans that so many in the Arab world believe that Israel and a kind of collective Jewish intent are behind the invasion and occupation of Iraq; though some Christian fundamentalists are aware of this, approvingly, and assign the Arab antipathy to the evil nature of Islam.
What bothers some of us a lot is the deception. Deception being usually necessitated by immoral objectives, and driven by arrogance, or cowardice.

even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not discover the extent of his involvement

A security contractor killed in Iraq last week was once one of South Africa's most secret covert agents, his identity guarded so closely that even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not discover the extent of his involvement in apartheid's silent wars.
Gray Branfield, 55, admitted to being part of a death squad which gunned down Joe Gqabi, the ANC's chief representative and Umkhonto weSizwe operational head in Zimbabwe on July 31 1981. Gqabi was shot 19 times when three assassins ambushed him as he reversed down the driveway of his Harare home.
Author Peter Stiff this week confirmed information that Branfield was an operative identified in his books, The Silent War, Warfare By Other Means and Cry Zimbabwe as "Major Brian".

related story The Star, SA


state secrets

A plane crashes at the dawn of the Cold War, and the government seeks a special legal privilege. Its claim sows the seeds of the Patriot Act.
link KWSnet
James Dickey

peace witness and nonviolent challenge to the U.S. military assault independent emergency delegation of U.S. civilians was preparing to enter the conflict-torn nation,traveling to the tense stand-off around Najaf, where the U.S. military recently deployed almost 3,000 troops for a looming assault to crush Shiite rebels there.

The Najaf Emergency Peace Team, "Peace Between Peoples", a handful of determined volunteers from several well-established peace/global justice/human rights and religious organizations, has now arrived in the area, to place themselves "nonviolently, symbolically and physically" between the U.S. armed forces massed nearby and the civilian population of the ancient holy city - in the way of any American military assault.

Common Dreams Apr.23.04


The subsidy system was set up to guarantee a supply of affordable food for Europe by paying for production.
It is absurd that tobacco should have been included in this system at all.

The EU has 1,000 tobacco growers and is the world's fifth largest tobacco producer, with 75% of its crop being grown in Greece and Italy.

Smoking kills an estimated 500,000 Europeans a year yet EU farmers are paid ?5,250 ($9,300) a hectare to grow tobacco. Wheat farmers receive ?240 ($425) a hectare.
Payments based on quantities of crops are being replaced in most cases with smaller flat payments linked to environmental issues. For cotton, olive oil and hops, all aid will stop being linked to production from 2006. All tobacco subsidies will be withdrawn by 2010.
It was one of the issues out-standing on the first major reform of the union's ?30bn ($53 billion) subsidy system - half of all EU spending.
Sugar remains the last major sector needing to be brought into the new system - a contentious issue for Britain because of the sugar beet combines of East Anglia.

Compared to the strength and resolution necessary to wage a successful resistance to the oil/automobile combine - whose products and livelihood are nightmarishly more damaging to all of us, to all life - the anti-smoking campaign, as successful as it is, seems almost petulant.

That a government this willing to sacrifice the sons and daughters of its citizens might also be willing to sacrifice the good name of the country, and the good will of the world toward the country, no longer seems overly farfetched.
Add in the increasingly apparent subversion of the democratic process to theocratic scheming and foreign interest, and what we seem to have is not a failure of policy, not a mistake in strategy, but a plan that proceeds exactly as it was conceived.
The de-stabilization of Iraq, the deep and carrying alteration and displacement of native power and local organization - not as unforeseen by-product, but as goal.
Most of the left in America is still clinging to the adolescent notion of oil-as-goal; the deception and chicanery so obvious now being explained simply as the result of economic brutality translated into weapons and human lives.
But the oil-as-purpose-for-invasion would have created a smoother-running more pacified country, and quickly; these are men who unite around their greed, and who enforce their will most effectively.
We don't see that.
A destabilized Iraq hampers the extraction of petroleum in the short-term, and that's the only time frame the oil cartel works within.
The one way this all makes grim sense is if the goal all along was a destabilized Iraq - a broken nation, and a powerless people.
It would appear that an acceptable collateral price for that goal's achievement was a destabilized, broken, and powerless America - not immediately, but inevitably, as a direct result of these policies and the cynical immorality that drives them.

"If MacIain of Glencoe and that tribe can be well separated from the rest, it will be a proper vindication of the public justice to extirpate that sect of thieves."

For two weeks his soldiers enjoyed the MacDonalds' hospitality.

Then, in the cold darkness, a massacre began. Old MacIain was shot trying to get out of his bed. His wife had her fingers bitten off for their rings and she froze to death stripped naked in the snow the following day.

Thirty eight died but one hundred and fifty managed to escape thanks to the late arrival of more troops who were supposed to block the bottom of the glen. Dalrymple was incensed that some had escaped as it was his intention to swiftly erase all the Camerons and MacDonalds of Glengarry next.

The Campbells were allowed to take the blame but very few of the troops involved were Campbells. It was William of Orange who signed and counter-signed the order for the slaughter.

Dalrymple took the blame from the Scottish Parliament so King William made him Earl of Stair and gave him free reign to destroy Scotland's parliament in the Union of 1707, when the rights of the Scots were sold to England by the 'Parcel of Rogues'.

The Massacre at Glencoe
ScotClans - Scottish History

Glencoe was in bed, and while in the act of rising to receive his cruel visitors, was basely shot at by two of the soldiers, and fell lifeless into the arms of his wife. The lady in the extremity of her anguish leaped out of bed and put on her clothes, but the ruffians stripped her naked, pulled the rings off her fingers with their teeth, and treated her so cruelly that she died the following day. The party also killed two men whom they found in the house, and wounded a third named Duncan Don, who came occasionally to Glencoe with letters from Braemar.

While the butchery was going on in Glencoe's house, Glenlyon was busily doing his bloody work at Inverriggen, where his own host was shot by his order. Here the party seized nine men, whom they first bound hand and foot, after which they shot them one by one. Glenlyon was desirous of saving the life of a young man about twenty years of age, but one Captain Drummond shot him dead. The same officer, impelled by a thirst for blood, ran his dagger through the body of a boy who has grasped Campbell by the legs and was supplicating for mercy.

A third party under the command of one Sergeant Barker, which was quartered in the village of Auchnaion, fired upon a body of nine men whom they observed in a house in the village sitting before a fire. Among these was the laird of Auchintriaten, who was killed on the spot, along with four more of the party. This gentleman had at the time a protection in his pocket from Colonel Hill, which he had received three months before. The remainder of the party in the house, two or three of whom were wounded, escaped by the back of the house, with the exception of a brother of Auchintriaten, who having been seized by Barker, requested him as a favour not to despatch him in the house but to kill him without. The sergeant consented, on account of having shared his generous hospitality; but when brought out he threw his plaid, which he had kept loose, over the faces of the soldiers who were appointed to shoot him, and thus escaped.
As for the Master of Stair, at whose door the chief blame of the infamous transaction was laid by the commission of inquiry, and who is popularly considered to have been a heartless and bloodthirsty wretch, he could not understand the indignant astonishment expressed on all hands at what he considered a most patriotic, beneficial, and in every respect highly commendable proceeding. He considered that he had done his ungrateful country excellent service in doing a little to root out a band of pestilential banditti, whom he regarded in as bad a light as the Italian government of the present day does the unscrupulous robbers who infest the country, or as the American government did the bloodthirsty Indians who harassed the frontiers. Letters of "fire and sword" against the Highlanders were as common, in the days of the Stewarts, as warrants for the apprehension of house-breakers or forgers are at the present day. They were looked upon as semi-civilised aborigines, characterised by such names as "rebellious and barbarous thieves, limmers, sorners "etc.; and the killing of a Highlandman was thought no more of than the killing of a "nigger" was in the slave-states of America. In various acts of the privy council of Scotland, the clan Gregor is denounced in the above terms, and was visited with all the terrors of "fire and sword". "their habitations were destroyed. They were hunted down like wild beasts. Their very name was proscribed."

The Infamous Massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells

Feb. 12, 1692


You are hereby ordered to fall upon the Rebels, the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under 70. You are to have especial care, that the Old Fox and his Sons do upon no account escape your Hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man can escape: this you are to put in Execution at five a Clock in the Morning precisely, and by that time or very shortly after it, I'll strive to be at you with a stronger party. If I do not come at five, you are not to tarry for me but fall on. This is by the King's Special command, for the good and safety of the country, that these miscreants may be cut off root and branch. See that this be put in execution without Feud or Favor, else you may expect to be treated as not true to the King or Government nor a man fit to carry Commission in the King's Service. Expecting you will not fail in the fulfilling hereof as you love yourself, I subscribed these with my hand,

/Signed/ Robert Duncannon

For Their Majesties Service

To Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon"

The Massacre of Glencoe
at The Campbells of Southwest Virginia
Phil Norfleet


The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings. A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure included 33% of Republicans. The best-selling contemporary books in the US are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this, apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life eternal and death.
And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who is also the co-author of the marvellously named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment, postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking".
So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again.

Isaac Zimmerman of the Uranium Medical Research Centre is a research assistant for Dr. Durakovic and a co-author of many of the organization's studies. He told the WSWS: "The 442nd was a military police unit and I don't believe they saw active combat. All of the nine soldiers that we tested were sick. Four tested positive for DU and six or seven came back with Uranium 236, which does not exist in nature, and is only produced in a nuclear reaction process.

"The military is continuing to drop DU. I don't think anybody really knows, not even the military, how many tons have been dropped. One researcher in England estimates some 1,700 tons, which is a lot more than what the military claims. We have also tested a number of civilians in Iraq and found that a significant number are contaminated.

During the Persian Gulf War, Depleted Uranium was used in anti-tank armor piercing projectiles and in tank armor plating to increase, respectively, penetration capability and resistance to penetration. DU is still very radiotoxic and is highly pyrogenic when ignited, which happens when artillery shells are fired. The intense, searing flame caused by ignition of the uranium not only aids in penetration of tank armor, but also liberates the uranium into the environment making it available for internal contamination via inhalation and ingestion. Tanks made of DU armor and hit by DU shells also ignite in this way creating the same effect, i.e. friendly fire.
Depleted Uranium enters the body via inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through open wounds or imbedded shrapnel. Uranium is water soluble and can be transported throughout the body. The alpha particle release by decay of the uranium atom gives up large amount energy in a distance no larger than a couple of microns. Causing breaks and ionization of molecules, it is capable of destroying proteins, enzymes, RNA, and damaging DNA in many different ways, including double strand breaks.
This kind of damage in the reproductive organs can lead to genetic hazards which can be passed on from generation to generation. Soluble uranium compounds cause mainly chemical damage to the proximal convoluted tubules of the kidney.
DU is incorporated into bones where it can have menagopetic effects as well as causing leukemia. In the lung, GU damages the alveoli.
Since DU can cross the placenta, it can create massive problems for the radiosensitive tissues of the fetus. Damage to the fetus may lead to somatic [body] malformation including shortened limbs, damage to the CNS, cardiovascular, and muscular problems.
Other effects associated with DU poisoning are: emotional and mental deterioration, fatigue, loss of bowel and bladder control, as well as numerous forms of cancer. Such symptoms are increasing showing up in Iraq's children and among Gulf War veterans and their offspring.

extensive links and article at KWSnet Apr.22.04
National Gulf War Resource Center
bio of Dr. Asaf Durakovic at (link to NGWRC is broken)

There were rumors the fuel was a gift from China to Kim and his energy-starved country, Yonhap said.

There was no immediate suggestion the blast was anything other than an accident.
But the explosion came after Kim met China's new leadership during a rare foreign visit to discuss the North's nuclear weapons plans, tentative economic reforms and aid that has in the past included fuel.
North Korea's official media made no mention of the disaster, but earlier Thursday they broke their silence on Kim's three-day trip to Beijing -- strongly suggesting he was safely back in Pyongyang.
International telephone lines to the area appear to have been cut to prevent information about the explosion getting out, Yonhap added.
The North's creaking medical system would be hard pressed to cope with a large number of casualties, but there was no word any international agency or neighboring country had been asked for help.

Carl Zimmer on John Maynard Smith and evolution


reports of US snipers firing at women and children in the streets of Falluja have now been corroborated by international observers in the city

As the invasion was getting underway, was taken offline by a hacker attack mounted from California by John William Racine III. With a maximum tariff of 25 years available, the US attorney's office agreed [to] a sentence of 1,000 hours community service.
Ever since al-Jazeera broadcast videotapes of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Washington has treated it like a fifth column. There have been allegations that intense pressure from the White House led the network to silence some of its more outspoken journalists, such as's senior website editor, Yvonne Ridley, who was dismissed in November 2003.
In the weeks following 9/11, Colin Powell visited Emir al-Thani, the ruler of Qatar - and financier of al-Jazeera - to request that he rein in his country's free press. The emir went public about Powell's mission and, during the subsequent war in Afghanistan, al-Jazeera's offices in Kabul were bombed - by accident, the Pentagon said.
Sami al-Haj, an al-Jazeera cameraman seized in Afghanistan, remains detained in Guant�namo Bay to this day, and al-Jazeera's journalists in the west have been singled out. After attending the European social forum in Paris, I myself was detained for an hour by British special branch officers at Waterloo station. The questioning focused on my employer. The officers also wanted information about other al-Jazeera journalists in Paris and London, and asked if I would speak to someone in their office on a regular basis about my work contacts. I declined both requests.

al-Jazeera in english

don't trip, this little nigga just a stupid-ass kid

I don't know very many people my age in H.P. with jobs. At the same time, welfare benefits and job training programs are being cut. That's the recipe for a financial crisis/panic in the ghetto. Money is harder to get these days, and harder to hold onto. The gloves are coming off and people are fighting in the streets to get every dollar they can. Every dollar YOU have is one THEY can't have -- unless they take it from you.
My younger brother can testify to that. He was shot by a 15-year-old late last year after cleaning out a dice game. A veteran of street life, a husband and father of two, my brother commands respect. Not enough, though, to shield him from some youngster's bullets.
In an article recently published in the city's largest daily newspaper, a 46-year-old resident states that he doesn't let his 12-year-old daughter leave the house alone. You probably can't even imagine life in such a place, and for that I envy you. Growing up (and expecting to die) in Hunters Point killed any and all hope I had for my future. I ended up being a writer only because a friend (R.I.P. Dom) had enough hope for my future for the both of us. But I'm looking more like the exception every day. Despair and desperation are common threads in a web of crime, death and drugs smothering nearly everyone in the community.

to calculate the acceptable threshold of "collateral damage"

"The future of warfare," the journal of the Army War College declared, "lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, and sprawl of houses that form the broken cities of the world."
Israeli advisors were quietly brought in to teach Marines, Rangers, and Navy Seals the state-of-the-art tactics -- especially the sophisticated coordination of sniper and demolition teams with heavy armor and overwhelming airpower -- so ruthlessly used by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza and the West Bank.
Artificial cityscapes (complete with "smoke and sound systems") were built to simulate combat conditions in densely populated neighborhoods of cities like Baghdad or Port-au-Prince. The Marine Corps Urban Warfighting Laboratory also staged realistic war games ("Urban Warrior") in Oakland and Chicago, while the Army's Special Operations Command "invaded" Pittsburgh.
Today, many of the Marines inside Fallujah are graduates of these Urban Warrior exercises as well as mock combat at "Yodaville" (the Urban Training Facility in Yuma, Arizona), while some of the Army units encircling Najaf and the Baghdad slum neighborhood of Sadr City are alumni of the new $34 million MOUT simulator at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
This tactical "Israelization" of U.S. combat doctrine has been accompanied by what might be called a "Sharonization" of the Pentagon's worldview. Military theorists are now deeply involved in imagining how the evolving capacity of high-tech warfare can contain, if not destroy, chronic "terrorist" insurgencies rooted in the desperation of growing megaslums.

four-square behind

The symbolism of Bush's appearance with Sharon could not have been lost on the Arab people. Coming just a day after Bush vowed to give his commanders the power to use "decisive force" in Iraq, Bush didn't even bother to invite a Palestinian into the discussion. Instead, he and Sharon stood at the White House alone, in front of the American flag and the Israeli flag. Many in the Arab world could be forgiven for concluding: It's America and Israel against us.
If Bush had wanted to, he could not have found two more counterproductive and incendiary policies to pursue post-9/11 than to wage war against Iraq and to slow dance with Sharon. For some bizarre reason, Bush continues to play out the role that Osama bin Laden has scripted for him.
For his part, John Kerry cravenly offered no better. Appearing on Meet the Press, he said he was four-square behind the Bush-Sharon policy. And he even gave his blessing to the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
Kerry, Bush, and Sharon are consigning Palestinians to another generation of subjugation. But in the long term, this trio is endangering the very security of the state of Israel, and all the while, they are fueling terrorism not only against Israelis but against Americans as well.

Israeli nationals have been linked to the transfer of weapons and military platforms to criminal activities in South America

Israel has acknowledged that U.S.-origin military helicopters were sold to Colombia and might have landed in the hands of drug dealers.
Israeli officials said five MD-500 surveillance helicopters were sold by the Defense Ministry and ended up in the hands of a Colombian national. The helicopters were not transferred to the authorized end-user, they said.
The MD-500 helicopters were transferred from U.S. Air Force surplus to Israel as part of Washington's military aid to the Jewish state, Middle East Newsline reported. From there, Israel's Defense Ministry sold the aircraft to the private firm, Globus Aviation.
World Tribune Apr.15.04
link UNDERNEWS Apr.20.04

Cocaine. Haiti. Colombia. Haiti. Israel. Haiti. Money. Haiti. Cocaine.

Thugs and assassins

US officials believe al-Qaida linked Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was behind the Irbil, Baghdad and Kerbala attacks. They claim an intercepted letter revealed a strategy to foment civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims to make the country ungovernable.
Basra's governor also blamed Osama bin Laden.

Guardian UK Apr.22.04
Ok, we heard from the US officially, and we heard from their local representative, did we hear from anyone else? We don't need to.
US officials and the governor of Basra, that's enough.
We know what happened. Because they know, and they told us.


We step into the future with less connection to ancestral guidance than any human generation before us. Although we have invented amazing technologies for saving data, we are at risk of forgetting our personal, family and cultural stories. We broadcast our voices over vast distances, but talk less to our neighbours. Haunting these changes are the spectres of continuing violence, planetary degradation and, above all, the danger that we'll come to believe the implacable message of the powerful: that resistance is futile. The old stories teach us that resistance is never futile.
�Dan Yashinsky, American-born storyteller and writer, Suddenly They Heard Footsteps

Word Spy Apr.21.04


Images from World War 1
Imperial War Museum UK

In a way Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley are the "lone gunmen" of their particular fields. They are accused, rightly for all I can tell, of fabricating stories and falsely documenting events to which they were not witness.
But the key thing is they were acting out of self-interest, alone and independent of their corporate bosses.
They were breaking the rules, but like embezzlers, succumbing to temptation, to greed.
Nothing in their narratives gets close to the real crime.
The dictated stories and, even more insidious, the anticipated slanting of what purports to be unbiased journalism - knowing what the boss wants, before he asks. So he doesn't have to.
That's still taboo.
It reminds me somehow of the way smoking has been excised from the civic spectacle, using pretty much the same manipulative techniques that caused it to become a universal adult behavior for four generations - role model examples and subliminal propaganda, coupled with theatrically sincere, heartfelt testimonials.
The technique itself is what's wrong, and it's still absolutely untouchable.

our silent partner in this struggle

They have come from all corners of the world. Former Navy Seal commandos from North Carolina. Gurkas from Nepal. Soldiers from South Africa's old apartheid government. They have come by the thousands, drawn to the dozens of private security companies that have set up shop in Baghdad. The most prized were plucked from the world's elite special forces units. Others may have been recruited from the local SWAT team.
But they are there, racing about Iraq in armored cars, many outfitted with the latest in high-end combat weapons. Some security companies have formed their own "Quick Reaction Forces," and their own intelligence units that produce daily intelligence briefs with grid maps of "hot zones." One company has its own helicopters, and several have even forged diplomatic alliances with local clans.
"I refer to them as our silent partner in this struggle," Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican and Armed Services Committee chairman, said in an interview.
The price of this partnership is soaring. By some recent government estimates, security costs could claim up to 25 percent of the $18 billion budgeted for reconstruction, a huge and mostly unanticipated expense that could delay or force the cancellation of billions of dollars worth of projects to rebuild schools, water treatment plants, electric lines and oil refineries.
The combination of a deadly insurgency and billions of dollars in aid money has unleashed powerful market forces in the war zone. New security companies aggressively compete for lucrative contracts in a frenzy of deal making.
"A lot of firms have put out a shingle, and they're not geared to operate in that environment," said Mr. Hoffman, the Armor Group chief executive.
One security company, the Steele Foundation, recently turned down an $18 million contract for a corporation that wanted a security force deployed within only a few days; Steele said it simply could not find enough qualified guards so quickly. Another company promptly jumped at the contract.
"They just throw bodies at it," said Kenn Kurtz, Steele's chief executive officer.
Early on in the war, private security contractors came mostly from elite Special Operations forces. It is a small enough world that checking credentials was easy. But as demand has grown, so has the difficulty of finding and vetting qualified people.
"At what point do we start scraping the barrel?" asked Simon Faulkner, chief operating officer of Hart, a British security company. "Where are these guys coming from?"

Times archive page here (reg. req.)
link KWSnet

John Negroponte, Satan's Nuncio

He speaks five languages.
From 1981 to 1985 Negroponte was US ambassador to Honduras.
During his tenure, he oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year.
According to The New York Times, Negroponte was responsible for "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua."
Critics say that during his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systematic.
Negroponte supervised the creation of the El Aguacate air base, where the US trained Nicaraguan Contras and which critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s.
In August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site.
When President George W. Bush announced Negroponte's appoint to the UN shortly after coming to office, it was met with widespread protest.
However, the Bush administration did not back down and even went so far as to try to silence potential witnesses.
On March 25, the Los Angeles Times reported on the sudden deportation from the United States of several former Honduran death squad members who could have provided damaging testimony against Negroponte in his Senate confirmation hearings.
One of the deportees was General Luis Alonso Discua, founder of Battalion 3-16.

While Negroponte claimed, and still claims, ignorance of human rights abuses by the Honduran military, the Baltimore Sun noted that in 1982 alone Honduran newspapers ran 318 stories of extrajudicial killings and torture by the Honduran military. The Sun also reported that CIA agents were aware of abuses and even participated in the interrogations of people abducted, tortured, and later disappeared. One survivor of the clandestine jails, In�s Murillo, told the Sun that a CIA agent visited her cell and participated in her questioning. She was blindfolded but heard him writing on a pad that was then slid across the table to the interrogator.
Rick Chidester, who served under Negroponte, says "he was ordered to remove all mention of torture and executions from the draft of his 1982 report on the human rights situation in Honduras" (The Progressive Response, Mar. 23, Vol. 5, No. 10).
Discua is not the only Battalion 3-16 participant to be booted out of the US this year [2001]. As Discua was having his visa revoked, Juan Angel Hern�ndez Lara, another alleged member, was deported from Florida. Lara had been arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) seven months before under a relatively new program that targets for deportation foreign nationals accused of human rights violations, including torture, murder and kidnapping.
More links here


Sharon goes to Washington and three days later he's gleefully celebrating the assassination of Rantisi.
What does that mean?
What forces are at work there?

as was the case

The United States is bracing for possible terrorist attacks before the November presidential election, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.
The opportunity for terrorists to try to influence the election, as was the case last month in Spain, appears to be an opportunity that would "be too good to pass up for them," Rice said.
"I think that we do have to take very seriously the thought that the terrorists might have learned, we hope, the wrong lesson from Spain," Rice told "Fox News Sunday."
AP/Yahoo Apr.18.04
Outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar says he believes the terrorist bombings last month in Madrid caused his party to lose an expected election victory.
Spanish Prime Minister Aznar said he is certain terrorists planned the Madrid bombings a few days before the Spanish election in order to affect the outcome.
link Ipecac

Who points, aptly enough, to two plausible outcomes. One, the loser has a big excuse. Two, the excuse could as well be applied to the elections. No time for that stuff kids, we've been attacked!
I would need a lot of convincing to relinquish the sceptical suspicion the Israelis had something to do with Madrid.
And Sistani. I know there's a lot of underground/hate group scuttlebutt that the Israelis knew about the WTC. And there's a lot of suspicious stuff besides, the USS Cole etc. So, more baseless accusations don't really help, but this is a narrowing moment we inhabit. It's getting close. And the evidence all points to that. It smells like that, it feels like that.
And the total separation of this political apocalyptic chaos from the environmental apocalyptic chaos that grows with equal intensity seems almost by design. Schizophrenic disjunction induced by cognitive dissonance.
Human life cheapens by the minute.


road to the future

Two Americans and a Jordanian were shot dead in Kosovo Saturday when emotions over Iraq apparently boiled over into a gunbattle between members of the U.N. law enforcement mission.
U.N. police spokesman Neeraj Singh said two U.S. police officers and a Jordanian were killed and 10 Americans and one Austrian wounded in the shooting.
The lethal firefight between fellow members of the U.N. force was unprecedented in five years of peacekeeping in Kosovo, where police of some 30 nations make up the international force of around 3,500.
The 10-minute shootout took place in the U.N. compound in ethnically divided Mitrovica -- a city that is more commonly the scene of clashes between Serbs and Albanians, in which U.N. police and NATO troops intervene to keep the peace.


Mark Morford/SFGate Apr.16.04

I stopped reading this review of Gibson's Passion of The Christ after the first point. He has nine. I'm sure some of them are amusing, maybe even germane. But it's just bitchy nastiness, chauvinism for things as they are, more defense of the status quo. That's, as I never get tired of pointing out, exactly what got Jesus killed in the first place. Rocking the boat. The problem is now we've got a little flotilla out there, a smorgasboard of status quos, a buffet of lifestyles and choices, all acceptable generally as long as they don't threaten overt violence or get in the way of the economy to which we all pray daily.
The reality of the movie is something people talk about. I haven't seen it.
I just saw Braveheart, probably a lot of civilians think that movie was too violent, as well, but the truth is what was real then couldn't be reproduced on film. Neither could the real Passion. They both happened though. They're real events and many of us had our lives shaped directly by them. All of us have been indirectly affected by them. The inability to confront that violence isn't a desire for a more civilized way of life, it's cowardice, fear, the precise opposite of the protagonists' character in both stories.
What we have inherited is the end result of the steady accumulation of the benefits of compromise with evil. That's what this world is. This is what happens, eventually. Look around you. These are the people who inherit the earth. And this is the earth they inherit.
We tell our children these stories and it seems with each telling one more pertinent detail drops away. The hopelessness of resistance makes a bad movie.
The demonic tools that we now regard as essential to life have each taken only a little bit of our power. An amount so small most of us never even noticed it, like a penny added on to the price of a can of corn. There are billionaires who receive that kind of tribute daily.
Is Gibson fighting that battle? Is that why I'm defending his movie?
Well, I'm not defending the movie. What I'm defending is the effect of the movie. What I'm attacking is the comfortable people who attack the movie. Because what they're attacking is what's given them the position they occupy, and now it's threatening them, by the truth of what it is.
All these years people suffered to bring comfort and safe living to a privileged few here in the US. And now that system is cycling out of all control. Good.
Does simple-minded religion offer hope?
Not to the jaded cynics who've wormed their way into power in this cess pool of karmic waste. But it will strengthen those who are so confused by the seeming impossibility of moral stances they can't find any place to be proud in.
These are the descendants of the broken, not naturally inferior strains of humanity, these are the children of the ones who fought and lost. It's a testament to the blood they carry that there's so much strength still there. The history's been broken as thoroughly as the men were. But it's there, there's something in us that knows this. We're in chains, but we weren't always. And it's wrong. Wrong because it's happening to us, wrong in that sense of loyalty to threatened family and home, and wrong because it's disharmonious, because it raises the worm above the man.
One of the many ways this captivity's been maintained is the constant affirmation of the abstract, the way moral questions are debated in an out-of-context meta-reality that has no substance, to get the mind unmoored from its place in the body, because the body is real, and it's connected to what's real.
And that's what the Passion brings home I think, at least as much as it takes the gloss off the Crucifixion and shows the scabbed blood at the foot of the cross.
That image is central to this culture - though at the same time it's been castrated, neutered and tamed, and assigned its place in the book of goads and cheers.
I like that the movie's out there. I don't care if he's an egotistical masochist, I don't care if it fuels the dark hungers of seemingly placid Christians, what I care is that the slave mentality induced by the fixed-up image, the ball-less simpering Jesus, is getting replaced by blood and violence. Overtly. Good.
That's the real message.
All that forgiveness and whimpering obedience was tacked on by the monitoring intelligence that directed what it could of history as it unfolded, and damage-controls the rest.
Pussies whose lives are made safe by outsourced death and brutality can do with a taste of their zeitgeist's true nature.

'Targeted Killings'

Israel has killed more than 150 militants in targeted raids since fighting broke out in September 2000, according to Palestinian medical officials, though that total includes militants killed resisting arrest. Israel also has had a long history of assassinating those it considered to be terrorists before then.
Here are some of the most prominent strikes:
KWSnet Apr.17.04

Authorities in a southern Vietnamese province have restricted access to Internet sites critical of the government, state-controlled media reported Saturday.
Owners of Internet cafes in Dong Nai province, next to Ho Chi Minh City, are required to prevent customers' access to websites with "bad content" and to install software to control the information available, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.
Police are also requiring Internet cafe owners to keep for 30 days customers' personal information such as names, addresses, identification numbers and the duration of their Internet access.
Citizen Lab

Approximately six thousand of the captured slaves were crucified along the Via Appia from Capua to Rome. Crassus never gave orders for the bodies to be taken down, thus travelers were forced to see the bodies for years, perhaps decades, after the final battle. Legionnaires found 3000 unharmed Roman prisoners from his camp. Spartacus's body was never identified.

a Washington investigation without conspiracy theorists

"It wouldn't be a Washington investigation without conspiracy theorists," the item began, signaling that what was to follow shouldn't be taken seriously. Stolberg continued:
"So it was no accident on Tuesday that one commissioner, Richard Ben-Veniste, asked Attorney General John Ashcroft about reports that he stopped flying on commercial aircraft before the attacks. Mr. Ashcroft was only too glad to set the record straight, saying he 'never ceased to use commercial aircraft for my personal travel.'
"Mr. Ben-Veniste was pleased, too. 'By putting that in the public domain,' he said on Wednesday, 'I think we can at least take the step toward reducing the number of conspiracy theories, of which there are many.'"
The short concludes with a description of "an elderly man carrying an overstuffed satchel" full of documents, whom Ben-Veniste smiles at politely-- apparently illustrating the attitude readers are supposed to take toward those who peddle "conspiracy theories."
The problem with placing this item in the "Reporter's Notebook" section, and framing it as a cute example of the kooky things some people believe, is that Ashcroft's avoiding commercial flights before September 11 is not a conspiracy theory, but a documented fact.

people could die

Top Food and Drug Administration officials admitted yesterday that they barred the agency's top expert from testifying at a public hearing about his conclusion that antidepressants cause children to become suicidal because they viewed his findings as alarmist and premature.
"It would have been entirely inappropriate to present as an F.D.A. conclusion an analysis of data that were not ripe," Dr. Robert Temple, the Food and Drug Administration's associate director of medical policy, said in an interview. "This is a very serious matter. If you get it wrong and over-discourage the use of these medicines, people could die."
All other things being equal - chance of death from drug-driven suicide, chance of death from depression-driven suicide - we'll go with the profit-driven drug dispensers.

If you can't use the pills, how are you going to treat the ills?

Phillip Hodson, fellow of the BACP, said that introducing counsellors to schools would help the Government to meet its recruitment targets for the teaching profession. 'It would make teaching more attractive. Teachers could concentrate on being teachers,' Hodson said.
He pointed out that there had recently been a spate of concerns about whether children should be prescribed anti-depressants and that many experts doubted whether they worked.
'If you look at the prescription of anti-depressants, they've doubled in something like 10 years,' Hodson said. 'But if they don't work, what are you going to do? If you can't use the pills, how are you going to treat the ills?'
Mark Prever, a counsellor who works with schoolchildren in Birmingham, said the strains of modern society meant that counselling was increasingly necessary for today's pupils.
'It is hard for children growing up now. The pressures on young people are considerable. For me, counselling should be something you're entitled to, no matter what your age. Older people can buy counselling, but young people don't have the money.'

a setback

The new Spanish Socialist prime minister today abruptly ordered his troops home from Iraq.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero argued there was no sign the United States will meet his terms for the troops to remain - United Nations control of the postwar occupation.
Zapatero had campaigned on such a pledge ahead of Spain's March 14 general election. But his announcement - a setback for the United States - was a bombshell, coming just hours after his government was sworn in, and as his foreign minister planned to travel to Washington to discuss the dispute.
In a five-minute address at the Moncloa Palace, Zapatero said he had ordered Defence Minister Jose Bono to "do what is necessary for the Spanish troops stationed in Iraq return home in the shortest time possible".
Zapatero noted his campaign pledge to bring the 1,300 troops in Iraq home by June 30, when their mandate ends, unless the United Nations took political and military control of the situation there.
"With the information we have, and which we have gathered over the past few weeks, it is not foreseeable that the United Nations will adopt a resolution" that satisfies Spain's terms, Zapatero said.
Ireland Online Apr.16.04
link Radio Netherlands

Fear Not

a very clouded, very complicated, self-promoting, neo-con

Concern is growing within the archival and historical communities regarding the Bush administration's hoped for "fast-track" process to replace Archivist of the United States John Carlin with one of its own choosing -- historian Allen Weinstein. According to informed sources, the administration hopes to short-circuit the normal confirmation process and see Weinstein confirmed through an "expedited" process. Their goal -- place Weinstein in the position prior to the November election.

According to Hill insiders, the effort to replace Carlin is coming from the highest levels of the White House. Reportedly, Karl Rove who is widely viewed as one of the president's chief political advisors, if not his political mastermind and, Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President, want their own archivist in place for two overarching reasons: first, because of the sensitive nature of certain presidential and executive department records likely to be opened in the near future, and second, because there is genuine concern in the White House that the president may not be re-elected.

Salem Hassan

An Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada Sadr from his car, police said today.
The motorist was stopped late yesterday by US troops conducting search operations on a street in the centre of the central city of Kut, Lieutenant Mohamad Abdel Abbas said.
After the man refused to remove Sadr's picture from his car, the soldiers forced him out of the vehicle and started beating him with truncheons, he said.
US troops also detained from the same area five men wearing black pants and shirts, the usual attire of Sadr's Mehdi Army militiamen and followers. AU Apr.14.04

We will remove Spain from an illegal and unjust war

Amid the heady joy in parliament on Friday, after MPs had overwhelmingly approved his candidacy as prime minister (only the defeated Popular Party voted against) an action of one man in the visitors' gallery was revealing: as applause rippled round the chamber, Juan Rodriguez, Zapatero's snowy-haired father, could not resist raising his fist in the old socialist salute, a sight not seen in parliament for many years.
Zapatero, 43, has always said he was inspired by his Republican grandfather, who was shot by Franco's forces early in the civil war.
The new leader swore loyalty to King Juan Carlos yesterday, and his ministers will do the same today, five weeks after the Socialists' surprise election victory transformed Spain's political scene and recasted political alliances across Europe.
MPs voted 183 to 148 to endorse Zapatero, who has shaken the world with his commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq unless the UN takes charge before June 30. He said in the two-day debate that preceded the vote that both the war and the occupation were illegal as they lacked a UN mandate.
"If the United Nations does not take over political control and the military command of that country, Spanish troops will come back to us. I have set a deadline of June 30," he said.


Typhoon Sudal may have broken Yap's back, but not its people's spirits.

There may be a tendency to overestimate these things when you're in the middle of it all, but judging from the extreme damage that was delivered to Yap on these Easter holidays, and by how it was absolutely impossible to venture outside during the peak hours (the "eye" stayed over Yap, incessantly delivering one blow after the other, for a good six hours), my guess is that by the time Sudal hit Yap proper full force (about 02:00), it had grown well into super typhoon territory. As if the matter of classification really matters.
Power and water went early, leaving all the islands in virtual darkness, and with no drinking water. Thanks to no less than heroic efforts by Tim and Tim (water and power, respectively) and their crews, we got power back already early this morning, and we're promised to have our water back by tomorrow. That is only here in Colonia, though (priority one due to the needs of the Yap State Hospital), the complete grid will probably take some time to get back online.
My personal assessment is that 60 percent of all local businesses, 70 percent of all homes, and 80 percent of all schools, are utterly devastated, completely written off. Gone. Can't even use the rubble left behind as building material, as the pieces are too small. As kindling, yes. Rumung island is reported to be especially hard hit, with zero man-made structures remaining.

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