The Distractions End Right Now

I plan on doing some serious digging about Abu Ghraib and the NO, no wmd situation...yes, history is upon us. And I'm going to grasp it now before it is erased.

All these wedge issues / distractions of bush's service in vietnam must be obliterated.

The first debate is today. And I want to hear something real come out of one of their mouths. So I'll hold myself to the same standard of focusing on what the hell has happened to this country and Iraq in the process of the past couple years. Abu Khaleel just mentions that it needs to be described before we ahve the solutions.

And I'm in full agreement of his methodology and logic. You must describe a problem before solving it.

But in the back of my mind, I'm afraid without any reconciliation for what tragic events that have unfolded, that we'll be running in place with any solution we could possibly come up with. (But more power to you AK)

I'm going to go on describing to Americans especially what has taken place. Because there seems to be an amazing attention deficit disorder or collective amnesia setting in here.

So...I'm going to do my part with the blog and with other ways to get people's memories jogged.


Part of the Patriot Act Shot Down ....? A discussion on slashdot.

Here TIS.

slashdot rocks the body

It's about time ya Yawer!

I expected a bit more of this from him, but finally he says something again. (via La Times, via Juan Cole)

Drawing a parallel between U.S. tactics in Iraq and Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, President Ghazi Ajil Yawer said the U.S. strikes were viewed by the Iraqi people as "collective punishment" against towns and neighborhoods.

Footage of injured and dead women and children being pulled from bombed buildings "brings to mind Gaza," Yawer said in an interview on CNN.

And is justice being delayed by the Bush admin.? Guess who explains it.

Slam Bush . NEt

Wordsworth along with MF Doom are two of my favorite rappers. These two pack the illest rhymes on the planet. Now, Check out SlamBush.Net...a project that Wordsworth hailin' outta Brooklyn is taking part in. Here's his debate with bush. (low bw) There's a national rhyme contest and other cool things you should check out. Enjoy.

Get the vote out. It's the end of September and all my friends and colleagues doing the pre-election freak-out.


Al Lorentz getting 20 years in Jail for writing an article?

The article first appeared on lewrockwell.com and is called "Why We Cannot Win"

Don't you love freedom of speech?

Here's a follow up article on lewrockwell.com written by Karen Kwiatkowski, a former USAF lieutenant colonel.

Al Lorentz is former state chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas and is a reservist currently serving with the US Army in Iraq.

Send him an email to support him! alorentz[at]truevine.net

Is this for "Security Moms" or is Bush coming onto your Mom?

Bush talking about "practicing love".

Ah, heck, he's just suring up the female vote. And you wonder how he really got ahead with women.

The Article that Angered me Most this past week

Last night, I was all a bluster and so very angry. Naomi Klein articulated at length with eloquence about many of the fears that have been both bottled and leaking (from I the bottle via blog and heated discussion) during the last several years. She writes in Harpers Magazine, Baghdad Year Zero

Iraq was to the neocons what Afghanistan was to the Taliban: the one place on Earth where they could force everyone to live by the most literal, unyielding interpretation of their sacred texts.

I needn't say more. Read the article. Read it especially if you want to know a few of the things that make me angry.

Extremism and religious zealotry of all kinds usually fit in the same tea cup.

What a news...

...for the people of Italia
...for the people of Iraq
...for the people of Un Ponte Per Baghdad
...for all sentient beings of the world

What a news! The FOUR are FREE

Thank you to Un Ponte for the relentless care and updates you've offered on your website. This has made my month. Now lets hope for the safe release of all other hostages, too.

Forza Azzuri!
Update: clearer pictures, smiling faces upon their arrival back in Italy


MoveOn ad about Rumsfeld taking accountability for Abu Ghraib

Rumsfeld should be fired. I hear Cheney has made the calls to tell everybody to tough it out through the election and have nobody take any accountability. Unfortunately, this makes things on the ground much more difficult for American troops and the Iraqi people. The fact that there has been absolutely no accountability (i.e. bad appples does not count when the it is obviously a system problem.), leads to having more moderate and previously unwilling Iraqis to fight for HONOR. Yes, honor is a big deal to Iraqis in case you have not figured that out. I know it doesn't even have a currency in D.C. these days, but in Iraq...honor is arguably the most important meta-currency that exists. Death before dishonor, is the rule in much of Iraq. And right now the occupation has spilled copious amounts of dishonor, humiliation, and death upon the populace. No wonder, then, matters have gotten much worse lately. Oh but, that's just one of many many reasons. More reasons to hate the American presence are being created every day.

Check out this MoveON ad made a while ago...they hold my sentiments exactly. If there were some accountability, Iraqis would feel less dehumanized by the occupation. The days of no accountability, you see, reminds Iraqis of the days of Saddam. And that's no way to move Iraq toward a democracy or anything resembling a democracy.

In other words, practice what you preach.

See the .mov here. And the mp3, too.


Two Faces of Bush

The Democratic National Committee just grew up.

Some History for the Soul

Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell report from the Guardian, How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power

The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

Imagine giving "aid and comfort" to Nazis.

And sure, it's not Dubya's fault. But is this sort of behavior genetic?

Electoral College Votes: Kerry, 217 vs. Bush, 311

Check out Electoral Vote Predictor 2004. Dubya's sitting pretty. Amazing.

Kerry 241   Bush 273 30 Sep.

Update: For you election-watch junkies here's the ElectionStudio

Update II: Kerry 270   Bush 248 10 Oct.

For the record: Deputy Sec. of State Richard Armitage

House Hearing on Reconstruction and Security in Iraq (, the Appropriations Cmt.)

Dep. Sec. of State Richard Armitage
Testimony on Iraq Funding (09/24/2004)

Dick Armitage is in the 2nd position at the State Department.

For the record from wikipedia: "He is considered to be a conservative "neo con" (neo-conservative). He currently serves as Deputy Secretary of State. Armitage is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[1] He is one of the signers of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) letter to President William Jefferson Clinton.[2] He is also a former board member for CACI, the private military contractor, which "is being investigated by no less than 5 US agencies for possible contract violations" and "employed four interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison" in Iraq, one of whom was singled out by General Taguba in his report on abuses of Iraqi detainees at the prison.[3]"

He was asked (52nd min),

How can you give us confidence... that this shifting of funds will really improve the situation in the short term?

He responds,

I think that the best I can say, the most accurate thing i can say is this: unlike the previous agreement with the CPA...is that [this] is work with a government, although not democratically elected, is pretty representative, pretty moderate...and if opinion polls in Iraq as I suggested in the closed hearing the other day, are to be believed, [they] are a pretty popular government...


If I'm not mistaken, I believe the opinion poll both Bush and Armitage are parroting to the press about is the June/July one. I'll try to double-check that, but I'm 95% sure that it is the same one.

Juan Cole says,

President George W. Bush cited a poll done in June and July to argue that Iraqis are more optimistic about their future than Americans are about theirs. First of all, even if this were true, it is not good news for Bush.

Second of all, that poll was done before the US assault on Najaf, and the significant deterioration of the security situation in August and September. Many Iraqis had at that time been willing to give Allawi a chance, hoping security would improve. I am sure those numbers would be much lower now.

Moreover, the same poll found that more than 80 percent of Iraqis want an Islamic Republic with Islamic canon law or shariah as the law of the land. So if they are optimistic, it is because they think they can achieve such a goal over US objections. Again, this is not actually good news for Bush.

I was even willing to give Allawi a chance in the beginning. I had to force myself to be a little optimistic, even though I always thought this sovereignty was a joke. He had little time to prove to the people he was doing something well. And that time ran out.

I'm seeing more and more interviews of Allawi on US tv. Namely, Jim Lehrer's of The News Hour.(<---txt) [& real audio] All of them seem like they have been scripted by Karl Rove. Seems like he got some talking-points at the very least. It's such an election stunt by Rove. Some people aren't buying it, though.

Old opinion polls don't justify what is happening now. It's amazing how this administration uses old data when it suits them, and invents new data from thin air when it suits them (WMD, Al Qaeda connection), and everybody continues to believe it. I don't get it. Are the masses in America really that vacuous?

Bruce "the biatch" Lehman on Kerry's Technology Team

You think I'd spare Kerry. No no...

Lessig notes that Lehman, according to the National Journal Tech Daily (23.9.04), is playing a "relatively minor role" on Kerry's Tech team and that he's not a part of his "core group" of advisors.

Then Lessig pontificates...

But whether core or fringe, why is he part of “tech” advisers at all? Lehman’s policies did more to encourage the war on technology that these past 8 years have seen than anyone else in DC. Let him serve on the “last century protectionists” committee. Indeed, make him the chair.

Lehman says he finds it “really sad — pretty sad” that I had criticized him on this blog. (No confirmation which.) And just to show how effective I’ve been in getting my point across, Lehman is quoted as saying: “[Lessig] seems to believe you can have a post-industrial economy without any copyrights.” Oh yes. That’s exactly what I believe. I’m also a Marxist, and commune regularly with Chairman Mao. With insight such as this, I can see why he’d be such a valuable member of the Kerry team.

I don't like Kerry more than I did yesterday.

But Boooosh is still worse. I hate being put in the position where I have to choose the 'lesser of two'...what a mentally idle situation. Being pushed into political complacency by a rotten system is cancerous on the soul.

Oh well...Pinch your nose, eat the shit, and deal with it on the way down. Who ever said it would taste good?

'Escape from Iraq'

Ayad Allawi escapes from Iraq.

Watch this clip. You will not be disappointed.

On the Beeb ya Habaybay

HA! BEE BEE C: (or baby, look...)...wa'lek shooooof!

UN criticises "limited" Iraq elections.

Surreal...when you have Rumsfeld, Bush, and Allawi mention, (as if it were) off-handed, that the elections in Iraq won't be perfect, but hey, that's ok. Iraq doesn't need to be a democracy right away. It can be a dictatorship again for a while. And it'll be just fine and slide into democracy later on.

Riiiiiiight. Sure, and I'm supposed to believe this whole staging of Allawi wasn't meant to win Bush some Iraq-points. Good style, but no substance or correllation to reality.

Allawi's speech to congress: Liar Liar Pants on Fire

What a pile of smelly and scorching BS smothered all over and flaming up his slacks when he says only 3 of 18 provinces will perhaps not be able to vote. Baghdad, a city with 5 million people will probabIy end up being one of the 3. Sistani exististani! Al-Sistani is an awoken giant. It was smart for the piece (linked below) to come out in the Times the day of Allawi's speech. Whether this was intentional or not, who knows. But well done...

I'm going to take a page out of Bagnewsnotes and interpret what a couple pictures are really attempting to say in the NY Times.

1) Bush is thinking, "What kind of bird is that in the sky? Maybe it's not a bird."

2) Bush is thinking, "What am I doing here? When's lunch."

3) Bush is concerned, "Aye-Yad better remember to use the word limited like Karl told him to."

4) Bush wonders, "What is Aye-yad holding in his hand? I hope he doesn't kiss me like last night."

Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq was embraced by Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, after addressing a joint meeting of Congress. "I stand here today as the prime minister of a country emerging finally from dark ages of violence," Dr. Allawi said.

1) Connecticut is for kissers

2) Lets take a closer look at that...

3) Cultural Exchange

4) Allawi is snoggling a republican for the other 17 Billion on the condition he gets a 10% finders fee

5) Allawi says before smooching, "Ya Hella Beek, Mr. Representative...let me show you how this Iraqi loves his brother"

* * *
Herbert and Krugman pack a steel-knuckled 1-2 punch in the Times today
an Editorial.

wah-dah tOWWW!

Update with magnanimous weight: River posted. Check out some of her sweetness, light, and insight.

Lessig on Outfoxed 'Remixed'

Continuing the reBlogification of SB¿:

To my chagrin, I've been paying little attention to Professor Lessig this past week.

He notes that Robert Greenwald has fortunately released the interviews for his film Outfoxed under a creative commons license.

If you're a film-maker, you can now take all this original footage and do whatever you like with it. The beauty of copy-left.

On that note, check out the fantabulous Professor Eben Moglen and his website with all of his writing for free.

He's a very cool and approachable guy with a lot of interesting things to say about IP law.

60 trucks of Syrian troops leave Libnaaaaan, ya baladi...

I saw the headline, "Syrian Troops Leave Lebanon"...and I thought, maybe!! ...no, no...only 60 trucks of troops.

And yes, I'm for Syria leaving Lebanon right now. It's very complicated to explain, but I have certain loyalties that I cannot relinquish. I do see all sides of it, though. That would be pompous to say...actually, I see many sides of the situation. I am for Palestinian self-determination. I don't like Sharon OR Arafat. That gets that straight. I am also for Lebanese self-determination. And right now self-determination is marginal in Lebanon.

I saw the shape Lebanon was in very recently and I believe there needs to be a change in the status quo. Even though things look better downtown each day because gulf Arabs are flocking there and buying the joint up, I want Lebanon to maintain its Lebanese-ness. So, one way to shake things up is for Syria to leave and for there to be REAL elections. Not like this will ever happen, but I hope it will. Lebanon is kind of like Iran in the fact that it essentially appoints leaders. What it really needs is more jobs and it needs to stop being messed with by everybody: US, Syria, Iran, everybody damnit. Leave the Levant alone!

It's very unfortunate that it has to be one of the countries that suffers from the regional syndrome of political chicanary on steroids. Both of it's leaders are extremely corrupt: Lahoud and Hariri. But you wouldn't know that any of this phases the Lebanese if you went there. No matter what the circumstance is, we know how to party and live a good life. If you throw some bombs on us, we'll have a party in the bomb shelter. But don't get me wrong. The last thing Lebanon wants is war. But that's the last thing most people want, isn't it?

Stop messin' with Lebanon you walking-abortions.

My lucky day?

Terrific. A bird just shit on my screen. We say that it is good luck, or rather that you'll get money, if a bird relieves itself on you. I wonder what it means when it relieves itself on your computer.

Jello Biafra on Fear and Loathing in Iraq

Cool, I can talk about a musician I actually like. pleeeeeease, enough about Cat Stevens already... Jello Biafra wrote Colby of 'My War' (or my prefered title-'Fear and Loathing in Iraq'-)a letter. And it rocks that he posted it. So go check it out.

Here's a sample to wet your appetite:

As long as people in the field speak up we have a chance of preserving the truth. Otherwise it's the bullshit gospel according to Fox News and The Bush-Croft regime and people'sown memory being erased even more than we've got now.

Update on Un Ponte Per Baghdad Kidnapping 2

The Un Ponte site has some breaking information in Italian. Yes, I'm fluent in Italian. It seems as though the latest update was at 3.15am and they say that it's been a little time since the last update (at 1.51) with nothing new. They found out around 1am. And they believe the message up until this point is a little reliable. Speriamo. or We hope. Then, they say they'll need time for verification. "Now we return to silence and work. Until we are certain we will not have peace." ...

Let's hope for the best. Also, they mention that there was no word about Ra'ad and Manhaz in the message. And what's more important they noted the website posting the terrible message has been unreliable in the past. So we have both hope and some verifiable reality on our side still.

Update: Check on the Free Our Friends blog, or Un Ponte site. There's been a second claim from a different website.

The death of intimacy

'A selfish, market-driven society is eroding our very humanity'

The central site of intimacy is the family - as expressed in the relationship between partners, and between parents and children. Intimacy is a function of time and permanence. It rests on mutuality and unconditionality. It is rooted in trust. As such, it is the antithesis of the values engendered by the market.

When you lose mutuality and unconditionality from family, they seem less important. The principle of cause and effect is simple. Read the persuasive article by Martin Jacques.

I'll write more on this topic later.

Ayatollah Al-Sistani Dost Speaketh

This is probably an important article that you'll want to read. Let me just say that I am really sick of exiles having domination over the political process. And I agree with Ayatollah Al-Sistani's critical stance and caution regarding this matter. And I'm Christian.

We need stability and security. And these groups of exiles having a monopoly on political power will not help. Proper representation will. Imagine Sistani calling the people to the streets to overthrow the current government and destroy the occupation. Well, it is not far from the realm of possibility.

I don't wish for an Islamic state for Iraq. (And I don't believe Ayatollah Al-Sistani does either.) But I believe al-Sistani is one of few people that can possibly steer Iraq toward security, so he needs to get more involved. He's too respected to not get involved. But he should be wary of being used by Negroponte and Allawi to meet their ends.

The world desparately needs more female leaders

People like New Zealand's Prime MInister Helen Clark are very hard to come by.

I heard an interview of hers on the BBC and it was remarkable. I wish there were more female leaders like her. She is pulling NZ out of Iraq by Saturday. All 61 army engineers will be back in their homes with their families. My, how that coalition-of-the-willing is-a-dwindling.

Vote for a woman in the next election.

I command you to.

The world will be a much better place if you do.

The UN speeches & Bush caught in a lie by ABC

Bush's speech was directed at an American audience. He's trying to win political points in a really sick manner with invoking Sergio de Mello's name. What an asshole. Also, apparently, Iraq and Afghanistan are the two newest democracies in the world. That's another bullshit phrase. And it went on and on.

Kofi, meanwhile, took the chance to deftly voice his disdain for America avoiding international law. (txt) Although he spoke circuitously, his words were potent. And yes, it's a bit late, but Kofi is a good guy in a difficult situation. Imagine being the diplomat of diplomats. I have mixed feelings about the UN, but I'm now convinced Kofi didn't want this war. Therefore, he's aiiight.

And he really embarrassed Bush today. It seemed like the only person to acknowledge Bush during his speech was Hamid Karzai. Can you say client state boys and girls? Everybody else sat aghast at the ideological brick-brack coming out of Dubya's mouth. Fascinating.

Here's a good link for you. During a photo OP with Allawi, Bush was caught in a lie. Ah, always good to see that. But this time it wasn't John Stewart doing it. Peter Freakin' Jennings of ABC. So, why do people believe this guy? [the print story of this lie being caught]

Also, Juan Cole, with 'If America were Iraq, What would it be like?' is a must read.

Well, election time is almost here. And the panic is palpable in activism circles. But the people are polarized because of mixed psychological messages (i.e. the fear-mongering by the administration) and general ignorance of the historical and political. Reality is being totally avoided by Bush Inc., while more and more air raids are taking place to reduce American casualties heading into 2 November.

We'll see. It won't really matter for Iraq. The damage has already been done. But it will matter for the region and the rest of the world. So, it could indirectly matter...Ahhhh, I don't want to get into it.


A Department of Homeland Security success: Cutting off Cat Stevens

I would like to congratulate Tom Ridge and President Bush for preventing Cat Stevens from landing in Washington. I mean, really, good job guys. I see why we have the new measures in place now. America is safer, isn't it? You diverted Islam from arriving in D.C.! I mean that guy's fucking crazy...with his peace train re-release last year before the war. I mean, come on, his name is Islam. Isn't that what you're fighting Mr. President?

Oh, no...I remember now, you said Islam is a religion of peace...but that we should destroy the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in order to allow Iraqis to become a democracy. Oh, wait...you said Iraq was a democracy already yesterday. And that was actually McCain talking about Fallujah...and Fallujah's not a holy city, right? So it can be sacrificed to make America even safer than it already is. But Iraq is a 'crucible of terrorism' according to Tony Blair. Then let me get this straight. So, it is right that you divert Islam in order to destroy the crucible so that peace can come out of religion? Isn't it?

No, wait, I'm confused.

Are you trying to stoke the fires of extremisms Mr. President? Now, be careful, you're really going to piss off some people in Iraq because you detained Islam. You could have at least censored the press from releasing this damaging report having to do with some hippy turned devout orthodox muslim, Cat Stevens.

He always thought it was a wild world. And I bet when the morning broke, he didn't believe he would be taking the peace train to bangor, maine.

All in all, I think creating the massive beuraucracy of the Department of Homeland Security, passing the Patriot Act, and having this war on Iraq has really made America (and the world) safer in diverting Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, from D.C.

Congratulations for fending off the dangerous spectre of Cat Stevens and not allowing the peace train to land from the sky into the bosom of the holy capitol of this most civilized of all nations.


[gag gag EKKK...(loud thud)]

who's there?!

[crash!...another loud thud, and a door slams]

OH, that was my evil twin brother, subliminal.

that bastard is cramping my style.

peace everybody,


Update: Professor Cole sets the record straight as far as Cat Stevens deportation goes. You learn something new everyday.

...I have a hard time rushing to Yusuf Islam's defense because I never forgave him for advocating the execution of Salman Rushdie in 1989. He endorsed Khomeini's "fatwa" or death edict against Rushdie for the novel, Satanic Verses. He later explained this position away by saying that he did not endorse vigilante action against Rushdie, but would rather want the verdict to be carried out by a proper court. These are weasel words, since he was saying that if Khomeini had been able to field some Revolutionary Guards in London to kidnap Rushdie and take him to Tehran, it would have been just dandy if he were then taken out and shot for having written his novel. In my view, that entire episode of the Khomeini fatwa showed how sick some forms of Muslim activism had become, and served as a foretaste of al-Qaeda's own death warrant served on a lot of other innocent people.

And, the disavowal wasn't even consistent. AP reported on March 8, 1989, that "Cat Stevens Endorses Rushdie Death Sentence Again," writing:

' Former pop singer Cat Stevens reiterated his support for the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death sentence against Salman Rushdie, saying the author's treatment of Islam was "as good as stabbing Moslems in the heart." . . . "It's got to be seen as a deterrent, so that other people should not commit the same mistake again," Stevens said in an interview with the television show "World Monitor," produced by The Christian Science Monitor . . Stevens, who said the novel's treatment of Islam was "as good as stabbing Moslems in the heart," suggested that Rushdie should repent writing the book. "If he manages to escape (the death sentence) he still has to face God on the day of judgment," he said. "So I would recommend to him to sincerely change his ways right now." '

At the time, Rushdie's life was in imminent danger, and Cat Stevens was skating pretty close to inciting to murder. (What else is the "deterrent" he is talking about?)

So, to steal from Bill Maher:

NEW RULES: If you advocate the execution of novelists for writing novels, you and John Ashcroft deserve one another.

The most satisfying word to type: Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni is perhaps one of the most thought-provoking directors to ever come out of Italy. The art of film in the 1950s would have been dull if it weren't for such a fresh take. When it seemed as though every convention in film was used up, the likes of Antonioni and Fellini convincingly created new ones. They explored spaces and took the viewer to places that have never existed.

So, type his name then watch a movie of his.

Mr. President, when did Iraq become a democracy?

I'm sorry, I think I missed that.

You said yesterday Kerry "prefers the stability of a dictatorship to the hope and security of democracy". Where is the hope in Iraq when violence seems to be a downward spiral? And don't you think there would be hope if there was security?

There is no security in Iraq, Mr. President.


Why is electricity still a problem, Mr. President?

Why is water supply still a problem, Mr. President?

Why is Iraqi unemployment so high? It is easier to destroy a country than rebuild it, isn't it?

Mr. President, why has nobody accepted any responsibility at all for the torture and abuse in Iraqi prisons?

And why have you invited foreign terrorists inside Iraq with this invasion, Mr. President, and decided it has made America safer?

You are playing right into Al Qaida's hands, Mr. President.

And they want you to win the election Mr. President.

How does it feel to have such an ally in politics, Mr. President?

This is what Iraq has to go through to reach democracy?

It makes no sense to me. Seems like nothing has changed in Iraq since Saddam's potential threat--that gave neo-conservatives penis-envy--was eliminated by humiliating, killing, wounding, and alienating a whole population to get to one sick bastard. Creating new threats that have torn the fabric of civic life in Iraq to the point where people fear walking out on the streets has been a specialty of the CPA, IGC, and now, the Iraqi Interim Government. Thanks for making tax-payers dollars switch Saddam out, for an American version of practically the same damn thing. The blind-fold? The sexual assault? I'm glad that she wasn't killed.

I know Rove and Wolfowitz are admirers of Machiavelli. (And wasn't Saddam?) Well, if they read it a bit closer they'd understand that this is the wrong way to go about occupying a country. So here are some excerpts of the appalling account of Ms. Huda Alazawi...do you want to know why she's in this situation? Not just a few bad apples, but very bad intel & counter-intuitive and demented methodology. And I'm supposed to believe this is an isolated incident? See Seymour Hersh's "Chain of Command" for a more plausible explanation.

Alazawi says that US guards left her sitting on the chair overnight, and that the next day they took her to a room known by detainees as "the torturing place". "The US officer told us: 'If you don't confess we will torture you. So you have to confess.' My hands were handcuffed. They took off my boots and stood me in the mud with my face against the wall. I could hear women and men shouting and weeping. I recognised one of the cries as my brother Mu'taz. I wanted to see what was going on so I tried to move the cloth from my eyes. When I did, I fainted."

Like most Iraqi women, Alazawi is reluctant to talk about what she saw but says that her brother Mu'taz was brutally sexually assaulted. Then it was her turn to be interrogated. "The informant and an American officer were both in the room. The informant started talking. He said, 'You are the lady who funds your brothers to attack the Americans.' I speak some English so I replied: 'He is a liar.' The American officer then hit me on both cheeks. I fell to the ground.

Alazawi says that American guards then made her stand with her face against the wall for 12 hours, from noon until midnight. Afterwards they returned her to her cell. "The cell had no ceiling. It was raining. At midnight they threw something at my sister's feet. It was my brother Ayad. He was bleeding from his legs, knees and forehead. I told my sister: 'Find out if he's still breathing.' She said: 'No. Nothing.' I started crying. The next day they took away his body."
Alazawi is reticent about the question of sexual abuse of Iraqi women but says that neither she nor any of the other women in Abu Ghraib at the time were sexually assaulted by US guards. In his subsequent report into the scandal, however, Major General Antonio Taquba found that at least one US military policemen had raped a female inmate inside Abu Ghraib; a letter smuggled out of the prison by a woman known only as "Noor", containing allegations of rape, was found to be entirely accurate. Other witnesses interviewed by the Guardian have said that US guards "repeatedly" raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was held in the block last year. They also said that guards made several of the women inmates parade naked in front of male prisoners.

That's remarkable enough for me to say something. I have a rekindled hope that some of what I thought would not come out, will indeed come out. "You can hide from the truth, but the truth is all there is..." - Handsome Boy Modelling School

Robert Novak: "Quick exit from Iraq likely"

I had a feeling that this was what it was all about: Getting rid of the potentiality of Saddam's will. I want to say my feeling has been confirmed with Novak's article. This has got to be a news leak from administration officials...similar to the one that leaked Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife's name. Here's a few sentences from it.

This prospective policy is based on Iraq's national elections in late January, but not predicated on ending the insurgency or reaching a national political settlement. Getting out of Iraq would end the neoconservative dream of building democracy in the Arab world. The United States would be content having saved the world from Saddam Hussein's quest for weapons of mass destruction.

The reality of hard decisions ahead is obscured by blather on both sides in a presidential campaign. Six weeks before the election, Bush cannot be expected to admit even the possibility of a quick withdrawal. Sen. John Kerry's political aides, still languishing in fantastic speculation about European troops to the rescue, do not even ponder a quick exit. But Kerry supporters with foreign policy experience speculate that if elected, their candidate would take the same escape route.

I have nothing to say about politics for a while, unless something pretty remarkable happens. What election? In Iraq? In the U.S.?

And the human consequences will have to be dealt with for a long time to come. Included, there will be the disappointment of the Iraqi people and of the American people who have lost too much while gaining too little.

McCain, the Idiot on Iraq

Senator John McCain proved he's about just as dumb as Bush Inc. is when it comes to the situation in Iraq when he made comments that amounted to saying that Fallujah needs to be attacked in order for there to be national elections in Iraq. Professor Cole and a nytimes article I read earlier (but can't find now) drew my attention to the senator's comments on FOCKsNews.

This kind of logic is extremely foolish (yet par for the course) and isn't going to be received well by Iraqis. He was right about the looting after the initial fall of Baghdad, though. But yet again another politician is patting himself on the back with hindsight 20/20. It's like making spaghetti out of silly putty. Iraqis like me can't cook or eat that...so it's a waste of your time hehhhbeebi. Oh, I forgot it's an election year and you've gotta play tough to make sure people know that Boosh is the mukh'tar for the American people on November 2nd. Can't show any cracks in the armor now, can we? That ain't how we play says Johnny 'too good' McCain.

Republicans can continue to be wrong about things and still receive the support of the American people. It's remarkable to me. My wish is to comprehend who is accountable for Abu Ghraib and the inane assaults that kill more civilians than bad guys. My list of things that must be held accountable for is long of course, but that's the short of it.

I wish Kerry Edwards was actually a really hot woman, instead of those two useless muppets miserably trying to beat Cheney Bush. If Kerry doesn't snap out of it, he's going to really embarrass himself come November.

NOTE: Newshounds.us is the website that churns out a fair interpretation of the lies that appear 24hrs/day on FoxNews. I was going to put up a link to Fox News (lies) on the sidebar, but now I'll put up this site instead.

And try to check out "OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism". Again, it was made by the same people who made "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War".


Do you feel a draft in here?

I am toying with the idea that the military draft is coming back in the US. I can't quite put my finger on the pulse of the possibility, though. Soon enough...what do you think? Perhaps it will make America more accountable in its foreign policy? And that's a positive consequence.


Kant on Pure Reason and Plato on Sunday

A plant, an animal, the orderly arrangement
of the cosmos -- presumably therefore the entire natural world
-- clearly show that they are possible only according to ideas,
and that though no single creature in the conditions of its
individual existence coincides with the idea of what is most
perfect in its kind -- just as little as does any human being
with the idea of humanity, which he yet carries in his soul
as the archetype of his actions -- these ideas are none the
less completely determined in the Supreme Understanding,
each as an individual and each as unchangeable, and are
the original causes of things. But only the totality of things,
in their interconnection as constituting the universe, is
completely adequate to the idea. If we set aside the
exaggerations in Plato's methods of expression, the philosopher's
spiritual flight from the ectypal mode of reflecting upon the
physical world-order to the architectonic ordering of it
according to ends, that is, according to ideas, is an enterprise
which calls for respect and imitation. It is, however, in regard
to the principles of morality, legislation, and religion, where
the experience, in this case of the good, is itself made possible
only by the ideas -- incomplete as their empirical expression
must always remain -- that Plato's teaching exhibits its quite
peculiar merits. When it fails to obtain recognition, this is due
to its having been judged in accordance with precisely those
empirical rules, the invalidity of which, regarded as principles,
it has itself demonstrated. For whereas, so far as nature is
concerned, experience supplies the rules and is the source of
truth, in respect of the moral laws it is, alas, the mother of
illusion! Nothing is more reprehensible than to derive the laws
prescribing what ought to be done from what is done, or to
impose upon them the limits by which the latter is

But though the following out of these considerations is
what gives to philosophy its peculiar dignity, we must meantime
occupy ourselves with a less resplendent, but still meritorious
task, namely, to level the ground, and to render it
sufficiently secure for moral edifices of these majestic
dimensions. For this ground has been honeycombed by subterranean
workings which reason, in its confident but fruitless search
for hidden treasures, has carried out in all directions, and
which threaten the security of the superstructures.

Our present duty is to obtain insight into the transcendental employment
of pure reason, its principles and ideas, that we may be in a
position to determine and estimate its influence and true value.
Yet, before closing these introductory remarks, I beseech
those who have the interests of philosophy at heart (which is
more than is the case with most people) that, if they find
themselves convinced by these and the following considerations,
they be careful to preserve the expression 'idea' in
its original meaning, that it may not become one of those
expressions which are commonly used to indicate any and
every species of representation, in a happy-go-lucky confusion,
to the consequent detriment of science. There is no lack
of terms suitable for each kind of representation, that we
should thus needlessly encroach upon the province of any one
of them. Their serial arrangement is as follows. The genus
is representation in general (repraesentatio). Subordinate to
it stands representation with consciousness (perceptio). A
perception which relates solely to the subject as the modification
of its state is sensation (sensatio), an objective perception
is knowledge (cognitio). This is either intuition or concept
(intuitus vel conceptus). The former relates immediately to the
object and is single, the latter refers to it immediately by means
of a feature which several things may have in common. The
concept is either an empirical or a pure concept. The pure
concept, in so far as it has its origin in the understanding alone
(not in the pure image of sensibility), is called a notion. A
concept formed from notions and transcending the possibility
of experience is an idea or concept of reason. Anyone who
has familiarised himself with these distinctions must find it
intolerable to hear the representation of the colour, red, called
an idea. It ought not even to be called a concept of
understanding, a notion.


Nietzsche on consciousness


Take a chance and try my fare!
It will grow on you, I swear;
Soon it will taste good to you!
If by then you should want more,
All the things I've done before
Will inspire things quite new.

2. My Happiness

Since I grew tired of the chase
And search, I learned to find;
And since the wind blows in my face,
I sail with every wind.

more of these later...


Consciousness.— Consciousness is the last and latest development of the organic and hence also what is most unfinished and unstrong. Consciousness gives rise to countless errors that lead an animal or man to perish sooner than necessary, "exceeding destiny," as Homer puts it. If the conserving association of the instincts were not so very much more powerful, and if it did not serve on the whole as a regulator, humanity would have to perish of its misjudgments and its fantasies with open eyes, of its lack of thoroughness and its credulity—in short, of its consciousness; rather, without the former, humanity would long have disappeared! Before a function is fully developed and mature it constitutes a danger for the organism, and it is good if during the interval it is subjected to some tyranny! Thus consciousness is tyrannized—not least by our pride in it! One thinks that it constitutes the kernel of man; what is abiding, eternal, ultimate, and most original in him! One takes consciousness for a determinate magnitude! One denies it growth and its intermittences! One takes it for the "unity of the organism"!— This ridiculous overestimation and misunderstanding of consciousness has the very useful consequence that it prevents an all too fast development of consciousness. Believing that they possess consciousness, men have not exerted themselves very much to acquire it—and things haven't changed much in this respect! To this day the task of incorporating knowledge and making it instinctive is only beginning to dawn on the human eye and is not yet clearly discernible—a task that is seen only by those who have comprehended that so far we have incorporated only our errors and that all our consciousness relates to errors!

Not Pulling Any Punches: Colin Powell said so...Yes or No?

Colin Powell called neo-conservatives "fucking crazies"...

'The List: How Chalabi Played the Press', CJR

From the Columbia Journalism Review comes The List: How Chalabi Played the Press about everybody's favorite crook and political chameleon. The subtitle is "Judith Miller is on it, but she's hardly alone"... this is the same Judith Miller that will be forced to testify and reveal sources that led to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson's wife. (This is as of yesterday because of a judge's decision. Hear democracy now! today while I look for something in print to link to...)

Senate Hearing on U.S. Assistance to Iraq

To see how American democracy works when dealing with the current alarming situation in Iraq first go here, the video archive on international affairs on CSPAN.org, and scroll down to where it says, "Senate Hearing on U.S. Assistance to Iraq" under the date 9/15/2004. You might have to go to the next page of videos in this part of the archive to view the interesting, sometimes scathing, and extremely belated criticism from some members of the committee of the job being done in Iraq under the auspice of U.S. (failed) leadership and (failed) foreign policy.

Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee says while opening up this hearing,

This war is not going to be won by Marines and soldiers. The only thing we can do about it is keep a lid on it and buy time. ...in an economy with no jobs, faltering infrastructure, there is plenty of incentive to fight. The incentive needs to be removed. Marines and soldiers don't remove it. Civil affairs teams and NGOs do. And there are not enough of these people in Iraq. And they are not organized in a specific way that they can respond to specific needs. *You are less likely to shoot the guy who is trying to build a school for you kids and turn on your water. These individuals need to take greater risks and be out there with us.

*Doesn't this go for Simona Torretta, Simona Pari, Mahnoaz, and Ra'ad too? Isn't it strange that these individuals are kidnapped from the Un Ponte Per Baghdad office in the manner they were?

Oh there's so many other questions to ask. But I'll leave it at that for now.

I hope some of you will watch at least some of this hearing.


UPDATE: Here's my commentary and bookmarks for the over 2 hour hearing. No, I didn't watch all of it. But I did listen to most of it.

The tension is so thick that you could only cut it with a sharp machete.

Senator Chuck Hagel R-Nebraska

1:24min = "beyond pitiful" (on what hasn't been spent in Iraq)

1:26 min = what has been designated to be spent -vs- what actually has been spent On HEALTH, approximately $765 million earmarked, yet only $2 million spent. Do you believe that? And there are other mind-boggggggglin' numbers.

1:27:30 UN kofi annan statement- on Iraqi elections

-Senator Bill Nelson D-Florida

1:33:40 "Loosey Goosey" used in a formal meeting in DC referring to the plan for post conflict Iraq (well, there still is a conflict////it hasn't stopped and that's some funny shit actually. reminds me of manny farber's film criticism...intermingling phenomenological terms with sometimes obscene coarseness and sarcasm...well, not really when i think of it. these guys are semantic savages. farber is much more entertaining.)

1:42 "Dissed" is used in a very seriuos manner by our dear Senator who's tired of friggin' hurricaines...(dude, fuckin' awesome senate hearing! damn son, we was dissed)

I'll add the first part of this later...
Update: (ah, nevermind...it's not worth the trouble. there should have been much more critical thinking before the war. and now they're just getting to it...just as Iraq is looking its worst. in fact, don't watch it.)


***aLso, excerpts from a Sidney Blumenthal Guardian article...where former head of the National Security Agency says that Iraq is "far graver than Vietnam."

Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies."

General Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there."

He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. I hate that phrase collateral damage. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy."

"Who stands to benefit from an attack on this anti-war NGO?"

Normally, I would be guarded about such a report. The fact that it was written by two people who I admire cancels this skepticism.

Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill report...

...who stands to benefit from an attack on this anti-war NGO?

On Monday, the Italian press began reporting on one possible answer. Sheikh Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi, from Iraq's leading Sunni cleric organisation, told reporters in Baghdad that he received a visit from Torretta and Pari the day before the kidnap. "They were scared," the cleric said. "They told me that someone threatened them." Asked who was behind the threats, al-Kubaisi replied: "We suspect some foreign intelligence."

Blaming unpopular resistance attacks on CIA or Mossad conspiracies is idle chatter in Baghdad, but coming from Kubaisi, the claim carries unusual weight; he has ties with a range of resistance groups and has brokered the release of several hostages. Kubaisi's allegations have been widely reported in Arab media, as well as in Italy, but have been absent from the English-language press.

Western journalists are loath to talk about spies for fear of being labelled conspiracy theorists. But spies and covert operations are not a conspiracy in Iraq; they are a daily reality. According to CIA deputy director James L Pavitt, "Baghdad is home to the largest CIA station since the Vietnam war", with 500 to 600 agents on the ground. Allawi himself is a lifelong spook who has worked with MI6, the CIA and the mukhabarat, specialising in removing enemies of the regime.

UPDATE: Listen to Democracy NOW! or read the transcript (I'll put this later...there appears to not be one right now).

Toward the end of the show, Jeremy Scahill is interviewed by Amy Goodman about the situation surrounding the kidnapping. It is especially powerful and enlightening to *hear the account instead of reading it. I'm more convinced of what Naomi Klein and he himself wrote after hearing him.

Kofi's drinkin' Coffee

Kofi Annan woke up and said the invasion was illegal. (BBC online print, news segment, commentary)

Of course, this means more for the world than to Iraqis that have suffered under sanctions authorized by the UN. It packs a punch politically, so expect some character assassination on the part of the Bush administration only 50 days before the US election. They'll send the wolves out. And I hope Kofi survives.

Jon Stewart is off-the-hook, again.


Baghdad Burning

Read River of Baghdad Burning

Since it's rare in the past few months, heads-UP.

On as always...

Thank you River.

Recreation Time

Part of an extract from Seymour Hersh's new book "Chain of Command"

For the tough cases, however, according to a Pentagon adviser familiar with detainee conditions in mid-2002, at recreation time some prisoners would be strapped into heavy jackets, similar to straitjackets, with their arms locked behind them and their legs straddled by straps. Goggles were placed over their eyes, and their heads were covered with a hood. The prisoner was then led at midday into what looked like a narrow fenced-in dog run - the adviser told me that there were photographs of the procedure - and given his hour of recreation. The restraints forced him to move, if he chose to move, on his knees, bent over at a 45-degree angle. Most prisoners just sat and suffered in the heat.

Check the rest out.

And some real recreation time (BUT) well-spent...

Direct Earhole Action: In times like these listening to music is like breathing air. And when it's free, dig it. All songs on the iraqiart.com website. And songs from Iraqimusic.com



I've put up comments again. There will be tolerance except in the case of anything I deem inappropriately offensive. Included in the above category are insults that attack one personally or an opinion expressed. The idea is to foster critical-thinking, not hatred or being rude. And I think many of us would agree that we lack the former in great quality and quantity.


some points of interest online amid the chaos in reality

Christopher Allbritton from his Back to Iraq blog gives his estimate of the current "fubar situation" in Iraq. Also read that Time magazine article that he hyperlinks. Chris says, "Anyone who asks me to tell the “real” story of Iraq — implying all the bad things are just media hype — should refer to this post. I just told you the real story: What was once a hell wrought by Saddam is now one of America’s making." Here's an excerpt:

I don’t know if I can really put into words just how bad it is here some days. Yesterday was horrible — just horrible. While most reports show Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra as “no-go” areas, practically the entire Western part of the country is controlled by insurgents, with pockets of U.S. power formed by the garrisons outside the towns. Insurgents move freely throughout the country and the violence continues to grow.

I wish I could point to a solution, but I don’t see one. People continue to email me, telling me to report the “truth” of all the good things that are going on in Iraq. I’m not seeing a one. A buddy of mine is stationed here and they’re fixing up a park on a major street. Gen. Chiarelli was very proud of this accomplishment, and he stressed this to me when I interviewed him for the TIME story. But Baghdadis couldn’t care less. They don’t want city beautification projects; they want electricity, clean water and, most of all, an end to the violence.


He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself'
"On Sunday, 13 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. G2 columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was injured in the attack, describes the scene of carnage - and reveals just how lucky he was to walk away."

We were all rushing towards the same place: a fence, a block of buildings and a prefab concrete cube used as a cigarette stall.
I had just reached the corner of the cube when I heard two explosions, I felt hot air blast my face and something burning on my head. I crawled to the cube and hid behind it. Six of us were squeezed into a space less than two metres wide. Blood started dripping on my camera but all that I could think about was how to keep the lens clean. A man in his 40s next to me was crying. He wasn't injured, he was just crying. I was so scared I just wanted to squeeze myself against the wall. The helicopters wheeled overhead, and I realised that they were firing directly at us. I wanted to be invisible, I wanted to hide under the others

What else do you need to know about what's happening right now in Iraq besides what Gaith captures above and below? Read the entire article. They were firing directly at them? We must get on the right path to stop this violence. This is substantially more violence than during the war with all those cruise missles and depleted uranium shells. This is an outrage.

Yes, Gaith got injured, but as Salam says..."he's ok". Thankfully yes...looks like a bad shot to the head. Everybody needs to email him get-well wishes. He's been through way too much for one person recently. (read article)


CPA = "Cannot Provide Anything" -->ny book review article "The Bungled Transition" by Peter W. Galbraith

The Bush administration's recruitment of staff for the CPA is one of the great scandals of the American occupation, although it has so far received little attention from the press. Republican political connections counted for far more than professional competence, relevant international experience, or knowledge of Iraq. In May, The Washington Post ran an account of three young people recruited for service in the CPA by e-mail, without interviews, security clearances, or relevant experience. They ended up responsible for spending Iraq's budget; because they knew little about the country or about financial procedures, they did so slowly.

>>Peter W. Galbraith served as the first US Ambassador to Croatia and with the UN in East Timor. As a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1980s, he uncovered and documented Iraq's "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds. Currently, he is the senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non- Proliferation and a partner in a firm specializing in international law and negotiation.<<


House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
by Stephen Zunes

I saw Stephen Zunes read from his book before the Iraq war happened. He's very articulate and incredibly stubborn. And he speaks his mind with great confidence, verging on arrogance. If you're in academia it doesn't hurt to be all of these things.

On the eve of the third anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. House of Representatives – by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 406-16 – passed a resolution linking Iraq to the Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This comes despite conclusions reached by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and the consensus of independent strategic analysis familiar with the region that no such links ever existed.


The Likud Doctrine
First Bush, and now Putin, have picked up lessons for their wars on terror from Israel's campaign against the Palestinians
by Naomi Klein

Canadian writer of the famed No Logo, Naomi Klein, tells you what she thinks.

Common wisdom has it that after 9/11, a new era of geo-politics was ushered in, defined by what is usually called the Bush doctrine: pre-emptive wars, attacks on terrorist infrastructure (read: entire countries), an insistence that all the enemy understands is force. In fact, it would be more accurate to call this rigid worldview the Likud doctrine. What happened on September 11 2001 is that the Likud doctrine, previously targeted against Palestinians, was picked up by the most powerful nation on earth and applied on a global scale. Call it the Likudisation of the world: the real legacy of 9/11.

Let me be absolutely clear: by Likudisation I do not mean that key members of the Bush administration are working for the interests of Israel at the expense of US interests. What I mean is that on September 11, George Bush went looking for a political philosophy to guide him in his role as "war president". He found that philosophy in the Likud doctrine, handed to him ready-made by the ardent Likudniks ensconced in the White House. In the three years since, the Bush White House has applied this logic with chilling consistency to its global war on terror - complete with the pathologising of the "Muslim mind". It was the guiding philosophy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and may well extend to Iran and Syria. It's not simply that Bush sees America's role as protecting Israel from a hostile Arab world. It's that he has cast the US in the same role in which Israel casts itself, facing the same threat. In this narrative, the US is fighting a never-ending battle for its survival against irrational forces that seek its total extermination.

And now the Likudisation narrative has spread to Russia.


The Wanderers


The American invasion was our greatest hope. We had been planning for it, thinking that we would be able to return to our villages. But gangs formed everywhere, and Christians were easy targets because they don't belong to a tribal system like other Iraqis. We were subject to looting and to threats.

Then my nephew Patrous was kidnapped in the summer of 2003. We had to pay $15,000 and some gold to ransom him. We were successful businessmen, my brothers and I, but this was a fortune for us. In Iraq, it would take us more than five years to earn that much again. Patrous was held for four days. The kidnappers didn't harm him physically, but he was only 8. He was terrified. And he's still very fearful; he never leaves his parents. Sometimes he shouts the name of his kidnapper -- Adnan -- in his sleep.


And finally Dr. Eden Naby's guest editorial on Juan Cole's Informed Comment about Christians in Iraq.

This is a chilling account of the realities that face the Christians remaining in Iraq. Of course, it's particularly of concern to me because my family is Assyrian Orthodox. I have more to say specifically on this topic when the time is right.

I will also call attention to Fayrouz' recent posts about the same topic soon. I'm just waiting to hear from her (, or really for the opportunity to check my email). I'll do that a bit later and try to update.

It is unusual for information from Christian villages to filter outside the area currently under military and political pressure from the Kurdish Democratic Party. Kurds are barring Western journalists from entering villages like Dayrabun ("Monastary of the Bishop") which are not in any danger zone, but are being denied resettlement by their Christian inhabitants (reported by Thiry August, a Belgian who tried to visit the Faysh Khabour area this summer). The KDP is determined to expand its control as far to the west and south as possible into areas now inhabited by ChaldoAssyrians. Under the Transitional Administrative Law, so favorable to Kurds, the objects of Western sympathy and funds, any territory in the three provinces adjoining Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniya (Ninawa, Tamim [Kirkuk] and Diyala) that Kurds can show they controlled on March 19, 2003 (prior to the invasion), may become part of the Kurdish controlled region in northern Iraq (TAL, Article 53A).

This provision allows Kurds to create "facts on the ground" in the Mosul and Kirkuk areas in particular, at the expense of unarmed ethnic and religious minorities - to wit - the Christians of Iraq, the Yezidis, the Shabat, and the Turkomens. The advantages of controlling Kirkuk are well known. But the Mosul area, now the scene of fierce attacks on Christians and Turkomens, are less well recognized.

Enjoy these articles. I'm so frustrated angry depressed...

Seymour Hersh Steps to the Plate, Finally

And hopefully, some people I care about will understand more. I was hoping this would happen in a different manner, but this will do for now. This is complicated, so I'll have no choice but to leave it vague. Excuse me.

This is first for all my family and friends that have been directly and indirectly affected by the events in Iraq...especially through my passionate and unrelenting will and wish to find some truth in the matters that are most important regarding the situation. I have let certain things get to me so much that it has influenced my relationships with you. And I'm sincerely sorry and regret each moment that has been infused with the negative side of this. I promise I will make up for my moodiness and over-reactive nature during this time in the future.

Second, this is for Mazin al'Tumaizy...the 26 year old producer for al'Arabiya that was killed on camera yesterday. How disgusting and how terrible. Along with Tariq Ayoub, the infamous al'Jazeera correspondant who was killed during the initial phase of the war. See the film Control Room for more information on him. These are awful and unacceptable losses. Not to mention the terrible death toll all across Iraq where Iraqi civilians continue to be inflicted with the worst trauma and loss.

Yes, matters have recently taken on a shape that is inscrutable...especially with the third anniversary and memorial of 9/11. But 9/11 doesn't mean much inside Iraq when things are so dangerous on the ground, other than one false reason the current US administration gave and, consequently, continues to give is that there was a connection between the two. The danger that looms ahead is palpable. Unfortunately, it seems to have already arrived and continues to show new ugly faces each day. This war was so completely wrong for Iraq and the world. And there are truths that will never surface now. It is very difficult to be optimistic. We must support one another through this time, though. Take those that are closest to you and cherish them. Find hope and optimism in those daily interactions. Do not spend too much time alone thinking. And know when to step on the brake when emotions boil over. Also, let us take the few positives we may* have gained from the war and use them to ensure we are going to make a difference in the lives of those we care about. There's no reason to give up, in other words. I'm going to take my own advice finally.

Here it is, then...Seymour Hersh, ...click on the text below to read the entire thing.

There is so much about this presidency that we don’t know, and may never learn. Some of the most important questions are not even being asked. How did they do it? How did eight or nine neoconservatives who believed that a war in Iraq was the answer to international terrorism get their way? How did they redirect the government and rearrange long-standing American priorities and policies with so much ease? How did they overcome the bureaucracy, intimidate the press, mislead the Congress, and dominate the military? Is our democracy that fragile? I have tried, in this book, to describe some of the mechanisms used by the White House—the stovepiping of intelligence, the reliance on Ahmad Chalabi, the refusal to hear dissenting opinions, the difficulty of getting straight talk about military operations gone bad, and the inability—or unwillingness—of the President and his senior aides to distinguish between Muslims who supported terrorism and those who abhorred it. A complete understanding of these last few years will be a challenge for journalists, political scientists, and historians.

I cannot even begin to include all that has happened in the past week and a half. And I might completely omit that from short-term memory so I can get along with things and grasp some sense of what is happening other than what I see before my eyes. I'll just say it's been insane.

Love over Fear,


Exactly My Thoughts: Saluting Juan Cole

You can't break down taboos unless you challenge them. Of course, there is the danger that if you challenge them, you will be attacked, and destroyed politically or marginalized. Perhaps it is even likely.

But our country is in dire danger from the conflicts in the Middle East. If I had been a younger man (I am 51) I would have gone to fight al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The very least I can do is to speak out about the dangers, and urge solutions of the problems generating the terrorism. What good is freedom of speech if we don't use it?

Click on to read this... one of the latest from Professor Cole. I agree with the first and last sentence above whole-heartedly. The entire entry is important, though. Such sound logic in illogical times...So, please read it.

I have so much to write about I don't know where to begin. I don't have much time now so I'll save it for later.

I will mention this, though. I found a great website with a lot of Daily Show clips among other interesting videos. I've noticed that the Daily Show website's videos section does not work at all since they changed the format. Meaning, you can't watch the clips because most of those links to videos I have here have gone sour. Sorry...but check out the above site. And there are other kindred spirits with a sense of humor putting up so many hilarious videos in other places...I'll try and put those links up soon.

Ok, much to do...

Have a good one.
L O'er F

Bernard Cohn - colonialism as a cultural project and existing modalities

"The Surveillance Modality"

The British appear in the 19th Century to have felt most comfortable surveying India from above and at a distance - from a horse, an elephant, a boat, a carraige, or a train. They were uncomfortable in the narrow confines of a city street, a bazaar, a mela - anywhere where they were surrounded by their Indian subjects.

travel test

test for new sys...see if you can laugh at the daily show's latest brilliant piece.

GOP shoots for the middle to fool Americans, while the overwhelming majority of its current policy makers are far-right self-interested nut-cases

And in some cases, criminals like Elliot Abrams. Why is he the leader of this administration on the Israeli-Palestinian issue? Wasn't he a major proponent of the Iran Contra Affair? Wasn't he indicted? Why does it seem that all the people that have made such atrocious mistakes in this administration will suffer little consequence and possibly be appointed, like Abrams, to another wack administration?

The winds tell me Rumsfeld is going down one way or another, though. Could he sweet-talk his way into being the next Elliot Abrams? I don't recall Abrams being much of a sweet-talker...so probably yes.


Moving on, there's no better way to shoot for the middle than with Arnold and his magnificent immigrant story.

Arnold you're being used, can't you see it??? Or are you still stuck on the silver screen with very little dialogue? "Republicans are back." You didn't need to get your daddy to help you get a cush position during Vietnam, but perhaps you'd like to try copious amounts of cocaine and alcohol like our commander in chief before really getting political? Or maybe you did that already in Hollywood. Arnold? Who's YOUR daddy, hm? Not George H.W. Bush, that's for sure. But who's your mommy? Maria Kennedy Shriver? Damn, what better splicing exists of the two party system into the republicats than you? While John McCain maintains his respectability someHOW, boy is he pissing me off for not running for president (not that he would be my first choice)...instead he's doing tours and commercials with bush? He's really keeping Bush alive in so many ways. Say WHAT? Soon, you'll be ill-respected for falling in line too Senator McCain. And the prez knows that McCain is one of the only public-figure aces up his sleeve now and so he's using him in abundance.

Doesn't anybody know American history and what republicans and democrats were originally? Boy, the secondary education system here sucks. I recently put much effort in trying to garner support to pilot a program for improving the terrible book situation in many secondary schools in some rural areas within my reach. Yes, this is liminal the activist. I heard, from a friend, that there weren't enough textbooks for the students at a school where her mother teaches. So, I got angry and started calling and emailing (the few who had email addresses) the people that could help me. The main aims were to update libraries and bring in more textbooks to certain schools that don't have enough for its students (--yes, in the U.S.--). And, guess what, all I got was silence...absolutely nothing, even from friends that are from the areas that would have been a part of the program. This just angers me, but people have their lives to live. I normally see this as a lame excuse, but I'll let it slide a little for now. (and don't start me about the lack of quality of the text books i've seen and the actual state of libraries in these schools.)

what a comedy. it's so fun being actively stuck in the middle of it, i tell ya.
heheh he...


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