Archives: June 2003
Sun Jun 29, 2003
Sanjay returns with the firewood.
Fri Jun 27, 2003
The Terrorist Hunter Speaks
From a National Review Online interview of Rita Katz by Kathryn Jean Lopez. Katz is the author of the book Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America:
Lopez: It must be downright frightening, sometimes, going to work. In one point in your book, you are pregnant, wired with a recorder, at a jihadist conference (where you hear, among other things, the usual calls for "Death to Jews") and someone else-possibly a journalist — gets into a confrontation for doing what you were doing-recording, taking notes. Did you ever think, "No, I can't do this anymore?"
Katz: Frightening is an understatement. During certain times, such as the widely televised lynching of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, attending some of these meetings, particularly the smaller ones, was terrifying. Being a Jewish woman among inflamed Muslims calling for jihad against Jews and death to Jews, I knew that I would face grave consequences if I were exposed...
read the rest
 comments (6687 views) | link
May the ayatollah go the way of Saddam
Regarding Iran, another great one from Canada's Mark Steyn:
As the late Shah of Iran observed in exile, ''Ingratitude is the prerogative of the people''--a remark so full of rueful wisdom you'd think he'd been in vaudeville. Right now, the people's ingratitude to their Islamic Revolutionaries is near unanimous: Even the Christian Science Monitor's mullah-friendly coverage concedes that, according to recent ''polls,'' 90 percent of Iranians ''want change.'' If I were one of the A-list ayatollahs, I wouldn't bet on many of that last 10 percent hanging tough when push comes to shove.
read the rest.
 comments (9888 views) | link
Tue Jun 24, 2003
'In defence of elderly hippies' - the Economist
Jeez. It's like the beginning of when things turn weird in 'It Can't Happen Here' by Sinclair Lewis. There's a letter of protest at the end from eleven(?!) members of the House of Representatives.
John Ashcroft's intolerance (contd) [yes, it actually says this in the article]
In defence of elderly hippies
Jun 19th 2003 | COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
From The Economist print edition
The Justice Department doesn't seem to know when to stop
BRETT BURSEY will be back in court again, fighting the forces of reaction, on June 24th. The veteran protester was arrested last October for trespassing at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport as he held a sign (“No War for Oil”) while waiting for George Bush to arrive.
This was not a new experience for him. Thirty-three years earlier, at almost the same spot, Mr Bursey was tossed in the paddy wagon for holding a sign that criticised another war (Vietnam) while waiting for another Republican president (Richard Nixon) to show up.
The 1969 case against Mr Bursey was dropped when the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that anti-war demonstrators could not be charged with trespassing if they were on public property. Shortly after his most recent arrest, the trespassing charge against Mr Bursey was also dropped. But in March the local US attorney, Strom Thurmond junior, suddenly brought federal charges against Mr Bursey under a little-known law that allows the Secret Service to restrict access to areas the president is visiting.
Mr Bursey's trial will take place in the new courthouse in Columbia, named after the now 100-year-old Strom Thurmond senior (who, as it happens, helped his son get his current job). If convicted, Mr Bursey, who is 54, faces six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Yet a growing number of liberal sorts seem to think that the real issue is the intolerance of John Ashcroft's Justice Department—and, in particular, its intention to start using the rare Secret Service law to get rid of protesters.
Last month, 11 members of Congress, including one Republican and several members of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, sent a letter to Mr Ashcroft urging him to drop charges against Mr Bursey. They insisted that “no plausible argument can be made that Mr Bursey was threatening the president by holding a sign which the president found politically offensive.”
Indeed, it is extremely hard to see why Mr Thurmond has picked on Mr Bursey out of all the people in the Secret Service zone. None of the other protesters with him was arrested. Neither were any of the several hundred supporters of the president who were holding equally dangerous (but pro-Bush) signs as they stood near the hangar where the president was to speak.
The prosecutors say that Mr Bursey was not in a special “free-speech zone” that was set up for protesters half a mile from the hangar. The pro-Bush people did not need to be there because they were not protesting. Mr Bursey told the cops, defiantly, that he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech zone.
Bill Nettles, Mr Bursey's lawyer, claims that the case is being driven not by the young Mr Thurmond but by higher-ups in Washington, who want a new way to stifle dissent. “This is the type of small-brained decision that could only have been made by bureaucrats inside the Beltway,” says the lanky Mr Nettles. Mr Thurmond's office declines to discuss the case. A spokesman says the office is aware of the letter from the 11 congressmen, but “unless we get a directive from Attorney-General Ashcroft's office [telling us to drop or settle the case], we shall proceed.” More...
 comments (12235 views) | link
Mon Jun 23, 2003
Bereaved Parents for Peace
There was a full page ad taken out in the Sunday New York Times by a group called the People's Opinion Project, which compiled quotes from a number of essays, this included.
By Nurit Peled-Elhanan: The Forum of Israeli and Palestinian bereaved parents for peace
I belong to a group of bereaved parents, both Israeli and Palestinian. This group, The Families Forum, does not represent anyone except for its members who strongly believe that we have been made to pay the highest price for a war that should have ended long ago, by letting careless, not to say ruthless and cynical politicians use the lives of our children as chips in their deadly games, and turn our children's blood into the cheapest merchandise in the political market.
That is why we wish to strengthen the voice of parents. We believe that Motherhood, Fatherhood and the wish to save the children who are still alive are only the common denominators that overcome nationality and race and religion. Some of us are indeed religious. Yitzhak Frankental, the founder of this forum, is an orthodox Jew, but his Judaism, unlike the Judaism of some of his friends, who refuse to pray with him when he says Kaddish for his murdered son, is a source of hope, of peace, of respect for the other and therefore of dialogue.
The main activity of our Forum is talk. We talk to each other, we talk to the world and we talk to young people who are about to join the army.
We know that conversation is always about differences: It is the site where differences of power, of knowledge and of beliefs are constantly negotiated. People who do not accept differences and are not ready to make room in themselves for different kinds of knowledge and values, cannot speak to each other. They can trick and deceive and humiliate each other, but they cannot converse. People who cannot, or who would not accept differences and who don't see heterogeneity as a blessing, have a monolithic approach to talk, namely, they want to impose their ideologies on others and to dominate their thinking. Their speech is intolerant and offensive; this is the kind of approach we have been witnessing in most of the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. More...
 comments (8028 views) | link
Fri Jun 20, 2003
Life Under the Ayatollah: A graphic novel
From a CNN interview with the author, Marjane Satrapi:
"Tehran has a very active artistic movement, but people who work there are very, very brave," she says. "I didn't have the courage for this daily fight."
It was in Paris, at L'Atelier des Vosges, that "Persepolis" took shape. Urged by other students, Satrapi decided to reconstruct her childhood, using a younger version of herself, Marji, to narrate the story.
She chose to do her book as a graphic novel and grows irritated when asked why...
Well! Looks like I am going to have to drop by Friendly Frank's shop and have him order this. Read the rest of the interview.
 comments (6285 views) | link
Thu Jun 19, 2003
This comes from Huwaida Arraf, whose family are Christian Palestinians, who I met last fall. Huwaida is active in ISM (International Solidarity Movement) with her husband Adam Shapiro. While I'm not in agreement with everything ISM stands for (they don't feel it's their position to advocate non-violence) I'll pass this along here.
Thank you for the calls and the emails. I am embarassed to have taken up your time with my case when there are so many other Palestinians that need your help. The officer filling out my release papers commented that I "must have many friends all over the world."
I was put under arrest today for "obstructing the work of soldiers" and though I didn't go to prison, I'd like to ask a few minutes of your time to tell you about what happened today, and the larger prison that all Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are in.
I arrived at the Huwwara checkpoint at around 12:30pm with a newly arrived American volunteer, Rick; we were on our way to Nablus. The queue was long, at least 70 people, and it didn't look like the three Israeli soldiers that were manning the checkpoint were letting anybody through. A few of the Palestinian men, who had already been at the checkpoint for over an hour, seeing my companion was an international, advised us to walk around the checkpoint to avoid what would surely be another 3-hour wait, at least; "If you have an American passport, you'll pass, no problem." Though we were in a hurry to get Rick to the ISM training in Nablus, there was no question that we'd refuse to take advantage of the racist system that would allow an American into Nablus, but require a resident of Nablus or a surrounding village to wait for hours, to be checked by Israeli soldiers and then given a verdict of whether he/she could go home, to work, or to school. So we waited. Soldiers make Palestinians stand in a female line and a male line and so our Palestinian friends, who were trying to save us time, urged us to at least get into the shorter female line. We did. A half an hour later a soldier came over and let a handful of women pass. I was one of the ones singled out to pass. Rick came with me. When we approched the soldier that was to check our IDs, we noticed a family, a man, woman and two children who were standing aside. Apparently the soldiers did not want to let the man through (he had a British passport) and his wife, a Palestinian from Nablus, was refusing to leave without him. They were also refusing to turn back. The soldiers kept asking of the Brit, his "hawiyya" - ID, insinuating that he had a Palestinian ID (in addition to the passport) and was just refusing to show it. I then noticed two yound Palestinian men, in their early twenties, crouching up against the cinder blocks that form the checkpoint, their hands tied behind their backs. An old woman was pleading with the Israeli soldiers, her son (one of the young men), was sick and had back problems and was on his way to Rafeedia Hospital in Nablus. She was trying to show the soldier her son's papers and x-rays, but he wasn't interested. "His back! His back!" she cried, but the soldier only yelled at her to go away. I interfered to ask the soldier why he was yelling at the old woman and holding the young men. He said he wasn't interested. I learned from the two men, Rashed and Ramsy that they had been held for 3 hours by that point (since about 9:30am) and the soldiers had confiscated their ID cards. They weren't told why. I got on the phone with HaMoked, an Israeli human rights organization in Jerusalem that often turns in complaints of abuses to the Military District Coordinating Office, and gave them the names of the young men. Rick and I decided that we would stay by Ramsy and Rashed until HaMoked was able to get back to us. Ramsy stood up to show us that his cuffs were on way too tight. It looked like he was losing circulation. I pleaded with one of the soldiers to loosen his cuffs, Rick pointing out that the boy could be seriously hurt. The soldier screamed at Ramsy to kneel "or else." Another soldier, calling himself a beast, said "I want to kill him today."
The soldiers told me to leave the area, as I was in a closed military zone.
 comments (5788 views) | link
"Anyone caught selling human meat faces execution."
The Telegraph UK has an update on the North Korean famine:
"If a funeral takes place during the day and the burial is performed that evening, the grave may be dug open and the body stolen before morning," said one refugee.
Another witness, named only as Lee, 54, said he feared that his missing grandsons, aged eight and 11, had been killed for food. As he searched widely for them, they boys' friends said they had vanished near a market."
Too bad North Korea doesn't have oil! Schrub would be in there at the drop of a Big Texan Ten Gallon Cowboy Hat!
if you want More...
Tue Jun 17, 2003
The Blood of Iranians
By Koorosh Afshar
TEHRAN, IRAN — During the past few nights, we Iranian youth have been agitating — at great risk to our lives — to remove the 24-year-old plague that has stricken our homeland. Our goal is to topple the theocratic regime of the mullahs. Our opponents are barbarian vigilantes — members of Ansaar-e-Hezbollah — who are backed by heavily armed Iranian riot police.
Westerners may have difficulty imagining what these people are like. In fact, it's quite easy: Simply remember the Taliban. The only difference is that they don't wear Afghani clothes... More...
 comments (6380 views) | link
Mon Jun 16, 2003
icq conversation between Vanderdreschd and Javier:
On Mon, Jun 16, 2003, 1:18 PM, Vanderdreschd said :
iran boiling over...
On Mon, Jun 16, 2003, 1:21 PM, Javier said :
yeah - hey, and the anti-war, pro-democracy power to the people crowd are as silent as a pile of pol pot skulls.
As funny as Javier's quote is, I wonder if it's not quite true. I read a lot of right-leaning blogs that are all over Iran's democracy movement.
not rhetorical: Can anyone point me to some left-leaning sites that cover this?
 comments (4596 views) | link
Sun Jun 15, 2003
Russians Enter Romania, 1944
Two Russian army groups enter Romania in August, 1944.
Nearly half of the Romanian Jewish population of 750,000 had been slaughtered during the Nazi occupation.
Creepy Flag Burning Desecration Act Voted on.
Blah, blah, blah: An Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Authorizing the Congress to Prohibit the Physical Desecration of the Flag of the United States
I just can't believe that this gets brought up every year. Supposedly the Senate votes it down, but you can't be that sure anymore..
FINAL VOTE RESULTS
good for Jim Leach(IA), one of 11 republicans who voted no. Double plus bad for the 83 Democrats who voted yes (!?).
Here's a list of Flag Burnings across our broad land.
 comments (4601 views) | link
Thu Jun 12, 2003
sad sex songs
The Story Of Someone's Shoe by Paul Weller (Style Council Confessions Of A Pop Group, 1988)
Pregnant by Chad Crouch (Portland, OR, 1997)
 comments (5069 views) | link
Interview with Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness
JOE: When did you realize your political consciences?
KK: I think of myself as a late bloomer when it comes to reaching political consciousness. I was good-hearted, I aimed to please people, but I managed to go through the Viet Nam War (in my early twenties) like Brigadoon in the mist. While studying for a master's degree in theology, taking most of my courses at the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago, I finally felt that I could no longer write papers about "the preferential option for the poor" or sing "Our God Hears the Cry of the Poor" and yet never see any poor people.
I knew of a Catholic Worker house of hospitality on the north side of Chicago. A friend of mine offered to drive me up there and introduce me to a nearby soup kitchen. After just a few encounters with "the do-gooders ghetto" in Uptown, I decided to move there. Making political decisions has been much easier ever since then.
JOE: what were your previous political affiliations?
KK: It became clear, living amongst impoverished people, that my immediate neighbors needed my assistance much more than the federal government's bloated defense budget. I became a war tax refuser. Social life revolved around the soup kitchen. People who came there as guests generally had no other means for meals. Many stayed at the overnight shelter or slept in abandoned buildings. Wretched poverty afflicted most of my neighbors in Uptown, but those who were punished most for being poor were the children and youngsters. They'd committed no crime, and yet, as they grew up, their options were grim: jail, addiction, death.
I felt very strongly that the most important question we face is this: how can we learn to live together ithout killing one another and destroying the planet. I wanted very much to affiliate with nonviolent communities that addressed this question. This alignment led to prisons and war zones, working with others for the further invention of nonviolence. It has also allowed me chances to rub shoulders with some of the finest, kindest people in the world. What's more, I've felt fortunate to know a truth and to know it passionately. The truth is that we are all part of one another.
 comments (5812 views) | link
Mon Jun 09, 2003
John Dean: WMD
John Dean was a former White House counsel to Richard Nixon. He testified before the Senate Watergate Committee and alleged that as of September 1972, the president was aware of White House efforts to "cover-up" the Watergate break-in. On national television, Dean recalled a conversation in which he warned the President that "there was a cancer growing on the presidency, and if the cancer was not removed, the President himself would be killed by it." [cribbed from msnbc.com]
here's what he has to say now.
Missing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:
Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?
By JOHN W. DEAN
Friday, Jun. 06, 2003
President George W. Bush has got a very serious problem. Before asking
Congress for a Joint Resolution authorizing the use of American military
forces in Iraq, he made a number of unequivocal statements about the reason
the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can
undertake - acts of war against another nation.
Now it is clear that many of his statements appear to be false. In the past,
Bush's White House has been very good at sweeping ugly issues like this
under the carpet, and out of sight. But it is not clear that they will be
able to make the question of what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of
mass destruction (WMDs) go away - unless, perhaps, they start another war. More...
 comments (7582 views) | link
this is a message I got from a friend who spent some time in Africa reviewing asylum cases for the State Department. I'm posting it here since I thought people should read it, but anonymously. (since she works for the government)
Not that I have been reading the newspaper since I have come back from Africa, but I would guess that since the following news article is neither related to Bush, nor to Martha Stewart, it may not have made the front page of many newspapers. It has been fairly horrific during the past week, with more than 100 people killed over the weekend and 2 rebel groups fighting. Charles Taylor, President of Liberia, was found guilty of crimes against humanity by a court in Sierra Leone last week and that sort of fueled the fire for more fighting. The article below is about child soldiers, some of whom I met during my refugee interviews earlier this year.
There is also a famine in Ethiopia/Eritrea that is much worse than the famine that inspired USA for Africa and there is a famine in Southern Africa, which is enhanced by the rejection of US grains because of fears of genetically modified food. The last World Food Program statistics I heard, which are old (from a report that came out in January 2003) and probably wrong, but impressive nonetheless, are that 32 million people in Eastern and Southern Africa are at risk due to this famine. Guinea, where I was for almost 2 months still does not have electricity or water and it has been this way for 6 months now due to drought. Again, I haven't been reading the papers lately, but I doubt that the war, the famine or the drought is making the front page every day.
The lack of news in the newspapers is nothing new, but it seems the refusal of those who write for newspapers to ask difficult and intelligent questions of the world around them is growing. Just my thought for the day.
Also, in the news today, England is discussing plans for a reality TV show on BBC in which the audience would vote to determine if an Asylee should be thrown out of the country. They will use actual Asylee cases on the show. Quite profoundly disturbing.
LIBERIA: Child soldiers are back on the frontline More...
 comments (7785 views) | link
Sat Jun 07, 2003
Gosh this is fun.
Yes it's a big video file.
 comments (4864 views) | link
This evening I checked out the the PlaNetworks conference after hearing about it from Stephan Smith, who is playing music fer them tomorrow night. Anyway, the speaker tonight was Doug Englebart, who was the inventor of the mouse over at Xerox, and responsible for the first sucessful implementation of hypertext. His talk was wonderful and he is a sweet old man.
He needed a ride to his motel, so we wound up giving him a ride.. Along the way we asked him the usual questions like 'what kind of computer do you use' (an old PC and a client server running some ancient DOS like OS sounds like) and then the question of whether he uses a Macintosh came up. He furrowed his brow a bit and said "No... and I've been mad at that guy, what's his name" Uh, Steve Jobs? "Yes... That one button mouse.. they didn't listen to me."
Click here for an image of Doug Englebart speaking at the conference: http://blogs.it/0100198/2003/06/06.html#a1233
An interesting car ride! Look forward to hearing the rest of the presenters tomorrow..
 comments (5743 views) | link