...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




He was Mohammed. He was 48

...the son of the Iraqi Governing Council's woman member, Salama al-Khafaji, was also killed when her convoy was attacked at Yusufiyah, 20 kilometres south of Baghdad, a council spokesman said Friday.
Khafaji was not hurt in the attack but her son, Ahmed, was killed when the car he was travelling came under fire Thursday and crashed into a river, said Dr Mahmoud Othman.
"The son died in the shooting. Two or three of her bodyguards died as well," he said. Two other people were hurt and were being treated at Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital.

twophoto Mario Vasquez/AFP

There is more democracy in Venezuela than in the United States, and if we put ourselves on a balance and compare each other, there's 10 times more democracy in Venezuela if you want to put a number on it.

VENPRES: You just mentioned the United States. Is their interference in Venezuelan affairs continuing? Because recently, the Washington Post published statements by Mr. Roger Noriega, in which he indicates that if we don�t have a referendum, the US will intervene.

Chavez: It�s like a broken record, and forms a part of what I said at my speech on Avenida Bolivar. In the struggle for Venezuelan sovereignty, imperialism took off its mask, the old, horrible, horrifying imperialism that rolled over this continent. It�s been rolling over it for many years. Simon Bolivar saw it coming long before Pancho Villa. Pancho Villa clashed with the North American empire in 1914, 1915, almost 90 years ago. In those days, Pancho Villa galloped, and Emiliano Zapata carried the Mexican flag of independence, sovereignty, and dignity on high. But, that was in 1914. 90 years earlier, Bolivar clashed with the North American empire. Bolivar�s prophetic vision is amazing when he states in one of his letters, �The United States seems destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.�

Chavez: The ridiculous statements of those men don�t seem strange to us at all. It�s in line with their imperialist, militarist, utilitarian vision. President Bush himself said that he doesn�t need friends in the world to do what he wants. There�s never been a more horrific imperial statement in 2000 years of history. Even the Roman Empire needed friends, sought friends in the world. However, that could be the turning point for the empire, when they feel all-powerful and try to do whatever they want. What happens to them is what is happening to the North American empire. The people are turning their backs on them, and in their own country, in the heart of their very people, dignified voices are being raised.

Compare and contrast:
Guadalajara en ingl�s
and in Spanish

Watching TV with my mom last night, public-interest show on LA's PBS affiliate, Life and Times, so weird, so weird. The main interviewees were Larry Flynnt and some alien toupee from Claremont College. So weird, so weird. Claremont is the alien landing area in southern CA. It's their entry portal, you'll notice a lot of the anti-human thought pieces originate from Claremontian sources. So that was all weird by itself. Then.
Oh then.
They have a segment intro I missed because I was fixing dinner, but as I hit the couch, the piece's journalist, Val Zavala, is talking about the governor, the whole piece is about the pressure to widen gaming permissions in California, which already has Indian Casino gambling, and semi-real card houses, as well as close proximity to the Lucky State, Nevada. So Claremont-alien vs. porn-king rogue is kind of the main bout, but Zavala's introducing Gov. Schwarzenegger into it all as I sit down, and the visual is quick but it opens with some Atwater-esque ectomorph stepping back from the dais-und-mic as Arnie moves forward. But.
Oh but if you follow the ectomorph he fades to the background to the left of the speaking governor and there's an ecto-chick there, with cheekbones and no cleavage, bright red sweater, no cleavage, pasted-on smile, no cleavage, skinny, hair sort of prim but nice, and ecto-dude gets right in behind her and she jumps.
Forward, her smile drops and recovers in an instant, but she definitely jumps, she's startled and a grimace of pain flashes across her face, the smile comes back instantly and ecto-dude he's smiling too like a snake if snakes smiled but you can see his arms are where they'd be if he was shoving her from behind, hard, in little micro-shoves, he's irritated, and she's scared, you can see the fear, she's supposed to be smiling, she's smiling again, but the fear, and half-turning toward him for instruction but he shoves her again, jabs her, she's not supposed to look at him she's there to be seen, a part of Arnie's uber-camo, and she's radiating that fellatio-on-demand thing, you can see it, on her knees or in the car, or as here, smiling and prim and ready to do what she's told, right out in public, in broad daylight, in front of God and everyone.


it is not that hard to get from A to B

[Admiral] Anthony Zinni, a past chief of the U.S. Central Command and President Bush's former Middle East special envoy, told "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the neoconservatives' role in pushing the war for Israel's benefit was "the worst-kept secret in Washington." Three days earlier, Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, rose on the Senate floor to defend a newspaper essay he had written earlier in the month making the same charge. Both men complained that they had been unfairly labeled antisemitic for speaking out.
Their comments come just weeks after the United Nations' special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, called Israel a "poison in the region" and said that American support for Israeli policies was making his job more difficult.

Of course, as controversial as she might be, she's not getting any death threats, very little hate mail, anything like that.

Rescue Tony Blair

Whatever's running the Israeli government has been directing US military policy in Iraq. This is now on the table and getting no serious argument from anyone but the people who are being accused and their duped apologists.
So it's likely they've been directing Britain's otherwise inexplicable participation as well.
Which means Bush and Blair have probably been blackmailed or strong-armed into the positions they've been taking.
In Bush's case, though, it may have been a Manchurian thing, an actual hypnosis/conditioned response thing. Blair seems more like someone who had no alternative but co-operation, conscious collaboration. We're talking about forces and pressures that make moral decision-making and accountability inapplicable.
The teddy-bear fantasies of most observers � wanting it all to remain in the arena of a naive choice/responsibility dynamic, good-boy/bad-boy punishment-scenarios � means slogging through a lot of resistance and denial just to get it said.
But it seems clear and obvious to me. Just as the Orthodox push toward Babylon, and revenge, seemed obvious from the get, to some of us.
So the danger is catharsis. Catharsis will perpetuate the control. We're supposed to trash Bush and transfer our patriotic enthusiasms onto Kerry. In England they're supposed to trash Blair and transfer their patriotic enthusiasms onto Howard. Howard's biography makes that rationale obvious.
The squeals of "anti-semitism" are a direct result of whoever and whatever is responsible for this melodrama hiding behind Jews as a collective entity. That these agencies are Jewish is obvious; that we are unable to further distinguish them is handicapping us, as it is intended to.
The Jews aren't running Israel or America. Certain Jews are. This is not a failing of the Jewish people, it's a failing of those men, that thing, hiding behind the Jewish people.
Separate it out. Bring it into the light.

WalMart Correctional

In his five-point plan for Iraq's reconstruction, President Bush said that after tearing down Abu Ghraib, he would build a "modern, maximum-security prison" as one way to wipe away the horrid stain of the prison scandal. But it is precisely these "supermax" prisons, as they are popularly known, that have come under fierce assault from prison reformers, lawmakers, and even some prison officials in the United States -- because of prisoner abuse scandals within their walls.

Supermax prisons have been the target of prisoner lawsuits in California, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and Illinois. Prisoners have called them "torture chambers" where they are subjected to flagrant human rights and civil liberties violations and appalling psychological and physical abuses. In a lawsuit filed by Ohio prisoners at the state's supermax prison in Youngstown in 2002, inmate Keith Garner bluntly told a judge that the conditions at the prison were "like being in a tomb."

Of course he wants a brand new prison, no more nooks and crannies, no more places for the truth to leak out. The name of that game is total control. Old-style architecture has too many un-securables. The Panopticon needs to be built from the ground up, too many variables in adapting onto existing structures and institutions.
Don't we really need to face the risks of a looser social fabric?
Get those control freaks out of the command module.
Let Mom drive.
Not his mom, ours.


Street scene in Haiti after the forced abdication of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
photos Benjamin Lowy
Blueeyes Magazine

link Coincidences



In between composing anti-semitic diatribes and managing the subscription lists for the state chapter of NAMBLA, I like to relax by taking my mother out for drives. She's 89 and almost gone. I'll be amazed if she's still alive a month from now. We live together, in a trailer in a trailer park. The trailer is falling apart. The people who run the park will be very keen on replacing the trailer we live in with what's called an "Advantage" home. They're mass-produced move 'em once mobile homes. So it's almost a certainty that after my mom dies I won't be able to live here. I have no money, no savings, a junker car, a computer, at a flea market I might be able to scrounge 3 or 400 dollars. Once. We've been living on my mom's pension and Social Security. Running out of money at the end of every month. She doesn't know that because she's pretty out of it, but that's how it is. The phone and cable are going to be pretty nebulous next month even if she makes it through.
So there's that.
Tonight, or this evening, the sun was still up though close to the horizon, we were driving downtown, in this coastal California town, not much traffic, and we saw, or I saw, I didn't mention it to my mom, a young guy, maybe in his twenties, dark-complected but not African-looking, he looked Arabic or Persian to me, though he might have been some kind of South Asian. He looked aware and alert but subtly so, that kind of full-radar thing that blacks used to have so intensely and still do I suppose though I think it's less dramatic in some areas, for some black men. Not for Arabs though I bet. So I saw him, and I thought, "I wonder what that's like."
That's what I used to think about other races when I was a kid, "I wonder what that's like." This is a college town, mostly all middle and upper class white people, blacks were rare when I was a kid and it was a distinct social ranking, now blacks are still relatively rare, though less so, and the social ranking is less pronounced as well. But even in my isolation I can feel the mindless hate of things Arabic especially young Arab males. So as I drove along, for a while , I was thinking about that, how disgusting it is, how wrong, and how it would be to be like the guy I saw a young Arab male walking alone down a street in a small American town. But in the back of my mind was the monitor, the fact-checker, the paranoia meter, saying that it wasn't that bad, that people weren't that hysterical.
Then , when we got home, after my mom watched Raymond, I turned the TV on Fox News for some reason. I think it was the country hip-hop excretion on the ACM Awards show, kind of softened me up for evil input. And it was the O'Reilly Factor, a show I'd never watched for more than twenty seconds before. And of course he was featuring Mr. Ashcroft's Most Wanted list. The 7 evil Arabs among us. And they also said they could be recruiting European-looking young people, who might be traveling with families as a disguise.
So there's that.

...from the beginning of the intifada to the end of December 2003,
1988 Palestinians have been killed, among them 439 minors.
...more than fifty percent of the Palestinians killed were unarmed.
On May 3rd a Military Court sentenced Captain Zvi Kortzky to two months' imprisonment, four months' of military tasks and six months' probation.
He had been convicted of shooting to death Muhammad Zid, 16. The shooting took place when the minor was in his home, in Nazlat a-Sheikh Zid, Jenin District. This is the first time that an IDF soldier has been convicted of "causing the death by negligence" of a Palestinian during the al-Aqsa intifada.
The conviction of Captain Kortzky is one of only three convictions related to the killing or wounding of civilians. In the other two cases, soldiers were only convicted of "illegal use of weapons." Yet, from the beginning of the intifada to the end of December 2003, 1988 Palestinians have been killed, among them 439 minors. According to B'Tselem's figures, more than fifty percent of the Palestinians killed were unarmed. The JAG's Office has opened only seventy-two Military Police investigations that deal with killing or causing severe injury to civilians. Only thirteen of the investigations resulted in indictments, and only three convictions were obtained.

link John Stanton at Counterpunch


we the people

Oregon delivered a message in the May 18th primary when 17% of the electorate effectively said �end the occupation - unite around peace, not war.� Colorado, Maine, Alaska, and Minnesota sent the same message at their state conventions over the weekend.
In Maine, Kucinich increased his percentage from 14% to 25%, collecting six national delegates. In Colorado, Kucinich went from 13% in April to nearly 30% and added nine delegates, for a total of 14 national delegates. And in Alaska, Kucinich picked up two unexpected additional delegates. The Minnesota campaign confirmed nine national delegates.
Thank you Dennis Kucinich for your courage and steadfastness in the face of often daunting odds. Your presence in the political community in the United States of America gives hope to many and we ask you to continue this historic journey.
We now take this message of peace, universal health care for all, fair trade, and civil liberties to the regional platform meetings around the country and then on to the Democratic Convention in Boston July 26-28.


He would be mad to listen to these people. He would also be mad not to.

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 Revelations (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.

George Monbiot May.15.04

Walter Mosley on black understanding of anti-US rage.
Maybe a good time to point out that many black men have Arabic names, and have had for a few decades now. That this is never mentioned even in passing by the media, sport or news, is indicative of something inherent in the media itself. An institutional timidity, that for all its pragmatic rationale is a form of genteel cowardice.
This is not unspeakable, it's fact. Black celebrities have names like Kareem, Muhamed, Latifah. Many non-celebrity black people have Arabic names.
If we don't talk about it, it's either because we don't care, or we're afraid.

The Israeli army spokesman's office said the army
had not received Lt-Col Ronel's resignation letter yet,
but that military officials had seen it on the internet
A reservist colonel in the Israeli army has resigned his commission in protest at his army's "immoral conduct" in the occupied territories. In a searing open letter to the army's chief of staff, Lt-Col Eitan Ronel, a veteran of 1973's Yom Kippur War, the invasion of Lebanon, and the first Palestinian Intifada, returned his officer's commission.

His resignation came even as five teenage conscripts were yesterday sentenced to a year in prison each for refusing to serve in the Israeli army "as long as it acts as an army of occupation". Scores of reservists have refused to report for duty for similar reasons, and many of them have been sentenced to prison terms, but Lt-Col Ronel, 51, is believed to be the first Israeli officer to resign his commission in protest.

In his letter to the chief of staff, Lt-Col Ronel, who was released from active reserve duty two years ago, wrote that for him, the final straw had been when Israeli soldiers opened fire last week on unarmed protestors demonstrating against the "separation fence" Israel is building in the West Bank. Among the injured was an Israeli civilian, Gil Naamati, whose case provoked a storm of controversy in Israel.

"A country in which the army disperses demonstrations of its citizens with live gunfire is not a democratic country," Lt-Col Ronel wrote. "An army that educates its soldiers that such a crime is conceivable has lost all its borders.

"I saw this deterioration, stage after stage: the blind eye that was turned to the abuse of detainees in violation of the army's orders; the blind eye that was turned to soldiers' gunfire on unarmed Palestinian civilians; the blind eye that was turned to the settlers' unlawful behaviour towards Palestinian civilians; the oppression of the population; the roadblocks; the curfew; the closure; the blind eye the army turned towards humiliation and abuse; the searches and arrests; the use of live fire against children and unarmed people."

Lt.-Col. Ronel continued: "Stage by stage, the value of human life has diminished. Step after step, the values on which we were raised-the purity of arms, the value of human life, the dignity of human beings as being created in the image of God-have become a scornful travesty. And now we have reached the next stage: soldiers shoot at Israeli civilians in a demonstration, in keeping with the regulations for opening fire...This is an educational, ethical and moral failure.

"This is your failure," he told the chief of staff, "[the failure] of the army commanders. If I had any faith in you, I would say to you-clean out the stables, take responsibility, resign. My faith in you is gone. You have failed. You and your predecessors have corrupted my army, our army. I do not want to be a part of such an army. You gave me the ranks, to you I return them."

reprint Refusing To Kill
link Lawrence of Cyberia

Officials say almost nothing in response

"Formerly, bandits and slave traders could easily cross the borders of Chechnya and take captives from all over Russia," military columnist Vyacheslav Izmailov wrote recently in the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
"Now it's officers of law enforcement agencies, and it seems they are digging pits at Khankala not just for Chechens but also for the inhabitants of other regions of Russia."
Keeping prisoners in pits is a widespread practice in the Caucasus, employed by bandits, rebels and even Russian soldiers. Regional law enforcement agencies and the Russian prosecutor general's office refused to comment on the abductions other than to say an investigation into one incident was under way.
About 1500 desperate relatives rallied in protest in Nazran at the end of March. The deputy interior minister of Ingushetia, Zyaudin Kotiyev, surrounded by riot troops, persuaded the people to disperse.
At the beginning of March, 29-year-old Rashid Ozdoyev was kidnapped. He had worked in the republic prosecutor's office, overseeing the legality of FSB actions.
Five days before he was grabbed he had been in Moscow, filing a 14-page complaint against the Ingush FSB with the Russian general prosecutor's office.
His father, Boris Ozdoyev, a well-connected retired judge, conducted his own investigation...

Al Jazeera May.24.04

Yasamin Ghayer, whose three brothers are in Abu Ghraib prison.
Don't get used to it, no matter what�photo Jo Wilding

Jo Wilding in Falujah, in the Guardian UK
Jo Wilding at Voices In The Wilderness
Jo Wilding's blog wildfirejo
Jo Wilding's website

"For me, the most remarkable thing was to see the sorts of things that people in the graves had in their pockets and on their clothes; the things that they had chosen to take with them when they left their homes. And I saw very clearly that in Rwanda as well as in the former Yugoslavia, judging from how people brought the deeds to their houses or the baptismal cards of the children or important papers from home. I saw this in both places, the way they believed that they would be able to start life again somewhere else or that eventually they would get back to their homes - which might have been burnt down that's why they brought the important papers with them so they wouldn't get burnt - the sense that they would survive."

Clea Koff interview
Sebastiaan Gottlieb Radio Netherlands


hidden hands

Will Stefanowicz get away with it? Will the U.S. authorities allow him to just run off, and take refuge in Australia or some other country, getting off scot-free while poor slobs like Sivits, Trailer-Park Lynndie, and the other fall guys get the book thrown at them?
If Stefanowicz is allowed to flee Iraq, without being arrested either by the Americans or the Iraqis, then we have the right to ask: who and what is being protected here?
That top U.S. officials knew and approved of how the detainees were "softened up" for interrogation is now coming out. Stefanowicz and John Israel, the two "civilian" contract employees, played key roles in all this, and are likely the primary links to high-ups. Yet their role is being steadfastly ignored, and one of them is being allowed to sneak away quietly � while their instruments, a bunch of clueless kids who did as they were told, take the rap.
The cover-up proceeds apace, with our brain-dead "mainstream" media criminally complicit. Whether this is through incompetence or intention is hard to discern, and hardly worth wondering about: after all, the net effect is the same. As Martha Frederick, wife of one of the accused, trenchantly remarked:
"Those who are responsible are standing behind the curtain and watching him take the fall for it. It's almost like being a pawn in a chess game."

Substitute "human" for "animal" and it's exactly the same logic.
Use "prisoner" instead of "human" and it's more palatable.

One of the country's top brain surgeons has launched an uncompromising attack on the government's decision to set up a centre to promote alternatives to animal experiments.
"There is no substitute for carrying out experiments on animals and it is dishonest to suggest otherwise," Professor Tipu Aziz told The Observer. "If we want to rid ourselves of the scourge of brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, we have to face the fact that we need to carry out animal experiments."
Professor Aziz is living proof that there are high-function victims of autism leading very productive lives, with successful careers and many of the attributes of normal human emotions. Sadly, the one human attribute that's most essential to distinguish us from the insects, that emotion so close to love, compassion, that gives us the ability to empathize, is completely missing in these unfortunate victims.
Perhaps someday if we kill enough laboratory animals slowly enough, or if we finally get the societal permission necessary to use the waste populations of prisons and jails, perhaps then we can find a cure for this insidious and invisible affliction, that seems to strike so many of our best scientific minds, and leave them incapable of anything more than the most rudimentary human feeling.

ingratiating strangers with candy and toys
'We are not just failing to give children the opportunities to explore the real world,' said Di McNeish, director of policy and research at Barnardo's, which carried out the study with the Green Alliance, 'but are actively dissuading them by making them over-anxious about their external environment.
The survey of more than 1,000 children aged 10 and 11 reveals that the choice to remain indoors is being made because of an increasingly unrealistic assessment by children and their parents of the risks of the outside world.
'Parents and families are more worried by these issues - out of all proportion to the reality of the risks they are exposed to,' said Eileen Hayes, the NSPCC parenting adviser, who interviewed more than 200 parents for the forthcoming Parent and Child 2004 conference.
'I have been hearing the same story again and again,' she said. 'It is terribly sad: we want to protect our youngsters, but the side-effect has been that the children are becoming too scared to step outside their front door.
'It is leading to a poverty of opportunity for today's youngsters, creating scared children who will grow into timid adults,' she said. 'They are not getting the chance to develop the independence they need to become fully grown-up adults able successfully and boldly to navigate the real world.'
The survey found that danger was the first thing children mentioned when talking about being outside, citing a fear of strangers as reasons for not playing outside, believing they faced a high risk of being kidnapped, murdered or sexually attacked.
'Children tell us it is frightening on the street or they're told by their parents not to go outside,' said Cherry Farrow, of the Green Alliance. 'They believe the outside is dangerous because of drug dealers and that they might get kidnapped.'

I want to yell at these people really loudly.
Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Britain/America!
In order to protect your children from strangers outside the home, you have turned them over to STRANGERS INSIDE THE HOME!!
Oh and guess what. Listen closely now.
The exaggeration of the danger of the outside world? That sense of everything outside the front door being just about to eat your kids?

she don't lie

A question, in keeping with the present emphasis on conjecture and speculation, as opposed to patiently waiting for the incontrovertible facts. As outlined here previously, this will be an ongoing attempt to describe, not so much theories, as conjectured theories, and to contemplate the pertinent aspects of those conjectured theories.
Given that, as Jo Revill has it, in the Observer, Sunday, May 23, 2004, cocaine use is up dramatically among young people, and the price, contrary to simplistic "supply and demand" formulae, has gone down by nearly half in Britain, and, we can assume in the other civilized nations of the world, we can ask, "What events have recently transpired that may be linked to this phenomenon?"
Keeping in mind that this is only conjecture, let's do a quick geographical overview.
Britain - over there in the north-eastern Atlantic; cocaine - over there in the south-western Atlantic. So, how's it get from one to the other?
Possibility #1 is "staging areas". As opposed to possibility #2, direct export.
Let's review some recent events in the Caribbean. One anyway. The recent plucking of a duly-elected leader from his home, his forced abdication, and his replacement with known criminals and thugs, with known ties to drug smugglers. The ton-ton macoutes being, among other things, heavily invested in the international drug trade, as middlemen/expediters. Overseeing a lawless land ruled by raw power, when you have that raw power, can be richly rewarding even when you are not very sophisticated in the ways of the world.
So, short form:
Haiti is the major staging area for the international cocaine trade.
You would expect a fall in prices, and a rise in availability if this were the case and Haiti had suddenly gone from an anti-drug democratically-elected President, Aristide, to a pro-business thug, whoever.
And this is the case.
Which doesn't mean this is what's happened, it means it could be. Conjecture.
The next area is darker.
Who controls the international cocaine trade?
Possible agencies are:
The Russian mafia, just because I don't like them, and because they're ruthless. Possible but my instincts, which are all I'm working with in this, say no.
The American mafia, or Cosa Nostra, or those Italian guys from New York and Vegas. Unlikely. Maybe a little local wholesale/retail, like the Russians, but we're looking for who's got it locked up.
The CIA. This has precedent, Gary Webb being a good place to start on that. It's possible, but I'm wondering lately if the old CIA even exists as a vibrant covert entity. It seems more likely that the agents in the field and the bureaucrats in D.C. are there, but being deployed for a less red-white-and-blue purpose, like the troops in Iraq.
Which leads us to our 4th possibility, the-very-difficult-to-name gang of thugs who now run pretty much all of the economic institutions of the world. There's an ethnicity involved. And there's a lot of almost overt activity that seems to be the result of an estimation of the powerlessness of anyone who might be able to see and comprehend those activities.
We're going to leave them dangling there sort of namelessly for now, saying only in closing that the conjecture here is that the same people who placed George Bush in the White House put American troops in Iraq, and did so for purposes of a long term plan of world dominance that is neck and neck with world destruction. And as a tangential but just as seriously proffered conjecture, that the current situation in Iraq, including the world-wide broadcast of images of degraded Arab men in humiliating poses, is a form of bragging and triumphant crowing masked as the exposure of crime. That it is the exposure of a crime, or of a criminal atmosphere in which a multitude of crimes have occurred doesn't contradict that assertion. Yes they're crimes, yes it's evidence, and yes it's bragging.
And yes those same guys want a destabilized Iraq, which they have, and they want al-Sadr neutralized before the US leaves taking all the blame for what's happened with it, even though the only national entity that has benefited from the carnage in Iraq has left no fingerprints of its presence there.
And yes those guys are running the cocaine trade internationally, just like they're running the Russian oil industry, and most of the weight of the Russian mafia is theirs.
This is of course, as I've taken great pains to make clear, merely conjecture. Ideas that need to be tried on, possibly refuted, or set aside for later, as more evidence unfolds, but increasingly now it will be important to think the unthinkable, regardless of how unlikely it is, or how dangerous.
It's time to admit that there's more going on than incompetent doofus George Bush and his wheezing ventriloquist Mr. Cheney.
And somewhere in here I wish someone would take the time to explain in simple clear language exactly why Tony Blair was so rabidly keen on invading and occupying Iraq.
I haven't seen much that would, not so much justify, as make sense of his almost adolescent enthusiasm. So I'm conjecturing pressure behind the scenes.
I'm thinking the richest man in England might be a place to begin that part of the investigation.

An important thing we all need to keep in mind is that Abu Ghraib is essentially foreign, geographically and especially metaphorically; and the same with the prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These are foreign places and the prisoners in them are, regardless of their residency status, foreigners to us here in the United States.
This scandal may reach up through the ranks to the politicians and their bosses, but it never comes home except as news. It's over there. Out there.
Even though the United States has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the industrial world, even though logically you would expect that men who would do such things for the motives imputed to them by most people - to protect their economic interests and bases of power - would be more rather than less likely to use more rather than less brutal methods to protect themselves, the closer the threats in question come to their actual homes and their children and their wives.
Even though you would expect that men who would be so conscienceless as to allow, even to order that methods of interrogation and manipulation as inhuman as what we're now glimpsing in Iraq and Cuba and Afghanistan and that witnesses have been adamantly and vehemently testifying to the existence of in other American military theaters for decades, even though you would logically expect that men who would do such things would do things even more rather than less brutal the closer it gets to them personally, nonetheless we can be assured that nothing of the kind is taking place, here in the US.
Even though the American prison system is now essentially a publicly-funded private industry, even though there are almost no working safeguards in place for the human rights of prisoners in the United States, even though the publicly-funded American prison industry isn't answerable to the public in any but the most nominal and bureaucratically convoluted way.
We can be assured that nothing resembling the sadistic practices of the guards at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba and Shebarghan in Afghanistan is taking place here in the United States, because the people who would be doing those things if those things were being done - and the servile and obedient media that contributed so greatly for so long to the masking and covering up of the foreign examples of these practices, in Iraq and Cuba and Afghanistan, and God knows in Indonesia and the Philipines and most of Latin America and a great portion of Africa - they, and the media that serve them, would tell us, if they were doing those things here at home in the US. Or someone would.


What needs to be thought - not stated but considered, I mean that, as conjecture, considered as possible- is that it's now imperative to whatever placed Bush in office that he be removed, but that enough light has been shining on those strings and cables behind the scenes that it has to look like the "will of the people". There were some weeks there when it looked like it would be just the same for Kerry, a fawning media, a barrage of positive images, the loser shot from his bad side sinking into well-deserved oblivion, but people are waking up, the media doesn't have complete control now. So there's this kind of pussy-footing. Tip-toe. Can't be too obvious about backing Kerry. But have to get rid of Bush for the one-two to work.
Chalabi makes no sense in this present iteration. No sense at all. Conscienceless delusional power-mad all-the-bad-adjective villains suddenly have no control whatsoever,
but they still look smug
. Maybe that's the personality type. No matter what, the last moves are beginning.
It's gambit time as the end-game opens up.
Also in the long long range crazy projection files - what if Israel and China team up? That's a custom-made relationship waiting to happen. And what would be the biggest obstacle to that nuptial? A strong and well-regarded, economically thriving US.
The unthinkable in this instance being that the obvious weakening of America, the complete degradation of American honor and good will in the world, is intentional, not an accidental by-product of neo-con Straussian Zionism and good-ol'-boy petro-lust. That behind all this is something that doesn't have its roots in American soil.
Because after this crisis has passed, after the smoke and dust settle, if they do, America is going to be a limping bleeding husk of what it was.
So what I'm saying here is to conjecture, consider, contemplate - could it be, I'm not saying it is - try it out, does it fit?
Could it be that the real goal has nothing to do with America being central to the plan, that the US as a strong participant in world affairs, especially a commitment to American principles and ideals, is a threat to whatever's behind this carnage and atrocity?
These are conjectures. Not observations. Irresponsible in a public forum maybe, but this isn't a public forum exactly. So they're more like hairballs, something to purge. To get out and be rid of, in order to go on with the business of the day.

A Palestinian medic carries an injured Palestinian girl for treatment at the hospital in the Southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah after she was wounded during the ongoing Israeli army invasion of the area early Thursday May 20, 2004. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Rafah refugee camp Thursday, killing seven Palestinians and demolishing several buildings despite an international outcry.
Al-Ahram May.20-26.04

An Israeli soldier sleeps Thursday on a mattress on the floor of a Palestinian home during a break in house-to-house searches for Palestinian activists in Rafah (AFP photo by Gadi Kabalo)

Palestinian doctors despair at rising toll of children
shot dead by army snipers

...then thou shalt give life for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth
hand for hand, foot for foot,
burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe...
And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth
And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth...

Ahmed Mughayer, 13, and his sister Asma, 16

Both were on the roof of their three-story apartment building when they were hit by army fire, said their older brother, Ali. The shots were fired from an Israeli army position on the sixth floor of the neighboring building, he said.
Israel said it was targeting armed militants, but Palestinians said many of Tuesday's casualties were civilians.
Palestinians said the teenage brother and sister were killed by an Israeli sniper as they gathered laundry from their rooftop.
But the military said an initial investigation found no Israeli soldiers had fired in that area at the time of the shootings. The military said the two had apparently been killed by a Palestinian bomb aimed at troops.
Kevin Frayer in the fair and balanced Washington Post, May.19.04
Israel disputes the Mughayar family's account: that soldiers shot the children on Tuesday. Hours after their death, Israeli officials blamed the Palestinians, telling reporters that Asma and Ahmed had been killed in a "work accident" - a euphemism for bomb-makers blowing themselves up - or by Palestinian fighters who had left a landmine in the street.
"A preliminary investigation indicates they were killed by a bomb intended to be used against soldiers. It was set outside a building by Palestinians to hit an Israeli vehicle. This is probably what happened," a military spokesman said yesterday.
Dr Ali Moussa, head of Rafah hospital, is as furious at the claim as he is at Israel's assertion that almost all the 20 or more people killed during the army's seizure of the Tel al-Sultan district of the Rafah refugee camp were armed men.
"They are liars, liars, liars, because these children have bullet wounds to the head. There is no doubt about it," he says.
Dr Ahmed Abu Nkaria, who pronounced the Mughayar children dead, insists on proving the manner of their killing. He pulls Asma's body from the mortuary's refrigeration unit and fumbles through the teenager's hair to reveal the hole where the bullet entered above one ear and ripped a much larger wound as it emerged above the other.
"The Israeli propaganda is that they were killed in a work accident. These are the kinds of lies they tell all the time," he says. "They say all the dead are fighters. They say they do not deliberately kill children, but about a quarter of the dead from the first day of shooting are children. The evidence is here in the morgue.

news links Lawrence of Cyberia
Bible holiness at Bartleby


after checking out of his Baghdad hotel

Iraqi police claimed they had arrested four suspects with links to Saddam Hussein's family. Iraqi security officials said Berg's alleged killers were part of a group led by a close relative of Saddam - his nephew Yasser al-Sabawi.
The men were seized a week ago after a tip-off, they said. All were former members of the Fedayeen Saddam, the para military group notorious for its loyalty to Iraq's ex-president.
But last night the US military spokesman, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, said American forces had arrested four men linked to the Berg case after a raid in Baghdad. Two had been released and two were still being questioned.
He said: '"I don't know their prior affiliations or prior organisations. We have some intelligence that would suggest they have knowledge, perhaps some culpability."

It was not clear whether the two raids were related.
...The Iraqi police appear to have done a poor job of protecting their informant, who was killed by unidentified gunmen the following day...
The uncertainty surrounding Berg's kidnapping intensified after US officials confirmed the FBI had questioned him three times after his arrest in the northern city of Mosul.
US occupation authorities have denied he was ever in American custody during his two weeks in detention there. But this week Berg's parents released an email from an American diplomat which confirmed he had been held by the US military and was "safe".

The politicization of intelligence, I think, happens when intelligence is thought to be more than it is. And what it can be at best, is a summary judgment at a given moment in time based on the information that one has been able to glean.


On October 9th, 2002, Brigadier General Rick Baccus was relieved of command at Guantanamo Bay for being "too nice":
Sources quoted in a number of US newspapers said General Baccus, 50, often clashed with other senior officers at the camp, including Major-General Michael Dunlavey who is in charge of interrogating the prisoners.
The Washington Times said General Baccus irritated General Dunlavey with his decision to allow the Red Cross to put up posters advising detainees they need only provide their name, rank and number during questioning.
MG Miller took command of Guantanamo on November 4th, 2002. And things didn't go smoothly after that:
Under his watch, one interrogator was charged with espionage and is up for court martial this month. Another interrogator was charged with transporting secret documents; his case is pending. A Muslim chaplain - and close adviser to Miller - was charged with mishandling classified information and adultery, though those charges were recently dropped.
Miller also faced steady criticism from human rights groups over the U.S. detention mission itself, which they say is abusive. None of the detainees have been charged yet, and some have been held for more than two years. The U.S. government has yet to agree on a date for tribunals.
In a rare public rebuke, the International Red Cross condemned the prolonged detentions at Guantanamo in October, saying that mental instability and attempted suicides among detainees indicated severe problems with the U.S. operation.

This is the same MG Miller that MG Taguba refers to in his Abu Ghraib report here:
From 31 August to 9 September 2003, MG Miller led a team of personnel experienced in strategic interrogation to HQ, CJTF-7 and the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) to review current Iraqi Theater ability to rapidly exploit internees for actionable intelligence. MG Miller�s team focused on three areas: intelligence integration, synchronization, and fusion; interrogation operations; and detention operations. MG Miller�s team used JTF-GTMO procedures and interrogation authorities as baselines.
It was Miller who "got tough" in Guantanamo, and it was Miller who changed the interrogation procedures in Abu Ghraib. It was Miller who was selected to replace Baccus, an officer accused of being "too nice".
Who sent Major General Miller to Abu Ghraib last year, where he gave his "advice" on interrogation techniques?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. My name is Steve Cambone. I'm the Undersecretary for Intelligence, Senator.
The original effort by the major general was done down with respect to Guantanamo and had to do with in fact whether or not we had the proper arrangement in the facilities in order to be able to gain the kind of intelligence we were looking from those prisoners in Guantanamo.
We had then in Iraq a large body of people who had been captured on the battlefield that we had to gain intelligence from for force protection purposes, and he was asked to go over, at my encouragement, to take a look at the situation as it existed there. And he made his recommendations. His recommendations were that.
Cambone's statement is ambiguous. He either sent Miller to Abu Ghraib, or he supported the order sending Miller there.
Steven Cambone's personal henchman is Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is the "Holy Warrior" who said:
...Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."
Either of these men could have ordered Miller to Abu Ghraib.
But there is also one other man who could have issued that order; the same man who appointed both Cambone and Boykin:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Call of Cthulhu May.11.04

The happy thought is that the villainy, by being exposed, will weaken and be replaced by more humane and honest forces.
Every instinct I still have says the psychotic fools who do these things will become more desperate as their crimes become more visible and world disgust grows.
This is the end-game Israel has planned, when it becomes impossible to perpetuate the lies of defense and retaliation, when the truth of their racist land-grabbing and conquest is unmistakably clear, they'll abandon all pretense and blow the whole area into the next world.
Thus my early insistence that these duplicities be exposed, and discussed, and that the truth be made as clear as possible to the common people. Thus my early insistence that these matters are crucial, to all of us. And of course following immediately on that the waves of venom and calumny that have occupied so much of my time and energy since.

Let's not be naive

"I have not seen the pictures but bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologise for the conduct of my men."
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the US military in Iraq, earlier said the attack by US aircraft had targeted "a suspected foreign fighter safe house", 16 miles east of the Syrian border.
The images of dead women and children on Arab television were a fresh setback for a US mission already beset by a scandal over torture in prisons, as George W Bush, the American president, prepares this week to detail plans for handing limited sovereignty to Iraqis.
Witnesses said the attack was on a house where a wedding had been held and that the strike killed 41 people.

an alternative version on offer
Another set of images of dead civilians and grieving relatives is transmitted across the Middle East, and the casual viewer is not even sure whether they are coming from Baghdad or Gaza.
Guardian UK May.21.04

Kathryn Cramer's roundup of merc expos�s and exposition.
How about Blackwater (the 4 "contractors" dragged through the streets of Faloojeh), hiring out-of-work fascist Dobermans in Chile?
And it's all safely in the extra-legal gray area.

link path from here
thru Malice Aforethought


twoABC photo

Greenpeace cleared of sailor mongering
The boarding of the APL Jade was part of a global campaign to stop the illegal logging of mahogany in Brazil's Amazon, a lucrative trade blamed for the destruction of vast swathes of rain forest.
Advocacy groups had said a conviction would be a blow to Brazilian efforts to win more backing for its fight against the illegal mahogany trade from the United States, the biggest market for a wood so valuable it boasts fatter profit margins than cocaine.
link KWSnet

"There are no cell phones in Iraq," Aziz told a reporter in May 2003. "That's the way to the future."

There's another strange new twist to the saga of Nick Berg and his final days of Iraq before his savage videotaped beheading.
Berg teamed up in Baghdad with an ex-Philadelphia man who led a controversial group of Iraqi expatriates encouraged by the U.S. government - even as he faced deportation for his role in Russian-emigre crime ring selling millions of vials used for crack.
"I was always pressuring him to keep a low profile, but he ignored all my caution and advice," Aziz said. "Berg kept a high profile, wandering around late at night or took public transport. Sometimes he got upset, looked at me in such a way, or said, 'You're not my dad' or 'I'm an adult, I can make my own decision."
Aziz said that Berg left his equipment with him during a short trip back to the U.S. When he came back, the two spent an hour climbing tall buildings at Abu Ghraib, site of the infamous prison. Aziz said they re-recorded measurements that were in his stolen notebook.
The next day, Aziz said, Berg called to say that he was going to the northern city of Mosul, where the brother of Berg's uncle lives. "He invited me to go with him, but I declined because it was dangerous," said Aziz.
It's not known whether Aziz ever told Berg of his controversial past.
In 1993, about a decade after fleeing Saddam's Iraq for America, Aziz was in the electronics business when he was one of 25 people charged with distributing some 100 million crack vials on the East Coat. Prosecutors said that Aziz, who lived in Northeast Philadelphia, was tied to a network run by a Soviet immigrant namedtwoValery Sigal.two Most in the ring were immigrants from Russia or the former Eastern Bloc.
Aziz claimed he didn't know the vials were going to drug dealers. But he pled guilty. He was sentenced to three years of probation, fined $3,000, and forced to forfeit $17,673 in profits.

That time is over now.
The fact is that America�s weapons systems have made it impossible for anybody to confront it militarily. So, all you have is your wits and your cunning, and your ability to fight in the way the Iraqis are fighting. You see that system. You see Iraq as the culmination of a system, and you see how hard that system is pushing even here. You can see the clear links between what's happening in the Indian elections and this whole global economy and how it's suffocating the breath out of the body of poor people.
They are all people from Kerala which is where I come from, you know, and apparently, these kind of job contractors took them to Kuwait, pretending that they had got them work there. A lot of people from Kerala work in the Middle East. And then they were put on a bus basically and they realized they were in Baghdad before they knew it. So, I think, you know, this is the bottom end of the privatization of war. Torture has been privatized now, so you have obviously the whole scandal in America about the abuse of prisoners and the fact that, army people might be made to pay a price, but who are the privatized torturers accountable too? Eventually, you have a situation also in which -- as it becomes more and more obvious to the American government that when American soldiers die on the battlefield, pressure goes up at home. So they're going to try to hire other soldiers to do their work for them. You know, they're going to try to hire poor people from poor countries who would be willing to do it. I'm sure they're going to try that. They're trying that already, trying to get, of course, the Indian army and so on in -- we know Hamid Karzai's securities are all privatized. I think it's a nightmare and ultimately, terrorism, in way, is a privatization of war. It's the belief that it's not only states that can wage war, why not private people? Why not have your nuclear bombs in your briefcase? All of these policies that America upholds, nuclear weapons, privatization, all of these things are going to mutate and metamorphosis into these dangerous things.

under no pressure in the absence of pictures

Maher Talhami, from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, enumerates the abuses imposed during interrogation on some of the 7,000-odd Palestinians currently behind Israeli bars.
Hooding, sleep deprivation, nudity, noise, prolonged enforced standing or the "banana position" � which consists in leaving a prisoner on his stomach with his hands tied to his heels � are among routine complaints.
"Today an Israeli soldier can shoot anybody he wants and nothing will happen to him," Talhami said. "Unless there are powerful pictures, there is nothing to expect from the Iraqi prisoner scandal."
Widely-published pictures of grinning US troops abusing and humiliating naked Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison have angered the Arab world and prompted the Palestinians to bring their own prisoners' fate into the spotlight.
"Since the start of the occupation, Israel has been practising physical or psychological torture against Palestinians and this is still ongoing," Palestinian minister of prisoners' affairs, Hisham Abdelrazeq, told AFP.
"I'm sure the pictures we saw in Iraq could be matched in many Israeli prisons," he said. "The difference is that the abuse in Iraq was documented. If the same pictures came out of here, it would have a huge impact."
But Talhami suggested that should such shocking pictures be published of Palestinian detainees being mistreated they might not have the same impact on public opinion.
"A lot of Israelis tend to see any criticism of their human rights record as an expression of anti-Semitism," he said.

In order to get the terrorists we have to become like the terrorists, we have to do terrible but necessary things. Which means if we get the wrong people on our way to getting the right people we act the same as the terrorists. So then we are terrorists, to them. So then they want to get us. Because getting the terrorists is what you do. But we know we're not terrorists - they think we are but they're wrong, just like they think they're not terrorists, but we know they are, or they could be, which is almost the same thing. Even though we both act the same, killing innocent people, and doing unspeakably horrible things, the difference is we're not terrorists, and they are.
They say we're terrorists, we say they are. So then it's about who's more terrible. We are. Therefore we aren't terrorists. We aren't terrorists, and we will torture you and kill your children to prove it.

...from Reuters a report submitted to the company's senior editors in mid-January, less than two weeks after the journalists were detained, by Bureau Chief Andrew Marshall, who had interviewed the three staffers separately.

"Soldiers would move between them, whispering things in their ear. Ahmad and Sattar did not understand what was whispered. Salem says they whispered that they wanted to have sex with him and were saying "come on, just for two minutes." They also said he should bring his wife so they could have sex with her.
"Soldiers would whisper in their ears "One, two, three..." and then shout something loudly right beside their ear. All of this went on all night. ... Ahmad said he collapsed by morning. Sattar said he collapsed after Ahmad and began vomiting.
"When they were taken individually for interrogation, they were interrogated by two American soldiers and an Arab interpreter. All three shouted abuse at them. They were accused of shooting down the helicopter. Salem, Ahmad and Sattar all reported that for their first interrogation they were told to kneel on the floor with their feet raised off the floor and with their hands raised in the air.
"If they let their feet or hands drop they were slapped and shouted at. Ahmad said he was forced to insert a finger into his anus and lick it. He was also forced to lick and chew a shoe. For some of the interrogation tissue paper was placed in his mouth and he had difficulty breathing and speaking. Sattar too said he was forced to insert a finger into his anus and lick it. He was then told to insert this finger in his nose during questioning, still kneeling with his feet off the ground and his other arm in the air. The Arab interpreter told him he looked like an elephant. ...
"Ahmad and Sattar both said that they were given badges with the letter 'C' on it. They did not know what the badges meant but whenever they were being taken from one place to another in the base, if any soldier saw their badge they would stop to slap them or hurl abuse.

link KWSnet May.20.04
I'm wondering what happens if the military gets much more weakened. Spiritually. Not that it isn't already compromised, but that, like the police, even though they may be corrupt and dangerous, there's still a certain amount of truly malignant stuff they protect "us" from. So if they become too weak, we become too vulnerable.
Also that the kid at the big box store, with his oddly-fitting bright blue synthetic uniform and his desperate geniality and rote helpfulness, isn't responsible for the ill-made overpriced crap the store sells. Even the manager is a disposable part of that. The television-drama conditioning makes us want to "get" the soldiers who beat and abused these prisoners of no-war-at-all. But a real conscience would say get the ones who caused it first.


twoJean-Marc Bouju/AFP

The Israeli military has denied it deliberately targeted the protesters...

Israeli forces have fired on thousands of Palestinians peacefully protesting in the occupied Gaza Strip, leaving up to 20 dead and dozens injured.
Scenes of panic and carnage unfolded as Israeli helicopters fired missiles and occupation soldiers fired tank shells and machineguns at demonstrators in Rafah on Wednesday.
More than a dozen Palestinians have been confirmed killed, with witnesses and local medical staff telling Aljazeera up to 20 were feared dead.
At least 40 others - mainly civilians - were injured. The majority of those wounded were women and children, medical sources told Aljazeera's correspondent Samir Abu Shamala. Chaos swept the streets as survivors piled the wounded into vehicles.
Aljazeera May.19.04

There is no other possible outcome
Bush betrayed the military � especially the troops, who do the actual fighting � when he illegally invaded Iraq.
He betrayed the military again, with some collusion from some of its generals � especially, again, the troops who do the actual fighting � when he removed the Geneva Conventions as the primary protection of our own troops.
One can support Bush, or one can "support the troops". One cannot do both. And to support Bush is to spit on the troops.
With the actions, authorized all the way to Bush, resulting from the abandonment of the Conventions, and depicted in the Gharib photos, Bush has handed Osama bin Laden a huge moral victory: validation that the United States is exactly as its self-generated enemies say.
He has destroyed the U.S.'s moral standing in the world; the U.S. can no longer criticize others for violating human rights. And that, alone, is so contrary to the interests of the U.S. it shreds his oath by violating his foremost duty: national security.

Pax Americana

What is certain is that an image warfare has begun, stirring emotions in both the Western and Arab worlds and further deepening distrust of the US in the region.
"Why would the Pentagon release pictures of US soldiers humiliating Iraqis?" asked Galal Amin, professor of economics at the American University in Cairo. "I wonder if the pictures are deliberate; a message to the Arabs that summarises an opinion: 'This is what we think of you, this is what you deserve.'" Indeed, images of a US soldier pulling a naked Iraqi prisoner by a leash or the British soldier urinating on another Iraqi, many others argue, depict the racism at the heart of the Anglo-American occupation. It is precisely the occupation that the Arabs should be reacting to, commentators stressed this week.
In a widely read article published in the daily Al-Ahram on Tuesday, columnist Fahmy Howeidy emphasised the importance of addressing the "main question" and the "real scandal", which is the occupation of Iraq. "The atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib are only a chapter of the real problem which is occupation," he wrote.

...human rights in occupied Iraq...

The heinous scandal of Abu Ghraib is not the only violation of human rights and international law in Iraq. According to Baghdad's Red Cross (ICRC) Spokesperson Nada Doumani, Abu Ghraib is but the tip of the iceberg, and of these and other violations Chief Civil Administrator L Paul Bremer was well aware.

Doumani told the Weekly that the ICRC began visiting Abu Ghraib jail in March 2003, before the fall of the Hussein regime. An ICRC team organised its first post-Saddam visit to Abu Ghraib last October. The team met with the director of the jail. They submitted a report to General Janis Karpinski -- formally admonished and quietly "suspended" in January -- and met the American attorney-general in Iraq.
"During those meetings we mentioned a lot of violations in Abu Ghraib and other jails," recalls Doumani. In February, and after many visits to jails and detention centres, the ICRC submitted a report to Bremer and General Sanchez. That report explained in detail the violations of human rights. Doumani added, "The atrocities shown in the photos published by the media are not the only violations. There are many other undocumented atrocities that the ICRC is aware of.

You have not closed Saddam's torture chambers. You have replaced Saddam...
The Americans are trapped. There is nothing they can do. They will fail if they continue along this path, and they will fail if they pull out. But continuing will be the greater defeat.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iranian leader
BBC News May.16.04

So can we now at least begin to wonder whether the driving force behind all this might not possibly be someone or something that doesn't care about the long-term effects on America? That doesn't care about America or the American people at all? That considers what America could have been, and might still be, unimportant?
Look at it.
American young men and women are dying and being crippled every day, America's reputation is dying, America's resources are draining away, and the revenge that burns in the hearts of a billion people is focused mainly at America, and Americans.
Because most people are the same. They can't distinguish the minority from the majority but see us all as "America" and "Americans". So that even the innocent, who were tricked into supporting this, and the valiant, who stood against it when it was dangerous to do so, are going to be seen as having done this, to Iraq, and to the world. Why should we bear this? Because we were tricked into believing? Because we were lied to? Why shouldn't the people who lied to us bear the shame and guilt instead?

twophoto Suhaib Salem/Reuters

"Today we'll have light rain in Sector 12, 4 hours of uninterrupted sun in Sectors 2 through 7, and Parkland will be windy as can be, in honor of Father and Son Kite Day! Happy Climate!"


Is it partisan? Of course.

But back to Mr. Moore, whose new film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," a scorching broadside against the presidency of George W. Bush, has received so little attention. On Monday it was at last screened for the press and the public. The audience at the afternoon gala screening responded with a 20-minute standing ovation that the festival's artistic director, Thierry Fr�maux, said was the longest he had ever witnessed in Cannes.

link KWSnet

Yeah! You wankers!

Understanding Slums:
Case Studies for the Global Report 2003

funded by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
(UN-Habitat) and produced by the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London

twophoto Sabah Arar/AFP

Ilanot -New Year of the Trees
Elna Lavban, Iran

On Sunday, February 8th we participated at a ceremony with President Khatami as we were invited by Yousef Abad Church and the Iranian Jewish Association.
Since it was related to Jews, it was warmly welcomed.
The ceremony was related to Ilanot celebration. This celebration which takes place every year at this certain time is the celebration of sanctification of trees and plants in the Jews religion. As a tradition that I could realize, the Jewish people use to have some fruits at that night. I can mention olive, date, grape, pomegranate, fig, grain and wheat were available there. The great rabbi was praying at them.
A girl called Elna Lavban who was full of senses had wrote a text that surprised everybody. I was talking to Mr. Khatami about how her words were powerful while she was talking. Her words were all about the environment.
Webnevesht May.13.04


News is still the same

I wasn�t living in Iraq that time, but I was following news just like everyone else did�
How did Saddam manage to keep the hate level towards Iran so high for eight long years?
How did he make Iraqi people fight Iranian people? A Muslim kills a Muslim?
How come?
I mean, how did he arrange it the way that made people in both sides hate and fight each other, while they are neighbors and follow one religion?
Eight years of continues lying, misleading and twisting facts, and creating an atmosphere of hate, to keep war going�.
At the beginning, he attempted them by money, high salaries, cars and lands for the families of those who die fighting, money flowed to make people drawn in their ignorance�
Who was supplying saddam with weapons?
Isn�t it America?
A crazy war that took lives, burned everything and destroyed peace for long coming years�
Then it ended in a stupid way, just like the beginning�
And the result, was two exhausted sides�and that was the goal, and millions of dead people in both sides, orphans and widows, sadness and painful memories�that�s all what's left.

Nick Berg's Killing: 50 Fishy Circumstances, Contradictory Claims, and Videotape Anomalies

24)...A Reuters journalist in Dubai first named the Muntada al-Ansar al-Islami website as the source for the video - at Although the site has now been shut down, had looked at the site within ninety minutes of the story breaking - and could find no such video footage. But Fox News, CNN and the BBC were all able to download the footage from the Arabic-only website and report the story within the hour.

children at Guantanamo Bay

The US military has admitted that children aged 16 years and younger are among the detainees being interrogated at its prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, a US military spokesman, yesterday said all the teenagers being held were "captured as active combatants against US forces", and described them as "enemy combatants".
The children, some of whom have been held at Guantanamo for over a year, are imprisoned in separate cells from the adult detainees, Lt Col Johnson said. He would say only that the teenagers are "very few, a very small number" and would not say how old the youngest prisoner is.
According to the US military, there have been 25 suicide attempts by 17 prisoners at Camp X-Ray, with 15 attempts made this year.
The Guardian UK Apr.23.04

...leaving Nixon in the White House...

England's brutality is explained away not as the logical continuum of the occupation but as a contradiction to it. Increasingly, Bush's best hope is to take out the "trailer trash". They have cast not only the actions as disgraceful but the people accused of carrying them out as dispensable - collateral damage in the propaganda war at home, where the poor don't vote or contribute to any campaigns.
When Bush went on Arab television two weeks ago, he said the behaviour "does not represent the America that I know". But then, thanks to his connections, he has never had to serve in the army during a war. And England and her friends were never going to pledge for the Skull and []Bones, the elite fraternity to which both Bush and Democratic challenger, John Kerry, belonged at Yale. They are neither wealthy nor well connected - he doesn't need to know them, although the irony is that if they did vote they would probably vote for him.
So long as the buck stops with England and her colleagues, the whole episode can be reduced to soccer hooligans in uniform - the white working class (one African-American is accused, although he is featured rarely and appears in no photographs) running amok.
Like arresting the Watergate burglars and leaving Nixon in the White House, convicting only them would suggest the abuse can be understood as the sporadic acts of a few offensive individuals. The higher up it goes, the clearer it becomes that they were in fact the systemic actions of an occupying institution.

"...cosmic Naderism..."
inanis et vacua
But how much compromise before we lose what matters, the very things that make the compromise necessary? Won't there be a moment when we trade another year or two of relative stability for even greater chaos, after? It's that argument of eugenic heartlessness, which takes place as the indigenous peoples of the world are being sacrificed in a eugenic formula of out-of-sight-out-of-mind. And the indigenous creatures that don't share our linguistic wonderfulness, but speak in the more subtle tones of the oldest way. Which we no longer consciously hear.
Because we want a world that works without requiring work to make it happen. We want control but we don't want the god-like responsibilities that come with god-like dominance.
Defense is work. Scramblng to stay on top of events that are spinning out of the range of our lightning-perception apparatus is work. We're already working. Have we got the reserves to take what's coming, and direct it manually toward rational goals? Is it impossible to turn back?
Comfort is great. But sacrificing the world as it might have been, or could still be, to make my little day's edges softer makes me uncomfortable. Unless I ignore the transaction, the real terms of the bargain.
Kerry isn't going to change directions, that much is clear. He may bring a more honest presence to the image we present, which may help. But so far all I see is the same frantic mechanical fervor, with the wrench shifting from the right hand to the left.
The debate is really about whether we're going through the guard rail at 8 frames per second, or whether we already have.
It creates guilt, and I don't have a plan. But the plan isn't being presented by anyone else either. Silence? Now?
I'm more aware each day of the bravery of unseen heroes. I don't know how to say that without sounding pompous and rhetorical. Guys who are operating at full extension with only faith behind them.
Like professional emergency personnel it can make a civilian feel inadequate and weak.
I'm trying to bring it back from the edge. But not all the way to the rotten center.
I saw a .jpg once of a boat on a mountain road, and still attached to the trailer hitch at the front of its trailer was a pick-up, hanging off the cliff by the side of the road the boat was still on. And there was a guy in the truck. And some other guys looking down at him from the roadside.
My fear is being, not the guy, but someone who does the wrong thing trying to get him back to safety. Or the hitch itself, some link in the chain that breaks or sticks or doesn't work.
Silence would be a better gamble. A lot of people are choosing that. Partial truths are indefensible, yet they're all we have.
I'll start with this. Get rid of Bush and his cloud of encephalitic parasites. And stay clear that it didn't start with him, or even near him. And make damn sure Kerry isn't just some cunning bait-and-switch.

"Pimp My Kid"

I doubt that the US will be allowed to withdraw until Al-Sadr is neutralized. Which means the June 30 deadline may involve a lot of people dying, if it it's going to happen on schedule.

There's going to be a lot more strangeness before things settle down. Don't try to get on top of it. Trust your own heart. You can't know the truth of complicated events on the other side of the world, not with certainty. Anyone who demands you have an opinion about those things wants something from you and they're trying to trick it out of you.
As far as the Berg thing goes, I haven't seen anything but a few stills from the beginning of it. No head, no video. It's like East European porn - the moment I realized the women all looked beaten and drugged, it lost all its charm. It's too fake to turn me on. And the suffering it took to make it gets in the way.
The one thing I can say forensically about the Berg thing is the stunningly simple and obvious fact that nobody in an organization capable of eluding Mossad and US intelligence is dumb enough to say they're killing someone in retaliation for abuses in a prison that have been happening for over a year but that the world television audience has only just found out about.
It's as though they're taking revenge for people seeing those images from Abu Ghraib, not for the acts of abuse themselves. And there's your answer. It's a response to the repercussion of the images. Just as the train bombing in Madrid was an anticipation of the Spanish people's repudiation of the duplicitous and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.
It's a response to the images, or more accurately to the inevitable growth of disapproval the images create. Because the original hit from the images was important. To boast at all those Arabs how their brothers were degraded, in as foul and demonic a way as possible. And then after the crowing success of the images, a capping of the outrage, a redirection of the outrage, a dissipation of the horror by adding to it. Changing its focus.
This is a war of propaganda in which real events, and the media images of those events, are being used in complex and deceptive ways, as symbols, as parables and metaphors. And real lives as well.

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