News in brief, the month that was
Brief sound bites on some of the interesting news of the month...Israeli airforce pilots refuse assassination duty, growing movement of soldiers refusing service in Israel, the war in Iraq, the recent Bush speech ...
The case of Leonard PeltierINDEX
Mr. Peltier has been incarcerated for twenty-seven years, despite the clear indications of misconduct, including the falsification of evidence, by various U.S. officials which lead to his conviction.
Reserve pilots to refuse assassinations
Ha'aretz is reporting that a group of Israel Air Force pilots are about to issue a statement announcing their refusal to participate in assassination operations directed against 'wanted men of the Palestinian Authority.' The corruption in Israeli society has degenerated to the point that the principle of rule of law has been destroyed and now human life is destroyed at the whim of some Israeli Caesar, through the policy of extra-judicial murders.
Number of Israeli soldiers refusing to continue the occupation...
A Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. They support a campaign to draw attention to the continuing destruction of the property and livelihood of Palestinians using Caterpillar equipment.
Cats destroy homes
Stop Caterpillar from selling its bulldozers to Israel until Israel stops using these machines to destroy Palestinian homes.
'War Criminal' now working with Americans in Iraq
Iraqi General Ahmed, "handed himself over to Major General David Petraeus after the American commander had sent him a letter describing him as "a man of honor and integrity." ... It was General Ahmed who persuaded Norman Schwarzkopf to allow the defeated Iraqi forces to use military helicopters on "official business" after the 1991 US-Iraqi ceasefire. These helicopters were then used in the brutal repression of the Shia Muslim and Kurdish rebellions. Afterwards, there was much talk of indicting General Ahmed as a war criminal, but General Petraeus seems to have thrown that idea into the waste bin. Thus far have the Americans now gone in appeasing the men who may have influence over the Iraqi guerrillas now killing US soldiers."
A guerilla war against imperialist occupation
The Iraqis have fought bitter battles earlier in the century to get rid of British colonialists. According to US commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the rebellion against the US occupation might include more than radical Islamists, foreign infiltrators and Baathist party members, but instead seems to be another one of those internal guerilla war liberation struggles - the British are familiar with these sorts of uprisings, having fought them for the better half of the last century, and the Americans have some experience in Vietnam, as did the French in Vietnam before them...
Bush rediscovers United Nations
After stripping both French and German corporations of all their oil concessions in Iraq and then then divvying up the 'reconstruction' contracts among American firms (the real source of all that feuding with the French and Germans before the war), now that Bush has tanked in the polls, and the ongoing guerilla resistance is straining American forces in the region, Bush rediscovered the United Nations this week. He delivered a warmed over speech that merely repeated many discredited notions that, while they might still sell to some American voters back home, were not going to sway the diplomats of the United Nations. It is highly unlikely that Bush is going to get those troops he is looking for, and a lecturing, scolding speech like that thing he gave the other evening probably wasn't even designed to get the support he must know is not forthcoming. Let's say that kind of scolding speech from someone supposedly there to beg for help isn't exactly the way to 'win friends and influence people' and therefore we can assume that the administration is back to its old tricks and is doing a 'Karl Rove'. A scolding, nattering speech like that indicates that the administration knows that its not giong to get any support, thus allowing Bush to appeal to the voters on the basis of 'United Nations failure' and thus keep all those contracts away from those French and Germans, who are no doubt driving a hell of a hard bargain these days ... Looks like the Americans will be in Iraq for a long time by themselves...
The party line
Eric Margolis, the Toronto Sun : "I do not exaggerate when I say that much of the U.S. media from 9/11 to the present closely resembled the old Soviet media I knew and disrespected during my stays in the USSR during the 1980s. The American media, notably the sycophantic White House press corps and flagwavers at Fox, treated President George Bush and his entourage with adulation and fawning servility similar to what the Soviet state media once lavished on Communist Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev."
Political Science professor Robert A. Pape reported in a New York Times op-ed piece that his study of suicide terrorists covering 188 persons from 1980 to 2001 indicated that "there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any religion for that matter."
Some notes : The typical suicide bomber is a teenaged male, humiliated and enraged, who sees suicide bombing as a way to even the score against an opponent (Israel) employing massive military firepower against a population armed for the most part with sticks and stones. Christian zealots often like to say 'Let the Palestinians go to Jordan' or they will say 'there was no Palestinian nation' and play with semantics and word games which only distract from the theft of homes and land, which is underlying justice issue in the Middle East conflict. If there is anyone out there who would like to be thrown off their property, to make way for settlers from a newly formed nation, let me know. While politicians use inflamatory stereotypes and ignore the justice issues in the middle east conflict (the theft of land already occupied without compensation, followed by a brutal occuptation) psychologists are left to analyze what kind of humiliation motivates young teenaged boys to surrender their lives and everything they have in this world, for a chance to commit a suicide bombing...See the following two pages written by psychologists on this issue : On fear and honor in the Middle East conflict and Are Palestinians human?
Afghanistan under WarLord Rule
Human Rights Watch has documented atrocities "committed by gunmen and warlords who were propelled into power by the United States and its coalition partners after the Taliban fell in 2001" and who have "essentially hijacked the country". The report describes army and police troops controlled by the warlords kidnapping villagers with impunity and holding them for ransom in unofficial prisons; the widespread rape of women, girls and boys; routine extortion, robbery and arbitrary murder. Girls' schools are burned down.
Bush interviewed on Iraq
Bush interview earned lowest rating - " Data from Nielsen Media Research released Tuesday showed that a one-hour interview with President Bush on Fox came dead last in the hour among the six major broadcast television networks in both total viewers and audiences aged 18 to 49 ... "I suppose we shouldn't be surprised," Thompson said. "We've known when people are turning on prime-time for entertainment, they're often looking for something that is an anesthetic, not something that fulfills their civic duty as a voter in the republic." (Now there's an inspiring picture...but I guess its better than having the whole public killing the pain with heroin...have a nice day...)
A New Pearl Harbor
Project Censored has decided that the incredible lack of public knowledge of the US plan for total global domination, represented by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) represents the media's biggest failure over the past year. The PNAC plans advocated the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and other current foreign policy objectives, long before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Chillingly, one document published by the PNAC in 2000 actually describes the need for a "new Pearl Harbor" to persuade the American public to accept the acts of war and aggression the administration wants to carry out. "But most people in the country are totally unaware that the PNAC exists," said Peter Phillips, a professor at Sonoma State and major domo of The Project Censored Project, "and that failure has aided and abetted this disaster in Iraq."
One certainty regarding Climate Change
Global warming is 'certain' but there is much 'uncertainty' surrounding the issue of what the end effects will be on the changing climate. The Breakup of the artic ice cap has got me thinking and it just occured to me that there is one 'certainty' regarding climate change.
Don't buy any beach front property...
and forget about buying that island for get aways...
If you visit some of those really right wing sites they have a narrative about Bush's rejection of Kyoto. The U.S. adminstration rejected the accord because the IPCC 2001 report on climate change was loaded with caveats concerning the potential effects of climate change, and this left the door open to Bush to reject the report on the grounds that the word 'uncertain' was used over a hundred times.
The right wing narrative I have found states that 'Given the uncertainty that global warming actually exists, the President wisely choose the prudent course of not demanding costly and expensive measures when there was no evidence that they were required.'
Now given that the report was not saying the global warming was 'uncertain', only that climate is so complex that the effects of global warming on the climate are 'uncertain', and therefore no one knows what the new climate of the world will be like (well, except for that bit about not owning property on a beach) the corrected narrative should read like this - 'Given that no one knows whether or not the United States might turn into a desert, or perhaps half desert and half swamp, due to the uncertainty as to the effects of climate change, the President unwisely choose to risk it all and take a potentially costly gamble and then wait to see what happens later..."
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