Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 13, 2007

OT 07-64

News & views - another open thread ...

Posted by b on September 13, 2007 at 7:08 UTC | Permalink


This rambunctious take-down of The Economist is a good read. Of course, one can always wonder about its sourcing, but even if it is promoted by Russian intelligence, one has to admire the vivacity and verve of the product. TASS was never like this.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 13 2007 7:32 utc | 1

Contracts, contracts, getcher contracts while they're hot!

Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing


The oil law — which would govern how oil fields are developed and managed — is one of several benchmarks that the Bush administration has been pressing the Iraqis to meet as a sign that they are making headway toward creating an effective government.

The legislation has already been presented to the Iraqi Parliament, which has been unable to take virtually any action on it for months. Contributing to the dispute is the decision by the Kurds to begin signing contracts with international oil companies before the federal law is passed. The most recent instance, announced last week on a Kurdish government Web site, was an oil exploration contract with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

What? An American oil company blocking Bush's goal of "reconciliation" in the Iraqi government? Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 13 2007 8:21 utc | 2

Off topic you want? OK.

Three web sites about Venezuela, which should be of interest to people here.

The US is too busy in Iraq to create as much havoc elsewhere as it would like. Even so, Eva Golinger reports that the US taxpayer is funding a $2.3 million effort to "promote democracy" in Venezuela.

See Eva Golinger's blog site -- Postcards from the Revolution -
Link to ACLU

And the Oil Wars Blogger -- covers mostly Venezuelan poliics and the economy, but occasionally has something about Iraq
Link to ACLU

Anybody who enjoys pictures of fabulous bridges, new medical clinics, new subways and new housing, root through the oilwars blog and have yourself a wonderful time.

Finally, this interesting story re the Holcim Awards -- much of interest here, but the part about Venezuela is quite interesting. An award was given by Holcim to the architects responsible for rebuilding the San Rafael-Unido slum hillside slum in Caracas -- *rebuilding* not bulldozing unlike the case -- rebuilding with consultation and discussions with the residents. How about that, recognizing that there are valuable social relationships which would be disrupted if the slum were bulldozed.

Link to ACLU

I suggest you root around via Google and get the illustrated pdf report from the architects, or other stories -- worth reading about the problems the architects encountered, and their solutions, along with before and after pictures. They believe that their solutions here are applicable to other hillside communities as well as those on flat areas.

Posted by: Owl | Sep 13 2007 9:28 utc | 3

From this characterization of Petraeus by his direct superior, Admiral Fallon, and the background to it.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 13 2007 9:30 utc | 4

From this characterization of Petraeus by his direct superior, Admiral Fallon, and the background to it.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 13 2007 9:35 utc | 5

Ted Rall echoes what many here and others have been saying, that Democrats do not want to end the war, they are just making motions to pretend they are:

The War Party

Posted by: brewster_north | Sep 13 2007 9:44 utc | 6

Sorry folks -- it has been a while since I posted links. The links above do go to the right places, even if they say "Link to ACLU"

But I am redoing them here, to avoid confusion

Link Eva Golinger's Postcards from the Revolution

Link to Oilwars

About sustainable construction in a Caracas barrio

Link to Award for Latin America - Caracas

Link Holcim Foundation book announcement

Posted by: Owl | Sep 13 2007 9:46 utc | 7

Harold Meyerson at Wapo on Bush's tee vee talk tonight:

If you believe what you read in the papers, President Bush will go on television tonight to announce that he will adopt the Petraeus plan as his own, if for no other reason than it really is his own. I'm not in the business of offering tactical advice to the administration, and it's not in the business of taking it. But if I were Josh Bolten (I think he's still in the White House; I can't vouch for anyone else), I'd try mightily to keep the president off the tube. The whole point of the Petraeus PR offensive, after all, is to decouple the war from the president. If it's the president's war, no one will vote to keep it going.
The administration had already run through a dozen raisons d'etre for the war. The latest -- we're helping the tribes defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq; we're helping promote reconciliation in Baghdad, or a devolution of authority to the provinces, or both; we're nation-building toward a soft partition; we're working toward limiting the civil war when we leave even though we're arming the rival factions because of our immediate tactical needs; we're buying time for the Maliki government to settle the civil strife it's fomenting; we're fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq so we don't have to fight it here and because our Iraqi occupation doesn't leave us with a large enough force to do anything about the real al-Qaeda in Pakistan -- don't really pack much of a punch.
For the president and his party, though, Petraeus is messenger and message rolled into one. It's his war now, they say; he has begun the war anew; all they are saying is give Petraeus's war a chance. He enables Republican presidential candidates to avoid breaking with the president while at the same time not having to mention the president's name. The general enables Republican legislators to attack Democrats for squishiness without having to bring up Bush.

In the end, I don't think Petraeusization will succeed. The American people will understand it's the same stinking war. And for those who don't, George Bush will go on television tonight to drive that point home.

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 13 2007 10:12 utc | 8

Re my 2 above, Josh Marshall notes:

...The Shia and Sunni leaders believe the Kurds are opting for a sort of oil secession that puts them outside the whole concept of a law to share the country's oil resources. And the Hunt deal is apparently the straw that broke the camel's back, shall we say.

But remember, Hunt, in addition to being the son of legendary Texas John Birch Society extremist H.L. Hunt, is also a pal of the president's. Indeed, President Bush has twice appointed Hunt to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. So while the president is striving to get the Iraqis to meet these benchmarks one of his own pals -- and more importantly, political appointees -- is busy helping to tear the whole thing apart.

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 13 2007 10:34 utc | 9

Part 1 of a 3-part video recording of a speech and Q&A by David Simon, Baltimore newspaper reporter and creator of HBO's "The Wire" (which, depending on taste and belief might be anything from another TV cop show to the greatest work of dramatic art in the last hundred years) on the end of the American Empire. Parts 2 and 3 should show up in the youtube sidebar at the link.

Form the youtube blurb:

Speaking at Loyola College, David Simon, an author and creator of the acclaimed HBO program, "The Wire," shares his views on the end of the American Empire in three video segments. He says we're headed for separate Americas of "haves and have-nots." Simon faults "unencumbered Capitalism" for making our country care less about the most vulnerable of our citizens. Unless we change, he predicts "we are doomed."

Posted by: mats | Sep 13 2007 13:43 utc | 10

Great sarcastic piece on the controversy over Debbie AlMontaser's resignation and the Arabic school in NYC. Recommended.

Intifada Against Common Sense

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 14:06 utc | 11

Moment of truth. If this piece in Haaretz is to be believed, we must bomb Iran or face a certain nuclear holocaust.

The effort to prevent Iran from joining the prestigious club of nuclear powers will top Israel's strategic and diplomatic agenda during the new year. There is no national or international issue that is more important, and the decisions that will be made by U.S. President George W. Bush will shape the regional balance of power for many years to come. The talks Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is conducting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will be a sideshow, no more than a warm-up act, even if they result in agreements, understandings and spectacular ceremonies....

But the envelope Bush will consider sending to Iran is heavier and its postage is more costly. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who met Bush during a short summer vacation he spent not far from the Bush family estate in Penobscot, Maine, correctly identified the approaching moment of decision. The Iranian nuclear program, he declared upon his return, is the number 1 international problem. And if this is how things look from tranquil Paris, certainly they appear this way in threatened Israel.

Ever since the cease-fire in Lebanon, the regional arena has been preparing for a confrontation between the United States and Iran that will determine which of the two will be the leading power in the region. As has been the case before every major war in history, this time, too, the two sides are forming alliances. The Iranians with Syria, Hezbollah and "Hamastan" in the Gaza Strip, and more loosely with Russia; the Americans with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Fatah in the West Bank, and Israel. These alliances are manifested in massive transfers of arms and military aid, in increasing operational coordination between Iran and its partners and, from another angle, in an attempt to revive the peace process between Israel and the Arabs.

The gathering forces themselves testify that a war is inevitable. Or they could lead to an increase in deterrence and give rise to a cold war in the Middle East that would manifest itself in a struggle for spheres of influence and wars by proxy, like the Second Lebanon War or Hamas' takeover of Gaza.

Bush will have to decide whether to throw his waning power into a final fight against Iran or to procrastinate in barren diplomatic talks and pass the buck to his successor. The risks of an attack on Iran are tremendous. Iran is strong enough to respond and to cause harm around the world. It is doubtful that a new president would want to take upon him- or herself the risk of a new war in the Middle East. This is why, if Bush blinks and refrains from taking action, Iran will be able to luxuriate in its new status as the world's 10th nuclear power. Tenth, but certainly not last.

Assessments have already been written in Washington predicting that many states will follow in Iran's footsteps: Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. The nuclear anti-proliferation regime will collapse - in the Middle East of all places, where the ties between states and dubious organizations can make Washington's ultimate nightmare scenario come true: the atom in the service of terror.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 14:14 utc | 12

mats, in brief - the culture of us imperialism is poisonous even when it contains - either the truths of its own contradictions or the holes in the fence where we can witness clearly the psychopathology that directs the empire

in my work i think there would be soimething like 70% of the people who have been affected in one way or another psychologically by that culture - that is to say - their level of disassociation from themselves, from their own internal symbolic order, from their own intimité, from their instincts - is in large measure contingent on two forces

the means of information are as murdoch planned both moral, castigatory & manipulative. i would go so far as to say it creates the crimes it then criticises. the means of information tell nothing at all & have the effect of isolating & in the last 15 years, isolating profoundly

it is then mixed with a level of entertainment which is based on fear, pure & impure fear

your only escape from this is celebrity which they also control & one of the contingencies of that celebrity is that you must be a human whom is completely disassociated from themselves

perhaps you'll think of me as a maoist tipper gore but i think while terror & fear are such an important constitutive factor of the entertainment - you never see the dead & mutilated bodies of either the citizens of iraq or of the soldiers who perpetrate the crimes of occupation

in their cultural manipulation the u s empire has gone a great deal further than either the nazis or the french & british empires for example - whose legacy at the end of the day is only language - & the people being colonised are rich enough to codify that language

the u s empire has gone much much further & it seems to me that the gunmen of blackwater are both a direct result of the cultural manipulation & the physical force used to maintain it. we witnessed this most clearly in new orleans where the real racism of the empire was articulated most openly. white america couldn't give a fuck about bloated black bodies lying on the water's surface & in the language of the pornographic bibles they read - they would see - the sins of america being washed away & let that be clear - the evangicals would prefer a white america 'cleaned' of all other ethnic peoples

i'm not saying anything new - i am sure malcolm x has made this perfectly clear somewhere. or langston hughes, or w e dubois or the beautiful james baldwin & richard wright

i watch information through this means (the computer) & this is often enough to turn the waters of my body to bile

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 13 2007 14:26 utc | 13

while terror & fear are such an important constitutive factor of the entertainment - you never see the dead & mutilated bodies of either the citizens of iraq or of the soldiers who perpetrate the crimes of occupation It strikes me as the penultimate manifestation of being severed/disconnected from the product of one's labor... in the most abhorrent possible sense.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 14:33 utc | 14

The US alliance with the Anbar sheikhs didn't last long. Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha, the sheikh photographed with Bush, is dead. Bomb under his car.

It was even quicker than I thought. I don't think there'll be many other collaborators after that.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 13 2007 15:14 utc | 15

Contrast the tone in the piece I excerpted in #12 with this:

Ahmadinejad: Iran doesn't need nuclear bomb

LONDON - Iran is not looking to develop nuclear weapons, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Britain's Channel 4 News Wednesday amid continued global concern at its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

In a live interview from the grounds of the presidential palace in Tehran, Ahmadinejad told the broadcaster through a translator: "We don't want a bomb. We are against bombs, actually...

"From a political point of view, it's not useful... Why do we want a bomb?... What's the use of it? We don't need it."

The Iranian president said there was no reason for the Islamic republic to stop enriching uranium.

He was speaking after his chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, warned that a third set of UN sanctions on Iran could put in danger its current co-operation with international inspectors.

Ahmadinejad earlier told state television in Iran that they will not step down under pressure.

I know he could be lying through his teeth, but still, it is worthy of note.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 15:21 utc | 16

Good summary of the state of preparations and expectations regarding the Israeli-Palestinian "peace conference" that is tentatively slated to occur "sometime in November." I guess the fact that no one has yet been able to set a date for this event speaks volumes. In any case, this piece provides an in-depth overview, from an Arab perspective, of the entire context surrounding the conference and what one might hope or expect it to achieve. Hard to excerpt because there is a lot in here and you need to read the whole thing to get the full picture.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 15:37 utc | 17

As Oil Revenues Boom, Islamic Banking Goes Global

....It may come as a surprise, then, to know that Caribou Coffee is "Shariah compliant," one of the largest American businesses to run its operations in accordance with Islamic law.

Caribou isn't alone. After decades on the economic backburner, flush oil revenues are giving Middle Eastern companies and investors new prominence on the global financial stage. As a result, rising demand for Islamic-friendly investments is forcing multinational corporations -- and not just in Muslim-majority countries -- to consider what the Quran has to say about their business practices. The boom carries over to the financial sector, where firms offering Shariah-compliant products or consulting services to companies that seek compliance have themselves seen explosive growth rates.

Shariah-compliance as competitive advantage...

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 15:43 utc | 18

Danny Rubinstein, Arab Affairs Editor for Haaretz Daily Newspaper (Israel) has made some waves:

Rubinstein, the Israeli newspaper's Arab affairs editor and a member of its editorial board, told an audience of some 350 that "today Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities,” according to sources at the event, held at the European Parliament in Brussels.

He went on to say that Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel each had “a different status," according to a summary of his speech by a United Nations Web site.

Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Schwammenthal told JTA he was so shocked by what he heard that he later confirmed the comment with Rubinstein.

“I asked him if he really thought Israel was in a state of apartheid and he answered 'yes,' " Schwammenthal said.

Rubinstein also said "Hamas won the election of the international community and Israel cannot ignore that” and argued that the security fence Israel was building could not be justified, sources said.

The British Zionist Federation issued a statement Friday saying it had read about Rubinstein's quotes in a JTA news report Thursday and verified the comments with him the next day. According to the Zionist federation, the result was a “mutual decision” to cancel Rubinstein's event.

“Criticism of Israeli policy is acceptable," the Zionist federation's chairman, Andrew Balcombe, said in a statement. "However, by using the word ‘apartheid’ in a U.N. conference held at the European Parliament, Danny Rubinstein encourages the demonization of Israel and the Jewish people...."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 16:00 utc | 19

re: #19

Denial is really a very, very powerful force that takes a huge effort to break through. However, in regards to the nature of the state of Israel, I feel it is finally in the process of being slowly but surely shattered. When highly respected and mainstream Israelis speak the truth about their own country and are then rudely disinvited from events, you know that the end is near. That is a preposterous level of suppressing reality that simply cannot continue for long.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 13 2007 16:04 utc | 20

Here's an interesting job posting at SAIC. Seems you need training at the School of Advanced Warfare to plan for a flu pandemic...Who needs another WTC when you have bio labs?

Title: PI/FEMA Regional Ops & Planning Support

The ASSET BU currently has an opening for PI Regional Planning Support. Must have current Secret clearance (current or TS/SCI eligible)

Job Description: Scope: PI Regional Planning SupportAssist Defense Coordinating Officers (DCO) in determining current level of effort for Pandemic Influenza (PI) planning already underway in federal regions to assist predestinated Primary Federal Officers (PFO). Assess federal (including DoD), regional, state, and local plans in determining resource requirements for planning for each DoD Regional Joint Task Force (RJTF). Provide assessment of gaps and seams (to include exercises, after action reviews, and DoD assets within the region) to the US Army North (ARNORTH) PI planning team for incorporation into RJTF plans. Develop potential PI Requests for Assignment (RFAs) for DoD within the region. Be ready to support a RJTF when stood up for PI operations.Hands-on Experience with (not just
* familiarity
* with) the DoD JOPES (contingency and crises action) planning processFamiliar with national and DoD PI strategy and plans (experience preferred)Experience with DCO, RFA, and Mission Assignment (MA) process and/or National Guard State Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (SEPLO)Familiar with the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) NIMS certified in the following courses: ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300, ICS-400, IS-700, and IS-800 Strong analytic skills to be able to conduct gap and seam assessmentsFamiliarity with NORAD-NORTHCOM and ARNORTH, as well as PI exercise processFamiliarity with PI planning efforts in the specific region and demonstrated ability to research Federal, state, and local PI plans.Demonstrated ability to compile data from PI planning research into useable planning formats

Required Education/Skills: Bachelor's degree in related field or equivalent and 8+ years related experience. Master's degree preferred. Graduate of School of Advance Military Studies (SAMS) or School of Advance Warfare (SAW) desired, but US Army Command and General Staff College/Intermediate Level Education, Senior Service College (SSC) graduate, or other Service equivalent required.

Posted by: biklett | Sep 13 2007 16:30 utc | 21

Are we going from KIA to RTA? Has the US military decided to classify a lot of the dead US soliders in Iraq from now on as victims of "road traffic accidents" (RTAs)?

To whit, Time magazine, 10 Sept 07:

(Baghdad) — Nine American soldiers were killed in Iraq on Monday, including eight who died in vehicle accidents that also claimed the lives of two detainees, the military said.

The deadliest of the vehicle accidents, in western Baghdad, killed seven Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldiers and wounded 11, and left two detainees dead and a third injured. The cause of the accident was under investigation, the military said.

In a separate accident, east of Baghdad, an American soldier was killed and two injured when their vehicle flipped and caught fire. A ninth soldier died of injuries sustained Sunday while on patrol in the Kirkuk area of northern Iraq.

So that's not an IED that caused the vehicle to flip and catch fire?

Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 13 2007 17:22 utc | 22

Long and detailed account of>high finance and the (drug) money laundry, and corporate/government collusion Fascinating(so far, haven't finished yet).

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 13 2007 17:30 utc | 23

@ Dismal Science 22
No way to know from here. But even if it wasn't an IED, it should still be KIA. Soldiers in transit are always moving targets. One survival tactic they rely on is to drive as fast as the road will permit. Sometimes, no doubt, they misjudge. This will flip a truck too. The driving speed is the result of standard enemy action; thus KIA.

Posted by: small coke | Sep 13 2007 17:31 utc | 24

Someone just quoted the Iranian president's most recent address to the world. According to CNN, he said something to the effect that "Israel cannot continue its life". Is this another mistranslation visa-via the "wiped off the map" thing?

Posted by: Loveandlight | Sep 13 2007 17:34 utc | 25

I do love a bit of black humor.

And found a marvelous slice of it Here

Posted by: Antifa | Sep 13 2007 17:42 utc | 26

Alert .... Did y'all know the Air Force is holding a complete stand down day tomorrow - it's first since 9/11/01.

And - why Congress so docile?

Then last Wednesday, Congressman Paul Gillmor (R-OH) was found dead in his home. This was reported as a heart attack, until word leaked out that he had blunt trauma to the head and neck. Now we're being told he fell down the stairs. Gillmor was investigating a series of option trades that are suspicious- someone is betting billions of dollars that the market will fall 50% by September 21st. Even with the housing crisis, it would take a major catastrophe, like a "terrorist" attack, to precipitate such a plunge. As part of his job on the House Finance Committee, Gillmor was investigating this deal. Was he murdered because he was about to reveal something? 9-11-2007 What's Going On?

Posted by: jj | Sep 13 2007 18:30 utc | 27

Are you gonna do a Putin post soon? Been wondering about his latest political moves and then thinking about a recent MofA posting on catastrophe capitalism.

And correlating: if Putin wants a sound excuse for remaining in power (third term, president-for-life, crowning as Tsar Vladimir I, etc.) then a bit of a catastrophe in the world would serve his purposes well.

And Russia does not even have to create one directly. There are enough troubles brewing all over the globe that they just have to allow an exiting one to get out of hand.

And Russia is in a favorable position to do so: their economy is not highly dependent on imports or foreign capital (except for luxury automobiles & Gucci bags) and have their media under the sort of control that most demagogues can only dream of.

And then Putin can have himself named president for life and beyond: he will be allowed to appoint a spiritual medium who will continue to channel his directives from beyond the grave...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 13 2007 18:58 utc | 28

"I know he could be lying through his teeth, but still, it is worthy of note'

I have not seen reason to suspect lying and deceit from Islamic leaders or even from secular Saddam before they had his neck broken..

WMDs are not the real problem anyway, as with Saddam, it is the threat to the dollar and the free-wheeling American and Israeli influenced money-changers and "business interests"..

Other than that, it's 'all' fucking *bullshit* as I see it.

Posted by: pb | Sep 13 2007 20:12 utc | 29

@ralphieboy - Are you gonna do a Putin post soon? Been wondering about his latest political moves and then thinking about a recent MofA posting on catastrophe capitalism.

What is the relation? Putin has been fighting "catastrophy capitalism" since he became president. The Jelzin 1990's and Friedman recipies were a catastrophy for Russia. Putins model is state capitalism.

And correlating: if Putin wants a sound excuse for remaining in power (third term, president-for-life, crowning as Tsar Vladimir I, etc.) then a bit of a catastrophe in the world would serve his purposes well.

Why would he want to stay in power. He has made it clear over and over that he will respect the constitution and not stay in his current jobe. Again, unlike Jelzin. May Putin come back in four years as the constitution would allow?

Maybe, but that's far down the road. Currently he would win any election in Russia. That may change.

Posted by: b | Sep 13 2007 20:42 utc | 30

Thanks for that much needed laugh Antifa.

Posted by: ran | Sep 13 2007 22:54 utc | 31

for the german readers of the site - i'd like to speak of my comrade-in-arms, friend, comrade, colleague & translator of my work - thomas harlan

there are two books available this month - die stadt ys (the city of ys) & an anti biography -thomas harlan das gesicht deines feindes -ein deutsches leben (the face of your enemy - a german life) both by eichborn in frankfurt - also a landmark work that was published last year heldenfriedhof (cemetry of heroes)

& a film that is being shown throughout germany wandersplitter - this 2 hour film will also come out as a 6 hour dvd

thomas's work, the central task of thomas has been memory & acting on it - thomas was responsible for over 2000 processes against nazi war criminals who the world would have preferred to forget

his films whether about germany - 'wundkanal' - about the revolution in portugal 'torra bella' & the sublime film on haiti 'souvenance' began a process of docudrama that has become the chief tool of many documentary filmmakers

but again this work is about remembereing, remembering, remembering until the breath breathes blood

it is a work that not only says 'never again' - but that i will fight to my last breath that it never happens again - his life & art have been a commitment to memory, an agressive violent & passionate act against forgetting

i owe a great debt to thomas as a man but also as an artist who has always reminded me what remains the central task

i suggest it here - in our community - because i think he has much to teach us

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 13 2007 23:04 utc | 32

i spoke briefly to mats about the destructive influence of the culture of u s imperialism - thomas harlan's work is the evidence of the possibility to construct a living culture

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 13 2007 23:06 utc | 33

@32 How interesting r'giap. Is any of this available in English?

A friend and I were discussing this week the place of memory, and the anguish of memory that makes many want not to remember. We were realizing all the individuals we know who were inside wars, one way or another, and rarely, if ever, speak of this. And how we do hold and form our notions of war out of the treasured bits of stories, usually cotidien, that occasionally these survivors of wars mention, when something in their present life trips a memory.

The Palestinian Christian doctor who arrived in the community of my childhood shortly after his hospital, clearly flying a Red Cross or Crescent, was bombed by Israeli air attacks.

The Polish woman with the number tatooed on her arm, who recalls her much admired brother leaping from the cattle train in which they were crowded and running for the woods, shot and killed as he ran, as she watched.

The Latin professor, who occasionally would tell a story from WWII as we students struggled with Ceasar's Gallic Wars; not the usual heroic stories. There was the time German and American troops both found themselves on far sides of some fields in Europe, ahead of their war gear; they improvised teams and somehow ended up playing baseball and soccer with each other, until the armaments arrived, they retired to separate sides, and fired at one another again.

An engineer elated when, 30 years after his time in Vietnam, he heard from a man from his platoon. "He was shot so badly. I put him on the helicopter, and I knew he wouldn't make it. But he did!" Until the wounded man called, the engineer had assumed him dead. The call meant to him that all of the men who served in his platoon had survived the war. And that had been his one goal - staying alive and keeping 20 men with him alive. Like many who found themselves drafted into that war, he had quickly understood the futility of it.

The Burmese doctor who found herself diagnosing the first cases of HIV in her country among the soldiers that she was treating.

The spontaneous, deep, and rippling cheer from the scruffy crowd of Vietnam veterans, as four helicopters flew in formation over them at the dedication of their black Memorial of names. There had been speeches, and music, and fighter jets and bombers in formation, all of which the crowd stood through in a respectful, rustling quiet. Then the sudden joy of the crowd, the electric air, the rising rumble of shouts of gratitude and applause on top of it, as the low thwacka-thwacka of helicopters in the distance materialized and flew directly toward the motley, gathered crowd, told an onlooker everything about their war. The helicopters and helicopter pilots, the guys who pulled soldiers out of the war, were the heroes.

It isn't just the stories, is it? It is the slope of a body, the look in eyes, the emotion in a voice as the story tells, that conveys all the meaning.

The black, horrifying events, the grim sounds, moments of terror stretching on and on, betrayals of the human heart, these are almost never told. Is it a wish not to remember or the difficulty of finding words for horrors?

My friend and I were imagining that if more individuals told their war stories, real ones, then maybe youth and everyone else would not rush to war so readily. If they understood that it was not like videogames or the pornographies of violence, which pass for entertainment on film and tv. Do you think?

What a burden to take on, as your friend Thomas has, if I understand your post, to be a vessel of remembrance. And a service.

Posted by: small coke | Sep 14 2007 0:17 utc | 34

small coke - wow.
Biklett - no kidding... reading job openings really helps you understand an organization. A year or two ago I read the US State Dept job descriptions and it was clear what the object of foreign policy is: ensuring a favorable business climate... now it has been replaced by much more vague claptrap.
r'giap - could I ask where you live? In the northeast, the days after the floating (black) bodies were the most somber since 9/11, the nutjobs must be out there but they are a subculture around here, even if a characteristic one. There was one proper Southern girl who earnestly informed me that "they" are shooting at the helicopters, but other than that...
Hannah - I get a huge kick out of the eXile, Ames' perspective on things is related to that which is dominant here at MOA

Posted by: boxcar mike | Sep 14 2007 1:03 utc | 35

small coke... thanks for sharing those stories with us...

Posted by: crone | Sep 14 2007 1:18 utc | 36

small coke

the films are available with english subtitles & the new film 'wandersplitter' will be available on dvd but i do not know the exact details of that

but yes you are right - thomas is an artist who has been always at the service of memory

& thanks for your remeberances

the rememberances of a people, of people - are always much more potent than those of states & institutions

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 14 2007 1:37 utc | 37

More stories please. Thanks small coke. Were you there for the dedication? As a native of the city it overwhelms me when I go there but the last time it was fenced and blocked off by a group who claimed it and wouldn't allow anyone who opposed war to get near it.

Posted by: beq | Sep 14 2007 1:54 utc | 38

CNN just did a special on the mystery millitary plane circling over the Pentagon before it was allegedly hit by American Airlines 77.

The conclusion is pretty damn spooky, and points to something pretty eerie going on CNN's special on Pentagon Mystery Millitary Plane on 9/11

Apparently there was a high level secret millitary classified air command plane circling over the Pentagon right before AA77 hit. And CNN confirms it.

Why now, today, the day before the nation-wide stand down?

Also see, this

Are these media pieces external evidence of an internal power struggle? Is something major going down as we speak?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 14 2007 2:27 utc | 39

More...The morning of 9/11, CNN reported a mystery jet plane flying above Washington, DC. At 9:54 a.m., correspondent John King, who was standing near the White House, reported that about ten minutes earlier (hence, around 9:44 a.m.), there was "a white jet circling overhead." He added: "Now, you generally don't see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky. It is out of sight now, best we can tell." [1] Shortly after, another CNN correspondent, Kate Snow, also reported having seen a plane, "circling over the Capitol" building at around the same time. She said: "Now whether that may have been an Air Force plane, it's unclear. But that seemed to be the reason, according to security guards that I talked with, towards the evacuation of the Capitol." [2]

Yet the identity of this "white jet" aircraft has been a mystery. Indeed, there has been virtually no discussion of its existence, even though it was flying above Washington at a time when America was under attack, and when the only aircraft in the area should have been fighter jets, there to protect against possible further attacks. The 9/11 Commission, which claimed that its aim had been to present "the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11" appears not to have investigated the identity of this plane, and made no mention of it in its final report.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 14 2007 2:47 utc | 40

US Airforce to stand Down tomorrow for "Safety Day?"

This is not a joke, not snark, and not a CT.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 14 2007 2:50 utc | 41

fidel castro's 911 essay: The Empire and Falsehood

How enormously different is the conduct of the Cuban government from that of the government of the United States! The Revolution, based on truth, and the empire, based on lies!

two from eva golinger
USAID in Bolivia and Venezuela: The Silent Subversion

The United States government has almost perfected a method of intervention that is able to penetrate and infiltrate all sectors of civil society in a country which it deems to be of economic and strategic interest. In the case of Venezuela, this strategy began to take form in 2002, with the increase in financing of sectors of the opposition via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the opening of an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) of USAID in Caracas. These efforts were able to achieve the consolidation of an opposition movement during those moments, which, despite the failure of the coup d’etat, was able to cause severe damage to the oil industry and the national economy via economic sabotage and a “stoppage” by managers and business owners. Following the division in the opposition, the strategy reoriented its principal focus towards poor communities, the 'Chavista' sectors, media and the necessities in the interior of the country. The US embassy in Caracas opened up a series of “satellite consulates” (American Corners) in five states across the country – without the authorisation of the Ministry of Foreign Relations – it has an official presence in regions seen as important to the energy vision of Washington. These states, Anzoátegui, Bolívar, Lara, Monagas, and Nueva Esparta (Margarita) are rich in oil, minerals and other natural resources, which the US is seeking to control. These US headquarters found spaces inside lawyers associations and municipal councils controlled by the opposition, and continue to function as centres of propaganda, conspiring against the Bolivarian revolution.

Submarines and Lots of Dough

What do a nuclear submarine off the coast of Venezuela and a bunch of NGOs have in common? Why, US intervention in Venezuela, of course!!

Yes, once again the United States is floating nuclear submarines just twenty miles off Venezuela's northwest coast in the Dutch island of Curaçao. The USS Albuquerque, a 110-meter long nuclear submarine docked last Friday, September 7th, at the Bay of Santa Ana on the island of Curaçao, the largest of the Dutch Antilles and Venezuela's closest neighbor in the Caribbean. Since 1999, the United States has maintained a small operative air force base within Curaçao's Hato International Airport. However, during 2006, construction began to expand the air base and US military and intelligence presence was pumped up throughout Curaçao, including an astonishing increase from what used to be no more than 10 US warships, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines passing through Curaçao's vast ports annually to over 100 just last year. Many of these battleships formed part of a sudden desire by the Pentagon's Southern Command to conduct a dozen or so military exercises in the Caribbean Sea that responded to hypothetical "terrorist" threats in the region or provided "humanitarian" support to neighboring islands. Considering that simultaneously, the US State Department was classifying Venezuela as a nation "not fully collaborating" with the war on terrorism and labeling President Chávez as "authoritarian" and "dictatorial", it isn't paranoid to assume that the increase in US military presence on Curaçao and surrounding bases is directed at intimidating Venezuela. Furthermore, the USS Albuquerque was last spotted just a mere three weeks ago on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela's closest neighbor in the northeastern Caribbean region. One has to wonder what the nuclear submarine was doing from the time it left Trinidad and Tobago and arrived at Curaçao, all that time just floating around off the coast of Venezuela...

So here's the juice on the new National Endowment for Democracy (NED) figures for funding activities in Venezuela during fiscal year 2006-2007.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 4:58 utc | 42

more press exposing the ethiopian govt's ongoing crackdown in the ogaden

all-africa: Ethiopia: Ogaden Leaders Accuse Govt of 'Genocide'

Leaders of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (OLNF), a rebel group fighting against the Ethiopian government, have accused the Ethiopian army of committing crimes "tantamount to genocide."

Responding to a claim made by the government that the ONLF is a terrorist organization, the front's chairman, Mohamed Osman, told allAfrica in an interview: "The real terrorists are the Ethiopian government."

Osman and the ONLF's foreign relations secretary, Abdirahman Mahdi, spoke to allAfrica's Washington, D.C. office this week. They were visiting the United States to meet with members of the diaspora, non-governmental organizations, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The armed wing of the ONLF has been fighting for self-determination, and against the current government in the Ethiopian state of Somali, since 1993.

Osman and Mahdi said Ethiopia's army is committing widespread war crimes, including destroying over 100 villages and lynching over 30 people, in the Ogaden region in the east of Ethiopia.

They also said that a recent United Nations mission sent to the Ogaden did not receive complete access; they contend that the UN mission was not allowed to visit the Doollo and Fik regions, the areas where the worst atrocities have been committed.

Additionally, they allege that before the mission went to the region, opponents of the Ethiopian government were rounded up, arrested and sent to military camps. The United Nations mission is expected to release its report later this week.

"We challenge the government to allow independent observers," Madhi said. "Democracy does not bar information."

O.N.L.F Statement On Civilian Displacement & Continuing War Crimes In Ogaden

The Ethiopian regimes war crimes in Ogaden have resulted in thousands of civilians seeking refuge in parts of neighboring Somalia with limited food, medical aid and financial resources over the last four months. These victims of the regimes war crimes have include victims of rape, torture, gunshot wounds and those fleeing burnt villages. These fleeing civilians provide the best testimony of the policy of collective punishment being pursued by the Ethiopian regime in Ogaden.

The plight of these families shows the world that despite the regimes denials, war crimes continue in Ogaden. It is clear that the Ethiopian regimes policy in Ogaden continues to be a campaign of State sponsored terror that largely avoids engagements with ONLF forces and instead focuses on collectively punishing our civilian population.

We call on donor nations to bear pressure on the Ethiopian regime to end its brutal campaign against our civilian population and allow international journalists and humanitarian organizations to travel and operate freely in Ogaden. If this regime has nothing to hide in Ogaden there is no reason why it should continue to ban international journalists and reputable humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC from operating and traveling freely in Ogaden.

We further call on the United Nations in particular to come to the immediate aid of our forcefully displaced people seeking refuge in neighboring Somalia. The United Nations bears a particular responsibility to thoroughly investigate war crimes in Ogaden and halt the unfolding of yet another preventable African genocide . To do this, the United Nations must have access to all parts of Ogaden and not be limited to routes approved by the regime as was the case with the recent UN Fact Finding Mission.

afp: Ethiopia's isolated Ogaden: refugees tell tale of repression

BOSASO, Somalia (AFP) — Tales of rape and murder from refugees fleeing Ethiopia's Ogaden region offer a glimpse of the violence wracking the hermetic rebel zone, off limits now even to foreign aid groups.

"It's worse than hell, what is happening in Ethiopia," said Fardosa, whose eyes seem to have frozen wide open since her own ordeal.

"A group of Ethiopians came to my house in early August and four soldiers took me into my bedroom and assaulted me," said the thin young woman, cradling a nine-month-old baby.
"Two of my brothers who were (rebel) ONLF members were hanged from a tree," said Fardosa.

But both the ONLF and humanitarian organisations have raised fears that widespread collective punishment and reprisals against civilians are underway in Ogaden, a region under tight army lockdown.

"What is happening... is a form of genocide, it's a systematic destruction of crops and livestock. There is a total closure of economic development in Ogaden," said Osman Hassan Ahmed, a 27-year-old from the eastern Ogaden town of Werder who arrived in Bosaso on September 1.
The Ogaden refugees in Bosaso express dismay at what they see as the world's indifference to their plight and their region, an arid zone believed to contain large quantities of oil and natural gas though rebel activities have scuppered efforts to develop a significant mining industry.

"Darfur gets all the world attention but Ogaden is the same... It's unfortunate and sad that the world has turned a blind eye on what is happening there," said Abdi Ahmed Abdillah.

The 31-year-old farmer says he fled the village of Koos in July with his wife and three children. He had to leave two other children behind.

"In my lifetime, I've never seen such massive displacement of civilians by the Ethiopian government, it's new," he said.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 5:12 utc | 43

What small coke refers to - is exactly what has been missing from the hearings on capital hill - the human experience of warfare. What we get instead is endless, pointless, and circular nomenclature ridden tautologies. That sound like science, military science. That attempt in all their sanctimonious authority to distill the human experience of war down to the essential facts objectified by their secret language of "battle space", "collateral damage", or "flame field expedients"- as if the entire truth of experience could encapsulated in this language. Which is on some level, probably the point, to present the events (in Iraq) is a language totally beholden to its military source and dependent upon it for its "sense" in filling out its full meaning. Which as it happens, intentionally excludes all other realms of intrinsic human experience. Like culture, like morality, like emotions, like feelings, grief, suffering, pain, loss, introspection, anxiety, or alienation - all placed in abience and placed totally out of the equation. As if warfare and its effects could be understood divorced from the experience of it, as if it were fundamentally only an engineering problem. So as we see after 3 days of inquiry, little is mentioned of the Iraqi's own experience of the occupation (like the recent poll), as if what could they know about what is going on, they're only living its experience - nothing is mentioned about the legality of the occupation, the morality, the long term effects, the death, suffering, or exodus of millions caused by the occupation - these things that fill out the fullest human dimension and meaning of the war are never the subject of analysis, debate, or even inquiry. All of which is reprehensible enough in itself, but considering that it is these very things that, being an occupation after all, will be the final arbitrator, that trumps all these convenient metrics, in determining what really (in the end) constitutes "progress" or "victory". And in the end, lacking these things, how could we even know if they have been achieved or not? Are our insatiable demands for denial so great that we have forgotten why we demand it? Satisfied that it only continue. Is that why science has become the ultimate ritual language of transcendence in the exclusive service of power.

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 14 2007 5:44 utc | 44

Researcher: Bin Laden's beard is real, video is not

The September 7 video shows bin Laden dressed in a white hat, white shirt and yellow sweater. Krawetz notes "this is the same clothing he wore in the 2004-10-29 video. In 2004 he had it unzipped, but in 2007 he zipped up the bottom half. Besides the clothing, it appears to be the same background, same lighting, and same desk. Even the camera angle is almost identical." Krawetz also notes that "if you overlay the 2007 video with the 2004 video, his face has not changed in three years--only his beard is darker and the contrast on the picture has been adjusted."

More important though are the edits. At roughly a minute and a half into the video there is a splice; bin Laden shifts from looking at the camera to looking down in less than 1/25th of a second. At 13:13 there is a second, less obvious splice. In all, Krawetz says there are at least six splices in the video. Of these, there are only two live bin Laden segments, the rest of the video composed of still images. The first live section opens the video and ends at 1:56. The second section begins at 12:29 and continues until 14:01. The two live sections appear to be from different recordings "because the desk is closer to the camera in the second section."

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 7:05 utc | 45


the economic situation in Russia under Jeltzin was all shock, no therapy. It was simply state-tolerated chaos, which people like Putin used as a justification for coming back into power and asserting it in a rather authoritarian fashion.

And why would Putin not want to stay in power? Or have you started believing politicians at their word?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 14 2007 7:15 utc | 46

Mali Says Rebels Fired on U.S. Military Plane Ferrying Supplies

Tuareg rebels fighting government troops in Mali’s far northern desert have fired on an American military plane, Malian officials said Thursday.

The attack occurred early Wednesday when the plane was delivering food to a Malian Army garrison at Tin-Zaouatene in a desolate mountain region bordering Algeria and Niger, where the rebels have staged raids in recent weeks.

The United States Embassy in Mali said the aircraft returned safely here to the capital, after being hit by gunfire but denied a report by Malian officials that an American service member was wounded.
The United States views Mali as a staunch military ally in its global campaign against terrorism, but it was believed to be the first time that the American military had actively supported a continuing Malian military operation against Tuareg insurgents.

It was the "first time" and they "delivered food" - anybody believing that?

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 7:22 utc | 47

Before you dismiss Putin as simply another power crazed politician, you might consider that by staying in power he might wish to forestall another Rape Of Russia by the West.

(This is best discussion, concise but reasonably thorough overview, I've found of the subject. It's via a link from Catherin Austin Fitts siteA Review of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, by Fitts.)

Posted by: jj | Sep 14 2007 8:07 utc | 48


the term "power-crazed politician" is somewhat redundant in my view: to that extent I do not trust or distrust Putin any more than any other world leader. I don't, however, see him as threatening a new Cold War.

In any case, the USSR did a heck of a job ruining its own economy without any direct help from the West.

The point of the "all-shock-no-therapy" approach of the 90's seemed to be to allow oligarchs to amass vast fortunes, which the re-ascendant state then either co-opted (as with Potanin), drove into exile (as with Berezovsky) or put in prison (as with Khodorkovsky).

Russia always struck me as a briliant nation; full of potential, yet always hampered by incompetent, inefficient leadership. Now they seem to have a very competent and effective leadership.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 14 2007 9:10 utc | 49

In any case, the USSR did a heck of a job ruining its own economy without any direct help from the West.

No direct help?

The Harvard Boys Do Russia

The architect of privatization was former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, a darling of the U.S. and Western financial establishments. Chubais's drastic and corrupt stewardship made him extremely unpopular. According to The New York Times, he "may be the most despised man in Russia."

Essential to the implementation of Chubais's policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard's name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side. Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.'s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers' funds.

Also: Washington’s “Fifth Column” in RussiaChess champion Gary Kasparov, his comrades and supporters in the west

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 9:35 utc | 50

I'm not sure that Americans plundering of Russia in the 90's isn't germane to ME today. Did they need another country/area to plunder to stay afloat? And did they want to plunder Russia first to be sure it was too weak to interfere effectively?

Barflies, I just heard on the radio that during today's stand down, Bush'll be @Marines Central in Quantico & Cheney's heading down to some high tech base in Fla. ...

Posted by: jj | Sep 14 2007 9:44 utc | 51

Neo-cons: Invasion of the Party Snatchers Part 1

Bill Moyer interviews conservative Victor Gold on how the neo-cons have corrupted the Republican Party.

Also see, Bush 41 aid says neoCONS would have used false flag

A GOP insider, former Bush 41 speechwriter and close friend of the Bush family writes in his new book that before 9/11, the Neo-Cons in control of the Bush administration were eager to seize upon a manufactured provocation to go to war - just as LBJ had done with the Gulf Of Tonkin in 1965, and questions the official 9/11 story.

"Had it not been for 9/11, the Bush White House, determined to go to war, would no doubt have seized on some synthetic provocation, on the order of the one LBJ used to push through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1965," Gold writes.

Gold confirms that war in Iraq was decided upon from day one, and that a fake pretext was readied and anticipated before 9/11 happened.

Finally, don't forget, Bush and Blair discussed using American spy plane in UN colors to lure Saddam into war.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 14 2007 10:24 utc | 52


Iran's supreme leader Friday compared U.S. President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler and predicted that he would eventually be brought to court as a war criminal.

"[Bush] has to reply to the simple question why a rich country like Iraq has no water, no electricity, no hospitals, no schools... the only thing the U.S. brought into Iraq was terrorism," Khamenei added.

The Ayatollah said that the U.S. had in the last three decades followed the plan to have full domination of the Middle East with "Israel as its capital," but failed in Iraq, as well as in Iran, Lebanon and the Palestine Territories.

He added that the U.S. used Iraq to stage a war against Iran (1980-1988)with the aim of toppling the Islamic system, but failed.

He said the U.S. staged elections in the Palestine Palestinian Authority, in which Hamas emerged as the winner, and tried to disarm the Hezbollah in Lebanon only to suffer "a humiliating defeat for what was believed to be the undefeatable Israeli army."

Khamenei added that U.S. plans to impose sanctions on Iran due to the continuation of its nuclear programs would "just make the nation stronger than before."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 11:43 utc | 53


Iran's supreme leader Friday compared U.S. President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler and predicted that he would eventually be brought to court as a war criminal.

"[Bush] has to reply to the simple question why a rich country like Iraq has no water, no electricity, no hospitals, no schools... the only thing the U.S. brought into Iraq was terrorism," Khamenei added.

The Ayatollah said that the U.S. had in the last three decades followed the plan to have full domination of the Middle East with "Israel as its capital," but failed in Iraq, as well as in Iran, Lebanon and the Palestine Territories.

He added that the U.S. used Iraq to stage a war against Iran (1980-1988)with the aim of toppling the Islamic system, but failed.

He said the U.S. staged elections in the Palestine Palestinian Authority, in which Hamas emerged as the winner, and tried to disarm the Hezbollah in Lebanon only to suffer "a humiliating defeat for what was believed to be the undefeatable Israeli army."

Khamenei added that U.S. plans to impose sanctions on Iran due to the continuation of its nuclear programs would "just make the nation stronger than before."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 12:28 utc | 54

TIME Senior Editor Tony Karon: Jewish Glastnost in America: Despite Backlash, Many Jews are Questioning Israel

~Snip (but this does not do justice to the whole thing)

Although you wouldn't know it -- not if you followed Jewish life simply through the activities of such major Jewish communal bodies as the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations and the Anti-Defamation League -- the extent to which the eight million Jews of the Diaspora identify with Israel is increasingly open to question (much to the horror of the Zionist-oriented Jewish establishment). In a recent study funded by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (an important donor to Jewish communal organizations), Professors Steven M. Cohen and Ari Y. Kelman revealed that their survey data had yielded some extraordinary findings: In order to measure the depth of attachment of American Jews to Israel, the researchers asked whether respondents would consider the destruction of the State of Israel a "personal tragedy." Less than half of those aged under 35 answered "yes" and only 54% percent of those aged 35-50 agreed (compared with 78% of those over 65). The study found that only 54% of those under 35 felt comfortable with the very idea of a Jewish state.

As groups such as the Jewish Agency in Israel (which aims to promote Jewish immigration) and the American Jewish committee expressed dismay over the findings, Cohen and Kelman had more bad news: They believed they were seeing a long-term trend that was unlikely to be reversed, as each generation of American Jews becomes even more integrated into the American mainstream than its parents and grandparents had been. The study, said Cohen, reflected "very significant shifts that have been occurring in what it means to be a Jew."

Cohen's and Kelman's startling figures alone underscore the absurdity of Shepherd's suggestion that to challenge Israel is to "defame an entire people." They also help frame the context for what I would call an emerging Jewish glasnost in which Jewish critics of Israel are increasingly willing to make themselves known. When I arrived in the United States 13 years ago, I was often surprised to find that people with whom I seemed to share a progressive, cosmopolitan worldview would suddenly morph into raging ultranationalists when the conversation turned to Israel. Back then, it would have seemed unthinkable for historian Tony Judt to advocate a binational state for Israelis and Palestinians or for Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen to write that "Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now." Unthinkable, too, was the angry renunciation of Zionism by Avrum Burg, former speaker of Israel's Knesset.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 13:02 utc | 55

Here is a link to the original essay by Avrum Burg in Haaretz, mentioned above. I don't believe it was ever posted here but it was hugely important and made many waves in Israel when it was first published earlier this year:

Burg: Defining Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end


Avraham Burg, former Knesset speaker and former head of the Jewish Agency says "to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite." In an interview in Haaretz Weekend Magazine, he said that he is in favor of abrogating the Law of Return and calls on everyone who can to obtain a foreign passport.

Burg, who was interviewed on the occasion of the publication of his book "Defeating Hitler" said "the strategic mistake of Zionism was to annul the alternatives. Israeliness has only body; it doesn't have soul."

Read the whole thing. It's very important.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 13:05 utc | 56

@small coke and anna missed

What small coke refers to - is exactly what has been missing from the hearings on capital hill - the human experience of warfare.

Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Our entire public discourse is completely devoid of EMPATHY or UNDERSTANDING for what we have wrought on an entire nation of human beings or, for that matter, on our own youth who chose to don uniforms and boots and go "defend their country."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 13:08 utc | 57

I meant in #56 to post a link to the entire original interview with Burg and I moved too fast and posted to a short piece about the interview instead. So here is the link to the original interview in Haaretz:

Leaving the Zionist Ghetto

It is continued in a second part, which can be accessed by clicking "More" at the end of the first.

This remarkable interview is what I referred to as "very important" above. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 14:54 utc | 58

some news from africa

Nigeria: Country Moves to Halt U.S. Military

The Federal Government has begun moves to frustrate the plan by the United States to establish a military base in the Gulf of Guinea.

The oil-rich gulf is bordered by Nigeria, Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe

US has been desperately wooing some countries in the West Africa sub-region to allow her establish a military base to protect the strategic gulf for sometime now.

The move, according to US, is to protect the area from alleged external aggressions but with America now looking in the direction of Africa for her energy needs given the instability in the Middle-east, many analysts say the move is to protect her oil interests. .

Defence sources, however, told THISDAY last night in Abuja that the Federal Government was already discussing with heads of government of the African Union and leaders of the sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African State, on how to block any move by US to establish a base in the gulf.

"Nigeria is not taking the issue lightly at all and the government is not going to allow the US establish any military base anywhere in the ECOWAS region. The interest of the US government in the Gulf of Guinea has reinforced the commitment of the government to intensify its efforts at providing the needed security in the sub-region," the source said.

It was learnt that the Federal Government was worried by the terror alert raised by the US authorities last week and saw it as a ploy to label Nigeria and countries in the sub region as unsafe in order to get the opportunity to create a military base in the region.

As a first step to checkmate that plan, the FG has vowed to frustrate the campaign by the US to establish a base in the gulf.

"The government of this country is not ready for any blackmail. What they cannot get through the back doors they want to get through blackmail. We are not going to succumb to that game," the source said.

this is huge, b/c nigeria & the gulf of guinea are one of the central focal points for u.s. interests in the continent.

Somalia's opposition alliance elects Islamist as chief

ASMARA, Eritrea Sep 14 (Garowe Online) - A gathering of Somali opposition figures in the Eritrean capital Asmara has elected the officials who would lead the executive and legislative branches of the organization, sources said.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected overnight Thursday as chairman of the executive committee of the Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia, a coalition of opposition forces intent on forcing Ethiopian troop withdrawal from Somalia.

Formerly the executive head of the Islamic Courts, Sheikh Sharif has been viewed by many diplomats as a moderate voice within Somalia's Islamist organization.

sheikh sharif was the individual involved in last february's negotiations w/ the u.s. amabassador in kenya wrt the reports of captured u.s. troops in southern somalia. after that he was released by kenyan authorities where he was allowed to relocate to yemen.

the asmara conference has been drawing some rather one-sided int'l press in the past couple days after the delegates agreed on a two-track response to the invasion of somalia -- the formation of both a political wing, aimed at establishing governance once the occupiers are kicked out, and a military wing, to help the occupiers reach the conclusion that they have to vacate. of course, the western media focuses on the aggressive posture of the victims, ignoring the context.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 14:56 utc | 59

Pentagon censors tape of alleged 9/11 mastermind


The Pentagon has censored an audio tape of the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks speaking at a military hearing -- cutting out Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's justification for waging jihad against the United States.

After months of debate by several federal agencies, the Defense Department released the tape Thursday. Cut from it was 10 minutes of a more than 40-minute closed court session at Guantanamo Bay to determine whether Mohammed should be declared an "enemy combatant."

Since the March hearing, he has been assigned "enemy combatant" status, a classification the Bush administration says allows it to hold him indefinitely and prosecute him at a military tribunal.

Officials from the CIA, FBI, State Department and others listened to the tape and feared it could be copied and edited by other militants for use as propaganda, officials said.

"It was determined that the release of this portion of the spoken words of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would enable enemies of the United States to use it in a way to recruit or encourage future terrorists or terrorist activities," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "This could ultimately endanger the lives and physical safety of American citizens and those of our allies."

Calling Mohammed a "notorious figure," Whitman added, "I think we all recognize that there is an obvious difference between the potential impacts of the written versus the spoken word."

Um, obviously.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 14 2007 16:59 utc | 60

Major epidemic of cholera in Northern Iraq

So let's go bomb some more infrastructure, blanket the land and sea with depleted uranium, and dislocate a few more million people. And cause this cholera to spread to additional countries.

That will surely persuade them A-rabs to disavow the evil Islamofascism faster than we can say "You're either with us or against us."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 18:01 utc | 61

Osama is in Yemen or Somalia, not Pakistan: US counter-terrorism expert

The Bush Administration's former chief counter-terrorism adviser, Richard Clark, has claimed that Osama bin Laden is either in Yemen or Somalia, and not in Pakistan.

Clark, who was also the chief counter-terrorism adviser to the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, said that bin Laden was propagating a kind of propaganda to lure Washington into a sense of neutrality to enable it to strengthen itself.

"Osama bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' He had been saying this. This is part of his propaganda," the Daily Times quoted Clark, as saying.

"In other words, we stepped right into bin Laden's propaganda. And, the result of that is that al Qaeda and organisations like it, offshoots of it, second-generation al Qaeda have been greatly strengthened," he added.

i've read this two times & it's still not clear what his argument is. that the u.s. has been "neutral" on the GWOT, esp WRT UBL? that makes no sense. but then, neither does the argument that UBL would be in somalia right now, of all places. so who's "propagating a kind of propaganda" now

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 18:08 utc | 62

gotta keep restating the obvious until it sinks into the public consciousness

pfaff: U.S. commits to a permanent war

Nobody seems to have yet recognized that conducting the Iraq war has now become one of the permanent functions of American government.

The country is officially committed to the permanent global war against terror, and official documents tell us this means dealing with the conditions thought to be responsible for terrorism: poverty, political breakdown or "failed states," and Islamic extremism. That is why the Pentagon's new Africa Command is being set up. Africa has more failed states than anywhere else, and has also now become an important oil exporter to the United States.

This is war without end. It is not a polemical exaggeration to say that if these assumptions about the continuing role and responsibilities of the United States are seriously meant, then the United States is going to be in one war or another, mainly but not exclusively in Third World countries and failed states, for the rest of the century.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 18:25 utc | 63

More tensions over the oil law, or laws, in Iraq.

Iraq's northern Kurdish administration has demanded Baghdad's oil minister be sacked, following his remarks that oil contracts signed by the regional government are "illegal."

The call by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) late Thursday deals another blow to attempts by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to forge a national consenus on the controversial issue of dividing up the spoils of Iraq's vast oil reserves.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 19:08 utc | 64

wondering if clark's contention that UBL may be in somalia fits into a current push to stress the GWOT in the horn, specifically in somalia. there is a large contingent of islamist fighters there helping to drive out the u.s.-backed ethiopian forces & the TFG and all three of the latter are working on milking that for all it's worth in the GWOT narrative. and there are likely fighters coming in from other areas to help, though i have not seen any estimates on numbers involved or from where.

the other day al jazeera ran a story on foreign fighters in somali which featured an american called abu mansoor al-amriki

there's an english version of clip out there but i'm having trouble finding it, so here's the arabic version. the guy is at 1min 37sec into the clip
American citizen training Islamists in Somalia

not enough info right now to make a judgement on this, but it's suspicious, to keep the speculation rational. he doesn't necessarily look like a special forces operative though.

also see
Islamist fighters being trained and armed in south Somalia

The report depicted the gunmen target practicing on caricatures of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and even U.S. President George W. Bush.

Sheikh Turki told al Jazeera that Somalia is in a "state of war" and therefore fighters must be prepared to defend the country against the "enemies of Islam."

The al Jazeera report showed a man, identified as U.S. citizen "Abu Mansur al Ameriki", hooking up a landmine before detonating it at a safe distance.

Somali, Ethiopian and U.S. government officials have repeatedly claimed that foreign fighters were included among the ranks of the Islamic Courts when they were in power in Mogadishu last year.

Sheikh Turki was chief of the Islamists' in the Jubba regions, where he has been based for years.

and, from the 2nd article in #59 on the opposition at the asmara conference,

It's not clear whether or not this opposition alliance wields any real authority inside Somalia, especially in Mogadishu where insurgents continue their daily guerrilla war against Somali and Ethiopian government forces.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the Islamists' most influential cleric, is present in Asmara despite repeated complaints from the U.S. government.

But his real influence in Mogadishu seems questionable, as a new brand of Islamist fighters ("al Shabaab") responsible for the Mogadishu insurgency issued a statement strongly condemning the Asmara conference and distancing themselves from Islamic Courts leaders in Eritrea.

The al Shabaab group, led by former Aweys protege and Taliban-trained Adan Hashi Ayro, argued in a statement posted online that the "Asmara Conference is forcing the Jihad to loose its way."

and, not directly related but perhaps suggestive of something, from a time interview w/ the ethiopian dictator last week, WRT to the ONLF insurgency

TIME: Parts of the U.S. seem to take a different view of the ONLF. Your security forces detained four American personnel because they were dealing with the ONLF in some way, or talking to them or using them to help them operate in Somalia.

Meles: As far as we know, these personalities did not have official sanction to do that what they were doing. They were violating their own code of conduct. That is why they were stopped. We have no proof that they were in contact with the ONLF but there are indications that they might be moving in that direction. We stopped it from happening before it happened.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 19:09 utc | 65

i have watched the film of my friend thomas, wandersplitter

it is magisterial

i hope that b, hamburger, noirette & other german speaking comrades see it

the dvd has english subtitles & is ok in all zones (it is with edition flimmuseum (no 35)

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 14 2007 20:06 utc | 66

Interesting title "Wandersplitter"

A "wandersplitter" is a shive or splint that once in a human body migrates through the body. Typical for small shrapnell war wounds ...

Harlan's father directed the anti-semitic nazi propaganda movie Jud Suess. Harlan tells how he fought him ...

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 20:31 utc | 67

Just for fun, the Nietzsche">">Nietzsche Family Circus. Refresh for random matches.

Posted by: catlady | Sep 14 2007 20:47 utc | 68

Oops. Better link, I hope.

Posted by: catlady | Sep 14 2007 20:48 utc | 69


your right, its huge. This is the first word out that Nigeria is actively organizing the ECOWAS bloc in opposition to an Africom base. Chances are this is occuring in coordination with the SADC (the southern Africa bloc) & the AU.

its incredoulous that the USA appears to be at serious odds with its two most valuable economic & political friends in Africa -- South Africa & Nigeria, at the same time, as well as the AU.

and for the first time I am starting to wonder if the USA planners are not over-estimating their ability to assert USA power in Africa. How much of this is driven by hubris ? And what do these planners really know about Africa ?

back in the old days, such uppityness by any African leader would result in a military coup by a more "friendly" soldier. Could it possible happen again ?

its not clear what the USA is counting on. Then again, maybe its not worth thinking too hard trying to rationalize what might just be plain incompetence.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 14 2007 20:55 utc | 70

The mortgage bubble in Britian popped this week: Patient queues in very British bank run

A queue of 11 people had formed before 9am at the City of London branch, barely 100m from the Bank of England in London’s financial district where Thursday night’s lifeline was agreed. In a pattern mirrored across the country, they waited patiently, accepted there was no need to panic – but said they were withdrawing their money just in case.

“The website was down and no one was answering the phone this morning,” said one depositor. “When the shares fell 20 per cent I decided to come down and take my money out.”

Still waiting for the spanish bubble to pop (lots of Brits bought there).

This will be a very wild ride ... hold tight.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2007 21:00 utc | 71

the USA has to learn to compete for resources & market share in a world thats much more of a level playing field than ever before. And it can definitely do it.

but neglecting to properly manage its huge debt, the inevitable reduced relevance of the dollar, the export of its manufacturing base, lopsided consumptions of global resources, lack of effective sustainable energy initiatives, expensive unending wars ... is just not going to do it

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 14 2007 21:12 utc | 72

R'giap @ 66,

Regret that I am not a fluent German speaker, tho' bun is.

Happily your comrade all the same.


Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 14 2007 21:16 utc | 73

found that other al jazeera video clip i was thinking of earlier. it's not the same clip as linked in #65 and only shows a small segment of the american giving a msg to the somali people. the first one shows him training other militants in building/handling explosives.

Posted by: b real | Sep 14 2007 21:45 utc | 74

Laura Rozen:

On September 7, Pascal Riche, a Paris-based former Washington correspondent for France's Libération newspaper, reported that an ABC counterterrorism consultant, Alexis Debat, had faked an interview with Sen. Barack Obama that he published under his name in a French journal, Politique Internationale, and that he had published other alleged interviews in the same journal with Sen. Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. It turns out, ABC itself later reported, the interviews were apparently fabricated.

Meanwhile, over at ABC, Debat, as an investigative consultant, has been providing information on Iran.

But that's not the only red flag about Debat's credibility. It turns out that ABC News fired Debat as a consultant in June when it discovered that he had lied about earning a Ph.D. from the prestigious Sorbonne. According to the Post, ABC News also checked out Debat's work for the network and didn't find anything wrong. Today they say they're checking again, and they should. Most recently, since ending his role with ABC, Debat helped raise a big international stir by pounding the drums for a U.S. attack on Iran.

There are two radically different ways to look at this scandal. Either Debat is a lone wolf, a deluded self-aggrandizer whose main agenda is promoting himself. Or he is acting in his role at the Nixon Center as a conduit, spreading information and occasional disinformation at the behest of others.

Just a footnote -- here is Debat's cached listing at the Nixon Center. The real one has vanished from cyberspace already.


Posted by: small coke | Sep 14 2007 22:28 utc | 75

Harper's comments insightfully on the "state of the Union:"

On September 11, staffers for Barack Obama had a campaign ad taken down that had appeared as a “sponsored link” on’s web page for The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, the controversial new book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Obama’s campaign didn’t place the ad; it apparently appeared on the Amazon page because his campaign, like those of other presidential candidates, pay to have their ads pop up when people do searches for key words like “politics.”

That same day, in the face of questions from the media, Obama’s campaign released a statement saying that while he had not actually read the book, its conclusions were “dead wrong” and that the senator “has stated that his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, which includes both a commitment to Israel’s security and to helping Israel achieve peace with its neighbors, comes from his belief that it’s the right policy for the United States.”

Yet just five days earlier, Daniel Pipes–who, as I first reported here, has signed on as a foreign policy advisor to Rudy Giuliani’s campaign–essentially argued for war crimes against Palestinians, and there was no cry of protest from the media or anywhere else....

For the record, there’s much I disagree with in the Mearsheimer/Walt Book. But there’s something terribly wrong with the American debate on the Middle East when, due to public criticism, Obama’s campaign flees from an unintentional link to that book, while a Giuliani advisor argues for a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians and his comments pass unremarked.


Posted by: Bea | Sep 14 2007 22:58 utc | 76


its about 4hrs of material in all - & subtitled & subtitled extremely closely

the only film like it is one by louis malle 'my dinner with andre' but this film is vastly superior

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 14 2007 23:13 utc | 77

the act of remembering, remembering everything has not only remained the vow that all artists should keep but that now all citizens are obliged to do unless they want to be disembowelled culturally by their elites. the elites & whatever vassal they choose to use in this or that moment. politically or culturally

i come from a time where the inequalities of opportunities were profound & by a mixture of circumstance, chance & will - i was able to escape from the burnt cinders of the prison life had held out to me & people of my class

i remember on matriculating - a rare thing in a district of some 40,000 people - that the catholic doctor patted me on the head & hoped i would get a job as a foreman & that i shouldn't consider university or higher learning because that was not for my class. he sd that. he insisted on it. to go beyond my class would only bring sorrow or shame. he also sd that

& by the time he had sd that i had clndestinely been in two countries china & vietnam where i had seen worlds that this little nazi of a doctor could not even imagine. i had witnessed worlds on the street that perhaps he had read about in the dirty journals he kept hidden under his desk. the fact was i knew the world at 17 & he did not. not him nor his class

& the inequalities of that time are worse now. from time to time i wander as you do to the journals on the net & i read the age for example or its sister the sydney morning herald & i witness inequalities in the extreme - for the aboriginals & the poor - they are being wiped off the demographic map as is the thatcherite rule. they do not exist. they do not exist culturally or existentially. we are after all not human

i have seen things that no man should see but i have tried to transform them with my art & through my teaching. at best i have always understood that the best one can do is leave a trace. more than that is a bonus

even life itself has become a bonus for a person like me. that i have reached this my fifth decade is in & of itself a miracle & i never, never forget that

& the work of artists like thomas serve as exemplary figures that illustrate how instinct knowledge & a cunning & noble humanity can help to change things, to help change the state of things

people will of course say they know this or that. but they do not. they do not know what it is for 20 million russian citizens to die fighting the fascist beast, they forget the terrible toll exacted on the vietnames by the japanese, french & the americans, they forget the shck troops sent out by the cia & suharto to behead half a million people - people in the streets of indonesia. they forget that the greeks lived under a disctatorship where tens of thousands were tortured & imprisoned because the ameriicans wanted it so, they forget that the andreottis & toto riinas of italy corrupted public life because u s imperialism wanted it so. people wwant to forget the milllions of bofies littered over africa, over latin america over country after country - because if we are not lying dead in the fields - we are the beneficiaries of such acts

because we know & we know now

the good german gave us that as a gift - we could not forget unless we willingly did so

& when i seee a film of my friend thomas or read a book or talk with him - i am reminded again & again in the softest possible way - what is the duty of the creator & of the citizen

the act of remembering is not nostalgia or a form of scholaely stasis but is instead a form of living life - of living life poerhaps at its highest level

not as an escape from life but as a tunnel to enter its subterranean levels - even in societies such as our who follow hofmanstahls dictum of living on the surface. what a surface

with the wars on the middle east we are faced with unparralled evil, of a quotiduan horror being exacted before our very eyes & these clown commentators trying to turn it into a comedy

what is happening in the middle east is a tragedy of the most profound proportion - of hurt pain & loss for them but of loss & shame for us

the work of thomas harlan serves as an irrevocable bridge into seeing what we are. now & forever

still steel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 15 2007 0:14 utc | 78


Thank you.

every nation should have a remembrance day. All the streets are clear, no one leaves their home, no cable tv, no telephones, no air-flights, no laughter, no greetings, no meals, no small-talk, no nothing.

a day to remember our failures.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 15 2007 2:05 utc | 79

anna, not a "engineering problem" but a "butchering problem".
and not "science", but "shechitah" in the service of power.
ritual slaughter, meat processing, rending soul from flesh.
automated, but no more talent than a cudgel and sharp stick.

“We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening,
he can even play Bach and Schubert all night long, then go
to his day's work at the Auschwitz ovens when morning comes.”

Posted by: Dallas Fortworth | Sep 15 2007 5:11 utc | 80

Kashrut - Hebrew religious (dietary) law.

Kashruti - Collateral damage in pursuit of Kashrut.

Treif - Torn apart by wild animals.

Grief - The feeling your family has when you're Treifed by Zionazi attack helicopters, and become another Kashruti.

Posted by: Wörterbuch Speilen | Sep 15 2007 5:23 utc | 81

while i disagree w/ the author's contention that meles is misleading the u.s. -- he's only telling them what they already want or expect to hear -- this is a very plausible analysis

Is an Ethiopian Invasion of Eritrea Eminent?

Ethiopia’s Tigrai Liberation Front could be entertaining two possible scenarios:

1. Decapitation/ coup d’etat against the Eritrean leadership; or

2. Outright invasion.

The first scenario is what Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his politburo would prefer. The decapitation can be accomplished with logistical and intelligence support from the Israel and the United States.

The Ethiopian leadership has come to the conclusion that isaias Afewerki is weak and unpopular; hence easily replaceable. Afeworki may be unpopular, but it remains to be seen whether Ethiopia’s Tigrian leadership could easily orchestrate regime change in neighboring Eritrea.

The Tigrian leadership brags that the road to Asmara can be a cakewalk. It has amassed enough troops on three fronts to engage in a pincer movement. In addition, some 5,000 highly trained special forces are said to be on standby to parachute to the environs of Asmara on short notice.

The preparation for regime change appears to be in full throttle. Ethiopia is also training and supporting dissident forces such as the Eritrean Democratic Alliance.

If a coup d’etat or decapitation of the Eritrean leadership is not possible, Prime Minister Zenawi of Ethiopia will have to resort to a costly invasion. An invasion will very likely be supported by secret US air strikes and satellite intelligence.

The US will also provide the disinformation, demonizing the Eritreans while legitimizing violence initiated by Ethiopia. As a prelude to what is in the pipeline, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer indicated the US readiness to label Eritrea a terrorist state. This could presumably be followed by some UN resolution, which will then provide a legal cover for the invasion of Eritrea.

For the Pentagon and its newly minted Africa Command (AFRICOM) as well as the Department of State, condoning an invasion may be a tempting way to reward the Ethiopian leadership for being good boys. Zenawi and company have been both the manipulators and the compliant locals always eager to do any dirty deed and to please the master. The invasion of Somalia was a reflection of the incestuous relationship between the local tyrants and the Bush administration.

Posted by: b real | Sep 15 2007 6:05 utc | 82>Grand Theft Iraq

Funny, I don't remember any of this mentioned in the "

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 15 2007 7:35 utc | 83>Grand Theft Iraq

Funny, I don't remember any of this mentioned in the "

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 15 2007 7:35 utc | 84


the USA is not going to get anything that even remotely resembles a UN resolution for Ethiopia (i.e TPLF) to invade Eritrea.

however, if they do invade, the TPLF, possibly with US air support, should be able to advance through Eritrea's trench lines. But they will very quickly find themselves mired in an incrediblly bloody insurgency rather than a conventional war as in the past.

ordinarily, it would seem that Ethiopia (70m) should be able to easily crush much smalller Eritrea (4m). But this conflict is probably better characterized as one between the TPLF (Tigre) & Eritrea. By the way the province of Tigre shares a long border with Eritrea. And theres the nightmare scenario for the TPLF where the Eritreans or their allies take the war into Tigre.

Ethiopias real military problem has been a lack of cohesion. And its doubtful theres been much improvement. In fact, it could be worse now that the Tigre's appear to be in charge. The Tigreans amount to about 6% of the Ethiopian population.

On paper it might look like a cakewalk, but it wont be. It'll look more like Chechen than a cakewalk. And by the way Ethiopia would be fighting on three fronts - Ogaden, Somalia & Eritrea. Possibly Tigre too. And the Oromo (Ethiopias largest province) has been known to get restless in the past. Also the fighting in Ogaden & Somalia will probably heat up in support of Eritrea.

So far, the TPLF even with USA support has utterly failed to pacify Somalia. And its going to get worse.

So now we'll have the entire Horn of Africa engulfed in war and the USA backing the TPLF with air support against a tiny but defiant Eritrea.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 15 2007 8:39 utc | 85

Haleh Esfandiari on her time in the Iranian Evin prison: Held in My Homeland

The interrogators' tone, in turn, remained correct and civil. They did not threaten; they never mentioned formal charges or a trial. On occasion, they took the trouble to explain their concerns about U.S. intentions in Iran -- explanations that seemed to reflect Intelligence Ministry thinking.

This is the belief that the Bush administration, entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan, no longer contemplates military action against Iran. Rather, it hopes to encourage a "velvet" revolution, like the peaceful ones that occurred in Georgia and Ukraine. To achieve this end, it uses think tanks, foundations and even universities to organize workshops for Iranian women, to invite Iranian opinion-makers and scholars to conferences and to offer them fellowships. In time, the officials believe, the administration hopes to create a network of like-minded people in Iran who are intent on regime change.

Iranian officials also seem to believe that an alert and vigilant Islamic Republic is successfully foiling -- and effectively discouraging the United States from pursuing -- this coordinated plan.
I spent as much time on the terraces as I could. Sometimes, I was allowed many more hours outdoors than the regulation one hour a day. I was always alone and never met another inmate on the terraces. But one day I saw a white butterfly. I thought to myself: "I am compelled to be here, but what are you doing in this place?"

At 6 p.m. every day I would shower and change. I remembered a friend telling me that at her English boarding school, everyone had to change for dinner, and I had seen movies in which the British aristocracy did the same. So I would put on an unironed T-shirt and a wrinkled but fresh pair of cotton pants and sit down in grand style to read books between 6 and 10 p.m., stopping only to eat.

One of the guards brought me books from the prison library -- mostly on Shiism and Islamic subjects. Kian Tajbakhsh, another Iranian American prisoner who lived and worked in Iran and could get English language books from home, was allowed to share books with me, including Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" and Georges Simenon's police thrillers. They made excellent prison reading. In return, I was once allowed to send fruit to Kian.

My mother came to visit me during my third month of captivity. I hadn't wanted her to see me in prison or to see how much weight I had lost. But the visit did us both much good. I couldn't help thinking about the Irbil five -- Iranian officials arrested by U.S. forces in Irbil, Iraq, in January and, I was told, denied any family visits. The subject of humanitarian gestures such as family visits had come up repeatedly during my exchanges with my interrogators.

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2007 9:03 utc | 86

I haven't been keeping a very close eye on the UK. I didn't see this one coming: Run on the bank

The jitters plaguing financial markets spread to the high street for the first time yesterday as thousands of panicking savers queued to withdraw millions of pounds from Northern Rock, Britain’s eighth-biggest bank.

The rush to pull out savings followed the revelation that Northern Rock had been forced to ask the Bank of England for a rescue injection of finance.

As crowds of customers demanded their money back, shares in Northern Rock slumped by 31 per cent after it alerted shareholders to its difficulties, wiping £900 million from its value. Shares in other financial institutions were also hit, with Alliance & Leicester down 7 per cent and the specialist lender Paragon Group down 17 per cent.

The Bank of England pledged to provide unspecified liquidity support to see Northern Rock through the turbulence while it worked on an orderly resolution to its problems. The bank is braced for a fresh surge of withdrawals from its 76 branches to-day and last night was planning to extend its opening hours.


Many financial institutions have been hit by a sudden shortage of cash and other liquid assets as banks hoard money in anticipation of having to provide finance to complex investment vehicles. Triggered initally by defaults by poor Americans struggling to meet increased mortgage bills, the problem has spread.

Northern Rock has been hit particularly badly because it relies much more on funding from wholesale investors, who have been paralysed by the credit crunch, rather than ordinary depositors. But it also risks being accused of overaggressive lending after lifting new loans by 43 per cent in the first eight months of 2007.

Around 85 per cent, or £24.7 billion, of Northern Rock’s business comes through mortgage brokers. National Savings & Investments, the govern-ment-backed savings institution, said that it saw a 20 per cent jump in the number of inquiries yesterday, the majority from Northern Rock savers.

Northern Rock has around £24 billion of customer deposits, though some of the money is locked up for months in long-term accounts. It said yesterday that it still expected to make an underlying profit of £500-540 million this year.

So... is this a problem that comes from subprime lending in the United States (as they state outright), or is it a problem (as that final, bolded sentence indicates it might be) of financial institutions playing the game of extended usage of imaginary and highly speculative numbers in their accounting practices? That sort of thing was pretty vogue in 2001-2002, but I thought they might have learned their lessons. Easier, I suppose, to blame "defaults by poor Americans" than to change what has overnight become standard operating procedure and risk losing all those huge, albeit imaginary, profit margins.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 15 2007 9:55 utc | 87

So... is this a problem that comes from subprime lending in the United States

Definitly not. There is a big real estate bubble in the UK too. Northern Rock has been lending up to 120% of home values. This bust was expected just as the bust in the U.S. (Spain will follow in a few weeks.)

But the reason for all this crazy lending was very cheap (low interest) short term money these banks could borrow and lend out as higher interest long term mortgages. This again was the result of Alan Greenspan/Bush policy of reigniting a crazy economy after the stock bubble went bust. Add the usual moral hazards of greed and outright corruptions of the lenders and rating agencies.

Greenspans recent critizism on Bush is outrages hypocritical. Greenspan suggested people take on Adjustable Rate Mortgages right when the interest rates were at their lowest. That was outright criminal ...

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2007 10:33 utc | 88

For more on Northern Rock & Greenspan, check out the link and a new look for the Queen.

We are not amused

Posted by: Hamburger | Sep 15 2007 11:39 utc | 89


did you get my email because i am not sure it is working


Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 15 2007 13:11 utc | 90


no. 50: I was talking about the USSR, what you were mentioning was already post-Soviet Russia.

But I see it as a machiavelian loy: the Capitalists were allwed to run amok with the Russian economy so the next echelon of the old Communist Party could come in and present themselves as the saviors of Russia.

And after all, in the USSR, people were taught that capitalism was predatory and inhumane. What they witnessed under Chubais and Yeltsin completely confirmed their notions.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 16 2007 14:46 utc | 91

There's this analysis of what's happening in Russia from WSWS :

In order to understand the political significance of the developments in the Politkovskaya investigation and the insinuated claim by the general prosecutor’s office that Berezovsky was involved in the journalist’s murder, it is important to bear in mind the growing tensions within the Russian political establishment.

In 2008 there will be presidential elections in Russia. Putin is expected to leave office, as he will have reached the term limit set down in the Russian constitution. While previously there was some speculation that Putin might attempt to remain in office by changing the constitutional terms limit, it is now expected that he will relinquish the presidency next year.

The question of who will take Putin’s place has become an enormously contentious political issue. Despite Putin’s authoritarian hold on power, his administration sits atop a vast array of conflicting interests within the ruling elite and criminal world, all of which are competing with one another to gain an edge as the political brawl in the Kremlin intensifies in advance of next year’s election.

The attacks on Berezovsky are not simply an attempt to pin on him responsibility for crimes that likely originated in the Kremlin, but also an attempt to neutralize his ability to play a role in these political struggles through his ties with the so-called “liberal” opponents of the Putin regime.

The fact that Berezovsky does not have any mass support within the Russian population itself, which generally despises the multibillionaire for his role in raping the country of its wealth and resources, does not mean that the oligarch will be unable to forge a political opposition to Putin among layers within the ruling elite. The political confusion and alienation of the Russian masses from political life only makes it easier for cliques from various sides of the political spectrum to advance their interests.

The Kremlin’s claims about foreign interference in domestic affairs are entirely in keeping with Putin’s efforts to appeal to Russian nationalist sentiments as a prop for his authoritarian political role. Over the course of his presidency, Putin has proven himself to be fairly skilled in tapping into the sense of humiliation and despair among ordinary Russians over the socioeconomic and cultural collapse of their country and diverting it into the safer channels of Russian nationalism.

In a recent interview with the radio station Eko Moskvi, the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov, indicated that the newspaper believes that the government is self-sabotaging its case against the alleged killers of Politkovskaya in order to keep the investigation from uncovering the truth about the murder. Muratov expressed this opinion after news broke that the lead investigator, Gabriyan, had been demoted. Other media reports, which are unconfirmed, have stated that the work of certain detectives assigned to the investigation team has been blocked by those in charge of the process.

“The siloviki are achieving what they set out to achieve,” according to Muratov. “They wanted to ruin the case, and now they will remove Gabriyan and finish that process.” The Russian word “siloviki” is a term used to describe the security apparatus that dominates all levels of political life in the Kremlin and of which Putin himself, as a former FSB agent, stands at the head.

However, particularly given the political turmoil within the Kremlin, it is also possible that the chaos in the Politkovskaya murder investigation was not Putin’s intention. Had the general prosecutor’s office been able to maintain the position that the case was solved with the arrest of the 10 suspects, proving the existence of ties to the Chechen criminal underworld, rogue elements within the police and security services, and ultimately Berezovsky, this would have been a boon for the Putin administration.

The current state of the Politkovskaya case may be the product of machinations within the police and security apparatuses, all of which have extensive and complex ties to the criminal world, in pursuit of their own aims, as various cliques within the government vie for positions of power and attempt to undermine their opponents in advance of the Duma (Russian parliament) elections this winter and the presidential elections next year.

To truly grasp how much Russia, and the issues it faces, have changed in the past seven years, one might go back to this analysis from 2000.

I guess those boys over at The eXile have had one helluva wild ride.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 16 2007 15:41 utc | 92

Israel: The strike on Syria Restored Our Deterrent Capability

Israel boasted on Sunday it has recovered its "deterrent capability" after an air strike in Syria triggered warnings of retaliation and intense media speculation over the aim of the operation. "The new situation affects the entire region, including Iran and Syria," military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told parliament's powerful foreign affairs and defense committee, local media reported.

In keeping with an official Israeli wall of silence on the event, Yadlin had been instructed not address the incident directly, but his statements "alluded to the Israeli raid," Public Radio reported.

He said Israel had now recovered its "deterrent capability" following fighting with Hizbullah during the 2006 summer war in Lebanon....

"The Syrians had the impression that we were in a state of weakness and they threw themselves into an unprecedented campaign of arms purchases," Hanegbi said.

Syria: Nuclear Charges Are Baseless

But Syria's official Ath-Thawra newspaper dismissed the North Korea allegations Sunday, saying they were being bandied about as a possible pretext for further attacks.

"Members of the choir have started up a new song that is full of hostility, this time about Syrian-Korean nuclear cooperation," Ath-Thawra said.

"This is a big lie ... Syria is used to having to put up with such lies. This is nothing new, accusing Syria of things that it has nothing to do with ... But what is new is the scope of the new lie and the way it is being peddled," said Ath-Thawra. "The latest accusation could be a prelude to more attacks on Syria."

Posted by: Bea | Sep 17 2007 16:05 utc | 93

Update on the Nahr al-Bared Situation

The UN Relief and Works Agency "cannot last much longer" caring for the more than 31,000 Palestinians displaced from the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp unless donors answer UNRWA's Monday appeal for $55 million in emergency relief, UNRWA public information officer Hoda Samra Souaiby said Thursday.

The agency will not cease providing services to the tens of thousands of evacuees living in schools in the Beddawi refugee camp and the village of Beddawi near Nahr al-Bared, but the crisis is acute, she added.

"We're not going to stop tomorrow, but it's urgent," she told The Daily Star. "It's pressing. The needs are great."

UNRWA and the Lebanese government appealed on Monday for $55 million in emergency relief to see the evacuees through August 2008. While donors pledged some $15 million at the donor conference, led by a US promise to deliver $10 million, no money has arrived, Souaiby said....

In other news related to the Nahr al-Bared crisis, the security services and judiciary will release at the September 24 [Editorial Note: This is the day before the scheduled presidential elections...] Cabinet session the results of their investigations into the escape and false identification of Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker al-Abssi, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said late Wednesday.

Aridi acknowledged that many questions remained unanswered about Abssi, from the pressing mystery of his whereabouts to his escape from the Nahr al-Bared camp to why his wife and daughter identified the corpse of another man as Abssi....

In the Nahr al-Bared camp Thursday, army sappers continued disposing of booby traps and land mines left behind by Fatah al-Islam, said the source, adding that he did not know how much longer clearing the camp of leftover explosives would take nor did the army have a timeframe for completing the work. [Possible translation: The camp needs to be leveled before any type of reconstruction is decided upon, so there will be no justification for rebuilding in the same place.]

Soldiers outside the camp also kept up their search for fugitive members of Fatah al-Islam, aided by helicopters providing aerial reconnaissance, the source added.[Possible translation: Future battles are coming soon to other Palestinian camps.]

Posted by: Bea | Sep 17 2007 16:11 utc | 94

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