Monday, January 31, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | UN 'rules out' genocide in Darfur

BBC NEWS Africa UN 'rules out' genocide in Darfur
. . . and again and again and again . . . . .

Here's a quote from the article -

[The UN counsel report] said some individuals - including government officials - may have committed "acts with genocidal intent". However, it did not name names.

Sounds like the language is improving. Remember Rwanda? No need to explain how 'genocidal acts' are not, in fact, genocide. I wonder how this event (and the parties involved) will be remembered 10 years from now.

Monday, January 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble rescue 'will be scrapped'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble rescue 'will be scrapped'
Good thing Bush is cutting funding on this. How else will he be able to pay for his manned exploration of Mars? I guess he finally figured out whether stars twinkle in space, or if they are a steady light.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Watching "The Power of Nightmares" is like taking the Red Pill in the movie The Matrix.

'Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power' Hartmann, Thom.
(A review of The Power of Nightmares, a BBC documentary)

[Update - I'm still on the trail of the AVIs, but mp3s of the program can be found here.]

"The Soviet Union has been busy. They’ve been busy in terms of their level of effort; they’ve been busy in terms of the actual weapons they ’ve been producing; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they’ve been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They’re purposeful about what they’re doing."
Donald Rumsfeld

(The CIA strongly disagreed at the time, calling Rumsfeld's position a "complete fiction" and pointing out that the Soviet Union was disintegrating from within, could barely afford to feed their own people, and would collapse within a decade or two if simply left alone.)
Watching "The Power of Nightmares" is like taking the Red Pill in the movie The Matrix.

'nuff said!!

Is 'Al Qaeda' the modern incarnation of 'Emmanuel Goldstein'?

Is 'Al Qaeda' the modern incarnation of 'Emmanuel Goldstein'?
Guess I'm not the only person to believe this way! If you want a real nugget for thought, you should read a bit from Orwell's 1984.

Is Al Qaeda a fabrication by Washington?

Is Al Qaeda a fabrication by Washington?: "The Power of Nightmares"
I found this article on Al Jazeera about a BBC series claiming the fabrication of a World Terrorism Organization is more a Washington neo-con exaggeration than a actual entity. Being a pure skeptic, I looked at the BBC and discovered that there is a mini series discussing this very subject.
From the Review -
The BBC film does not doubt that Osama bin Laden has helped finance several groups, but it does challenge that the Bush administration, "led by a tight-knit cabal of Machiavellian neoconservatives, has seized upon the false image of a unified international terrorist threat to replace the expired Soviet empire in order to push a political agenda."

As much as we have been lied to over Iraq, you really have to wonder about other things we've been lied to about. More on this later.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch Report, March 1999)

Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (Human Rights Watch Report, March 1999)
This is a thoroughly exhaustive (and exhausting) resource into the history of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. When this was going on, I remember hearing bits and pieces in news reports, but not enough to appreciate the gravity. In the span of 100 days, close to 1 million people were massacred by their friends, neighbors, and countrymen.

When you look back at was considered news at the time, you're left scratching your head. What surprised me the most about the situation was the callousness that the rest of the world displayed at 800,000 deaths in 100 days. Once the genocide started, there was probably precious little that could have been done; what's surprising is that precious little may have been all it took to prevent it. When the Clinton administration takes pains to address the events as 'acts of genocide', you're left wondering what the motivator might have been. The whole event left the world superpowers looking stupid and the UN a pointless entity.

And how do 'acts of genocide' differ from actual genocide? Who makes that determination? Genocide classification carries a great deal of responsibility to the world and the United States who, over and over again, say 'Never Again'. Clinton had no problem rushing to Bosnia and bombing the Chinese Embassy.

Condoleezza Rice

"The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls the 'town square test'.
"If a person can walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a free society, not a fear society. We cannot rest until every person living in a 'fear' society has finally won their freedom."

Condoleezza Rice

Now - imagine Michael Moore at the Oscars. Imagene Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Bill Mahar, and anyone who challanged your patriotism when you dissented from the 'Bush the Hero' imagry after 9/11. Now read the quote again. Appearantly, those who lie about the past are condemned to repeat it as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | US voters 'endorsed Iraq policy'

BBC NEWS Americas US voters 'endorsed Iraq policy'

"Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election . . . And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and they chose me, for which I'm grateful." GWB

The horrible, sad truth is that GW is right on some level. We put the bozo there, then watched as his policies alienated us from the rest of the world and managed to become the one thing this country's identity was based on opposing - a colonial empire. We have become the enemy, and the Iraqis are pissed. No doubt there are some that still praise Bush for disposing of Hussein, but was is the real cost here? He had no WMDs - the whole war was based on a lie that they don't even bother to repeat anymore. Bush won the election, he can't run a second term, and Cheney's got a snowflake's chance in hell to win in 2008. Is it the fact that the Democrats can win only if the Republican candidate is so bad that Republican voters stay home?

We live in a one party state that pretends to be a two-party state. Democrats stand up promptly and shout 'THAT'S NOT TRUE! THE DIFFERENCES ARE THERE! YOU'RE TOO SELF-ABSORBED TO NOTICE WHAT THEY ARE!' Of course, this is before they bash liberalism as non-constructive then feed from the Republican money trough. Democrats talk about getting Rx from Canada, instead of fixing prices for the drugs LIKE CANADA DOES! Rx companies are here in the US, but they charge us the highest prices BECAUSE THEY CAN! I hear Greens talk about this, and certainly Nader has addressed this, but I don't remember hearing a Democrat talk about this. Certainly not Kerry or Gore, who received donations from Rx companies.

We put this xian neo-con puppet in the office 4 years ago. The two candidates were better speakers and debaters and smarter. Bush 'was the person someone would most likely want to have a beer with', what ever that means. As a country, we would rather have someone beautiful than smart. Let's face it; his dumbass hicktown cowboy act went over very well, despite the fact that his family can certainly be considered 'old money'.

Bush won by a thin majority, but he won this time. Bullshit posturing by the Democrats over the Ohio vote is too little, too late. Where were they 4 years ago when they could have won over Florida? Greens, Nader, and a whole bunch of people not looking to screw everyone for a dollar went on and on about how Florida was wrought with irregularities and downright cheating. 2004, they said, would be the year they said they would fight the good fight. I think Democrats must have a fear of winning - then they would have to be responsible. Regardless of what Michael Moore says about endorsing the Democratic party, the first 15 minutes of Fahrenheit 9/11 speaks volumes about the 'party of the people.'

And what if Gore did win? MAYBE we wouldn't be in Iraq - Kerry wasn't going to pull out anyway. Democrats spent so much time trying to squash anyone to the left of their positions instead of bringing the votes in. Getting Nader and the Greens off the ballot in Ohio didn't guarantee that they would get that elusive three percent. And the whole thing just goes to show that if you talk a lot about nothing outside the left side of your mouth, no one's going to listen for very long. Democrats spent 4 long years blaming Nader for the 2000 election loss and didn't learn anything. How would either campaign had faired if Gore or Kerry sought to incorporate Green Party or Nader ideas in their campaigns?

Day to day, nothing's changed much (unless you have a loved one who is enlisted and overseas.) Gas is still 2 dollars a gallon,, and to paraphrase Martin Mull, it's okay to be an asshole.

Is this a great country or what?

BBC NEWS | Europe | Woman jailed for haunting castle

BBC NEWS | Europe | Woman jailed for haunting castle

I'm sorry - I coudn't pass this one up! Sometimes the news is entertaining just because it is.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Iraq prison abuse 'leader' jailed

BBC NEWS | Americas | Iraq prison abuse 'leader' jailed

There is a false sense of security here. On the one hand, a bully finally gets what's coming to him. If there were any real justice in the world, he would be spending his time in an Iraqi jail. The actions of him and those who engaged in this behavior have set the image of the United States back 60 years and endanged the lives of Americans in foriegn countries for years to come. His actions have traumatized his victims, especially those who were not part of any terrorist groups and had the misforture of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But this is not the true delimna here.
The military is playing it really smart here. With each conviction of a lower ranking officer, they protect the 'higher-ups' from any real action. Can you imagine if this shit storm was really tracable back to Donald Rumsfeld? Or even GW? Of course, these are smart people surrounded by smart people who know how to cover their asses. The true shame of it is that all of it - the bombings, the killings, the suffering - was all for nothing. And they didn't even look for the people responsible (very likely Americans) for the Anthrax scare.

Mission Accomplished, GW!

Friday, January 14, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Iraq jail abuse 'leader' guilty

BBC NEWS | Americas | Iraq jail abuse 'leader' guilty
Unless you were the family of Mr Graner, you'd probably think of this as good news. His actions go beyond giving the US Armed Forces a bad name - they shame the United States to a degree so far below reprehensible that it will take years to fully understand the effects. The pride of our country has been portrayed as damaged goods, and we sit at home wringing our hands and wondering 'what went wrong?'
But we know what went wrong; we're not about to face the facts.
We're Americans, goddamnit!
We do what we want when we want where we want because we have the checkbook to back it up. All the better if your country is poor - there's always some powermad T-shirt salesman out there with his (or her) own plans of world domination and the forsight to sell out their own countrymen. As you well know, with God, all things are possible.

BBC NEWS | Americas | US 'should not rule out torture'

BBC NEWS | Americas | US 'should not rule out torture'


Thursday, January 13, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | US gives up search for Iraq WMD

BBC NEWS | Americas | US gives up search for Iraq WMD
Hell, he won the election, and no one except the rest of the world seems to give a shit that the Iraq affair was indeed an adventure that we could have done without. Bush likes to say that history will decide if his decisions were justified. So far, the tales are not to his favor.

Monday, January 10, 2005

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Soldier cleared in drowning case

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Soldier cleared in drowning case

Who the hell knows who the insurgents are now. They could be Al Queda, Hussein loyalists, Sunni, Shi'ite, whatever. They may or may not even be Islamic extremists. But they all see themselves as freedom fightrers, opposing an occupational tyranny that could really give half a damn about them.

When we excuse the actions of our soldiers overseas, we do several things. We invite the harsh critisims of or enemies and allies alike. We play into the fears of ordinariy citizens that fear we are in Iraq to take oil from the ground at gunpoint. We add fuel to the fire to those who would harm us, and we legitimize the prejudices they hold against us.

The sad fact of the matter is that we, as a country, really don't seem to give a shit. Two things should have happened after Sept. 11, 2001 - we should have dissected the event to its smallest pieces and addressed the shortcomings that allowed such an event to happen, and we should had debated openly why someone thought that the only way to get the American public's atention was to try to park a plane inside a building. Instead, we put duct tape on our windows and beat up on the Arab-Americans and immigrants for the crime of being Arabs.

We are numb to the news because of overexposure, so we say. We disregard that there are people that have become numb because it's their reality. We simply turn the channel.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Abu Ghraib pyramids 'not wrong'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Abu Ghraib pyramids 'not wrong'

As I read this article, a lump rose to my throat, and I had to hold back my breakfast. There is a genuinely cavalier attitude to our actions in the Middle East, and the real victims are the people who never pick up a gun. To be certain, the soldier certainly deserves the right of representation that he denied his victims (read: prisoners). Radical factions see this as another brick in the wall. I don't think that Bush could have given Bin Laden a better birthday / wedding present than to invade Iraq.