...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



100 percent confident that there is no Israeli involvement in this case

If Bill Clinton was the first black President -- a moniker he relished -- then George W. Bush is the first Jewish President. After first disengaging from the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and refusing to even lay eyes on Yasser Arafat, Bush went on to give Israeli Prime Minister and best Mideast buddy Ariel Sharon virtual carte blanche in his crackdown on the suicide-bombing Palestinans and then followed the advice of his fiercely pro-Israel neocon advisers and went to war in Iraq.
Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, calls Bush "the most pro-Israel President in history."
Now the FBI is investigating whether a Pentagon official in the office of neocon Defense Under Secretary Douglas J. Feith, identified by The Washington Post as Lawrence A. Franklin, passed classified information about American policy toward Iran to Israel through a pro-Israel lobbying group. The obvious question about the probe, which has been reportedly going on for a year but was first reported by CBS last week, is this: As details come out, will Bush's tilt toward Israel hurt him in November? The less obvious question is: Will the scandal help him even more with some Jewish voters?
Certainly the Administration isn't downplaying the vigorous support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the lobbying group implicated in the spy scandal. At a pre-convention event on Sunday afternoon co-sponsored by AIPAC [which vehemently denies allegations that it passed sensitive documents to Israel] and attended by almost 2,000 members of the New York Jewish community, the Republicans rolled out the big guns: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. UJA Federation of New York President Morris W. Offit introduced Bush campaign chief Ken Mehlman by saying: "We are honored that President Bush's campaign is being managed by one of us."


At first blush, officials close to the investigation say, Franklin seemed an unlikely suspect: he was described as a midlevel policy "wonk" with a doctorate who had toiled for some time on Mideast affairs. Yet he had previously worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and there was at least one other aspect to his background that caught the FBI's attention: although Franklin was not Jewish, he was an Army reservist who did his reserve duty at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
FBI counterintelligence agents began tracking him, and at one point watched him allegedly attempt to pass a classified U.S. policy document on Iran to one of the surveillance targets, according to a U.S. intelligence official. But his alleged confederate was "too smart," the official said, and refused to take it. Instead, he asked Franklin to brief him on its contents�and Franklin allegedly obliged. Franklin also passed information gleaned from more highly classified documents, the official said. If the government is correct, Franklin's motive appears to have been ideological rather than financial. There is no evidence that money changed hands. "For whatever reason, the guy hates Iran passionately," the official said, referring to the Iranian government.

NEWSWEEK's efforts to reach Franklin or a lawyer representing him were unsuccessful. But a close friend, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute*, said he believes the charges against Franklin are "nonsensical." Officials say that Franklin began cooperating about a month ago, after he was confronted by the FBI. At the time, these officials say, Franklin acknowledged meetings with the Israeli contact. Law-enforcement officials say they have no evidence that anyone above Franklin at the Pentagon had any knowledge of his activities.

Israeli officials say the FBI probe cannot be taken seriously because Israel learned its lessons about spying on its closest ally in 1985 when naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was caught spying for Israel.
"Since [the] Pollard case there was a clear and firm decision not to spy against the United States government or in the United States, and therefore, I am 100 percent confident that there is no Israeli involvement in this case," said Yuval Steinetz, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Israeli parliament.
But some Israeli analysts believe that no matter what the outcome of the FBI investigation may be, the affair could harm Israeli-American relations.
Security analyst, Shlomo Brum, of Tel Aviv's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, says no matter what the facts are a certain perception is there. "It may increase the perception among some people that Israel is misusing its relationship with the USA and that Israel is not a faithful ally, etc. etc," he said.

Israeli analysts do agree that the affair will not hurt bilateral relations in the long-term.

"Since [the] Pollard case there was clear and firm decision not to spy against the United States government or in the United States, and therefore I am 100 percent confident that there is no Israeli involvement in this case," he said.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon�s office issued a denial, saying �Israel does not engage in intelligence activities in the US.�
A statement from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office late Saturday night said the government was not aware of the incident. The statement said, "Israel is not employing any intelligence assets in the United States."
That position was elaborated on by Yuval Steinetz, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Israeli parliament. He said Israel decided to halt all espionage activities against the United States following the arrest and conviction of Jonathan Pollard, who was caught passing secrets to Israel nearly 20 years ago.
"Since [the] Pollard case there was clear and firm decision not to spy against the United States government or in the United States, and therefore I am 100 percent confident that there is no Israeli involvement in this case," he said.
*" has emerged as one of the leading architects of the Bush administration's foreign policy. AEI rents office space to the Project for the New American Century, one of the leading voices that pushed the Bush administration's plan for "regime change" through war in Iraq. AEI reps have also aggressively denied that the war has anything to do with oil..." - disinfopedia

�We have documents to back these comments and
we will make them public at an appropriate time,�

IRAN SAID TUESDAY it has arrested dozens of spies, including several people who passed the country's nuclear secrets to Iran's enemies, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi did not identify those arrested but said members of the armed opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq, played the main role.

Yunesi also said Iran had arrested an unspecified number of people connected to Osama Ben Laden's Al Qaeda terror network who �intended to carry out terrorist attacks� in Iran. He did not say when they were arrested or provide further details.
Bush APYunesi accused the United States and some European countries of hiring members from groups linked to Al Qaeda and trying to help them infiltrate Iran and carry out sabotage and terrorist operations. He didn't name the European states.

�America controls these groups,� he said.

�We have documents to back these comments and we will make them public at an appropriate time,� IRNA quoted him as saying.

Iran's intelligence chief said Iran was serious in fighting Al Qaeda.

toAP photo

This is a country where almost half the popluation
are under 16 years of age.

Sahib Baghdad
"We asked Ali about the Shula, which is situated past Khadimaya to the north-west of Bagdad. He said it was a big district with a mixture of Shia and Sunni Muslims, but mainly Shia. At first it was just the Shia fighting, but now the Sunni men have joined in.
There is staunch support for Moqtada Al Sadr - his photos are everywhere.
Have you heard about Shula in the news? No.
And here is our poor Ali trying to make a new life, while the Americans terrorise the area - but it is not big enough news for TV - you just need to know the big things that go on.
And did you know that the Public Security (secret service) Centre near New Bagdad was bombed - No? And did you know that yesterday, the Ministries of Oil, Sport and Youth came under attack form the Resistance - No.

Over the past few days, since the church bombings, there have been many many more bombs in Bagdad. Many of them have been closer and louder than before. We had one a few nights ago at around midnight, followed by a gun battle (we could hear reply fire). Then five mortars were heard, probably towards the Green Zone. Then two mornings running there were huge explosions at around 6.45 am - the 'morning bombs' don't usually go off that early, they are usually between 7.45 am and 9.30 am. Then last night, at about 11 pm, there was a big bomb not far away and this was followed by the definite sound of a rocket attack, also close by - we didn't know what was being hit though. At midnight there were 3 more explosions. One was huge and extremely close. I have told you before how
Iraqis don't even look around if there are bombs going off, unless they are close. Well, all of these, initiated a response - people looking and stopping what they were doing. The last one in particular got our whole street up and about."Sahib Najaf

Future of Iraq Portal

tophotos Karim Sahib/AFP, Baghdad, Najaf


...secret agents have detained several web technicians who have served or helped the popular reformist websites, Emrooz and Rooydad, in any way and apparently, by getting the hosting accounts' passwords, shut the servers down and deleted all the information on them.

Reza Khatami, chief of the major reformist party, Jebhe-ye Mosharekat, has protested to the new wave of pressure in a public letter to the vice-president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who is in charge of the legal and parliamentary relations and a is an Internet savvy user himself. The letter now appears on one of the remaining addresses,, which is not under control of the agents.

Frustrating news is that no news agency or paper has reported on this in English. However, among the reliable Persian sources, BBC Persian has covered it.

Editor: Myself (Hossein Derakhshan) 23.Aug.04

an unusual sport

The Ben and Jerry�s World Bog Snorkelling Championships took place at the Waen Ryth peat bog, Llanwrtyd Wells and lasted around seven hours.
Organisers said the weather had been fine � and the rain had created good conditions for the bogs.

Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours.

There are differences in the I.Q.s and levels of ruthlessness between this year's U.S. presidential candidates. The anti-war movement in the United States has done a phenomenal job of exposing the lies and venality that led to the invasion of Iraq, despite the propaganda and intimidation it faced.

This was a service not just to people here, but to the whole world. But now, if the anti-war movement openly campaigns for Kerry, the rest of the world will think that it approves of his policies of "sensitive" imperialism. Is U.S. imperialism preferable if it is supported by the United Nations and European countries? Is it preferable if UN asks Indian and Pakistani soldiers to do the killing and dying in Iraq instead of U.S. soldiers? Is the only change that Iraqis can hope for that French, German, and Russian companies will share in the spoils of the occupation of their country?

Is this actually better or worse for those of us who live in subject nations? Is it better for the world to have a smarter emperor in power or a stupider one? Is that our only choice?

I'm sorry, I know that these are uncomfortable, even brutal questions, but they must be asked.

The fact is that electoral democracy has become a process of cynical manipulation. It offers us a very reduced political space today. To believe that this space constitutes real choice would be na�ve.

The crisis in modern democracy is a profound one.

On the global stage, beyond the jurisdiction of sovereign governments, international instruments of trade and finance oversee a complex system of multilateral laws and agreements that have entrenched a system of appropriation that puts colonialism to shame. This system allows the unrestricted entry and exit of massive amounts of speculative capital - hot money - into and out of third world countries, which then effectively dictates their economic policy. Using the threat of capital flight as a lever, international capital insinuates itself deeper and deeper into these economies. Giant transnational corporations are taking control of their essential infrastructure and natural resources, their minerals, their water, their electricity. The World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank, virtually write economic policy and parliamentary legislation. With a deadly combination of arrogance and ruthlessness, they take their sledgehammers to fragile, interdependent, historically complex societies, and devastate them.

All this goes under the fluttering banner of "reform."

As a consequence of this reform, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, thousands of small enterprises and industries have closed down, millions of workers and farmers have lost their jobs and land.

The Spectator newspaper in London assures us that "[w]e live in the happiest, healthiest and most peaceful era in human history." Billions wonder: who's "we"? Where does he live?

American Sociological Association/DemocracyNow! 16.Aug.04


The protestor was identified as defrocked Irish priest Cornelius Horan, the same man who disrupted the British Grand Prix in July 2003 by running onto the course during the race.
Horan, who once wrote a book about an upcoming apocalypse, wore a piece of paper on his back which read
"The Grand Prix Priest. Israel Fulfilment of Prophecy Says The Bible."

20 Israeli firms tapped Olympics' $1.5 billion security budget

Thursday, August 26, 2004

ATHENS � Israel has played a major role in securing the Olympic Games from insurgency attacks.

At least 20 Israeli defense and security companies have won contracts in Greece's $1.5 billion security project for the Olympics. The companies have offered security expertise, sensors, naval patrol vessels and a range of software packages.

Officials said Israel has sent military and police advisers to enhance Greece's armed forces. They said the training included the creation of sterile zones on both land, air and sea.

Other training focused on a Greek response to an insurgency attack as well as distinguishing between a lethal attack and a civil protest. Israel has also helped Greece in VIP protection, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Greek security effort has been capped by a $312 million command and control system headed by Science Applications International Corp. At least a dozen Israeli companies, including Elbit Systems, Israel Shipyards, Motorola Israel and Check Point Software Technologies, participate in the C2 project.

We need a name for that. Some kind of gambler's term for the second layer in, where the rube feels smug for seeing the complexity and gets an investment in the second-layer illusion. Those poor Jews, those poor Israelis, even nutjob priests are wrecking the Olympics to make them feel bad. Let's not talk about how this will muddy and diffuse the Franklin spy almost-case. Let's not point out that Israeli security was practically running Athens. And do you think they were more, or less, on alert for the closing hours of the Games?
What this is is a cynical estimation of the intelligence of the American people, and who cares what the rest of the world thinks.


Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - Allegations of Israeli spying in the United States are false and may be the result of internal conflicts between the Pentagon and the CIA, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Sunday, but analysts admitted damage already has been done to crucial ties between the two countries.

American officials said Saturday that the FBI has spent more than a year investigating whether a Pentagon analyst funneled highly classified material to Israel.

The material described White House policy toward Iran. Israel says Iran - and its nuclear ambitions - pose the greatest single threat to the Jewish state.

Natan Sharansky, the first Israeli Cabinet minister to speak in public about the matter, told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. television that Israel enforces a ban on spying in the United States.

``I hope it's all a mistake or misunderstanding of some kind, maybe a rivalry between different bodies,'' he said, singling out ``the Pentagon and the CIA.''

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli officials predicted Sunday that allegations the government spied on the Pentagon would prove false, but analysts said damage had already been done the Jewish state's image and that of its lobbying ally in Washington.

American officials said Saturday that the FBI had spent more than a year investigating whether a Pentagon analyst funneled highly classified material to Israel.

The material described White House policy toward Iran. Israel says Iran and its nuclear ambitions pose the greatest single threat to the Jewish state.


Israel and its supporters flatly deny "dubious" claims of espionage
By israelinsider staff August 29, 2004

Israeli and American Jewish leaders categorically rejected the possibility that Israel was operating a spy in the United States. "Israel is not aware of having received information from this man," a Jerusalem source told Haaretz. "Nobody used him, people hardly knew him, and we don't understand this fantasy," another source said. "Since the Pollard affair, no intelligence man would dare think of gathering information in the U.S."

On Friday, CBS News ran a report claiming that the FBI had been conducting a long investigation into alleged improprieties by a Pentagon staffer, who supposedly passed classified material to representative of AIPAC. The staffer, a non-Jewish analyst named by the Washington Post as Larry Franklin, is a reserve colonel in the U.S. Air Force who has in the past been assigned to Israel.

Analysis / A cold wind blowing from the CIA
By Ze'ev Schiff

Before former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency head George Tenet retired, he made stinging comments on various occasions to Israeli officials in the intelligence community, especially the Mossad, saying Israel had a spy in America.
The accusation was rejected out of hand - Tenet was even loudly challenged to catch any such agent and expose him publicly. The exchange of remarks was passed on to Israel, evoking surprise at the political level over the accusations.
On Friday night, the American media revealed that an investigation was proceeding into a suspected Pentagon mole who was transmitting information to AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and from there to Israel about the White House's war plans for Iraq.
A person named Larry Franklin was mentioned, who works in the office of undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith. Between Larry Franklin and Doug Feith there are at least three levels of bureaucratic hierarchy.
AIPAC insisted last night that it heard Franklin's name for the first time on Friday when investigators came to them.
After the Pollard affair, Israel has made very sure that not even the slightest suspicion would arise that it is gathering information contrary to American laws. An extreme example was the claim that Israel passed on secret information to China about the Patriot missiles it bought in the U.S. For that, Israel invited an American investigative team and after great efforts, no proof was found.
Nevertheless, U.S. intelligence doggedly refused Israel's demand that it publish a retraction of the charge and that the investigation found the suspicions groundless.
The insistence came from American considerations of prestige with regard to its sources and the quality of its information. Over time, Israel came to believe one of the U.S. sources was Taiwanese intelligence, which focuses closely on China.

� Copyright 2004 Haaretz. All rights reserved

Israel and its supporters flatly deny "dubious" claims of espionage
By israelinsider staff August 29, 2004

Israeli and American Jewish leaders categorically rejected the possibility that Israel was operating a spy in the United States. "Israel is not aware of having received information from this man," a Jerusalem source told Haaretz. "Nobody used him, people hardly knew him, and we don't understand this fantasy," another source said. "Since the Pollard affair, no intelligence man would dare think of gathering information in the U.S."

On Friday, CBS News ran a report claiming that the FBI had been conducting a long investigation into alleged improprieties by a Pentagon staffer, who supposedly passed classified material to representative of AIPAC. The staffer, a non-Jewish analyst named by the Washington Post as Larry Franklin, is a reserve colonel in the U.S. Air Force who has in the past been assigned to Israel.

Israel's defense establishment said it conducted a thorough examination over the weekend with all security and intelligence bodies to verify the reports that a Pentagon employee passed secret information to Israel. "The examination revealed what we expected," said a senior defense official. "There are no sanctioned espionage operations going on against the United States. There is no truth to these reports." Another officials characterized the whole affair as a "lie" -- a charge that showed up in a headline on Israel's leading newspaper.

Knesset Member Yuval Shteinitz, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Israeli Parliament, said: "Speaking as someone who is completely responsible for the supervision of Israel's secret services, this did not happen and never will. There are no spies in the Pentagon and not in the United States."

Likud MK Ehud Yatom, chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on covert intelligence, said he anticipated that the claims against Israeli would be soon withdrawn. "I imagine that within a few days the United States will come out with an announcement that Israel has no connection whatsoever with the supposed spy and his activities," he told Israel Radio.
Despite all the denials, Haaretz reports that senior members of the U.S. intelligence community have repeatedly suspected Israel of spying on the United States.
Former Mossad head Danny Yatom revealed that former CIA Director George Tenet believed that Israel was engaged in such activity in 1997-98; Yatom flew to the U.S. for a one-on-one meeting with Tenet to prove that the charges were baseless. Tenet dropped his suspicions as a result and wrote Yatom a letter of apology.


...with debts (according to various sources) of between 700 million and 1.5 billion dollars. Much of the money had been siphoned off via the Vatican Bank, the Istituto per le Opere Religiose or IOR, the 'Institute of Religious Works'...

P2 is the common name for the Italian Freemasonic lodge, Propaganda Due.
It became the target of considerable attention in the wake of the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano (one of Milan's principal banks), and the suspicious 1982 death of its president Roberto Calvi in London, initially ruled a suicide but classified a murder and prosecuted.
Calvi's connections with the Worshipful Master Licio became a particular focus of press and police attention, and caused the lodge (then secret) to be discovered. A list of adherents was found in Gelli's house in Arezzo, containing over 900 names among which were very important state officers, a few politicians and a number of military officers, many of them enrolled in the Italian secret services. Notably, the current Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on the list, although he had not yet entered elective politics at the time. Another famous member was Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples, current head of the House of Savoy.
Then-prime minister Arnaldo Forlaniwas forced to resign, and was eventually convicted of related corruption charges. His government was also brought down by the scandal, and at the subsequent election opposite parties of a left character won a mandate to replace it.
The lodge was then examined by a special commission of the Italian Parliament, directed by Tina Anselmi of the Democrazia Cristiana ("Christian Democrats") political party. The conclusion of the commission was that it was a secret criminal organization, even if no proof was found of specific crimes committed. Allegations of surreptitious international relationships, mainly with Argentina and with some people suspected of belonging to the American Central Intelligence Agency CIA were also partly confirmed; but soon a political debate overtook the legal level of the analysis.
It has been repeatedly alleged that P2 was involved in the assassination of Aldo Moro, murdered by the Red Brigades, but no concrete proof was ever found.

free dictionary

Prime Minister Sharon has been indicted by a court in Brussels. He stands accused of war crimes for his role in the massacre of hundreds of civilians from two refugee camps in Lebanon. He can no longer travel to Belgium. Meanwhile, he is being received at the White House.
In 14 months, more than 800 Palestinians, including 150 children, have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces, acting on the Government of Israel�s direct orders. More than 16,000 Palestinians have been seriously injured.
Israel has lost 170, including 20 children.

I will launch an aggressive public diplomacy campaign in Arab and Muslim countries to tackle head-on the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda that fuels ignorance and hatred. This will be a part of an expansive American-led, international effort to promote democratic reforms throughout the Middle East by supporting secular education, business development and educational initiatives. By carefully targeting aid and development programs we can most effectively bolster civil society groups to take action to advance reform.
We will magnify our power and restore American influence to enhance our own security and that of our allies. We will restore our alliances and we will lead. But we will never compromise America's special relationship with our ally Israel. As president, I will never pressure Israel to make concessions that will compromise its security.

My commitment to a safe and secure Jewish state is unwavering. For 19 years, this is a pledge I have kept in the United States Senate � whether through my votes on economic aid, military security or the location of the U.S. Embassy. And it is one I will continue to keep as I lead a bold new effort to enhance regional security throughout the Middle East.

John Kerry

How it's supposed to work is Bush gets the dirty work done, then Kerry comes in as Mr. Nice President and just has to hold the course. So that the sense of excluding the bad guy is there, big catharsis, kicking out the villains, fiesta!
It's a scam. I think Kerry really is a nicer person than Bush, but I think Collies are nicer dogs than Dobermans. So what? They both serve the same master. If you don't like what Bush has done it doesn't make much sense to vote for someone who's being presented to you by the same people that put Bush in office to begin with, someone who promises to continue virtually everything Bush has begun.
See how it all gets vague and murky when you start asking why we went in to Iraq.
The oil? Sort of.
Democracy? My ass.
Israel? Shhh.
The absurd hypocrisy gets clear when you contrast his public position on the defense of Israel, our special ally, with the absolute taboo against discussing the invasion of Iraq as part of that defense.
The families of the kids who gave and are giving their lives in Iraq are not going to be as comfortable with that sacrifice being made for Israel's benefit. So on the one hand we'll do anything, anything, to preserve and protect our special ally; but on the other hand, we wouldn't invade Iraq to preserve and protect Israel, not at all, never. Even though it has that benefit. even though that is the only single thing that has been accomplished - everyone else has suffered and lost, especially the Iraqi people.
The government tells us it was to remove Saddam, and then the politicians they install are from Saddam's inner circle. There's no democracy in Iraq, and the oil is not available.
On the surface it may seem that the huge amounts of money grafted and bribed and double-booked into the greasy hands of Halliburton and Bechtel and other super-predators were the reason a thousand American soldiers have died this past year, but that's more like a pay-off, a salary, wages under the table.
John Kerry says it's anti-Israel propaganda that's the problem in the Middle East, and by that one statement loses my vote. Because it's a lie. It's a lie and he knows it's a lie.
Muslims in the Middle East hate Israel because the Israelis are killing Muslim women and children.
Or having it done by proxy.

The Gaza Withdrawal
With profound, sincere hope that I am totally wrong, I fear the invasion, occupation, and escalating bloody suppression of the Iraqi people will cost our nation dear, in many ways and places, for a long time to come. I do not wish to be right, but believe the magnitude of that unjustified, expanding catastrophe poses serious, sustained threats to the well-being of all Americans.

There is little utility in further questioning the intelligence, honesty, and vision of leaders - or those who occupy leadership positions, an entirely different category - who led us into this morass on the basis of untruths, distortions, and covert objectives which are not at all in our national interest. The horrific reality is that we are there, carrying out actions in gross violation of every political, economic, and humanitarian principle for which we insist we stand. Relying on those same discredited individuals to extract us from a debacle they crafted without shame or remorse, in a manner which minimizes the damage already done and the risk of worse things to come, is a frightening prospect.

This is particularly the case since that band of misguided fanatics, along with much of the media, gaggles of pundits, and probably a significant proportion of the rest of us, sees Iraq through a fog generated by the mythical American West of books and films. The language describing courses of action in response to the massive popular uprisings in key Iraqi cities resembles dialogue from High Noon, The OK Corral, or Open Range. We gotta: ride the bad guys out of town; straighten things out; clean the place up.

But Fallujah, Najaf, and Karbala are not Western Movie sound stages. And the story line is not a dramatic but foregone removal of a crooked sheriff or powerful cattleman by our good guys, wearing white hats and enthusiastically supported by all the townsfolk. In Iraq, it is large and rapidly growing numbers of townsfolk that we are going after, and the survivors will not love us. They perceive us as the bad guys, not as we see ourselves: heroes bringing liberation, freedom and peace.
Edward L. Peck
served as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania and as Embassy Officer in Sweden, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. In the State Department he served as Deputy Coordinator, Covert Intelligence Programs, and Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was also Director, Office of Egyptian Affairs. In the White House he served as Deputy Director, Reagan Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism. In the Pentagon he served as Liaison Officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Fellow, Institute for Higher Defense Studies.


Edward L. Peck is one of the 111 signatories of the Letter to President Bush, sent this May:
By closing the door to negotiations with Palestinians and the possibility of a Palestinian state, you have proved that the United States is not an even-handed peace partner. You have placed U.S. diplomats, civilians and military doing their jobs overseas in an untenable and even dangerous position.

Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon�s unilateral plan are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends. Nor is this endorsement even in the best interests of the State of Israel.

  • The U.S. has dumped more than $40 billion worth of arms into Israel, and Israel is illegally using many of those weapons to put down an uprising against the occupation.
  • The U.S. has given Israel, one of the richer countries in the world, over $100 billion in financial and military aid, mostly after the Camp David agreement of 1979. This includes billions of dollars in tax-deductible contributions from American supporters of Israel. As our aid to Israel grew, so did Israeli colonies. In 1979, there were 12,000 Jewish-Israeli colonists in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Today, there are over 350,000.
  • In 14 months, more than 800 Palestinians, including 150 children, have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces, acting on the Government of Israel�s direct orders. More than 16,000 Palestinians have been seriously injured. This is comparable to 56,000 Americans being killed in one year and 1,600,000 seriously injured. Israel has lost 170, including 20 children, equivalent to 8,000 American being killed.
  • Prime Minister Sharon has been indicted by a court in Brussels. He stands accused of war crimes for his role in the massacre of hundreds of civilians from two refugee camps in Lebanon. He can no longer travel to Belgium. Meanwhile, he is being received at the White House.
    Fact Sheet on Israel and Palestine
    Council for the National Interest


    her presence in the Occupied Territories disputes Israel's claim that its army is a humane one

    An Israeli court has decided to deport a British journalist who had come to work in the occupied Palestinian territories based on her "ideological beliefs".
    Ewa Jasiewic has been held in a detention centre since appealing a decision to deny her entry into the West Bank and Gaza over two weeks ago. She had come to the occupied territories to write a story on the Israeli left for the British Red Pepper magazine.
    "It is an attempt to prevent me and others from witnessing yet more violations, active collective punishment, and killings."
    Jasiecwiz volunteered with the non-violent peace group International Solidarity Movement (ISM) two years ago, during which time she witnessed and reported on the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, Baha al-Bahesh, by an Israeli occupation soldier in Nablus.
    Jasiecwiz also watched as Israeli machine gun fire hit US peace activist Brian Avery�s face in Jenin early last year.

    Laila El-Haddad/al Jazeera 27.Aug.04

    The Sunshine Patriots

    "I had a great agreement with the draft board�they never called me, and I never called them."

    Michael Bloomberg


    Karl Rove
    Senior White House Adviser
    Age 53
    Born Denver, Colorado, December 25, 1950

    Military service None

    Reason Student deferment (University of Utah; George Mason University�no degree).

    Quote "We're fighting a different kind of war, and no negotiation can bring it to victory."

    The GOP's champions of this war had a hard time finding their own way to the battlefield.
    Tom Robbins
    Village Voice 24.Aug.04

    link KWSnet 26.Aug.04

    A brief glimpse of my own experience with the military may be had here

    tophoto Aizar Raldes/AFP

    Aymara native women run through a tear gas cloud after facing anti-riot police during a demonstration of the MTS (Landless Movement) in demand of the release of one of their leaders in La Paz, Bolivia.

    a cease-fire in every region of the country he passes through
    on his way from the southern border to his home city of Najaf.

    Demonstrators surrounded the Kufa mosque Thursday after at least nine people were killed and dozens were wounded in what was believed to be a mortar attack, according to eyewitnesses and a local official.
    Kufa is a suburb of Najaf, the scene of a nearly three-week battle pitting U.S. and Iraqi troops against fighters loyal to renegade Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

    That's from CNN, about the mortar fire sustained by the Kufa mosque today. Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani's back in Iraq, and he called for all Iraqi Muslims to march to Najaf.
    Nothing in the US news media about how huge that is against US military aims in Iraq. Value-neutral reporting, same as with the mortar attack. As though the mortars just appeared out of nowhere.
    It's real scary for a lot of decent Americans now, realizing they're inside something evil. That's the beauty and power of Michael Moore's work, as far as it goes, to give some power back to the people, even if it's just the power of outrage and frustration.
    The Zionist press repeats these stock phrases, "Islamist" being primary. It's part of the drumbeat. And "renegade" for al Sadr. The "renegade" cleric.
    Who exactly would he be renegading on, or at, or against? He's defending a holy shrine in his hometown against foreign soldiers who have no idea where they are or why, and who have been documented as sadistic torturers of children. Where's the renegade part? He's being good. He's doing what good men do. And he's being brave.
    Killing women and children to get cheap gasoline is not good. And it's not brave either.

    "it is under attack and part of Western plans
    to engage in open warfare with Arab countries and redraw
    the map of the Arab world in accordance with Western interests.�

    Arab professional unionists and political activists on Wednesday said Darfur's crisis was being overrated by Western media to divert attention from other hot spots like Palestine and Iraq.

    Returning from a field visit to the Sudanese western region, the fact-finding mission also charged that the Darfur situation was being spotlighted so that Western countries, mainly the US, could exert influence over the natural resource-rich African country.

    "We are totally convinced that the problems and suffering in Darfur are being exaggerated and blown out of proportion in a carefully studied theatrical manner, in order to overshadow other atrocities and genocide being committed in Palestine and Iraq by American-Zionist occupation forces," said President of the Jordan Bar Association Hussein Mjalli.
    Mjalli, who headed the Jordanian team to Sudan as part of an Arab weeklong field mission there, said they found no indications or proof of the "so-called ethnic cleansing" in the crisis-stricken region or any truth to reports of epidemics amongst the displaced.


    It's a film that deeply wants America to survive.

    Bush is visibly a political cretin, as ignorant of the world as he is indifferent to it; while the tribune, informed by popular experience, acquires political credibility, not as a politician himself, but as the voice of the anger of a multitude and its will to resist.

    There is something else which is astounding. The aim of Fahrenheit 9/11 is to stop Bush fixing the next election as he fixed the last. Its focus is on the totally unjustified war in Iraq. Yet its conclusion is larger than either of these issues. It declares that a political economy which creates colossally increasing wealth surrounded by disastrously increasing poverty, needs - in order to survive - a continual war with some invented foreign enemy to maintain its own internal order and security. It requires ceaseless war.

    Thus, 15 years after the fall of communism, a decade after the declared end of history, one of the main theses of Marx's interpretation of history again becomes a debating point and a possible explanation of the catastrophes being lived.

    It is always the poor who make the most sacrifices, Fahrenheit 9/11 announces quietly during its last minutes. For how much longer?

    what's for dinner?
    Guantanamo, au nom de la guerre
    Manon Loizeau
    Le Monde 25.Apr.04

    Julia fact, the actress is anything but anti-Semitic. Both before and after her blacklisting she demonstrated concern and horror for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. No one who saw her harrowing performance in "Playing for Time," a part for which she cut off all her hair rather than wear a wig, could doubt her empathy for the character she portrayed. In 1977 she won an Academy Award for her role as the Jewish heroine of the anti-Nazi underground in "Julia," a film based on a book by Lillian Hellman. In receiving the award she gave credit to the fact that her co-star, Jane Fonda, and her director, Fred Zinnemann, "believed in what we were expressing," the fight against "racist Nazi Germany." Then, as members of the Jewish Defense League protested noisily outside, she demonstrated her contempt for their strongarm tactics of physical intimidation by referring to them as "a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world."
    From there she went to the site of Tal al-Zaatar, where she and her crew filmed the devastation and spoke with Palestinians who had survived the siege, including the two doctors who had run the single clinic that served the camp's inhabitants. She visited Sabra and Shatila, the refugee camps in Beirut where five years later Lebanese militias massacred at least 900 men, women and children under the eyes of Israeli soldiers, who prevented the inhabitants from escaping. During her stay in these camps she filmed hospitals run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and marvelled at their ingenuity in treating seriously ill patients with primitive equipment.

    Proceeding to southern Lebanon, she and her crew went from town to town, talking with the inhabitants and sleeping on floors or cots, often in makeshift shelters, under nightly barrages of Israeli shells. She eventually met and interviewed Abu Jihad, a high-ranking PLO leader who remained a close friend until 1988, when he was assassinated in his Tunis apartment in front of his family by Israeli commandos. (Redgrave writes that on hearing the news, "I immediately flew to Tunis to pay my respects to Um Jihad and her children.") Finally, she interviewed Arafat himself. Like many of the Palestinians she had talked with, Arafat hold her, "We are not against the Jews: we are against Zionism...Why not speak about living together, all of us in this homeland? I think that in the future, all the Jews will understand that we are fighting for them too."

    After her experience in Lebanon, Redgrave concluded that "Everything Winnie Mandela wrote about her people under apartheid is true of the Palestinians...with one essential difference: Palestinians do not have the right to live in their own country, not even to be buried there."

    "The Palestinian" premiered in November 1977 at the London Film Festival, but in the U.S. neither the Public Broadcasting Service nor any other network would show it. Nevertheless, an actor who had seen a private screening of the film gave a distorted account to a gossip columnist and the news of Redgrave's support for the PLO spread rapidly. Because of her sympathy for the Palestinians, she was accused of being a terrorist. At a meeting in Los Angeles one speaker waved a fistful of dollars and shouted, "Who is willing to rid the world of a Jew-baiter?"

    In March 1978 Israel launched one of its periodic invasions of Lebanon, and less than a month later Redgrave again flew to Beirut and drove south. In her book she describes the ruins of Sidon and Tyre, where Israeli bombs had reduced entire apartment blocks to rubble. Rescuers were still pulling bodies from the wreckage and the pools of water from shattered water mains were red with blood in this preview of Israel's even bloodier 1982 invasion. Redgrave noted that although more than 100,000 Lebanese people were injured or made homeless, and their farms and workplaces destroyed, no medicine or other aid was sent from the U.S. or Europe. At the U.N., the U.S. and Britain vetoed resolutions condemning the invasion.

    Redgrave continued her support for the Palestinian struggle. In March 1988, three months after the start of the intifada, she gathered a group of Arab and Jewish musicians for a benefit concert in London that raised $100,000 for Palestinian children. Immediately afterwards, she organized an international conference in Moscow calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and opposition to anti-Semitism. Why Moscow? Because Russia's history was marked by virulent anti-Semitism and to Redgrave, "The struggle against anti-Semitism and for self-determination of the Palestinians are one and the same, and they form a single whole." In 1989 she helped the newly formed Moscow Jewish Theatre to survive by bringing it to London.

    Rachelle Marshall, March 1995
    Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


    In the name of security, our Government is destroying the principles and the laws which are the foundations of the security of all citizens; these principles were proclaimed by the American Patriots in their Declaration of Independence and after the war, in their constitution which also prohibits cruel and degrading treatment.
    I have just returned from a theatre workshop in Croatia, with women who survived Tito's concentration camp for political prisoners on the island of Goli Otok. Officially this was a "work site" or "labour camp", and was opened by the Yugoslav State Security Service in 1948, when Tito split from Stalin.
    All the survivors of Goli Otok (the island had a camp for men as well) agree that under prolonged conditions of torture, they would do anything, say anything, write anything and sign anything that was demanded of them in the hope of being released.

    Vanessa Redgrave
    Independent UK 23.Aug.04

    link KWSnet 24.Aug.04


    Zeljko Jovanovic-Luna a �t� arr�t� le 28 janvier et lib�r� le 24 f�vrier de cette ann�e. Pendant tout ce temps, la lumi�re est rest�e allum�e en permanence dans sa cellule-container et une musique forte n�a pas arr�t� de jouer. Il avait des menottes aux poignets et les pieds entrav�s. Les quinze premiers jours, il a dormi � m�me le sol, puis on lui a install� un lit le soir pour l�enlever le matin. Vers la fin, le lit n��tait plus enlev�, mais il n�avait le droit ni de s�allonger ni de s�asseoir dessus. Un autre �amusement� �tait de brancher le climatiseur sur le froid quand la temp�rature dehors �tait � z�ro ou en dessous.

    B. I. (ex-Balkans-Infos) est un mensuel de politique internationale totalement ind�pendant de tout gouvernement, institution ou parti, qui parai�t depuis pr�s de sept ans.
    Il n�est diffus� que sur abonnements.


    what's for dinner?During the last big abrupt cooling, 12,900 years ago, Europe cooled down to Siberian temperatures within a decade (about ten-fold greater than in the Little Ice Age), the rainfall likely dropped by half, and fierce winter storms whipped a lot of dust into the atmosphere. Such conditions lasted for over 1,300 years, whereupon things warmed back up, even more suddenly. The dust settled and the warm rains returned, again within a decade.

    Oslo is anomalous, when you look around the globe for other major cities so far from the equator. In the southern hemisphere, latitude 60� is halfway between the tip of South America and Antarctica, down in the Drake Passage where strong westerly winds circle the world, stirring up prodigious wave heights. Though the long summer twilight of the higher latitudes may be nice, the flip side includes those dim winter days where the sun makes only a brief midday appearance low in the sky, barely edging the thermometer upward.

    The populous parts of the United States and Canada are mostly between the latitudes of 30� and 45�, whereas the populous parts of Europe are ten to fifteen degrees farther north. �Southerly� Rome lies near the same latitude, 42�N, as �northerly� Chicago � and the most northerly major city in Asia is Beijing, near 40�N. London and Paris are close to the 49�N line that goes through Hudson Bay and, west of the Great Lakes, separates the United States from Canada. Berlin is up at 52�, Copenhagen and Moscow at about 56�. Oslo is nearly at 60�N, as are Stockholm, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg; continue due east and you�ll encounter Anchorage.

    Europe�s climate, obviously, is not like that of North America or Asia at the same latitudes. For Europe to be as agriculturally productive as it is (it supports more than twice the population of the United States and Canada), all those cold, dry winds that blow eastward across the North Atlantic from Canada must somehow be warmed up. The job is done by warm water flowing north from the tropics, variously called the Gulf Stream and, when nearing Ireland, the North Atlantic Current. This warm water then flows up the Norwegian coast, with a westward branch warming Greenland�s tip, at 60�N. It keeps northern Europe about 5-10�C warmer in the winter than comparable latitudes elsewhere � except, of course, when it fails.

    We lived through that. Not by controlling the large-scale environment around us, but by controlling the small-scale, immediate, environment, and adapting to the changes as they came. Not all of us lived through it, obviously, but what we are lived through it; and, less obviously, not all of us are living through this, now.
    What's missing from the general picture is that the most adaptable people, the indigenous, the aboriginals, the ones who live now as we lived then, who have the skills, and the proven methods of survival, are being exterminated, by attrition or intent. The types of human being most suited, most capable, most ready for rapid whole-system change, are in the prisons of the modern world, or driven into the margins and remnants of wilderness, when they aren't being seduced by the temporary ease and comfort of modern technologies.

    photos Dept. of Anthro. Brown Univ.

    Killing The Wolf
    Aldo Leopold


    your actual loss

    Shaikh Mahdi al-Sumaidaie accused the media of deliberately distorting the "honourable" image of Iraqi resistance, and sticking to the information and figures provided by the US authorities.
    "I call on world media to stop twisting the news, and portraying Iraqi resistance actions as the mere killing of Iraqi citizens," he told
    "If media provides one hour of honest coverage to what the Iraqi resistance are doing on a daily basis, I bet you the mothers and sisters of US soldiers in Iraq will pour into the streets of America screaming at Bush to pull the troops from Iraq," he said.


    God is goodAt least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for

    indentAmong the draft audit's findings were that payrolls in Iraqi ministries under Coalition Provisional Authority control were padded with thousands of ghost employees.
    In one example, the audit said the CPA paid for 74,000 guards even though the actual number could not be validated. In another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 people doing the work could be counted.
    Three Democratic senators - Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Harkin from Iowa and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota - demanded an explanation from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over the use of the funds by the CPA, which handed over authority to the Iraqis in June.
    A spokesman for the CPA Inspector General's office confirmed "field work" had been completed on the audit but declined to give specifics. He said auditors were awaiting comment from the Pentagon before releasing the final report, probably later this month.

    The Pentagon did not immediately respond to questions.
    One of the main benefactors of the Iraq funds was Texas-based firm Halliburton, which was paid more than a billion dollars out of those funds to bring in fuel for Iraqi civilians.

    The monitoring board said despite repeated requests it had not been given access to U.S. audits of contracts held by Halliburton, which was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, and other firms that used the development funds.


    ghost employees

    "American firepower, equipment and training mean that a hundred
    young Shia men die in the fighting for every American who is killed"

    Gwynne Dyer has detailed background on Moqtada al Sadr, [CommonDreams/TorontoStar 17.Aug.04] and some possible reasons the current US government has targeted him. None of which are morally sound, or good for America.

    It needs emphasizing that al Sadr is from Najaf, that it's his home he's defending.

    "coloreds with big lips lure white women with jazz and marijuana"

    In fact, the forfeiture program became a tremendous revenue stream for the police. From 1982 to 1991, the US Department of Justice seized more than $2.5 billion in assets. The feds confiscated $500 million in property in 1991 alone, and 80 percent of these seizures came from people who were never charged with a crime.
    In 1983 the total number of prisoners in federal, state and local prisons and jails was 600,800. Of those, 57,975 (8.8 percent) were incarcerated for drug-related offenses. In 1993 the total prison population stood at 1.4 million, of whom 353,564 - 25.1 percent - were inside for drug offenses. The Sentencing Project, a DC-based watchdog group, found that the increase was far from racially balanced. Between 1986 and 1991 the incarceration rate for white males convicted on drug crimes increased by 106 percent. But the number of black males in prison for kindred offenses soared by a factor of 429 percent, and the rate for black women went up by an incredible 828 percent.
    These included drug-related murders, and murders committed by drug gangs, which would allow any gang member to face the death penalty if one member of the gang was linked to a drug killing. The new penalties were inscribed in an update of the Continuing Criminal Enterprises Act.
    Convictions under the new law between 1989 and 1996 were 70 percent white and 24 percent black. But 90 percent of the times the federal prosecutors sought the death penalty it was against non-whites: of these, 78 percent were black and the rest Hispanic.

    "We want them to go away"

    Much more comfortable talking sports than foreign policy or stem-cell research, Bush brayed with bravado in Oregon, "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it? It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

    This has compelled the Iraqi soccer team, at great personal risk, to respond. Mid-fielder and team leader Salih Sadir told Sports Illustrated, "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to advertise himself."
    Sadir has reason to be upset. He was the star player for the professional soccer team in Najaf. Najaf has in recent weeks been swamped by U.S. troops and the new Iraqi army in an attempt to uproot rebel cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. Thousands have died, each death close to Sadir's heart.
    "I want the violence and the war to go away from the city," said Sadir, "We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."
    Sadir's teammates were less diplomatic.
    Midfielder Ahmed Manajid, told Wahl angrily, "How will [Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."

    Manajid understands Sadir's anguish because he is from another Iraqi city that has been in a state of siege, Fallujah.
    Manajid told Wahl that his cousin Omar Jabbar al-Aziz, who was a resistance fighter, was killed by the U.S., as were several of his friends. Manajid even said that if he were not playing soccer he would "for sure" be fighting as part of the resistance.
    "I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists? Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq."
    Usually when there is political unrest on Olympic teams, the coach tries to be a mitigating force with the media. But not here and not now. Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad also went public to Sports Illustrated saying, "My problems are not with the American people, They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq."

    link KWSnet

    At 15:55 on 07 June 1981, the first F-15 and F-16's roared off the runway from Etzion Air Force Base in the south. Israeli air force planes flew over Jordanian, Saudi, and Iraqi airspace After a tense but uneventful low-level navigation route, the fighters reached their target. They popped up at 17:35 and quickly identified the dome gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. Iraqi defenses were caught by surprise and opened fire too late. In one minute and twenty seconds, the reactor lay in ruins.

    Baghdad reiterated a previous statement that the French atomic reactor was designed for research and for the eventual production of electricity. In a statement issued after the raid, the Israeli government stated that it had discovered from "sources of unquestioned reliability" that Iraq was producing nuclear bombs at the Osiraq plant, and, for this reason, Israel had initiated a preemptive strike.

    The attack raised a number of questions of interpretation regarding international legal concepts. Those who approved of the raid argued that the Israelis had engaged in an act of legitimate self-defense justifiable under international law and under Article 51 of the charter of the United Nations (UN). Critics contended that the Israeli claims about Iraq's future capabilities were hasty and ill-considered and asserted that the idea of anticipatory self-defense was rejected by the community of states. In the midst of this controversy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came under fire from individuals and from governments who complained that the Vienna-based UN agency had failed to alert the world to developments at Osiraq. IAEA officials denied these charges and reaffirmed their position on the Iraqi reactor, that is, that no weapons had been manufactured at Osiraq and that Iraqi officials had regularly cooperated with agency inspectors. They also pointed out that Iraq was a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (informally called the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT) and that Baghdad had complied with all IAEA guidelines. The Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona, it was pointed out, was not under IAEA safeguards, because Israel had not signed the NPT and had refused to open its facilities to UN inspections.

    Iraqi Special Weapons Facilities
    Nuclear Forces Guide

    WMD Around the World
    Federation of American Scientists

    "This time it's not up to Israel to save the world."

    "For Israel it's quite clear, that we're not going to wait for a threat to be realized," says Ephraim Inbar, head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. "For self-defense we have to act in a preemptive mode."
    Unlike 1981, the blame for such an attack today would not be limited to Israel. The US would be perceived in the Muslim world as being complicit - probably boosting the motivation of extremists to carry out terrorist attacks on Western targets.

    "Certainly it would be seen as a continuation of what the Americans did in Iraq," says Bruce Maddy Weizman, a fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. "Israel and US are widely perceived to be acting in concert."


    If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: 'I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.' When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods.
    Tell me where I can escape death: discover for me the country, show me the men to whom I must go, whom death does not visit. Discover to me a charm against death. If I have not one, what do you wish me to do? I cannot escape from death, but shall I die lamenting and trembling? . . . Therefore if I am able to change externals according to my wish, I change them: but if I cannot, I am ready to tear the eyes out of him who hinders me.
    What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.
    Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.

    A maldi��o de Sanpaku

    His supporters, known as the Mahdi Army, continued battling U.S. and Iraqi forces. And on Thursday, three mortar bombs hit a Najaf police station in quick succession, killing seven police and wounding at least 21 others. Police said Mahdi militiamen fired the mortars.

    Following the attack, Al-Sadr vowed to seek "martyrdom or victory," according to the AP.

    Things that seem obvious to me may not to you. That's part of what this is, or what it should be. So I'm taking a little time to dissect this yeoman bit of deceit. Plus I have to purge the image of Chandrasekaran from my optical memory. This twit was on PBS tonight, that bastion of liberal sensibility, and he was presented as being as close to the fighting in Najaf as he could get without actually picking up a weapon, though I think he was in Baghdad. They don't have the transcript up at PBS yet, just the prelim text linked above. He talked a lot about how bad the al Sadr stand has been for shopping, how people are angry at him [al Sadr] for disrupting their lives and the "reconstruction" of their country, and like most of the rest of the hired guns in the media now, he did these verbal entrechats that are supposed to make the unwary think that al Sadr has no spiritual claim to the Imam Ali Shrine, that he's just hiding there because he's a coward, and disrespectful of holy places.
    Of course they don't actually say that, because it's laughably absurd, but this isn't about truth anymore, it's about keeping the main bulk of the American public asleep long enough to get the power supply connected to the world machine, then the gloves will come off and it won't matter what anyone thinks. Until then the money's coming from America; and Americans, even now when they're so bloated up with bad food and cheap hypnotism they can barely move or think, they're still basically decent folks, and they'd never stand for what's being done with their money and their soldiers if they knew.
    So little dogs like Chandrasekaran make good money walking on their hind legs and speaking the party line. At the end of his segment this grin came across his face. It's the grin I imagine the Israeli soldiers wearing as they barbecue outside the cells of the Palestinian hunger strikers.
    It's that image I need to purge, that and his Sanpaku eyes blinklessly staring into the camera. His eyes were literally bugging out of his head, and that grin at the end. I expected some deep baritone "bwah-ah-ah-ah-hah-hah" to segue into the transition music.
    I really wonder sometimes if this isn't all being done just to torment me. I wonder that maybe there isn't anything happening in Iraq at all, that Palestinians aren't being blown out of their houses in pieces, that it's just a show, it's not real.
    But it seems real, other people think it is, so I'm going with my initial impression, which is that Chandrasekaran's a word-whore, giving relatively expensive oral service to off-camera men we never see or hear about.
    Somewhere back there it became taboo to kill people for being morally repugnant, yet at the same time it became permissible to lie to the public in such grave matters as the causes of war, even when by doing so thousands of people die.
    Reducing that a little we see that it says:
    We can't kill anyone / they can kill anyone they want.
    That is exactly what's happening here. People are being killed who should not be. Al Sadr and his men are defending their lives and the lives of their families against invaders who have no moral strength at all, only the power that selfishness endows its worshippers.
    Which is not to say the kids in the humvees are as culpable as Chandrasekaran, they're dumber than he is for one thing.
    If you read the linked piece carefully, looking for color as well as sense and meaning, you'll see that al Sadr's name is physically close to most of the negative terms in it, and that much of what the writing puts forth is implied rather than stated. It's Propaganda 101. It was really effective in getting the public to accept the sudden disappearance of Howard Dean from the Democratic primaries.
    It's like food additives, once you get used to them you hardly notice they're there.
    And that stress in the video segment on the NewsHour tonight, how bad this "insurgency" has been for shopping, how the nice Iraqis are trying to open their stores and the bad Iraqis won't let them...that should get the American public motivated.
    The truth is that shrine is holy to al Sadr and his fighters, and their families. They're defending it from people who have been proven before the eyes of the world to be debased and immoral. They saw those .jpg's from Abu Ghraib too you know. That's who they're shooting at, and that's who's shooting at them.
    The truth is they represent people who suffered under Saddam Hussein, suffered much more than the current hand-held puppet government. The truth is al Sadr's father was murdered by Saddam. The truth is al Sadr's a bigger threat to Israel than any other leader in the Middle East, and he's been marked for assassination, of one kind or another, for over a year.
    Allawi is a gangster; a soulless, evil man. Al Sadr is a holy man. It really is that simple.

    Flogging The Simian has an extensive, well-written 12-part series of posts on the Jonathan Idema business, including lots of precise background and access to in-depth evidence.
    Part 1 is here .
    Idema seems to have been in Iraq, on a private-contract interrogation gig, around the time Nicholas Berg lost his head.
    Idema is a type of human for which no animal comparisons work, there's nothing on earth lower, though people who would use his "services" to accomplish their political aims come close.

    Many forms of expression have been rapidly enhanced by computer technology

    The drug war is an ugly, corrupt set of policies that were bad when Nixon set it in motion to bash the hippie students who were hounding his ass out of office. It was ugly and corrupt when the medicine marijuana was outlawed early in the 20th century as a way to bash brown-skinned people coming up from Mexico. It was ugly and corrupt when San Francisco passed the first ordinance criminalizing drug use in the 1890s; it outlawed the medicine opium, and was used to bash Chinese immigrants who'd come to build the railroad and then settled in Chinatown. Now 90% of the people serving time for drugs are black or Latino, even though white and asian Americans use drugs in the same proportions as blacks and Latinos. Drug warriors encourage parents to turn in their kids and kids to turn in their parents. It's destroyed most of the Fourth Amendment and is well on the way to destroying freedom of thought, which is even more fundamental and neglected than freedom of movement. They're attempting to outlaw entire modes of thought, by making illegal the tools that get you to those modes.

    Open societies have plenty of mechanisms by which truly rotten policies can get discovered and corrected over the years and decades. The people who profit from the drug war (mostly cops, prisons, and forced-"treatment" scams) have managed to avoid this so far.

    link Danny Yee

    Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad

    How the group came into existence is a story of how veterans with longstanding anger about Mr. Kerry's antiwar statements in the early 1970's allied themselves with Texas Republicans.
    Mr. Kerry called them "a front for the Bush campaign" - a charge the campaign denied.
    [all depends on what your definition of "front" is.]
    Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.
    Zernike/Rutenberg/NYTimes 20.Aug.04 (free reg. req.)

    link Spin of The Day

    It's not enough that Kerry's a better man than Bush. Or that he'll make a better President. Or that the people around him have at least some moral character. Like prisoners on strike for better conditions, we forget about the prison itself. It may be that we have to start from here, or we may have to start from a compromise - there's deceit inside deceit, and a complex of lies that no one's got a line on.
    Nothing Kerry's doing puts him anywhere nearer the truth than Bush, just farther from the outright dishonesty and greed of Bush's gang of affluent crooks and cunning traitors.

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