Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Media's 'war on terror'

Under the ceasefire which came into force on Sunday, Palestinian militants have agreed to stop rocket attacks on Israel, and Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza. However, rockets have continued to be fired, the latest attack hitting the Israeli border town of Sderot on Monday afternoon. There were no reports of injuries.
Conveniently glossed over is the fact, that Israel has not extended it's cease-fire obligations to the West Bank, as is evident from the following:

Earlier, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians in a raid in the West Bank town of Qabatiya, near Jenin - one a militant and the other a 55-year-old woman.

Israeli troops re-entered Gaza - which they quit more than a year ago in a unilateral withdrawal - after Palestinian militants captured a soldier in a cross-border raid in June.
Here we have a blatant lie. Indeed, a few days prior to the kidnap of the Israeli soldier, two suspected Hamas militants were kidnapped inside Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

News 24
Elite commandos have mounted Israel's first arrest raid into the Gaza Strip since the Jewish state withdrew a year ago. Two two suspected Hamas militants were detained in the Saturday raids.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Emperor has no brains either....

Terrorism begins at home, as they say. And so does regime change. Here's a short piece about Khalid El-Masri, taken by the US and tortured in Afghanistan in spite of the US government's full knowledge that he had no connection to terrorism of any kind.

The following statement from the piece says it all: "Claims of unfettered executive power, after all, fit ill with the mounting evidence of incompetence and sloppiness that the El-Masri case too acutely illustrates." Even if you do believe the government has to spy on citizens and torture suspects to fight terror, do you want to give that power to a government comprised of the short-bus kids? Hell, with DE-de-de people like the Bushies running things, any of us could be next.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

murder of a minister

Fisk in the Independent

Why did Gemayel die just hours after Syria announced the
restoration of diplomatic relations with Iraq after a quarter of a century? Why
has Nasrallah threatened street demonstrations in Beirut to bring down the
government when Siniora's cabinet had just accepted the UN's tribunal to try
Hariri's assassins?
And why did America's UN ambassador, John Bolton, weep
crocodile tears for Lebanon's democracy - which he cared so little about when
Israel smashed into Lebanon this summer - without mentioning Syria?
All this,
of course, takes place as thousands of Western troops pour into Lebanon to shore
up the UN force in the south of the country: UN troops who are supposed to
protect Israel (which they cannot do) and disarm Hizbollah (which they will not
do) and who are already being threatened by al-Qa'ida.
No wonder the
Europeans, whose armoured Nato forces now lie trapped in the south of the
country, are so fearful. No wonder the Foreign Office has been telling Britons
to stay away. No wonder Tony Blair - as discredited in the Middle East as he is
in Britain - has been demanding an inquiry into Gemayel's assassination,
something he will not get.
Hypocrisy isn't the word for it, though recent
history provides all the clues. When Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and
killed three on 12 July, Israel bombed Lebanon for 34 days, slaughtered more
than a thousand civilians and caused billions of dollars of damage. It blamed
Siniora's government and Mr Bolton and his fellow American diplomats did nothing
to help the hapless prime minister. President George Bush wanted Israel to
destroy Hizbollah - which they totally failed to do - as a warning to his latest
Middle East target, which just happens to be Hizbollah's principal supporter,
Iran. So much for Lebanese democracy. Even Mr Blair, so anxious about Lebanon
yesterday, saw no reason for an immediate ceasefire.

It's also important to remember at a time when the mainstream medai-including the BBC- will be making sweeping generalisations, that religion is but an excuse for political-dare I say diplomatic-power games. Indeed, Hizbollah is Shia and Shia politicians in Lebanon tend to support Syria whereas Sunni politicians don't. However, many Shias despise Nasrallah and his band of merry men. On the other hand several Maronite (Christian) politicians have supported Syria as is the case of the current Lebanese president. Furthermore, while Syria's president is Alawite (a branch of Shia Islam), the majority of Syrians are Sunnis. Al Qa'ida, which no doubt thinks a lot of good of Hizbollah's defiant attitude regarding Israel is Sunni. Going back to the Maronites, while one would think they despise Muslims, I can say from personal experience (Lebanese acquaintances) this is not the case. Not only that, but manyLebanese Christians are highly critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians (even if they didn't necessarily have much love for Arafat), and many Christians in Lebanon called to support Hizbollah in it's fight against Israel this summer (even if they usually despise the militant group).
This merely goes to show, that we should never take what the mainstream media tell us about any situation, and all the more in the Middle East, at face value. Religion is the mask that hides the reality of power struggles. It is convenient for those with the most power to have us believe, that it is all to do with a clas of civilisations or a barbaric war among sects.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Casting Out Devils

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has taken an aggressive stance against the Military Commissions Act. Bob Geiger does a perfectly good job of explaining what Dodd has done, and why the Military Commissions Act has to go, so I won't go further with my commentary. Just click on the links above. His article is titled "Kill Bill - Neutering Bush's Torture Law ". Here's a teaser:

Section 7 of the MCA says that "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

In other words, don’t bother calling a lawyer, because you have no rights.

The fact that so many of these enemy-combatant determinations rest in the president's hands and the sheer vagueness of the law, combine to create a wide variety of scenarios whereby any American citizen could be arrested and held indefinitely without Constitutional protections."

It's important stuff folks. Citizens should not be terrorized by their governments, and after 6 year of it we finally have a representative standing up for freedom over preservation of the power elite. God bless him.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Not a choice of when, but of which, terrorists

The Bush administration keeps telling us that it's not a matter of whether we will be attacked again by terrorists, but rather a matter of when.

Nostradamnthem is here to suggest that they are wrong. It's not so much a matter of when you'll be attacked, but rather you need to be concerned about WHICH terrorists will get you. As the cartoon character Pogo is famous for saying: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The description of how Jose Padilla was treated will explain. You can read it here and also here. Even if you believe he's guilty of every accusation ever made about him and never presented in court, you should also know that this treatment is now the law of the land and applies to EVERY CITIZEN of this formerly glorious nation, and you have even less protection if you aren't a citizen. THAT should concern you - deeply.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Site Updates

My apologies for the lack of site updates recently . I am currently out of town and I will not be returning until next weekend (17/18th November)

The other contributors may well pop through and put up an article or two but failing that, this site will not be updated for at least a week. Please take advantage of the quiet here and go take a look at some of our links and friends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Breaking : Rumsfeld 'resigns'

President George Bush has just announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. A senior administration official confirmed the news and said that Rumsfeld had already written out his resignation.

Senior military officials were briefed on the president's decision to accept Rumsfeld's resignation just fifteen minutes before the press briefing was scheduled to start today.

Progress already...

Election information sources (open thread)

Just a few random sources and video links that are able to keep all the number crunching data from the US elections up to date...

CNN Election special
MSNB LIVE: Decision 2006
New york times election 2006
Daily Kos
Think progress
Real clear politics
America Votes on BBC Radio 4

Feel free to add any interesting election or related links to the comment thread. If your site has a scoop then feel free to link it here. What sites have the best coverage ? let us know...

We are of course also interested in your opinion of the election in general and the results once we have them.

Early CNN Senate Exit Polls

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ad Wars

Mark Fiore is back with his latest animation.

You can watch it here.

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing : Walter Judd.

Go out and make yourself heard...

Elections Or Electrons

What If Anything Will Count Your Vote

By Dom Stasi

There’s been a lot - not enough, but a lot - of hoopla recently about the fealty of the new electronic voting systems with which we’ve been gifted this election season. It is fitting to see these machines as having spread across our land like the robotic monsters of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel, The War Of The Worlds. The science fiction metaphor collapses, however, when one realizes that these invasive machines bring a lot more fiction to the voting process than they do science.

But let’s face it. The gadgets themselves are but an abuse, a visible target, salt in an already open and festering wound, a wound to the heart of American democracy. The real monsters remain hidden from our view. The real monsters are alive and among us, their dreams of conquest perhaps the closest thing to reality we’ll see manifest this day.

So, as the hours before the midterm elections of 2006 wane, we should look back, not far, just enough to see where we’ve been. It will tell us where we’re going and why the only thing that should surprise us when Wednesday dawns, is truth.

Think of what follows here as you enter the voting booth. I know I will.

Continue reading Here

US-Iraq 1980s

A brief history of US Interventions in Iraq



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein sentenced to death

Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.

The former Iraqi president was convicted by a Baghdad court for his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982. His half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also sentenced to death.

Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15 year prison terms. Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki hailed the conviction in a televised address, saying that the sentence was "not a sentence on one man, but a sentence against all the dark period of his rule".

In the Shia district of Sadr City there was jubilation on the streets, with people driving around in cars, sounding their horns. There were also jubilant scenes in the holy city of Najaf.

Immediately after the sentencing, violence reportedly broke out in the mainly Sunni Azamiya district of Baghdad, with machine guns and mortars being fired. Three nearby provinces, including Salahuddin, which contains Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, are also under curfew.

Thousands of people also defied the curfew in Tikrit - but there it was to voice support for Saddam Hussein and to denounce the verdict. Sunnis in Tikrit marched through the city, chanting "We will avenge you Saddam."

Almost three years since Saddam Hussein was captured, soaring sectarian violence has brought Iraq to the brink of civil war.

Source and further details Here

Neo Culpa

As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself.


British believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.

Read the full article Here

Iraq, Broken - American Shock & Awe

The devastation in Iraq - Warning contains scenes of death and destruction.


How to hack the vote

Professor Avi Rubin demonstrates how electronic vote machines can be compromised.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Worst Congress Ever

By Matt Taibbi

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

To be sure, Congress has always been a kind of muddy ideological cemetery, a place where good ideas go to die in a maelstrom of bureaucratic hedging and rank favor-trading. Its whole history is one long love letter to sleaze, idiocy and pigheaded, glacial conservatism. That Congress exists mainly to misspend our money and snore its way through even the direst political crises is something we Americans understand instinctively. "There is no native criminal class except Congress," Mark Twain said -- a joke that still provokes a laugh of recognition a hundred years later.

But the 109th Congress is no mild departure from the norm, no slight deviation in an already-underwhelming history. No, this is nothing less than a historic shift in how our democracy is run. The Republicans who control this Congress are revolutionaries, and they have brought their revolutionary vision for the House and Senate quite unpleasantly to fruition. In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

Read the full article Here

United States National Debt

An Analysis of the Presidents Who Are Responsible For Excessive Spending

A Thought provoking study.

Pause for Peace

By AHMED YOUSEF ( Senior adviser to the Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya.)

HERE in Gaza, few dream of peace. For now, most dare only to dream of a lack of war. It is for this reason that Hamas proposes a long-term truce during which the Israeli and Palestinian peoples can try to negotiate a lasting peace.

A truce is referred to in Arabic as a “hudna.” Typically covering 10 years, a hudna is recognized in Islamic jurisprudence as a legitimate and binding contract. A hudna extends beyond the Western concept of a cease-fire and obliges the parties to use the period to seek a permanent, nonviolent resolution to their differences. The Koran finds great merit in such efforts at promoting understanding among different people. Whereas war dehumanizes the enemy and makes it easier to kill, a hudna affords the opportunity to humanize one’s opponents and understand their position with the goal of resolving the intertribal or international dispute.

Such a concept — a period of nonwar but only partial resolution of a conflict — is foreign to the West and has been greeted with much suspicion. Many Westerners I speak to wonder how one can stop the violence without ending the conflict.

I would argue, however, that this concept is not as foreign as it might seem. After all, the Irish Republican Army agreed to halt its military struggle to free Northern Ireland from British rule without recognizing British sovereignty. Irish Republicans continue to aspire to a united Ireland free of British rule, but rely upon peaceful methods. Had the I.R.A. been forced to renounce its vision of reuniting Ireland before negotiations could occur, peace would never have prevailed. Why should more be demanded of the Palestinians, particularly when the spirit of our people will never permit it?

When Hamas gives its word to an international agreement, it does so in the name of God and will therefore keep its word. Hamas has honored its previous cease-fires, as Israelis grudgingly note with the oft-heard words, “At least with Hamas they mean what they say.”

This offer of hudna is no ruse, as some assert, to strengthen our military machine, to buy time to organize better or to consolidate our hold on the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, faith-based political movements in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Turkey and Yemen have used hudna-like strategies to avoid expanding conflict. Hamas will conduct itself just as wisely and honorably.

We Palestinians are prepared to enter into a hudna to bring about an immediate end to the occupation and to initiate a period of peaceful coexistence during which both sides would refrain from any form of military aggression or provocation. During this period of calm and negotiation we can address the important issues like the right of return and the release of prisoners. If the negotiations fail to achieve a durable settlement, the next generation of Palestinians and Israelis will have to decide whether or not to renew the hudna and the search for a negotiated peace.

There can be no comprehensive solution of the conflict today, this week, this month, or even this year. A conflict that has festered for so long may, however, be resolved through a decade of peaceful coexistence and negotiations. This is the only sensible alternative to the current situation. A hudna will lead to an end to the occupation and create the space and the calm necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.

Few in Gaza dream. For most of the past six months it’s been difficult to even sleep. Yet hope is not dead. And when we dare to hope, this is what we see: a 10-year hudna during which, inshallah (God willing), we will learn again to dream of peace.


US closes 'bomb secrets' website

The US government has closed one of its websites that contained documents found during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Weapons experts had complained that the site contained details on making nuclear bombs, the New York Times said.

US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte had cautioned against posting the documents before the website went public, a former official said.

''John Negroponte warned us that we don't know what's in these documents, so these are being put out at some risk, and that was a warning that he put out right when they first released the documents,'' former White House chief of staff Andrew Card told NBC television.

The website contained a warning that "the US government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents... or factual accuracy of the information contained therein".

Mr Negroponte's spokesman, Chad Kolton, said in a statement there were "strict criteria" governing what was posted on the website.

"The material currently on the website, as well as the procedures used to post new documents, will be carefully reviewed before the site becomes available again," he said.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Congressional Election

In order to express concern about the November 7th congressional election in the US, I have decided to make a bold statement using some of CNN's election statistics as support: here.

According to CNN, it would take nothing short of a democratic sweep of the toss-up senate races in order for them to win the congress. Thus, I would expect to see a Republican congress after November 7th.

Thoughts about at least 2 more years of unbridled terror?