Archives: July 2003
Thu Jul 31, 2003
My friend John Nyboer has been obsessed with collecting Bush quotes:
He also has an epic poem that he's been making about Bush since he was elected, called the Ballad of the Bush Leagues.
check it out o citizens!
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Pentagon's 'futures market' from the people that brought us Total Information Awareness
A whole new satanic meaning to 'worshiping the market'. Bet on a people getting killed, a landmark to get blown up, and make money when it happens. John Poindexter, Iran-Contra Felon. Bad Man.
Pentagon Prepares a Futures Market on Terror Attacks
WASHINGTON, July 28 — The Pentagon office that proposed spying electronically on Americans to monitor potential terrorists has a new experiment. It is an online futures trading market, disclosed today by critics, in which anonymous speculators would bet on forecasting terrorist attacks, assassinations and coups. [...]
[...][senator Dorgan] said the idea seemed so preposterous that he had trouble persuading people it was not a hoax. "Can you imagine," Mr. Dorgan asked, "if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in — and is sponsored by the government itself — people could go in and bet on the assassination of an American political figure?"
Pentagon Abandons Plan for Futures Market on Terror
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Wed Jul 30, 2003
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Tue Jul 29, 2003
$$ for democracy
I was looking at commondreams and I came across this paragraph in an article titled 'Who Profits from Erasing Iraq's Debt?'
...Despite an abysmal human rights record and corrupt government, the country received $500 million in US funding last year - $79 million specifically earmarked for [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,963497,00.html]"torture as a routine investigative technique."[/url] Its proximity to Afghanistan and expanding US military presence guarantee ever more funding to back the savage Uzbek government, step up repression and no doubt create the kind of Islamic fundamentalism the US should be fighting in the first place.
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Mon Jul 28, 2003
Guatemala, General Ríos Montt
I got this in the email. The elections in Guatemala were considered as a pilot project of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, as the elections have been tinged with corruption and violence.
Apparently this guy was aided in a coup by the CIA + Reagan.
For urgent action:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
On Thursday, 24 July busloads of followers of General Ríos Montt, including paramilitaries, entered the Guatemala City and attacked groups of people,
journalists, and critics of the general in a coordinated campaign of violence. They have threatened media offices and human rights organizations. In the early 1980's Rios Montt presided over the genocide of at least 70,000 Guatemalans.
Nonviolent Peaceforce Co-Chair, Claudia Samayoa, has informed us that there is a death list of human rights defenders circulating among assassins. There are currently only 2 international accompaniers for the human rights defenders in Guatemala.
SHE ASKS THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WITH THE MESSAGE THAT THEY ACT TO PROTECT THE DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN GUATEMALA.
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Sun Jul 27, 2003
Toilet of the Ayatollah
From my aquaintence Discoshaman of Kiev, author of Le Sabot Post-Moderne blog:
"I spent Saturday with my Iranian buddies. After a couple of beers it was time to head for the WC. One of my pals asked me if I was going to the Ayatollah Khameni's office..."
read the rest
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Fri Jul 25, 2003
Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein
This ad has been in every car on the BART trains for a couple of weeks, sponsored by Peace Action California, showing Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in 1983.
Here's a video still, and you can click on links below to look at the video.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.
high resolution - http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/shakinghands_high.wmv
low resulution - http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/shakinghands.wmv
[Windows Media Video (WMV). Opens in Windows Media Player]
These links are from George Washington University's National Security Archive Pages
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Thu Jul 24, 2003
Wed Jul 23, 2003
The following excerpt is from an email sent from an American Marine to warblogger Tacitus regarding Baghdad's rejoicing at the first deaths of Qusay and Uday:
"The people of Baghdad weren't awaiting confirmation. It was nonstop celebratory fire. The war's critics warned constantly about the uprising of the "Arab street." Well, here it was: celebrating the end of 2/3 of the triumvirate.
The gunfire was so intense that they suspended shuttle service to our housing for an hour and called everyone in living out behind the palace in trailers. Iraqis are known for firing weaponry into the air and having indifference to where it lands ("If God wills" is their fatalistic phrase.). It was an inconvenience no one seemed to mind.
CNN International quoted one of his former bodyguards as saying that odious Uday, a serial rapist for starters, was the most brutal man in Iraq, bar none. (We live next to his flattened former "pleasure palace.") The stories about these three devils make you wonder if it's possible to have three more demented humans." More...
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All the Shah's Men
OK here's some Iran stuff.
This morning I read a book review of 'All the Shah's Men' by Stephen Kinzer in the NY Times. It echos what I've thought - which is much of the events of the middle east can be traced back to earlier times of 'regime change' in the middle east– when the Shaw of Iran replaced a democratically elected (and socialist leaning) president via a CIA backed coup who was seeking to nationalize the British owned petroleum industry.
... In seeking to change regimes not to America's liking, Mr. Bush travels a well-trodden path. It started more than a century ago when, in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, the United States found itself in charge of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Soon thereafter, President Theodore Roosevelt promulgated his Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which led to the occupation of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua.
..Once colonialism was discredited, the United States adopted a different approach — covert regime change — with the C.I.A. rather than the United States military in the lead...
...On Aug. 19, 1953, Kermit Roosevelt, a C.I.A. operative and grandson of Teddy, orchestrated the ouster of the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh — a populist leader who had gained London's wrath by nationalizing the British-owned oil industry and frightened Washington for failing to oppose Communist influence vigorously inside Iran..
The C.I.A.'s success in Iran was but the first in a long list of United States coup attempts — in Cuba, Chile, Congo, Guatemala, Vietnam and elsewhere. Some of these coups succeeded. Others did not. But all suffered unintended consequences — perhaps none more than the coup that ousted Mossadegh.
...he reveals much about Iran's history, paints a sharp portrait of British colonialism just at the point of its ultimate collapse, and lays bare the debate on how the United States should engage the world.
... Mr. Kinzer recounts how the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later known as British Petroleum ) in effect ran Iran for years — with nearly all the benefits of oil exploration going to its owners and the British government and virtually none to the Iranian people.
...In 1951 Mossadegh rose to power on a promise to nationalize Anglo-Iranian, setting in motion a crisis that two years later would lead to his ouster...
...Britain considered Iran's oil rightfully its own and rejected the nationalization of the industry and assets as illegal; Mossadegh had no intention of reversing a decision that put Iran in charge of the resources within — or in this case under — its national territory...
...The August coup ousted Mossadegh and put Iran firmly in Washington's sphere of influence. But Mr. Kinzer argues that success in the short run came at a very high price in the long run...
To retain control over an unruly population, the Shah of Iran ruled with an ever more brutal and savage hand. Oppression bred nationalism, which found an outlet in Islamic fundamentalism. The result was the Iranian revolution in 1979. The decision by students and revolutionaries to take over the United States embassy was at least in part designed to avoid a repeat of 1953, when the C.I.A. used the embassy's diplomatic sanctuary to plot the coup against Mossadegh.
The revolution and hostage crisis led Washington to support Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war and Tehran to support Islamist terror groups as a way to attack the United States and its interests. "It is not far-fetched to draw a line from Operation Ajax," the C.I.A. code name for the 1953 coup, Mr. Kinzer argues, "through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."
Even if that is quite a stretch (and hardly an excuse for 9/11), Mr. Kinzer has a point. Regime change can have very different consequences than originally intended. Iran was kept out of Soviet hands — but the coup also produced a brutal regime that fomented a violent and very dangerous revolution, the impact of which is felt even today.
Mr. Kinzer's book offers a cautionary tale for our current leaders, who have embarked on their own version of regime change...
Original Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/23/books/23DAAL.html
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Tue Jul 22, 2003
I've never seen any warbloggers talk about DU. At a demonstration once, I went and talked with some freepers for awhile. (They were holding a sign critisizing ANSWER, which I was wholeheartedly into, and I should get into that another time) I asked them what they thought about Depleted Uranium. One didn't know what it was. It's not that bad, another said. War is hell, another.
Me thinks that it is basically the same thing as dirty bomb, like the one Jose Padillia is detained for plotting, except we use it on other people, and we don't get scared by Disovery Channel exposés about DU, casue there aren't any. But to the farmer in Iraq or Kosovo (the soldier) who gets cancer it's about the same as the office worker in London who would be exposed to the low level radiation of a dirty bomb, never manifesting itself for years, but in the end pretty much the same.
Anyway, I wonder what Victor David Hanson says about defomed babies.
Warning of toxic aftermath from uranium munitions
By ANTHONY CARDINALE Buffalo News Staff Reporter 7/22/2003
Former Army Maj. Douglas Rokke tells of lethal legacy from depleted uranium munitions used in gulf wars.
The American use of depleted uranium munitions in both Persian Gulf wars has unleashed a toxic disaster that will eclipse the Agent Orange tragedy of the Vietnam War, a former top Army official said Monday evening.
Former Maj. Douglas Rokke, who was director of the Army's depleted uranium project, spoke to 125 people at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. The Champaign, Ill., science professor was brought here by the Western New York Peace Center.
"I am a warrior," the 54-year-old Vietnam War veteran began. "The sole purpose of war is to kill and destroy. There are no winners."
Dressed in sneakers, blue jeans and a red polo shirt, Rokke fit the image of an animated science professor, hair tousled, adjusting his glasses and eager to impart his findings to the next generation.
If what he says is true, students will soon have yet another chapter of heartbreaking history to study in the schools. If he is wrong, it will take years to disprove.
Called to active duty in 1990, Rokke said, he was assigned to develop procedures for cleaning up uranium contamination after "they decided to use depleted uranium munitions" in the war to expel Iraq from Kuwait.
"They didn't tell anybody what they were doing. Why would they? Depleted uranium munitions are the ultimate weapon. Each round fired by an Abrams tank (represents) 10 pounds of solid uranium-238. The purpose of war is to kill and destroy."
Rokke said his team in the gulf blew up vehicles and structures with these munitions and then tested the wreckage for radioactive contamination. He said they found that uranium dust is so fine that it acts like a gas, seeping through the tiny pores of protective masks.
The United States blew up Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in Kuwait and on the Saudi Arabian border in the first gulf war, Rokke said. As a precaution, American personnel were inoculated before entering the field, but "we were told not to record it, and it's not in the soldiers' medical records."
Uranium munitions were also used during the recent war in Iraq, he added.
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Kill Kill Kill
Driving back across the bay bridge today I listened to KGO (5 years ago reinvented as a right wing radio talk show format, birthed Michael 'Savage' Weiner) Sean Hannity was on (compared to Mr. Weiner, Hannity is George McGovern), left a bad taste in my mouth -"Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbyeeee..." was the theme song as they cracked jokes about killing the sons of Saddam Hussein. That's something that has bothered me, is everyones willingness to talk gleefully about killing.
I think these guys are doing their own version of encouraging victimization as well. Blame the Demonrats. Oh well, I guess it's just marketing...
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Mon Jul 21, 2003
it don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows
Meteorologist's work featured in national weather magazine
By Billy Cox
On May 25, while scanning the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program images pipelined into his desktop from 450 miles in orbit, Hank Brandli skidded at a nighttime photo of Iraq. It looked familiar. But not exactly.
Brandli retrieved another DMSP image he'd archived from May 3. He compared the two. The most recent photo showed a blazing corridor of light running the length of Kuwait, south to north, all the way to the Iraqi border. The image wasn't there on May 3.
"It's going right up to Iraq's oil fields," says the retired Air Force colonel from his home in Palm Bay. "Maybe I'm full of s---. Maybe all they're doing is building a highway to put in McDonald's and sell hamburgers. But why go that way? I think we're in bed with Kuwait. I think we're pumping oil out of Iraq to pay for this war."
That's an audacious observation. Especially considering those labyrinthine lines of exasperated motorists waiting to gas up at the fuel pumps in Baghdad. Not to mention the fact that Iraq's infrastructure officially won't be capable of exporting oil for another week or so.
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Sun Jul 20, 2003
Thank you for buying a McDonnell Douglas military aircraft
I recieved this in my email:
...This was allegedly posted very briefly on the McDonnell Douglas website by an employee there who obviously has a sense of humor. The company, of course, does not have a sense of humor, and made the web department take it down immediately.
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Sat Jul 19, 2003
Kean, Chairman of 9-11 Comission troubled by government "minders"
9-11 Commission Criticizes Bush Administration
VOA News - Wednesday 09 July 2003
The head of a commission probing the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks says a lack of cooperation from several federal agencies is hampering its work.
The chairman, Thomas Kean, a Republican former governor of New Jersey, criticized the Defense and Justice Departments - among others - for not providing critical documents in a timely manner. Mr. Kean said it is clear that the Bush administration underestimated the scale of the independent commission's work. He said he also is particularly troubled by the Bush administration's insistence on always having what he called a government "minder" present when representatives of the commission interview federal employees. He said the commission feels it is intimidating to have someone present who works for the same agency. More...
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Bring them on
I probably shouldn't let the Bush comment about the July 3 'Bring it on' pass, even though it's a couple weeks old. File that comment with the mocking 'Please don't kill me' comment he made regarding the plea for clemency by a woman on death row in Texas.
So, I serve this with the magic of cut-n-paste from counterpunch.org.
Yesterday, when I read that US Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, in amoment of blustering arm-chair machismo, sent a message to the'non-existent' Iraqi guerrillas to "bring 'em on," the first image in my mind was a 20-year-old soldier in an ever-more-fragile marriage, who'd been away from home for 8 months. He participated in the initial invasion, and was told he'd be home for the 4th of July. He has a newfound familiarity with corpses, and everything he thought he knew last year is now under revision. He is sent out into the streets of Fallujah (or some other city), where he has already been shot at once or twice with automatic weapons or an RPG, and his nerves are raw. He is wearing Kevlar and ceramic body armor, a Kevlar helmet, a load carrying harness with ammunition, grenades, flex-cuffs, first-aid gear, water, and assorted other paraphernalia. His weapon weighs seven pounds, ten with a double magazine. His boots are bloused, and his long-sleeve shirt is buttoned at the wrist. It is between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit at midday. He's been eating MRE's three times a day, when he has an appetite in this heat, and even his urine is beginning to smell like preservatives. Mosquitoes and sand flies plague him in the evenings, and he probably pulls a guard shift every night, never sleeping straight through. He and his comrades are beginning to get on each others' nerves. The rumors of 'going-home, not-going-home' are keeping him on an emotional roller coaster. Directives from on high are contradictory, confusing, and often stupid. The whole population seems hostile to him and he is developing a deep animosity for Iraq and all its people--as well as for official narratives.
This is the lad who will hear from someone that George W. Bush, dressed in a suit with a belly full of rich food, just hurled a manly taunt from a 72-degree studio at the 'non-existent' Iraqi resistance.
full article below More...
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Puerto Rico... Iraq
I wonder what Victor David Hanson would have to say about Puerto Rico?
Will Iraq Be The Next Puerto Rico?
-- by Dan Horowitz de Garcia --
(June 5, 2003)
US troops landed as liberators. The commanding officer read a statement proclaiming the dawn of a new age of democracy for the country. The populace was skeptical but there were those who greeted the Yanquis with open arms, happy to be rid of oppressors.
The commanding officer was Nelson Miles, the populace spoke Spanish, the country was Puerto Rico and the century was the 19th. It may sound a lot different than the ongoing war in Iraq, but I believe the colonial experience in Puerto Rico can help us understand what may happen in Iraq. There are differences between the two situations, to be sure, but the similarities are striking.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, colonial holdings meant cheap labor, raw materials, and greater profit. The US military strategy for achieving its colonial dreams changed in the 1880s when Navy Captain Alfred T. Mahan became the federal government’s leading military strategist and advisor. Mahan developed a strategy for military supremacy, and colonial supremacy, based on naval power. This new doctrine meant that US foreign policy would emphasize building and maintaining naval might throughout the Western Hemisphere. The US invasion of the Philippines, Guam, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, was guided by the US’s strategic aim to obtain these colonies, and therefore military power, in Latin America and the Pacific.
The Spanish-American War established the US as a world imperialist power. The US victory, however, did present some problems. Spain’s empire had been in decline for some time and had little to offer the victors except land. As the head US negotiator Whitelaw Reid put it, “No indemnity was possible, save for territory”. With Cuba ravaged by its war for independence, the US took Puerto Rico as its Caribbean base for commerce.
The booty from the Iraq war is astronomical in comparison. Almost $2.5 billion in reconstruction and relief contracts awarded to Bechtel, the $7 billion in army contracts given to a division of Halliburton, and that’s just for starters. We haven’t even added up the oil yet. Some degree of privatization is guaranteed. There’s no question these measures will lead to mega-profits for US companies, the question is how are they going to do it. Given the administration’s bumbling so far it’s possible they’ll just hand it over to the corporations in plain daylight. But if we assume they’ll make their best move, and one should always plan on the opponent making the best move, daylight will be reserved only for public relations.
Over the last 100 years, the United States has used its colonial holdings (especially Puerto Rico) as a laboratory where the mechanisms of neocolonialism and the policies of today’s digital globalization have been perfected. What can we expect in Iraq? Using Puerto Rico as a model, I’m expecting three things:
A civilian government will come to the country…eventually Direct military rule is expensive and politically difficult to maintain. It’s just easier to have a proxy government do the dirty work. What’s more, the creation of the government is a chance to economically tie the colony to the country. The US did this to Puerto Rico in 1900 with what quickly became known as the Foraker Act. It codified Puerto Rico’s status as a colonial territory. The law established a civilian government under complete US control with all key positions from the governor to the Supreme Court to the executive council appointed by the US president. The Act also made all US federal laws binding on the island and established the tariff system to keep the country economically hobbled. I doubt whether the US will make its laws binding on Iraq in such an overt way, but wars aren’t fought to make other countries rich.
Expect a struggle around reality. In the 21st century colonial relationships are maintained by pretending there are no colonial relationships. The relationships haven’t changed in the last 100 years, just the definitions. So a country that has to have every decision approved by Washington DC is considered free and associated to the US purely out of choice. Any anti-colonial struggle is a struggle, in part, to define reality. Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon’s chosen successor to Saddam, has virtually no support among Iraqis, but that’s irrelevant. If all the Pentagon can do is point to an Iraqi and call him “president,” then that will be the official definition of democracy in Iraq. The anti-colonial struggle in Iraq will attempt expose the fallacy of the Pentagon’s definition.
Again, if the colonial history of Puerto Rico is a guide then we can expect other elites in the country to attempt to try. But being elites, they can be easily bought off. The variable here are the fundamentalists. The last thing the Pentagon wants is the rise of a fundamentalist movement outside of their control. The control may be political. Perhaps a multi-party democracy which includes a fundamentalist political group. The danger to the Pentagon is, of course, the fundamentalists may win.
It took 48 years for Puerto Ricans to elect our own governor. It happened after the independence movement was tightly controlled and migration programs installed to drain support from the movement. I don’t expect those types of strategies in Iraq. Religious fundamentalism is something the US government is not going to allow if it can help it. The control will come through violence. Expect Saddam’s secret police to keep their jobs with some COINTELPRO training courtesy of the FBI.
The FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (CONINTELPRO) begun in the 1950s had a devastating effect on organizing in Puerto Rico. COINTELPRO, along with military intelligence agencies, assisted the colonial government in illegally keeping files on more than 140,000 independence activists. Each faced years of harassment and blacklisting. If this is any indicator, expect Iraqi detention centers to fill with a new class of political prisoners real soon.
Expect a plebiscite with meaningless choices. The type of government proposed for Iraq will be based on the US model, whether the Iraqis want it or not. The constitution may or may not be written by US occupiers, but it will definitely be approved by them. Iraqis will be given a choice, but the choice will be meaningless. Just as it has been in Puerto Rico.
Over a four-year period after World War II the US government engineered the creation of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, keeping the colonial relationship intact while providing political cover. The US Congress made cosmetic changes to previous laws defining the relationship between the two countries. Congress mandated the creation of a local constitution, a constitutional convention, and a popular vote. It also reserved the right to edit the constitution and pre-approve the document before allowing the vote.
Since the constitution didn’t address the exploitative nature of the colonial relationship (and why would colonizers write a document detailing their colonial efforts), the only real decision was how closely associated the country would be with the US. Commonwealth status was “approved” and the US proclaimed the end of colonization. At no point has serious considerations been given to reparations for the last 100 years of exploitation. Instead Puerto Ricans are told our only guarantee of economic independence is association with the US. This has meant a confined debate on independence since ending an economic relationship with the US is considered the equivalent of a heroin addict quitting cold turkey.
The plebiscite is still a weapon that allows the US to keep its colony, but also threaten Puerto Ricans with economic devastation. The wording on each plebiscite ballot is approved by the US Congress. The terms of the vote are approved by the US Congress. The outcome, whatever it may be, is pre-determined by the US Congress.
Iraq’s oil reserves ensures there will be a strict form of control, but such direct colonization looks bad. How can the US maintain the same nature of control but in a form that looks like “liberation”? Part of the answer is privatization. Already the oil fields are under control by a Haliburton subsidiary. There will be a vote in Iraq, but it won’t be about Haliburton’s control of the oil. Or about withdrawing membership in OPEC. Or about anything meaningful.
Puerto Rico has 1/8 the population of Iraq. Our primary export is cheap labor (along with great boxers, J Lo and some of the best food you ever had in your life). Still, more than 100 years later the US has a firm foothold and refuses to leave. Iraq, with its vast oil reserves and strategic location, can expect much worse. The US is already showing its face. The debacle of a US flag over the Saddam statue showed the reality of power in the country, a signal not overlooked by the Iraqi people or anyone else in the Middle East. The war in Iraq has gone on for 13 years. We can expect the occupation to last much, much longer. And it’s going to be bloody.
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Fri Jul 18, 2003
Why Religion Must Play a Role in Iran
By REZA ASLAN
IOWA CITY - The student movement that has consumed Iran this summer has been interpreted by many senior American officials as a signal for the Bush administration to begin its next phase in democratizing the Middle East. But while the waves of protests and arrests — the latest came last week outside a Tehran university — may indicate the inevitable collapse of the Islamic Republic, what student leaders are calling for in Iran does not correspond with the administration's designs for the region.
The president has interpreted the current situation in Iran as a conflict between Islamic theocracy and the kind of Western secular democracy his administration envisions for Iraq. But that is not at all how most Iranians see it. Over the past two decades, academics, reformist theologians and liberal clerics in Iran have been struggling to redefine traditional Islamic political philosophy in order to bring it in line with modern concepts of representative government, popular sovereignty, universal suffrage and religious pluralism. What these Iranians have been working toward is "Islamic democracy": that is, a liberal, democratic society founded on an Islamic moral framework.
Read the rest:
(registering is free)
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VDH on 'balance'
Every one of you hippydippies or hawks should be reading this fellow every week. He is the golden calf of analysis lifted up to be worshipped or destroyed:
"No, the sin of Mr. Bush & co. has little to do with real provocation, but everything to do with this generic effort to restore an equilibrium, one sadly lost under the prior four administrations over some 20 years — whether in the case of Mr. Carter's paralysis with Teheran, Ronald Reagan's tepid response to mass murder in Lebanon, the elder Bush's failure to go on to Baghdad and the subsequent slaughter of helpless Shiites and Kurds, or the long litany of Clintonian appeasement. Add to that the fact that, through much of this passivity, we were either silent or shrugged in the face of the increasingly strident tones emanating from the EU and South Korea.
It is not a normal situation, after all, for a United Europe — with a vast population and economy larger than our own — to have tens of thousands of American troops on European soil to protect them from Soviet divisions that no longer exist. Or is it that we are still there to help keep internal peace (the old NATO line of "keeping Germany down") within a continent that nevertheless professes to have evolved to a higher plane — a continent where utopians grandly announce that they have, by fiat, disavowed war?
It really makes no sense to dot the Mediterranean with bases, keep old-fashioned heavy brigades in northern Europe, and run it all out of an ankle-biting Brussels — not when those who are being protected caricature Americans as Neanderthal troublemakers useful only for helot work, such as intervening in Serbia to stop a genocide on Europe's doorstop, or eradicating fascists in Afghanistan. Calling attention to these glaring anomalies was, I think, a moderate and much-needed act of restoring sanity — hardly the work of a firebrand." More...
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Thu Jul 17, 2003
Video, 1995, 60 min.
The behind-the-scenes maneuverings of politicians and newscasters in the early 1990s are exposed in Brian Springer's documentary.
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Wed Jul 16, 2003
I love this movie.
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Tue Jul 15, 2003
Mon Jul 14, 2003
Experience Points table for Citizens
0-250 XP––– Level 1. Suspended Member. Although still a member, this person has no access privileges, and should be the default for all village NPCs. Note: Unless you also ban a member's IP addresses (covered separately), there is little to prevent that person from re-registering under a Lawful alignment.
251-500 XP––– Level 2. Pending Activation. If you require membership to post, (and if you have enabled "require registration" in your preferences) upon registering, a new member is granted Level 2. Weapon specialization can occur at this level, but until they activate their account, they have no access privileges.
251-5000 XP––– Levels 3 - 6. Active Members. Members in good standing will typically be at one of these levels. These members can log in and post comments as well as submit "collective weblog" entries (if you have enabled that option). For practical purposes there is little difference between levels 3 through 6, though level 6 members attempting 'endurance feat' get +4 Bonus on all physical action checks (running, swimming, etc.). The main benefit of separate member levels is that you can create "secret pacts" between scheming players (covered separately in the manual) in order to Backstab specific members. Character alignment cannot be changed beyond this level.
5001-7500 XP––– Level 7. Admin Level 1. Level 7 is the minimum level necessary for Rangers PCs to follow trails of creatures and characters across most terrain. This level allows the member to create and edit entries only authored by him or her. If you have multiple weblogs, this member cannot attack any Liege or Lord he is Indebted to. This level grants no other privileges. They can not even look at most pages of the Fiend Folio.
7501-9000 XP––– Level 8. Admin Level 2. This level allows the member all of level 4 privileges as well as the ability to make Unarmed strike, Stunning Attack and Evasion. You can think of level 5 as a "Small Monk" status. This level grants no other privileges.
9001-15000 XP––– Level 9. Admin Level 3. This level allows the member all of level 5 privileges as well as Venom Immunity — no matter who originally cast it. You can think of this as a "Druid" status. At this level, the DM stops hassling you about light sources.
15001-36000 XP––– Level 10. Admin Level 4. This level grants member administrative privileges. A level 6 member has all previous privileges as well as the ability to obtain Vassles and Retainers.
36001-74500 XP––– Level 11. Admin Level 5 or "Demigod". This level is identical to Level 12 (Godlike) in all respects except one: Level 11 members cannot delete Godlike users. Otherwise they have all privileges and can institute Continental Tribute and limited Temple Worshipers (level 5-11).
n/a––– Level 12. Admin Level 6 or "Godlike". Level 12 grants all privileges. In most cases, there will only be one Godlike user. When you install pMachine for the first time, you are registered as a 'Dungeon Master'. As a godlike user, you have all privileges in the control panel except one: you can not delete yourself. In order to delete a Godlike user, there must exist at least one other mythological deity in the dungeon module pantheon. This is a safeguard against accidentally deleting yourself, which would lock you out of the control panel and cause you to Disbelieve. Deleting yourself will also remove any way for pMachine to know which entries belong to you, so think carefully before doing this as that whiny imbecile Brooke Rollins has been wanting to DM for, like, the past year.
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Sun Jul 13, 2003
Sat Jul 12, 2003
don't ask don't tell
(from Maura at Babbleogue) - don't ask what's in your milk...
Monsanto, an American company that produces a great deal of chemicals, and GM foodstuffs, and is well known as being extremely litigious, is suing Oakhurst Dairy. Common Dreams reports that Monsanto is being the legal bully because the small Maine-based dairy has the audacity to promote the fact that its milk comes from cows that have not been given growth hormones. Monsanto thinks this advertising campaign implies that there's something wrong with milk that comes from cattle receiving growth hormones, and since Monsanto produces such chemicals, it has to protect its market. No surprise, this is typical of the kind of tactics employed by Monsanto.
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Fri Jul 11, 2003
Screaming Pink Hippie On Fire
click MORE fer bigger and or different pictures of the Screaming Pink Hippie! More...
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Marking kills on his helmet an American soldier in Baghdad, April 11th 2003.
Polls indicate that for most Americans the attacks of September 11th justify all of the killing that has taken place in Iraq. Americans believe -- quite falsely -- that Iraq was responsible for those attacks, and the human slaughter is seen as vengeance. To date no connection between the government of Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th has been offered by U.S. or British government sources. From the Washington Post's Multi Media Photo Essay: "Eyes on the War"(Photo: Christopher Anderson)
Please permit me to post shit like this. Because I am cranky.
I saw this on Truthout.
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Car part 2. Wanna buy a car?
Hm. S' funny that while pete was doing that, I was posting Kelly's car on Craigslist. It aint' got no bumper stickers. Well, here's my photos of the car. It's name is Eeyore. Only $2000! Cheep!!
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Found in the parking lot of a comp usa. In Marin, of all places. I'm glad I happened to have my friend's digital camera. The statement in the last photo seems at odds with the rest of the statements on the car, but what the hell. I DO agree on the "Pitch to Barry" bit, though. See more for larger version. More...
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Wed Jul 09, 2003
Helen Caldicott: America's use of depleted uranium weapons
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Mon Jul 07, 2003
4th of July tribute let's salute oblivion
I got an email from someone with a blog at http://grassrootsny.org/blog/ :
I recently came across an extremely offensive site. It is a flash movie that shows many horrific images of WTC victims...people jumping etc. According to the 'info' section, the message is basically that Iraq gets what it deserves because of 9-11. I am not a family member. However, I find it morally offensive that this person is using these images to argue their particular point of view.
If you'd like to read the response of the guy that made the flash movie, and the URL - http://grassrootsny.org/blog/archives/000124.html
I didn't watch the move, and won't. I haven't seen these images yet, and I hope to avoid them. Using these images of violence to encourage victimization, nationalism and war is probably to be expected, but disgusting nontheless.
this is the first post I've used with the Trackback, so let's see if it works
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Guardian UK is opening up for an American Version of their newspaper:
thanks: daily kos
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WMD on google
1. go to google
2. search for "weapons of mass destruction"
3. press "I'm feeling lucky"
or click here:
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Risky & Spectacular Fireworks in Kansas City
Witnessed the most incredibly beautiful fireworks in front of The Liberty Memorial. This morning I spoke with a co-worker who had seen them from her downtown loft a few blocks away. We said the same thing, at the same time: "That was the most amazing show I have ever seen." Having lived for several years in D.C. she confessed that they "surpassed the Capitol fireworks displays ten times over".
I'm not sure whether this reflects on our parenting skills or the majesty of the display, but a few times my wife and I thought we should really move inside Union Station–we were a scant 100yds away from the actual set-up–but it was just too incredible and decided to risk it. It turned out that one rather large fireball fell not 15 feet ahead of the front rows of people (who packed up and went inside). I must say we all did have to take showers after the show...we were covered in gunpowder and shell casings. Literally. More...
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Sun Jul 06, 2003
Jews boarding trains, Bucharest, 1940
Sat Jul 05, 2003
Jews Boarding Trains, Romania, 1940
I was a bit despondant last night.
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