Friday, December 31, 2004

Bad taste award. I detest the ideology behind the Lebanese TV station LBC-TV, which was founded by Lebanese fascist death squads of the Lebanese civil war, although they had to change their tune, or camouflage it, in order to attract Arab investors, and to reach various corners of the Arab world. Yesterday, on the program Kalam An-Nas, they decided to feign compassion. So they featured children stricken with terminal cancer. So they go to this child with cancer, and made him sing the French singer, Dalida's song, Je suis malade, complètement malade (I am ill, competely ill).

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Sunlight on the Road- Pontoise. Pissarro. Posted by Hello

Their brother was killed by Israeli forces yesterday. Posted by Hello
Millions of displaced Palestinians claim rights to the land in Israel.
Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's henchman/embezzler-in-Yemen, `Allawi is outraged that Iraqis in Syria are allowed to conspire against his government. He sent a letter of protest to the Syrian president. Did `Allawi himself and his comrades not conspire from Syria and Jordan against the Iraqi government in his exile days? And for months, I keep hearing about footage of "Arab volunteers" and their confessions, and that they will be shown to the media in a few days. And then nothing happens.
British people collected £20m in 24 hours for the Asia victims. Bush sent them $35 million.
Oh, NO. Saddam is writing poetry. The Egyptian Arab nationalist publication Al-Usbu` (which is edited by a supporter of Saddam) published the minutes of the recent meeting between Saddam and his Iraqi lawyer. First, the lawyer was told by Saddam's US guards to not hug Saddam, but he insisted on hugging him, and he gave him the military salute, and then kissed his hand. Saddam immediately brought out a small yellow notebook and a pencil (the Arabic word qalam could be pen or pencil) and said: "Listen my son to this poem.
If you are not a head, do not be other
for other is only the tail
إن لم تكن رأسا فلا تكن آخره..
فليس الآخر سوي الذنب
and he continued to the end of the (lousy)poem which impressed me"--not Angry Arab but that lousy Saddam fan and lawyer. Saddam said that he wrote it in his cell. Then Saddam obscenely talked about oppression and pride and such other lofty terms that can only sound obscene from his mouth. The lousy lawyer then told Saddam: "My Mr. President. You are the Master and Leader, and I am the student. I came to take your guidance." Arrogant Saddam then asked him about the reaction to his day in court. The lawyer told him that it "had a great positive impact on the morale of the Iraqi and Arab street." The bloody dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, then had the audacity to inquire about the "conditions of the Iraqi people." Saddam then said (among other things): "I and my comrades in the command knew that the aggression was coming, and that the claims of the Bush the 2nd and those around him were an attempt to market aggression." He then said: "I want to tell you that the glorious Iraqi resistance had prepared itself well....I want to tell you, son, that the second page of the occupation began on 11/4/2003, i.e. two days after the occupation. I met with the political and military leaders on that day and told them: Now, let you begin the second page of the battle...That is why what is happening [resistance] now is not due to chance nor a mere spontaneous reaction, but an operation that had been planned a long time prior to the aggression. We knew that day was coming, and we were certain that the big battle would begin after the occupation of Baghdad, and not before...Yes, treason did happen at the hand of a very limited group." Then Saddam had a long diatribe against Iranians: "These are Persians who go back to their origins... Thus is their narrative, and nothing is new. I warn of the betrayal of Iran, and its blatant intervention in Iraqi affairs. It is behind inciting sedition..." Saddam then asked about Arab media, and he praised Mustafa Bakri (editor of the Egyptian Al-Usbu`), `Abdul-Bari `Atwan (editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-`Arabi), and Fahd Ar-Rimawi (editor of the Jordanian Al-Majd). He sent his salutations to those three, and to the demagogic UK MP George Galloway and Ramsey Clark (and to Mahathir Mohamad and Nelson Mandela). And then said he this: "And you have to tell them, and the free Arab people, that if Saddam's morale was 90 % during the token hearing session, it is now 120 %. Tell them that I am steadfast inside my prison...And I am very optimistic...They have conspired against the legitimate regime in Iraq, and took over power." Saddam then told his version of the story of his capture: "I know that they are masters of dubbing, and I certainly expected that they would present me in the image of the humiliated person to say to the Iraqis: This is your president...This is their method, the mthod of silly cowboy movies...They are experts in that. In reality, I was in the house of a friend whom I trust in the district of Ad-Dur in the governorate of Salah Ad-Din, and the time was around sunset, and I was reading the Qur'an, and when I went to perform prayer of maghrib, suddenly I found the Americans around me, and I did not have any security contingent at the time, and my weapon was far from me, so they captured me and kidnapped me. And I was subjected to the worse forms of torture in the first and second day. And if I knew of their presence, I would have fought them until martyrdom." Saddam, whose piety seems to increase with every military and political defeat that he suffers, prayed twice during the session with the lawyer, according to the lawyer. Saddam then questioned the integrity of the upcoming Iraqi election, having won the last Iraqi election with 100% of the vote (or was it 103 %?).
P.S. It is likely of course that Saddam is lying about the circumstances of his capture because the details have been very damaging for his image that he had carefully cultivated for decades.

Palestinians: trying to prevent the obstruction of a road by Israeli forces. Posted by Hello
In 2004, 450 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israei forces last year. [And] During 2004, Israel demolished 181 homes in the Occupied Territories as a means of punishment and 1,357 homes on the claim of military necessity. These demolitions left some 11,500 Palestinians homeless. Altogether Israel has demolished 4,100 homes during the Intifada. As a result at least 28,000 Palestinians have been rendered homeless.
My feminist comrades from Turkey sent me this.

A street in Fallujah: after its double "liberation" by US forces. Posted by Hello
Even the NYT is saying it: Are We Stingy? Yes
resident Bush finally roused himself yesterday from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia. He also hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid efforts by rich Western nations "stingy." "The person who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed," the president said. We beg to differ. Mr. Egeland was right on target. We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities. The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid. According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. Bush administration officials help create that perception gap. Fuming at the charge of stinginess, Mr. Powell pointed to disaster relief and said the United States "has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world." But for development aid, America gave $16.2 billion in 2003; the European Union gave $37.1 billion. In 2002, those numbers were $13.2 billion for America, and $29.9 billion for Europe. Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver. Victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged. And back in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion a year, but the account has yet to disperse a single dollar.
Mr. Bush said yesterday that the $35 million we've now pledged "is only the beginning" of the United States' recovery effort. Let's hope that is true, and that this time, our actions will match our promises.

I need to thank the thousands of people from around the world who signed the Joseph Massad Academic Freedom Petition. While the petition is still open, yesterday I sent a copy of the petition to the president, provost, and vice-president of Columbia University.
MEMRI Watch: The conventional Middle East academic wisdom is that MEMRI's translations are accurate but very selective. I beg to disagree. They are neither accurate nor reliable. First, as I have mentioned earlier, they really specialize in publishing the speeches and statements of pro-Bin Laden and pro-Bush kooks in the region. And those two trends are quite unrepresentative of the general Arab public opinion which largely stands firmly opposed to both. But that is what MEMRI wants to show to its audience: that "we" have the reliable pro-Bush people who can stand up to the other camp (the pro-Bin Laden people). Neither of the two camps has a chance in the Arab world (fortunately). But what is rarely mentioned is that their translations are NOT accurate or precise. Sometimes I notice that they see an old Arabic word or a famous line of poetry, and they guess the meaning, or confuse a proverb with a line of poetry, or vice versa. MEMRI's translators are often confused...and dazed. One time there was a famous line of poetry by Al-Mutanabbi and the MEMRI translator did not recognize it, and misterpreted the whole thing. I do not have the time to spend time on this, but just yesterday I saw that MEMRI produced a summary of Bin Ladin's latest speech on Iraq. Having listened to most of it, and read the full text of the speech, I just wanted to see their translation. From one quick glance, I noticed this. When Bin Laden referred to Saddam's Arab nationalist ideolgoy as "al-qawmiyyah an-natinah" MEMRI translated that as "odious nationalism." Now natinah is obviously a reference to something that stinks, often dead meat or rotten meat. And Arabs said in classical times natana al-lahmu (the meat has gotten stinky). And sometimes MEMRI is not reliable: when Bin Laden said As-Salibbiyyah al-mutasahyinah al-muta`attisha-d-dima', MEMRI translated that as: "bloodthirsty Zionist Crusade" while it should have been "bloodthirsty Zionistic Crusadism." These are quick examples.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Artist's Garden at Eragny. Pissarro. Posted by Hello
Head Scarves Now a Protective Accessory in Iraq: Fearing for Their Safety, Muslim and Christian Women Alike Cover Up Before They Go Out.
Falloujans Are Jolted by Conditions: Many returning refugees 'just want to go home,' but many find only uninhabitable dwellings.

Nothing will stop them: An old Palestinian man climbing the racist Israeli separation wall. Posted by Hello
Five million people in 11 countries lack the basic requirements for life.

Israeli forces bombed his house. Posted by Hello
He has never met a dictator that he did not respect. "Ramsey Clark, a former US attorney general, has joined Saddam Hussein's legal team." I am not surprised. This is no friend of the poor or the oppressed. This man was close to the Iraqi tyranny of Saddam, and praised Saddam's "leadership." Shame on him. Of all the people that he could have defended, he selected a bloody dictator. It says something about Ramsey Clark.
PS I have just read a long account of the recent meeting between Saddam and his Iraqi lawyer. I will report on it tomorrow. But Saddam made sure in the meeting to send his regards to...Ramsey Clark. I am not making this up.
Israel stops Palestinians voting in Jerusalem.
Bush is making progress in his Iraq war: "An Iraqi official said last night that the rebels appeared to have recovered sufficiently from the US onslaught on their activities in Falluja in November to be "still able to conduct well-planned and large-scale operations"."
Imported weapons to Iraq (IRQ) in 1973-2002

Country $MM USD 1990 % Total
USSR 25145 57.26
France 5595 12.74
China 5192 11.82
Czechoslovakia 2880 6.56
Poland 1681 3.83
Brazil 724 1.65
Egypt 568 1.29
Romania 524 1.19
Denmark 226 0.51
Libya 200 0.46
USA 200 0.46
South Africa 192 0.44
Austria 190 0.43
Switzerland 151 0.34
Yugoslavia 107 0.24
Germany (FRG) 84 0.19
Italy 84 0.19
UK 79 0.18
Hungary 30 0.07
Spain 29 0.07
East Germany (GDR) 25 0.06
Canada 7 0.02
Jordan 2 0.005
Total 43915 100.0
Foreign Aid Generosity (or Stinginess) (from 2000 to 2003):
1. Norway
2. Denmark
3. Netherlands
4. Luxembourg
5. Sweden
6. Belgium
7. Ireland
8. France
9. Switzerland
10. United Kingdom
11. Finland
12. Germany
13. Canada
14. Spain
15. Australia
16. New Zealand
17. Portugal
18. Greece
19. Japan
20. Austria
21. Italy
22. United States

Retrospect and prospects (thanks Amir).
Sri Lanka rejects Israel rescuers. Oh, please. Spare me Israeli offers of humanitarian aid.

..begging for food. Bush's offer of $35 million for the cruel natural disaster in Asia was too obscene to ignore. Do you know that Israel received that amount every three days last year. (Israel received $13.5 million A DAY from US last year)? The price of some fighter jets that Israel receives from US to bomb Palestinian towns, cities, camps, and villages is even higher than that amount. The Federal program for abstinence is more than 5 times that amount. The US spends that amount EVERY FOUR HOURS in the illegal Iraq war. This is the compassion of the American Empire. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

La Côte des Boeufs, the Hermitage, 1877. Pissarro. Posted by Hello
"US, Britain holding 10,000 prisoners in Iraq." The accurate figure is 24 million prisoners.
"Palestinian Women Triumph at Polls."
"Israel, Seeking to Give Abbas a Boost." You don't have to wonder why.
"U.S. Relief More Than Doubled To $35 Million." And how much has the US spent for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I was reading an article yesterday in an Arabic source on Saddam's palaces (which cost billions of dollars). Apparently, he was jealous of...God. In this particular palace (seen above), for example, he had the walls and ceilings painted with 99 "adjectives" of him, just as the Qur'an uses 99 names for God. What are Saddam's 99 names? What you would expect: the brave, the mighty, the most generous, etc.
Kim Jong Il purges relatives after alleged coup bid.
Abu Mazin takes his bribe: "The United States gave $20 million in cash aid to the interim Palestinian leadership to help finance economic reform and next month's presidential election."
"10 Palestinians were injured yesterday evening by an Israeli tank shell in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis."

Palestinian children: bravely resisting Israeli occupation forces. Posted by Hello
Susan Sontag. Was a progressive, except when it came to Israel.
Bin Laden speaks AGAIN. He can't stop: The avalanche of these long and tedious speeches by Bin Laden are now coming out at an alarming rate. This tells me that he finds himself secure and safe, wherever he is. I have also noticed that the speech from yesterday (which is very long, and some websites are offering it in 3 or 4 installments because of the large size of the files) was offered in sound and word by As-Sahab Foundation (the propaganda arm of Al-Qa`idah), and the files were very high quality technologically (especially the PDF files prepared by As-Sahab with the full texts). The full name of Bin Laden's organization is now The Organization of the Qa`idah (Base) of International Jihad. Bin Laden, I am convinced now, is a failed writer/poet just as Hitler was a failed artist. If Hitler's artistic endeavors were fulfilled in Vienna we would have in all likelihood been spared his "political" endeavors later on. Similarly, if Bin Laden's literary talents were great, we would have been spared his "Jihad" activities. I find myself continuously irritated when I hear Bush's speeches with his invocation of the words "freedom" and "liberty", etc. And I get continuously irritated when I listen to Bin Laden's speeches with his invocation of that annoying word "Jihad." In this last speech of yesterday, he even composed a poem, which I will spare you. It was awful. And for those who know Arabic language, and the rules of poetic composition, he used the easiest meter: Al-Hazaj--Mafa`ilun, Mafa`ilun. The first Arabic poem I ever wrote (and it was not good) was in Al-Bahr Al-Hazaj. Bin Laden awards a new title to Bush: he calls him the "overall leader of Kufr" (infidelity). He also draws analogies between Saddam's massacres and Bush's massacres in Iraq. He added that Saddam committed his crimes in the name of "stinking [Arab] nationalism" while Bush committed his crimes in the name of "blood thirsty Zionistic Crusadism." I hate it when Bin Laden regularly asks "God" to accept this person or that as a "martyr" as if there is a link between him and "God." That is doubly unbelievable for me as an atheist. He talks at length about Fallujah, and hails its fighters, and compares them to the 19 hijackers of Sep. 11. This particular speech (and the last one about Saudi Arabia) leaves you with the impression that he now is closely following news developments. In this speech, he tries so hard (but fails despite his strong command of the Arabic language) to be literary and uses the old fashioned style of saja` (where words rhyme at the end of phrases and sentences). But his style is very old fashioned--if not archaic--and he uses classical cliches from literature. He needs to read some Arabic works from a century later than the 11th, if he wants to improve his literary skills. (For example--when addressing "holy strugglers"--he says that you "came like cold water on thirst.") He mocks Bush's declaration about "end of major combat operations." He also seems to idolize lions, and uses many of its old synonyms. And many names of places and bases of Al-Qa`idah use words dealing with lions and their resting places. He also announces that this is the WWIII, between the Islamic Ummah and and the "Zionist-Crusading" alliance. Samuel Huntington may agree with Bin Laden here. He also makes fun of Bush's claim about fighting terrorism in Iraq. He asks rhetorically: "Since when was Iraq ever a base for Al-Qa`idah"? implying this has been a development that followed the US occupation. He also falsely claims that Bush had said that he wants to make the Middle East a "Christian area." Bush never said such a thing. And then he goes on to urge people to engage in Jihad, with money and with men (you do not expect this misogynist man to accept women in combat). He then goes on to forbid (as if he has power over Muslims and Arabs) any support for the "apostate" governments of Allawi, Karzai, and Abu Mazin. He also labels Mahmud Abbas as a Baha'i. Abu Mazin has denied being a Baha'i and yet many people in the Middle East remain convinced that he is a Baha'i, not that there is anything wrong in being Baha'i in my opinion, of course. But it classical Islamic rulings, Baha'ism is considered apostasy because Baha'is believe in a prophet who came after Muhammad who was--according to Muslims--the seal of all prophets. Thus, Baha'is were declared by Khumayni in Iran as people who are "mahduri ad-Dam" (people whose blood is spillable). Ironically, Baha'ism is a very peaceful religion and it took a very enlightened position on women's rights in the 19th century. Getting back to Bin Ladin's speech. It just does not end. And then he says something that really bothered me. He said that a government that is 90 % based on Islamic laws and 10 % based on human laws is a pagan (kafir) government. How ridiculous is that. How can you have a government that is based 100 % on Islamic laws? There are tons of areas of the law where Islamic laws have nothing to offer. What is the Islamic legal position on Tuna fishing, maritime laws, copyright laws, internet sales and traffic, HDTV, V chip, etc. There is a very good book by James Piscatori of Oxford University titled Islam in a World of Nation State. In this book (which did not get the attention and praise that it deserves), Piscatori shows that no "Islamic government" (not even Iran or Saudi Arabia) is really based purely on Islamic laws. So Bin Laden wants a society based on 100% of Islamic laws, provided it is HIS interpretations of Islamic laws, of course. I am glad that Bin Laden will never ever have the chance to establish his "ideal" form of government. He may establish his ideal cave or basement, but not government. As for as I am concerned, I want a government that is 0% based on any religious law of any religion. Bin Laden has also been obsessed with the economic conditions of the US, and cites figures of Bush's recent borrowing. And then in an odd section, he urges people to participate with "their money and souls" in the war "for the victory of religion." He then oddly cites the figure for the budget of Al-Qa`idha in Iraq, which he says is "200,000 Euro a week." Why would he cite that figure, and for what purpose, I do not know. He then salutes Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, and declares him the Amir (Prince) of Al-Qa`idah in Iraq. And by the way, I cannot believe that some people still doubt the very existence of Abu Mus`ab. I receive emails and inquiries from people in the Middle East to the effect that he does not exist, and that he is an invention of US propaganda. That has also been the theory of Scott Ritter in a recent article. There is no doubt to the existence of Zarqawi, and the LBC Documentary on Zarqawi showed actual video footage of the man (see my entry on that a while back). And then he cites his own poetry. Here is a sample:
"Goodbye oh, hero
for your loss, eyes cry
spots on earth are sad
for your loss, and the encampment cried
we met in this life,
and we hope in the next..."
How lame is that?
Dont give them politics; and let them eat shopping malls.
"A comment Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made during a Christmas Eve address to U.S. troops in Baghdad has sparked new conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Stage Coach at Louveciennes, 1870. Pissarro. Posted by Hello
"Yes, you must pull out - but also pay for the damage: The US isn't protecting or feeding Iraqis, it's stoking violence and hardship."
CIA resists request for abuse data.

Waiting to be allowed to visit their homes in extremely "liberated" Fallujah. Posted by Hello
Problems mount for Iraqi vote: A UN memo details added concerns about registration and security before election Jan. 30.
"Although censorship still exists" (in Syria).
Main Sunni party pulls out of Iraqi election.
This letter appeared in the New York Times today. I cite in full:
An Israeli Interrogator, and a Tale of Torture
To the Editor:
In your excerpts from an interview with a former Israeli interrogator, Michael Koubi ("Psychology and Sometimes a Slap: The Man Who Made Prisoners Talk," Week in Review, Dec. 12), you wrote: "Despite Palestinian accusations to the contrary, Mr. Koubi said Israeli interrogators use only 'very low levels' of physical coercion."
But every credible Israeli, international and Palestinian human rights organization that has investigated the situation has reached the same conclusion: interrogation procedures used by Israel from 1987 to 1993 (during which time Mr. Koubi boasts he conducted such questioning) constituted torture.
Far more than just "two slaps" or putting a "cover on a his head to scare him," these methods of torture included forcing prisoners to sit on low chairs, their legs bent below the chair and their hooded heads thrust forward, or tying them to a pipe to force them to remain standing, sometimes on tiptoe or with arms stretched up behind them, for long periods.
These types of torture were often accompanied by sleep deprivation and exposure to temperature extremes. Prisoners were violently shaken (at least one prisoner died from being shaken) and threatened with death or the rape of members of their family. Reports of severe beatings were common, including on the genitals and other sensitive areas.
While originally justified on the grounds of finding "ticking bombs," the use of such methods of torture became routine. Trying to paint Israeli interrogation practices as merely an intellectual game is clearly a denial of the facts. And allowing Mr. Koubi to paint himself as a hero is a further violation of the rights of those whom he tortured.
William F. SchulzExecutive DirectorAmnesty International U.S.A.New York, Dec. 20, 2004

Libya's dictator did not change his political system. But because he changed his foreign policy in favor of US, New York Times now dares to use the phrase "Libya's Nascent Openness" while talking about Qadhdhafi's oppression. If you open up to Israel/US, US would not require you to open up. These are the rules of US wars of "democracy".

Searching for his toys. Israeli forces destroyed his family's house. Posted by Hello
The Literary World System.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Entrance to the Village of Voisins, 1872. Pissarro. Posted by Hello

It says: "The new religion." (This brave cartoon was not published in any Arab media). Posted by Hello
Victory is at hand: "Achieving Real Victory Could Take Decades."
"...the agency is flying captured terrorist suspects from one country to another for detention and interrogation.The CIA calls this activity "rendition.""

The year in numbers. (Click to enlarge). Posted by Hello
At this point, Muqtada As-Sadr does not know where he stands.
Pearls of wisdom from the US Press. LA Times says this about the youth in Iran: "Many young people turn to drugs, suicide. Others find respite in music or mountains." (That, of course, is quite different from the youths of other parts of the world where there are no drugs, music, suicide, or mountains(!).)
US disclosures signal wider detainee abuse.
Hamas did NOT win the Palestinian municipal election.
Yes, this brilliant idea will finally please Iraqis and win support for the American occupation: US wants to appoint people and present them as "elected."
Even neo-conservatives are not happy with `Allawi: "What Allawi has in fact done is introduce into the fledgling Iraqi government Baathist and Sunni fundamentalist moles."

Israeli forces were shelling their camp in Khan Yunis. Posted by Hello
"Middle East Forum, with its staff of 15, has an annual budget of about $1 million; among its donors are Robert Guzzardi, Lawrence Kadish, Nina Rosenwald (American Securities, L.P.) and institutions such as the Bradley Foundation. Its to "define and promote American interests in the Middle East," including strengthening this nation's ties with Israel and Turkey..."

An American soldier grabs an Iraqi terrorist. The American nation must be proud. This picture will be seen in the Arabic press, but not in the US press. Posted by Hello
So Al-Basa'ir newspaper in Baghdad published a public opinion survey among the students at Baghdad university. It revealed that: 75% of respondents described the American soldier as "rough"; 62 % said "arrogant"; 76 % said "coward"; 71 % said "aggressor"; 65 % said "liar"; 86 % said "without values"; and 76 % said "anti-Iraqi." Students were also asked about their prediction of the nature of the relationship between Iraqis and the occupation army (US, not Macedonian) after one year from now. 48 % predicted "combat"; 38 % predicted "conflict"; while 14 % predicted a "dispute." The percentage of those who predicted an "understanding" As for the responsibility for the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, 34 % blamed the forces of occupation; 19 % blamed neighboring countries; 14 % blamed the provisional [puppet] government; 13 % blamed Al-Qa`idah; 12 % blamed AlMahdi Army, and 8% blamed former regime loyalists. Nevertheless, Bush still thinks that he is making progress in Iraq.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

L'Hermitage a Pontoise, 1867. Pissarro.
 Posted by Hello
"Forgotten history lessons: Indefinite internment of prisoners of war is an invitation to abuse and humiliation. Why are we repeating our horrendous mistake of the past?", by Stanley I. Kutler.
Full text. The Cornell study on American public support for restrictions on Muslim rights.
US strategy 'based in fantasyland'.
America's Gulf clients are fighting over who can best please the US.
"Antiwar forces have also failed to offer concrete support for the political demands coming out of Iraq."
Even the pro-war Washington Post is now saying this: "Some of the abuses can be attributed to lack of discipline in some military units -- though the broad extent of the problem suggests, at best, that senior commanders made little effort to prevent or control wrongdoing. But the documents also confirm that interrogators at Guantanamo believed they were following orders from Mr. Rumsfeld. One FBI agent reported on May 10 about a conversation he had with Guantanamo's commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who defended the use of interrogation techniques the FBI regarded as illegal on the grounds that the military "has their marching orders from the Sec Def."
Oil-for-Food: The UN's Real Disgrace was the Sanctions Regime.
Last stop on the road to despair for Mexico's lost children.
Boston Globe: "US military plans pose threat to Guam's endangered birds." Angry Arab: "US military plans pose threats to Iraq's humans."
Insurgents infiltrating coalition, US says.
Anything to help Bush's puppet election in Iraq: "UN launches £50m operation to reach four million [so-called Iraq] expatriates." Residents of red states will be encouraged to vote.

La Foret, 1870. Pissarro. Posted by Hello
The changing face of poverty: Millions of Americans live in poverty, more families are suffering and hunger is seen growing.
"An Intelligence Gap Hinders U.S. in Iraq." Intelligence gap or lack of intelligence?
The crazies of Empire have not had enough bombings yet: US may strike at Ba'athists in Syria.
Who is Maher Arar?
Army Historian Cites Lack of Postwar Plan:
Major Calls Effort in Iraq 'Mediocre'. (thanks Munzir).

Friday, December 24, 2004

Full text. The Developing Iraqi Insurgency:
Status at End-2004, by Anthony H. Cordesman. "It is important to note that Ambassador Bremer did this with strong encouragement – if not pressure – from Iraqi exile leaders like Ahmed Chalabi." But the US government is not a child who was led astray by Ahmed Chalabi. Come on. And why would Ahmed Chalabi be able to "pressure" the US government in the first place? And as for the foreign fighters, "foreign volunteers probably accounting for only 5 percent of [insurgency's] total force."
Humane Empire. "Liberated" Fallujah: "Returning families will face serious privation. With water purifying plants and distribution systems largely destroyed, officials have built 24 temporary water tanks. They will give out water cans; returnees will have to fetch supplies by hand. Residents will also receive food aid, and kerosene to fuel generators for lighting. Every returning family will be given the equivalent of $100, the interim government has said."
Falluja Returnees Angry, 'City Unfit for Animals'.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

L'Hermitage, c. 1868. Pissarro. Posted by Hello
"Beacon of Freedom" is angry: "US 'blocking Arab freedom report'."
Now US will bomb Mosul: "Insurgents have been able to "operate at will" in Mosul, where 22 people died in a bomb attack this week, because the US forces and the Iraqi authorities have failed to tackle them, an intelligence assessment by senior US officials in northern Iraq concludes."
Iraqis' Dismay Surges as Lights Flicker and Gas Lines Grow.

This Palestinian man does not need Bush to teach him about democracy. Posted by Hello
I know that you have war expenses, and a debt, but: "Israel, which receives about $3 billion a year in U.S. aid, may seek extra funding next year to bolster border security and overhaul checkpoints ." But it can be done. Just reduce aid to the homeless and the poor, and let Israel enhance its bombing capabilities. OK?
US bombing marks return of Fallujah's displaced people. (thanks Julie).
Destroyed Houses by Palestinian poet Aminah Al-`Udwan (my translation):
Their sons
What have been left after this massacre
Houses collapsed on the fathers
He sits on the rubble
hearing wailing, his father
under the rubble
amid angry faces
What hatred is coming
(thanks R.S. for the Diwan)
Good people: "Families of US troops killed in the offensive onthe Iraqi city of Fallujah are to travel to Jordan next week with600,000 dollars worth of humanitarian aid for refugees of the attack." (thanks Sofi).
Blair bowed to Israel. (But he also still enjoys bowing to Bush).
New Papers Suggest Detainee Abuse Was Widespread. Does anybody care? Well, the anti-war movement is busy shopping.

US forces found Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi outside of Fallujah. Look how dangerous he looks. Posted by Hello
Buckets of Crocodile Tears. There is nothing that is more annoying and patronizing than US media articles on Palestinian Christians. They are so patronizing and condescending, and they dare to write about Palestinian Christians as if they are not a party to the conflict, as if they are neutral toward the Arab-Israeli conflict. For a real view of Palestinian Christians, see the special on AlJazeera this week.

This sign outside of Fallujah says: "Anybody who tries to enter Fallujah with any weapon will be killed." This is the model that Bush thought Arabs around the region would want to emulate. Emulate my...potato. Posted by Hello
Foreign Team Will Watch Vote in Iraq From Jordan. And Angry Arab will watch election in Ukraine from...California. Wherever there is an election, I will now monitor it from my house, just as those monitors will carefully observe Iraqi voting from...Jordan. Let me read you their findings (reached in advance): "fair and balanced" elections all over Iraq.
This passes as sophisticated foreign policy analysis in the New York Times. Here Friedman quotes his close friend (really): "As the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum so rightly pointed out to me, "These so-called insurgents in Iraq are the real fascists, the real colonialists, the real imperialists of our age." They are a tiny minority who want to rule Iraq by force and rip off its oil wealth for themselves. It's time we called them by their real names." Of course, Iraqi insurgents have not right to Iraq's oil. US Empire, however, has every right.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jallais Hill, Pontoise, 1867. Pissarro.
 Posted by Hello