Irakast #5, DoD Arabic lesson to Drum&Bass brought to you by guest host Gollum 

Liminal Radio Presents: Irakast #5, Guest host Gollum brings it on your ear drums with part II of the DoD Arabic lesson. Once again, Shlonkom Bakazay here, offering you more cultural education than the US Army gives its recruits before sending them to Ramadi.

So, yes, you're a lucky of the proud few able to experience the medicinal musical masterpiece and urbane educational onslaught that continues the Department of Defense Series for Infidels (DoDSI). I have produced and curated this 8 minute presentation guest hosted by Gollum with the hopes that it will stir in its audience the movement toward peace and destruction of cultural barriers standing in the way of building bridges that will not bombed by impatient Iraqis sick of being occupied because these bridges shall be semantical and conceptual bridges of lustful musical entreaties of submission enducing words and notes. I had no idea Gollum likes Drum&Bass, much less that he's an aspiring wiki-wiki wheels-of-steel biatch. Golly, what a guy. He's got spunk, he's got verve, he's got the same can-do attittude of the little engine that could only if he had electricity and other essential services.

It's a mockery, a mockeracy

Anyway, the Arabic lesson is directly from some vinyl I found made in 1960 by the US Department of Defense. The music by Gollum kickin' crazy stylez with a 505. We dedicate this one to the children because they're are future. And if a few of them don't learn Arabic, we're in deeper shit than the already up-to-our-necks deal we've got now. Mr. Ereli at the State Department simply is not enough Arabic coming out of the US government. I don't think Karen Hughes will be learning any Arabic any time soon either. And I think there's more Arabic recorded on these two records than has been spoken publicly by American officials on Arabic TV stations in the past four years combined. A couple words of advice: when you plan on taking over a large swathe of land in a region whose major language you speak little of...well, on a public relations level, expect poor image in the eyes of this region's citizens as you also try to make their people like being tortured, starved, and treated as subaltern beings. So see this audio as compulsory or perhaps a penitant action after ripping babies bodies apart with precision weapons for the sake of forcing democracy in Iraq. I'm trying to appeal to my base, can't you see? And if you don't like Gollum's music, then you'll have to complain and beg for a different version. So, join in the fun. Let's make everything worth it. Let's ensure the safety of America by turning this mockery into a mockeracy that could then perhaps turn into a hypocrisy (like America) and aspire towards real democracy one day.

Peace to all y'all real habbibbis.

Irakast 4, Liminal Radio Presents Gollum making the Department of Defense his bitch

Show: 5.0
Length: 8:48
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 128 kbs

Size: 8.4 mb

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Easter Greetings 


Wooster Collective : Banksy Jammin' Museum Goers 

In a seemingly surreal headline: Prankster Smuggles Art Into Top Museums

More brilliance if you ask me.


Easter Video: Institute for Policy Studies National Teach-In on Iraq 

Watch a teach-in that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first teach-in against the Vietnam war at Ann-Arbor, MI.

I've spoken and attended several of these teach-ins in the past several years. The first was immediately after 11 September. I cannot count the number, though. And, I must say, they can be some of the most strange, schizophrenic, scintillating, depressing, frustrating, and uplifting experiences. I've been extremely depressed and negative about protests and their ineffectuality. Teach-ins are an opportunity to raise a magnifying glass to the problems, yet they're usually offered only to those who have both the time and access to higher education. This makes me angry. The one I linked to here is held at George Washington University.

Anyway, it's still certainly worth watching or listening to while you cook some Easter food. I'd like to think we can "End the war", but I see a lot of things already written on the walls that do not bode well for all no matter what anybody says or does. Again, as I'll always say, I hope I'm wrong. And I hope things may be reversed. We've got to continue speaking out against the occupation and its effect on Iraq and Iraqis especially.

All I know is that there are some wonderful speakers at this teach-in deserving of your attention: writer Naomi Klein, Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies, Celeste Zappala, founding member of Gold Star Families for Peace, Anas Shallal from Iraqi Americans for Peaceful Alternatives.

Perhaps I've just heard enough. Some of the speakers are new to me, though. Patrick Resta, the Iraq War Vet is intense, articulate. He's excellent actually. And of course, it's always great to hear a dignified Iraqi voice in Anas Shallal. He had a family member kidnapped and released for a ransom, too. Anyway...

Enjoy, Stop the Occupation, and Happy Easter.

Visit United For Peace and Justice.

As to Professor Cole's recent post:

The rightwing Zionists want to racialize the Sudan conflict in American terms, as "Arab" versus "black African" because they want to use it to play American domestic politics, and create a rift among African-Americans and Arab-Americans. Both of the latter face massive discrimination in contemporary society, and they should find ways of cooperating to counter it. What is happening in Darfur is horrible with regard to the loss of life and the displacement of persons, but the dispute is not about race. It is about political separatism and regionalism.
Hip-hop is the answer for the first part. Perception of visible racism is played on yet again. The irony on this Easter is that both groups tend to be on the more culturally Christian side of the fence. Most Middle Easterners in the US are Christian and Lebanese. Some numbers: 42% are Catholic (includes Roman Catholic, Maronite, and Melkite); 23% are Muslim (includes Sunni, Shi’a, and Druze); 23% are Orthodox (includes Antiochian, Syrian, Greek, and Coptic). 12% are Protestant. In contrast, 76 percent of Americans identify as Christian; 13 percent are secular; and 14 percent practice another or no religion and 1.3 percent practice Judaism in the United States. Where do they come from? 47% came from Lebanon, 15% came from Syria, 9% came from Egypt, 6% from Palestine, 3% from Iraq, 2% from Jordan, 18% from 16 other countries. And Darfur...well, I'm afraid nobody cares about Africa still. How do we change that simple fact?

And yes, Mosul's Abu Ghraib has been confirmed by reports steadily streaming out of most news-outlets. Most of us already knew all the stories about what was happening in Mosul. We didn't need this belated confirmation or weak-validation by western media.

"We have a great deal of responsibility to the people of Iraq. It doesn't start by continuing the occupation. It starts by ending it."
-Phyllis Bennis



Memetics memetics, oh sweet brilliant memetics 

I'm going to copy this faster than your pussycat runs on hot coals. [via Dave]


Religious and Republican Fanaticism Almost Reaches Flaming Red Fascism 


This is by far in the Department of WTF.

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted - but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Miami Herald has learned.
Ex'squeeze me? Will this bish'ah face be gracing the presidency in our lifetimes? God help us all. But help them [and him] first.

Duh'Lay Off Dude:

Flaming Red Fake Christian Alert

Oh and did you know Tom Delay, faced with similar circumstances as the Schiav'asco, decided to have his father killed-off by removing his feeding tube. I mean, that is, if you interpret his actions then exactly as you interpret his actions as of late.

CANYON LAKE, Texas — A family tragedy unfolding in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal -- without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the raging debate outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family standing vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman -- U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

More than 16 years ago, far from the political passions that have defined the Schiavo controversy, the DeLay family endured its own wrenching end-of-life crisis. The man in a coma, kept alive by intravenous lines and a ventilator, was DeLay's father, Charles Ray DeLay.
What a sanctimonious prick. He needs to be forcibly taken out of the Majority Whip position, then the Senate, once and for all. More at Kos. Bill Frist should be riding on his fake-Christian coat tails on his way out. The last thing I heard off the TV was that Schiavo's parents said that she had not taken communion and that she needed to do so before she died. What a low-blow.

If only TV-reality from this one show were as real as the American reality today. What if our politicians were this honest with us?


Le blog et L'empire 

If I'm not mistaken Le Monde is the first major world newspaper to sponsor and host blogs. Check out their community page.

The multilaterism has already worn out according to an editorial from Le Monde last week.

The signs of political overtures to the world in general, and Europe in particular, demonstrated by George W. Bush after his re-election, have quickly reached their limits. To replace James Wolfensohn, the World Bank President who will leave his post on May 31st, the American President nominated the current number two man in the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, as the White House's candidate. In doing so, George Bush, having just returned from his European tour, is moving more towards the unilateralism of his first mandate than the willingness to engage in dialogue displayed at the beginning of his second.

Admittedly, Mr. Wolfowitz immediately acknowledged that he wouldn't do Washington's bidding at the World Bank (whose president is a North American, following a tradition that goes back to the end of World War II). But he has little chance of convincing anyone in the international community, since his personality suggests the exact opposite of American openness and humility. Mr. Wolfowitz is one of the best-known neoconservatives in the American president's entourage and one of the architects of the war in Iraq. The neoconservatives inspired George W. Bush's idea of a crusade of .good versus evil. which then served as the ideological basis of this intervention, and assured that American soldiers would be greeted with flowers.

The same people saying Wolfowitz might surprise some with success at the World Bank are the same people who said Iraqis would welcome American troops with flowers.


Iraqshank Redemption? 

Maybe? Yes...No? Who knows? Who knows.

And go to Lebanese Blogger Forum for the latest of mine and many others' posts on Lebanon. Redundancy is for player-haters.



Sgrena: She was not on the main road to the airport. The shots were fired from behind. 

1) Guiliana Sgrena says that she was not on the main road to the airport. She was on a more secure access road.

2) The 300-400 shots fired that killed Nicola Calipari came from behind. The driver was the only person in the car that was not wounded. If the shots came from the front, the driver would have surely died.

Democracy Now! | Headlines for March 25, 2005


Blogging makes me more angry at the world sometimes.

US wants to help India be a superpower (Sify.com) by selling arms to their nuclear-armed military dictatorship neighbor that happens to be an enemy 

Because they set a good example?

Because F16s make neighbors more friendly to one another?

Because nuclear weapons are fun?

Because the sky is blue?

Because rain is wet?
No again.

Because there is NO LOGIC in US foreign policy! Please tell me where this one is going.

The United States unveiled plans Friday to help India become a "major world power in the 21st century" even as it announced moves to beef up the military of Pakistan.

Under the plans, Washington offered to step up a strategic dialogue with India to boost missile defense and other security initiatives as well as high-tech cooperation and expanded economic and energy cooperation.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the Bush administration's outline for a "decisively broader strategic relationship" between the world's oldest and largest democracies, a senior US official said.

"Its goal is to help India become a major world power in the 21st century," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Oh, wait wait...I think there's an answer in this article.

The United States, he said, was prepared to "respond positively" to an Indian request for information on American initiatives to sell New Delhi the next generation of multi-role combat aircraft.

"That's not just F-16s. It could be F-18s," he said.
Arm both sides?

Isn't that what happened with Iran and Iraq?

You have got to be kidding me. If this is what turns out to be the case. Oh, "We'll give you the old planes, and we'll give you the newer ones. You know...so you can protect yourselves. (wink wink) You're not enemies are you?"

It smells like bullshit to me.

Update: More liquid doo doo on the matter. Rice: "We're just trying to help you both at the same time."


I'm lost. Do you have a road map? 

BBC reports: US will accept Israeli settlements.There will never be peace now. Well, the odds just got slimmer in the very least.

On the left is what should be a Palestinian state. On the right was the so-called generous Camp David (July 2000) agreement. If you don't recall, this is when Ehud Barak agreed to keep 20% of the illegally-occupied West Bank. Does that seem fair? I wonder what the map will look like after the main "populatoin-centers" are sliced out.

In other BS: After stalling for over 5 weeks and having no choice in the matter whatsoever, the Lebanese government have agreed to c-ooperate with an international investigation.

Yeah, they're essentially saying, "Min Zubitt'ak...don't you worry about a thing, we'll have that international investigation. But we insist it cannot be independent. We must be involved."


Sorry, when the judge who was presiding over the UN inquiry resigned moments before the report was to be handed over, the Lebanese government/intelligence, thus Syria, smacks of guilt. They have implicated themselves in the crime through this last month. So, what now?

Again, I ask...When are the heads of Lebanese intelligence going to resign?

Check out what the report said:

"The Lebanese investigation process suffers from serious flaws and has neither the capacity nor the commitment to reach a satisfactory and credible conclusion.

"To find the truth it would be necessary to entrust the investigation to an international independent commission."

The report added that Lebanon's security services were unlikely to conduct an adequate inquiry under its current leadership.

No kidding. Why would they ever come to that conclusion?

Too little, too late.

What's going to happen now?


An open letter to Iraq the Model 

Dear Mohammed and Omar,

I hope you are keeping well and safe. I'd like to reach out now because I have many fears about the future for Iraq.

These are my personal opinions. I hope you will listen and not take it personally. I know many people think similarly. And so I want to help foster some debate, any debate, in the multiple vacuums that comprise the Iraqi blogosphere at the moment. Things are getting less interesting because of this exact lack of the interaction of differing opinions. And an alarm is going off in my mind, so I think now's the appropriate time to voice this concern in the spirit of debate.

275 thieves are dividing the booty as I type these words.

If this weren't the case, then why is it that there is no government yet?

If this weren't the case, why won't a technocrat that has no political affiliation be appointed to head the oil ministry?

I would support the Kurds completely if I felt like they were speaking for all of Iraq. Unfortunately, I feel they are concerned only for the independence and secular outcome in Kurdistan/N. Iraq. This is what I call the rise of deep sectarianism similar to what we had in Lebanon during the civil war.

Iraq is shaping up to be exactly as Lebanon was during that time and it breaks my heart.

Meanwhile, I cannot comprehend how you continue to say certain things you do here while blocking the other opinion completely. I would urge you to link blogs that have the opposing opinion if we want to address the possible rise of sectarianism in Iraq. I will, if you will.

Also, I am trying to get a similar forum, like the Lebanese Blogger Forum, together so that people of many different opinions may interact in a civil and measured manner.

On that note: Thank you for linking LBF. I hope this is a step in that direction.

Peace inside and out,



Dunyah Mithil Khiah'rah, Yom bi Thumak Yom bi TEezak 

Life is like a cucumber.
One day it's in your mouth, one day it's up your ass.


Gesture marks sponsorship of religious violence and military dictatorships: US to sell fighters to Pakistan 

In what is seen as a surprise move to support religious violence on the other side of the world by selling heavy armament to a friendly military dictatorship, US President George Bush called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tell him about the decision. Bush remarked, "We just can't let you be successful over there in North West Asia Manny. You're tapped to lead the world along with Brazil, China, and Russia...and we just can't let that happen. Happy Good Friday!"

Indian government spokesman Sanjay Baru said Mr Singh had expressed "great disappointment", saying the move would exacerbate India's security concerns.

The move marks a change in US policy, which blocked the sale in 1990 over Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme.


ENOUGH! ...Demanding an Independent International Investigation. 

(Thanks to Indymedia Beirut for the image)

One more political article from me. Because of the gravitas of yesterday's events I'd like to provide an excerpt for wandering viewers to stumble across.
A highly sensitive report released by the United Nations last night criticised the attempts by Lebanon's authorities to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last month and demanded the creation of an independent international commission to get to the bottom of who perpetrated his murder.

There was also unsparing criticism of the Lebanese security teams in Beirut, saying that they showed "systematic negligence" in providing protection for the former prime minister. At the same time, the report points an accusing finger at the Syrian intelligence force, saying it bore primary responsibility for the breakdown of security and law and order when a huge car-bomb killed Mr Hariri and 17 other people.

The report was delivered to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, earlier yesterday by its principle author, the deputy Irish Police Commissioner, Peter Fitzgerald. But its public unveiling was delayed for several hours, suggesting nervousness inside the UN about the strength of its contents.
I really don't see any other way. When I speak of accountability, I want somebody to be held responsible for the deaths and injuries of 14 February. I would be a hypocrite if I haven't argued for accountability in multiple matters from multiple suspect parties. There will never be closure if we don't take measures to ensure further fact-finding. In fact, I'll go so far to say, there has to be an indpendent international invesitgation regardless of what steps any party takes from this point forward. Why is both Lebanon and Syria reluctant to embrace such an investigation? That remains the question. I've heard the argument such an investigation would never find the US or Israel guilty, but I just don't buy this arbitrary premise.

Isolate the matter. Make it about Hariri and the other lives affected by that day. And let the chips fall where they may. Yes, it sounds impossible at this point. But what doesn't make sense about investigating this tragedy further? What's wrong with trying to really figure out who the perpetrator was? It's so blatantly obvious the Lebanese government failed. They were given many chances. Now they must answer to the many Lebanese who will not rest until they are shown the door.

Perhaps I perpetuate the one-sided nature of this forum by making such a statement. What other direction shall we go, though? Not investigating things further? Accepting the Lebanese government's current results to the investigation? I have not heard one reasonable and pragmatic alternative.

So, I feel strongly about it and I believe there's enough room here for me to be frank.


-Images, Words, and Understanding: Clarifying the Images (Ming Xiang)

-Images are the means to express ideas. Words [i.e., the texts] are the means to -explain the images. To yield up ideas completely there is nothing better than the -images, and to yield up the meaning of the images there is nothing better than -words. The words are generated by the images; thus one can ponder the words and so -observe what the images are. The images are generated by ideas; thus one can ponder -the images and so observe what the ideas are. The ideas are yielded up completely -by the images, and the images are made explicit by the words. Thus, since the words -are the means to explain the images, once one gets the images, he forgets the words, -and, since the images are the means to allow us to concentrate on the ideas, once -one gets the ideas, he forgets the images. Similarly, "the rabbit snare exists for -the sake of the rabbit--once one gets the rabbit, he forgets the snare; and the fish -trap exists for the sake of fish--once one gets the fish he forgets the trap." If -this is so, then the words are snares for the images, and the images are traps for -the ideas.

-Therefore someone who stays fixed on the words will not be one to get the images, -and someone who stays fixed on the images will not be one to get the ideas. The -images are generated by the ideas, but if one stays fixed on the images themselves, -then what he stays fixed on will not be images as we mean them here. The words are -generated by the images, but if one stays fixed on the words themselves, then what -he stays fixed on will not be words as we mean them here. If this is so, then -someone who forgets the images will be one to get the ideas, and someone who forgets -the words will be one to get the images. Getting the ideas is in fact a matter of -forgetting the images, and getting the images is in fact a matter of forgetting the -words. Thus, although the images were established in order to yield up ideas -completely, as images they may be forgotten.

609-610 B.C.E., Wang Bi ji jiaoshi ed.


Irakast #4, The Department of Defense Arabic Lesson, Part One: Liminal Radio Presents 

I will be offering 5 minute podcasts of a 1960 Department of Defense (American) issued Arabic lessons in the coming days. They will be set to music I make on the fly. The last Irakast was definitely off, but I hope you enjoyed the old Lebanese record. Part one just includes the lesson with some more hearty and interesting beats and a fresher introduction.

There's no doubt it will take some time to the podkast running smoothly.

I spent a better part of the evening getting a really nice 15 minute package set to the best music I've done in some time. Being really exhausted I accidentally pulled the plug while it was saving so I lost the whole damn thing. I almost blew a gasket. (is "gasket" right?) I was very angry, but would not rest until I could bring you this 5 minute piece in raw form. Perhaps the simplicity of it works better than my super-edited version I carelessly lost and wasted my time on earlier. An=yway, I am thinking 5 minute clips will be more pleasing to me and more of a gimmick to get you to come back to my blog. Good for you, good for me.

So this is all me and the Department of Defense. Your tax-payer dollars post-Kennedy years had nothing to do with this project.

Enjoy learning while you walk around with those silly white earphones. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have breakfast and pass out for a few hours.

Eat your heart out Rummy.

Irakast 4, Liminal Radio Presents the Department of Defence as my bitch

Show: 4.0
Length: 5:43
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 128 kbs

Size: 6.5 mb

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Oh my goddess 

Oh My God she's doing some sort of chicken dance thing and the music is hot.

Three Words. Eastern Goddess raps.


Introducing Liminal Radio: An Irakast Production 

All right, just because I'm not blogging doesn't mean I can't come up with some new ideas to educate you.

Why does your podkast still suck?

I must preface this all by saying a couple things. First, I need a new mic. My current mic was given to me, so of course it's a piece of shit. So, excuse the mic problems. Second, this is a trial run with my new set-up. I may re-do it. The music I made via my 505 is BS, but at least it lets you tap your foot.

What's in this crap podkast?

In the following podkast I give you some songs off my family's old record collection. The record featured is from Lebanon in the mid-sixties, called "Village Wedding". It's so old that the cover is in black and white. My mom brought this all the way from Lebanon. It's not one of those stupid scammed buys from a used record store...been in my family for at least 40 years. And it's got that old typewriter font. Sweeeet. The other record is from 1960. It's called "Arabic: Language Familiarization Course". The cover includes "Prepared by Educational Services for The Department of Defense." Well, at least they were trying in 1960. I'd say we should re-issue the "Records not Bombs" policy. So this, on the other hand, is a particularly peculiar piece of vinyl I procured from a used shop a while ago. Seeing as it's public property, I want to offer it as a lesson to you language-dumb infidels. Anuh'mah'nah PEE AH!

Stop BS'ing me and give me the run-down on this podkast you whining asshole:

Ok, fine.

In summary, this podkast is the hipster way you can learn a few words of Arabic. You're occupying my country, so you might as well learn something.

If there is ever a demand for my crap, I will offer it in OGG. This will cut the file size in half. For now, I'm doing this for the spoiled western world and Japan/South Korea ;) ...and the lucky few in the Near-east with broadband or the time/patience.


Irakast 3, Liminal Radio is Born Unto This Dispicable Earth

Show: 3.0
Length: 17:14
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 128 kbs

Size: 19.7 mb



A break, take 2 

Here's an interview with Digi-Mysticz. I gotta be efficient the rest of the week.



SHHHHHH...I'm still on my break.

* * *

Almost two months have passed since Iraq's elections, and people there are understandably impatient to see a new government take office. But the real problem isn't the delay. Lengthy haggling over cabinet posts and other turf issues was inevitable among fledging politicians with no previous experience of democratic give-and-take. What is far more troubling are the significant sections of the Iraqi population whose rights could be sacrificed when the Shiite religious parties and autonomy-minded Kurdish leaders who were the election's biggest winners cut their final deal. Those who need to worry most at this point are women, Sunni Arabs and secular Iraqis of both sexes.

Saddam Hussein's sadistic and murderous dictatorship was no feminist paradise. But Iraqi women still managed to maintain access to educational, professional and personal opportunities denied to many of their sisters in neighboring Arab and Islamic countries. Now the future of these freedoms is in serious question. The dominant bloc of Shiite religious parties, along with their candidate for prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, want Iraq's new constitution to be directly inspired by conservative Islamic religious teachings derived from the Koran.

The secular Kurdish parties whose agreement is also needed to form a governing majority have the most leverage to resist these religious pressures. But the Kurds are focused mainly on maximizing their own region's independence. They seem far more interested in spending their political capital attaching the oil-rich city of Kirkuk to the territory of a future Kurdistan than in protecting the rights of secular Iraqis. Already, the Shiites seem set to control the powerful Interior Ministry, which will run major police agencies. If the Kurds also concede to them ministries like education and women's affairs, they could be consigning Iraqi women to a life of subjugation and millions of secular Iraqis, male and female, to a bleak, Iran-like future.

The other unspoken issue haunting these negotiations is the violently estranged Sunni Arab minority. With very few representative Sunnis now at the table, finding a way to recognize a legitimate Sunni leadership in the government will require some creative ingenuity. Yet until Shiite and Kurdish leaders recognize their own vital interest in making this happen, no progress is likely. With a new, permanent constitution due to be drawn up later this year, time is rapidly running out.

It is now out of the question for Washington to try and micromanage Iraqi political development. That would mock the elections and the claims of Iraqi self-government. But with more than 1,500 American troops already dead in Iraq and the next Iraqi government clearly dependent on the protection of more than 100,000 United States troops, Washington is not just entitled, but obliged to make clear America's interest in a free, democratic and unified Iraq. This country cannot be complicit in allowing haggling politicians to subordinate those goals to their own narrow religious, separatist or divisive agendas.


Duke Wen, 13th Year (614 B.C.E.) 

Duke Wen of Zhu divined by the turtle shell to determine if he should move his capital to the city of Yi. The historian who conducted the divination replied, "The move will benifit the people but not their ruler."

The ruler of Zhu said, "If it benifits the people, it benifits me. Heavan gave birth to the people and set up a ruler in order to benifit them. If the people enjoy the benifit, I am bound to share in it."

Those around the ruler said, "If by taking warning from the divination you can prolong your destiny, why not do so?"

The ruler replied, "My destiny lies in nourishing the people. Whether death comes to me early or late is merely a matter of time. If the people will benifit thereby, then nothing could be more auspicious than to move the capital."

In the end he moved the capital to Yi. In the fifth month Duke Wen of Zhu died.

The noble person remarks: He understood the meaning of destiny.

-Between mindless distractions like steroids and Schiavo, divisiveness of racists and -power-mongers living amongst us, knowing destruction of the physical and mental -environment we live in for short-term gain, and the constant meddling of religion in politics, -you'd think leaders today didn't know the difference between what's important and what's -wasteful. I'm sure of one thing more than anything today. Real heros, leaders, and role models -are neither those xtra large imaginary people in the news nor are they the politicians made -more famous by blunders than successes. Real leaders are those usually at home reading to -they're children, sending an email or making a phone-call of encouragement and care, and -doing little more than truly loving their neighbor. Those who are selfish in their actions -and/or regards of others will enjoy nothing but my contempt.

Have a nice day.

Death at 'immoral' picnic in the park 

This is the story in the UK Times that describes in gruesome detail the deaths of the students Zeyad spoke of in the post I posted in full because of its importance.

Here are the last three paragraphs in his initial post on the matter. As relevant as ever...

No reaction yet from the Governorate council, the police, or the British forces in Basrah. Thousands of students have been demonstrating in front of the Basrah Governorate building in Asharr for the last three days, shouting 'No to political Islam', 'No to the new tyranny' and 'No to Sadr'. The police (which is loyal to Da'wa in Basrah) reportedly attacked the students in order to disperse the demonstrations.

All this while some people are campaigning for Sistani to receive the Nobel peace prize. One can't help but wonder if these kinds of events are what the Islamists have in store for us when they insist on 'respecting the Islamic identity of Iraq'.

They can blame Jordan, Syria, the Ba'ath, Salifis, Wahhabis as much as they want, but they cannot utter a single word about the old new medieval Inquisition we have to deal with every day, under the sanctity of Sistani and his ilk. The new Taliban.
Now the following is the Times story with all the atrocious details of the story first reported by Zeyad. Bloggers say in unison, "Why'd it take you so long MainStreamMedia?" It's both terribly tragic and an important event. There's also a USAToday story, too.

March 23, 2005

Students are beaten to death for playing music as Shia militiamen run amok

The students had begun to lay out their picnic in the spring sunshine when the men attacked.

“There were dozens of them, armed with guns, and they poured into the park,” Ali al-Azawi, 21, the engineering student who had organised the gathering in Basra, said.

“They started shouting at us that we were immoral, that we were meeting boys and girls together and playing music and that this was against Islam.

“They began shooting in the air and people screamed. Then, with one order, they began beating us with their sticks and rifle butts.” Two students were said to have been killed.

Standing over them as the blows rained down was the man who gave the order, dressed in dark clerical garb and wearing a black turban. Ali recognised him immediately as a follower of Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric. Ali realised then that the armed men were members of Hojatoleslam al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, a private militia that fought American forces last year and is now enforcing its own firebrand version of Islam.

The picnic had run foul of the Islamist powers that increasingly hold sway in the fly-blown southern city, where religious militias rule the streets, forcing women to don the veil and closing down shops that sell alcohol or music.

In the election in January, the battle between secular and religious forces in Basra came down to the ballot box. The main Shia alliance triumphed with 70 per cent of the province’s vote, most of the rest going to a secular rival.

That victory has brought to a head the issue of whether Iraq’s new constitution will adopt Islamic law — or Sharia — as most religious Shia leaders desire.

In Basra, however, Islamic militias already are beginning to apply their own version of that law, without authority from above or any challenge from the police.

Students say that there was nothing spontaneous about the attack. Police were guarding the picnic in the park, as is customary at any large public gathering, but allowed the armed men in without any resistance.

One brought a video camera to record the sinful spectacle of the picnic, footage of which was later released to the public as a warning to others.

It showed images of one girl struggling as a gunman ripped her blouse off, leaving her half-naked. “We will send these pictures to your parents so they can see how you were dancing naked with men,” a gunman told her. Two students who went to her aid were shot — one in the leg, the other twice in the stomach. The latter was said to have died of his injuries. Fellow students say that the girl later committed suicide. Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight.

Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption”.

“We beat them because we are authorised by Allah to do so and that is our duty,” Sheik Ahmed al-Basri said after the attack. “It is we who should deal with such disobedience and not the police.”

After escaping with two students, Ali reached a police station and asked for help. “What do you expect me to do about it?” a uniformed officer asked.

Ali went to the British military base at al-Maakal and pleaded with the duty officer at the gate. “You’re a sovereign country now. We can’t help. You have to go to the Iraqi authorities,” the soldier replied.

When the students tried to organise demonstrations, they were broken up by the Mehdi Army. Later the university was surrounded by militiamen, who distributed leaflets threatening to mortar the campus if they did not call off the protests.

When the militia began to set up checkpoints and arrest students, Ali fled to Baghdad.

A British spokesman said that troops were unable to intervene unless asked to by the Iraqi authorities.

Colonel Kareem al-Zeidy, Basra’s police chief, pleaded helplessness. “What can I do? There is no government, no one to give us authority,” he said. “The political parties are the most powerful force in Basra right now.”

The students have begun an indefinite strike, but fear that there is little that they can do to stop the march of violent fundamentalism. Saleh, 21, another engineering student, said: “If this is how they deal with the most educated in Basra, how would they deal with ordinary people? The soul of our city is at stake.”


Kaslik bombing kills two, injures three 

This was posted on Lebanese Blogger Forum. Whenever I feel it's important crosspost, I will. Reminds me of my disturbed Agora days. Anyway, this was a terrible tragedy. Please read the post. I wish I could bring the comments over from LBF, too. I urge you to click the above link if you'd like to view the comments.

Update: This tragedy has taken the lives of one Indian and one Pakistani while injuring two Sri Lankans and one Lebanese. Yet another investigation needs to be launched, yet another truth must be found. Because all human life is precious. In the meantime, denouncing any form of violence on any person of any relgion and/or nationality inside Lebanon is in the best interest of Lebanon.

Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Al Jazeera interviewed some people saying two Indian workers were killed from what appears to have been a 70 KG bomb. The amount of deaths and injuries are not confirmed yet. The numbers I've heard range from 2-4 killed and 8-11 injured. It happened in a predominantly Christian neighborhood Kaslik in the port town of Jounieh at 130am. I know the place well. This is the second Christian neighborhood that has been bombed in the past week. It doesn't bode well for Lebanon just as Kofi Annan says he's secured an agreement from Assad to pull his troops and intelligence services from Lebanon after a timetable is given by early April.

I'm much more upset than I appear. I'm trying to keep a lid on it for now. I hope the truth comes out. Because this is no way to live. We cannot, I repeat, we cannot let the old divisions rise again. As soon as it becomes a tit for tat circumstance, we have all lost. I call for calm. I call for peace. For the sake of Lebanon...



Zeyad: Mahdi Army Beats 2 Students to Death in Basrah 

Zeyad has updated this post again. If you want to read it from the beginning, go to Zeyad's page. If you're familiar with the story and you want to read the newest update only, you'll find it directly below.

Another Update:
Here is a detailed account of the incident from the Times which confirms the death of the two students, and here is a Yahoo News story.
There have been rumours that nobody died from the attacks but it seems that these rumours originated from sympathetic Islamic parties and their supporters, all of whom are Shi'ite, and for some bizarre reason they are denying that it was a Christian girl that died, but a Muslim one, as if that is going to make it any less outrageous. The same people who rant about Wahhabi and Salafi crimes everyday. Pot meet kettle.

Friends from Basrah say the sit-in at Basrah university is still in effect, with Sadr's militia now threatening to bomb the campus with mortars if the students do not return to their classes. Governmental authorities and the police force in Basrah have publicly admitted that they are helpless and incapable of doing anything to stop the Sadrists.

Actually, all this is for the good of Iraq. At least the Iraqis can now realise what kind of 'progressive' and 'blessed' monsters they have elected to govern them and write their constitution.

The post has been updated. Thank you Zeyad.

The Governor of Basrah appeared on Fayhaa tv yesterday claiming that the problem with Sadr's office was resolved peacefully. How exactly was this achieved? The esteemed Governor (who is a member of Da'wa) met with representatives from Sadr's office under the mediation of the Shia Islamic parties in Basrah (Da'wa, SCIRI, Fadheela, Thar Allah) and it appears that Sadr's aides had agreed to 'punish the guilty parties under a special religious court that would convene for this purpose' and to compensate the students and to return all stolen items to the students. The Governor then cheerfully met with the family of another Christian girl who was badly injured, 'generously' offering her free treatment in any country she chooses.

No mention of the rule of law here. No involvement of Basrah's civil courts at all. The whole incident was mopped up in an Iraqi-style tribal-religious meeting, but this time on the Governorate level. The guilty parties were sinisterly assigned the job of punishing themselves. A great lesson in democracy. But then, no one was punished for the executions and torture at religious courts in Najaf the last time anyway.

What is even worse, the official statement from Sadr's office in Basrah. It asks for the names of the students that were 'allegedly mistreated' in order to compensate them. And listen to this; 'Sadr's office in Basrah offers to provide the universities of Basrah with groups to protect the students in their future field trips.' This following Sheikh As'ad Al-Basri's fiery statements that the students had 'disobeyed his orders, and the stick was for those who disobeyed,' alasa limen asa. He also alleged that the students had shouted 'No to Islam' in their demonstrations this week, insolently adding that the students should be punished for their 'blasphemy'.

The Governor literally appointed Sadr's office as judge, witness and law-enforcer. We might even say that the Sadrists were in fact rewarded for their vile act. What would the Ministry of Higher Education say about this? Or the Ministry of Interior? Or our ludicrous Human Rights Ministry, which only seems interested in what kind of cookies Saddam is having with his tea, or in Ali Hassan Majid's nocturnal toilet activities.

The students of Basrah have made their demands clear; bringing the Sadrist militiamen to a public trial in the presence of representatives from Basrah's student groups, banning Islamist armed groups from entering campus or running Islamist student groups, and the dissolution of the infamous 'Security Committee' which operates in most of Basrah's colleges, and which is reminiscient of the Ba'ath's 'University Security' but taking a Shi'ite Islamic appearance instead of a fascist nationalistic one.

Student groups from Baghdad, Arbil and Suleimaniya have sent statements of support to Basrah. Incidentally, four students were injured in Suleimaniya during demonstrations that have been taking place for the second week in row against the privatisation of educational institutions in the Kurdish region.

Still no condemnation from the the Hawza, when the attack against the students was done in its name.

They're protesting in Basra now. Another healthy reaction to madness. Thanks to LB for the picture.

Here's Zeyad's post. It needs no introduction. I have no energy to react yet. Go to his blog here. Again, being blog-PC is hardly a concern of mine in such an instance.

No one seems to have reported the latest events in Basrah. Not any of the news services or the blogs.

Students of the Basrah and Shatt Al-Arab universities in Basrah city have been on strike for the last three days as a reaction to the attack last week by Sadrists and Mahdi Army militiamen on tens of students organising a field trip or a picnic at Al-Andalus park, downtown Basrah.

Hooded men assaulted the students with rubber cables and truncheons which resulted in the death of a Christian girl, Zahra Ashour, and another student who came to her rescue after militiamen had tore off her clothes and were beating her to death. He was shot in the head.

Students say that their belongings, such as mobile phones, cameras, stereo players and loudspeakers, were stolen or smashed to pieces by the militiamen. Girl students not wearing headscarves, most of them Christian, were severely beaten and at least 20 students were kidnapped and taken to Sadr's office in Al-Tuwaisa for 'interrogation' and were only released late at night.

Students also say the police and British soldiers were nearby but did not intervene.

A Sheikh As'ad Al-Basri, one of Sadr's aides in Basrah, stated that the 'believers' of the Mahdi Army did what they did in an act of 'divine intervention' in order to punish the students for their 'immoral and outrageous behaviour' during the 'holy month of Muharram, while the blood of Imam Hussein is yet to dry.' He added that he had sent the 'group of believers' to observe and photograph the students, and on witnessing them playing loud music, 'the kind they play in bars and discos', and openly talking to female students, the 'believers had to straighten things out'.

No reaction yet from the Governorate council, the police, or the British forces in Basrah. Thousands of students have been demonstrating in front of the Basrah Governorate building in Asharr for the last three days, shouting 'No to political Islam', 'No to the new tyranny' and 'No to Sadr'. The police (which is loyal to Da'wa in Basrah) reportedly attacked the students in order to disperse the demonstrations.

All this while some people are campaigning for Sistani to receive the Nobel peace prize. One can't help but wonder if these kinds of events are what the Islamists have in store for us when they insist on 'respecting the Islamic identity of Iraq'.

They can blame Jordan, Syria, the Ba'ath, Salifis, Wahhabis as much as they want, but they cannot utter a single word about the old new medieval Inquisition we have to deal with every day, under the sanctity of Sistani and his ilk. The new Taliban


The Thin Heretical Line: Amarji 

Ammar Abdulhamid speaks from Syria. Wise words. To continue reading this post, click "Mainline" or here! What voice and eloquence!
American policies are not set in stone. There have been thousands of documents like Clean Break that never amounted to anything but wishful thinking. They were either shelved in favor of other policy options or were simply overtaken by events. Those in the Middle East who fear the “ominous” content of Clean Break should realize that the implementation of it, no matter how influential its authors seem to be at this stage, could, nonetheless, be seriously undermined through the adoption of a more pragmatic and proactive attitude by the regimes and parties concerned.

Dealing with US policy with a sense of fatalism will only justify the basic claims and arguments of the Clean Break advocates, namely that most ME societies, especially traditional Arab societies, along with the ruling regimes they have spewed and regurgitated over the years, are simply irreformable, irredeemable, unsalvageable, and, in short, incapable of working out their own salvation. As such, external interference is a must even if, on the short to intermediate run, it means chaos. For a chaotic dynamism is much better, from their view, than static nihilism.

In all this, America, regardless of where it is located with regard to this at a given moment, is all too simply and earnestly seeking to achieve its own interests. What else?

For politics, frequent recourse to moral justifications notwithstanding, is an amoral science par excellence. Only victims of this science tend to complain about its nature and applications. The beneficiaries, on the other hand, will simply state that this is the way things have been since time immemorial.

For instance, all Arab nationalists are willing to condemn American imperialism but none is willing to condemn the Arab imperialist experiment that took place under the banner of Islam. We can all understand the special circumstance and context of the imperialist ventures of our forefathers, but we are completely unwilling to fathom the logic behind the imperialist ventures perpetrated against us at any given moment, so long as we remain the victims thereof. This is only natural of course. No one likes to be a victim.


Anniversary Audio: Stop the War 

Follow this link to hear Tariq Ali interview Noam Chomsky on 26 January 2005.

There's also a reading.

"If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all." - N. Chomsky

Stop the war

Stop the war

Stop the war

Stop the war damnit



Sunday Cyborg Blogging 

This is a dedication to Kevin Drum and the everlasting beauty of meme-hood:

All the world's problems...America might invade Iran, North Korea is still building nuclear bombs, the UN and the World Bank is getting ready to implode, AIDS is rampant, we're merrily running a 427 billion dollar budget deficit (that doesn't include expenses in Iraq) and close to 8 trillion dollars in national debt, unemployment continues to creep upward, and through it all we're still being led by a man who seems unable to string two coherent sentences together. It's enough to just make you scream and scream and scream and...

But then I turn around and look through the doorway. She sure doesn't seem to care, does she? It's 68 degrees inside, she doesn't need food, no evangelical Christians around to deny her right to exist, and no trips to the scrap-yard are planned. So what's to worry about? Not to mention, she probably doesn't give a rat's ass about what you think or how soon humans will destroy the earth.

Also, cyborgs are always in some way artificially "living".

See Kevin's orginal post that I scammed this from here. Note: In case you were wondering, Kevin Drum is the first person to use "Cat-Blogging".

Shlonkom Bakazay, embracing the future one cyborg at a time.

Signing off for the day,



Watch John Bolton saying "There is no United Nations" 

And watch him saying, "The secretary's building has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." He's gonna be such a swell ambassador to the UN!

You can also download and spread this video elsewhere. It's important to show the rest of the world what America is truly like. And doesn't he seem like such a kind man? Just adorable, if you ask me.


"Ilaab Ma'ah Bade'autnah" summit hit by withdrawals 

They will have to find something else to play with.


Embrace Me 

My Sweet Embraceable You

Embrace me
you irreplaceable you
Just one look at you
My heart grew tipsy in me
You and you alone
Bring out the gypsy in me

I love all the many charms about you
Above all, I want these arms about you

Don’t be a naughty baby
Come to papa, come to papa do
My sweet embraceable you

I love all the many charms about you
Above all, I want my arms about you

So don’t you be, a naughty baby
Come to papa do
My sweet embraceable you


I'd like to thank Praktike and chez Nadezhda for the picture of Hugo Chavez accepting Iranian President Khatemi in Venezuala. I thought it would be nice to switch up gears a bit. A little bit of that typical "Sunday inevitable alliance blogging".

I'm getting used to this blogging thing after all. Who knows, maybe someday I'll exit my denial of being a blogger. By the way, what the hell is up with all the Cat blogging on Fridays. I love cats. But is it because they imply laziness and resting from blogging is necessary? I assume this much, but I don't want to say it's this reason for sure unless I have somebody give me the root reason for it.

Ok then! I hope everybody out there is doing well! I've got serious email lag. I'm talking one month behind. So, please accept my apologies and don't think I'm ignoring you. I'm just in the middle of a lot right now. My best wishes to you and yours!





Tomorrow is the second anniversary of your illegal invasion of Iraq Mr. President 

I will celebrate this by mourning the unnecessary deaths of the sons and daughters of both America and Iraq. I will celebrate by mourning the unecessary humiliation caused by Abu Ghraib and other system problems that have yet to have any person to hold account for. I mourn the overall lack of accountability in such matters and the lack of respect for the world you continue to show by appointing such anathemas of internationalism to two important positions, John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz. I mourn the policies that continue to destroy my people. And I mourn your wishes to hijack Lebanese freedom to meet your own ends. I mourn the fact that Donald Rumsfeld is not in jail yet. He deserves much worse than being held up as a great protector of the nation. Similarly, Dick Cheney needs to be held to account for his continued lies about the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda. If you could say there is a walking self-fulfilling prophecy in your administration it would be him. It appears as though Cheney's sick-waking dream was to make sure there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, when there clearly was not. Cheney has operated as Al Qaeda's PR man in Iraq, in effect. So, today I mourn the incompetence that you people continue to carry yourselves with while you have no regard for human rights when appointing the fool for torture, Alberto Gonzales. You seem to only want make the Arab world angier and angier. So, if this is your goal, you're acheiving it magnificently. One more thing: Leave Lebanon alone. You've caused enough problems elsewhere. Do not think you are the reason Lebanese are wanting to be rid of Syria. Because you're not. So, get out of Iraq Mr. Bush. And Syria, get out of Lebanon. Do not use violence to justify your stay. I knew it would come to this. I said on 14 February. So my advice to you Mr. President and you Mr. Al'Assad or J.Sayyid or Rostum... Don't play with fire or you will burn. Somebody must be held accountable for the atrocities you continue to committ in order to secure privatization of Iraq's Oil and for political points in the Near East. And somebody must be held to account for murdering 18 people in Lebanon on 14 February. There must be an international investigation if we hope Lebanon to regain its calm. TO BOTH OF YOU: You should heed the people's wishes before you try and selfishly heed your own. We're sick of all the war, all the violence.

I have much more to say about what I mourn on this anniversary of your illegal war. But right now I mourn your short-sightedness most of all. Your lack of vision is alarming and is destroying the world.


Iceland to give Fischer passport 

Yay Iceland!!!

Iceland is to give Bobby Fischer a special foreigners' passport and rights to residence. This is great news and a good resolution for this man of conscience and principle.


It's a SYSTEM PROBLEM, stupid. 

And Lewis Black makes it clear.

God, Norm...you always seem to put up the clips of The Daily Show that I want others to see! Is there some telepathy going on er what?


Secret US Plans for Iraq's Oil: Greg Palast reporting for Newsnight 

UPDATE: VIEW THE BBC PROGRAM! Thankfully, democracy now has broadcast it today. You can go here for the transcript and to listen or see it.

This is huge.
Not that we couldn't guess there was something afoot. Here's more pudding to prove it now.

--- Greg Palast Reporting...
The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities and pipelines [in Iraq] built on the premise that privatisation is coming." -Mr Falah Aljibury

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr. Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.
I wish I had time to comment on this now. I will as soon as I can.

Greg Palast's tenacity has paid off yet again.

Read the entire report on the BBC here. View newsnight's program

Update: Anticipating this program possibly disappearing on the web, I've recorded the audio of it here in two sections. Listen to Section 1 & Section 2 in MP3 format. The first section is 3 minutes, the second is 10 minutes.

You may find the Harpers Magazine article that is to be out in Harpers next edition out on newstands on Tuesday, March 22, right here.

Go to Greg Palast's website to view more details about this important news story.

When there's more information on the story I'll try to update it here.



The guy who created the plan to destroy Iraq, will now spend the remainder of his life destroying the rest of the world. 

You can't say he doesn't have the experience.

HA ha.

In other news, you have somebody with the IQ above 40 at the New York Times with a piece entitled, Many Iraqis Losing Hope That Politics Will Yield Real Change. Oh how could that possibly be? We Iraqis are such whiners, aren't we?

UPDATE: Norm of onegoodmove provides the video to John Stewart's show yesterday. Click the pic below to get the VID (7MB, Quicktime Required) of a segment on Wolfy the NEOcon. Thank you Norm! And Billmon with his usual ingenuity.

And here comes silly old Europe.
Why would they be hesitant about Wolfowitz' nomination?
Doesn't make any sense! He just messed up one country.

UPDATE: Stiglitz says there'll be violence if Wolfowitz is appointed to World Bank.
Violence and Wolfowitz? It's like bread and butter. Pancakes and syrup. Sushi and wasabi.


They will not step down. 

If you ask me, this proves their guilt. Stand trial to their hand-picked judges??? Give me a break. Or will they stand trial at the ICC?
A top Lebanese security chief has said he and other officials are willing to stand trial to clear their names over opposition allegations of negligence in the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

Jamil Sayyid, head of the powerful General Security Department, lashed out on Thursday at opposition demands for the resignation of security chiefs, indicating they will not step down.
They only make themselves look worse by speaking out like this. If they would just grant an international investigation and stand trial at the ICC!!!

PS. The best way to see the diversity of the last huge protest in Lebanon is through PANORAMA!!!


Karzai shows off "Heroin-Brown Revolution" to Afghan voters, and postpones elections 

In a move to surely thrill people the world over, President Hamid Karzai shows off Afghanistan's "Heroin-Brown Revolution" to reporters and postpones elections until September during a joint press conference with Condoleeza Rice. When asked for clarification, Ms. Rice said: "I hope I didn't break the story." It turns out, one of the world's newest democracies will not be able to provide enough of the newly trademarked "Heroin-Brown" indelible ink to the thousands of polling stations throughout the country due to continued rampant lawlessness and feuding warlords with heavily armed militias. On the lighter side of things, Karzai said he was inspired so much by recent elections in Iraq and the numerous fresh addictions of many of his compatriots that he insisted on having the indelible ink be "Heroin-Brown" in color. "It's worth postponing the elections. It's like a Scarlet Letter, but good." Karzai exclaimed further with pride: "Because 60 percent of the economy in Afghanistan is based on illegal Heroin trade, we must dedicate these elections to H. Without the illegal drug trade my people would be starving." Eyewitnesses noticed his eyes welling up with tears during this poignant moment.



Need some bullets? 

You'll have to ask this Iraqi. As you can see, he's got all of them.



Does anybody know the artist behind this chobi? I'm curious. I found it on a cd I had laying around while I was cleaning up. Please email me or leave a comment if you know who did this tune. I'll leave it up for a little bit.

Thank U


Keep Walking 

Irakast #2: Dedicated to Italy and Silvio Berlusconi...maybe 

UPDATE: U.S. bars Italians from examining victim’s car

Looks more and more like Italy is staying in Iraq. At least Iraq won't be all McDonald's and Burger Kings...I love Italian food. And maybe Silvio will be kicked out of power or forced to sell a television station or two. Look on the sunny side. I'm not in denial like some Iraqi bloggers, I swear. The cultural-exchange program is going well.

Dedicated to Italia and Silvio Berlusconi!

Show: 2.0
Length: approx. 20 min
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 64 kbs

Size: 10 mb

Click to the left to subscribe to my podcast feed.

I should say, perhaps only Neopolitans will understand me completely. Sorry, my second podcast is an amateur affair. But I spent 5 minutes planning for it this time! So, love me two times.

Warning: Only download Irakast #2 if you want to hear me whisper sweet Machiavelli into your ears and some other cracked-out, yet meaningful things. Right now the podcasting is meant to entertain me more than you. I find myself laughing hysterically both when I try to do them and when I listen to them. So, something's gotta be right about it. Soon, however, I will do something more professional. So enjoy this while it lasts! ;)

Grazie! Che bell' Italia!

They'll try to tell you that the incident involving Sgrena and Calipari had nothing to do with the decision. But they'll be lying through their insidiously pearl-like whites.

All a day's work in diplomacy!

UPDATE: Or they'll "waver" and lose power in regional elections. Now the time-table appears to have been scrapped. Too bad for Italy and Silvio. Why the fake out?


Berlusconi: Italy 'to pull troops from Iraq' 

What did I tell ya?

In big news, the fourth largest contingent of the coalition of the willing (to be lied to and have their people pay the price for it), Italy, is going to start pulling their 3,000 troops from Iraq in September 2005. Shocking news to some, I'm not surprised at all. I knew it. Good for Silvio for finally hearing his people. I would never imagine myself saying it, but he's wise for this move. He would surely be voted out of office if he doesn't pull from Iraq. And if you know Silvio, you know he wouldn't risk his own hide for American PR. And, of course, he should get Italy out much sooner. But knowing they will be leaving is a positive step in the right direction.


Robert Fisk's latest articles 

Lebanese Opposition Represent! 

1 million or more...The images are mind-boggling.

Very interesting checking out satellite TV today...

I'm hearing all these Lahud puppet government officials come on the Lebanese political shows and speak so kindly of democracy. It's silly when puppets try to act as if they're controlling their strings.

And, ok, I really appreciate Al Jazeera...but I got to call them out on being disingenious today. When the pro-Syria Hizb'allah organized protest happened all you heard was half a million on their station (on the ticker and in the mouths of reporters) and their website. Half a million, half a million, half a million...over and over...

Now when twice that number or more show up to protest against the standing puppets, you have a headline on their website that says "Thousands rally against Syria in Beirut". This is exactly what American news outfits were doing when they were reporting numbers about the protesets against the last Iraq war. The same thing was on the station's news ticker just now too. Seriously people...

And this protest obviously had more diversity and represented more faiths and political parties inside Lebanon than the Hizb'allah organized protest.

There is still reason to be scared that the same sectarian strife will hit Lebanon. This protest by no means makes everything better. But it is a healthy act that was not organized by one party. And it is more representative of Lebanese opinion.

I'll leave you with some questions...I'm sorry because I'm really busy, but I hope to have more later.

Isn't Syrian guilt complicit if they do not allow an international investigation to solve the perpetrator of the 14 February bombing?

And, when will they dismiss the heads of seven Lebanese intelligence organizations?

What is not being said or done tells one more about the situation than what is...

Who knows what will happen next. But the same corrupt government is still in office. And it makes me sick to my stomach.

1 Million 

Na na na na NA NA...WICKED! All inept puppet governments in the Middle East are shaking in their boots (eg, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, et al*). Iraq doesn't have a government yet, so they don't count.

What a remarkable turnout. I congratulate everybody that took part of this event. I wish I could have witnessed it in person. Just breath-taking!


Islamangelicals Unite with Evangelicals to...


Good News From Iraq!

A cowboy wouldn't imprison children

He would just get a lowly officer to do it.
R i g h t ?

And they would just be following orders.


It's a big mistake to think you can make people forget about your policies. When the Pentagon clears the Pentagon for mistakes the Pentagon makes, then it is clear there are no longer the appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure just accountability for the errors made. This may only lead to worse things down the line. How unfortunately inept.


Ramadi Madness not nearly as realistic as Abu Ghraib INSANITY! 

The new release by the US Army Box Office's Iraq division, Ramadi Madness, doesn't hold a candle to the heart-thumping realism in the formerly successful Abu Ghraib INSANITY! Due to the film's lack of success in the Iraqi market, Ramadi Madness is coming to theatres in America with less of an expected impact on the US viewer. Here are some exclusive previews of the film, via the Palm Beach Post, which is expected to debut next week in a few selected theatres. It will reach most audiences by March 21st.
Ramadi Madness
Watch excerpts of a local National Guard video shot in Iraq and investigated by the Army. Investigators determined there was no abuse.

Warning : This footage contains graphic themes and images. Audio has been edited to remove obscenities.

Truck incident
Super special skill
Have you seen Haj
Newman & his Toy
Haji cat
Mayor's cell
See Haj run
Crafty little
Blood clot
Asa Lama Lakim
Another day

NOTE: Gruesome footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing has been omitted. Audio has been edited to remove obscenities.

Lebanese Opposition Bamboozled? 

These are some of my thoughts about the last 9 days or so in Lebanon. Where can I possibly begin? I have the feeling there was essentially a delayed vote of confidence in order to bide time to organize the pro-Syria protest. Karami never really resigned. It was a very cunning move by the Syrian government and intelligence forces. We can now probably conclude the thinking that Lebanese politics comprises only of Mount Lebanon and Beirut is incorrect. Hizb'allah has scarily shown they are a force to be reckoned with in the political sphere. Of course, many Lebanese are saying there are half a million Palestinians in Beirut, a million Syrian workers...and the pro-Syrian protest doesn't represent the Lebanese. I agree with that in principle, yet pragmatically it doesn't fly. The political influence of guys slobering all over pictures of that slimey man Hafez Al-Assad in Beirut is completely crazy, but it resonates deeply. Syria is sending the signal, "Lebanon is ours." We now see the Syrian strategy naked before us. The Karami puppet-government called off the vote of confidence and resigned. This mollified some and calmed the situation slightly as they organized the two big shows of people power in favor of both the dead Hafez and Bashar Al-Assad in Beirut on Tuesday and today in Damascus. Of course, I read right through this. And it's really disingenuous to me, but Hizb'allah is extremely organized. You've got to give them that much. The opposition in Lebanon is not nearly as organized and I see our chances at a true independence from Syrian control fading fast. I'm very pessimistic about things now. So, don't try to tell me otherwise. Syria is not going anywhere without bringing Lebanon down in the blood of its own people...similar to the last civil war. I'm extremely depressed about this, so if you make some off-color comments to me expect to be forever nixed from my blog.

For me, a secular leaning, Assyrian Orthodox raised person, it is alarming. I don't like Hizb'allah one bit in that they mix religion with politics in a very ingenious way: by providing basic services (food, water, schools) to disenfranchised people in Lebanon. It kind of reminds me of how the religious right in America uses religion to invoke patriotism of the sort we saw in Kentucky. PLEASE NOTE: I am a firm believer in a very very strong separation between religion and state. It is extremely IRONIC, isn't it? And John Stewart was right-on tonight when he mentioned that it seems like this American administration is working to spread irony throughout the world.

So, Hizb'allah is very effective because they provide where the Lebanese government fails to provide. Imagine if an organization was making sure your family was fed well, had plenty of free or cheap water and access to a free education. And this organization did it much better than your own government! Where would your loyalties be? With the government that hasn't done a damn thing for you, or for that organization. Well, that's what we're facing with Hizb'allah in Lebanon. That's scary when you combine it with radical views, if you ask me. And they have, indeed, done good things for many poor in Lebanon (believe it or not). So, we've got to face the facts. And we've got to ask the question, why does Hizb'allah even exist? We've got to take a deep look at its history and how the empowered Shia populations across the near-east will have a monopolizing influence in regional politics in the coming years.

Right now, I don't feel like dealing with anybody's comments regarding this subject matter. Especially after the last full post I made. So, I'm closing the comments in this post. Email me if you like. We can still communicate, you know. It doesn't have to be an excercise of exhibitionism, as a blog sometimes becomes. I'm very open to communicate as long as you're civil with me. When you cross the line, I show you the door.

Peace to all,


Freedom at a price: Guiliana Sgrena 

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is now saying the car obeyed orders to stop and was subsequently fired upon. This matter is being lifted to a higher level with such a dramatic announcement.

From the perspective of a neocon, it makes sense to shoot down Giuliana Sgrena. Now, bear with me. This administration feels very strongly about "not negotiating with terrorists", don't they? Well if they really did, why did they hide or play-down the fact that they were having negotiations with Iraqis that were part of the insurgency a couple weeks back? OK, they didn't really hide it, but they said it "wasn't official" if I recall correctly. Yea, ok, whatever. Eventually, there is going to have to be (if there already isn't) full-fledged negotiations with the resistance if this war is going to stop any time in the future. There is no military solution to the Iraq war. If you continue to flatten entire towns like what was done in Fallujah, it will only increase enmity.

Anyway, if it was discovered that Italy paid 4-5 million dollars for Ms. Sgrena's safe release, this would change the dynamic of how hostage situations were handled by members of the coalition. Once one is released this way, there would be many situations where the resistance in Iraq would take advantage of this shift in strategy by members of the "coalition of the willing" to return their citizens to safety. So, if (and I say if) it was intentional, then it makes sense to me when I put myself in John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, or Donald Rumsfeld's shoes. They are really serious when they mean no negotiations (yea - [cough]- bullshit), yet why have they spoke to a commander of the resistance in Iraq, if they're so serious? It seems to be a double-standard if you ask me.

I'm inclined to deduce this administration is more and more concerned about being isolated on their Iraq policy with countries dropping out of the oh-so-willing coaltion or "weakening" their stance with regards to hostage situations. It's plain to see, that many countries are not willing to have their citizens die for President Bush's errors. The Dutch are leaving. The Ukranians will follow soon. The Polish already left, right? So, who's next?

I think if Berlusconi does not get to the bottom of this case, he could lose his grip on power in Italy. So, it's significant in European relations alone. And you thought Italians were against the war before? Just wait and see how they'll respond to another slap on the wrist of some unwitting and low-ranking soldier. To me, this seems very very suspicious. I'm not saying that I'm concluding it was deliberate yet. It just aligns cleanly with other incidents of targeting journalists in Iraq. Remember Tariq Ayoub of Al Jazeera? You don't? Well, watch Control Room. Only now that it's a westerner and in such a suspect situation are people up in arms. If it was an Arab reporter, nobody would give a damn.

Anyway, here are Guiliana Sgrena's own words about the incident published in the Guardian today.

PS. Again, there's zero tolerance for personal attacks on this site. I have the right to say whatever the hell I want to say. If you don't like it, tough. Make your own blog and cry all you want to there. If there is nothing constructive about your comments and you attack me personally, you will be banished from this kingdom forthwith! Thou art foul in my midst! As though 'tis your mouth that has the shitz! Mine own medicine for your kind...is the simplist reaction to the blind. Thou scandalous onion-eyed serpents-egg! Thou accursed white-livered codpiece! Thou spongy weather-bitten flax-wench! Thou viperous hag-born mangy-dog! Thou infectious shard-borne bear-whelp! Thou mewling earth-vexing measle!!! Thou dissembling doghearted incontinent varlet!!! Muahhhaahahahaahahaaaaa!!!

PPS. And by the way, I love Brooklyn.

PPPS. LB has some good advice about checkpoints in Iraq. And that's what this whole incident should be about: preventing these unnecessary deaths. It shouldn't be about pointing fingers. It's a terrible tragedy, but what happened, happened. Hundreds upon hundreds of innocent Iraqis have been killed in this manner and nobody has said a damn thing. I guess that is why I'm so sensitive to this very issue. Now we must focus on making things safer for Iraqis and everybody else. Not just everybody else. It's this selfishness that will get everybody nowhere in Iraq. It's this selfishness that I despise. As if the Iraqi didn't matter. So listen to Ladybird and the journalist from CSM. THINK, ACT, SOLVE the PROBLEM. As far as the Italian incident goes...everybody, as far as I've read, knew they were coming. They even stopped when ordered to, yet somebody still died that shouldn't have died. It's just suspect to me. I only hope that more awareness about how innocent people have died at checkpoints is the result of this terrible tragedy.

Magritte & Foucault: La trahison des images 

Nulle part, il n'y a de pipe.

A partir de 1à, on peut comprendre la dernière version que Magritte a donne de Ceci n'est pas une pipe. En plaçant le dessin de la pipe et l’énonce qui lui sert de légende sur la surface bien clairement délimitée d'un tableau (dans la mesure ou il s'agit d'une peinture, les lettres ne sont que l'image des lettres; dans la mesure ou il s'agit d'un tableau noir, la figure n'est que la continuation didactique d'un discours), en plaçant ce tableau sur un trièdre de bois épais et solide, Magritte fait tout ce qu’il faut pour reconstituer (soit par la pérennité d'une oeuvre d'art, soit par la vérité d'une leçon de choses) le lieu commun à l'image et au langage.

Tout est solidement amarré a l’intérieur d'un espace scolaire: un tableau « montre » un dessin qui « montre » la forme d'une pipe; et un texte écrit par un instituteur zélé « montre » que c'est bien d'une pipe qu’il s'agit. L’index du maître on ne le voit pas, mais il règne partout, ainsi que sa voix, qui est en train d'articuler bien clairement: « ceci est une pipe ». Du tableau à l'image, de l'image au texte, du texte à la voix, une sorte d’index général pointe, montre, fixe, repère, impose un système de renvois, tente de stabiliser un espace unique. Mais pourquoi ai-je introduit encore la voix du maître ? car à peine a-t-elle dit « ceci est une pipe » qu'elle a du aussi se reprendre et balbutier: « ceci n'est pas une pipe, mais le dessin d'une pipe », « ceci n’est pas une pipe mais une phrase disant que c’est une pipe », « la phrase: « ceci n’est pas une pipe » n'est pas une pipe »; « dans la phrase « ceci n'est pas une pipe », ceci n'est pas une pipe: ce tableau, cette phrase écrite, ce dessin d'une pipe, tout ceci n’est pas une pipe ».

Les négations se multiplient, la voix s'embrouille et s’étouffe; le maître confus baisse l'index tendu, tourne le dos au tableau, regarde les élèves qui se tordent et ne se rend pas compte que s’ils rient si fort, c'est qu'au-dessus du tableau noir et du maître bredouillant ses dénégations, une vapeur vient de se lever qui peu à peu a pris forme et maintenant dessine très exactement, sans aucun doute possible, une pipe. « C’est une pipe, c’est une pipe » crient les élevés qui trépignent tandis que le maître, de plus en plus bas, mais toujours avec la même obstination, murmure sans que personne ne l’écoute désormais: « et pourtant ceci n'est pas une pipe ». Il n'a pas tort: car cette pipe qui flotte si visiblement au-dessus de la scène, comme la chose à laquelle se réfère le dessin du tableau noir, et au nom de laquelle le texte peut dire à juste titre que le dessin n'est pas vraiment une pipe, cette pipe elle-même n’est qu’un dessin; ce n'est point une pipe. Pas plus sur le tableau noir qu'au-dessus de lui, le dessin de la pipe et le texte qui devrait la nommer ne trouvent ou se rencontrer et s’épingler l'un sur l'autre comme le calligraphe avec beaucoup de présomption, avait essaye de le faire. Alors, sur ses montants biseautés et si visiblement instables, le chevalet n'a plus qu'à basculer, le cadre à se disloquer, le tableau à rouler par terre, les lettres à s’éparpiller, la « pipe » peut « se casser »: le lieu commun— oeuvre banale ou leçon quotidienne—a disparu.[...] Mais l’énoncé, ainsi articule deux fois déjà par des voix différentes, prend à son tour la parole pour parler de lui-même: « Ces lettres qui me composent et dont vous attendez, au moment où vous entreprenez de les lire qu’elles nomment la pipe, ces lettres, comment oseraient-elles dire qu’elles sont une pipe, elles qui sont si loin de ce qu'elles nomment ? Ceci est un graphisme qui ne ressemble qu'à soi et ne saurait valoir pour ce dont il parle ». Il y a plus encore: ces voix se mêlent deux a deux pour dire, parlant du troisième élément, que « ceci n'est pas une pipe ». Liés par le cadre du tableau qui les entoure tous deux, le texte et la pipe d'en bas entrent en complicité: le pouvoir de désignation des mots, le pouvoir d'illustration du dessin dénoncent la pipe d'en haut, et refusent à cette apparition sans repère le droit de se dire une pipe, car son existence sans attache la rend muette et invisible. Liées par leur similitude réciproque, les deux pipes contestent à l’énoncé écrit le droit de se dire une pipe, lui qui est fait de signes sans ressemblance avec ce qu’ils désignent. Liés par le fait qu'ils viennent l'un et l'autre d'ailleurs, et que l'un est un discours susceptible de dire la vérité, que l'autre est comme l'apparition d'une chose en soi, le texte et la pipe d'en haut se conjuguent pour formuler l'assertion que la pipe du tableau n'est pas une pipe. Et peut-être faut-il supposer qu’outre ces trois éléments, une voix sans lieu (celle du tableau, peut-être, tableau noir ou tableau tout court) parle dans cet énoncé; ce serait en parlant à la fois de la pipe du tableau, de la pipe qui surgit au-dessus, qu'elle dirait:

« rien de tout cela n'est une pipe; mais un texte qui simule un texte; un dessin d'une pipe qui simule un dessin d'une pipe; une pipe ( dessinée comme n'étant pas un dessin) qui est le simulacre d'une pipe (dessinée à la manière d'une pipe qui ne serait pas elle-même un dessin) ». Sept discours dans un seul énoncé. Mais il n'en fallait pas moins pour abattre la forteresse ou la similitude était prisonnière de l'assertion de ressemblance.

Ceci n’est pas une pipe, Fata Morgana, 1973



Bush's reaction to the Hizb'allah organized protest in Beirut today 


Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion 

Maj. Isaiah Wilson, the official historian of the US Army for the Iraq war has written that the US military lost its dominance in Iraq during the summer of 2003.

A report by the U.S. Army official historian said the military was hampered by the failure to occupy and stabilize Iraq in 2003. As a result, the military lost its dominance by July 2003 and has yet to regain that position.

"In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly lost the momentum and the initiative gained over an off-balanced enemy," the report said. "The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since."


The irony of it all: 140,000 v. 14,000 

I--just this minute--had the chance to read the Fisk article. Please note, he has lived in Beirut for 30 years now. He knows Lebanon. And I know why I avoided reading the article for so long:

To the outside world, this may seem a victory devoutly to be wished: just two weeks after the murder of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri - a prominent opponent of the Syrian presence in Lebanon - the army of Damascus is pulling out of the country it has dominated for 29 long years. At last, free elections might be held in Lebanon, further proof that - thanks to Mr Bush - democracy is breaking out across the Arab world. Iraq held elections, Saudi Arabia held local elections, President Hosni Mubarak promises a contended election for the presidency of Egypt. So why shouldn't Lebanon be happy?

Have we forgotten 150,000 dead? Have we forgotten the Western hostages? Have we forgotten the 241 Americans who died in the suicide bombing of 23 October 1983? This democracy, if it comes, will be drenched with blood - but the blood will be that of the Lebanese who live here, not that of the foreigners who wish to bestow freedom upon them.


[Y]et again, Lebanon risks becoming a battlefield for the wars of non- Lebanese.

For 30 years, America has tolerated - even supported - Syria's military presence in Lebanon. In 1976, both the Israelis and the Americans wanted Syrian troops in Lebanon - because they would be able to "control" the 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon - but now Mr Bush's real concern is Syria's supposed support for the insurgency in Iraq.

The irony is extraordinary: 140,000 American troops occupy Iraq - we shall leave the Israeli occupation forces in Palestinian lands out of this equation - while their President demands the withdrawal of 14,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon.


Half a million? 

This is ...gosh. What can I possibly say now?

[Enter Hizbullah]

What happens now?

Well, what I quoted Brent Scrowcroft saying in the podcast from FP comes to mind:

Those who know the president well suggest that George W. Bush’s decisiveness might be attributed, in part, to a higher power. Scowcroft was quoted late last year as saying, “It’s possible that the transformation came with 9/11, and the current president, who is a very religious person, thought that there was something unique if not divine about a catastrophe like 9/11 happening when he was president. That somehow that was meant to be, and his mission is to deal with the war on terrorism.” But, as Scowcroft also notes, the problem with absolutist beliefs “is that they can get you into traps in which the ends justify the means. It can be dangerous to believe that one’s motives are so noble that therefore anything we do becomes okay because we are doing it for a good cause.” The paradoxical implication is clear: From undercutting traditional relationships with allies to Abu Ghraib, the less moral ambiguity you have in your worldview, the more of it you can justify in your actions.

Another problem with this approach, according to Scowcroft, comes from the fact that “if you believe you are pursuing absolute good then it is a sin to depart from it.” Which means that absolutism either creates dangerous policy handcuffs or, alternatively, it leaves the United States open to charges of hypocrisy. “For example,” Scowcroft observes, “we advocate the export of democracy and yet we find ourselves embracing a number of leaders who are anything but democratic in order to advance other policies or even the spread of democracy elsewhere. You can not argue for absolutes and then practice pragmatism without opening yourself up to criticism.”

How can this go on? It's untenable. When Bush says the Lebanese people deserve to have free and fair elections in Lebanon, while at the same time occupying Baghdad...you cannot help but see how it smacks of hypocrisy. How free and fair was the election in Iraq? So, sure, he's correct to say that Lebanese should have free and fair elections. But so should Iraqis.


It should be done soon, but in a retracted fashion. Both America and Syria, leave your occupations behind. Make a plan. Then leave. I want a timetable from Syria and America to withdraw their forces from Lebanon and Iraq respectively.

Excuse my idealism.

As far as Hizb'allah goes...well, I'm afraid the popularity of Hizb'allah is a consequence of the misguided foreign policy America has been using in the past half-century (and more) in the Arab world. Yes, I'm blaming American foreign policy for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. And when evangelicals in the US are doing things like allowing for such disgusting displays of nationalism in the sanctuary of a holy place (I mean, they couldn't even leave the weapons behind?) -- like what we saw in the Baptist Church in Kentucky -- then a compounded hypocrisy prevails.

Religion and Politics should be separate. American foreign policy has got to change if there is to be any hope for a safe future and the preservation of liberty and freedom. Terrorism feeds terrorism. Until we realize there is such a thing as state terrorism, then we're only fooling ourselves. And when you fool yourself, you're only hurting yourself.

I am for a free Lebanon. I am for a free Iraq. I am for a free America.

Again, pardon my idealism.


Zoom OUT! 

Uncertainty thickens as 100,000 or more protest.

I saw some of the most ridiculous footage of people kissing a Hafez Al-Assad picture. I mean, the guy was practically slobering all over it. And the camera took such a tight shot of him. Ewwwww!!!

So, I heard people were using "Zoom Out!" to describe how these cameras were trying to capture the counter-demonstrators as being more in number than they actually were.

You know you're desparate when you're trying to pull off such BS tactics.

This can't hold. I feel better already. When Syria and the Puppet regime with Lahoud are making such mistakes, they are bound to lose.

Update: Um, nevermind. I don't feel better anymore.


Who to believe? 

"But Mr Fini said Calipari had made 'all the necessary contacts' with the US authorities before making the journey."

American news outfits are saying that Calipari did not make any contact with US authorities. Whereas now we have the Italian Foreign Minister saying they had made "all the necessary contacts" with them. Hm...who to believe?




Irakast #1 in .ogg vorbis format 

I realize the other file is kind of big, so I've put it in .ogg format here. The best ogg player out there is the open-source VLC player. Those of you unfamiliar with VLC, it can be used in all operating systems. And you can even play all types of video and all other types of audio with it...very useful. If you're patient enough to download it, then you won't regret it.

Also, I'm aware there are some portables that play .ogg format, like the iRiver. So here's the .ogg version of the first Irakast. I hope it's slightly enjoyable. I'll do much better next time!

Peace, Lim

Irakast 1, From Chinese Reggae to Flipping through FP

Show: 1.0
Length: 17:36
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 64

Size: 7MB



Irakast #1: Flippin' Through Foreign Policy 

So I've done my first real Irakast for your listening pleasure! Exciting! I have to warn you, it's a bit raw. I was like, screw it...I'm just gonna do it. The links below were not all discussed. But I hope to address the articles I left out in the next irakast. I promise to actually put a bit of thought into it next time (and make a smaller file). Although I get the drift that not really having a plan could be fun. As long as you like my intro then we're cool.

Irakast 1, From Chinese Reggae to Flipping through FP

Show: 1.0
Length: 17:36
Format: mp3
Bit rate: 128 kbs

Size: 16.5 mb

Here are the links for the "show" :

Peace out,

L to Da L

UPDATE: If you listen to .ogg vorbis format here's a 7MB version of the Irakast. I'll add it to the feed as well.


Another Scary Neocon "Yes Man" named US ambassador to the UN 

Neocon John Bolton is announced as the new US ambassador to the UN. Expect little change in US foreign policy in the next four years. This man is about as scary as they come. Please tell me what the hell is going on. "Isn't appointing John Bolton to the U.N. a little like appointing Dracula to a blood bank?"

Doesn't this image make your skin crawl?

"There's no such thing as the United Nations." - John Bolton, 1994, at a panel discussion spoonsered by World Federalist Association

"If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of a difference."
- John Bolton, same WFA panel

Oh, there's more:
Clearly, he's a man of internationalism.

Update: Note in the video that Jesse Helms, a member of the board of directors of the American Taliban, is quoted as saying about John Bolton on The Daily Show as..."The kind of man with whom I would want to stand at armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in the world."

When somebody like Helms says something so kind, it makes my tummy all warm and fuzzy.



Somebody sent me this image from Iraq. What? The body language of the people reading it says it all. It reads, "For an Iraq 'Free of Terrorists', we support the new Iraqi government's decision to rid the country of all 'Arabs'."



On perspectives... 

Robert Fisk's latest article: Is Lebanon walking into another nightmare? I haven't read it, but I'm afraid of what he might have to say. Because I've got more and more of a bad feeling about how things are developing. I haven't seen any of his stuff on robert-fisk.com in over a couple weeks. If anybody finds his last two articles, please direct me to it.

Many Arabic peoples expect the worst so that if something bad happens, we will not be surprised. Of course, it's best to have a more hope. Unfortunately, it's made more difficult if you're cursed with knowledge of history. Arabic peoples are the most manipulated people on the planet. At the same time, we're the most quarrelsome with ourselves.

Another thing: The oil is our curse. And if I could wish it to disappear beneath our lands, I would. We would all be living better lives now if there never was the oil.

Right now, I've got a bad feeling about Lebanon. As recently as three days ago, I felt positive about it. But something is wrong right now. And I've felt that for the past couple days...like there's a cloud-storm gathering above it. I could excuse it as the uncertainty of the political situation. But I feel a sort of deja-vuey forboding thing going on.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do.



Revamping Links, New Email 

In the process of revamping a bit, I was completely had by the shark photo. Turns out it was photo-shopped. Thanks to whomever found it out. You've gotta admit it's really hard to tell. Anyway...hahaha. When I come to think of it...it is pretty damn ridiculous.

Oh well, so, yeah I'm going to do a podkast now. The feed is here: . And my side-bar will have some welcome new sections. My new email (if you haven't seen it) is liminal DOT symbol AT gmail DOT com. Please reach me there.


Tom Tomorrow: Nothing to See Here 



Slavoj Zizek: The Not-So-Quiet American 

The Iraqi elections appear to authenticate the statement George W. Bush made in his January inauguration speech: “America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains or that women welcome humiliation and servitude.”It is difficult to disagree with Bush here: He effectively did touch the Achilles’ heel of many Western progressives, who were often disarmed by the one good argument, repeatedly evoked by Christopher Hitchens, for the war against Iraq: The majority of Iraqis were Saddam’s victims, and they would be really glad to get rid of him. He was such a catastrophe for his country that an American occupation in whatever form would be preferable to them in terms of daily survival and much lower levels of fear. We are not talking here of “bringing Western democracy to Iraq,” but of simply getting rid of the nightmare called Saddam. To this majority, the caution expressed by Western liberals can only appear deeply hypocritical—do they really care about how the Iraqi people feel?

Why, then, does the old story repeat itself in Iraq? America brings new hope and democracy to people, but instead of hailing the U.S. Army, the ungrateful people do not want it. They look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, and America then responds like a sullen child in reaction to the ingratitude of those it selflessly helped.

With the global American ideological offensive, the fundamental insight of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is more relevant than ever: We witness the resurgence of the figure of the “quiet American,” a naive, benevolent agent who sincerely wants to bring democracy and Western freedom. It is just that his intentions totally misfire, or, as Greene put it: “I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.”




Visit UnderMars at your own risk

Warning: This site is very very graphic


US Attack Against Italians in Baghdad was Deliberate: Companion 

this is interesting:

"The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming," Pier Scolari said on leaving Rome's Celio military hospital where Sgrena is to undergo surgery following her return home.

"They were 700 meters (yards) from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints."

"Giuliana had information, and the US military did not want her to survive," he added.

When Sgrena was kidnapped on February 4 she was writing an article on refugees from Fallujah seeking shelter at a Baghdad mosque after US forces bombed the former Sunni rebel stronghold.

Bush and Berlusconi will have the wrath of the Italian people after this debaucle. There will be fall-out from this event. I guarantee it.

Update: These are some really important articles via Crooks and Liars. First it has become apparent that there was no checkpoint and they don't know where the bullets came from. Let's wait and see what the investigators come up with, but I believe this is very significant. The important thing is that out of this tragedy some sort of protocol for accountability is born. I am aware of many many incidents where Iraqis have been killed in this manner and not a single investigation is launched. Now I hope this case gets needled to the point where whomever is responsible for this is taken to account and for there, again, to be some sort of manner to avoid senseless deaths as is the case with Italian special agent Nicola Calipari. Here are the summaries of several important articles from several different countries:

via Bloomberg: Sgrena told Rome prosecutors Franco Ionta and Pietro Saviotti that the shots didn't come from soldiers standing at a checkpoint.

`It wasn't a checkpoint, but a patrol that started shooting after pointing some lights in our direction,'' the Ansa news agency cited Sgrena as telling the prosecutors. ``We hadn't previously encountered any checkpoint and we didn't understand where the shots came from.'' ...

via Direland: Dramatic breaking news from Europe: the Nouvel Observateur 's daily news bulletin reports in a Saturday afternoon posting that Scregna says the conduct of the car in which she was being transported to liberty couldn't possibly justify the fusillade that riddled it and its occupants with bullets. "Our car was rolling along at normal speed, so it was impossible for there to have been a misunderstanding," Scregna told the Italian magistrates who've been charged with investigating the murderous incident, according to the Italian wire service Ansa-- which also says her account has been confirmed by one of the Italian secret service agents in the car with her, who was likewise wounded.

via Turkish Press: The companion of freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena on Saturday leveled serious accusations at US troops who fired at her convoy as it was nearing Baghdad airport, saying the shooting had been deliberate.

Again, another thank you to Crooks and Liars for letting me snatch their code to make this post quicker.



Iraki Podkast? 

I'll be Irakasting for you soon. This is just a test kast. You can subscribe to my feed by clicking on the XML button in the sidebar or right here...

If you just wanna pick up my podkast, just enter the following into any podcast aggregator like ipodder or doppler: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ShlonkomBakazay

Cut and paste baby!

You can then easily configure your aggregator to introduce the MP3s into iTunes, Windows Media Player, or another media player you may have...to then be uploaded to your handy portable player to take with you to the top of Mount Everest er somethin'. Isn't that special?

In the future, hit my Mainline if you want to get to the main link of that particular post or a direct link to the podkast for the day.

I'll be undergoing some changes. You'll understand as things develop.

Pass the humus,


Robert Parry weighs in at Consortium News 

Robert Parry notes quite clearly,

For a government that wraps its actions in moral absolutes about good versus evil, while deriding liberal relativism, the Bush administration may rank as the most committed in modern American history to an ends-justify-the-means ethos.

Indeed, to understand the administration’s neoconservative foreign policy, one must recognize how this moral framework works: First, it sets out worthy-sounding goals – freedom, democracy, security – and then it applies whatever tactics are deemed necessary – torture, murder, unprovoked invasions – along with an aggressive propaganda strategy at home.

Next, when events take a positive turn, the neoconservatives claim credit, even if they had only a minor role or the events were largely coincidental. Criticism of the bloody means is washed away by celebration of the virtuous ends. Mainstream commentators join in, cheering the neocons’ farsightedness. Those who opposed the original actions are pushed to the political margins.

After two years of bloody war in Iraq and 1,500 U.S. soldiers dead, the neocons have reached such a moment. They are claiming vindication because of several developments in the Middle East, including the Iraqi election, tentative progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and Lebanese demands for a full Syrian withdrawal.

Read rest here. Moment of vindication? I think not. No wonder the mention of Bin Laden. He grew the balls to say it again because suddenly (even though more and more people die), he's vindicated because of the Lebanese will? And of course he won't come out and say it, because it would undermine and injure Lebanese national pride in a time where he could gain political points off of this exact pride...although he has nothing whatsoever to do with events taking place in Lebanon. And I only wish Lebanon to succeed on its path to wrangle free of Syrian controls. But to score political points off of the emotions of Lebanon is just sickening to me.

Politics. What a sick game.


Bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. Did you know that? 

15 of the 19 hijackers of the 911 tragedy were Saudis, too. None were Iraqis. That's right. Zero, zilch were from Iraq. Did you know that?

Yet Saudi Arabia is a "close ally" of America. And while America wipes Saudi "royal" ass, it continues to churn out radical Islamic fundamentalists like no other country...even Iraq. Mr. Boosh's peoples are fascinated with Iraq so much that they continue spending billions of dollars destroying and rebuilding it at the same time as rebels continue to reek havoc making the jobs of Iraqis more and more difficult. This administration has had a catastrophic success in making Iraq into a fundie-jihadi magnet. And many Americans continue to believe Saudi Arabia is just one of our few "close allies" in the region like Hosni "Big Haz" Mobarak and Ariel "Reformed Violent Transmitter" Sharon.

Recently, Mr. Boosh had a renewed interest in Bin Laden. It even suprised Porter Goss, former self-proclaimed under-qualified Republican 'yes man' chair of the House Intelligence Cmt., the new head of the CIA. Well, I want the bastard--Osama that is--more than Bush or the VP Prince al-Idealogue bin Darkness does. I remember long ago when Mr. Boosh said that he didn't really think of Bin Laden any more. And many people still wonder about his dedication to address the Saudi question. Namely, of it being a country where something like 60-70 percent of the population is under 25. Did I mention that the economy there is shite and many of those young people don't have jobs? 2+2 equals Death and Destruction. Yet America will continue wiping Saudi "royal" ass and promoting the neocon-fantastical view of Middle Eastern relations. I argue Saudi Arabia was more of a threat than Iraq and the bastard Saddam before the most recent Iraq war and, sure enough, if we were not propping up some puppets there it would probably be run by Al Qaeda sympathizers today. Anyway, it's even more of a threat today and the occupation in Iraq is only adding seasoned jihadi war-veterans to the list of threats to face in the coming century. But we'll destroy Iraq to save it, won't we?

Now, Josef Joffe recently wrote an article for Foreign Policy that caused a lot of controversy: "A World Without Israel". I'm going to blog the latest edition of FP tonight I hope, which includes several reactions to Joffe's piece. (I'll add all the links later...maybe you know me by now.) Anyhow, I've become keenly interested in Saudi blogs. Just listen to what I have to say about one Saudi blogger that has stopped blogging and I'll fix up this post later.

One question: Does Israel contain more problems than it created/creates? Joffe argues exactly this in his article. It's an interesting piece and a fascinating slant, but I am not so sure. Anyway, I'll get to that later.

Now here's what Religious Police had to say about some "good news" in Saudi Arabia:

You may remember that on Saturday, our Muslim Affairs Minister, whose name escapes me for the moment but is really not worth remembering, announced that "the Saudi government ........have destroyed half of the terrorist force". Well, it gets even better. Prince Turki has now announced that "five out of six" terrorist cells have now been destroyed. That's an increase of 33.33% in just two days! Or 16.66% a day! On that basis, they'll all be destroyed by tomorrow (Tuesday)! Now isn't that Good News!

Don't believe me? Oh you miserable cynics. Have a look at this 5-minute BBC clip.

There! You heard him, didn't you? Very polished, wasn't it? Just a shame about the intense blinking when he's answered an awkward question. It looks like a very acute facial tic. It's a shame that when he did the course on "Broadcast Interview Technique for Leaders of Corrupt Arab States", he didn't do the optional module on "Controlling Body Language and Avoiding Involuntary Facial Movements that give away those little Porkie Pies". Obviously the reference to Pork put him off.

So that was the Good News. Now here's the Bad News. The Bad News is that the Good News is complete and utter Crap. The other Bad News is that Arabs don't like to give people Bad News, so we give them Good News instead, even if we lie about the Bad News. That way, everyone's happy....until they discover that the Good News is Bad News after all, then it's Bad News all round.

I hope that's clear for everyone.

What is clear to me is that even in the government, they haven't a clue about what they are fighting. They don't know the size of the external forces, and they don't know how much their own security forces have been penetrated. Apparently the US has offered to help. Well, with all due respect to our US allies, I don't think that Mr "Slam Dunk" and his CIA, fresh from their "WMD in Iraq" triumph, are going to be much help to us. To revert to my normal pessimistic gloom, I think we're up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

#1, I wonder whether the man or woman who wrote the above is still alive. #2, Is Mr. Boosh scared to "liberate" Saudi Arabia? I think it's a combination of being scared and having certain loyalties to the puppets in Saudi Arabia. What a schizoid state to be in, wouldn't you agree?

Whatever will we do with the Saudis?

More Saudi blogger action in the future...

Peace out,


What's wrong with Baghdad? 

One thing wrong, anyway...

Extremists are killing women's rights activists. I cannot begin to tell you--without wanting to punch a hole through several walls--how counter-productive this "liberation" has been for women in Iraq. And it looks like no matter what happens now will result in a step or two backwards for them. Grrrrrr...Read this story to become more familiar with all the madness they've had to and continue to endure.

Also, visit the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq.


Send Martha to Syria 

You know, maybe she could give Bashar a hand fixing up the place while he plans for his withdrawal of Lebanon. Anyway she got twice as rich behind bars and she deserves to be humbled a bit. She can press the sheets for 14,000+ Syrian armed forces and intelligence as a part the house arrest portion of her sentence. Yes, send Martha to Syria! Plus, look, the Syrian army wants her.

Don't you think that's a brilliant idea? I know, I know...I'm full of them!

I'm saving Bashar's face.
If we don't want violence in Lebanon and beyond, I'm afraid we'll have to help him do that...
...Near-Eastern politics. If you don't do some face-saving, you might get shot. Unfortunately, that's the way it works. It will be a long time before that changes.


Real Stupid, Real Ridiculous 

You know something is very wrong when I side with Silvio Berlusconi. What the hell happened??? Are they going to be able to get out of prosecution of who ever killed the Italian secret service agent, Nicola Calipari, like they are with the hundreds of innocent Iraqis that have probably died in a similar fashion? What's the excuse this time gentlemen? If you don't pay for this one, Italy's not going to be so willing. Not that Italians are now anyway...


"Jeff Gannon," male prostitute and veteran White House reporter has a blog 

You've gotta check it out. Unbelievable. This thing is getting stranger and stranger. [via Crooks and Liars]



The Lebanese "Book'rah" Disease 

Lebanon is a Mediterranean society on Mediterranean time. There's a slower pace to life, even in Beirut...excluding the wonderful driving conditions. I love driving in Lebanon, and in Beirut especially. It's like a video game. Or like being a horse...How could I possibly describe it better?

Anyway, everything else in Lebanon seems to go much slower. And yes, people (including myself) are prone to ignore getting certain things done because of the impeccable weather and reasons such as the previous post. I call it the "Book'rah" disease. It's easy to get distracted. But I suggest President Emile Lahoud and others in the standing parliament not get distracted to what they are facing like this article suggests. "Pro-Syrian sections in Lebanon have called for the formation of a government of national unity, ignoring a list of tough conditions set by the opposition for the future of the country." They seem to be saying "book'rah" (meaning "tomorrow" in Arabic) to the Cedars Revolution. And that's just not good enough for the Lebanese.

They better not ignore the fact that the previous government has resigned and there are demands to be met. Personally, I wish Lahoud would step down as well. He's finished in Lebanon as far as I'm concerned. But let's see. I want the Lebanese people to make him their puppet if he does stay. Let's see. Let's see...But don't ignore the opposition. You'd be poorly advised to do so.


2 reasons to love Lebanon: THE WOMEN and THE WOMEN, of course! 

#1: My Mother's from Beirut! Here's a picture of her min zamaan in Egypt. This is a pictoral respresentation of Lebanese female attitude, full throttle. For those of you livin' in the west...if you want to understand a different kind of feminism, try to understand Lebanese women if you dare. My grandmother is a proto-feminist. And my mother is version 2.o!

#2, because Lebanese women are fascinating to look at and you better listen to them or they'll kick your ass! It's never boring with Lebanese women, to say the very least. And so, here's another reason to love Lebanon...she lives there.

Okay guys, stop drooling. So, this is a tribute to all the women of Lebanon. You're hot...real real hot. But I love you for much more than that!

2 reasons to love Iraq is the next tribute to women I will have up soon enough. Beware: They're extremely hot, too. My oh my!




Caravaggio Exhibit: Now in London 

the caravaggio exhibit is now in london. thankfully, the guardian online edition of G2 was given as an demo on february 17, the day there was a feature about the exhibit. Here are some wonderful illustrated .pdf's of the article that include amazing images. remember, zoom to read. if you're not in london you'll want to check this article out. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9



Question time 

Is it not both hypocritical and un-Christian to be a supporter of war and pro-death penalty?

It just came to my mind after the Supreme Court's decision today to throw out the death sentences for about 70 minors.

Update: Because I wanted to ask that once again.


ALL EYEZ ON YOU: Assad says Syrian pullout soon 

From a TIME interview [via Aljazeera], Bashar Al-Assad says he's going to pull-out of Lebanon in a few months. "The withdrawal should be very soon and maybe in the next few months. Not after that." Well, that's Bashar speaking. And I'm sorry, it's never been him that I'm concerned about. He's impotent compared to his father's unabashed brutality. His father was the truly sick dictator. Bashar's always been the awkward, shy, understated, educated and westernized son. It's the top-to-bottom strong mafia outfit his father left in his wake that are still the issue. The corruption and dirty quality of Syria's political landscape is unmatched in the region. Before the Gulf War of 1991, Saddam's dictatorship was a considerably clean one. Meaning, he only allowed a few people (his family usually) to have a monopoly on power. In Syria, it's the opposite. There is a very intricate web of people of all walks of life policing everybody on a daily basis there. And the people on the lowest rungs can knock off people on the highest rungs. Syria's like the Soprano's of the Near East. Anything can happen. The intelligence infrastructure is the most menacing aspect of Syrian society and has managed to maintain a strangle-hold on free-expression. Ironically, it is the safest safe-haven for Christians in all the near-east with some of the oldest and most important churches in my family's faith of Assyrian Orthodoxy. That aside, will those extremely corrupt figures forming a tight-noose around the fabric of civil life in Syria really let him issue a pull-out of Lebanon? I am skeptical. But let's see how this happens. A few months??? Well, they definitely have to leave now. But how? I really wonder what's going to happen next. It is make or break time for Lebanon. I am more positive than Angry Arab and less positive than those bloggers on the right singing the praises and only the praises of the Cedars Uprising. When people do not see the slightest possibility for something terrible to come out of this, then they are clueless. Because they don't know anything about Lebanon by this very amateur conclusion that this is only a good development. Of course it's good!!! IT'S AMAZING, in fact! But we need to be careful and not take this opportunity for granted. We must not allow Lebanon slip into mindless sectarian violence again. Any movement in a violent direction would be bad for everybody in the region and the world at large. I only hope this is how most of the important players see matters. Unfortunately, that's probably not the case. And it's precisely what I'm concerned about.


On habeas corpus ad subjiciendum: Is the constitution still working? 

According to this, we will find out soon. American hypocrisy when it comes to matters of democracy will either be confirmed, delayed, or rejected in the decision of Jose Padilla. After more than 2 1/2 years of detention, will he get a fair trial or be released? Or will he be unlawfully detained for longer by virtue of some new suspension of this right? This is in America where the writ of habeas corpus is celebrated as the most efficient safeguard of the liberty of an individual. Meeting with Putin and making claims about the lack of democracy and free press in Russia rings hollow if you cannot ensure the liberty of your own citizens.

l to the l

Addendum: Thank you Maureen Dowd for saying this on Meet the Press. [via Crooks and Liars]


Trio of Papers Pull Today's 'Boondocks' Referring to Bush and Drugs 

But here it is for you. Censorship, classic Bush administration style. [via FREEwilliamsburg]

click pic to hear Bush admitting to it. (quicktime)


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