Saturday, July 31, 2004

From Feather of the Crow by Syrian poet Adonis (my translation):
Coming without flowers or fields
Coming without seasons,
Nothing is for me
in the sand or the wind
in the splendor of morning
except youthful blood
flowing with the sky...
Coming without seasons
Coming without flowers or fields
and a spring of dust lies
in my blood
I live in my eyes
I eat from my eyes-
I live, I carry on life
while waiting for
a ship that embraces existence
that sinks to the deep
as if dreaming or
as if sailing away
without returning.
Rebels' writ runs large across the troublesome Sunni triangle.
A small cadre of exile fanatics now controls the Bush administration's Cuba policy, and Fidel Castro couldn't be happier.
U.S. Says It Received Afghan Prisoner From Americans Who Are Charged With Torture at Private Jail.
"Leave no race behind." Bush's re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.
In the US, there are courts that determine the innocence and guilt of people. In Iraq and occupied Palestine, military planes determine the innocence and guilt of people, and bomb accordingly.
Iraqi puppet forces: "According to a Government Accountability Office report released last month, nearly 3,000 policemen quit or were removed in one week in mid-April. Among the Iraqi National Guard, desertions ranged from 30 percent in northeastern and central Iraq to 82 percent around the western city of Fallujah, where insurgents battled besieging U.S. Marines. In all, 12,000 soldiers did not show up for duty, according to the report."
The price of Arab civilians: Fair price for a life? UK Army pays Iraqi family £390 after shooting girl dead.
A woman's place is to wait and listen, says the Vatican.
In Muqtada As-Sadr's republic.
Inside the Janjaweed: how one man escaped the ethnic cleansing in Darfur.
Arabic calligraphy, Iraqi resistance, and the prolonged US quagmire in Iraq:
I have noticed that the Iraq story has changed in US media. Attacks on US troops, and stories of kidnappings have taken on a routine course in media coverage. Arabic media dance to US tunes as well these days, more than ever. AlJazeera has also succumbed to Colin Powell's pressures; AlJazeera's coverage as of late should certainly be more pleasing to US government and to cause of empire. Where does one go to get an accurate picture of the Iraq situation? Certainly, US journalists sequestered in the Green Zone in Baghdad are as out of touch with the story, as a person living in Santa Cruze, California. I, however, can discern certain identifiable trends going on there. Certainly, the sectarian and ethnic fragmentation of the country has intensified. I do believe that US war and policy was predicated on that; not necessarily to encourage sedition in the body of the Iraqi nation, but for purposes of control. The US clearly had made a demographic/political calculation: that with the Kurds on the side of the US war (for reasons that are obvious to most of you), it would be wise to win the Shi`ites over because 1) they have suffered so much under Saddam and cannot but celebrate the collapse of his regime and 2) the Sunnis are harder to win over. It was indubitably a sectarian game that the US played with the gambit of neo-conservative wishful thinking that is now easy to mock and ridicule. I am prompted to write this after recently observing the banners of the new numerous Iraqi (presumably Sunni) groups that are claiming responsibility for a variety of acts of kidnappings and killings in Iraq. When these groups issue videos and pictures they often show the name of the group or gang written over a flag or a banner. In the years of the civil war in Lebanon, we had such imageries. But during the war there, the calligraphy was "natural", i.e. average. It could have been written by any of the men (presumably no women were involved) in the picture. In Iraq today, the calligraphy is professional. I find that very noteworthy. That bode ill for the US colonial project in Iraq. Do you know what that means? That those groups are not as secretive or underground as we may think; or as not as fearful to reveal themselves to the Iraqi public. It means that those groups are operating in quasi-open environment in their neighborhoods and show no reluctance to seek the skills of local Arabic calligraphers. It means that they are being protected and sheltered by the local population. That to me casts doubts on the theory of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi being behind all the attacks in Iraq. Don't get me wrong. I came back from Lebanon more convinced than ever that there is indeed a fanatical Wahhabi network operating inside Iraq. This network may or may not be independent of indigenous Iraqi groups, although I find it hard to believe that Zarqawi is able to challenge the US so openly without having local support and sympathy. But the picture of the Iraqi resistance is quite complex: it includes inside and outside groups, Sunni and Shi`ite groups, pro- and anti-Saddam groups, etc. These groups are not likely to evaporate. And the ranks of the broad spectrum of Iraqi resistance will increasingly swell as the puppet Iraqi government (under the discredited car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/prisoners' killers/embezzler, Iyad `Allawi) loses credibility as time goes by. Just focus your attention on the Shi`ite organization known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. This constituted a linchpin of US war plans in Iraq. The leadership of the group has been either silent as of late or following slowly in the footsteps of Muqtada As-Sadr. We have seen how Ahmad Chalabi is now a cheerleader for Muqtada As-Sadr, articulating an unmistakable Shi`ite sectarian message. He is now a community demagogue, no more. And as the failure of the puppet government seems clearer, and as the prospects of elections look dimmer, the Iraqi political and militia groups will scramble to try to capture whatever political cache from claiming to have participated in the "resistance." You shall see more of that as time goes by. Some members of the resistance are clear in wanting to negotiate for a political bargain with the Americans. Thus was the message of of "Nayif Ad-Dulaymi"--so code-named (one of the "resistance" leaders from Al-Falujah) in his interview with the magazine Ash-Shira` (July 5th, 2004). In the interview he admits receiving money from members of the former regime (while he strongly distances himself and the "residence" from `Izzat Ad-Duri who was close to the Kurdish Sufi tariqah Al-Kistraniyyah which is at odds with the Salafi and Wahhabi trends in the Sunni resistance movement) he openly concedes that his group aims at forcing the US into the "negotiating table." And if you judge the effectiveness of those groups (including those most militant elements related to Wahhabi Tawhid fanaticism)--and regardless of what you or I think of them and their horrific methods--one has to agree that they have been increasingly effective not in forcing a US withdrawal--which they know will not materialize in months--but in stripping the so-called "multinational" force down to its US-British components, and in scaring other countries and corporations from participating in the American colonial adventure in Iraq. The propaganda images of those groups are aimed at public opinion in Iraq (to scare those who wish to cooperate with US forces) and at foreign countries where governments my wish to send troops. This is why the Egyptian government was so quick to deny its intention of sending troops to Iraq after the kidnapping of its diplomat in Baghdad. But with Bush or Kerry in the White House, the US will deal with the situation with characteristic bravado and stubbornness: that victory is around the corner, that only if we send in more troops and if we deploy more firepower, we can bring the enemy to its knees. And if identifying the enemy in Vietnam was difficult, try doing that in Iraq with very few experts there knowing what is going on, and with the lines between hostile and friendly armed groups are very blurred. A person in Lebanon who knows the Iraq situation very well and who is in regular contact with groups and leaders in Iraq told me that much of the weapons of the Sunni and Shi`ite residence is coming from the ranks of US-trained Iraqi police and army forces. Muqtada As-Sadr's army (especially in As-Sadr city) is indebted to US-supplied Iraqi forces for its weaponry. With that, I do not believe that there are any conceivable scenarios of success (for the US) in Iraq; there are only different and increasingly similar scenarios of failure. It is a matter of the duration in which the US will begin to withdraw the troops and to reach resignation. But you can never underestimate the stubbornness of political leaders in a country in the grip of patriotic fever. And the new Saudi intiative (aimed at appeasing American Congress) regarding the formation of an Arab/Muslim force will not see the light of day. Saudi Arabia for one will NOT send one soldier, perhaps relying on the bravery of Macedonian soldiers in Iraq. But the US will continue (under Bush or Kerry) to insist that the mission will be completed, that the rebel will be defeated, that the US is on the right track, that the "enemies of freedom" cannot win, that US military will prevail, that the public needs to suppor the troops, that the media are focusing on the negatives, that "good things are happening in Iraq," that terrorists will be defeated in Iraq to protect US shores, that US wants to spread "freedom" around the world, and that the Iraqis support US efforts. Nobody will believe that except...a majority of the American people.
I knew that I would not last as a member of an organization, any organization. I hereby resign for good from the only organization that I am a member of. I am out of the ACLU. For a fistfull of dollars, the ACLU has pledged to abide by John Ashcroft's "watch lists" knowing that many innocent people appear on those lists.

Friday, July 30, 2004

A Homeland Security officer's alleged attack at Niagara Falls on a female tourist from Tianjin sparks public and official outrage.
This is Zionism. "In 2003, 13,000-16,000 more Palestinians were left homeless and internally displaced because of the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian homes by Israel."
"The U.S. Census Bureau has provided population data on Arab-Americans to the Department of Homeland Security, including their ancestry and the cities and postal areas in which they live."
This is Zionism. UN report: 63 percent of Palestinians below poverty line.
Thus spoke the demagogue: "During their conversation, Kerry informed Sharon that he has no argument with President George W. Bush's support for Sharon's rejection of a Palestinian right of return to Israeli territory."
Frenchmen Say Guantanamo Detention Was Like Hell.
Forgotten victims: Floods leave 1m Bangladeshis out on a limb.
Feminists beware: Pope warns feminists.
Yellow Press by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
Yellow papers these days
are distributing titles
kissing the hands of killers
wiping doorsteps
bestowing on quasi-men
and tales,
unconditional certificates
of absolution
throwing sand on
readers' faces
and the noise of flies
can be heard in its
lazy lines
and dogs bark in its rivers
its heroes are the forgers
of currency, history, and ideas
and the players with ropes
and the confidants/clowns
and the choir of evil and nasty
I saw them on every land
that is pregnant with
lightening and rain
under the shoes of toilers
and the hand of revolutionaries
those who lower the flags
in their eyes are
humiliation and shame
for the sea water to wash off the shame
Forgotten victims: UN calls for aid for flood-devastated Bangladeshis.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Accomplishment of Bush: Iraq 'battleground' for al-Qaeda.
International embezzler is back: Chalabi Reinvents Himself as a Populist.
Arab Americans Report Abuse:  U.-Mich. Study Finds Nearly 60 Percent Fear for Families.
Army blames leadership in Carson-linked abuse deaths.
Alleged terror suspects are held incommunicado all over the world.
I do not want to bother you, but is this not a country that Bush had already "liberated"?: Afghanistan could implode, MPs warn.
Iraqi "democracy" marches on: Threats force delay of key Iraqi congress.
The Unreported War: US Document Reveals Scale of Conflict. 
Hail, the Conquering War Criminal Comes!
What Kerry Really Did in Vietnam.
When you read the comments' section of this site you are tempted to lose faith in humanity.
Having listened to John Kerry's speech I felt the same pleasurable sensation that you get when you listen to...elevator music, or when you eat your first boiled potato, or when you have your first grape fruit--without the medical benefits of course.  Yesterday, John Edwards found it necessary to talk about the "safety and security" for Israel. Why Israel of all the nations in the world? Does Israel's arsenal of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons make that "little" state so vulnerable and worthy of support? Why not "safety and security" for Pakistan or Tanzania or Angola, etc.  It is amazing how protective the two parties' leaderships are over the ostensible security needs of Israel.  The Democratic Party supporters have been moving away from staunch Israel's support, while Republican Party supporters have been moving in the opposite direction towards Sharon.  The rise of the influence of the Christian Right with the Republican Party is an important factor in that respect.  The propaganda video about John Kerry was so cheesy and lame; nothing new.  Kerry has to be grateful for Kerry for managing to take a movie camera to Vietnam to record his exploits.  John Kerry (like Sen. McCain) does not like to talk about his Vietnam experience so he mentioned it only 6 or 7 times tonight.   It is amazing how Iraq was mentioned, or not mentioned.  So Kerry's message is that we are doing too much good for Iraqis, opening up fire stations there, while closing them down here.  The Iraqi people did not ask for fire stations or bombs, and would manage without US help, I strongly believe.  And Kerry and others keep talking about US leadership around the world.  I have never met a French person or a Polish person or an Arab person or a Chinese person who is looking up for American leadership.  Who invented that myth?  Did you notice that Kerry messed up the sentence on the Special Forces?  He basically said that he will double the size of the Special Forces to conduct "terrorist campaigns."  That was what he said (he meant--he corrected himself--"anti-terrorist campaigns).  Teresa (in the promo movie) talked about working every day at being an American; that you have to work at it.  I did not understand.  I am an American citizen and have never worked at "being an American," and I am as American as apple (or is it potato?) pie.  And Sen. Biden talked about a conflict between "freedom" and "militant fundamentalism."  Does he mean that "freedom" (and that is always a euphemism for the US) is pitted against militant Christian and Jewish fundamentalism? Of course, not. He should have said specifically Islamic fundamentalism because that is what he had in mind.   And what is the deal with bringing the candidate's children or spouses? Are they going to be objective in public? I am sure that Kerry's daughters (if they were to be honest) would have talked about how boring their dad is, and how painful it was listening to his stories when they were children.  Similarly, if Laura Bush is to be honest with the public, she would have complained about the intellectual, nay mental, limitations of her husband, and his lack of qualification as a husband/father, let alone as a president--or "leader of the free world" as Nixon kept calling himself long after leaving office.  But such are the festivals of the conventions these days.  Do you know that FOX News is hilarious?  FOX News should be emulated in countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia.  Are there actual people who really believe that they are "fair and balanced"?  Did you notice how much Fox focused on Al Sharpton because they know that he is extremely unpopular among many white male voters.  They kept playing excerpts of his speech so that you were under the impression that Sharpton gave daily, or hourly, speeches at the convention.  And whoever was speaking, they would search and locate Sharpton and zoom on his face.  Dont you like it when O'Reilly read emails ostensibly written to him complaining how liberal he is?  I love those.  And you know who is bothering me? (Say who?)  The Iraqi puppet Human Rights Minister.  He took the time to visit Saddam and check on his conditions.  Of all the thousands of Iraqis languishing in jail (some 90 % of whom are mostly innocent according to the International Committee of the Red Cross) he could not find a prisoner more worthy of attention than that brutal dictator?  I could not believe it, unless he was like Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/embezzler/prisoners' killer/former Saddam's assassin, Iyad `Allawi, a former fan of Saddam! 
"Organisers at the Democratic Party convention in United States have removed Aljazeera's logotype banner from its skybox without assigning reasons."    Another Aljazeera story: AlJazeera's Arabic website has those web polls every other day (they change them more frequently than Angry polls here).  The one from today bothered me.  It asked: "Do you support Al-Qa`idah's threats regarding launching war on the Europeans?"  I was quite unhappy with that question.  What kind of question is that?  It unwittingly makes Al-Qa`idah's horrific fanaticism as part of acceptable political viewpoints, or as a legitimate position.  More disturbing, of the 12375 who answered the poll, 39.1 % said yes (agreed with Al-Qa`idah's threats).  I have read somewhere that Arab and Israeli intelligence services are very active in participating in AlJazeera's polls, and in AlJazeera live calls.  But who knows?
The (new) Egyptian foreign minister declares the government's fast pace of reform: ""Egypt has been developing over the last 200 years."
"The Democrats think the way to overthrow the Republicans is to mimic Republicans."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Arab leaders--all Arab leaders, every single one of them--deserve all the humiliation and denigration that they regularly receive.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi is reporting in Thursday's issue that a Yemeni businessman (`Abdullah Ja`shan) is suing Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/prisoners' killer/former Saddam's assassin Iyad Allawi for embezzling a $million.  That would add another title to the many titles that Allawi has earned over the years.
Why Are We in Exile? by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
(Refugees are asking)
Why are we dying in
I had my house
And I had
And here you are
without a heart,
without a sound
sobbing, and
here you are
Why are we in exile
dying in silence
Why are we not
crying over fire,
on thorns
we walked
And my people walked
Why are we oh, God
without a homeland
without love
dying in horror
Why are we in exile
Why are we oh, God?
Well-trained: Iraqi Police Face Charges of Brutality.
Candidates' wives trivialized by press.
One theory of the Iraq war: The real reasons Bush went to war.
Condoleezza Rice: Blindsided or blind?
Women and children are being chained together and burnt alive by Sudanese (government) militias rampaging in Darfur.
More than a quarter of Spanish men have paid for sex with a prostitute.
Iraqi witness tells of torture.
The forgotten war that Bush had also ostensibly won: Aid agency quits Afghanistan over security fears.
Howard Dean (who wasted $50 million on his failed presidential ego trip) said today that he, Bush anb Kerry all have the same view of the Iraq war now. How true.  In fact, the Democratic Party's criticisms of the Iraq war is over the mangagement of the war, not over the war itself.
Waking Up From the American Dream.
"They call me TYRANT! Oh, if I were a tyrant they would grovel at my feet..."
I have not seen this story in mainstream US press.  A revolt in Voice of America: Nearly half its employees say Voice of America is being muzzled.
A new Angry Poll is posted. Results of last one:

Resistance and violence in Iraq are the work of...
Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi (and his wooden leg)
indiginous Iraqi groups
former Saddam's loyalists
intelligence operatives of neighboring states
an Israeli conspiracy
Saddam's famous briefcase
logical result of occupation and colonization
not sure, but Yaser Arafat should send more millions to Suha Arafat
different groups, with divergent agendas
not sure, but Bush is making progress

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Wind of the South by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
The eye of the prisoner
from his underground cell,
toward the sad star
from his underground cell
he prayed--and destiny
terrifying him--the eye of
the prisoner
and the fragrance of
brushwood and rocks
and the echoes of convoys
and birds returning from the south
after the sunset
retiring in the city tower
and the convoys and paths,
hit by night,
and to the sad star
the eye of the prisoner
from his underground cell
he prayed, and destiny
and the night and the sad star
on the stream
covered by the wind,
and in the rough wilderness,
we used to walk
our convoys had no star,
and we used to walk
what happened was
not futile, no
No, it will not be
Our words--with their glowing letters-- 
will smash the
walls of prisons
and will light the houses
of the dead
and will prevail
against tyrants
Our words! No, what happened
was not futile, no
Oh, earth, the mother of all
you shall age, what happened
will not be, and you shall age!
And it will not be
Our convoys had no star,
and we repeated our mute
prayers for the faraway morning
we used to repeat
our prayers, oh, mother,
for the new morning
and dogs barked behind us,
And from faraway
the land of the slaves
appeared as we wished
a tilting tower,
and a horizon painted by blood
we thirsted
that we forgot that we thirsted
and on the pavement of the
deserted port, there were mumblings
of our cheering children and women
that we forgot that we were naked
Oh, he returned, can you hear
his contemplation in the sad wind
and from the eye of the prisoner
some tears escape
and the fragrance of
brushwood and rocks
and the echo of convoys and birds
retiring from the south
in our houses, and from
the exile of the paths
the echoes of a convoy sing
It is: the wind of the south
and the fragrance of brushwood...
It is: wind of the south
Oh, mother! He returned
can you hear
and from the eye of the prisoner
some tears escape
and in the paths
the echoes of a convoy sing
it is: wind of the south
Respectable Mercenaries.
Iraq, Israel relations still tense: Normalization seen unlikely. (That was not what Chalabi had promised).
The Chameleon.
Vegetables of "liberation": US to withdraw aid for Fallujah.
Fruits of US "liberation": Iraqi unemployment rate reaches 70%. 
This terrorist group is under US protection.
Very interesting survey of Arab public opinion.  What made me sad reading it is that the most popular leader is...a dead man (Nasser).  Interesting data about Arab TV viewing habits.
Democrats always stress their appeal to the middle class ("the forgotten middle class," as Clinton used to say implying that the Democrats had cared too much about the poor), and sometimes to the working people.  But what about the non-working people?  How come they are not mentioned? These are the people that I would champion if I were running for office.
U.S. General Witnessed Abuses, Iraqi Says.
Oh, yes. What ever happened to the electric power problem in Iraq? US "liberation" must have solved it, no?
Radical Islam grows among Iraq's Sunnis; Bush to be blamed/praised for the phenomenon.
Abu Aardvark does not think that Angry Arab is fair to Haykal.

Monday, July 26, 2004

"Moses wanted to see God.  And I never wanted to see God.  He wanted to see me."
Abu Yazid Al-Bustami (d. 874 AD)
Now it is being reported: Toppling of Saddam's Statue Staged: "THE I-TEAM OBTAINED AN INTERNAL ARMY REVIEW WHICH DETAILS THE TOPPLING OF THE STATUE. IT REVEALS THAT A PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS UNIT ON THE SCENE PLAYED A KEY ROLE."  Really? Really! It was staged? And here I thought that it was all spontaneous; that Iraqi men (mostly bodyguards of embezzler Ahmad Chalabi) often venture outside for walks while bombs fall all around them, with sledgehammers in their back pockets, and many pre-1990 Iraqi flags (which the US must have assumed was going to be restored) in their hands.
Mr. Hersh goes to war.
Terror by Video: How Chechnya Inspired the Iraqi Kidnappers.
The Struggle for Iraq is Just Beginning.
In Lesotho, boys go to farm while girls hit the books.
Heir of Saddam speaks.  He seems to be wanting to repeat Saddam's 1980 invasion of Iran.
I am not an uncritical viewer of AlJazeera, of course, having criticized AlJazeera on AlJazeera itself.  Just last night, they (repeatedly) aired a report about the Democratic National Convention with this headline: "The Democrats hold their National Convention amid popular demands for US withdrawal from Iraq." Now this is really inaccurate and "made up."  And Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal and his weekly show, again: last week, he said that the way US universities teach International Relations is radically different from the way European universities teach IR.  He told viewers that in the US, we only teach IR through the prism of conflict.  How silly and wrong is that?
These are the governments that Arab people live under: "Three Syrians were sentenced in Damascus to between two and four years in jail on charges of sending "false information" to an electronic newspaper based in the Gulf, a human rights group said."
IDF: Hezbollah may have rockets that reach Tel Aviv.  Angry Arab: Israel ACTUALLY has missiles and rockets that can reach every Arab village, city, and town.  In other news, Israel is ACTUALLY testing missiles.
Two million Americans jailed in "the land of the free."
Israel expands West Bank settlements:  Aerial photos reveal extent of land grab.
Body of the Nation: Why women were mutilated in Gujarat.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Language of Sin by Syrian poet Adonis (my translation):
I burn my inheritance,
I say that my land is
untraveled, and there are
no tombs in my youth
I traverse over god and satan
(my path is beyond the paths
of god and satan)-
I traverse in my book
in the procession of a
glowing thunderbolt
in the procession of a
green thunderbolt
I chant-there is no heaven or fall
after me
And I erase the language of sin
2,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq?: Russian expert claims.
States Cut Health Insurance for 145,000 Kids.
US Officers Question Visibility of Army in Iraq.
No Shortage of Fighters in Iraq's Wild West.
News from the new "liberated" Iraq.  I know that this guy sounds like Saddam's foreign minister, but he is the current Iraqi puppet foreign minister:  "Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, al-Manar and al-Alam have all become channels of incitement and opposed to the interests, security and stability of the Iraqi people," Zebari told Al Jazeera television. "There is strong talk from some Iraqi government officials about closing Al Jazeera. Unfortunately it is being manipulated by terrorist groups and we will not tolerate this biased coverage," he said.
As if the uprooting of the Palestinian people is not enough: Israel rounds up migrants in deportation campaign.
Sometimes I do not understand the US. In the news, they keep saying that Sen. John McCain and Sen. John Kerry do not like to talk about their Vietnam War experiences.   It seems to me that they never talk about anything except their Vietnam War experiences.
Kerry on Israel (again): "I'll do a better job of reducing the threat to Israel and the rest of the world." His agenda regarding Israel, he emphasizes, is clear - Israel has no partner, Arafat is not an interlocutor - and he has no intention of embarking on initiatives or appointing emissaries. Everything will be done with Israel's agreement."
Do you know that in the last UN General Assembly vote regarding the racist Israeli separation barrier 150 countries voted against; while only 6 countries supported Israel: US, Israel, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Australia.
Bestseller on honour killing in Jordan 'is a fake'.
I really get the impression that the only Iraqi prisoner in US custody who is getting a good treatment is...Saddam himself. Judge for yourselves.
This is how Sen. John Kerry defines the Palestinian state: "...that entity that Israel can deal with..."
Capital has no loyalty or principles: Palestinian businessmen have made millions of pounds supplying cement for Israel's racist "separation barrier" in the full knowledge of Yasser Arafat.
Lest you think that the Democratic Party represents the working poor.  Corporate cash dominates.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A poem by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
And our slogans were like the sky
soaked with the blood of comrades
And we were demanding
in the name of children
and in the name of life
and in the name of Iraq
demanding land for toilers
and salt and bread for the hungy
and my little comrades
-the ripe flowers of tomorrow-
behind the wall are
dying under the whips of tyrants
and in the desolute rooms
and the killers have closed
the curtain on the farce
of inquiry courts, oh comrade.
And our slogans stayed on the road
and in the songs of the youth
of Baghdad, and the mothers
are fluttering in hope and waiting
In the face of stubborn insurgency, US troops scale back Anbar patrols.
Teaching Torture: Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive.
Arab attitudes to US hardening.
U.S. Helped Sweden in Deportation Of Suspects: 2 Men Reportedly Tortured in Egypt.
Land in the grip of death.
After successfully defeating terrorists, Bush targets marijuana smokers.
"Jacobsen said she smiled at one of the [Arab]men, whom she had exchanged pleasantries with while boarding. 'The man did not smile back. In fact, the cold, defiant look he gave me sent shivers down my spine,' she said.
Soon other passengers were scared too. The pilot was informed, flight attendants wrote notes to each other and Jacobsen's husband was assured by one of them that air marshals were monitoring the group..." ...'The notion that 14 saboteurs ... would boisterously proceed in and out of a plane lavatory, taking turns to construct a bomb, is so over-the-top ludicrous it deserves its own comedy sketch ... I half-expected her to tell me one of the men wore a cardboard sign labelled "terrorist",' Smith said."
Darfur's deep grievances defy all hopes for an easy solution.
Corporate power is the driving force behind US foreign policy - and the slaughter in Iraq.
US "liberation" of Iraq continues: Wave of Kidnappings in Iraq Continues.
This is an interesting analysis of the Iraq situation and resistance by Scott Ritter.  I, however, do not share his appreciation of Saddam's "strategic vision."  And I do not think that all attacks in Iraq are centrally run by Ad-Duri.

Friday, July 23, 2004

International Coalition of Academics Against Occupation (ICAAO): The Assassination of Iraqi Intellectuals: "Even after the ‘transfer of authority’ the U.S. Government remains in de facto military occupation of Iraq. The idea that the escalation of violence can be put to an end by the ‘interim’ government, while 140,000 U.S troops remain in control of major Iraqi cities like Mosul and Baghdad, is far from the reality on the ground.
Overlooked by the U.S. Press is the escalating assassination of Iraqi academics, intellectuals, and lecturers. More than 250 college professors since April 30, 2003..."
"War on Terror" Seen Limping in Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Among Troops, Growing Doubts About Mission, Leaders Who Sent Them.
Testimony about cruel war echoes in Sierra Leone court: Children fought in 1991-02 conflict.
Money woes blamed for Japan's rise in suicides.
News from "liberated" Iraq:  Abducted, beaten and sold into prostitution: two women's story from an Iraq in turmoil.
Iraq's poets of resistance are back with a new voice but an old message.
Afghan presidential election? Thug versus thug.
U.S. Army Accepted Afghan Prisoner From Vigilante Suspect.
LIBERATION CONTINUES: US attack in Falujah did not kill anyone, but wounded five civilians, including three children, said Dr. Kamal al-Ani, a local hospital official.  Witnesses denied the house was harboring militants.
Now I know that I disagree with almost all of you on almost every issue.  But there is no reason whatever for us not to agree that Diet Sierra Mist is a very refreshing beverage.
For those who care, I can be heard this afternoon on KPFA's Flashpoint at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time).  You can listen live.
(I want to note that these selections of Arabic poetry are NOT representative of the rich and diverse body of Arab poetry.  They represent my own particular and eccentric taste.  I tend to appreciate melancholic tendencies in arts and literature, and that is reflected in my selections.  I also like Arabic poetry that is neither classical nor modern.  So there.)

From a poem by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
Fire in the ashes
and death in Baghdad
and the ecstasy of color
and the sadness of silence
and dimensions
and the gasping anxiety
and fever
which ruin the veins in their spring
igniting in lines, colors, and blackness
the fires of night that cannot be
the fires of holidays
which were a black spring
a childhood that is missing birth
that could not bear sleeping
it glowed through the wall of
the impossible
and the future of harvest
Who has extinguished the candles
Who has torn the heart in his quiet
Who has hidden the seeds in freeze
and the tears in the hat of a tinsmith
The witness standing in the shadow
dangled his head,
and staggered
Death in birth
autumn in the spring
water in the mirage
and seeds in freeze...
and you are in the fog
opening a path for the sun
opening gates
Enter, oh brothers
the shirt of night is wet
and the fires of youth in
our stingy time
can perform miracles

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Saudi Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal answers a question by Der Spiegel:
SPIEGEL: Young Saudi Arabians have been involved in many terrorist attacks throughout the world. Are your young people getting out of hand?
Prince Walid: Young people are full of energy everywhere in the world.
Israeli spy case twist: Reports allege that suspected Mossad agent wanted for passport fraud in New Zealand was an Israeli diplomat.
Those who are kidnapping and killing poor foreign workers in Iraq are NOT "resistance" fighters. 
Thirty-nine prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of 2001 and there have been 94 cases of proven or suspected abuse, US Army says.
Bush praised the 9-11 Commission Report for being a good source for "learning about our country."  He said that he was surprised to learn that Washington, DC is the capital of the US.  All along, he had assumed it was Honolulu.
US 9-11 Report endorses US propaganda efforts directed towards (or against?) Muslisms/Arabs (p. 377): "Recognizing that Arab and Muslim audiences rely on satellite
television and radio, the government has begun some promising initiatives in television and radio broadcasting to the Arab world, Iran, and Afghanistan. These efforts are beginning
to reach large audiences. The Broadcasting Board of Governors has asked for much larger resources. It should get them."
I find the information that a member of the House of Saud has helped Bin Laden to be important and explosive.  Watch the US and Arab media ignore it.  This is the first direct evidence we have of direct cooperation in recent years between at least a member of the royal family and Bin Laden.  Yet, the Report does not deviate from the history of US government support for the Saudi government.  9-11 Report, page 374: "There are signs that Saudi Arabia’s royal family is trying to build a consensus for political reform, though uncertain about how fast and how far to go.Crown Prince Abdullah wants the Kingdom to join the World Trade Organization to accelerate economic liberalization. He has embraced the Arab Human Development Report, which was highly critical of the Arab world’s political, economic, and social failings and called for greater economic and political reform. Cooperation with Saudi Arabia against Islamist terrorism is very much in the U.S. interest."  And why is Saudi membership in WTO good for the war on terrorism?
From page 335 of the 9-11 Report: "Secretary Powell recalled that Wolfowitz—not Rumsfeld—argued that Iraq was ultimately the source of the terrorist problem and should therefore be attacked.66 Powell said that Wolfowitz was not able to justify his belief that Iraq was behind 9/11. "Paul was always of the view that Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with," Powell told us."And he saw this as one way of using this event as a way to deal with the Iraq problem." "

You must understand my frustrations as somebody who observes two "worlds" (the American and the Arab "worlds").  While I lament American ignorance of things Arab/Muslim, I also lament Arab ignorance of things American.  I have just watched the weekly show on AlJazeera with Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal (the most famous and admired Arab journalist alive).  He has been talking about the US for the last two shows.  In last week's show, he told them that Kissinger had told him in the 1970s that "I am the president of the US."  Today, he told them that US senators run for re-election every two years, and that Americans have no attachment to their lands.  He told his audience about the "well known American journalist" Stanley Hoffman who writes in US newspapers (he was of course referring to the noted Harvard University professor of European affairs).  And he is supposed to be the keen Arab observer of the US scene.
From page 207 of the 9-11 Report: "U.S.-Saudi relations in the summer of 2001 were marked by sometimes heated disagreements about ongoing Israeli- Palestinian violence, not about Bin Ladin."
In endnote 9, page 466 of the Report, it says: "Baghdad Caliphate’s destruction by the Mongols in 1292."  Do Bernard Lewis and the esteemed Commission's Report staff not know that Baghad was destroyed by the Mongols in 1258?
There is a section on Islam and Middle East issues in the Report.  It is either written by, or distilled from the writings of, none other than Bernard Lewis.  I can easily recognize his silly generalizations, like this one (p. 50): "Islam is both a faith and a code of conduct for all aspects of life."  All aspects of life? How could that be? Even for potato slicing?  (Page numbers I gave below were taken from the page numbers of the PDF document of the Report which do not correspond to the page numbering of the Report itself).
Look how even the commission is keen on protecting the House of Saud.  Why not name this "dissident member of the House of Saud"?  From page 74 of the 9-11 Report: " The Saudi government exiled the clerics and undertook to silence Bin Ladin by, among other things, taking away his passport.With help from a dissident member of the royal family, he managed to get out of the April 1991."
From page 30 of 9-11 Report: "One of the callers from United 93 also reported that he thought the hijackers might possess a gun... Passengers on three flights reported the hijackers’ claim of having a bomb."
Conspiracy theorists in the Middle East will have a field day with this passage (p. 22) from the 9-11 Commission Report: "As this was happening, passenger Daniel Lewin, who was seated in the row just behind Atta and Omari,was stabbed by one of the hijackers—probably Satam al Suqami, who was seated directly behind Lewin. Lewin had served four years as an officer in the Israeli military."
Full text: 9-11 report.
Israel's wall just keeps on growing.
So I just finished reading the Democratic Party platform.  What a badly written, cobbled-together piece of political vapidity.  And here is the section on the Middle East:
"The Democratic Party is fundamentally committed to the security of our ally Israel and the creation of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors. Our special relationship with Israel is based on the unshakable foundation of shared values and a mutual commitment to democracy, and we will ensure that under all circumstances, Israel retains the qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.  Under a Democratic Administration, the United States will demonstrate the kind of resolve to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that President Clinton showed. We will work to transform the Palestinian Authority by promoting new and responsible leadership, committed to fighting terror and promoting democracy. We support the creation of a democratic Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. Furthermore, all understand that it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. And we understand that all final status negotiations must be mutually agreed."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I wonder where they went? Running Low on Ammo Military Turns to Overseas Suppliers to Cover Shortages.
War Funds Dwindling, GAO Warns Pentagon: Needs Billions More This Year in Iraq, Afghanistan.
Indonesia/Malaysia: Household Workers’ Rights Trampled: Employers and Labor Agencies Exploit and Abuse Women Workers.
Pakistan: Military Torturing Farmers in Punjab.
The president's interest in a possible 9/11 link goes against the CIA's leader's assessment.
Patriot Act sends ACLU ranks soaring. (This is the only organization that I am a proud member of).
"I asked him, ’What have you been doing ? How about Vietnam ?’ and he said, ’Well, I’ve been in the National Guard in Texas.’ I said, ’How did you get that ? There’s a 10-year waiting list.’ And he said, ’Well, my dad has connections."’
I am touched.  Time magazine is shedding crocodile tears over the plight of Iraqi female victims of "honor killings" when the magazine did not mourn Iraqi female victims of US bombs.
Black Farmers Accuse Agriculture Dept. of Failing to Live Up to Bias Settlement.
From a poem by Iraqi poet Badr Shakir As-Sayyab (my translation):
I read my name on a rock
in the solitude of the desert,
on a red brick,
on a tomb.
How does a person feel
upon seeing his tomb?
He sees it and feels perplexity:
Is he dead or alive?
It does not suffice that
he sees his shadow on sand,
like a dusty minaret
like a gravesite
like past glory...
and now dust feeds from it
and fires eat up its meaning,
and conquerors kick it
without shoes
without feet
and wounds bleed from it,
without pain, and without blood
because he is dead...
And we died in it,
those of us who are
dead and those who are alive.
We are all dead
and this is our tomb:
the ruins of a dusty minaret...
And from my grandfather a chant
roamed with the tide,
filling the beaches:
“Oh, our valleys rebel!
And oh, remaining blood on
the generations, the legacy
of the masses,
splinter now, and smash
these chains, and like
an earthquake, shake the yoke,
or smash it and smash us
with it.” 
Now: Is there anything that Iraq needs more than weapons?  MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
Scandals of Oil for Food.  (excellent article Joy).
Annan Rejects Bush Claim That World Is Safer Now.
Rumsfeld knew all about me, says American 'jailer' held in Kabul.
Profits of war.
Anti-Iran sentiments rising in Congress.  Having done a great job in Iraq, they want to replicate the Iraq model there.
Airport video shows hijackers being searched before boarding plane.   While I have always disbelieved the story that the Sep. 11 hijackers were able to take control of the plane and subdue the passengers with the mere use of box cutters, this video now casts more doubt on the official story.  I now am certain that they did not hijack the plane by using box cutters.  The passengers would have fought back, for sure, I think.  I have always believed that they must have managed to smuggle weapons in.  And with this video, one has to believe that they managed to smuggle box cutters into the plane after being searched twice just before boarding?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I have received from a friend via email a batch of writings, pamphlets, and statements by Al-Qa`idah.  He did research on Saudi Arabia and became skilled in finding their sites as they change them regularly and frequently.  First, I am amazed at their skill in using the internet, and their publishing skills.  The documents in question are quite advanced from a technical point of view.  I also for the first time saw the use of the name Al-Qa`idun (from Al-Qa`idah) to refer to supporters of Al-Qa`idah, as a synonym of Al-Mujahidun.  It is amazing how they mix in their political literature/propaganda military/religious/technical information all together.  You will be reading a commentary on Hadith in one chapter, and then a training in weapons in another chapter, and then techniques of physical fitness in another chapter, etc.  They also give details about how to maintain a safe house, etc.  Again (and I make that point in my Saudi Arabia book) the religio-political doctrine of Al-Qa`idah is the one on which the House of Saudi founded their state.  Bin Laden and his fanatical supporters disagree with House of Saud on foreign policy, not on domestic policy.  And the two sides got along famously prior to 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  One particular section attracted my attention in the book Questions and Dubiosities Regarding the Mujahidin and Their Operations.  This contains the fullest exposition of the ideology and practice of Al-Qa`idah that I have seen.  And it is written in terms of questions and answers very much like the ABC of Communism during its fame.  In one section of the book (the section that offers guidance to those who seek to serve "Jihad"--defined in Al-Qa`idah's kooky way of course--) there is section 34 on Electronic Jihad.  In that section, supporters are urged to visit sites and chat rooms and to inject their ideology of Al-Qa`idah (under assumed names of course), and to chase and harass enemies of Al-Qa`idah, and secularists are included here.  They always express their rage against Arab secularists, and I take such condemnations personally, of course. It makes me wonder who among some of the writers of comments here may be propagandists for Al-Qa`idah?  They also encourage computer hacking, and consider it as part of "Electronic Jihad." I also am struck by the extent to which Al-Qa`idah kooks keep up with Western press.  In one recent audio yelling statement by none other than Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi he refers to a report in the Daily Telegraph, and in one Al-Qa`idah publication I read references to media (TV and publications) in English, German, and French.  I wonder what that means.  There is also absolutely no hint of apologies or regret for the killing that Al-Qa`idah fanatics have done not only of Western civilians but also of Muslims civilians, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.  I also am struck by the repulsive ideology of embracing and worshipping death, which is against the original principles of Islam, where pleasures of earth were accepted unlike Augustinian philosophy.  And their language is no less violent than their deeds.  In one obituary of Al-Muqrin (the Al-Qa`idah leader in Saudi Arabia) they describe the Saudi rulers as "the slaves of the slaves of crusaders, the soldiers of Iblis and the soldiers of satans, servants of tyrants and shoes of apostates."  I really worry that Al-Qa`idah and their affiliated fanatical networks have been increasing their influence and danger since the US occupation of Iraq.  This was something that Richard Clark was talking about.  This is what Egyptian president Husni Mubarak (and I never quote him) meant when he said that the Iraq war will produce "hundreds of Bin Ladens."  And some of you think that Bush deserves praise for his "war on terrorism"?
This could be a significant development.  Al-Quds Al-`Arabi daily (which is close to Iraqi Ba`th and Sunni sources in Baghdad) reports (tomorrow Wednesday) that “notables from Iraqi falujah succeeded in evicting around 25 fighters who carry Syrian, Jordanian, and Saudi citizenship from their city after meeting with them and asking them to leave…On another front and in the same domain, the armed groups that constitute the ranks of the Iraqi resistance  like Muhammad’s Army, Victorious Asad Allah Squadrons, Al-Ghalib Ali Ibn Ibi Talib, As-Sadiq and Faruq, Islamic Wrath, and Al-`Abbas issued a joint declaration posted in mosques and in streets of Al-Falujah in which they all spilled the blood of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi and his followers.  The statement called on all Muslims to cut off his head wherever they encounter him in the same way that heads of foreign hostages were cut off and in which he distorted Islamic religion and Iraqi resistance.”  The statement also extended a hand of friendship to Shi`ites and called for cooperation with the new Iraqi (puppet) government.

One Bombing, Many Versions: Iraqis on the Street Quick to Blame U.S.
More Americans seek God on their terms, and in their homes.
Cruelty in KFC's Slaughterhouse.  Secret recipe of torture.
How has the US been spending other people's billions?
Fruits of market "reforms": China admits first rise in poverty since 1978.
My article in As-Safir titled "Az-Zarqawi...Presents."

Poem by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati:
Cities that sleep without dawn
I called on your name in its
streets, and darkness answered
I have asked the winds about
you while they moaned
in the heart of tranquility
I saw your face in mirrors and eyes
and in the glass of the windows
of faraway dawn
in postal cards.
Cities without dawn covered with ice
Spring birds have abandoned
their churches
For whom will they sing?
And the cafes have closed their doors
And for whom do you pray,
oh rusted heart
And the night has died
and the carriages
returned without horses,
covered with frost
and the coachmen were dead
Is this how years pass?
And how a heart is torn
with pain?
And we are from exile to exile
and from door to door
We wilt just as lilies
wilt in the ground
Poor we die, oh my moon
and we always miss our train

(Scroll down): "It may be surprising to most people to realize that USA, the wealthiest nation on Earth, has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation, and disparities continue to grow. And inequality within the nation is quite sharp. (See also this article and this article about how the media deals with such issues.) United For a Fair Economy reported that for 1998 almost 70% of the wealth was in the hand of the top 10%. In another report, they mention that the gap has widened in recent decades. “In 1989, the United States had 66 billionaires and 31.5 million people living below the official poverty line. A decade later, the United States has 268 billionaires and 34.5 million people living below the poverty line-about $13,000 for a three-person family.” "
Darfur Documents Confirm Sudanese Government Policy of Militia Support.
This story makes me angry; very very angry. I watched this woman and her husband on TV yesterday telling their story.  I could not believe it. She admitted that she became suspicious when the six Middle East looking men boarded the plane, simply boarded the plane. But when the other Middle East men boarded the plane, and seemed to know the other men, that is when her antennas and the antennas of her husband went up.  And I cannot believe that she keeps telling the story with seemingly suspenseful details, although we all know the ending: THERE WAS NO HIJACKING AND THE PLANE LANDED SAFELY AND THE MIDDLE EAST MEN IN QUESTION WERE MERE INNOCENT MUSICIANS.  OK?  And if John Ashcroft and Bush's government (not known for any sensitivity to Arabs and Muslims) are not worried about this story, why should the media be playing it up like that?  And it is quite customary for Middle East people to talk and socialize on the plane. That is why I try to avoid Middle East airlines: too much noise for me.  On my flight to Beirut last month, the fellow sitting next to me, kept asking me why I was not eating or drinking. And the more he drank, the more persistent his questions became.  Finally, he pressed: Have some tabbulah!!!  I had to tell him that I do not like to talk on the plane because I get dizzy.  Some stand in the aisle and talk for the entire flight.  We are a schmoozing culture, ok?  And when this woman says in the New York Times article "I am not a racist," I could only think of Hitler's foreign minister Von Ribbentrop, and how he told prosecutors at the Nurenburg Trial that he was not anti-Semitic.  And she blames "political correctness."  Political correctness? In Bush's era and Ashcroft's (in)Justice Department?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Bridge of Return by Palestinian poet Tawfiq Zayyad (my translation):
My dear people!!
With eyelids
I roll out the path of your return,
with eyelids.
I embrace your wound
and pick up the thorns of the path,
with eyelids.
With the palms of the hand,
I grind the granite stone,
with the palms of the hand.
And from my flesh,
I build the bridge of your return,
on both coasts.

The ultra-runners.
The Crisis of Information in Baghdad: Four Missiles, 14 Deaths (by Robert Fisk).
"Thousands of men, women and children are still held without charge or trial in detention facilities in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib, after the official end of the occupation."
Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences.
For those who care, my The Battle for Saudi Arabia book is officially out.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Poem of Life by Lebanese poet Sa`id `Aql (my translation):  
Whether you were harsh or lenient,
I do not mind pain
A poem I am,
the preface to which is you!
You wrote me with wine,
which was strange,
but if you drink,
words are burning coals!
You think that I can be read,
like the beauty of seasons?
No, in astonishment
my secret cannot be known!
You pick an orchard
if you get your way:
Sometimes I am the Spring…
And the Summer, some other times…
I am the passion of prayer,
be whatever you are
You are the preface,
to the poem of life!
(PS For those who asked me, I want to stress that I despise, detest, and loathe Sa`id `Aql, and reject his ultra-Lebanese nationalist version of fascism.  I have criticized him and mocked him in many articles in Arabic.  But...I very much like his classical Arabic poetry. He is one of the best poets in Arabic in the 20th century.)
"At the end of the session, Bush reportedly told the group, “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.’’ "
Having so brilliantly and splendidly "liberated" Iraq; Bush now wants to "liberate" Iran.
Here you will read an article about the killing Iraqis by US troops.  The article, however, is concerned not with the Iraqi victims but with the psychological state of US troops.
Revolt Against Arafat grows. HIGH TIME.
Shame of slavery blights Brazil's interior : 25,000 working as forced labourers.
"James Meek describes life in a Catch-22 world where a human life is valued at $500, the mercury rarely falls below 40 and the daily carnage [in Iraq] goes largely unreported."
Al-Arabiya TV website has an interesting article about the capture in Tikrit of Sufyan Mahir At-Tikriti (the commander of Saddam's Republican Guards).  The article points out that his capture refutes the conspiracy theories that were peddled after the fall of Baghdad to the effect that Sufyan Mahir At-Tikriti defected to the US forces and was behind the collapse of Baghdad defenses.  This theory appeared in a French magazine and in pro-Saddam publications in Arabic, especially Al-Quds Al-`Arabi.  This conspiracy theory was convenient for Saddamist propaganda because it intended to absolve Saddam and his sons of responsibility.
Iraqi puppet amnesty "excludes killers of Americans."  Killers of Iraqis will be set free.  Explaining the (il)logic of the new decision, the puppet Iraqi government reminds Iraqis that American lives are more precious than Iraqi lives. 
A revealing profile of Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/prisoners' killer, Iyad Allawi. (thanks Tony)
Ariel Sharon is planning to change the demographic map of the world; he wants all French Jews to come to Israel, wants all Palestinians to leave their homeland, and wants the Lebanese people to go Cyprus.
Kerry's brother is in Israel: "In an interview with one Israeli newspaper, Mr [Cameron] Kerry, 53, said: "He [Senator John Kerry] is very clear in his statements: the security of Israel must come first and Israel needs to be able to protect itself."  He echoed the Israeli government's line on refusing to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, and added: "There is no Palestinian partner at this time. It is not the place of the US to pressure Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians." More controversially, he said the 425-mile security wall was "essential for the security of Israel" - an apparent reversal of remarks by his brother, earlier in the campaign, in which he described the wall as "a barrier to peace"." (thanks Walter)

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The poem Against by Palestinian poet Rashid Husayn (my translation):
Against the revolutionaries of my
country injuring a spike
Against a child—any child—carrying
a grenade
Against my sister studying the muscles
of a rifle
Against whatever you want….but
what does even a prophet or a prophetess to do
when their eyes drink the horses
of killers
Against a child becoming a hero
at ten
Against the heart of the tree bearing
Against the bushes of my orchard
becoming gallows
Against the basin of flowers in
my land becoming gallows
Against whatever you want…but
after the burning of  my country,
my comrades, and my youth

Red Cross suspects U.S. hiding detainees.
Ex-general: War planners did not expect insurgency.
New research suggests 10 per cent of American pupils are victims of sexual abuse .
Kerry's supporters may have a cause to celebrate.  Kerry will double intelligence spending.  And Kerry now accepts the cornerstone of Bush's imperial doctrine; he now says he is willing to launch pre-emptive strikes.  He will begin bombing Middle East countries as soon as he is elected.  Give Kerry a chance.
Help me understand this one.  Time magazine now says that the "9/11 Commission finds ties between al-Qaeda and Iran."  And Cheney still insists that Al-Qa`idah is linked to Saddam (who fought an 8-year war with Iran); and US newspapers have linked Bin Laden's enemies (and Saddam's enemies) Hizbullah to Al-Qa`idah.  So who is linked to whom, PLEASE!

Friday, July 16, 2004

It looks like there is a rebellion against the corrupt and autocratic leadership of Yasir `Arafat in Gaza.  High time.  Even in Lebanon, he would only appoint the most corrupt and least qualified people to posts, including military posts.  But before Israel or US get excited, the new leaders will be less friendly toward Israel and US.  Take Ghazi Al-Jibali (Gaza police chief who was kidnapped and released earlier today): this man has a notorious repuation for financial corruption and brutal (mis)treatment of prisoners.  He almost is qualified to be appointed by the US to a puppet government position in...Iraq.
Betraying Iraqi Women.
Allawi (Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/prisoners' killer) shot prisoners in cold blood according to witnesses.
Arab-Americans turn against the president.  High time.
If you regularly read the Economist magazine (the best magazine there is), you will notice how many stories in the US press are influenced by earlier Economist articles. This is one example, about the values' campaign in the presidential race.
This is a BIG story in Washington, DC: Chinese produce new type of sub.
"Gunmen have killed six Baghdad councillors in the two weeks since the US occupation formally ended, sending a wave of fear through Iraq's grassroots politicians."
The politicians may 'eat like gluttons' but Kenyan people face starvation.
At Cairo Mosques, Angry Egyptians Turn Their Rancor on the West.
FBI Interviews of Muslims to Broaden (notice how the Washington Post justifies the interviews in the first opening sentences of the news story). 
From "The weapons that weren't ," July 15th 2004, The Economist print edition: "In February 2003, Colin Powell, the secretary of state, delivered a presentation to the UN Security Council that has been credited with convincing many sceptics of the case for war. Mr Powell outlined “many smoking guns” in Iraq, including a fleet of mobile biological weapons laboratories. All of these, he said, had been identified with the use of solid intelligence, corroborated by multiple sources. But the Senate committee found otherwise.
Shortly before Mr Powell delivered his speech, a CIA agent read a draft version of it, and reacted with horror. According to e-mails provided to the committee, the agent identified himself as being the only American agent to have interviewed the main source behind the mobile-lab intelligence. He considered the source, codenamed Curve Ball, an unreliable drunkard whose identity was not yet established. Three additional sources who were supposed to have corroborated Curve Ball's claims were either known “fabricators” or had not, in fact, corroborated the claims at all. In reply to these concerns, the agent was told by a senior CIA official: “Let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say, and that the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about.” "

Seymour Hersh's ACLU Keynote Speech transcribed. (thanks Nir)
Ranking of Press Freedoms:
Trinidad and Tobago 
Czech Republic 
New Zealand 
South Africa 
Costa Rica 
United Kingdom 
United States of America
Full text: UN Human Development Report, 2004.
HPI-2  (Human poverty index) ranks for 17 selected OECD countries
1 Sweden
2 Norway
3 Netherlands
4 Finland
5 Denmark
6 Germany
7 Luxembourg
8 France
9 Spain
10 Japan
11 Italy
12 Canada
13 Belgium
14 Australia
15 United Kingdom
16 Ireland
17 United States
So Colin Powell, who should know something about truth having lied to the world last year at UN, said this yesterday: "But when a particular outlet, Al-Jazeera, does such a horrible job of presenting the news, and when it takes every opportunity to slant the news, present it in the most outrageous way, and when it will do such things as put on videotape that it has received from terrorists, and put it on for the purpose of inflaming the world and appealing to the basest instincts in the region, then we have to speak out, and we have.   And I think in recent weeks, you have seen some steps on the part of Al-Jazeera to bring in people to give it advice with respect to its editorial policies and with respect to how it's doing its job and I'm pleased to see that. And within the past few days, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Allawi, has had very direct conversations with the leadership of Al Jazeera, not for the purpose of controlling the press, but for the purpose of saying, "Do you understand what you're doing to the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people when you encourage this kind of thing and when you wallow in it?"   And so I hope that all those responsible for what goes on in Al Jazeera are listening carefully and watching carefully and I hope that we will see changes in the way in which Al Jazeera and other similar networks do their business."  And as somebody who watches AlJazeera daily, I can assure you that AlJazeera has been listening carefully, and I can detect a marked change in their coverage.  I do not mind that they have to qualify their release of tapes by Zarqawi and other kooks, but should they not also exercise the same qualified and cautious attitude when it comes to an unending supply of live and unedited speeches and statements by US officials?  What about a speech by Bush, for example, when he threatens to bomb Iraq if Saddam does not leave the country in 48 hours? Should that not be compared to Zarqawi's horrific videos? Or is a threat to kill a Westerner more offensive to viewers than the threat to kill Easterners?  I say surround such propaganda (whether from Bush or from Zarqawi) with discussion and rebuttals.  But I certainly notice that AlJazeera is playing down Palestinian suffering as of late, and playing down news of US mess in Iraq, and is going out of its way to show the "efforts" of the new puppet government in Iraq, and the sneezes of Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/prisoners' killer Allawi are now covered live.  And AlJazeera now has adopted a code of honor, which includes a stress on "objectivity".  And when media talk about objectivity, I turn to Fox News for inspiration and example. 
NYTimes says that: "In Iraq, the Most Coveted Item Now Is a Passport."   So explain this to me, please.  If the Iraqi people have been liberated by US (and Macedonia), why are they so eager to flee the country?
Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber Iyad Allawi Shot Inmates in Cold Blood, Say Witnesses.  (thanks to all those who forwarded links).  And he announced the establishment of a Saddamist intelligence service yesterday.  Reuters dispatch talked about Iraqis "welcoming" the new spy agency, while Al-Hayat newspaper carried an article on the 1st page talking about Iraqi fears, and that the new agency reminded Iraqis of Saddam's era.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Sometimes, things happen to remind you of the goodness in (not of) humanity.  There are people in the world who turn tragedies in their lives into a force for goodness and peace.  That is Alice Hoglan.  I met her today (we taped a TV program in San Jose); she had lost her son on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, and has been working for good causes ever since.  I also heard from an American novelist who is incorporating Middle East themes into his forthcoming novel, and is eager to maintain high standards of cultural sensitivity.  I may be angry (politically speaking), but I am not in despair.

From the poem Because I am a Stranger by Iraqi poet Badr Shakir As-Sayyab (my translation):
Because I am a stranger
Because beloved Iraq is
far, and I am here missing
it, her...I call out: Iraq
An echo of wailing explodes
in return
I feel as if I traversed the range
to a world of death that
does not respond to my call
And if I shake the bushes
only death falls:
as stones
only stones, and no fruits
Even the eyes are stones,
and even the moist air
is stone, laced with some blood
Stones is my call, and stone
is my mouth
and my feet are
a wind roaming the wilderness

THIS IS COLONIALISM.  You have to read this to see how US occupation is spending Iraqi money, and for what purposes.
'Secret film shows Iraq prisoners sodomised'.
Ex-Guantanamo Inmate Says He Was Tortured.
More cases of possible mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners have come to Congress' attention and need investigation by the Pentagon.
33 internal FOX editorial memos reviewed by MMFA reveal FOX News Channel's inner workings.
Cameron Kerry promises support for Israel, on his brother's behalf.
"The prime minister of New Zealand angrily denounced Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions on it after two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for six months for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport. "
My First (and Last) Time With Bill O'Reilly, by DAVID COLE. (I feel vindicated in turning down invitations from that show in the past. Last time, I simply asked that the host not cut my microphone off no matter what I say. They could not promise that, and I declined again). (thanks Naseer)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I shall cry in my solitude
not to awaken those who are sleeping
but to awaken
my arrested imagination
Mahmud Darwish
THIS IS ZIONISM: UNRWA: Israelis fired on food convoy
Here Abbas comments on the nepotism in the appointments of the new Iraqi ambassadors.
Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction
Arms suppliers scramble into Iraq
Photo student draws attention of authorities
Flaws Cited in Powell's U.N. Speech on Iraq
British Intelligence Warned Of Attacks in Baghdad
Arab Americans joke about racial profiling, terrorism and the Iraq war. (Maybe I don't have a sense of humor, but I dont think it is funny unless you think that murder is hilarious).
Two Americas of 'Fahrenheit' and 'Passion' (Count me in the America of neither)
Remember that great international coalition that Bush assembled? Well: 4 Nations Have Left, 4 More Are Getting Ready to Leave International Force
Sadr's militia regrouping, rearming
Full text: Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Workers in Saudi Arabia
Another week without Thomas Friedman's columns. Celebrate.
Beirut is one of the most expensive cities in the world. (Click on the document under attachments to the left)
Former Iraqi puppet council member Muhammad Bahr Al-`Ulum (an enthusiastic supporter of US war) gave a very revealing interview to the Iraqi magazine Al-Bi'ah (according to a story in yesterday's Al-Quds Al-`Arabi). In it, he accused the American occupiers of "organized theft" of Iraqi treasures and riches. He accused Paul Bremer of stealnig more than $ 250 billion of Iraqi funds. He also said that Bremer left Iraq without a treasury and that he exercised tyranny and dictatorship over the (puppet) governing council, and that it was worse than Saddam. "If he could prevent us from drinking water, he would have done that," he added. Happy occupation to all of you.
Happy Bastille Day!
"We announce to the world the true principles of our actions. We wish an order of things where all low and cruel passions are enchained by the laws; all beneficent and generous feelings awakened; where distinctions arise only from equality itself; where the citizen is subject to the magistrate; the magistrate to the people, the people to justice. Where industry is an adornment to the liberty that ennobles it and commerce the source of public wealth, not simply of monstrous riches for a few families. We wish to substitute in our country morality for egoism, probity for a mere sense of honor, principle for habit, duty for etiquette, the empire of reason for the tyranny of custom, contempt for vice for contempt for misfortune; the grandeur of man for the triviality of grand society. We wish, in a word, to fulfill the course of nature, to absolve providence from the long reign of tyranny and crime."
Maximilien Robespierre
(thanks Ross)
From a poem by Iraqi poet Mudhaffar An-Nawwab (my translation):
If you feed the pidgeons
of the world from your heart,
you are a terrorist
You are are bullets
Or if you fill your pockets with candy,
they get transformed, oh `Abdullah,
into bullets
Or if you sing to your wife
the song of night
the tune becomes transformed
into the whistle of the magazine
at night
And you cough smoke, oh `Abdullah,
And you sleep with her comfort,
love and salvation
If you tour the globe
writing poems of love
on the visa...plane ticket..
the gate of airports of cold
the carriages of cold
Your face since you were born,
you are called `Abdullah the terrorist
And your daughters are
`Abdullah the Arab terrorist
and your voice is `Abdullah the terrorist
and your death..
Some people are fatal sins,
oh `Abdullah, and
some people are punishment
you are punishment
Sadness comes with wind
and in the water from faucets
and the noise of streets
the soldiers of tanks are
urinating over the face
of my homeland
My face is on the ground,
and so is your face
Shut up, and don't breathe..
Don't go out..
Don't watch
It is forbidden that you
yell in your stomach
Oh, `Abdullah, please yell
Yell, Oh `Abdullah
Spit out at people's questions
their clothes..their wristwatches
their cold compulsory silence
Kill them with your presence...
your insistence..your love
Oh, your love, oh `Abdullah,
is mute and sad

A Palestinian woman near the ruins of her house after its destruction by Israeli forces.
 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Man Whose Back is Against the Wall by Libyan poet Muhammad Al-Fayturi (my translation):
For whom?
I embrace fire while dead...
and fight
I, who have no land, no country
no face, no time
no glory, no price
For whom?
Your eyes spit in my eyes..
I am the fugitive..
Stare in my eyes as you wish
Say that I was a coward
that I was weak
Cry over my birth
Raise your quivering hands
to the sky
If only you searched my soul..
my blood..
You will only find
rejection and contempt
I hate you all..
Do not beg..
Do not smile..
Your dry smile..
only fills me with contempt
for you
A rock I am,
so do not call
I condemn you all,
you clowns
I do not make exceptions..
In the name of your glory,
my nation is clothed
in mourning
And in the dust of your horses,
my homeland was lost!
...My cause is mine alone
and after me, there is fire
LA Times reports: Resentment Is Festering in 'Little Falloujas'
New Iraqi puppet president (a junior aide to puppet prime minister/car bomber) says: "We have a very sharp sword ready for anyone who threatens the security of this country." Is Saddam writing his speeches?
Gender, work, and Wall Street
Has anybody noticed this? Saudi government offers amnesty to Bin Ladin terrorists but NOT to liberal reformers in jail.
Will Bush (or Kerry) send armies to save them? Seven million people threatened as flood waters cut off whole of north-east India
Falling out of fashion: why African models are so last year
Six-year-old children at the Saudi Islamic Academy in Alexandria, Virginia are taught to disparage Christianity and Judaism, according to a first-grade textbook obtained by the Saudi Institute.