Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I am not making this up: Progress Is Ongoing in Iraq, White House Says
Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism
Full text: the ruling of the International Court of Justice against the US in the case of Mexico v. United States of America
Many Women See Social Insecurity in Tax Cuts
Full text: the notes of a Pentagon's official found at Starbucks and published by this Center.
Mother Theresa's poem? A sample stanza:"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;Forgive them anyway." (thanks Chris U.). But we need verification of the authenticity of the poem. Help out there?
The Israeli government, which has an objective view of Middle East events and media coverage, asserts that BBC reporter is anti-Semitic.
What happened in Iraq today underlines the reality. The US media have been too busy counting the kilowatts of electricity restored to the country, and been busy reminding Americans what a great job the troops have done. To put it bluntly: the US has lost Iraq, and the US does not deserve to own Iraq. Iraq belongs neither to Saddam, and nor to Bush (or Kerry for that matter). It belongs to its people. New York Times reported last summer that a Pentagon consulting team that was sent to Baghdad concluded that the US had--back then--3 months to "fix" Iraq, before it is too late. It is too late already, way too late for anything to change. Alas, colonialism could not work in the 21st century. Wolfowitz will rack his brain, and conferences and symposia will be held, under his watchful eye, to examine how this "benevolent" colonial project faced the defiance of restless population. A population that could not wait to get rid of Saddam, but one that would not settle for anything less than full self-determination and rule. I can see Bernard Lewis blaming the failure of the Iraq project on the softness of the US use of force. Not enough force was used, will Orientalists of his ilk assert. The US fell victim to promises that it had made--for propaganda purposes, but that it did not have any intention of keeping. The US can impose some of its will on Iraq by force, but the country has slipped away from its control. Chalabi, it turned out, has more support in DC than in Baghdad, and an Ayatollah who has not left his house in 6 years has more power than the commander of US troops in Iraq. The country will be difficult to patch back together; the Shi`ites will fashion some form of a "moderate" but quasi-religious government inspired by Hawzah rule; the Sunnis will be governed by a fracturous coalition of pro-Saddam Ba`thists, anti-Saddam Ba`thists, and a variety of Sunni fundamentalist groups; while the Kurds will live under the two ruling parties, who have killed thousands of innocent Kurds in the course of their internecine mini-civil wars over the years. When the official day of the transfer of power comes, and as symbolic as that deadline is and as empty as the announcement is, given the presence of US (and Macedonian) troops in the country, people will still cheer the failure of the American colonial project. Maybe the Iraq example was necessary for the US Empire to realize that colonialism does not work anymore. That people will uniformly reject it. I think of Lebanon after Israel was forced out of South Lebanon in 2000. Members of the surrogate army of thugs that Israel formed and armed had to flee for their lives. They ran, literally, across the border cursing at Israel for abandoning its loyal collaborators. The "commander" of the South Lebanon Army, Antoine Lahd, is now dubbed General Hummus by the Israeli media. Lahd just opened a Lebanese restaurant (Byblos, no less) in Israel. I can see something similar happening to US surrogate militias and forces in Iraq. Maybe Chalabi will also open a Middle East restaurant in Washington, DC. I can see American dignitaries flocking to the restaurant and hailing Chalabi as an Arab Sadat, as somebody who is misunderstood by his people, as somebody that the Arabs did not deserve. I can see Chalabi lining the restaurant with pictures of him shaking hands with top US officials. I just hope that his restaurant will serve fresh Arabic bread. That is now a requirement for good restaurants in the Middle East.
An article in East Bay Express about this site.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

If you cannot find the weapons, look for the intentions. Still unable to find banned Iraqi weapons, the new U.S. weapons inspector said Tuesday his strategy is to expose Saddam Hussein's intentions regarding weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States, but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group. (For the record, while I post this item, I do not believe that the US fought the war solely for the interests of Israel, or even solely for oil. Global domination, as crazy as that sounds, was also an important factor, in my opinion).
I know that you are all busy, but has any of you seen Iraqi WMDs? US is still looking.
In America's tough world of eating contests, one woman is devouring the competition.
Marking the Land Day.
Who counts the civilian casualties? Angry Arab does.
Karzai's cronies want more cash.
Bill Clinton's administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.
The Empire aims high: US to deploy weapons in space.
I taped today a special on Middle East media and US propaganda efforts. It will air on the Mosaic Program on Link TV, which airs on Dish Network and Direct TV (check your listing). The show will air on April 7th, and can be viewed on the web.
I have noticed this in recent years. Americans who disagree with me, send me email messages asking me to leave the US. Arabs who disagree with me, love to leave me very obscene and vulgar messages on my work phone. Swiss people have never bothered me for some reason.
As you know. US Middle East propaganda media, such as Radio Sawa and Hurra TV, are not allowed to broadcast to American audiences here in the US. So I have not yet had a chance to watch Al-Hurra programming. But an international news station, which is interviewing me for a program dealing with Middle East media, has sent me tapes of Al-Hurra TV. I am astonished at the low level of the quality of news broadcasts and programming, perhaps because the quality of Middle East satellite media has in comparison substantially improved. Al-Hurra is like old-style government-owned TV, and is as boring. One male anchorperson on Al-Hurra could not pronounce Arabic words properly, and the preponderance of Lebanese among its staff is quite noticeable, which brings in a very bad command of Arabic and a very strong right-wing Lebanese partisan perspective on the news. There was one report about demonstrations by some tens of supporters of kooky Gen. `Awn in Beirut: and the reporter did not even include a token interview with an "opposite point of view." AlJazeera or Abu Dhabi or Al-Arabiyya would never do that. The enunciation of Arabic is almost uniformly bad, and many of the reporters come from the defunct Lebanese right-wing MTV. In one segment about Bush's meeting with "women from around the world, the Washington, DC correspondent was asked by the anchorman about the status of women in the Arab world. He mentioned how horrible the treatment of women was under Taliban and Saddam, but did not mention a single other Arab country. Saudi Arabia was, as usual, forgiven. In one segment, a Libyan dissident who was just released from jail (his crime was that he dared to call for political liberalization in the country) was being interviewed live. He was asked about his status and the plight of Libyan dissidents. And when the fellow started blasting the recent US honeymoon with Libya, and its bad impact on human rights, he was immediately cut off. Just like that. I, of course, do not mind realizing how silly and ineffective this propaganda outlet is. Give us more, I say.
US newspaper ban plays into cleric's hands (thanks Nir)

Monday, March 29, 2004

Children Alone and Scared, Fighting Deportation
The Christian Taliban (not to be confused with the Islamic Taliban, the Jewish Taliban, or the Buddhist Taliban, etc.)
The U.S. military took responsibility Monday for the shooting deaths this month of two Iraqis working for the Al Arabiya television network but said soldiers were acting in self-defense and killed the journalists by accident. Of course.
Iraqi fundamentalists rush in: academics suffer.
Books empower kids in Ethiopia
A US general outlines four distinct groups of insurgents and their tactics and targets. I am confused now. I had thought that it was all the work of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, the international terrorist of mystery.
Iraqi petition condemns interim law
Crimes of War Project.
Christ's novel return is a US bestseller
UK forces in Iraq have gotten arrogant. They often claim that they, unlike US soldiers, know how to deal with Iraqis. British soldiers hurt in clash with Iraqis.
Peace is at hand: "A Knesset inquiry into Israel's pre-Iraq war intelligence recommended a sweeping change in the country's intelligence services that would increase the role of the Mossad at the expense of the dominant military intelligence, thus relieving the army to deal with classic warfare preparations."
Where the young men are: "ComScore also collects data on Internet pornography-viewing habits, although that was not part of the online publishers' report. According to the company, more than 70 percent of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month, and those men make up 25 percent of the visitors to such sites. They are 39 percent more likely than the rest of the Internet population to visit the sites, said Graham Mudd, an analyst for comScore. "
Do you know that one of the reasons that the weekly Al-Hawzah was closed down in Iraq was, according to occupation authority, due to spreading "rumors"? Do you know how often tyrannical Arab governments invoke that very same pretext for censorship of the media? This is another item about this story. And do you know now why Arab are very skeptical about believing US intentions for the war (to be fair, 1 % of Iraqis according to one poll believe George W. Bush's intentions). So Bush has indeed succeeded in winning hearts and minds of 1 % of all Iraqis.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

America's popularity abroad continues to slide. When will the Bush administration realize that it matters? By Joseph S. Nye
Iraqi detentions fuel anti-US sentiment
Iraqi defector behind America's WMD claims exposed as 'out-and-out fabricator'
UK Police accused of misusing anti-terror powers
Afghanistan has been "liberated" but elections were postponed, again, and again.
Pentagon counts the psychological cost of Iraq war as survey reveals suicide levels
US-led occupation forces shut down an Iraqi weekly. Demonstrations followed in "liberated" Iraq.
Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.
Military intelligence and the Mossad spy agency wrongly played up the risk from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
"...der Glaube keine Berge versetzt, wohl aber Berge hinsetzt, wo es keine gibt: ein flüchtiger Gang durch ein Irrenhaus klärt zur Genüge darüber auf." F. Nietzsche (Der Antichrist, 51.) (faith moves no mountains but puts mountains where there are none—a quick walk through a madhouse enlightens one sufficiently about this.)
My comments in San Francisco Chronicle on the issue of Arab Jews who fled Arab countries after 1948.
The most original architect working today, Zaha Hadid. This is her official website. And this is her great design of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. More images of the Center. Notice how democratic the project is; how the sidewalk merges with the Center. Is it not distressing that Saddam Husayn is the most famous Iraqi, and not Zaha Hadid? Who do I blame for that?
7-year-old Palestinian is slain in Gaza, but US media will manage to always write a scenario in which it appears that the child invited the bullet.
U.S. Troop Deaths in Iraq Again Rising
Iraq contracts and reports. (thanks Eric)
Iraq revenue watch (thanks eric)
Liberation continues: U.S. Soldiers Shoot 2 Iraqi Civilians while liberating them.
In a nine-page executive order signed on March 21, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, established an Iraqi version of the Pentagon, replete with a chief of staff for the armed forces, an inspector general and directors for budgeting, intelligence and logistics. While the ministry has administrative control of the armed forces, the order calls for Iraqi troops to operate under the command of the U.S.-led forces.
Britain's secret army in Iraq: thousands of armed security men who answer to nobody
'Rwanda's genocide could have been prevented. The UN let people die and now it watches as the survivors die'
In addition to a violent occupation, now this: Iraq is heading for economic meltdown under the weight of its $310 billion international debt and reparations bill.
The fate of the (lousy) Road Map.
Panic in the Bush camp.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The House of Saud is very proud. Saudi Arabia wins the censorship award from Reporters without Borders: First Prize for Censorship : Saudi Arabia Well deserved for its more than 400,000 online items censored, ranging from political websites to unauthorised Islamist organisations and of course anything remotely concerning sex.
"Since May 1, many Iraqi civilians have been cut down by American forces in checkpoint shootings and crossfires, accidents and mishaps. Last week, a 14-year-old Kurdish girl was killed by an American mortar round near the northern city of Mosul. Army officials said soldiers fired the mortar at terrorists. It fell short. A few months ago, according to an official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry, American soldiers shot and killed a man driving in his car because he had a hole in his muffler and the sputtering exhaust sounded like gunfire." From a New York Times' article on March 17th, 2004.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Palestinians Lament Use of Teenagers as Bombers
Az-Zaman newspaper, edited by the former Goebbels of Saddam and the current Goebbels of US occupation in Iraq, Sa`d Al-Bazzaz, is reporting that fines of up to $10 million will be imposed on Arab TV satellite stations that dare to insult the Iraqi puppet council. Previously, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya TV stations were both punished by that council, and it is still not known how much they were forced to pay, and who got paid. In other news, Bush is still celebrating the "liberation" of Iraq.
The Ordeal of Mordechai Vanunu
A majority of Army soldiers in Iraq -- 52 percent -- reported that their morale was low, and three-fourths of them said they felt poorly led by their officers, according to a survey taken at the end of the summer and released yesterday by the Army.
I never thought that I would post an editorial from New York Times: Military Injustice.
350 Iraq Police Killed in Past Year
The name of the person who is responsible for the Madrid bombing is Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, not to be confused with somebody by that name who is in active in Iraq, or that other person by that name active in Jordan, or yet another person by that name who is active in Afghanistan. But then again, it could be the same person, and he is capable of being in 4 or 5 places simultaneously.
At prison gate, Iraqi families vent
Married to Bin Laden's kooks. The world of al-Qa'ida's wives
The man who surrendered Saddam will not be getting his reward because he "did not willingly offer the information." What does that mean? Give him the reward, I say.
The verdict is in. The new US Middle East propaganda TV is simply boring.
Syria begs Australia to beg US to allow Syria to beg for American forgiveness.
Who cares? US, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, do not. Several United Nations agencies may be forced to cut back or end humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip because of Israeli restrictions on their movement into and out of the territory, a U.N. statement said Friday.
US details war plan's success and failings
(Il)legalizing occupation.
Make no mistake about it: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the best political satire in US popular culture, and media. Watch this and judge for yourself. It provides a better critique of the government than the mainstream media.
Greed is good; outsoucring is good, exploitation of workers around the world is good, and the added pressures on the US labor force is also good, according to the (il)logic of capitalism.
A note: as I have received some comments and messages regarding some recent developments in the comments' section, I should state this: I really do not have the time to read all the comments, or follow them regularly, especially as they have increased substantially, and I certainly do not have the time, nor the intention, to police them by tracing the IP address of each comment. But if any of you has a legitimate complaint about somebody stealing somebody's identity you may alert me. As most of you know by now, I believe that the comments' section should be free and uncensored, with no intrusion from me. I do wish that people express their strong views without resorting to vulgarities. In other news, the East Bay Express is planning a story on this site. I shall alert you when it comes out.
Al-Jazeera Arabic website is reporting about the forgotten female prisoners in US jails in Iraq. Now the US, of course, has liberated Iraqis, notwithstanding the thousands of civilians killed, and the other thousands behind bars. It is, you see, a special kind of liberation, that may not be that great for your health, liberty, or safety. But Bush is making progress nevertheless. Just give me a century or two to fix the place up. There are more than 1300 female prisoners in US jails; most of whom are guilty of being married to, or sister of, Iraqi men "suspected" by US occupation of misdeeds. There are 625 female prisoners in Rusafah prison, and 750 in Al-Kadhimiyyah prison. The ages of the prisoners range from 12 to women in their sixties. They are not given the right to hire lawyers, and nobody is allowed to defend them or follow-up their cases, according to the article. There are also men who sit behind bars because their family members are wanted by US occupation. The occupation has more than 10 known prisons, and some 5 "secret" prisons in the country. All that is essential for the cause of "Enduring freedom." The only thing that I see endures in Iraq is the suffering of the Iraqi people. As Iraqi people often chant, "Neither Bush, Nor Saddam." (Nor Kerry, I might add).
A Muslim preacher in eastern Turkey says he is being boycotted for telling local men to help their wives with the housework, Turkish media reported. (thanks Walter).

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The overall suicide rate among GIs in Iraq last year was much higher than for the entire Army.
The Iraqi Constitution
A confessed terrorist is an ally in the West's war on terrorism.
Suharto, Marcos and Mobuto head corruption table with $50bn scams. And what do the three have in common? Time is up. They all were stooges of US, the beacon of freedom.
But Bremer "did not mention the car bombs, mortar and rocket attacks and gunfire that are daily occurrences in Iraq."
"...leaving Iraq with only one national TV broadcaster, Iraqi Media Network, a U.S.-controlled station that lacks credibility with average Iraqis and has been plagued by management turnover, a lack of funds and accusations of censorship."
Behind the Battles Over US Middle East Studies
Terror in Colombia: An Instrument of 'Free Trade' Policy?
Baby Steps Made In Well-Being of Children, Data Show
Full text: Richard Clarke Testifies Before 9/11 Commission
Another minuscule thread, I suppose, in the tapestry called the War on Terror, by Robert Fisk.
Deserted by Doctors, India's Poor Turn to Quacks
Bush's female troubles

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

About one in three people around the world are not getting enough vitamins and minerals, lowering the IQ of nations, contributing to the death of 1 million children a year and leading to mental impairment in 20 million babies. (Of course, IQ tests mean nothing, but are used to categorize, classify, and admit).
Members of Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government have proposed a law to control the building of mosques in Italy because they can be used to "spread hatred for the West".
Gay men liable to jail for life in Zanzibar
US major attacks Guantánamo (in)justice
capital has no ideology: UK firms line up big Libya deals
from last Saturday's rally
Any Palestinian organization that is willing to send little boys (or girls) to die in suicide attacks are disgusting by my standards.
Full text: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict
A third of the bombs dropped on Iraq were old-style "dumb weapons" - despite suggestions from the Pentagon that 90 per cent of munitions used would be precision-guided.
Is the US making the world safer? You be the judge. Selected Major Terrorist Incidents Worldwide since the conclusion of Operation
""""""Enduring Freedom"""""""
Federal budget for beginners. Cute and informative. (thanks Jamie W.)
Interview: Richard Clarke (thanks Rhiannon)
Your brother said hi. I mean your Big Brother. (thanks Julie)
A Chronology of U.S. Military Fatalities Since 'Mission Accomplished': This should appear on George W. Bush's c.v.
The US loves to hug this dictator. What you will not read in this article (it is reported tomorrow on the 1st page of Al-Hayat) is that he recently issued a decree in which he ordered that men shave their beards and moustaches in the country. Universities were ordered to line up students to check them out. His name: Saddamov.
Does anybody care about the forgotten victims of Iraq?
terror as a weapon of occupation (thanks Jane)
According to Amnesty International, as of last year, 54 countries still have laws that actively discriminate against women, 79 countries have no law against domestic violence and 127 countries have no laws against sexual harassment.
Full text: Human Rights Abuses and Concerns About Women's Health and Human Rights in Southern Iraq
You can tell that I am a big fan of The Washington Post. Yet another lovely headline from the paper. This is the headline about the recent Israeli killing: Bush Backs Israel on
Self-Defense . You see the advantage that Israel has in its propaganda? Even murders by Israelis are referred to "objectively" as "self-defense." Who can be opposed to self-defense?
Sistani says Iraq constitution a 'dead end'
And then he said: "I wasn't going to go along with an administration strategy to pressure the Israeli government."
US officials hug the new favorite tyrant.
US construction of Iraq has faltered, but the US has done a great job in destruction.
This is the headine of the Washington Post after series of Israeli killing of Palestinians: "Fear of Reprisals Casts a Pall on Jerusalem: Worried Israelis Desert Cafes, Buses" US media want you to always reserve your sympathies for the executioners, and not for the victims. This is like saying, after Sep. 11, that people in Bin Laden's camps are worried and nervous.
The ever expanding Empire: U.S. expanding military sites in Mideast and Asia

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

For those who care, Angry Arab will be pontificating tonight on Flashpoint, KPFA.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Fukuyama in Tel Aviv: he is able to identify the problem. It is not Islam, you see, the Arabs are the problem.
Kazin attack on Zinn
The Strange Afterlife of Cornelius Castoriadis (I was influenced by him in my teens)
Sartre and Camus
David Hirst on Yasin.
The Propaganda line has been set: Isareli Foreign Ministry aims to equate Yassin with bin Laden, says an Israeli newspaper. Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi was found to be the long lost son of Yasin.
For some homeschoolers, political causes shape daily lessons. Is this education - or indoctrination?, asks CSM
women choose funeral studies
U.S. Will Retain Power in Sovereign Iraq; but will keept the puppets for show. (thanks Shirin)
Iraqi Cleric Intensifies Opposition to Interim Constitution: Ayatollah Sistani Sends Letter to U.N. Threatening Boycott of Meetings (Full text of letter was printed in Al-Hayat today).
Enron played key role in events presaging war
U.S. allies in Europe express dissent, want U.N. participation
There is nothing more objective and more balanced than US military investigations: An American soldier who killed Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana in Iraq was justified in opening fire, a U.S. army report said on Monday.
Does Israel really think that it can extinguish the flames of Palestinian nationalism by killing yet another Palestinian leader? Do you know how many Palestinian leaders Israel has killed over the decades, and how many bystanders and victims of mistaken identity were also killed by "the only democracy in the Middle East" (they do not mean Cyprus when they invoke that phrase in US)? Once, in the 1970s Israel killed a poor Moroccan waiter in a Scandinavian city only because he looked like Palestinian leader Abu `Ali Salamah, that Israel later assassinated in a car bomb in Beirut, along with tens of other innocent people. My best friend Amthal almost died in that explosion. Israeli and Zionist leaders always promoted the silly propaganda line that we have to kill this terrorist or that, and finish off this Palestinian organization or that, etc. In the 1970s, they would promote the argument that Palestinians left to their own devices would not consider attacking Israelis, that PLO leaders are mere pawns for KGB and some Soviet conspiracies. Now it is all about an Iranian and Syrian conspiracy. This morning I heard the highly incoherent and inarticulate Israeli foreign minister, who belongs to the fascist wing of the Zionist movement, asserts that Hamas, Hizbullah, and Al-Qa`idah are all the same. It is important for Zionist leaders now to thrown in Al-Qa`idah for special emphasis to US audiences. Alan Dershowitz produced a book on terrorism some months after Sep. 11 with a cover that places the faces of `Arafat next to Bin Laden. It became a best-seller. And if the US audience can still think that Iraq was behind Sep. 11, it is not that far of a stretch to link Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, to Al-Qa`idah, and then to Palestinian groups. Hamas has killed innocent Israelis (and you know that I am opposed to suicide bombings but blame the phenomenon on a history of Zionist subjugation and humiliation of the Palestinian people), but how many know that Israel has been regularly killing Palestinians (mostly civilians) over the past few weeks, the past few months, and the past few years and the past few decades? Some do not even know that, and some know and do not care, and some know and care, and others do not know and do not care. And how many consider Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians to fit into the rubric of terrorism? Or do the Muslim and Arab victims do not qualify for humanitarian attention? Not in the US for sure. This is the last country in which support for Israelis (45 %) exceeds support for Palestinians (some 11 % or so). Shaykh Yasin is now dead, Shaykh X and Shaykh Y will soon emerge, and then Israel will insist that they have to kill Z and Y and then all be well, and the Palestinian would then find the Israeli occupation to be pleasurable and enjoyable. And John Kerry and other Democrats (not to mention Republicans) will add their voices, and call on the Congress to give Israel the tools it needs to fight terrorism. Do you know that for much of the 1950s there was no Palestinian political violence, and unarmed Palestinians used to sneak through the border to check on their homes, groves, orchards, and cows, only to be shot like ducks by Israeli gunmen. Do you know that thousands of Palestinians were killed in that fashion? You can read about that in the book by Benni Morris (yes, that same advocate of ethnic cleansing) titled Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001 When I watched the footage of the demonstrations this morning, I could only see the eyes of the children walking and chanting and some were even around the pool of blood, the site of Yasin's killing. Do you want to guess what those children would do in the future? And who will be blamed then? Some Micronesian conspiracy? I am a person committed to the the long-term co-existence of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and atheists and others in the region, but I am convinced that the future of Jewish existence in the region, including in the Holy Land, has been jeopardized by the actions and words of long bloody history of fire Zionism. This is the irony of Zionism after all. As Shlomo Avineri (a committed Zionist for sure) remarks in his book on the Making of Modern Zionism: how some (in my opinion all) Zionist leaders were committed nationalists in their own movement, but were unable to see the power of nationalism on the other side.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Al-Hayat is reporting that a letter written by Ayatollah `Ali Sistani makes it very clear that he will not meet with UN representative Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi (who does what US govt asks him to do in Afghanistan, Iraq, and anywhere else) unless the UN makes it clear that the new provisional constitutional is not binding on future Iraqi governments. But Bush continues to make progress in Iraq.
timeline of Iraq lies
Iraq: the postwar conflict
Fresh evidence suggests castaways of 1782 chose to marry into African tribes
Another place Bush has made an ideal model for the whole Middle East: Hundred dead in Afghan violence
Unhip, Unhip Al Hurra: The Middle East hates its new TV station.
Messing With the Mind in Egypt.
Estimates that between 8500 and 10400 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the Iraqi war.
Grave diggers in Iraq are reporting that they have never been busier since the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88. On average, they bury some 16 bodies daily. But Bush really thinks that "and it is a good thing that the men and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like." Is he for real? He thinks that people in the Middle East really are eager to have car bombs, explosives in mosques, kidnapping, foreign occupation, more than 10,000 people behind bars, shooting at civilians in their daily life? That speech (read it for yourself) must have been written before the war, on the assumption that war and occupation would proceed smoothly.
Iraqi newspaper Az-Zaman is reporting that some 1000 Iraqi scientists, engineers, professors, and experts who worked in the former regime's military industrialization sector have been assassinated.
Cheney, energy and Iraq invasion: Supreme Court to rule on secrecy (thanks Larry)
The interview on CBS 60 minutes with former US counter-terrorism Richard Clark was very important. If somebody has the transcript please share. This is the report. He details how the Bush administration ignored the Bin Laden's threat.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

At least six Afghan civilians have been killed and seven others injured in a US air-strike in Afghanistan's central province of Uruzgan.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said that the countries' [US and Saudi Arabia] relations remained "quite strong" and
free of tension.
Iraq: To hear the residents of this country ravaged by war, terrorism, occupation and resistance tell it: It was the worst of times. It is the worst of times.
For Americans, the center of U.S. military and civilian operations is a secure bubble in a hostile city. To Iraqis, it's a symbol of colonialism.
Palestinian teen and girl, 7, killed by IDF in refugee camps John Kerry urges Sharon to kill more Palestinian children. It is good for his campaign.
The U.S. military charged six soldiers on Saturday with offenses including cruelty, mistreatment and assault following a criminal investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at a jail in Iraq. (Dont worry: they will be cleared).
In remembrance: Named and identified victims of the war on Iraq. Minimum estimate of Iraqi civilians killed: 8769
Powell visits Iraq, is greeted by anger
Al-Qa`idah's trail of blood and destruction. By the way, I am not sure that Bin Laden and Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri are still in the area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I really think that they may have slipped somewhere else, where they are less sought after. This occurred to me after the last video footage (undated) of both men that was aired on Al-Jazeera, and sent by Al-Qa`idah's audio-visual propaganda outfit, known as As-Sahab Foundation. It hit me then how they both were dressed to look as Afghans, with the head gear and all. And I wondered as to why they would have that marking if they really were avoiding capture, unless they really want people to think that they are still there in the border area. And Bin Laden dressed like an Arab when he lived in Afghanistan, and he is dressing as an Afghan why would he want people to know? And I read a couple of months ago in some Arabic publication that Adh-Dhawihiri may in fact be in as far away a place as North Africa. Who knows.
Dramatic corroboration of the massacre of Afghan prisoners by the US-backed Northern Alliance at the start of the war in 2001 was last night provided by American pathologists commissioned to investigate the claims by the UN.
Mosque blasts expose deadly power struggle
One Year After Start Of Iraq War, Majority (57%) OF Americans Says U.S. Did the Right Thing In Going To War (By the way, I read about another poll (if somebody has it, please share, where most Americans think that most Sep. 11 hijackers came from....Iraq).
I just spoke at the San Jose anti-war rally. I am not a good rally speaker as I do not have the skill for it. I do not know how to engage the crowd like Ted Kennedy (as in: What do we want? What? I did not hear you? etc). I tend to speak the way I normally speak. It was very hot in San Jose. The crowd was small, but was surprised how much the Palestinian issue figured on banners and flags. The crowd was quite multi-ethnic, but did not see much college students (am I right Anthony: as you were there longer). I heard one speaker say that people are watching the Mel Giblson's movie in large numbers because they want to identify with Jesus' opposition to the Roman war machine. I could not believe that. Now some optimism in life is good, but that much optimism is quite delusional. The left and the antiwar movement will not spread unless the young college crowd is energized. I am not speaking about events that take place on college campuses, but about college students who engage in activities outside of college, as was the case during the Vietnam war. There was a big and angry demonstration in Egypt. Do you know that Richard Perle had said back in the fall of last year (on MSNBC's Hardball--how much the host hated me the one time I appeared on that show--never to be invited back of course) that Iraqis will dance in the streets welcoming US troops, and that Arabs will be delighted with the war on Iraq? But then again it was brilliant Perle who in a paper he wrote in 1996 predicted that Iraqis will insist on bringing back the Hashemite monarchy because the Iraqi Shi`ites follow the Jordanian royal family? Kid you not.
Let us set the record straight: US troops are NOT involved in any way in the clashes in Pakistan. Now, it is true: "A U.S. helicopter gunship wounded three civilians in Pakistan in an attack" but it was a mistake. Are you going to make a big deal out of one mistake?

Friday, March 19, 2004

Meet the Pioneers and Rangers, the president's A-team for campaign cash
A year after the invasion the spectre of murderous civil war still hangs over Iraq
US media would like you to believe that only the Sunnis in Iraq are not happy with the US: "Thousands of fundamentalist Shi'ites in Iraq have marked the anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq with a mass protest and prayer meeting at the centre of Baghdad, demanding the scrapping of the country's interim constitution, accusing the American administration of denying them democracy."
A UK newspaper says: "British troops are said to have killed 23 innocent Iraqis, and yet the British people and government remain silent". (Of course, the American people are furious over reports that US troops have killed innocent Iraqis).
Hamid Karzai, US favorite puppet, speaks on his democratic plan for Afghanistan: "The Afghan government is keen to have elections in June, July or in August -- depending on the preparations for elections." He added that it may also be September, October, December, January, February, March, April, or May. US govt praises Karzai for his firm and definite democratic plan.
..."A surprise hit of the event was Lt. Col. Richard Long, public information officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, whose "bursts of candor proved thrilling.'' Long admitted that so many media workers were embedded because "we wanted to dominate the information environment. We wanted to beat the propagandists at their own game.'' He also said that the Centcom briefings "really weren't that good. They were not confirming things that were happening out in the field,'' and didn't give enough details."
Instructions on Meeting Bush: "We're going to show him a lot of love by waving flags," the officer said. Telling the troops not to salute, he added: "You're going to wave and clap and make a lot of noise. . . . You must smile. We are happy campers here."
About 100 Bahraini Islamists shouting, "God is great!" and "Why do you drink?" stormed a French restaurant serving alcohol near Manama, the capital, and threatened diners with knives,
witnesses said.
Noam Chomsky yesterday gave his reluctant endorsement to the Democratic party's presidential contender, John Kerry, calling him "Bush-lite", but a "fraction" better than his rival. Chomsky cannot have it both ways. I am disappointed. Americans, including some on the far left, cannot break with the two-party system.
The Bush administration considered bombing Iraq in retaliation almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against New York and Washington, according to a new first-person account by a former senior counterterrorism adviser inside the White House. Richard Clarke, the president's counterterrorism coordinator at the time of the attacks, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained on Sept. 12 - after the administration was convinced with certainty that al-Qaida was to blame - that, ``there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.''
For those who asked about background of Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri
I was just talking about that to my IR students: Joseph Nye's Soft vs. Hard Power
What you do not get on US media. There was a big demonstration today in Baghdad against US war and occupation. Let me know if US media cover it. Also, the Sunni member of the Iraqi puppet council, Muhsin `Abdul-Hamid (who is the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq) gave a fiery Friday sermon speech today. If you close your eyes and listen to the words, you would have thought that it was Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri speaking, with condemnations of "infidels, hypocrites, and Mossad gangs."
The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne (thanks Elie)
The Syrian government should take immediate steps to curb excessive use of force and halt mass arrests in its response to unrest in Kurdish areas of the country, Human Rights Watch said today. (thanks S.)
I am not making this one up: A Saudi newspaper reports that: "Hijab May Prevent Nose Cancer" (thanks Abbas)
More than 100 women have been raped in a single attack carried out by Arab militias in Darfur in western Sudan. (thanks Walter)
The Saudi newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat has a first-page article detaling the long intimate relationship between Sen. John Kerry and the Saudi government. It noted the irony that this Senator who was close to the Saudi royals is now attacking the Saudi government.
Iraqi Journalists Rebuke Powell Over Killings

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Strained U.S.-European Relations Turn Pragmatic
Full text: Amnesty Interantioanl Report. "A year after US-led forces launched war on Iraq, the promise of improved human rights for Iraqis remains far from realized. Most Iraqis still feel unsafe in a country ravaged by violence. "
Arab TV worker 'killed by US troops': Let me guess: an investigation (if that is to be conducted) will reveal that US troops acted reasonably and proportionately. He worked for Al-Arabiyya TV station, which is quite favorable of US.
Pakistan is awarded "favorite dictatorship" award by US

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I find the Iraqi polls conducted by Iraqis to constitute a more accurate measure of Iraqi public opinion. This is the most recent poll conducted by the most professional outfit in Iraq, the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies and Research (a fancy title for a two-persons operations from what I gather), and the findings were published in Az-Zaman (one of the most widely read papers in Iraq, published by Sa`d Al-Bazzaz, former Goeebels of Saddam, and current Goebbels of US occupation). It reveals the following: 54 % do not trust Paul Bremer (vs. 33.2); 54.9 do not trust the coalition authority (vs. 32.8); 42.8 do not trust coalition forces (vs. 31.6); 42.8 do not trust UN (vs. 43.7); 35.4 do not trust the puppet council (vs. 52.9); 32.7 do not trust the ministries (vs. 49.9). And 40 % are disinterested in activities and plans of the coalition authority (vs. 38.6); 87.6 consider the achievements of the coalition with regard to providing electric power to be weak (vs. 4.9); 60 % find it weak in providing drinking water; 81.8 find it weak in providing gasoline; 41.9 find it weak in providing food stuff; 78.7 find it weak in improving sewage systems; 32.3 find it weak in renovation of schools. 5.2 % find the puppet council to be fairly representative of Shi`ites. 50.2 % reject the dual citizenship law (many in the Arab press, by the way, are expressing outrage that Israelis can now attain Iraqi citizenship) while 33.4 % accept it. And 48.6 % oppose the running of political parties by people who returned from exile, and 52.7 % do not want them to occupy high political posts. If you factor in the percentage of Kurdish respondents, you realize that the picture presented by the administration does not fit.
The Writing on Baghdad's Walls
Another replay of the Rumsfeld Sunday's appearance.
Afghan Elections Face Delay, Karzai Says. By the way, how many countries have Bush liberated so far? I have lost count.
US vs. Europe: two views of terror
Israel was strongly criticised by an all-party group of British parliamentarians visiting Gaza yesterday after its armed forces killed four Palestinians in two missile strikes during a new offensive against militants in the strip. In other news, members of the US congress pledged to maintain their impressive bipartisan support for whatever Israel does.
A French motorist has been given a three-month suspended prison sentence for doing his level best to run over a pedestrian he mistakenly identified as Osama bin Laden. This brilliant Frenchman was certain that Bin Laden was hiding in the French city of Montpellier
He is talking and it aint pretty. The US general abruptly dismissed as Iraq's first occupation administrator says he fell out with the Bush circle because he wanted free elections, and not an imposed programme of mass privatisation.
Keyboards, computer mice and telephone dials are more infested with microbes than toilet seats, according to a University of Arizona study. (thanks Jennifer)
Israel Signs Up for EU Satellite Navigation Project. Guess who will pay for it?
Al-Quds Al-`Arabi printed more of the statement by Abu Hafs Batallions. No wonder Al-Hayat quoted a few excerpts from it. It contains anti-Saudi rhetoric. It contains a pledge that the US will NOT be attacked because they want Bush to be re-elected. And they said "Democrats are cunning and can "sex up" infidelity and pass it to the Arab and Islamic nation in the name of civilization." It basically argued that Bush is good because his actions are so provocative (to Muslims and Arabs) that they succeed in waking up people. I remain suspicious and skeptical about the statement. It also had a slight off-handed insult against the Taliban, referring to their "mountain withdrawal." Is that an indication of some split and conflict? The statement went on to say that Al-Qa`idah is now freer to operate than before. Also, would a true extremist fundamentalist refer to the "Arab nation," I wonder. Some mainstream ones even avoid recognizing any ummah aside from the "Islamic nation." And it is not characteristic of Al-Qa`idah propaganda and literature to talk about details of domestic politics of countries that they dismiss as "infidel"? I feel more worried than less worried. I believe the danger is lurking but from unexpected sides and groups. What if it is neither ETA, nor Al-Qa`idah? And who is capable of running operations in Europe for Al-Qa`idah when Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad are in US custody, and Sayf Al-`Adl is in Iran (most likely under house arrest, and others have been killed? By the way, Aljazeera in English is reporting that the Hotel was close to an office of Iraqi intelligence, and yet that item is not on Al-Jazeera Arabic website, and did not hear it in their news reports. But Al-Jazeera's office is also close to the blast site. I forgot to say that the statement cited above also contained tons of condemnation of the UN.
I may have to go back to school. I really do not comprehend the level of analysis in US media. I heard a number of officials and journalists today asserting that the bombing in Baghdad is a sign that the US is winning in its efforts in Iraq. What am I missing. And then I was treated to a "debate" on CNN: on the one side was a journalist from Wall Street Journal and on the other (ostensibly leftist side) was the editor of the New Republic. The New Republic, which supported the first Gulf War, the Bosina war, the recent Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, and every war ever launched by Israel? And the one which would love to have the US go to war against Syria and Iran? This is the range of debate in US media.
After the bombing in Baghdad today, I am now increasingly skeptical of claims of responsibility, when they occur that is. I am increasingly inclined now to think that "a state" is perhaps responsible for some of the recent terrorism: (I am referring specifically to the bombing in Spain, and the bombing of mosques and civilian targets in Iraq). I am not convinced that the claim by Abu Hafs battalion is necessarily credible. I went back and read carefully the statement that was faxed to Al-Quds Al-Arabi last week, and which claimed responsibility for the Spain bombing. I am not sure whether this is Al-Qa`idah, or whether another group is using Al-Qa`idah's name to hide its own identity. I believe that Al-Qa`idah is not sophisticated enough, or interested enough, to follow internal political developments in Spain, and wanting to take sides in them. I could be mistaken, but Abu Hafs Battalion also claimed responsibility for the East Coast blackout last year. Now that in itself is not significant. Palestinian groups (Fath, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad) often claimed responsibility for attacks that they were not responsible for, which does not mean that they were not responsible for attacks at all. And having read Abu Hafs Batallion's statement today, one passing sentence struck me; it said: "We say to the unit of Abu Rabah, the leadership has approved the offer. Work begins when the delegate arrives." What is that? Is that a real coded message, or a scare tactic? Also, I should point out that the Bush administration is in trouble either way. If there is some state (I am not ready to offer my suspicions now) behind the attacks, then the entire course of the war on terrorism is proceeding on false premises. If, on the other hand, Al-Qa`idah is responsible for the Spain and Iraq attacks, then the claims by Bush officials that they have largely destroyed the leadership and operational capabilities of the organization cannot be substantiated. And today (tomorrow, Thursday's edition), Al-Hayat prints on the first page a statement that it says was sent by none other than Kata'ib Abu Hafs Al-Masri. They did not print the whole statement in full, for some reason. Saudi intelligence must have prevented them. This one was saying that the new Spanish government will be given a testing period, a truce of some sort. And then it refers to the US election and says that basically the organization prefers George W. Bush "because we will not find somebody more stupid than you," because it says he prefers force over wisdom. But then it says that there is no real difference between Kerry and Bush, although Kerry "will kill the nation when it is distracted," whatever that means. What a mess.
This is from the Pew Poll (cited in full yesterday):

Favorability Ratings:
Very Somewhat Un-
Fav Fav Fav
% % %
U.S. 13 35 32
Britain 18 49 18
France 16 48 29
Germany 5 36 46
Russia 15 38 38
Turkey 66 22 9
Pakistan 87 10 2
Morocco 70 20 9

Favorability Ratings: Jews
VeryFav SomewhatFav Un-Fav
% % %
U.S. 36 41 8
Britain 23 53 9
France 28 53 11
1991 14 58 14
Germany 10 53 20
1991 5 47 24
Russia 18 47 25
1991 9 49 26
Turkey 6 21 49
Pakistan 1 2 80
Morocco 1 5 92
As I was driving to work this morning, listening to Fox News on my satellite radio--I cannot believe that there was life before satellite radio--, they were covering the massive Hotel explosion in Baghdad. They interviewed a "terrorism" expert from the Investigative Team (or something--the outfit of Steven Emerson, the brilliant fellow who "guessed" that Oklahoma City bombing was the work of Muslim terrorists). Commenting on the explosion from DC (or NY), this fellow said: that the explosion had the fingerprints of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi all over it. I kid you not. Now car bombs have been used by Arab governments and Israel (in fact, the Zionist Stern Gang in pre-1948 Palestine may have been the first organization to ever use a car bomb) for decades, so why would the car bomb in itself indicate the work of Abu Mus`ab. This is too frustrating: this level of ignorance and stupidity. I am getting a headache: wait, I think my headache has the fingerprints of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi. Help.
"Freedoms" under American occupation: The American occupation relies for its propaganda, among other things of course, on a daily newspaper, As-Sabah. It is funded by the Pentagon and prints some 50,000 copies daily. Now, Iraqi newspapers, including US allies, are complaining about US methods to maintain the prominence of As-Sabah. The Iraqi National Congress and the pro-US newspaper Al-Mada (the latter published the list of Saddam's beneficiaries) have come out publicly against US methods especially as the US-dominated ministries are basically expected (if not compelled) to publish all their advertisements in As-Sabah.
For Iraqis in Harm's Way, $5,000 and 'I'm Sorry': Nearly a year ago, Ali Kadem Hashem watched his wife burn to death and his three children die after an American missile hit his house. Last week, he got $5,000 from the United States government and an "I'm sorry" from a young captain. Mr. Hashem sat for a few moments staring at the stack of bills, crisp $100's. "Part of me didn't want to take it," he said. "It was an insult."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The former Iraqi exile group that gave the Bush administration exaggerated and fabricated intelligence on Iraq also fed much of the same information to newspapers, news agencies and magazines in the United States, Britain and Australia. A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles based on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress's Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq. The Information Collection Program was financed out of the at least $18 million that the U.S. Congress approved for the Iraqi National Congress, led by Ahmed Chalabi, now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, from 1999 to 2003. The group remains on the Pentagon's payroll.
This is very cute. The Iraqi US-selected puppet council wants to stay in power.
Britain and other Western countries have failed adequately to investigate the role of multinational companies in exacerbating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
As you know, the US is claiming that it is serious about promoting democracy in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has just arrested a group of reformers (mostly academics--I think that I met one of them recently in Qatar). Do you think that the US government will speak loudly against Saudi oppression? Hold your breath.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has accused France of being "directly" involved in the 1994 genocide.
The Bloody Price of the "War on Terror", By ROBERT FISK
Who is the brilliant person responsible for sending Christian missionaries into Iraq? I ask this as we read more news about the killing of US Christian missionaries in Iraq. . Sending Christian missionaries to convert Muslims in Iraq is as dangerous as sending armed troops. And would the US (the self-designated "beacon of freedom") grant visas to, say, Saudi Wahhabi preachers who wish to enter the US to convert Americans? A friend of mine who is active in Christian missionary circles told me that Christian missionaries now operate "under cover." A plumber by day and a missionary by night. But that is quite dangerous as well as it may jeopardize the status of all those Americans who work and live in the Middle East and in Muslim countries, and most of whom do good work. And how does that work? A missionary under cover? Do they wait for the right moment to ask Husayn--or Husniyyah, innocently, whether he/she has seen the lastest Mel Gibson movie? And the presence of the missionaries will be used, and has been used, by the religious extremists in the region who want to convince their audiences that there is indeed a clash of civlization, and who want to make the current conflict a religious one.
Incredible. Look at the differences between, say, the Japanese Government and the US government. The Japanese government has bought spots on AlJazeera to explain to Arab viewers their mission in Iraq, and its purpose. I saw one spot this morning. Very sensitive and well-done. I know that it is propaganda but it shows you how Japan (not the US) thinks that you can influence Arab public opinion in a gentle manner.
From today's San Francisco Chronicle: Army counterintelligence agents improperly tried to gather information on civilian participants at a University of Texas conference on Islam, the Army acknowledged on Monday. Two agents of the Army's Intelligence and Security Command from Fort Hood went to the law school on Feb. 9, seeking information on people who attended a conference titled "Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism." Conference organizers and civil rights activists accused the Army of spying on the conference and using tactics meant to stifle free speech. The Army is prohibited from investigating civilians unless the FBI waives its jurisdiction or requests assistance, and that was not done, said Deborah Parker, a spokeswoman for the Army Intelligence and Security Command, based at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Full text: This is yet another poll of Iraqis by ABC News. This one shows clearly the divergent views of Arabs versus Kurds.

Monday, March 15, 2004

I have offered my brief and very negative review of Mel Gibson's The Passion below. But I saw the other day a report on that movie on Al-Manar TV (Hizbullah's station). Unsurprisingly, the station was very favorable toward the movie, and they interviewed a Maronite priest who went on to blame the controversy over the movie on a "Zionist conspiracy." So Hizbullah, the Maronite Church, and Mel Gibson are now in the same trench? J'accuse.
In a new poll published in the Guardian, an overwhelming majority of British Muslims - 73% - are strongly opposed to terrorist attacks by al-Qaida and other organisations. But a small minority - 13% of British Muslims - disturbingly say they believe further such attacks on the US would be justified.
In a new BBC poll of Iraqis, US favoured son, international embezzler, Ahmed Chalabi had no support at all, while Saddam Hussein remains one of the six most popular politicians in the country. And Chalabi is the least trusted leader in the whole of Iraq. By the way, after reading about the report on the poll on the BBC website, I was rather surprised with some of the advertised results. So I retrieved the full text of the report. Read and judge for yourself. Very very suspicious and unreliable, in my estimation, and the BBC website adds a positive spin that does not necessarily conform with the contents and the results. Also, I find it absolutely unbelievable that Ayatollah Sistani (and his name was wrongly identified as Said instead of `Ali) scored so low on people's preference for leader, as did Al-Hawzah, while Saddam got some points. There is something wrong here, and often the problem is translation and methodology. For example, Professor Ingelhart at the University of Michigan has been running public opinion surveys around the world in more than 70 countries. In one published volume of his work, Human Values, people in more than 40 countries were asked who are their least favorite neighbors. And in Turkey, more than 90 per cent of respondents allegedly said that Muslims are their least favorite neighbors. This tells you why I get suspicious about some Western-conducted surveys in Middle East lands. Also, in this poll, people have high preference for religious leaders (more than 40 percent), and yet religious leaders scored low when people were asked about their choices.
From an Australian news source: "Australia's F/A-18 pilots defied the orders of American commanders and refused to drop their bombs on up to 40 missions during the invasion of Iraq, it can now be revealed. In a remarkable account of how our airmen applied Australian rules of engagement, an RAAF pilot has told The Sun-Herald each of the 14 RAAF Hornet pilots aborted three to four bombing runs because intelligence given at pre-flight briefings did not concur with what they found at the target."
Full text: Oxfam's report on Farm Workers in US. Like Machines, Nearly Two Million US Farmworkers Labor Without Rights
US Combat Fatalities in Iraq Surge Suddenly. New York Times gives its explanation.
A murderous dictator, his rapper son and a $700m-a-year oil boom
I have been wondering: Is George W. Bush a liberal feminist or a socialist feminist or a radical feminist or an existentialist feminist? Inquiring minds want to know.
Full text: The 1st Annual The State of the News Media 2004. Most American news media are experiencing a steady decline in audiences and are significantly cutting their investment in staff and resources.
Goerge W. Bush is depressed over the socialist victory in Spain.
On US Plan for "democracy in the Middle East." (thanks Jane) I do not take the US plan seriously; I think the US will use the "threat" of democracy against Middle East governments that do not toe the line, and allow dictatorships to proceed in their violations of human rights provided they do what they are told (like Saudi Arabia). I also happen to believe that "democracy" per se is not that pressing a need for solving the problems of the Middle East region. (But of course we need to end the horrific abuses of human rights in those countries. Don't get me wrong. Democracy is great for writers and academics like myself, but what would it do to the poor of the region, 1/3rd of whom live on less than a dollar a day? What has "democracy" done to the people of Russia? Of course, ideally we should have a system that marries democracy to social justice, as they have tried to do in Sweden. But for me socio-economic justice is supreme (and not along the lines of the failed and lousy socialist governments of the former Soviet camp).
"I have the same rags and the same food as cowherds and grooms, and I treat the soldiers as my brothers." Who is the modest person who said that?
This is a video clip of the Rumsfeld interview (thanks S.)
Israel refuses Abbas' burial in West Bank (Under Oslo accords, PLO buffoon Yaser `Arafat gave Israel the right to determine which (dead or living) Palestinian may or may not be permitted entry into West Bank and Gaza).
Iran's leading reformist intellectual tries to reconcile religious duties and human rights

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Nearly half of Jordanian women suffer physical abuse in the home, a ground-breaking UN report has found.
Six members of an Iraqi family were killed and four children wounded when their village was fired on by US troops
HUMAN rights organisations have renewed calls for conditions at Guantanamo Bay to be brought under international scrutiny, after new claims of beatings, inhumane treatment and interrogations at gunpoint.
Party time at the White House. The White House will mark this Friday's first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with a week-long media blitz
From Today's Face the Nation on CBS:

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass
destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat
to us, to this country?
Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard
use the phrase `immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of
folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...
SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.
Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say
nobody said that.
SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...
Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.
Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says `some have argued that the nu'--this is you
speaking--`that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to
seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.'
Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...
Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.
Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--
suppose I've...
Mr. FRIEDMAN: `No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security
of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.'
Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we
believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed
and we still do not know--we will know.
If you vote for George W. Bush, he promises that he will not start more than 34 new wars in his second term. US special forces troops have arrived in several north African countries over recent months
Intelligence sources say their monitoring gave no reason to suspect an al-Qaida attack in Europe was imminent
The only democracy in the Middle East is...Cyprus. In a national poll of Israelis, 83% of those asked believe that Israel's Arabs should not take part in fateful decisions
It is amazing how members of the House of Saud still talk almost fondly about Usamah Bin Laden. These people have all met him, and we will eventually know the nature of the relationship between House of Saud and Bin Laden. Take a look at this. This is Prince Turki bin Faysal, former head of foreign intelligence in Saudi Arabia (who mysteriously left his job 10 days before Sep. 11) and current Saudi ambassador in UK. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he says (about Bin Laden): "At first he seemed shy, friendly, almost gentle. He was soft-spoken, a man of sparse sentences. Our first meeting must have taken place around 1984, and the last one in 1989 or 1990...His presence, dignified and reserved, must have made an impression on the Afghans back then."
Micronesian Soldier Wounded in Iraq Becomes U.S. Citizen
Where your income tax money is going. (thanks Julie)
US and UK Iraq casualty count
Army sent mentally ill troops to Iraq
Pentagon officials said there have been 106 reports of sexual assault of troops deployed in the Middle East over the past 14 months.
Strengths and Limits of U.S. Foreign Policy
Iraqi students rally against constitution (thanks Valerie)
Univ. Ordered to Show Abortion Records
A tycoon who lives in a mansion off the Kings Road in Chelsea has emerged at the centre of accusations over an alleged coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea.
A United Nations plan to provide three million HIV-infected patients in Africa with anti-retroviral drugs by 2005 is in danger of collapsing owing to lack of funds, UN and World Health Organisation officials said.
Revealed: the full story of the Guantanamo Britons
Democrat Kerry Challenges Bush to Monthly Debates; and Bush challenges Kerry to Daily Fist Fights

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Chalabi was one of the most notorious crooks in the history of the Middle East."
Al Jazeera Goes to Jail (thanks Lisa)

Friday, March 12, 2004

TORTURE IN Guantanamo CAMP: Jamal says: 'I was beaten by special squad in show of force. Guards chant while kicking and punching"
Did the Saudis buy a president? (Angry Arab is slightly irritated. I have planned my Saudi Arabia book to be titled "House of Bush and House of Saud." It was advertised as such in numerous appearances and press interviews and citations. Then my editor did not like the title, and it was changed. Now this book is appearing with that title. But that is ok, provided the book is good.)
The IMF and World Bank continue to push privatization, in spite of its massive failures
Levels of globalization vs. levels of religious participation
Easier Internet Wiretaps Sought: Justice Dept., FBI Want Consumers To Pay the Cost
Election ad 'plays on fear of Arabs'
Washington has been channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - including those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago.
Most Israelis, even women, think women should be butt of physical violence. Nearly 60 percent of Israelis, men and women alike, believe women deserve to be the butt of physical violence at least occasionally, revealed a poll published Friday by the daily Yediot Aharonot.
Susan Okin, feminist political thinker, dies. She probably was the first person to devote a book-length study to the subject of the status of women in Western philosophy.
Where the girls are, by Ruth Rosen

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Undisguised bigotry: (and for those who are reading this outside of the US, remember that Liz Smith is a liberal Democrat): From Liz Smith's syndicated column on Thursday, March 11, 2004. " 'REPORTER MARIE Brenner has the most meaningful pages in Vanity Fair. Her article, "Daughters of France, Daughters of Allah," will make your hair stand on end. While France is in secular turmoil over girls wearing Islamic headscarves in public schools, the real tragedy behind Islam in Europe (now referred to as "Eurabia") is that 70,000 young women are being forced into arranged marriages. "It's nothing more than rape," says one woman. The battle of the headscarf actually disguises a larger issue - Islamization, with the predicted increase of Muslims in France being 25 percent by the year 2020. If France is, indeed, the test tube of European politics, we need to understand what's going on there!"
Iraqi police accused in killings
Women are becoming the main victims of the global HIV/Aids epidemic
Iraqi Women 'Collaborators' Killed , observes CBS News.
Military Families vs. the War
A federal immigration official who once referred to detained immigrants as ''scumbuckets'' has been appointed to oversee the Miami office charged with detaining and deporting foreign nationals.
You can get a free one-day pass to read this story: A betrayal of democracy: The former National Security Council chief on Latin America says that Bush has created a disaster in Haiti.
Lawyers and families of the freed Guantanamo Bay detainees say they are "absolutely delighted" at the men's release from British custody.
You cannot claim that Israel is not helpful (in wars against Muslims and Arabs): An Israeli security team will visit India shortly to train its security forces and intelligence teams for "anti-insurgency operations" in Kashmir
Contract Flaws in Iraq Cited
In a case of mistaken identity that sent a shudder through the capital's large corps of foreign professionals, U.S. agents handcuffed a Spanish economist and took him off an international flight here because his name matched that of an individual on a watch list, officials said Wednesday. But officials insisted that they did not know that there is more than one person by the name of Alex.
President Bush makes overtures to women, but is largely solidifying support among men.
A Briton released from the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said he was beaten, humiliated and interrogated for up to 12 hours at a time during two years' detention.
Zimbabwe set to charge 60 'mercenaries'
Follow-up story: Two teenagers have been charged with the murder of two Thai prostitutes who were thrown into a crocodile-infested river near the Australian city of Darwin.
The Same Old Iraq, Just a Tiny Bit Worse Than Last Month, by ROBERT FISK

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Full text: a critical study of US media coverage of Iraqi WMDs.
U.S. Marines fatally shoot at least two followers of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi in Haiti
Surprise, surprise: US forces yesterday absolved themselves of blame for the deaths of nine children in an air strike, but refused to release their internal inquiry. This is the headline of the same story on ABC News site: "US military cleared of blame in Afghan air strike." Which makes you wonder, cleared by whom??
McDonald's has been criticised in Israel for forcing employees to speak only Hebrew to customers. John Kerry praises McDonald's for the move.
Those US taxpayers: please, do not be mad at me. But US government is paying international Iraqi embezzler, Ahmad Chalabi, some $340,000 per month to help him engage in more embezzlement.
Data and resources on women in Iraq.
The mystery of this plane (and US media are not interested):A plane carrying 64 suspected mercenaries that Zimbabwe claims was registered in the United States took off illegally from South Africa, before being impounded in Harare on Sunday, South African aviation authorities said today.
The new Pentagon papers (You can get a one-day pass to read)
Voters in four primaries yesterday were older and more liberal than those from earlier Southern contests, and were eager to see U.S. troops brought home from Iraq, according to exit polls. (thanks Yun)
America's favorite puppet strikes again: Hamid Karzai fires a political rival who dared to consider running against him.