Saturday, April 09, 2005

Baghdad Burning April 9, '05

Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Shia protest over US...
r1306355167.jpg, image/jpeg, 337x450
Baghdad, April 9th, 2005

Thousands were demonstrating today all over the country

Many areas in Baghdad were cut off today for security reasons and to accomodate the demonstrators, I suppose. There were some Sunni demonstrations but the large majority of demonstrators were actually Shia and followers of Al Sadr. They came from all over Baghdad and met up in Firdaws Square- the supposed square of liberation. They were in the thousands. None of the news channels were actually covering it. Jazeera showed fragments of the protests in the afternoon but everyone else seemed to busy with some other news story. Thanks to E. for sending me this link. Check out the protest here.

BBC and EuroNews were busily covering the wedding between Prince Charles and the dreadful Camilla. CNN was showing the Pope's funeral. No one bothered with the demonstrations in Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar and the south. There were hundreds of thousands of Shia screaming "No to America. No to terrorism. No to occupation. No to the devil. No to Israel." The numbers were amazing and a little bit frightening too.

Ever since Jalal Talbani was named president, there have been many angry Shia. It's useless explaining that the presidential chair is only symbolic- it doesn't mean anything. "La izayid we la inaqis." As we say in Iraq. "It doesn't increase anything, nor does it decrease anything." People have the sense that all the positions are 'symbolic'- hence, why shouldn't the Shia get the head symbol? The disturbing thing is how the Kurds could agree to have someone with so much blood on his hands. Talbani is known for his dealings with Turkey, Britain, America and other and his feuds with Barazani have led to the deaths of thousands of Kurds.

The weather is warm now. We often turn on the ceiling fan (or panka) in an attempt to move around the muggy air. April is a month of fresh beginnings all over the world but in Iraq, April is not the best of months. April is a month of muggy warmth and air thick with dust and sand- and now of occupation. We opened the month with a dust storm that left the furniture in our houses sand-colored with an opaque layer of dust. We breathed dust, ate dust and drank dust for a few days. The air is clearer now but everything is looking a little bit diminished and dirty. It suits the mood.

Two years and this is Occupation Day once more. One wonders what has changed in this last year. The same faces of April 2004, but now they have differing positions in April 2005. The chess pieces were moved around and adjusted and every one is getting tired of the game.

Who was it that said April was a cruel month? They knew what they were talking about...

No Defence from This Missile

No Defence from This Missile

C. L. Cook
April 9th, 2005
Titan IV

The U.S. Defence Department has ignored Canadian requests to alter the trajectory of a scheduled April 13th launch of a Titan IV rocket. There are concerns in Newfoundland, jetisoned stage debris will fall uncomfortably close to Hibernia's offshore oil platforms. - {ape}

St John's Nfld. - The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board has confirmed they are implementing a contingency evacuation plan for the massive Hibernia offshore oil field in wake of The U.S. Defence Department's dismissal of their request to alter a flight that will see a roughly 10,000 kilogram spent rocket tank falling within a 25 kilometer radius of the rig platforms.

Newfoundland Premier, Danny Williams testily questioned what steps the Federal government had taken to convey the full merit of his, and the consortium of international oil companies operating in Hibernia, concerns, saying:

"If Canada is going to represent us on interests like this which are international, then I expect a good stream of information, solid, consistent information to come to me as the head of a province."

For their part, Air Force Space Command spokesperson, Masao Doi reassured nervous Newfoundlanders, saying:

"Safety is a top priority for us and we do a thorough safety check on all of our boosters when we plot trajectories over international waters.''

Doi says he believes there's little chance personal injury will result the from debris plummeting into the sea. But those assurances aren't enough for the Offshore Petroleum Board. Board spokesperson, Simone Keough says their evacuation plan is moving ahead:

"The only thing that has changed in terms of our preparations is the date.''

The Titan IV launch had been scheduled earlier last week, but has suffered delays due to "technical difficulties."

Evacuation would mean shutting down the 230.000-barrel-per-day Hibernia project, at a cost estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

A spokesperson for Deputy PM, Anne McLellan says senior government officials have been talking to Washington since Thursday, and are:

"trying to get clarity on what their plans are and are expressing our concerns about the economic impact that this would have.''

Heads Up Newfie! U.S. Rocket Launch Threatens Hibernia
April 9th, 2005

St. John's, Nfld. — Newfoundland's offshore industry renewed preparations to evacuate oil platforms in the North Atlantic amid conflicting reports regarding U.S. plans to launch a rocket that could shed space junk in Canadian waters.

The Titan IV rocket was supposed to be launched Monday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., but it was delayed Thursday for technical reasons.

The U.S. State Department said Friday that the launch would go ahead April 13.
Canadian oil companies had hoped the U.S. Defence Department would change the planned flight path, because of concerns that a 10,000-kilogram spent rocket could fall within 25 kilometres of the Hibernia oil platform.

But the Air Force Space Command says the flight path remains the same.
"At this time, we have no plans to change the trajectory,'' said Masao Doi, a spokesman for U.S. Air Force Space Command at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"Safety is a top priority for us and we do a thorough safety check on all of our boosters when we plot trajectories over international waters,'' Doi added.

Nevertheless, Simone Keough, spokeswoman for the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board, says they are moving ahead with plans for an evacuation.

"The only thing that has changed in terms of our preparations is the date,'' she said Friday.

Premier Danny Williams is upset about the mixed messages. He says the province and the companies operating in the area need a 100 per cent guarantee there is no risk.
"The information I'm getting is inconsistent, coming from all kinds of sources. If Canada is going to represent us on interests like this which are international, then I expect a good stream of information, solid, consistent information to come to me as the head of a province."

Danny Williams
Premier Danny Williams
"Somebody better get their act together."

Canadian officials could not clarify the situation.

Alex Swann, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, said senior government officials have been talking to the White House about the issue since Thursday.

"They are trying to get clarity on what their plans are and are expressing our concerns about the economic impact that this would have,'' said Swann.

"Obviously, we want to take up with the U.S. what the risk is going to be, as well.''
Doi says there is little chance of personal injury from impact.

If the oil companies have to shut down the 200,000-barrel-a-day Hibernia project, it could cost them tens of millions of dollars and shut down oil production for upwards of two weeks.

Partners in Hibernia include Petro-Canada, Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco and Murphy Oil Corp.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Coming Destruction of the Sooke Potholes

TimberWest Set to Destroy the Sooke Potholes
Ingmar Lee
April 6th, 2005

TimberWest is proceeding with its brutal logging devastation scheme directly opposite the new TLC/CRD Sooke Potholes Park.

The brand new Sooke Potholes Park was announced yesterday. Tragically, TimberWest controls the ancient forest directly opposite the new park, just across the Sooke River, and they are now gearing up to destroy it.

TimberWest is widely recognized and despised as a ruthless destroyer of wilderness on Vancouver Island. TimberWest proudly exports 1,000,000 cubic metres of raw-logs off our island every year, and is directly implicated in the extinction of the Vancouver Island marmot. TimberWest is the amongst the most voracious destroyers of rare ancient fir forest, second only to Weyerhaeuser, and is a major financier of Gordon Campbell and the 'BC Liberals.'

Fearing a heightened public interest in the Sooke Potholes as a result of the park announcement, the giant corporation has sneaked in there and secretly laid out the entire road network in preparation for logging. This road system has not been built for the sole purpose of clearing off 100 acres of endangered ancient fir forest, but has clearly been designed and engineered for residential subdivision. The TimberWest falling boundary extends to within 30 ft of the Sooke River, directly adjacent to the most magnificent and beloved stretch of Potholes.

The TimberWest vision for the Sooke Potholes, directly opposite the new park:

1) clear off the ancient forest

2) subdivide as in "Bear Mountain 2."

I first discovered the flagged-in falling-boundary while swimming at the Potholes about 5 years ago. A friend and I followed the boundary and took GPS fixes going around and made the map. Since then, I have taken hundreds of people through that forest on 'Barefoot Hikes' with permission from Hereditary Chief Frank Planes, and with the late elected Chief Andy Planes, of the T'Sou'ke First Nation.

Over the years I repeatedly pleaded with the Nature Conservancy here in Victoria to exert their influence on TimberWest to spare the forest. At first the Nature Conservancy, who has been retained by TimberWest to identify ecologically significant areas of their 'private land' holdings, told me that they were not interested in the Potholes.

With increasing pressure, Jan Garnett, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy and TimberWest's #1 environmental 'PR-flak,' finally changed her tune and assured me that the Nature Conservancy had recognized the importance of this remnant of rare primeval fir forest and and had recommended it for protection. As the last 'refugia-tuft' remnant in the Sooke River valley, it has significant ecological and recreational value . If TimberWest is able to proceed with its plans, the Nature Conservancy, with its close collusive, collaboration with TimberWest will share resposibility for the destruction of the World Famous Potholes.

The Potholes are a beloved destination for people on south-island, and are considered sacred by elders of the T'Sou'ke First Nation. It will be a tragedy of the first order if this magnificent forest, in plain view of the new Potholes Park, is slashed down for subdivision. For all lovers of the Sooke Potholes, there is still time to protect this forest, but it's running out quickly.

Sincerely, Ingmar Lee

lizard's procession

lizard's procession
Originally uploaded by ape23.

Funereal Disease: Taking Centre Stage at Popalooza

Vatican Closes Queue to View Pope; Bush Arrives for Funeral
April 7, 2005

The Vatican closed the queue of people waiting to view the body of Pope John Paul II, as security forces in Rome prepare to cope with an estimated 4 million people who may visit the city for his funeral tomorrow.

More than 1 million people have filed past the pope's body in St. Peter's Basilica in the past two days. The queue in St. Peter's Square was closed at 10 p.m. Rome time yesterday, the Vatican said. St. Peter's doors will close at 10 p.m. today.

U.S. President George W. Bush led a delegation including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush that visited the basilica yesterday. Bush and the former presidents knelt in front of the pope's body for about six minutes.

More than 200 heads of state will be in Rome for tomorrow's funeral of Polish-born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who died on April 2 at the age of 84. Some Italian newspapers are estimating that between 1 million and 2 million people will come from Poland to try to join the crowd in St. Peter's Square.

The pontiff's support for Poland's Solidarity labor movement is credited with helping bring about the fall of communism in the country and in other Eastern European nations in the mid-1980s.

The pope's funeral begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The Rome authorities are setting up 11 giant video screens across the city for people to be able to watch the ceremony without having to go near the Vatican area.

Between 15,000 and 18,000 mourners on average have been filing past the pope's body each hour during his lying in state, the Vatican has said.

The Catholic Church's cardinals have set April 18 as the date of the start of the conclave, the secret election process to choose the next pope. A successful candidate needs the support of two-thirds of the voting cardinals.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Baghdad Burning April 3, '05

Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

American Media...
Riverbend from Baghdad
Sunday, April 03, 2005

You wake up in the morning. Brush your teeth. Splash the sleep out of your eyes and head for the kitchen for a cup of coffee or tea and whatever is available for breakfast.

You wander to the living room and search for the remote control. It is in its usual place- stuck inexplicably between the sofa cushions. You turn on the television and stand there flipping from one channel to the other, looking for a news brief or something that will sum up what happened during those six hours you slept. You finally settle on the pleasant face on the screen- the big hair, bright power suit, capped teeth and colorful talons- blandly reading the news. The anchoress is Julie Chan. The program is CBS’s The Early Show (Live from Fifth Avenue!).

Guess the nationality of the viewer above. Three guesses. American? No. Canadian? No. British? Japanese? Australian? No, no and no. The viewer is Iraqi… or Jordanian… or Lebanese… or Syrian… or Saudi… or Kuwaiti… or… but you get the picture.

Two years ago, the major part of the war in Iraq was all about bombarding us with smart bombs and high-tech missiles. Now there’s a different sort of war- or perhaps it’s just another phase of the same war. Now we’re being assailed with American media. It’s everywhere all at once.

It began with radio stations like Voice of America which we could access even before the war. After the war, there were other radio stations- ones with mechanical voices that told us to put down our weapons and remain inside our homes, ones that fed us American news in an Iraqi dialect and ones that just played music. With satellite access we are constantly listening to American music and watching American sitcoms and movies. To be fair- it’s not just Iraq that is being targeted- it’s the whole region and it’s all being done very cleverly.

Al-Hurra, the purported channel of freedom, is the American gift to the Arab world. What they do is show us translated documentaries about certain historical events (American documentaries) or about movie stars (American stars) or vacation spots. Throughout this, there are Arab anchors giving us the news (which is like watching Fox in Arabic). It’s news about the Arab world with the American twist.

Our new “national” channels are a joke. One of the most amusing, in a gruesome sort of way, is Al-Iraqiya. It’s said to be American sponsored but the attitude is decidedly pro-Iran, anti-Sunni. There’s a program where they parade ‘terrorists’ on screen for us to see in an attempt to show us that our National Guard are not only good at raiding homes and harassing people in the streets. The funny thing about the terrorists is that the majority of them have “Sunni” names like Omar and Othman, etc. They admit to doing things such as having sexual intercourse in mosques and raping women and the whole show is disgusting. Iraqis don’t believe it because it’s so obviously produced to support the American definition of the Iraqi, Sunni, Islamic fanatic that it is embarrassing. Couldn’t the PSYOPS people come up with anything more subtle?

Then you have the whole MBC collection. MBC is actually financed by Saudi Arabia, but based in Dubai, as far as I know. They have several different channels. It started out with the original MBC which was a mainly Arabic channel that was harmless enough. It showed some talk shows, debates and Egyptian movies with an occasional program on music or style.

Then we were introduced to MBC’s Al-Arabia- a news channel which was meant to be the Saudi antidote to Al-Jazeera. Simultaneously, we were accessing MBC’s Channel 2, which is a channel that shows only English movies and programs. The programs varied from talk shows like Oprah, to sitcoms like Friends, Third Rock from the Sun and Seinfeld. Earlier this year, the MBC did a mystifying thing. They announced that Channel 2 was going to be made a 24-hour movie channel which would show all sorts of movies- old Clint Eastwood cowboy movies, and newer movies like “A Beautiful Mind”, etc. The programs and sitcoms would be transferred to the new MBC Channel 4.

Personally, I was pleased with the change at first. I’m not big on movies and it was nice to know our favorite sitcoms and programs would all be accessible on one channel without the annoyance of two-hour movies. I could turn on Channel 4 at any time and expect to find something interesting or humorous that would end within 30-60 minutes.

The first time I saw 60 Minutes on MBC 4, it didn’t occur to me that something was wrong. I can’t remember what the discussion was, but I remember being vaguely interested and somewhat mystified at why we were getting 60 Minutes. I soon found out that it wasn’t just 60 Minutes at night: It was Good Morning, America in the morning, 20/20 in the evening, 60 Minutes, 48-Hours, Inside Edition, The Early Show… it was a constant barrage of American media. The chipper voice in Arabic tells us, “So you can watch what *they* watch!” *They* apparently being millions of Americans.

The schedule on MBC’s Channel 4 goes something like this:

9 am – CBS Evening News
9:30 am – CBS The Early Show
10:45 am – The Days of Our Lives
11:20 am – Wheel of Fortune
11:45 am – Jeopardy
12:05 pm – A re-run of whatever was on the night before – 20/20,
Inside Edition, etc.

And the programming continues…

I’ve been enchanted with the shows these last few weeks. The thing that strikes me most is the fact that the news is so… clean. It’s like hospital food. It’s all organized and disinfected. Everything is partitioned and you can feel how it has been doled out carefully with extreme attention to the portions- 2 minutes on women’s rights in Afghanistan, 1 minute on training troops in Iraq and 20 minutes on Terri Schiavo! All the reportages are upbeat and somewhat cheerful, and the anchor person manages to look properly concerned and completely uncaring all at once.

About a month ago, we were treated to an interview on 20/20 with Sabrina Harman- the witch in some of the Abu Ghraib pictures. You know- the one smiling over faceless, naked Iraqis piled up to make a human pyramid. Elizabeth Vargus was doing the interview and the whole show was revolting. They were trying to portray Sabrina as an innocent who was caught up in military orders and fear of higher ranking officers. The show went on and on about how American troops never really got seminars on Geneva Conventions (like one needs to be taught humanity) and how poor Sabrina was being made a scapegoat. They showed the restaurant where she worked before the war and how everyone thought she was “such a nice person” who couldn’t hurt a fly!

We sat there watching like we were a part of another world, in another galaxy. I’ve always sensed from the various websites that American mainstream news is far-removed from reality- I just didn’t know how far. Everything is so tame and simplified. Everyone is so sincere.

Furthermore, I don’t understand the worlds fascination with reality shows. Survivor, The Bachelor, Murder in Small Town X, Faking It, The Contender… it’s endless. Is life so boring that people need to watch the conjured up lives of others?

I have a suggestion of my own for a reality show. Take 15 Bush supporters and throw them in a house in the suburbs of, say, Falloojeh for at least 14 days. We could watch them cope with the water problems, the lack of electricity, the check points, the raids, the Iraqi National Guard, the bombings, and- oh yeah- the ‘insurgents’. We could watch their house bombed to the ground and their few belongings crushed under the weight of cement and brick or simply burned or riddled with bullets. We could see them try to rebuild their life with their bare hands (and the equivalent of $150)…

I’d not only watch *that* reality show, I’d tape every episode.

- posted by river @ 1:08 AM

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Legacy of Failure: The Neo-Con Reprise

Resurrecting the Neo-Con Failures
Cheerleading War and Slaughter
March 16, 2005

"A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy."
- Benjamin Disraeli

As we commemorate the now annual date of America's March of Madness into Iraq, where the Neo-Con forces of liberation became the forces of occupation, we witness these very same Pharisees lift their respective heads above the roiling waters of the river Styx into which they sunk this country, tentatively waving their cheerleaders' pom-poms in celebration of their ultimate triumph, the democratization of the mid-east.

This March 19th, America's "Day of Infamy," the day we launched Bush's illegal pre-emptive invasion of another country, a day that should be celebrated in this good Christian land with a Mass of the Dead accompanied by the anguished cry of Mozart's "Requiem," we have instead an advertising campaign from the board rooms of the American Enterprise Institute, the Project for the New American Century, AIPAC, the Pentagon, and the White House extolling the success of Bush's "Shock and Awe" as it elevated the Arab states from their "Age of Darkness" to the "Enlightenment" of civilized Capitalistic society.

No voice speaks more loudly the anthem of this Cabal than one of its founding fathers, Charles Krauthammer, whose two page advertising spread in Time this month, "Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine," rouses the troops in glowing accolades to celebrate Bush's determination and resolve to carry forward, despite world opinion, to bring freedom and liberty to the people of the Arab world. "It took this marriage of power, will and principle to produce the astonishing developments in the Middle East today," Krauthammer stammers in ecstatic admiration of the "Bush Doctrine" that states apparently, "the will to freedom is indeed universal" and that "America's intentions are sincere." "Contrary to the cynics," he notes, "Arab and European and American, the U.S. did not go into Iraq for oil or hegemony, after all, but for liberation ­ a truth that on Jan. 31 even al-Jazeera had to televise."

Milton observed in Paradise Lost, "For neither man nor angel can discern/ Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks/ Invisible, except to God alone." No doubt Krauthammer and his minions understand this truth believing they can manipulate the public to believe whatever lies they wish to perpetrate. And why shouldn't they since the whole debacle of the Bush Doctrine, so-called, began in lies, continues in lies, and will, with Krauthammer and his ilk as historians, convert lies to truth as the victors write the texts for the defeated. These Bush apologists take the onion of Bush's doctrine, discard without comment each lying skin, then rediscover its core in euphuistic generalities that ignore the facts and turn fiction into truth.

Consider this prevarication: "That America, using power harnessed to democratic ideals, could begin a transformation of the Arab world from endless tyranny and intolerance to decent governance and democratization." What democratic ideal calls upon one people to determine for another that they will assume the principles of democracy or they will be imposed on them by force? The fundamental premise of democracy is self-determination, not imposed or coerced determination. America's power in Bush's doctrine, if such there be, is not harnessed to any democratic ideal, rather it is harnessed to an illegal policy of pre-emptive force and Zionist Christian mythology that negates the rights of nation states, dissembles the unifying fabric of the United Nations, casts America back to the dark ages of lawlessness, and turns these United States into a pariah nation understood by the vast majority of nations on the planet as a terrorist state.

Lest he give all the credit for this remarkable "spring" of new found civil discourse in the mid-east to Bush alone, Krauthammer promotes his own narcissistic image as the architect of this beneficence by asserting, "I argued (two years ago)... that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America 'coming ashore' to effect a 'pan-Arab reformation' ­ a dangerous, 'risky and, yes, arrogant' but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity." How refreshing that the Arab world and its culture should be "corrected" by a man of such intellect who had, without question, only their best interests at heart. None of this, certainly, had to do with what Krauthammer, during the fall campaign, described as Kerry's trump card should he win the Presidency, "sacrificing Israel" to appease the Europeans and the Arabs. "America's power harnessed to democratic ideals," certainly, had nothing to do with Israel's interests in the mid-east any more than it had to do with oil or hegemony. Certainly, America's interests were purely altruistic, and misreading "coming ashore" to mean that America would arrive at the shore where Israel exists as a military presence is perversion of the truth. Perhaps we should be satisfied that he admits the arrogance of the statement knowing as we do that arrogance walks blindly through its path of destruction led by its white cane of egoism, tipped by the red blood of its superiority and racism.

Blind arrogance can see no fault, assume no responsibility, nor bear any guilt. It omits all that disturbs the comfort of its proclaimed truth. Hence, Krauthammer's "Elections in Afghanistan, a historic first. Elections in Iraq, a historic first. Free Palestinian elections producing a moderate leadership, two historic firsts. Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, men only, but still a first. In Egypt, demonstrations for democracy ­ unheard of in decades - prompting the dictator to announce free contested presidential elections, a historic first," omits the facts in favor of the platitude.

That American power controlled the election process and the candidates in Afghanistan, that the pre-determined winner, America's CIA gift to the country, President Karzai controls only a small section of the country, that warlords are paid by America to keep the lid on uprisings need not be mentioned.

That Iraqis did not know the names of the candidates, that a major percent of the population did not vote, that Americans controlled access to the voting areas and the counting of the ballots, that the Kurdish 27% of guaranteed seats is a political payoff, that the outcome will be a Shiite state not a democracy need not be mentioned.

That the Palestinians had elected a UN monitored President of the PLO prior to this election, a President made inoperative by Israel and the U.S. thus negating the purpose of a democratic election, that America and Israel made it clear that there would be no financial support or political support for a Palestinian state unless they elected Mahmoud Abbas, the man both Bush and Sharon accepted because he would cow-tow to Sharon's demands, that the Palestinians did not have free access to the polling places because they had to go through Israeli checkpoints need not be mentioned.

That Saudi Arabia's Saud family and Egypt's Mubarak have been puppets of American power for decades when it was in our interests to have them in total control of their populations need not be mentioned. Sins of omission corrupt democracies as readily as righteous arrogance makes impossible their creation.

The last time America oversaw an election comparable to the one Krauthammer sees in Iraq was in Vietnam when 83% of the population voted; that vote no more reflected the feelings of the South Vietnamese than the Iraqi vote which, if it portends anything about the Iraqi people, tells us what they tell the Pollsters, they voted to get the U.S. out of Iraq. Fraudulence comes in many packages as Krauthammer demonstrates when he waxes poetic " ... the most romantic flowering of the spirit America went into the region to foster: the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which unarmed civilians, Christian and Muslim alike, brought down the puppet government installed by Syria."

What he does not mention, of course, is the fractious nature of the ethnic and religious groups that constitute Lebanon and the potential chaos that could ensue from a destabilized government. Nor does he mention that the demonstrations were orchestrated and made possible by the coercion imposed on Syria by the U.S., not the impulsive reaction of people seeking to assert their new-found rights. Nor does he mention that the forces that took the streets in favor of Syrian support, estimated in excess of 500,000, far outnumbered the young, flag-waving crowd brought to the square by our minions. This demonstration belongs in the same category as Saddam's capture and the pulling down of his statue, the Hollywood fiction made fact.

"Three cheers for Bush's doctrine" celebrates a spring of hope and promise in Iraq and the mid-east caused by America's invasion of that country and its aftershock in the region; it is a justification for Bush's war. It assumes on its face that America has the right to force Bush's beliefs on the world and that those beliefs are founded on the principles of our democracy and reflect the beliefs of all Americans.

These assumptions are wrong.

Acceptance of Krauthammer's assumptions gives license to any demagogue to assert the same. Indeed, it justifies Adolf Hitler's abuse of power. The assumption that one nation has the right to forcefully change the culture of another negates the concept of "principle" based on morality. It is on its face anarchy. But the board members directing this campaign have no regard for democratic principles, only the abuse of the words to manipulate the public.

It does not matter that Bush's Cabal determined to invade Iraq as far back as 1991, a policy totally familiar to Mr. Krauthammer; it does not matter that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, a lie that Bush used to cajole Americans to accept his invasion; it does not matter that Bush lied about WMD or chemical weapons, reasons added to the list when needed to ensure the peoples' support; it does not matter that the vast majority of the nations in the world objected to his invasion since he had determined it was justified. Neither reason nor morality determines behavior here, power and will do.

Perhaps the most glaring arrogance present in Krauthammer's advertisement crawls out from between the lines, the voices not heard because he takes on the prerogative of speaking on behalf of all Arabs.

Oh, he quotes a few toadies, those untouched by America's beneficent power, but he fails to interview the people in the streets or mention the polls that give a contrary opinion. None of the Iraqi 100,000 dead have a voice to cheer Bush's Doctrine; none of their family members have been asked about its benefits; no one concerned about the ensuing years' invisible companion, depleted uranium, has a voice; none of the maimed - the blind, the limbless, the sick and dying - have a voice; no one has been asked about America's 14 military bases being a permanent part of the Iraqi landscape; no one has been asked about America determining that Iraqi resources should be sold to the most favored private bidder, primarily non-Iraqi; none of the prisoners subjugated to torture at Abu Ghraib has been asked about America's virtues and its democratic ways; and none of the reporters killed in the line of duty or those not allowed to report openly what has gone on in that country have a voice.

As these apologists for Bush's largesse hype the changes going on in the mid-east and elsewhere around the globe, changes that auger a new age of democracy and freedom, they disparage the past as though America had no hand in its creation: "The region has long been a card catalog of repressive, hereditary kleptocracies, held in place by exported oil and internal security forces, and, since September 11, a source of violent enmity toward the U.S." So speaks Michael Duffy in Time's editorial, an adjacent piece of advertising from Time Warner on behalf of our Emperor.

Without blinking, Duffy omits any reference to America's 60 years of support for the family in Saudi Arabia that has caused the repression in that country, nor does he suggest that a healthy portion of the Bush clans' wealth can be directly attributed to that same family, nor does he mention that the resulting poverty of the masses in that country have not been on America's list of the most needy. Perhaps the admission of hypocrisy sticks in the throat. Why tell the truth when you can create your own!

Then there's this observation by Duffy that the "sudden upheaval in Lebanon, set in motion last month by the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, in itself might have been enough to permit the Bush team to issue a whispered 'I told you so' to critics who thought the President's optimism was naïve." But Duffy makes no mention of the on-going investigations that implicate both Israel and the U.S. in the extrajudicial execution of Hariri, a reality that, if true, might explain the President's optimism, nor does he mention the 500,000 Hezbolah sympathizers that flooded the square where the 25,000 anti-Syrian demonstrators, that he does mention, appeared. Perhaps the admission of hypocrisy sticks in the throat. Why tell the truth when you can create your own!

"Criticism of Hosni Mubarak is still dangerous in Egypt," Duffy notes but fails to explain why America continues to pour billions into that country since it acquiesced to U.S. demands to recognize Israel, if their leader is not sympathetic to democratic values. Perhaps the admission of hypocrisy sticks in the throat. Why not add "The U.S. labored for years to hold elections in Haiti, only to see the country dissolve in chaos," but fail to note, as the Center for the Study of Human Rights detailed in its report, "top officials (in Haiti), including the Minister of Justice, worked for U.S. government projects that undermined their elected predecessors"? Perhaps the admission of hypocrisy sticks in the throat. Why tell the truth when you can create your own!

Let's have three cheers for Krauthammer's doctrine! It, too, rests on a principle, one dear to advertisers and charlatans: accomplish your goal by obfuscation and deceit. The role of government must be asserted through hypocrisy, it must claim its opposite: if it acts by force, if it acts illegally, if it subjugates other nations, if it destroys other people through torture, imprisonment, or rape, if it walls people in ghettoes, bulldozes their land and fruit trees, if it terrorizes with overwhelming force, if it murders without trial by jury or access to lawyers, if it curries friendly dictators in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, if it covertly undermines democracies in Chile, Iran, or Haiti while establishing its own dictators in those countries, it must declare itself the savior of the people so subjugated and devastated, claim it has brought democracy to their land and freedom to their people while requesting from them the gratitude the oppressor so rightfully deserves.

We must empathize with Mr. Krauthammer and his peers in the Neo-Con club who have to endure long hours of contemplation away from the crowds, sitting in their frosty air-conditioned offices, beads of sweat glistening on their foreheads as they peer intently at their computer screens, conjuring up the concepts that must be proffered to our government officials if the world is to be corrected to fit their desires.

How many of us after all have the opportunity to change cultures, to redirect whole countries to adjust to the Capitalistic forces that define modernity, to send a nation to war by fabricating reasons to pit the greatest military force the world has ever known against an enfeebled nation subjugated to 12 years of sanctions, bereft of needed medical and food supplies to keep its population alive, indeed, even to care for the half million children that succumbed to this deprivation?

How many of us have the gall to believe we have the right to convince our fellow citizens that they must go to war against Iraq because that country is a threat to America, that it possesses WMD and chemical weapons, that it took part in the 9/11 attacks knowing all these things to be a lie?

How many of us would dare to look at ourselves in the mirror if we had brought this government to war against Iraq knowing the devastation that would ensue for America, thousands physically maimed and thousands mentally destroyed, the 1600 soldiers killed to date for their ideas, the phony ideas of liberation, removal of a terrible dictator, freedom and liberty and the democratic way knowing in their hearts that it was Israeli security and oil that drove them?

How many of us could sit down to our family dinner knowing we were responsible for more than 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians, tens of thousands wounded by our WMD, for the bombs that scatter death and pain indiscriminately across the land, the depleted uranium that singes the skin and sears the innards in slow agonizing suffering?

How many of us live in a mind that elevates itself to a plane of superiority knowing it has by genetic code the right to lead all and use all to further its preconceived ideals of the civilized and modern world, able to accept the inferiority of the masses, especially those who obstruct their need to possess the resources of others' land to carry forward their designs, to live in full knowledge that thousands upon thousands must die to accomplish their ends and that this is not only necessary but justified because they are the chosen?

How many of us would let our neighbor take up the burden of war as long as we can stay behind and direct the slaughter from our plush recliners having spent the morning laboring on our computers?

Perhaps we must reword Disraeli's observation above to fit the times: "A Neo-Con Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy."

William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was published by Mellen Press. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU

Bush to Rome for Pope's Funeral: Promises to "Address Almighty"

Bush to Address Almighty at Pope's Funeral

The man Pope John Paul II said had more in common with the Anti-Christ than any he'd known will travel to Rome for this Friday's funeral service. Bush was humble, saying: "It is my great honour on behalf of our country to express our gratitude to the almighty for such a man." We're still awaiting word if that was the royal "We." {ape}

Bush to Address Almighty at Pope's Funeral

C. L. Cook
April 5th, 2005

According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, plans for the first ever attendance of a sitting American president at a Papal funeral were started months ago. The Guardian reports speculation that the Bush party will include former president George H. W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and possibly former president Bill Clinton.

Already, officials in Rome have expressed concern about the added security necessary to attend the American contingent of VIP's. They estimate an extra 10,000 police will be needed to provide security in a city already jammed, and expecting as many as 2 million pilgrims, well-wishers, and tourists Friday.

St. Peters Square, the site of Friday's ceremonies, also presents concern. The square was the site of the 1981 near-assassination of the Pontiff. The attendance of thousands of media representatives too presents worries for security, the feeling being such a high-profile event could prove a tempting target for terrorists seeking publicity. The circus-like atmosphere created by the near constant coverage of the Pope's illness and final succumbing has irked Italians who fear it threatens the dignity of the final rites of John Paul's long and celebrated life.

What effect the appearance of Mr. Bush and party will have on Italians, already outraged over the blatant shooting of populist journalist, Giuliana Sgrena and killing of her rescuer, Italian super-negotiator, Nicola Calipari in Iraq last month, is a consideration so far overlooked during the intense grieving period for the immensely popular Polish Pope.

The vast majority of Italians joined in with the Pope's opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and have bitterly opposed Prime Minister Berlusconi's close relationship with Mr. Bush. In efforts to salvage political capital, Berlusconi made public pronouncements last month to begin pulling Italian troops out of the middle-east this summer.

Canadian Government "Considering" an End to Free Speech

Canada's Press Crackdown

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 5, 2005; 8:38 AM

Is anyone in the market for some non-Pope news?

With the papal passing still dominating the media, especially on cable, I thought I might check in on what else is going on out there.

You often hear about dictatorships cracking down on Internet news to maintain censorship as tightly as possible. These are generally the kind of regimes that not only try to choke off free expression but are fighting a losing battle against technology in the process.

And the latest offender is . . . Canada?

Yes, our democratic neighbor to the north, which lacks a First Amendment and has a somewhat narrower view of press freedom, is cracking down on an American blogger for reporting on a corruption investigation that apparently has to do with advertising contracts being steered to politically connected firms. The blogger is Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters, and this London Free Press story brings us up to date:

"A U.S. website has breached the publication ban protecting a Montreal ad executive's explosive and damning testimony at the federal sponsorship inquiry. The U.S. blogger riled the Gomery commission during the weekend by posting extracts of testimony given in secret Thursday by Jean Brault.

"The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts 'Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open' and promises more to come. The owner of the Canadian website refused to comment.

"Inquiry official Francois Perreault voiced shock at the publication ban breach, and said the commission co-counsel Bernard Roy and Justice John Gomery will decide today whether to charge the Canadian website owner with contempt of court."

The Toronto Globe & Mail plays catchup:

"An unassuming 42-year-old call-centre manager and Star Trek fan from Minneapolis, Minn., has provoked a political firestorm in Canada.

"Ed Morrissey -- Captain Ed to his friends -- published on the weekend what no Canadian is allowed to print or broadcast. . . .

"By midday, 131,000 people had visited the site. In just one hour before lunchtime, he had 26,000 hits and by the end of the day he estimated he was on track for about 300,000 hits, many from Canadians. He averages 22,000 visits a day."

This Globe & Mail captures the difficulty of writing about something you're not supposed to cover:

"While senior opposition politicians and staff denied the rumours of clandestine meetings and possible non-confidence motions, it's apparent that most politicos in Ottawa are aware of the substance, if not the minute details, of last week's testimony."

Here's the reaction from Captains Quarters

"The Canadian website in question is, which linked to my post on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It only provided a link back to my site; it carried none of the testimony itself. In fact, it's still headlining a link to CQ despite the threat of legal action.

"In an age of instant communications and greater freedom of the press, one would think that this kind of publication ban would obviously prove futile, especially when dealing with the kind of corruption that the Gomery Commission is investigating. . . .

"However, if Perreault is to be believed, no one even considered the notion that someone might talk. Either M. Perreault is hopelessly naive, or he gets the Captain Louis Renault award for being shocked, shocked that free speech goes on in a democracy."

Gorilla Radio for Monday, April 4th, '05

Better late...{ape}

Gorilla Radio for Monday, April 4th, 2005

Chris Cook produces and hosts, Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 102FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: And, check out the GR blog at:

The Bush administration is busily preparing yet another front in its War on Terra.

Far from the sands of the middle-east, the Bushistas have set into motion their plan of conquest in Latin America. It’s no secret, U.S. interests have long wanted to see an end to Cuba; an operable alternative example to the neo-liberal economic paradigm currently dominating the world is intolerable to the chosen few inhabiting the thin upper-strata of that system. And, their great fear of a Caribbean domino-effect, where poor and oppressed majorities throughout the hemisphere look to Castro and ask, “Why can’t we have dignity and health care? Why can’t we keep more of the fruits of our labour? Why can’t we be free of death squads and gangster terror?” does now seem to be unfolding.

The survival of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, despite every CIA regime-change trick in the book, and his subsequent alliance-agreements with Fidel Castro have left only one option left for the New Conquistadors: War.

James Petras is a former Sociology professor who now advises the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina. He’s also a free-lance writer and editor, and co-authored the book, ‘Globalization Unmasked.’ James Petras in the first half.

And; The latest outrage emanating from our troubled neighbour to the south is an all-out media assault on academic freedom. Over the last few months, a concerted campaign to target, muzzle, or otherwise remove university professors outside the blinkered, lock-step “reality” of George Bush’s America is being conducted by right wing radio-reactionaries and echoed in formerly respected newspapers.

Kurt Nimmo is a New Mexico-based photographer, multimedia developer, blogger, and author. He’s a contributor to’s book, ‘The Politics of Anti-Semitism,’ and authored his own compilation book of essays, ‘Another Day in the Empire.’

His blog, Kurt is one of the most vociferous opponents to the Bush administration’s neo-Medieval approach to public discourse, and he too has been pilloried and threatened by that element of American society that would usher in the next dark age. Kurt Nimmo in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, James Petras and the coming War Next Door.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: Nahla Abdo, M. Junaid Alam, M. Shahid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Eric Blumrich, Kristina Borjesson, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, William A. Cook, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Glen Ford, Susan George, Al Giordano, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Tom Jackson, Ron Jacobs, Diana Johnstone, John Kaminski, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Wayne Madsen, Linda McQuaig, Mark Crispin Miller, George Monbiot, Mykeru, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Justin Podur, Sheldon Rampton, Scott Ritter, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Michael C. Ruppert, Bert Sacks, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Jaggi Singh, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, John Stauber, Ben Tripp, Grant Wakefield, Bernard Weiner, Robert Anton Wilson, Katherine Yurica, Mickey Z., and many others.

Pope as a Little White Stain

Pope as a Little White Stain
April 5th, '05

It may be unfitting to say, especially before the late Pontiff is lain to rest, but am I the only one that's sick of the 24 Hour Media coverage of this? Across the board, all there seems going on in the world is the death of one, frail old man.

Don't get me wrong; though I'm not a Catholic, John Paul II was a figure that transcended his place, (that place being at the apex of the largest religious organization on the planet) I'm not dissing he, or the church. I think it's this rabid media circus dishonouring not only the man revered by millions, but too doing disservice to the everyday dignity of death itself.

Right now, thousands are dying around the world. There are no anchormen shedding tears for those killed by engineered famine, illegal wars, or for lack of medicine's too dear to afford. And, while coiffed television presenters preen in St. Peter's Square, the planet continues its careening course to environmental destruction, the cause of this destruction kept almost entirely off-screen.

When then President Bill Clinton rounded up his NATO posse to obliterate Yugoslavia, contaminating it permanently with radioactive weaponry, the big news was all about a little blue dress. Or, more exactly, a little white stain on a little blue dress. Now, the same masters of the TeeVee Word are making of the passing of this extraordinary man just another distraction. I'm sure George W. and his criminal cohorts wish a Pope could die everyday.

But then, there's always the royal wedding, reportedly postponed to honour the Pope, waiting to fill the next news cycle. - ape

Predictably, the death of Karol Wojtyla, also known as Pope John Paul II, has crowded out other news stories, for instance:

U.S IGNORED WMD REALITY IN IRAQ. “By the time President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein of the deadly weapons he was allegedly trying to build, every piece of fresh evidence had been tested—and disproved—by U.N. inspectors, according to a report commissioned by the president and released Thursday,” the Washington Post reports early today. In other words, Bush groomed a passel of lies and passed it off as a pretext to invade a sovereign nation and kill more than 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Now the Strausscons wants to blame this defective intelligence—i.e., lies—on the CIA and the “intelligence community.”

Fact of the matter is, Cheney and the Strausscons knew precisely what they were doing and that’s why they created the Office of Special Plans, essentially a lie factory designed to produce “Feith-based intelligence,” a malodorous bouquet of falsification and prevarication, a natural extension of “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a venomous shibboleth written for Israeli settler leader Benjamin Netanyahu by leading Strausscons Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and his wife Meyrav. Naturally, none of this is mentioned in the Post article. Instead, we are told the CIA is to blame. Of course, the CIA deserves condemnation, but not for Strausscon lies.

The “IAEA disputed CIA claims that Iraq was trying to buy black-market aluminum tubes for a nuclear program. The IAEA assessment, which turned out to be accurate, was first shared with U.S. intelligence in July 2001,” writes the Post. But if not for Strausscon friendly Judith Miller and Michael Gordon at the New York Times, this CIA wet dream would have never seen the light of day. Bush’s tubular excuse for what would eventually become mass murder of a 100,000 Iraqis was trumpeted by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, VP Dick Cheney, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and ultimately Bush himself in a saber-rattling lie fest before the United Nations. (See Tim Dickinson’s West Wing Pipe Dream for details.) Naturally, as we now know, Bush’s tubular excuse was nothing but a lie floated expressly to scare the hell out of gullible Americans and set the stage for mass murder.

If we are to believe the Post, it was all the fault of the CIA and Cheney’s cherry-picking operation never existed.

BRITAIN GETS COLD FEET. “Britain plans to reduce the size of its military force in Iraq from 9,000 to 3,500 soldiers within 12 months, as part of a phased withdrawal from the war-torn country,” reports al-Jazeera. Since Bush lapdog Tony Blair is up for election on May 5 and, according to Frank Luntz of the Times Online, in “years of polling voters, I have never found the public mood in Britain so disgruntled and disillusioned,” the withdrawal announcement has near perfect timing. If we are to believe Lt. Gen James Conway of the U.S. Marines, the U.S. may start removing soldiers from Iraq as well, as Iraqis are “starting to take control of their own situation,” or it is hoped they will soon, anyway. Conway may as well wish for a pony. Naturally, a big fat caveat is attached to Britain’s announcement: “Troop numbers in Iraq are continually kept under review and we will remain in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi authorities to provide security assistance for the Iraqi forces. We are not going to speculate on future troop levels and timescales,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman told al-Jazeera. Is it possible everything is contingent on Blair’s re-election?

IRAQ AND KUWAIT, OIL BUDDIES. Remember when Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of stealing its oil with horizontal drilling and listed this as one of the reasons for invading the sheikdom in 1990? Another reason was that the Iraqis considered Kuwait an artificial contrivance, once a province of Iraq (that is until the Brits came along and lopped it off in 1923 and got themselves a handsome “oil concession” in 1934). In September, 2000, Iraq once again made the accusation that Kuwait was stealing some 300,000 barrels of oil per day, worth about $3 billion a year at the time. That was then, this is now. “A joint Kuwait-Iraq commission is looking at how to regulate oil production from a field covering their joint territories, reported AFP. Officials said the options were either to form a joint production company or to hire a foreign company for production.” Freedom has its advantages.

SWISS “RAPPORTEUR” STATES THE OBVIOUS, IRAQI KIDS MALNOURISHED. In Bushzarro world, truth is hated and maligned. John Zarocostas, reporting for the Moonie owned Washington Times, says the Bushcons are all atwitter over the “anti-American rhetoric” (i.e., truth) of Jean Ziegler, “a longtime critic of the United States who is the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food.” Zarocostas reports that in “a report [issued by the UN’s Commission on Human Rights], the Swiss professor of sociology blamed the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq for nearly doubling malnutrition among children younger than 5.” Kevin E. Moley, U.S. ambassador, gave Ziegler heck for the report. “First, he has not visited Iraq; secondly, he is wrong,” declaimed Moley. “So we wish Jean Ziegler, in all his reporting, would stick to the facts, but in his case it would leave him little to say.”

Ziegler is dismissed by the Moonie Times as a commie, “a member of the executive committee of Socialist International who teaches at the University of Geneva, [and] was appointed in September 2000 by the former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.”

“Acute malnutrition among Iraqi children under five years of ago had doubled since the US invasion and occupation two years ago,” Doug Lorimer of Green Left writes, summarizing the UN Commission on Human Rights report. “Reporting the results of a study conducted last November by the Norwegian-based Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science, Ziegler told the 53-nation commission that more than a quarter of Iraqi children did not get enough to eat. According to the institute, last year 7.7% of Iraqi children under five suffered acute malnutrition, compared to 4% prior to the March 2003 US-led invasion…. Some 6.5 million Iraqis, 25% of the entire population, remain highly dependent on food rations according to the UN’s World Food Program. A WFP report released last May said that just under half of that figure were so poor that they have to resell part of their food rations to buy basic necessities such as medicine and clothes. A further 3.6 million Iraqis, 14% of the population, would become food insecure if the rationing system were discontinued.”

Recall, before the twin invasions of the Iraqi people by the Bush Cosa Nostra—punctuated with more than a decade of murderous sanctions—Iraqi was a modern nation with a high standard of living, subsidized health care, education, food, and rent—in short, even under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was the envy of the Arab world. Bush Senior, Bubba Clinton, and Bush the Junior worked long and hard to make Iraq one of the poorest countries in the world.

A PARASITE NAMED JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE AUTHORITY. Killing 100,000 Iraqis (following the murder of more than a million over the previous decade) is good for business, as the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, or Jafza, informs us. Jafza will participate in the “Rebuild Iraq 2005″ exhibition in Amman, Jordan, according to AME Info, billed as the “ultimate Middle East business resource,” sponsored by the likes of Shell Markets Middle East, CNN International, and UPS, to name but three. AME Info looks out for the interests of a large “customer base,” including such corporations as Citibank, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Microsoft, Motorola, and others.

“The show, which is in the second year running, is a highly specialized show that focuses on the rebuilding of Iraq’s critical infrastructure in electricity, water, oil, health, transportation, agriculture, and telecommunications sectors,” reports AME Info. “The show is also the central rally point for buyers, manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors, as it gives them direct access to decision makers from government bodies, organizations and companies who are involved in the economic rebirth of Iraq.”

In other words, a gaggle of fantastically wealthy corporations chomping at the bit to cash in on the misery of the Iraqi people (see the previous news item), as directed by “government bodies,” that is to say the United States and the puppet government installed in Baghdad. As previously noted, no “economic rebirth” would be necessary in Iraq if the Bush Cosa Nostra criminal organization, with more than a little help of the United States Congress, had not twice invaded Iraq and imposed medieval siege sanctions on it.

History is nowhere to be found when vulture corporations gather to pick over the bones of victimized people in the third world. Bush I and II engineered the destruction of Iraq’s “critical infrastructure in electricity, water, oil, health, transportation, agriculture, and telecommunications” expressly for the sake of the waiting vultures.

“President Bush [Senior] ordered the destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity throughout Iraq,” Mohamed Ahmad Aljanabi wrote for the Institute for Policy Research and Development. “Of the facilities targeted, some were: electric power generators, water system reservoirs, food processing and storage facilities, oil wells and pumps, rice factories, just to mention a few. The U.S. assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition, as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war. The intention and effect of the bombing of civilian life and activities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure, leaving it in a ‘pre-industrial’ condition,” in short, leaving it to be “rebuilt” by the likes of Bechtel, Halliburton, and presumably the parasites-in-waiting in Jordan, a conclave salivating over the prospect of making profits on the misery of millions of victims.

“Visitors and exhibitors alike would be able to witness the offerings of Jafza, some of which that are aimed exclusively for nurturing Iraqi businesses and providing support for Iraqi businessmen who want to do business with the rest of the world,” says a no-nonsense Abdalla Al Banna, Marketing Manager for Jafza. “The prospects for growth in Iraq is unprecedented [bombing usually does that], as key stake holders from all over the world have understood the vast economic potential of the country. Reconstruction of Iraq is top priority for the countries in the region and the world community at large, as its immediate beneficiaries will be the millions of Iraqis, who will see a significant improvement in the quality of their lives.” Of course, in order to improve “the quality of their lives,” Iraqis, under the neolib-neocon scheme, will need money. However, as a study by the college of economics at Baghdad University reported last year, unemployment in Iraq is around 70%. “The number of people out of work in Iraq has been on the rise since the then US administrator Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army, security organizations and the Ministry of Information—a decision that made hundreds of thousands of people unemployed at the stroke of a pen,” al-Jazeera reported last August.

One has to wonder, however, what Jafza and its multinational participants are smoking. So long as the U.S. occupies Iraq there will be no peace and no opportunity for the neolib-neocon camarilla and its corporate “customer base” to profit from the premeditated destruction of Iraq. In fact, if Bush and Crew realize the Strausscon master plan—generational war delivered to Muslims everywhere, especially in the Middle East—resistance will spread and the chance Bechtel and General Motors will “rebuild” what Bush-Clinton-Bush bombed will be about as likely as a sunny day in Hell.

Meanwhile, we have the solemnization of Pope John Paul II to consider, an event likely to chew up the rest of the week as the pontiff will be on display and then buried at St. Peter’s Basilica Grotto on Friday. Events in Iraq will surely take a backseat—in fact, they will pretty much disappear from the corporate media radar screen entirely.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

UN-doing the U.N.

The Rightwing 'Smear Campaign' Against World Body
by Linda McQuaig
Sunday, April 3, 2005
Toronto Star

For years, there's been a determined campaign to smear the United Nations and its secretary-general Kofi Annan in connection with the U.N.'s oil-for-food program.

But last week, Annan was cleared of wrongdoing by an independent investigative committee headed by respected former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Specifically, Volcker found Annan did not intervene in the awarding of a lucrative U.N. contract to a company that employed his son Kojo. However, Volcker was highly critical of Kojo, whom he accused of "intentionally" deceiving his father about his relationship with the company.

So the lesson seems to be that Kojo is a dishonest guy who shouldn't be secretary-general of the U.N. Fortunately he isn't.

Volcker's report should end efforts by right-wing congressmen and commentators to discredit Kofi Annan. But last week Republican congressman Norm Coleman repeated his longstanding call for Annan to resign. (Why? For being a bad father?)

The media played up Annan's defiant "Hell, no" response (awfully stubborn, isn't he?). Annan was presented as emerging from the affair politically weakened and bruised, suggesting there's a lingering cloud over him and the U.N.

That's what those on the right want us to believe. They've long disliked the U.N., which stands for co-operation among nations and restricting the use of unilateral power. This clashes with the right's desire for a more muscular U.S., free to assert its power unchecked around the world. The right was furious when the Security Council refused to endorse the U.S. invasion of Iraq and even more furious when Annan described the invasion as "illegal."

Of course, there were serious problems with the oil-for-food program — notably that Saddam Hussein managed to siphon off billions of dollars.

Still, the program managed to provide crucial aid to Iraqis suffering under economic sanctions in the 1990s.

U.S. academic Joy Gordon, who has studied those sanctions, notes that France, Russia and China favoured ending them. But Washington insisted they be maintained, blocking even clearly non-military items: incubators, vaccines for infant hepatitis, and cardiac and dialysis machinery.

The real agenda here seems to be undermining the U.N., which, for all its flaws, represents the world's best shot at some semblance of international law. Sadly, America today doesn't appear to support international law.

In case that sounds like just my opinion, let me quote someone who should know — John Bolton, the Bush administration's choice for ambassador to the U.N.

Here's what The New Yorker recently quoted Bolton saying: "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so — because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."

Constrict the U.S.? It's called the rule of law and it's hard to imagine a civilized world without it.

Linda McQuaig is a Toronto-based author and commentator.

© 2005 The Star

Grizzly Recreation: Hit Squads in our Midst

All Too Natural: B.C. Killing Spree in the Woods

How gratifying to see OUR disgusting environmental policies breaking in world media. From renewed seal hunt, to Grizzly cull, to Narwhal quotas, Canada has become a coast to coast to coast international "scumbag of the day." - {ape}

The Narwhal

Under the Gun in British Columbia
Killing Grizzlies for Fun
Vancouver, British Columbia
Weekend Edition April 2 / 3, 2005
"The Unspeakable Chasing the Uneatable"-O. Wilde

Killing Grizzlies for Fun
Raincoast Conservation Society

Having emerged from their winter hibernation, the province's grizzly bears should find spring to be a time of renewal. Instead, these icons of B.C. wilderness will be subject once again to being shot for "sport."

Since the Liberal government overturned the grizzly hunting moratorium in 2001, approximately 1,000 grizzlies have been killed, with close to 75 per cent having been shot to death by trophy hunters. The direct result of the Liberal government's pandering to the trophy hunting lobby is that more than 700 grizzly bears have been killed for trophies since the hunt resumed in the fall of 2001.

The "recreational" killing of grizzly bears throughout most of B.C.'s central and north coasts begins today. The province's pending announcement on the fate of this area's forest cover will do next to nothing to address the trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores.

In fact, proposed land use plans for the central and north coasts would institutionalize grizzly hunting across the landscape, as well as trophy hunting within parks and protected areas. Equally troubling is that the kill quotas are based on Victoria's wildly inflated grizzly population estimates in which virtual bears predominate and statistical uncertainty is conveniently ignored.

Given that the land use plans will likely leave more than 70 per cent of grizzly habitat in the central and north coasts unprotected from logging and other industrial activity, the lack of protection for the bears themselves from the unnatural mortality represented by trophy hunting becomes even more problematic. Habitat protection and species protection are inextricably linked; artificially separating these issues is an old school approach to conservation that is scientifically outdated and ignores the ecological impacts associated with the direct killing of top predators.

The trophy hunting of coastal grizzlies is not much of a sport, as it consists of blowing away bears primarily at their two main feeding grounds: Estuaries in the spring, and salmon spawning streams in the fall.

In the spring, grizzlies are often in full view on the estuaries where they will be shot from boats and blinds.

According to wildlife scientists Brian Horejsi, Barrie Gilbert and Lance Craighead, the coastal grizzly hunt resembles a "search and destroy mission" with trophy hunters employing aircraft, electronic aids and motorized transport along rivers and logging roads.

The excessive government secrecy and paranoia surrounding the grizzly hunt is evidenced by the struggle the Raincoast Conservation Society has had with the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection over grizzly kill location data.

Raincoast originally filed a freedom of information request in the spring of 2000 for the data; the ministry refused to hand it over, citing a number of specious arguments in an attempt to justify its intransigence.

After a five-year legal battle, which included rulings in Raincoast's favour by the information and privacy commissioner, the Supreme Court of B.C. and the Appeals Court of B.C., the issue is now going back to the information and privacy commissioner, as an inquiry has been launched to probe the government's refusal to provide the kill location data in electronic format.

Raincoast's lawyers at the Sierra Legal Defence Fund will argue that the ministry is in violation of freedom of information legislation by not handing over user-friendly digital files on the number and locations of grizzlies killed in B.C. Although the government keeps the information in an electronic database, the ministry will provide only a paper printout, rendering the data extremely difficult to use.

We know for a fact that the ministry has given out the information in electronic format to other parties. This is data compiled with B.C. taxpayer dollars on an activity that takes place almost exclusively on Crown land, yet the province is doing absolutely everything in its power to obstruct citizen scrutiny of the grizzly hunt.

Apparently, the Liberal's "New Era" promise of creating the most open and accountable government in Canada doesn't apply to killing grizzlies.

Chris Genovali
is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Society.

Thought Police on the March

Thought Police Watch: F.B.I. Moves on Indy News Producers

Internet news producers and activists have more reason today to look nervously over their shoulder. Ever-narrowing threat assessment definitions mean, website hosts and bloggers could soon find themselves criminals, waiting to hear the tap-tapping of the law at their door. -{ape}

Anarchist Websites And Forums Under Attack
01 Apr 2005 15:10 GMT

This Is NOT April Fools

The FBI has recently sent two subpoenas to the website administrator of the webserver. Recently there have been rumours circulating in anarchist circles the flag's webmaster had been contacted by the FBI, he has released this press release to notify the wider activist community on what has been going on. The Flag server hosts many of anarchism's most widely viewed websites and the removal of this sever would be a major blow to anarchist organising worldwide.

He has been ordered on two separate occasions to submit IP information of people using certain subdomains hosted on the flag server one of which was the popular Infoshop News. These relate to people claiming responsibility for "propaganda by the deed". The moderator believes at least one of these cases are by people trying to make the flag server "vulnerable to government intrusion".

The FBI in recent years, has gone after a number of radical/revolutionary left wing websites, most notably are the shutting down of the raise the fist website and subsequent jailing of it's webmaster Sherman Austin and also targeting many websites on the Indymedia network.

FBI investigation info: on | on milwaukee imc | Audio Press Release