(Indeed, the very showiness of Bush's pledge of support â€“ in a phone call supposedly initiated by Bush, then announced to the media â€“ is a good indication of the decapitation to come. As JFK once told Gore Vidal: "When a politician says to you, 'Jack, if there's anything I can do for you, just let me know,' that means you're dead." And Maliki â€“ installed in a Bush-backed internal party coup that toppled the previous prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was himself once a recipient of similar pledges of staunch White House support â€“ is a dead man walking.)
The chief reason why Maliki and his government will be ousted is not the hell-storm of death and violence that is now devouring the country. The fact that every new day sees a hundred or more mutilated bodies dumped on the nation's streets, and pitched battles between sectarian militias, and multiple deaths of American troops, and mass flights of anguished Iraqi civilians running in fear for their lives is not a matter of any urgent concern to Bush and his warmakers. Indeed, there is much evidence that one of the prime instigators of the wanton killing is a group created and long nurtured by the Bush Administration itself: the Facilities Protection Service, an army of uniformed freebooters nearly 150,000 strong. (I'll be writing more on this later.) Of course, the violence is a political headache for the Bushists, because it generates bad press; but they don't care about it â€“ it has no intrinsic meaning or emotional impact on those who are already responsible for the deaths of more than half a million Iraqis and more than 2,700 Americans.
No, what will likely bring on the coup is the December deadline for crafting a new oil law, which was imposed on Iraq by the International Monetary Fund, as part of the deal to write off some â€“ but by no means all â€“ of the nation's crushing debt.
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by Mickey Z.
Thanks to the nuclear aspirations of North Korea and Iran, there's no shortage of rhetoric along these lines: "We can't let rogue nations have nukes. They might use them." Absent from the discussion are two elementary questions. First: What is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons (and have civilians been targeted)?
On August 6, 1945, the U.S. government ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
A Tokyo radio broadcast describe how "the impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all livin things, human and animal, were seared to death by the tremendous heat an pressure engendered by the blast." Tokyo radio went on to call Hiroshima city with corpses "too numerous to be counted...literally seared to death. It was impossible to "distinguish between men and women."
The Associated Press carried the first eyewitness account: a Japanese soldier who describe the victims as "bloated and scorched-such an awesome sight-their legs an bodies stripped of clothes and burned with a huge blister." After visitin the devastated city, Australian war correspondent, Wilfred Burchet described Hiroshima as a "death-stricken alien planet" with patient presenting purple skin hemorrhages, hair loss, drastically reduced white blood cell counts, fever, nausea, gangrene, and other symptoms of radiation disease he called an "atomic plague."Add a comment
By Ingmar Lee & Krista Roessingh
We are appealing for your immediate help to protect South India's
last significant herds of Wild Elephants! Please take a few moments to
familiarize yourselves with the predicament of these magnificent
Recent estimates of the number of Asian elephants (Elephus maximus)
remaining in the wild range from 35,000 at the low end to 50,000 at the
upper end. Asian elephants once ranged throughout most of Asia, but
their habitat has been reduced to isolated fragments, often with
boundaries that restrict traditional migrations and gene flow.
This expanding human settlement/wildland interface has lead to increased pressure on populations due to human-elephant conflicts ranging from poaching to crop-raiding and roadkills. The distribution of Asian elephant populations in India is well known but population estimates, ranging from 26,000 to 31,000 are up to 14 years out of date and many are based on less than rigorous data collection. Also, effective population sizes are lower due to selective poaching of males for ivory.
by George Soros
The war on terror is a false metaphor that has led to
counterproductive and self-defeating policies. Five years after 9/11, a
misleading figure of speech applied literally has unleashed a real war
fought on several fronts -- Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia
-- a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged
millions around the world. Yet al Qaeda has not been subdued; a plot
that could have claimed more victims than 9/11 has just been foiled by
the vigilance of British intelligence.
Unfortunately, the "war on terror" metaphor was uncritically accepted by the American public as the obvious response to 9/11. It is now widely admitted that the invasion of Iraq was a blunder. But the war on terror remains the frame into which American policy has to fit. Most Democratic politicians subscribe to it for fear of being tagged as weak on defense.Add a comment
This week on GR: Veteran for peace, Mike Ferner and reports from inside Iraq's Red Zone. Tom Rankin and the hijacking of B.C. Hydro. And; Janine Bandcroft brings us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.
Who could have known? Who could have foreseen the disaster Iraq
would become before the missiles and bombs fell, before the shock and
The millions marching in the streets of towns and cities across the world knew. Movie stars and lesser artists and political celebrities who were ridiculed and refused air time knew. The myriad organizations, both established and hurriedly cobbled against the impeding attack knew. And, the men who planned and executed this horror knew they would profit it.
More than three and a half years on, and the situation in Iraq is worse now than ever. Mike Ferner is an American peace activist, freelance journalist, and author of the book, â€˜Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq.â€™
Mike Ferner in the first half.
Steve is a New
Englander, an educated man. He's been released from jail just a few
hours before the rendezvous with the camera, late at ... all Â» night,
in a crowded bar in Denver. It's a cold night. The judge will not let
him see his son without a shrink being present. Steve is very upset and
outspoken. He talks about what he calls the Shitstem, the justice
system in America; he divides American society amongst those who have
and those who have not, and was on the consequences to come should we
decide to do nothing about it. Steve's an average American, an educated
man angered at a society that he finds profoundly unjust.
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by Richard Kastelein
A paranoid passenger seated next to former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins got nervous on a flight to Brisbane when he saw the rocker reading â€œJihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asiaâ€, a book about Islamic fundamentalists. The passenger contacted the authorities after the plane landed and Henry faced the rubber glove snapping... thanks to the Australian government. For a book.
â€œDays later I received an e-mail from a woman who I guess figured out who I was and found me,â€ Rollins stated. â€œI had been named a â€˜person of interest.â€™ Basically, they get calls like this every five minutes, and Iâ€™m probably on the â€˜who caresâ€™ list, in that theyâ€™ll probably let me into the country again. But the fact that this guy could be that ignorant and call me in on this for a book . . . I was angry. Because of the fact that the guy wouldnâ€™t confront me. I like confrontation. If Iâ€™ve offended you, let me know. Donâ€™t call it in and not leave your name. I just think itâ€™s pretty weak.â€
Freedom is under attack
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Spirituality is intrapersonal. Itâ€™s a liberating and uplifting awareness. It nurtures personal growth. It inspires more conscious perceptions. But when personal spirituality is organized into a religion, an institution is produced and, as all institutions, it then produces a hierarchy who concoct dogma that has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do with maintaining social and political control.
The Roman Catholic Church lied about and covered-up decades of child abuse by priests. When finally exposed, they responded by banning â€œgay priests.â€ But as Kathryn Conroy, assistant dean of Columbia Universityâ€™s School of Social Work, pointed out in a New York Times piece following the Vaticanâ€™s ban on â€œgay priestsâ€:
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What is forgotten in all of the hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access. â€¦
Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children. â€¦
Further, women have far lower rates of sexually abusing children than men do. So if the church were really serious about protecting children from sexual abuse by priests, gays would not be excluded from the priesthood and ordination would be extended to women.
" Thank you for not putting a bomb in your
"President Bush said the United States is still under the threat of attack and will continue to be right up until Election Day."
-- Jay Leno
Hand-in-hand with his threat warnings, Bush keeps telling us how his War on Terror has made us so much safer, bragging that there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the United States in the five years since the one of September 11, 2001. Marvelous. There wasn't a terrorist attack in the United States in the five years before that day either. But thanks to the War on Terror -- particularly the bombing, invasion, occupation, and torture of Afghanistan and Iraq -- numerous new anti-American terrorists have been created since that historic day. The latest confirmation of this, if any more were needed, is the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that "the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and ... the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."Add a comment
Day-to-day life within an empire consists of the deceitful leading the disengaged. Although when the artifice shielding a nationâ€™s populace from the ruthlessness of their leaders begins to fall away, hysteria and displaced rage rises in the land. Ergo, in the American empire, weâ€™re witnessing these demented days of congressional boy love and despotic rockets.
Day after day, the pace at which insane tidings arrive quickens: itâ€™s as if weâ€™ve become passengers on a high-speed train, commandeered by lunatics, that only stops at insane asylums in order to board more lunatics ... Naturally, the train has gone runaway, careening down the buckling tracks, blue spark spraying from its steel wheels, while any approaching curve becomes a threat to derail the whole hurdling madhouse.
For many years, these episodes of mass psychosis have been gaining velocity. Empires are inherently bughouse crazy, because, by their very nature, they grow conservative to the point of becoming totalitarian. After a time, the singular raison d'Ãªtre of this form of pathological conservatism is to fiercely cling to the things it has gained through expansionist practices and policies. In addition, it must find ways to rationalize the brutal and deceitful means required to sustain itself.
If one were to believe the hype, nothing less than the fate the civilized world is riding on the results of the upcoming midterm elections. American-style democracy, we're told, will step in and sort things out. Reminds me of T.S. Eliot: "An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry." Not everyone is fooled, of course. "I think it is dangerous to confuse the idea of democracy with elections," says Indian novelist, Arundhati Roy. "Just because you have elections doesn't mean you're a democratic country."
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I was reminded of the proverbial frog as I considered how the recently passed Military Commissions Act (MSA) managed to get lost in a shuffle of naughty e-mails and bipartisan accusations.
This isn't meant to downplay the MSA. As Michael C. Dorf, a professor of Law at Columbia University, explains: "It immunizes government officials for past war crimes; it cuts the United States off from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions; and it all but eliminates access to civilian courts for non-citizens--including permanent residents whose children are citizens--that the government, in its nearly unreviewable discretion, determines to be unlawful enemy combatants." Nasty stuff, indeed...but since fiddling with human rights has long been a hobby for America's power elite, it'd be misguided to assign all the blame to the current administration. The erosion of freedom has been a slow steady processâ€¹not unlike boiling a pot of water.
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