...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



Invisible Soldiers

...And I'm -- and they're over here crying, in the native language, I'm guessing, why are you doing this? Why are you doing this? You understand? And me, as being a father myself, looking into another father's eyes, asking why, you understand? You understand? I had no questions -- I mean, I had no answers to why this is going on. Cause I don’t know myself, I'm there to do a job. You understand? And I'm not saying I love my job, but the job I was doing is just -- I was forced to do it. You understand? And if I didn't do it, you understand, that's my family, you understand? I'm in guilt -- locked up -- I have seen children fight other children for food, for MRE's. You understand? I seen a little girl getting stomped. Her head was getting crushed to the pavement for a bag of MRE's. And this is --

AMY GOODMAN: This is for ready made meals of the military.

HEROLD NOEL: Yes, the military food. They tell us not to throw it out there, you understand, for the kids. But some soldiers, they -- some soldiers have a heart. You understand? They see the kids walking around with no clothes on, so we just throw -- throw them a little candy or something, just so they can eat, and --

JUAN GONZALEZ: At night, when you -- when you talked with your other -- with your fellow soldiers about what was going on, what was the conversation? What were you --

HEROLD NOEL: The conversation -- we tried to look on the -- you know, the better side of things, you understand? We said, you know what? We are going to do this and we're going to come back as heroes. We are going to come back and everybody is going to look up to us. We are in the history books now. This is how we tried to look at it. We try not to think about the death. You understand? We have -- there's times we have to sleep around the dead bodies, and stay in our trucks. The stench is -- that's a smell that you cannot get out -- you always smell it. You always get a taste of that smell cause I still smell it sometimes walking the streets of New York. You understand? It's -- so, we just try to look on the better side of things, to see, you understand, to get us by. Cause if we think about it, think about it, you understand, we are just going to end up turning on each other.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you argue a lot before you went to Iraq?

HEROLD NOEL: No. We didn't argue. You know, I was a good person to talk to. I was a giving person. You understand? My wife loved to be around me, you understand? I never had this anger problem. I never went out of hand, you understand. I was just a calm person. Anger would be the last thing that I will do. I will talk you to, and I -- everything was easy, but right now, my wife, we argue a lot. You understand? Because of the situation that I am going through because my wife don't think it's fair that, what I'm going through. She says, well, you almost gave your life and this is how they're treating you. And she sometimes thinks I'm doing something wrong, but I tell her, I'm not. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do. To get help, but they -- they just turning me back to the shelter. When I took my wife to the shelter, you understand, she looked at me and was like, you expect me to stay here with my children. You understand. I'm not going to do this. This is where they guided me to.

AMY GOODMAN: Is the VA helping you psychologically. Have they talked about the issue of post-traumatic stress?

HEROLD NOEL: Yes, I am seeing a Dr. Lieberman. He has been helping me out. He's trying everything that he can through the VA but they said he needs -- he needs the help, you understand? It's like the VA needs help to help us.


HEROLD NOEL: You understand? They say they're not getting that. They got limited funds or limited ways they can go, you understand? They don't have a lot to work with, so it's just like we're left on the street.

Democracy Now! 29.Dec.04

Operation Truth


Bigtime non sequitor

How fast can such a wave go?
In the open ocean, it can travel as fast as 800 kilometers (500 miles) per hour-like a commercial airplane-so it took two or three hours. This leaves time for a system to warn people, but there wasn't one in place.

What was the most awesome about this quake?
Its biblical nature. Its biblical size. And that it spanned two continents.

And yesterday on one of the newsdrips on cable there was the swine-revenant Gingrich explaining to one of the human suppositories that this was a "covenant" nation, not a "contract" nation. That "We, the people" meant, without saying it in so many words, "We, God's people, have a covenant with God". The implication being that laws were secondary to the will of God. And more importantly, that the will of God elevates certain people, certain ethnicities, above all others. So that the deaths of the civilized tribes of North America were a good thing, being necessary to make ready this "covenanted" land.
I don't really have a problem with the words Gingrich uses, it's the way he and his ilk insinuate themselves into the formula; and the way the meaning of the words gets twisted. In this case a vicious lying power masquerading as the cause of all good in the world while creating much of the bad is God, because the people with the biggest guns and most of the money say so.
Pape though, that's really something. Biblical. Its biblical nature.
I've got some hemorrhoids that are getting pretty kind of biblical, now that I think about it.
After any war there are survivors, who owe their peace to that. Not just to the end of the war but to the war itself, the thinning and selection - the land and its resources being a constant, a reduction in the number of people means more to go around.
The race now is to be in position to survive the inevitable chaos and violence ahead. And those survivors will be the elect, no matter who they are.
God spared us, God loves us.
A man in one of the towns struck by the waves said that God had spared him because a wave threw him into a tree, above the flood. The wave also killed three of his children.
God didn't love his kids.
Biblical nonsense.
There is truth, and then there are lies that are enforced with so much power they become the truth. Locally. For a while. Superstition makes it easier for simple minds to cope with things they don't understand. There's a kind of truth in that.
Ghosts pretending to be angels.
Spirits that take their being from the belief of living men and women, get their existence from the combined weight of desire and need, pretending to be eternal. Because after there are no more believers there won't be anyone there to say - hey, where'd all those spirits go?
Biblical. Like a pile of foreskins at the feet of a king.
Like the sun standing still in the sky.
Like stoning an adulteress.
Like a plague of locusts.
Like Babylon.

The provincial capital, Banda Aceh, is an entirely broken city.

It has no electricity except for a few small official centres, no telephones except for local calls from the same government centres, and as of a few hours ago, no petrol.

People are looting cars that have been stacked up by the waves and just smashed into buildings, trying to siphon petrol out, but this city really is logistically completely in a state of collapse.

Possibly that's why the bodies that were dumped in the streets almost two days ago now lie exactly where they were dumped, bloating up in the streets, with thousands of people sleeping a second night in the streets, amongst those bodies.

There are no signs at all that aid is getting in.

We hear that a plane might be landing in Banda Aceh in the next few hours.

The government says it's coordinating the relief effort from Medan, but we simply aren't seeing any results of that here at all.

People seem to be mainly doing the body recovery themselves, but obviously the task has been too much for them.

ABC (Australia)

more on Aceh:
Tomi Soetjipto/Reuters



It's something I was thinking just a few days ago. All those brave kids in uniform over there scrambling just to get back and forth to dinner. And the money it's costing to send and keep them there - not that they're getting any of it.
I was thinking you know about the Christian thing, how it's not Darwinian that way, it's anti-Darwinian, it's about taking care of everybody - whoever's in need - no matter what. The predicate to that - that keeps getting censored - is living right. That the people doing the giving and making the decisions are supposed to be living right, so that their charity amplifies right-living among the unfortunate they help.
That gets left out - when we talk about the 6+ billion of us, and about running out of things and poisoning the environment and all - living right. 6+ billion people living the right way would be very different from this world as it is now.
But here we are. So Bush said something like "Whatever it takes" when they attacked Iraq. And he says it now. You know? "Whatever it takes" to do whatever it is they wanted to do there, but those American soldiers, who are actually there risking and losing their lives and limbs, would go willingly to the front lines of this disaster too, you know - and serve there until the job was done.
How much more grace there would be in this world!
That's what I was thinking, how proud they'd be to do that, and how proud Americans would be of them and of themselves, and how the rest of the world would look to us with admiration, for the strength of our compassion.
Instead the president has sent $100,000 to four of the hardest-hit nations. And promised more, possibly $50 million before he's all through signing checks.
As of this afternoon the death toll's up to around 50,000. So you can figure millions more are facing desperate times. Maybe a thousand or so for every fatality. Probably a lot more.
Works out to around a dollar per victim, doesn't it?
$50 million.
The US Marines spend that every 5 days in Iraq, $300 million dollars a month. Just the Marines. The Pentagon's spending $5.8 billion. A month. In Iraq. To kill people who don't want them there.
What would Jesus do, George? What he was told?
Or what most needs doing?


Windward Passage

Alain Menargues
I am a free man and I intend to stay that way

If everyone said what they knew, the truth, we wouldn't be there. If all journalists really did their work honestly, we could stop the flood of lies that unfold about everything that touches the Arab world. What is reassuring is that the readers and listeners are more intelligent and cultivated than those who inform them. I am discovering that with happiness in my meetings and emails I receive.



The trail is littered with bodies

On October 5, 1986, the Sandinistas shot a CIA plane out of the sky and captured one of Oliver North's patriots, one Eugene Hasenfus. Palacio was sitting in Kerry's office when a photograph of Hasenfus's dead pilot flashed across the television screen. She whooped that the pilot was the same guy she'd seen in Colombia loading coke on the Southern Air Transport flight in early October 1985. An Associated Press reporter, Robert Parry, investigated the crash and obtained the pilot's logs, which showed that on October 2, 4, and 6, 1985, the pilot had taken a Southern Air Transport plane to Barranquilla, Colombia. Palacio took a polygraph on the matter and passed.

some links:
Esquire:Feature Story:Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004
Gary Webb Speaks
Guerrilla News Network
Iran/contra affair

Standing up for good against evil is hard work

SpeakerTerrorism, like its tyrannical forebears, is borne of the idea that with enough guns, enough fear, and enough violence, human power can control the human spirit.

That through brute force, powerful men can erase the imprint of the Almighty etched into the souls of all His children.

That through domination of the weak, in the words of the serpent, "Ye shall be as gods."

Ladies and gentlemen, IT IS A LIE.
The war on terror is not a misunderstanding. It is not an opportunity for negotiation or dialogue.

It's a battle between good and evil, between the Truth of liberty and The Lie of terror.

This war is the moral extension of World War II and the Cold War, and like the Nazis, fascists, and Communists before them, the terrorists are going to lose.

History, as always, will judge harshly those who would accommodate evil's aggression.

to make a democracy

They told me that I am under arrest, while I was inside the rectory at the moment. I told them, no, according to the concord that -- the agreement between Haiti and the church, you cannot arrest me that way. I told them that. They refused to listen. They really grabbed me forcefully, and threw me into their vehicle, and ran away with me, arriving at the police station in Petionville, where I was in jail for over a week. And they told me that -- I saw them writing on the book, arrested for disturbing the public peace. That's what was written at the police station. But what was hurting me the most that day, why some of us in Haiti are trying to help the most desperate people, and they came, the police, the repressive forces from the government, from the de facto government, came and shot at our people. Three children have been shot, one girl and two boys. That's hurt so much. So, I hope that all of us who are trying to appease the communities, to appease the people, I think instead of brutalizing us, instead of arresting us arbitrarily, they could congratulate us for helping them, because I think that by feeding the people, by taking care of the children, by educating them, we are helping the government. We are helping. We are helping the country, and instead, the government is going after those providing basic human needs to the people. This is crazy.

Father Gerard Jean-Juste

Democracy Now! 20.Dec.04

a takeover of public institutions to pave the way for profit

By denying tenure to Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Sciences, the University of California at Berkeley displays negligence toward its mission as a public institution serving the interests of the people of the State of California.

Dr. Chapela's groundbreaking research discovered the unintentional spread of genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico, the birthplace of this global food staple, and a country with a ban on GM agriculture. No fewer than five committees of Dr. Chapela's peers at UC Berkeley, numerous outside reviewers, and the Dean of his department recommended him for tenure.

As a public institution, part of the stated mission of the UC system is to "translate scientific discoveries into practical knowledge and technological innovations that benefit California and the nation." The controversy over Dr. Chapela's tenure boils down to whether the UC system should be researching GM crops for industry, or independently assessing their impact on our health and ecosystems.

Food First 08.Dec.04

The first argument against publicly speaking in detail about these things is the potential for harm in creating a false panic, or genuine panic prompted by false alarm.
We can simply point to the wide-spread poll results that say Americans are 44% in favor of restricting the rights of Muslims in the US.
There's no basis for that desire but the panic and false alarm created and maintained in the mainstream media to keep the average citizen afraid and in the dark and willing to submit to an authority that knows better about these things. Since the authority they submit to is who's doing what they're afraid of, it's a simple thing to keep them anxious and feeling powerless.
America(the US) has been attacked once in the last four years, and that one time is more and more redolent of intrigue. That one occasion, with its missing black boxes and conflicting testimonies, with its poisoned heroes and richly rewarded villains, has been used to whip the frightened and increasingly childish public into a state of constant anxiety. Panic. Fear.
There's no real reason for it, except that that fear weakens the country and the resolve of the people to be moral and a force for good in the world.
Instead we have an irresolute people whose material strength is used to energize an immoral force for evil in the world.
So being wrong about intrigue, now, is not a particularly dangerous thing, especially in the immediate time frame. It has danger, the possibility of cementing the distrust of anything that doesn't pour out of the television in simple lives, the possibility of losing credibility on this and not having it on the next, possibly more crucial, one etc.
The risk is small compared to the situation as it is already, and the danger of what's possible as outlined in the information in the links below. The first questions to ask are:
Where would you take this if you had it?
ABC? CBS? CNN? Your Congressman? The local tavern? Your mom? Your minister? The county sheriff?
So here's this noise from the edge of things, and this little diagram, and the smell of something foul on the wind, coming from what's hidden in broad daylight, now.

Wikinews: a diverse environment where citizen journalists can independently report the news on a wide variety of current events
link Kuro5hin


Eugenic selection has an immediacy from which it gets most of its nightmarish impact. The same eugenic processes, if they're carried out over a few decades or centuries, disappear like particles of smoke. You can see it, but you can't describe it without metaphor and analogy, which is what this is.
Taken together the indigenous people of the so-called New World have been subjected to a Holocaust that dwarfs anything the 20th century has to offer in its entirety.
It doesn't matter what the numbers are, and it doesn't matter about the relative merits of the people involved. There either are or there aren't moral distinctions to be made when whole groups of people are killed, eliminated, removed. But moral distinctions are for law enforcement, they're for the scammers to find the cracks in the code to exploit. Good men and women do what's right even when there are no rules at all.
The line-drawing is a mistake, it plays into the hands of those who have committed the crimes to begin with, is what I'm saying overall; specifically what I'm saying is the witness cannot be numerical or even legal, though those things must be kept as records and delivered as testimony. The witness is emotional at its simplest, and something english-speaking people have lost the word for at its grandest. Heart, love, these things make modern boys curl their lips in disgust, but then modern boys are kennel-raised dogs compared to the people whose lands they occupy.
It's like that - the degrees and measurements are a trap, a trick of abstraction to bog down the response - this nightmare depends on the participation of moral people in order to function, though it itself is immoral and psychopathic. The morality on which it depends depends in turn on a cultural blindness, an ahistorical present tense, where all that matters is what you can see and touch, now.
So if you close your eyes everything's great, as long as you're not sick or hungry or terrified, and with your eyes open and the television on it's the same thing, everything's fine - except for the enemies in Sector 12. But the police will soon have that well in hand, if we give them free rein to do what they're told.
Don't ask who tells them what to do, that's part of the bargain.
What I want to emphasize is that every aspect of your personal morality is being violated by the system you depend on for protection, and the people who benefit most from that system need your moral integrity, in its mass, as a whole, to keep that system running. Without it, in the anarchy that will come if you stop believing in right and wrong as they've given it to you, they'll have to spend most of their energy protecting themselves and their things; as it is now they get you to pay for it, because it protects you as well.
So there was a Holocaust in America, not just the US - the whole thing, Big America, the one that goes from Hudson's Bay to Tierra del Fuego. An intentional elimination of millions of innocent people - ghettos, branding, disenfranchisement, appropriations, one-way transportation, labor camps, mass death, the whole schmeer. And experimentation, though most of that was so long ago the science was very primitive and the results are consequently suspect.
But many more than died in Europe in the Nazi Aryan purification campaign, many many many more.
And still are, that's the reason I'm making the point, it's happening right now still today; but it's un-philosophical, un-systematic, no longer a bureaucratic decision so much as inertia; not exactly eugenic in the sense of men and women plotting to better their genetic strain; and without that centralized intelligence that makes evil easier to get ahold of - that provides a handle on it so to speak.
It began with that elevation of the human that's so much a part of so many religions, the centrality of the ones who are writing the dogma, but it became streamlined in the Middle Ages, the Judeo-Christian anthropomorphic God placing his people above everything except himself. So brown and black men and women, who lived in the dirt and "worshipped" animals and spirits whose names weren't in the Bible were inferior, and when they were in the way it was a righteous thing to remove them.
You see? Inferior. So they had to be weeded out. And they were, mostly. Eugenics in action, and you owe any material comfort you have now to precisely exactly that. And it's still happening.
Leave the rules behind, lead with your heart, ignore the arguments, pull your support from the compromise, the "we have to, it's all we have" - better to die than compromise sometimes, especially with what's done all that; they'll rig it so you have to see any argument you make turned inside out, so fake it - support the lawyers, honor the politicians who wade into those rivers of shit and lies, but don't let that be your only stand. It's the devil's language. Where you are means someone has to speak it. But it's important to not buy the illusion that it's all there is.
Do what you have to, but keep the real things away from the dissolving acids of logic and rational thought. I could take it down to the point-by-point right here, but at the end there's only this little platform on which two strange animals struggle with each other in order to live, and there's no right or wrong about that. The right and wrong are like the sky now - the blue is an illusion, but real to us - the stars are always there, and the light from the stars is everywhere around us.


an epidemic of suicides unequalled in South America

'The Guarani are committing suicide because we have no land. We don't have space any more. In the old days, we were free, now we are no longer free. So our young people look around them and think there is nothing left and wonder how they can live. They sit down and think, they forget, they lose themselves and then commit suicide.'

Rosalino Ortiz



Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina
around 80,000

famous for its poverty and hard times

Herman Mascietti is a young lawyer representing the more radical group of Guaranis led by Romero. He feels that the Seabord company is playing underhanded games with the Guarani community by letting Pena control who accesses the Loma. He sees the privileges accorded to the Guarani that 'tow the line' of the company as a sort of bribe. He explains that "New houses, guaranteed employment for the children of the leaders and other goodies of the sort serve but to divide the Guarani community".
Mascietti claims that "the company has a three part strategy to discount the Guaranis legitimate claim to the Loma", and in preparation for a court case on November 23rd regarding the Guaranis claim to the Loma, he notes that "there is political interference in the Guarani community: the company works with the police force, the government and the local media, and represses the Guarani through a privately owned security company called Search".
Guillermo Jaculika, an engineer and public relations person for the company doesn't hesitate in giving a blunt characterization of the situation. "The ancestral claim to the Loma is a fiction", he says, "supported by a lawyer trying to give credibility to a false claim". Guillermo is unapologetic in his dismissal of the demands advanced by the Guaranis looking to reclaim the Loma, reiterating that "An archeologist hired by the company surveyed the Loma, and found nothing older than the remains of Guaranis who came from Bolivia (in the early 20th century) to work for the Tabacal corporation".
The importance of the seemingly unused Loma to the corporation is explained by Guillermo as resting in the water canals that were constructed in order to irrigate the company's sugar cane crops. He feels that if people lived on the Loma, there would be "a high risk of contamination and erosion, because if the community was to use this water, it's quality and volume would no longer be guaranteed".Mbia
While the dispute among the Guaranis in regards to their differing histories is confusing, according to University of British Columbia anthropologist, Gaston Guillermo, the question should not be on tenterhooks. His research on the Guarani peoples lead him to assert that "there is, without a doubt, a Gaurani presence in the region of Oran dating back to the Seventeenth century, however the waves of migration of Guaranis from Bolivia in the early twentieth century are also well documented. What is not clear, at this time, is the relation between the two".
Where do ancestral rights begin and end for the Guarani people, whose occupation of the Loma is argued as having been centuries long by some, and only since the existence of the Tabacal company by others?



"If recent pop culture history is any indicator, the debate over global warming may be settled (if it gets settled at all) not so much by science as by art and mythmaking.

Discussions on climate change are at an impasse. Some of those who fret about man-made emissions of greenhouse gases claim it's a threat that trumps all others, including terrorism. Others argue that we have more pressing concerns, such as the developing world's dehumanizing poverty and disease. They posit that even if global warming is a problem, proposed cures, such as the Kyoto Protocol, would hamstring the global economy and be more harmful.
It may seem odd that the ultimate in nerdy science policy issues has morphed into a sexy canvas for sociopolitical commentary. But maybe there's an important lesson here.

At some level, science probably will never resolve what to do about global warming. Climate change is complex, with scores of variables and time-frame considerations of decades and even centuries. Both sides have substantial data that support their points of view. Both sides also believe that to the extent the science is "settled," it's settled in ways that undergird their respective policy prescriptions.

But science is inherently descriptive, not prescriptive. It can only inform us about the likely consequences of actions. It doesn't tell us - and shouldn't tell us - if those actions should be taken. That arena is reserved for politics, where moral judgments and philosophical views matter alongside scientific truth. Morality and philosophy are often best examined and illustrated not through scientific discourse but through narratives, theology and storytelling.
Crichton, who considers environmentalism to be a kind of religion, was motivated to write his story in response to an earlier bit of eco-mythmaking, one that had real-world consequences. Rachel Carson's 1962 book "Silent Spring" - a kind of artistic precursor to "The Day After Tomorrow" in that it speculated about a future in which songbirds had been killed by industrial chemicals and spring was thus silent - is one of the sacred texts of the green movement. It helped galvanize a global ban on DDT, a chemical used against malarial mosquitoes. Over time, several of Carson's claims about DDT have been debunked, but the ban yielded millions of malarial deaths in the developing world.
pastlandCrichton sees parallels to this and other environmental crusades in the concerns over global warming today.

Much of the rancor over global warming reflects a clash of conflicting moral visions of mankind and the future. As such, we can expect artistic - as well as scientific - debate over it to flourish."

Nick Schulz/LATimes 15.Dec.04

The trivial part of Schulz' smarmy Judeo-Christian commercial message is its obvious attempt to reduce the information, and the resistance to the information, to a pop-culture disagreement, the insinuation of a different template entirely, where Schultz' agenda has equal standing with "environmentalists'". It's a consumer choice, the way religion is a consumer choice now, based a little on your family and a little on your community, and a little on what you're looking for as a consumer of religion. It doesn't matter which denomination you pick as long as it's not Islam, or one of the eastern superstitions, or God forbid, a pagan nature-cult.
The less trivial but still not central part is Schultz' nonsensical assertionless-asserting that Carson's predictions were hysterical, and that because of them millions of people have died. As the graphs show, even though millions of people died from malaria, the world population still doubled in the 42 years since Rachel Carson's book was published.
You'd be on safe ground wagering Shultz hasn't heard too many songbirds lately. And it would be exciting to listen to him explain away the deaths of Iraqi and Palestinian and Indonesian and Malaysian and Afghani women and children as being far less important than the deaths of malaria victims.
Millions of people have also died in auto accidents in the last forty years, around 2 million in the US alone, the result of a bizarre form of transportation that involves, for most people, moving a ton of steel, daily, back and forth to work. Auto emissions being a primary cause of acute climate change as well, though Schultz doesn't seem to be concerned with that. Nor, I imagine would it bother him much to know that the single largest cause of death for children in the United States is the automobile.
The central part is why. It's easy to see it as cumulative inertia, things are this way, and the people who are most comfortable, whose lives are dependent on the way things are, will resist profound change. The way an addict will squirm and twist away from the obvious damage and inevitable destruction his habit brings, and the suppliers will rationalize their part in that destruction as a business opportunity.
But as Gary Webb showed us years ago, there may be more to the pattern of addiction than character flaws and community failure; and as his death showed us this week, there are still spooks and shadows at work in our lives. I don't think Schulz knows the men who killed Gary Webb, or David Kelly, or even Jason Korsower - he's a lightweight pseudo-journalist, not an intelligence agent - but he works for the same people they work for.

a reasonable explanation

On November 24 and 25, international big name companies, including McDonald's, Audi, Benz, GE and Siemens, drew intense response from Chinese media and leadership for including Taiwan in the list of countries on their official English Websites.
Siemens made an immediate revision of their site, and GE and Benz followed suit.
On Monday, McDonald's declared that its official Website had made the correction.
Now on the McDonald's Website, the original "select country" feature in its search engine has been changed to "select country/region," to include Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Audi has not made the correction.

China Daily 12.Dec.04


The Silent Forest

World Rainforest Movement (Uruguay), Friends of the Earth International, Global Justice Ecology Project (USA), a Mapuche scientist from Chile and the Union of Ecoforestry (Finland) gave a presentation yesterday at the Salon del Jardin Botanico in Buenos Aires Argentina where they condemned the 12/03 decision of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to allow use of genetically engineered (GMO) trees in carbon offset forestry projects developed to supposedly mitigate global warming emissions.
"GMO trees present tremendous risks to both native forests and forest-dwelling peoples-especially indigenous peoples," said Ricardo Carrere of the World Rainforest Movement. "They will worsen the already severe impacts experienced by communities and ecosystems as a result of industrial tree plantations-impacts like loss of water, biodiversity, and traditional medicines and foods,"

link SEEN


Gary Webb:

Rigorous Intuition
Sam Stanton and Sandy Louey/Sacramento Bee

or they were

The US government either was not doing those heinous things to its own citizens - the disappearances, the torture, the brainwashing and manipulation - or they were.
The US government either was not teaching the somewhat less sophisticated governments of Central and South America how to do those heinous things - or they were.
More accurately of course the question is, "Agents, particular agents of particular agencies run by particular men at particular times, financed by diverted funds and masked expenditures, either were not teaching and encouraging those governments, more accurately agents and agencies of those governments, how to do those things, the techniques of brainwashing and intimidation and suppression of dissent, of disappearance, of torture and character assassination, of psychologtical destruction and incapacitation, based on their own first-hand experience here in the US or - even more likely - encouraging those practices in the more expendable countries, on the more expendable populations, of Central and South America, in order to increase their expertise before applying those now refined and perfected techniques here and in the foreseeably expanding empire toward which those heinous practices were dedicated - or they were."

We are fully satisfied with the outcome of the investigation

Ms Hunt, a paramedic with more than ten years' experience, said yesterday that shortly after arriving at the scene of Dr Kelly's death she concluded he had not died by slashing his wrists.

She said: "I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw. There just wasn't a lot of blood. When someone cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere."
She added: "When we arrived on the scene there was no gaping wound, there wasn't a puddle of blood around. There was a little bit of blood on the nettles to the left of his left arm. But there was no real blood on the body of the shirt.
"If you manage to cut a wrist and catch an artery you would get a spraying of blood, regardless of whether it's an accident. Because of the nature of an arterial cut, you get a pumping action. I would certainly expect a lot more blood on his clothing, on his shirt.
"If you choose to cut your wrists, you don't worry about getting blood on your clothes. I didn't see any blood on his right hand."

a strange thing happened
"To this day, no one has ever been able to show me a single error of fact in anything I've written about this drug ring, which includes a 600-page book about the whole tragic mess. Indeed, most of what has come out since shows that my newspaper stories grossly underestimated the extent of our government's knowledge, an error to which I readily confess. But, in the end, the facts didn't really matter. What mattered was making the damned thing go away, shutting people up, and making anyone who demanded the truth appear to be a wacky conspiracy theorist. And it worked."
Gary Webb, March 2001
RIP 10.Dec.04
Counterpunch 13.Dec.04

a bad dream

There was no evidence of physical injury, Hanzlick said, and he was leaning toward concluding that Korsower had had a heart-related problem.

"This is preliminary, but at this point we've done extensive testing for a number of agents and nothing has turned up," Hanzlick said. "We don't have any indication of any toxin-related problem at this point."

An FBI agent in Atlanta, Steve Lazarus, refused to confirm or deny an investigation, citing FBI policy.
JTA 09.Dec.04


an inescapable reality

While he said the principal act of "moral reparation" was the publication of the report itself, Mr Lagos accepted the commission's recommendations of a life pension for every victim of torture.
"The state must pay compensation, however austere, as a way of recognising its responsibility," he said.
He will send a bill to Congress that will also seek free education and healthcare for victims and their families. The Valech commission believes it heard 28,000 genuine accounts of torture.
The pensions would be worth 112,000 Chilean pesos a month, about 100 pounds, around half the average income, and would cost the state about 36m pounds a year.
There are fears that a glut of claims could be a drain on the budget. The education minister, Sergio Bitar, the youngest member of the Allende government when it fell in the 1973 coup and who was later tortured in a concentration camp, yesterday passed up his pension entitlement and called on others who were financially secure to do the same.
Like collective responsibility in post-war Germany or the truth commission in post-apartheid South Africa, the Valech report offers a chance for Chileans to come to terms with the darkest chapter of their recent history.
Last month, Chile's most senior soldier, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, issued an "institutional" admission of guilt for offences by the army.
That gesture and the Valech report give the lie to what has for 30 years been the line taken by everyone from Gen Pinochet down: that abuses were the work of a handful of renegade officers.
Tom Burgis/GuardianUK 12.Dec.04

the names of the offenders are already known

Members of Chile's right-wing political parties are holding firm in their decision not to apologize for their part in human rights abuses during the Pinochet dictatorship, following the publication Monday of the Valech torture report.

Jovino Novoa, who served under Pinochet from 1979 to 1982 and is now the leader of the opposition Independent Democratic Union, said Monday the civilians who participated in good faith in the military government have nothing to be ashamed of and should not apologize.



Notes on eugenics as an exciting and rewarding profession

The two main fallacies in the criticism of eugenics as it's been attempted in recent history are:
1. the baby-with-the bathwater dismissal of "natural" eugenic processes, as being no better than the "race-improving" practices of the various schools of eugenic thought. So that the conflict over evolution being taught in schools takes on a complexity it didn't seem to have at first, and the vicious antipathy toward and urge to dominate the wilderness and everything in it, that has given us a world careening toward system-crash, becomes more explicable.
Part of this fallacy is the arrogant assumption of human rational processes as unquestionably superior to any the billions of years old "natural" world has running.
2. The refusal to distinguish between a eugenic desire to improve the race itself, a kind of scientifically-empowered altruism, and the urge to eugenically improve a race of docile and obedient slaves, a sub-race as it were, to benefit other, more directly self-eugenicized individuals.
Part of this fallacy is the lacunae around the eugenic purpose of genetic modification, of prosthetic improvements as being a kind of technological eugenics, and the unwilled but measurably present anti-eugenics of the removal from the human reproductive cycle of those who cannot adapt to the narrowing parameters of an increasingly artificial way of life that requires increasing amounts of passivity and thoughtless obedience in order to survive comfortably.
Cattle are a eugenically-delivered resource, dogs, pigs, chickens, oranges, lettuce, corn or maize - all of them are the product of selection and cull, of the improvement of stock toward a definite practical goal. In the case of crops and domestic food animals the goal is easily-defined and clear, in the case of slaves it's much harder to see, especially for the slaves themselves. Blind obedience enforced by immediate punishment and a growing sense of incapacity - and a fearful sense of something out there unseen and threatening that you're being protected from by an authority that can't be seen all that clearly either. And it takes most of a human life, or a lot of gathered-up stories from those who came before, to place the pattern on its template, to see the changes as they've been laid out, and accomplished.
Most Americans are now incapable of being freeholders, of raising their own food, of existing outside the protective embrace of a controlling central authority. And they know this, so they accept authority on its terms, knowing also they have no real choice.
We have the obvious and simple diagram of global climate change > the automobile and its toxic emissions > and the automobile and oil industries being the most powerful economic entities in the US > which is in turn the most powerful state on the planet at this time.
People accept that they may soon become extinct as earthly creatures, or that their lives may become chaotic and brutally primitive (essentially the very things that are pointed to to justify the poisons of industrial civilization, that it saves us from living like that, have now become a likely outcome of civilized living), knowing that it's the result of daily mass burning of gasoline, but feeling helpless to stop, because they've been made to fear the consequences of stopping.
Now they're being made to fear the consequences of not stopping.
The tension that results from that double-bind of cognitive dissonance means the less intelligent, the more docile, the weaker in character, will be ready prey for any scam that promises them a way out that doesn't require sacrifice to accomplish.
So we can continue to drive increasingly more powerful and gas-consuming cars and trucks without a sense of guilt that we're "destroying the world", because it simply means that Jesus will be here soon and we can abandon this sinful place, and go with him to heaven, to our true home.
Once slaves have been crippled by their captivity, they become more tractable - an ancient lesson. All animals weigh the outcomes of their actions, cognitively or instinctively, and make rational decisions about the costs/benefits.
We're entering a period when that's becoming impossible for us to do without embracing the unthinkable. Everyone wants to retain what comfort they have in their lives, and almost everyone wants to get more. What we're facing is the opposite entirely, a time of sacrifice and self-denial, when the best will give up what they have for those who may come after. Which is a kind of eugenics, but it's a eugenics whose template is emotional and spiritual, not rational, not the product of cold intellect and autistic logic. And it's voluntary.
Further notes:

The insistence of virtually everyone who mentions eugenics that it is a "pseudo-science" is a misdirection. What they mean is it's inhuman science. Obviously eugenic breeding of dogs results in dogs with qualities people want them to have, that isn't pseudo-science, it's plain old science. The problem with calling it inhuman science is that would open the door to examining other aspects of modern scientific research and application to determine whether they were also inhuman. The people that call eugenics pseudo-science are incapable of facing the horrors of a modern animal "shelter", where thousands of dogs and cats are killed monthly. And even less able to take on the responsibility of advocating or condemning animal research, the laboratories filled with tormented creatures, including especially primate research with its manifold benefits to humanity. It's there the problem is clearest, so of course it's precisely there no one wants to go.
Calling these practices inhuman science is more accurate, and it removes the comfort of ambivalence from the positions most people would like to take.
What needs pointing out is that enough progress in these methods, and enough accumulated benefits, will create an inhuman society. What needs to be stressed in that is that no matter how depraved, no matter how removed from the human it gets, there will always be a median, a middle, a majority who owe their lives and their security to the way things are, and recognize that debt whether they will admit to it or not.
So that where once there was only a freakish misfit torturing animals to see what happened, eventually there's essentially the same individual as a champion of his people. It's just that those people are no longer recognizably human, or wouldn't be, except that they've gotten rid of the ones whose humanity makes them look bad.
We're somewhere in the middle of that change, dangerously I think, too much of the evil of this time is done silently and invisibly, away from the sight of its increasingly dependent and naive beneficiaries.
The points here that matter are:
A. The natural eugenic processes that gave us large brains, agile bodies, immune systems, and the ability to create complex social networks, are being thwarted at every turn, without question. It's a given that all people must be kept alive at all times, death is the enemy always. Even though it was that kind of death that gave us the attributes we most value. This is why evolution is so threatening as an idea to those who see it as opposed to divine truth, as "Godless".
B. There is a eugenic process at work even in the midst of that seemingly a-eugenic morality - at the same time normal people are appalled at the idea of selecting some individuals for survival and eliminating others as unfit, social standards and ways of living, technological dependency and imperatives create a landscape that selects and eliminates certain kinds of people steadily, so that the median American now is very different from the median American of two hundred years ago, and most especially 600 years ago, even though that process is unintentional and unremarked on. It's still happening, it's eugenic, and the people who feel themselves to be at the heart of the norm are the primary beneficiaries of it. The norm has shifted, though the dogma says the norm never shifts, that what it is to be human is always the same through millenia. The center of that, even though it's changed, even though the center now was the margin 10,000 years ago, feels itself to be "normal". The people who are at the center of things feel that they should be there. Always, no matter who it is, or when.
It's in their interest to have the process be ignored, and it increases the invisibility of it to have such strong taboos against the idea of intentional eugenics.
C. What we have is not a conflict between eugenics and compassion, it's a conflict between different templates for the inevitable eugenic process. It's a conflict between definitions of what eugenic should mean.
D. The inhuman scientific research of the last hundred years has brought us to the edge of physical immortality. Anyone who thinks that "blessing" will be handed out on street corners to all who want some is a dupe. That is a direct thwarting of evolution. Yet it's bleeding-edge science.
My personal view of this is far more cynical than these words make clear, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say as firmly as possible that the mistake of the eugenics movement per se, as practiced here in the US in the 20th century and in other parts of the world, Nazi Germany most egregiously, as well, is that it formed around a human view of what eugenic selection should be. A fatally limited view, with the viewers' own genetic makeup at its core. It was a plan made by men, and carried out by men; the selfishness of that vision deferred to their children, a kind of altruistic meta-selfishness. The arrogance of that stance is almost more appalling than the practice of it.
Making the problem go away by pretending there are not kinds of people - that there are not degrees of fitness - is childish and cowardly, and it actually empowers those men with their twisted schemes of improvement. Pretending that any individual or group can recognize and make the distinction between fit and unfit is just as cowardly, though not childish.
The reason I think this is more than just intellectually interesting is that that absence of recognition, that we are living out a kind of eugenic process right now, though it's invisible and unrecognized, is enabling, right now, the survival of a particular kind of human at the expense of others, and that its result is the death of nobility, the loss of the beauty of the human animal, its place taken by something craven and manipulative, and ultimately inhuman.


U.S. vets from Iraq war emerge at homeless shelters

BigNews 10.Dec.04

One of the problems with homeless vets is they force the admission that sometimes the cause of homelessness is not a question of personal responsibility and failure. That people can become economically dysfunctional because of things they had no control over, or even because of the irresponsibility of institutions and individuals who did have responsibility, to them, and abdicated it.

anti-Semitism, clearly



Even at today's slightly elevated temperatures, with a rise of around half a degree centigrade, mountain glaciers are receding significantly, as also seem to be, locally, the margins of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica. The Greenland icecap is vulnerable, and its loss would mean a sea level rise of some 7 metres; as it creates its own regional climate, its loss may be effectively permanent. In Antarctica, the recent break-up of ice shelves has precipitated increased streaming of ice from much farther inland, which potentially represents the initiation of a phase of much more serious ice-sheet collapse.

This recently observed behaviour has shown clearly that ice-sheets are not relatively inert masses responding sluggishly to temperature change. Rather they are now perceived in much more dynamic terms, showing strong - and potentially dangerous - responses to small changes in external conditions. This would accord with geological evidence indicating past ice-sheet collapses, releasing 'iceberg armadas' and causing sea level rises of several metres in a decade.

The threat to humanity is clear: such a disappearance of living space (with some 100 million people living within less than 1 metre above present sea level) would represent a virtually impossible burden to a human population that is already struggling to feed itself, and is set to add another three billions to its numbers this century.

We note that it may not be the amount of sea level rise, as its speed, which may be catastrophic for a large section of humanity. The geological record shows that the melting of icecaps does not proceed smoothly, but occurs in fits and starts. Thus, the last retreat of the great ice-sheets included at least three episodes where sea level rose some 5-10 metres within the space of a decade. This is because a modest sea level rise can destabilize the edge of a mass of land ice, causing large parts of it to rapidly slide into the sea.

The consequences of such a sea level rise would be calamitous, comparable (and perhaps including as a consequence) a global war. Unlike a world war, though, civilization cannot get back to normal afterwards, as much of the landscape will have been drowned, effectively forever. We consider the threat to be imminent, the timescale of the global changes seeming likely to include the lifespans of our children.

Global warming: A Perspective from Earth History
ebulletin University of Leicester
Dr Jan Zalasiewicz (Chair), et al.
Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London
'We don't have much time'
Jan Zalasiewic/Guardian UK

link /.

suspended animation

" takes a disciplined imagination to acknowledge that the less personal savageries of bombs, missiles, artillery, and heavy weapons are, to those blown to smithereens, also barbaric. The main horror of what the "coalition" is doing is not a matter of the occasional soldier who, in the heat of battle, commits a war crime, but the steady destruction rained on cities, villages, the Iraqi people. This violence is wreaked calmly, from a distance, within the rules of engagement.

The war itself is the American war crime. But that is lost in the "normalcy" of the news."

link Gibson, Wm.


body here

author/journal 00.00.05

4 eyes for an eye

Hamas militants broke three weeks of relative calm in Gaza on Tuesday, setting off a bomb in what they said was an elaborate scheme that included a tunnel and a double agent. The attack killed an Israeli soldier and triggered Israeli retaliation that killed four Palestinian gunmen.

"They said" - plus you can't tell from the paragraph as written who dug the tunnel, who was the agent. Plus the "retaliation" is not a "they said" it's an "is". It's implacable, inevitable, ineluctable, an unstoppable force of nature. But what it does say unequivocally is this is a vengeful people, to whom revenge is not a questionable act.
So when we see this:

Israeli forces kill "unarmed, wounded" Palestinian

we know it's an act of retribution, necessary, mandated, a strong gesture of wholesome retaliation. Another sacred act by the Chosen People.
Now the really arcane part opens up.
Before the rise of Al Capone to the nation's "Most Wanted" list, there was a presence in America, that was Italian, criminal, and had all the attributes now associated with "mafia" activities. But it wasn't called "the mafia" because that word wasn't common yet. Words like "dago" "guinea" "wop" and others were used, but you can see how anyone of Italian parentage would be lumped in with whoever was being described, and unfairly maligned. Once people had a name like "mafia" they could distinguish the criminal gangsters from the sons and daughters of decent law-abiding immigrants. Not that there weren't decent mafiosi, not that it isn't far more complex than simple terminology - the main point is that there was no way to even begin to discuss what was happening with people outside the events, no way to describe what was happening to those who weren't witnesses, because there was no word for who was doing it.
We don't have a word like that to distinguish Meyer Lansky from the Jews of his time, even though Lansky was more powerful than Capone. And most pertinent to this issue, Lansky was the vice-lord of Cuba under Bautista, before the revolution that brought Castro to power. There is a direct connection between what happened in Cuba when Castro came to power and a hazy, ill-defined, but increasingly powerful Jewish criminal underworld.
The common perception is there's only three major players in the Cuban situation:
Communists under Castro, small "d" democrats under the current American regime, and those loud and powerful "Cubans" down in Florida.
What I'm saying is there's an invisible fourth party here, and a seriously vindictive, retaliatory one. Lansky's heirs. A group of people we don't have a name for, who want revenge, as they wanted revenge in Babylon for wrongs suffered two millenia ago, and are getting it. It seems preposterous when looked at as an idea, but when you watch the news, and listen to the contemporary voices of the powerful, it's obviously possible. I'm saying it's what is, that's what's happening here. Revenge and retaliation.
So when Bush talks about treating Cuba to an "extreme democracy makeover" similar to the one Iraq's currently privileged to be experiencing, it's from within the context of his puppetry, and his servile obedience to those nebulous hands.

President George W. Bush will be committed during his second term to the "liberation of Cuba" by extending moral and political support to the Cuban people, a top State Department official said Friday.
Roger Noriega, who heads the department's Latin American bureau, also said once Cuban President Fidel Castro is no longer in power, the United States is ready to support broad economic and political changes in Cuba "to ensure that vestiges of the regime don't hold on."
The plan is spelled out in a report released last May and overseen by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. The assistance is conditional on whether Cuba is on a "democratic path" and whether such assistance is requested.

CBC/AP 07.Dec.04
Haiti was invaded at their command as well, though the roots of the cause of that invasion are more hidden than any of the others.
Having the Cubans make a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people just adds fuel to the fire.
Trying to get Americans to see these connections is a wonderfully impossible task. But an exhilirating one, all in all.


photo: Romeo Gacad/AFP


photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP

Balloons up front



tophoto: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP

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