31.12.02

Rumsfeld 'offered help to Saddam'

Declassified papers leave the White House hawk exposed over his role during the Iran-Iraq war

Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday December 31, 2002
The Guardian

The Reagan administration and its special Middle East envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, did little to stop Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction in the 1980s, even though they knew Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons "almost daily" against Iran, it was reported yesterday.

US support for Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war as a bulwark against Shi'ite militancy has been well known for some time, but using declassified government documents, the Washington Post provided new details yesterday about Mr Rumsfeld's role, and about the extent of the Reagan administration's knowledge of the use of chemical weapons.

The details will embarrass Mr Rumsfeld, who as defence secretary in the Bush administration is one of the leading hawks on Iraq, frequently denouncing it for its past use of such weapons.

The US provided less conventional military equipment than British or German companies but it did allow the export of biological agents, including anthrax; vital ingredients for chemical weapons; and cluster bombs sold by a CIA front organisation in Chile, the report says.

Intelligence on Iranian troop movements was provided, despite detailed knowledge of Iraq's use of nerve gas.

Rick Francona, an ex-army intelligence lieutenant-colonel who served in the US embassy in Baghdad in 1987 and 1988, told the Guardian: "We believed the Iraqis were using mustard gas all through the war, but that was not as sinister as nerve gas.

"They started using tabun [a nerve gas] as early as '83 or '84, but in a very limited way. They were probably figuring out how to use it. And in '88, they developed sarin."

On November 1 1983, the secretary of state, George Shultz, was passed intelligence reports of "almost daily use of CW [chemical weapons]" by Iraq.

However, 25 days later, Ronald Reagan signed a secret order instructing the administration to do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq losing the war.

In December Mr Rumsfeld, hired by President Reagan to serve as a Middle East troubleshooter, met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and passed on the US willingness to help his regime and restore full diplomatic relations.

Mr Rumsfeld has said that he "cautioned" the Iraqi leader against using banned weapons. But there was no mention of such a warning in state department notes of the meeting.

Howard Teicher, an Iraq specialist in the Reagan White House, testified in a 1995 affidavit that the then CIA director, William Casey, used a Chilean firm, Cardoen, to send cluster bombs to use against Iran's "human wave" attacks.

A 1994 congressional inquiry also found that dozens of biological agents, including various strains of anthrax, had been shipped to Iraq by US companies, under licence from the commerce department.

Furthermore, in 1988, the Dow Chemical company sold $1.5m-worth (£930,000) of pesticides to Iraq despite suspicions they would be used for chemical warfare.

The only occasion that Iraq's use of banned weapons seems to have worried the Reagan administration came in 1988, after Lt Col Francona toured the battlefield on the al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq and reported signs of sarin gas.

"When I was walking around I saw atropine injectors lying around. We saw decontamination fluid on vehicles, there were no insects," said Mr Francona, who has written a book on shifting US policy to Iraq titled Ally to Adversary. "There was a very quick response from Washington saying, 'Let's stop our cooperation' but it didn't last long - just weeks."

30.12.02

Human Rights Week 2002
By Noam Chomsky

Human Rights Week is not much of an occasion in the US, with some
notable qualifications. But it does receive considerable attention
elsewhere. For me personally, Human Rights Week 2002 was memorable and
poignant. The week opened on the eve of Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, at
St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where thousands of people gathered to
celebrate -- though that may not be quite the right word -- the tenth
anniversary of the Kurdish Human Rights Project KHRP, which has done
outstanding work on some of the most serious human rights issues of the
decade: particularly, but not only, the US-backed terrorist campaigns of
the Turkish state that rank among the most terrible crimes of the grisly
1990s, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions driven from the
devastated countryside, with every imaginable form of barbaric torture.
The week ended for me in Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, the
semi-official capital of the Kurdish region, teeming with refugees
living in squalor, barred from returning to what is left of their
villages, even though new legislation theoretically allows that choice.

I had been invited to Diyarbakir by the Human Rights Association, which
does courageous and impressive work under conditions of constant serious
threat. The preceding days I spent in Istanbul at the invitation of the
Publishers Association, which was holding its annual meeting and an
international book fair, dedicated to peace and freedom; and the public
sector union KESK (not permitted to function as a union under harsh laws
and state practice), which was holding an international symposium on the
same themes. While in Istanbul, I was able to visit the miserable slums
where unknown numbers of Kurdish refugees seek to survive the damp cold
winter months in decaying condemned buildings: large families may be
crammed into a single room with young children virtually imprisoned
unable to venture into the dangerous alleyways outside, and older
children working in illegal factories to help keep the family alive.
They too are effectively barred from returning to the homes from which
they were expelled, despite the new legislation that lifts the state of
emergency in southeastern Turkey -- formally, at least.

The founder and director of the KHRP is also barred from returning to
his country. And just to round out the picture, the US is now refusing
entry to human rights activists recording and protesting these crimes. A
few weeks ago Dr. Haluk Gerger, a leading figure in the Turkish human
rights movement, arrived with his wife at a New York airport. INS
cancelled his 10-year visa, returning him and his wife at once after
fingerprinting and photographing. Dr. Gerger has received awards from
Human Rights Watch and the American Association for the Advancement of
Science for his outstanding contributions to human rights; his
punishment by the Turkish authorities had been singled out by the State
Department as an example of Turkey's failure to protect elementary
rights. In an open letter to the US Ambassador, the spokesperson of the
Freedom of Speech Initiative in Istanbul, protesting this treatment,
writes that Dr. Gerger is "a founding member of the Human Rights
Association of Turkey" and "an ardent defender of Kurdish rights," who
"has written extensively on the issue and has criticized governmental
policies," likening "the Turkish government's treatment of the Kurds to
Serbia's ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia," and suffering
imprisonment and heavy fines as well as loss of his academic position
for his writings on human rights issues.

Colin Powell's State Department has now declared him persona non grata
in the United States, adopting the stand of extremist elements in the
Turkish military and ultranationalist parties.

The Turkish state, with the hand of the military never hidden, remains
harsh and repressive, despite some encouraging changes in recent months.
But even superficial contact reveals that Turkish culture and society
are free and vibrant in ways that should be a model for the West.
Particularly striking is the spirit of resistance that one senses at
once, from the caves outside the city walls of Diyarbakir where refugees
speak eloquently of their yearning to return to their homes to the urban
centers of intellectual life.

The struggle of people of Turkey for freedom and human rights is truly
inspiring, not only because of the depth of commitment but also because
it seems so natural and without pretense, just a normal part of life,
despite the severe threats that are never remote. That includes
courageous writers of international renown like Yashar Kemal; scholars
who have faced and endured severe punishment for their commitment to
tell the truth, like Ismail Besikci, who has spent much of his life in
prison for his writings on state terror in Turkey; parliamentarians like
Layla Zana, still languishing in prison, serving a 15 year sentence for
expressing in her native language her hope that "Kurdish and Turkish
people can live peacefully together in a democratic framework"; and many
others like them, from all walks of life. They are of course unknown in
the US, much like the Latin American intellectuals assassinated by US
proxy forces, not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of usual victims
-- "unworthy victims," in Edward Herman's phrase, because they suffer at
the wrong hands: ours.

Dr. Besikci refused a $10,000 prize from the US Fund for Free Expression
in protest against Washington's decisive contribution to terror in
Turkey, primarily in the Clinton years, when the US provided 80% of
Turkey's arms and Turkey became the leading recipient of US arms
(Israel-Egypt aside) as criminal atrocities escalated. In the single
year 1997 alone, US arms flow to Turkey exceeded the combined total for
the entire Cold War period up to the onset of the state terror campaign;
or as it is called in State Department reports on terror, and in the
press, the "successful counter-terror" campaign for which Turkey is to
be praised and rewarded. That practice accords with the standard
doctrine, by no means unique to the US, that "terror" is what THEY do to
US, and "counter-terror" is what WE do to THEM, commonly much worse, and
only occasionally retaliation, not that it would be tolerable in that
case.

Privileged people in the West should feel humility and shame when
observing the courage and integrity of those who live under draconian
laws and brutal repression and terror, in no small measure thanks to
Western support, and not only condemn the abuses and defend the victims
but regularly carry out acts of civil disobedience in protest, at severe
risk. They should also feel shame that the KHRP operates in London, not
New York, where it belongs, given the locus of responsibility for the
crimes. The British record is not attractive, but the primary
responsibility, by far, lies here. There is in fact a major Kurdish
Center in New York, with many activities and important and highly
informative publications (Center for Research of the Kurdish Library,
Brooklyn, Vera Saaedpour, director). Its anniversary, however, would not
bring together thousands of people in New York. It is known only to
those who are concerned with human rights -- seriously concerned, that
is, as shown by their attitude to their own crimes. It is far more
gratifying to wring one's hands over the crimes of others that we can do
little about, or perhaps to contemplate the strange flaw in our
character that keeps us from responding to the crimes of others in some
proper way (rarely spelled out beyond bold and often mindless
declarations). In sharp contrast, the crimes that we could easily bring
to an end merely by withdrawing our decisive participation must be
buried deep in the memory hole.

Uppermost in everyone's minds from London to Diyarbakir and beyond is
the feverish determination of the Bush administration to find a pretext
for what it believes will be a cheap and politically useful war in Iraq,
with Blair trailing loyally behind. In Turkey, popular opposition to the
coming war is overwhelming. Much the same is true throughout the region,
and in most of Europe and the rest of the world as well. Poll results
for the US look different, but that is misleading. It can hardly escape
notice that although Saddam Hussein is reviled everywhere, it is only in
the US that people are genuinely afraid that if we don't stop him today,
he'll kill us tomorrow.

Engendering such fears is second nature to the re-cycled Reaganites at
the helm in Washington. Throughout the 1980s they were able to ram
through their reactionary agenda, significantly harming the population,
by maintaining a constant state of fear. Twenty years ago Libyan hit-men
were wandering the streets of Washington to assassinate our leader. Then
the Russians were going to bomb us from an air base in Grenada (if they
could find it on a map). Meanwhile the awesome Sandinista army was
poised only two days marching time from Harlingen Texas, a "dagger
pointed at the heart of Texas." And on through the decade. To determine
a meaningful measure of domestic support for the coming war, it would be
necessary to extricate the fear factor, unique to the US. The results
would probably show little difference from the rest of the world.

There is no historical precedent for such enormous popular opposition to
a war, and protest against it, before it is even launched (fully
launched, to be more accurate).

In the Kurdish areas the general opposition to war is heightened by
concern over the consequences for the Kurds. The neighboring countries
are likely to intensify domestic repression in the context of war.
Similar concerns extend to Kurds elsewhere, including the 4 million who,
for the moment, have achieved unusual progress in the northern enclaves
of Iraq under the uneasy alliance of Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani.
Apart from their vulnerability to murderous Iraqi assault in the event
of war, and the anticipated Turkish reaction if there is any hint of a
move towards meaningful autonomy, more than half are reported to be
reliant for survival on the UN "Oil for Food" program, likely to be
severely disrupted in the event of war. "Free Kurdistan is like a huge
refugee camp," one Kurdish leader commented, dependent on UN-run
programs for food and on Baghdad for fuel and power. The UN High
Commissioner for Refugees is planning for possible flight of hundreds of
thousands to neighboring countries, where they are not likely to receive
a warm welcome, and where the prospects for the indigenous Kurdish
populations are sufficiently grim even without what might lie ahead --
or perhaps to camps in northern Iraq that are being constructed by the
Turkish army there, according to Turkish sources, a development with
threatening portent.

I mentioned a qualification to the lack of attention to Human Right Week
here: namely, when human rights violations can be exploited as a weapon
against some official enemy, a practice that Amnesty International has
bitterly deplored, again in the past few months. Through the 1980s,
Human Rights Day was the occasion for impassioned denunciations of the
Soviet Union, technically accurate but with extreme cynicism that
utterly resists exposure. Human Rights Day 2002 was the occasion for the
release by the Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary, of a Dossier on
Saddam Hussein's crimes -- accelerated by a few days, as part of the
US-UK effort to elicit some hostile Iraqi gesture prior to the crucial
Dec. 8 deadline for Iraq's submission of documents on its weapons of
mass destruction (WMD). The Dossier was authentic, drawn mostly from
reports of human rights organizations on Saddam's horrendous atrocities
through the 1980s. Unmentioned, as usual, was the fact that these
shocking crimes were of no concern to the US or UK, which continued to
provide their friend Saddam with aid, including means to develop WMD at
a time when he was vastly more dangerous than today.

In the US, those responsible are now again in office, and instructions
are that we are to disregard the criminal record for which they show not
the slightest contrition. The current British government was then in
opposition, but as journalist Mark Thomas revealed, parliamentary
protests against Saddam's crimes from 1988 through the 90s are missing a
few names: Blair, Straw, Cook, Hoon,.., that is, the leading figures of
the governing party. Thomas also released a letter demonstrating that
Straw's discovery of Saddam Hussein's evil nature is quite recent. In
January 2001, as Home Secretary, it was his responsibility to rule on
pleas for political asylum. He rejected the appeal of an Iraqi who had
been detained and tortured in Iraq because the "wide range of
information on Iraq" that Straw had at his disposal made it clear that
the Iraqi tyrant's courts would not "convict and sentence a person"
improperly, and "if there are any charges outstanding against you and if
they were to be proceeded with on your return, you could expect to
receive a fair trial under an independent and properly constituted
judiciary."

But something changed since January 2001, and the crimes that were of no
account shock our sensibilities and require war. And we are all supposed
to observe this performance with sober approval, if not awe.

I also mentioned that in 1997, US arms flow to Turkey exceeded the
combined total for the Cold War years as state terror mounted to levels
far beyond anything attributed to Milosevic in Kosovo before the NATO
bombing, which was undertaken, we were solemnly informed, because we are
so high-minded that we cannot tolerate crimes so near the borders of
NATO -- only within NATO, where we must not only tolerate but expedite
them. 1997 was an important year for the human rights movements in other
ways as well. It was the year when the world's leading newspaper
informed its readers that US foreign policy had entered a "noble phase,"
with a "saintly glow." It was also the year when US military aid to
Colombia skyrocketed, increasing from $50 million to $290 million by
1999, then doubling by 2001 and still increasing. In 1999, Turkey
relinquished to Colombia its place as leading recipient of US arms. The
reason is not hard to discern: Turkish state terror was by then a
success, Colombia's was not. Through the 1990s, Colombia had by far the
worst human rights record in the Western hemisphere, and was by far the
leading recipient of US arms and military training, a correlation that
is well-established and would be of no slight concern if it were known
outside of scholarship and dissident circles.

Turkey and Colombia share other common features. Each has several
million people violently displaced; 2.7 million by now in Colombia,
increasing at the rate of 1000 a day, according to the latest reports of
the leading human rights organization. These are the numbers internally
displaced, not counting those who have fled elsewhere. And Colombia,
like Turkey, provides a model of courageous resistance that should be
observed with shame and humility by privileged Westerners --
particularly those who labor to suppress the continuing atrocities and
terror for which we bear responsibility, to efface the disgraceful
record of the past, and to erect firm barriers against the threat of
exposure of crimes that the general population would not tolerate, were
the barriers to be breached.

28.12.02




December 2002

Number of names on the State Department's list of "suspected terrorists" : 70,000

Number of times George W. Bush has said Osama bin Laden's name in public since July 8 : 0

Hours after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld learned Bin Laden was a suspect that he sought reasons to "hit" Iraq : 2.5

Percentage by which the Pentagon's September order for sunblock exceeded its last largest such order : 70

Rank of Israel and Turkey among nations in violation of the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions : 1, 2

Number of Kurdish members of Turkey's parliament jailed in 1994 when their party was declared illegal there : 7

Number still in prison : 4

Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes : 1,146

Organizers' estimated attendance at this fall's largest peace rallies in London and New York, respectively : 400,000, 25,000

Estimated attendance according to police in each city : 150,000, 12,000

Number of estimates cited in each rally's coverage in the London Times and the New York Times, respectively : 2, 0

Minutes that service on two New York subway lines was halted this fall after a Sikh worker was seen emerging from a hatch : 92

Amount Colombia paid civilians for informing on rebels in its first five weeks of recruiting this year : $340,000

Percentage of the 223 trade unionists reported murdered or missing worldwide last year who worked in Colombia : 88

Number of "sub-harm" suicide "gestures" made this year by detainees held at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay : 30

Minimum number of times the United States has deployed troops abroad in its 226-year history : 277

Number of days that the CIA's museum is open to the public each year : 0

Number of countries that use the U.S. dollar as currency : 10

Number of other countries whose currency is effectively pegged to the dollar : 34

Ratio of the annual tariffs that developed nations impose on one another to those they impose on developing nations : 1:4

Minimum percentage change since last year in Afghanistan's opium production : +1,000

Pounds of weapons-grade uranium reported to have been seized in September from a taxi in Turkey : 33

Ounces of black sand that the container--labeled "primarily youranuom"--actually contained : 0.2

Factor by which the cruising speed of NASA's new hypersonic cruise-missile engine exceeds that of previous missiles : 9.5

Percentage by which the speed of light has decreased in the last 20 billion years, according to Australian scientists : 0.0007

Average number of miles by which the magnetic North Pole moves each year : 25

Year in which the ozone hole over Antarctica is expected to close as a result of reduced chlorofluorocarbon use : 2050

Percentage change since 1980 in the per-watt cost of solar energy in the United States : �87

Days it takes an adult in Los Angeles to breathe in more air pollution than EPA guidelines recommend for a lifetime : 25

Average number of people killed per week by a sniper operating in suburban Maryland and Virginia this fall : 3

Average number of homicides per week during the same period in Washington, D.C. : 7

Percentage of Americans surveyed who say they refused to participate in a survey during the past year : 44

Percentage of those contacted for this survey who refused to participate in it : 60

Fee that Sprint PCS charges its "credit-challenged" customers each time they speak with a live representative : $3

Chances of getting a hotel room in Bethlehem on Christmas in 2000 and 2001, respectively : 0, 9 in 10

Chance that a Bethlehem hotel expects to be open this Christmas : 1 in 5

Rank of a burning Yule-log video loop among the top-rated 8-10 a.m. TV shows in New York City last Christmas : 1

Price of a child's personal ATM from FAO Schwarz last year : $20,000

Chances that a child fed "booger"-flavored jelly beans at a trade show this fall said they tasted like the real thing : 4 in 5

27.12.02

How is Monsieur Le Dorneur doing by the way? Get us a lil' update Felipe...!
This quantonics site actually has a nice assembly of subjects, check out the links on there. Can't escape its conciliatory feel...

"What's missed in Washington is that many South Koreans are more afraid of the Bush Administration than Pyongyang."

An administration that has been truly misunderestimated! An article from my journalist friend from Bloomberg. Very good.

Kids Are Alright in Korea -- the Economy Too: William Pesek Jr.
2002-12-26 00:47 (New York)

Kids Are Alright in Korea -- the Economy Too: William Pesek Jr.

(Commentary. William Pesek Jr. is a columnist for Bloomberg
News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Seoul, Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Dressed in trendy black duds
and puffing on a cigarette in a downtown pub, Kim Jae Young hardly
seems like a force in South Korean politics. But Korea Inc.
received a thunderous wake-up call from the 34-year-old and people
just like him.
``It's my generation, people my age, who are shaking up
Korea,'' explains the nightclub promoter.
Kim's generation is known as 386. They're in their 30s, went
to college in the 1980s and were born in the 1960s. Korea's answer
to Generation X sent a resounding signal in last week's election
to the older generation of men who run South Korea. It was that
the old ways of doing things are finished and the country needs to
look forward, not backward.
This point has been missed by much of the foreign media. The
impression overseas is that Roh Moo Hyun rode a wave of anti-
American sentiment to victory. That the acquittal of two U.S.
servicemen in the deaths of two Korean girls decided a national
election. In reality, Roh won because his pledge to ``break the
old political paradigm'' resonated with thirty-something Koreans.
The power shift from older Koreans to younger ones has never
been more apparent. It used to be that South Korean elections were
decided by region; the south would support certain candidates,
while the north might favor others, and so on. Last week, though,
it was the under-40 crowd that delivered liberal Roh, while those
over 40 tended to favor conservative Lee Hoi Chang.

Roh's Appeal

Roh appeals to younger Koreans because he wants (a) to
continue reforming Asia's fourth biggest economy (b) to put their
nation on more equal footing with others, and (c) favors engaging
North Korea, rather than isolating it further. In short, Roh
personified the break with tradition many young Koreans desire.
More than anything else, last week's election seemed a
referendum on the North Korea question. Older Koreans gravitated
toward Lee's harder line on Pyongyang, which put Seoul and
Washington on the same diplomatic page. Large blocks of the under-
40 crowd favors engagement with the north. And here, younger
Koreans seem to be thinking more realistically.
There are basically three ways to deal with North Korea, none
particularly appealing: Negotiate with Pyongyang, ignore it, or
launch military strikes at its nuclear reactors. The latter two,
let's face it, are losing strategies. Ignoring North Korea at one
moment and provoking it the next have only escalated the crisis in
North Asia.

Three Options

Dealing with Pyongyang may be unpalatable, but it's the least
worst of the three options. Younger Koreans understand that, even
if older ones see things differently. The recent rise in anti-
American sentiment reflects the Bush Administration's clumsy
forays onto the Korean Peninsula. Two girls accidentally killed by
an armored U.S. vehicle may have boosted Koreans' anger toward
Washington, but hardly caused it.
Koreans still fume over President George W. Bush's ``axis of
evil'' comment and how his administration's Cold Warriors set back
years of progress on diplomatic and economic ties between north
and south. What's missed in Washington is that many South Koreans
are more afraid of the Bush Administration than Pyongyang.
Older voters are understandably reluctant to trust the
instincts of a generation some see as na‹ve and too idealistic.
After all, 386ers learned about hardships like the Korean War in
classrooms. They also know less about poverty than the over-50
crowd. Sure, the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis hit Korea hard,
but the economy recovered within a few years.

Less Confucian

The credit-card culture of younger Koreans also irks their
parents and grandparents. The younger generation is far less
Confucian about economic and social decisions than older ones. The
386ers are active consumers and decidedly hip to the latest
fashions and trends flowing from New York, Paris and Tokyo.
They're enthusiastic world travelers.
Last week's election also took place in a vastly different
environment than 1997. That contest came at a time of desperation,
hardship and disillusionment. The latest one arrived at a time
when South Korea's economy is growing faster than 6 percent.
Economists also are calling on Japan, South Korea's traditional
rival, to restructure its economy to look more like South Korea's.
Younger South Koreans feel empowered by their nation's
economic successes in recent years. And in a sense, that's what
the country needs. South Korea's is a tale of three economies: the
macro-economy, the micro-economy and the one that consumers feel
in their gut. Outgoing President Kim Dae Jung's economic team did
much soul-searching about the third level, the Korean mindset.

Pessimism

South Koreans, some senior policy makers believe, remain more
pessimistic about their prospects than perhaps they should.
Spending time chatting up shop owners, business people, economists
and random people on the street corroborates this view. Folks here
have fewer nice things to say about their economy than you'd
expect given that it's one of the world's strongest.
Uncertainty surrounding North Korea feeds into all this.
Concerns that Roh will be too accommodating toward Pyongyang
shouldn't be ignored, but they also shouldn't stop Seoul from
favoring diplomacy over isolation. Ignoring North Korea and
halting financial assistance will only provoke Pyongyang further.
Finding a more realistic path will be good for South Korea's
economy, and the nation's future.

--William Pesek Jr. in Seoul at wpesek@bloomberg.net, or through
the Tokyo newsroom at (813) 3201-7570. Editor: Olsen, *Tan.


26.12.02

Oh yes, and merry nonsense to you too! Let us all show our true love for each other by buying really expensive presents. Let us halt our daily activities once a year in order to reflect on true human values and spend some real time and energy in consuming lots of unnecessary goods and wasting lots of money, whilst the rest of this world is rotting away in poverty!

And let us also not forget the thousands of accountants, working hard to bend the numbers in the right direction for this fiscal year! They are the true and unsung heroes of this world!

Christ will come again! (Sure this isn't a hidden threat?)
Parecon, yes! The corporate hierarchies and totalitarian one-way flow of information within the capitalist machinery reflects our state of affairs only too well. What is most worrying is that even this two-class split of corporate society into executives and employees seems to be tied to extensive class reproduction, at least in most parts of this world. To even attribute the word 'free' when describing our market economy is heretic as far as I can see, surely this can only apply when there is equal ownership of productive means by ALL participants. Or am I missing something here? (maybe I'm forgetting that most economic jargon only applies when within and swallowed by a Fortune 500...). Nobody seems to realize that by talking about the 'top 10%' you're implicitly talking about the 'bottom 90%', which, although fully inclusive of the other, throws a slightly darker light on the ratio.

What it comes down to is the source of individual pain, Jesus, we make blue collar workers believe they have to swat around because they're too stupid to wear a tie! This is plain non-sense. We give them stupid media, disinformation - essentially brainwashing them into distorted personalities. Just look at all those employees. These people are hardly leading authentic lives for themselves! How can you not have a distorted mind when in an unenlightened situation? I'm sure that anyone with an average IQ could run any corporation if given the necessary information and tools. It's not as if the average Harvard MBA has any clue about how to run things anyway (not that this would be a necessary factor for success in an unjust, protectionist and monopolistic market with 60% operational margins). We're not even good at what we're doing... How inefficiently do we want to run this world? We essentially throw 90% of human potential down the drain... s'cuse me, I know it sounds stupid, but we have space waiting to be colonized. This is in fact a totally acute need within the next coupla hundred years - why this isn't largely talked about and sought after I don't quite understand (the US probably concluded in the mid-seventies that there's no oil on the moon, hence they ditched the Apollo programme). In any case, how are we going to colonize anything, or even maintain life on earth at the current rate, if our society only produces 1 genius for every possible 10? Or is that all that's needed in order to build anti-ballistic missile shields (which don't seem to work anyway - every test has failed so far)? We are after all doubling the world population at quite an alarming rate and I think it will require some other technologies than that in order to maintain a life without devastation... Just think 50 years down the line guys, do you know just how many people will be living on this planet (and you guys might just belong to a white minority (you already are a minority race in fact) - the last white men...)? Compare with current resource flow and statistics - scary. A white minority controlling the world? Is that where the US is heading?

Improperly understood within anti-communism, that's exactly what happened. We're all brainwashed essentially ('democracy' - just listen to the sound of it... say it out aloud. No way). We should stop using the word until the time comes.





BTW, merry christmas to you all. For christmas, speaking on behalf of the world, please santa, please give us some more liberal Americans - the fate of the world is dependant on them.

SJ

25.12.02

honestly, the way I'm feeling now, I could knife a yank with no regrets. Just get the fuck out of my country... as a vote holders, I consider all yanks to bear, no matter how small, a part of the blame for unleashing these indescribably evil politicians to the rest of the world. Thank you, we wish you many a 9-11s in the new year. Man, does any of you know how I could financially sponsor Al-Qaeda?

SJ

24.12.02

have to agree with you mike. what would be really radical would not so much be a change of ideology per se but an honest implementation of the rhetoric of democracy - i.e. genuinely participatory democracy (read the znet bit on PARECON, participatory economics?). if we take distributive outcomes seriously and what a (genuine) commitment to human rights (in particular equality) means in relation to that then we have some fairly obvious problems that need to be addressed.

we need to recapture the language; need to return meaning to utterances!

e.g. rumsfeld today calling for death to north korea re the nuclear deal (sure you're all familiar with details). firstly the "crises" was manufactured by the US oil blockade (forcing the koreans to seek alternative power sources) and secondly rumsfeld (as a director of ABB engineering) sold NK the reactor parts in the first instance.

WHY IS THIS NOT REPORTED EVERYTIME THIS STORY IS MENTIONED???

lying piece of shit....
The WSF and a "Movement of Movements"

By Michael Albert

>From Korea to India, from South Africa to the U.S., and from
Brazil/Venezuela/Argentina/Colombia to Italy and Russia, diverse
struggles with varied approaches are growing rapidly:

* Incredibly vast antiwar activism exists months before war.
* Anti-corporate globalization activism grows worldwide.
* Racial discrimination, water rights, immigration, modified
foods,
starvation, dams, homelessness, pollution, land rights, low
wages,
third world debt, and much more is fought, worldwide.
* Electoral victories small and large are being won, as well.

Reactionaries aggravate hierarchical racial, sexual, political, and
class relations. Rich and powerful people lust after still more.
Corporate globalization tilts international exchange so further benefit
thousands of multinational profiteers at the expense of billions of
people too poor to eat and too weak to dissent. And, war, of course, is
just corporate globalization writ violent.

Radicals weaken and replace hierarchical racial, sexual, political, and
class relations with equitable, solidaritous, diversity enhancing, and
self-managing structures. Radicals want the poor to benefit until new
gains reduce and finally eliminate poverty, indignity, and
disempowerment. Internationalism protects the ecology, benefits the
poor, empowers working people, enhances dignity and power among
previously disenfranchised elements, and ultimately seeks to entirely
overturn competitive and profit-oriented relations.

But how do radicals attract ever larger constituencies not only to
critical views, but to sustained, aggressive activism? And then how do
we gain sufficient power to begin to win serious gains improving
people's lives now and initiating a trajectory of victories leading to a
better future?

First, prospective allies need compelling reasons to believe that
investing their time, emotions, and energies in social struggle will be
repaid in valuable gains. Nothing less will overcome cynical beliefs
that struggle against injustice is a fool's errand, morally worthy but
operationally hopeless. The radical organizing task, that is, is partly
to convince people that there is injustice that we would be better off
without (war, poverty, etc.), but is mostly to convince that our actions
can actually remove such ills and propel us into a better world.

Following that, our power would grow if we brought together a large
percentage of our many efforts to mutually enhance and benefit one
another, each having the power that the overall sum embodies rather than
each being isolated from or even competing with the rest. We need a way,
that is, for our vast range of movements to benefit from each other's
existence; a way that allows each movement to support and enhance the
rest rather than having each movement operate alone unto itself, never
being aided by the rest.

Interestingly, the World Social Forum and the derivative broader Social
Forum movement prioritize both these tasks.

The Forum's third international event - WSF 3 - will occur this January
23 - 28, in Porto Alegre Brazil. Initially conceived during French and
Brazilian brainstorming sessions and shortly thereafter brought to
fruition by the organizing muscle and commitment of various Brazilian
movement groups such as the landless peasant's movement or MST and
Brazilian Workers Party or PT, the WSF has grown internationally from a
five-day, thousand person event, to a forty thousand person event a year
ago, to likely a hundred thousand person event this January, 2003.

Even more promising, the forum has transcended its single event persona.
Instead of just a single international event, called the WSF, there are
now local forums for continents (Asia, Africa, Europe), for whole
countries, for states within countries, and for cities and towns
worldwide. In Italy there are about a hundred local social forums - and
while Italy's accomplishment is way above average, it foreshadows
general trends spreading worldwide.

The forums are gatherings of activists, organizers, writers, and others
involved in social change that come together under two very broad
commitments: solidarity and vision.

(1) Solidarity: Work together. Avoid sectarianism. Find ways of
mutually benefiting.

(2) Vision: Emphasize that "another world is possible," and realize
that we ought to be, in part, about describing it.

Positively, the WSF extends from its not so active social democratic and
more academic participants, through much more active social democratic
reform movements, to still more aggressive social struggle movements,
and on to militant revolutionary parties and movements. The WSF also
bridges attention to race, power, gender, class, ecology, and
international relations. It crosses countries, frontiers, languages, and
cultures.

On the negative side, however, internationally the WSF is very far from
democratic or participatory regarding its components, though it is quite
loose and encompassing locally.

Thus, for this year's gathering all the largest WSF-sponsored events and
related policies have been decided close to the vest, by a small
consortium composed mostly of the original French and Brazilian
initiators. On the other hand, about 1,000 afternoon events of WSF 3
will span the gamut of possibilities and incorporate pretty much
anything that anyone has sought to include. The international gathering
is in this sense a bit like a web site that has an edited part, under
the control of a small staff or board, and also a wide open part, very
much under the sway of whoever invests time and energy to make things
happen there. This is actually pretty good for a conference, just as for
a web site. Indeed, it is hard, in some respects, to see how it could be
much better, other than by the central group becoming more accountable
and democratic -- trends which are being pursued.

However, for the international forum phenomenon to become an
international "movement of movements" project would go well beyond it
remaining a meeting venue, of course. And for that more ambitious
achievement, there would certainly need to be far greater clarity about
structure and participation, and far more democracy and accountability.
It is one thing to get together and just talk and meet largely under the
administration of a barely accountable central group. But it would be
quite another thing, and totally unacceptable, to have an international
"movement of movements" that was nominally representing people worldwide
but that lacked effective decision making participation.

It may be that the right choice for the near term is to retain the forum
project as "only" a growing international network of meeting venues and
gatherings seeking to propel solidarity and vision - while slowly
enlarging its base of decision-makers and democratizing their relations.
It may indeed be unwise to risk the WSF's success as an excellent venue
project by trying to accomplish too much too fast under that rubric.
That seems to be the dominant current view, among WSF organizers, at any
rate.

But wanting to preserve and only steadily but modestly improve the WSF
and associated forum project more broadly, shouldn't preclude trying to
establish another, more or less parallel undertaking to the WSF, a true
international movement of movements, that doesn't merely unite around a
single shared priority but instead becomes the greatest sum of all its
components, uniting around the total agenda of all its member movements'
priorities. Indeed, participants might also decide that unlike the WSF
and local forums, this new structure shouldn't extend all the way to
social democratic and liberal elements, but should be confined to
anti-capitalist and anti-sectarian members, becoming an anti-capitalist
internationale.

This would entail radical movements from every continent with different
focuses, goals, and methods coming into contact and trying to discover
their commonalities and also their real and serious differences, and to
debate and find ways of mutually accommodating the latter, and to then
establish a world spanning structure and methodology for sharing
resources, marshalling mutual energies, and coordinating agendas, even
while also retaining for actors around the world self-managing control
of their own efforts and appropriate proportionate say in the
overarching international operations, as well.

All this is very ambitious, of course, to put it mildly. But just let
yourself imagine the possible gains accruing from having simultaneous
international events. Think of the constituencies of each struggle
benefiting from the lessons and wisdom of others, much less from major
support given by constituencies of other struggles. Think of left media
all over the planet beginning to share and to propel one another's
efforts. Think about a united international antiwar agenda. Think about
visionary perspectives - economic, political, social - being presented,
argued, and debated within and among movements all over the planet, and
eventually, in some cases, being advocated across the world.

It is a lot to imagine, of course. But it is also the direction in which
things are already moving.

Is this trend, glorious as it may sound at first, actually a problem? Is
coming closer together a danger rather than a real opportunity? Could
attaining a higher degree of international organization set back rather
than advance the cause of justice, by stifling national and local
creativity and prematurely narrowing commitments, creating bureaucracy,
that curtails creativity and excitement?

Many of the most dynamic, energetic, and insightful actors on the
activist world stage militantly support bottom-up organizing, open and
transparent methods, broad participation, anti-authoritarianism,
multi-tactical approaches, and continual innovation and considerable
spontaneity -- all quite rightly, in my view. And many of these same
energetic and insightful actors, seeing the emergence of large-scale
phenomena like the WSF, much less our hypothesized international
"movement of movements," fear that these trends will inevitably be top
down, anti-democratic, and bureaucratically boring and stultifying --
and thus aggressively reject the trends. But I think they are taking a
very reasonable fear too far.

It is a little like advocates of self-management thinking that
institutions per se are horrible due to fearing that all institutions
will inevitably be as hierarchical as those we now suffer. This throws
out the baby (institutions) with the bath water (authoritarianism). What
is the point of saying that we are for self management, participation,
creativity, and diversity - and then saying that we don't think these
virtues can be incorporated in our institutions, beyond, say, the very
smallest?

We need to take our aspirations and particularly our capacities to
attain our aspirations far more seriously. The goal of
anti-authoritarianism isn't to be tiny, or small, or even just medium
sized. The goal is to have vast and even world encompassing movements,
which, however, are participatory, diverse, and self-managing. But
creativity, diversity, and participatory self-management won't happen if
we cede the field of institution-building to people who have no interest
or confidence in democracy and variety. They will happen, however, if we
enter the fray, hold to our values, and work cautiously, carefully, and
tirelessly to implement them at every level.

Could the WSF and the whole broad forum project become nothing but a
boring, academic, bureaucratic, and top-down operation with little
relevance to activist upheaval and growth? Of course it could. And
indeed, there is a good chance it will if we don't take steps to broaden
the decision-making process since despite the remarkable job they have
done so far in many respects, to continue with a small leadership will
inevitably limit the movement's potentials..

But, can the WSF and the whole international and local forum phenomenon
help facilitate a parallel and more explicitly anti-capitalist
organizing project which will in turn further facilitate not only
horribly needed attention to vision and horribly needed prioritization
of solidarity, as the forum approach is already very effectively doing,
but also facilitate a unified, mutually supportive, international
"movement of anti-capitalist movements"?

I don't see why not. If we make it so, that is.

23.12.02

Quite amusing... brushing the telos...

The Human Nature Project

By Lionel Tiger
Rutgers University

A Bradley Lecture delivered at the American Enterprise Institute

December 9, 2002

[Prepared remarks]

That relentless skeptic Bertrand Russell once announced: "Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions which move with him like flies on a summer day." In a scientifically-driven period of history such as the one we are in, even more perilous are convictions, which purport to deliver certainty as well as comfort. While science is by definition and intent designed to be questioned both by its practitioners and its consumers, it is clear that the value of its results may be sharply affected by the plausibility of its initial assumptions and how searchingly it evaluates information. The English economist Alfred Marshall observed: "The most reckless theorists are those who allow the facts to speak for themselves."

Of course this is dangerous. Getting things right matters. I want here to deal with old assumptions, new facts, and what should be done about them. My principal focus is on the set of working principles and facts speaking for themselves, which compose the idea of "human nature." And to do this I have to begin with the strange feature of modern as well as old universities which is that the natural and social sciences are separate operations. Not only do they usually occupy different real estate but their intellectual operations are often quarantined from each other conceptually and in day-to-day practice. However think about how strange this is. Does the fact that natural science is one thing and social science another mean that social behavior is somehow not natural? For nearly all educational and research institutions the answer to that question is yes. Perhaps vaguely, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps casually or perhaps assertively--but still yes. The consequences are enormous not only for science itself but for social policy, legal theory, ethical analysis, and our understanding of the sources of pleasure and pain.

All this is the subject of my aria today.

It is not a new song. Aristotle proclaimed: "Man is by nature a political animal" and he meant it. But the political scientists and other social scientists that followed him largely focused on the word "political." They ignored virtually altogether the most important and arresting phrase "by nature."

While one should not take the liberty of imposing on someone else's pleasure centers, nonetheless I can imagine that Aristotle would have been delighted with the human genome project and would have endorsed the front page placement of the New York Times story of December 5, 2002, which described the full explication of the mouse genome which is interesting in itself but even more so because it appears that of the 30,000 genes possessed by the mouse, only about 300 to 1 percent, have no obvious counterpart in the human genome. Given that we and our cousins the mice have been evolving separately for 75 million years, this is remarkable. It suggests in both real and metaphoric terms that our biological reach into history and prehistory can be seen as comparable to the manner in which rocks and papayas and wood and asparagus all share the elemental units which physics has identified. Mouse nature? Human nature? So far, and yet so near. And yet I dare say that it remains overwhelmingly the case in the social sciences that almost everywhere it is possible to receive a doctoral degree without studying any other species than the human. Even at that the work is likely to involve people and their behavior in the past generation and in a highly limited geographical area. This is wholly understandable but intellectually it is akin to studying geology but exclusively about Minnesota. Or even doing botany while ignoring photosynthesis.

There are two very over-concise reasons I will sketch to identify the basis for the segregation of social science from biology. The first has to do with a broad allergy to "reductionism"--in effect trying to explain a social phenomenon by a physical or genetic cause. Perhaps the principal statement of this was--not surprising this--from a Frenchman Emile Durkheim. He issued his influential book The Rules of Sociological Method around the turn of the last century, which established reductionism as a major error and recommended that the social sciences distance themselves from the biological--even though (or perhaps because) his principal teacher Espinas was himself a biologist. This anti-reductionism ethic diffused widely. Not only did it serve the normal purposes of relatively imperialistic academic disciplines seeking greater resources and autonomy, but it also wholly supported the long-standing divide in the societies involved between humans and other animals.

The more recent and fiercer reason had to do with the appropriation of some biological and much non-biological materials by various fascist groups especially of course the Nazis. Thereafter there was plausible and understandable suspicion of attributing to genes any major social or cultural phenomena. Of course the intellectual baby was thrown out with the acrid bathwater, and the study of links between genes and human nature became exceptionally torrid and academically dangerous to boot. It remains a highly sensitive matter and a bulwark of the PC priesthood's catechism. And of course in the U.S. the intellectual mess was abetted when the original legislation dealing with affirmative action in its various modes was extended from race to include sex--evidently as a farcical suggestion since several Southern congressmen were convinced the entire bill was foolish and unpassable. But race and sex are apples and oranges. The differences between races first of all vary in a gradient from all-one to nearly-everything. Secondly they reflect relatively minor differences in the actual conduct of lives. However the sexes differ enormously and it is unnecessary to recall here the immense catalogue of defined sex differences from the level of the cell to--even just in yesterday's news--an indication that among vervet monkeys males and females make the same sex-typed choices of toys as human children do--without benefit of GI Joe, Barbie, and the dread power source--role models.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the communist left, human nature as an idea was anathema too, because of course the prevailing rule was that ideology conquered all. A new soviet or Chinese man or woman would follow the correct guidance of the enlightened party in the name of the almighty founding principles. A kind of Skinnerian environmentalism united communist and social science theory even if this was hardly comprehended by our colleagues annoying pigeons and nocturnal mice in expensive labs off Harvard Square--the experimenters woke up the mice and then made them do what they do anyway at night--run mazes. On the basis of such operations, huge learning theories were erected. At one point, B. F. Skinner himself asked the question--which he then ignored--"what is in the rat?"

These learning theories animated a huge structure of belief in the decisive role of the environment in shaping behavior and the minimal role of anything approximating "human nature." Of course with the fall of communism the intellectual certainty of half the world dissolved overnight. The results of seventy years of role models (again that awful phrase and worse concept), ideal institutions, and programs for human perfection were swept away in less time than it takes for an unpopular sitcom to be canceled by the Disney Corporation. All that certainty, all that propaganda, all that effort . . .

I was in Korea several weeks ago and had read before the trip a memoir of a North Korean refugee who described standing atop the tallest building in Seoul and marveling that all the people he saw managed to make choices in what to do, where to go, what to buy, with whom to speak, without anyone telling them, which had been his experience in North Korea. Of course. People like to do things, they move around, they have projects, affinities, they blunder. So do mice and chimps. Variation is the name of the game of nature. As I tell students, when they study living systems the shortest analytic distance between two points is a normal curve. Not only do people vary amongst themselves--and recall that Darwin's central insight was about the role of variation--but so do groups vary. This has led some social scientists to suffer from what my colleague Robin Fox calls "ethnographic dazzle" in which the fact of difference overwhelms the equal fact of consistent central patterns.

Now the overwhelming weight of new work makes it imperative we go beyond the errors and allergies of the past and try to fashion as sophisticated a knowledge of human nature as we have been able to do acquire about nature itself.

So let me move directly to do this, and first describe how.

In l966, Robin Fox, then of the London School of Economics, and I published a wholly impudent paper in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute called "The Zoological Perspective in Social Science." It was all of nine pages but I think we got it largely right. Then in l971, Fox and I, both then at Rutgers, published The Imperial Animal, in which we used the exciting linguistic work by Chomsky on the necessity for a genetic basis for language--otherwise language is too hard for little kids to learn; there had to be a hard-wired program for it. Different communities taught different languages but language was the same.

We broadened the discussion to other--earlier--elements of social behavior--after all language is a relatively recent human innovation. We called the phenomenon the "behavioral biogrammar" which was a device enabling us to look for human regularities in the production of behavior just as there were clearly regularities in the production of language. Fox and I and countless others have carried on this exploration with various levels of self-consciousness and intellectual aggression and the result is a new state of play. The most recent full approach to the matter is Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate--who as a former student of Chomsky's could have put the biogrammar concept to good and labor-saving use. But there are dozens of others, including Paul Rubin's analysis of biological factors in economics, which was the subject of a recent symposium here at the American Enterprise Institute.

What do we get out of this? Let me use physiology as my baseline. We all know that the body needs certain inputs in order to function and the medical community has accordingly developed what we know as an ideal nutritional profile--this much vitamin A, this much C, that much protein, this much green vegetable and colorful fruit. Elements of this remain controversial especially since the body has become the sturdiest temple for moral self-assessment. So now virtually everyone is obsessed with the food they eat. Diet books face their enemy cookbooks across bookstore aisles. Many people act as if they think that what they eat will kill them. They employ an extermination model of food. Others see their exquisite choice of tasteless rain-forest mung beans as a sure-fire evasion of the otherwise grim grip of the mortal coil. Nevertheless there is a fairly agreed-upon general idea of what the body needs and how it should be cared for.

The body is the structure. Structure and function are almost invariably related. Behavior is the function. So let us turn to behavior and develop a portfolio of behavioral vitamins, which individuals and the body-social need.

Why vitamins? One alternative to that term is "rights" but I gather this causes lawyers and judges to jump up and down with turbulent anxiety. This is always an expensive and unnerving prospect and you do not want to irritate these people. Another alternative is "needs." But that is too Dickensian for something as agreeable as what make social life agreeable. There is also always the danger the management of these needs will be co-opted by the always-hungry always-well-meaning corps of concernocrats ready and willing to rummage in the lives of others.

So behavioral vitamins it is.

Now for purposes of this exercise suddenly we become our own zookeepers. Modern zookeepers are evaluated by how faithful are the conditions they provide their guests to those in which they evolved and whether they are able to reproduce. So allow me to provide a list of behavioral vitamins, which we should provide each other as we supervise our own zoo, a list based on a broad assessment of the human biogrammar rather than on any pre-existing scheme of morality, piety, and severity. It is based that is on what we needed to prosper as a species in our own native environment which was of course East Africa from which it appears our ancestors spread around 100,000 years ago; our real roots are there. It is the Old Country, back home, back east.

This is a simpleton's list, banal, a bit cheerful, low-cost, and it requires no post-graduate degree for its discussion.

I will however indulge in a minor form of grandiosity because I will describe these vitamin requirements as commandments. But since there are only nine, it is clearly an amateur list.

1. The first vitamin is the opportunity to be protected by rules about maturity. That is 3-year olds do not and should not have the same package of rights and responsibilities as 30-year olds. It is a good bet that responses to immaturity are rather deeply programmed genomically, and legal systems customarily respond to this program. The outrage over priestly abuse of youngsters is only an especially poignant and dramatic example of this.
2. In order to indulge in agreeable behavior, we should enjoy the vitamin of access to fresh air and natural light. In various societies such as Sweden and Japan, and South Korea as I recently learned, access to light has a defined economic value. In some places office buildings may not be built with offices without windows to the outside for all employees. Devotees of torture and solitary confinement are particular attached to deprivation of these vitamins because they know from experience how effective it is.
3. Greenery is a vitamin. If this were a class of baby students I would ask "how many of you have houseplants" and a huge majority would say yes. Humans evolved in nature and we try to import the upper Paleolithic into our high-rise apartments by buying plants whose only serious function is aesthetic. Here in frozen central Washington, there are flower shops every second block. Furthermore, people who live in houses with greenery already around them create yet more in the form of gardens, and gardening is currently the most popular American recreation. Part of the human nature project is a new bed of summer herbs, and even, heaven forbid, zucchini. (Whoever eats all that zucchini?)
4. The opportunity for large-muscle movements is a vitamin. Even prisoners are entitled to an hour in the yard. But there is ongoing curtailment in American schools of the opportunities for play involving large-muscle movements, bodily movements over space, and the conduct of lively games many of which by preference appear to be competitive. This is both a reflection of fears of lawsuits against school boards, teachers, equipment makers, and the like, but it reflects an anti-male bias by feminizing school systems. These have clearly been configured more to female than male nature and one result is that females are decisively more successful in the system academically as well as emotionally--in colleges and universities there are some 57 percent females to 43 percent males.
In a different but related realm, there is also apparently a 9 to 1 ratio of male to female victims of Ritalin and similar behavioral management drugs. Perhaps because males throughout the primates like to move around more than females, human ones in particular are being penalized for their nature. They are required to become drug-users by those responsible for their welfare. Obviously such drugs are useful for some individuals. But it becomes highly suspicious when the sex ratio of prescriptions is so remarkably skewed. Is this about the students, or about the system they are in? These issues are more fully explored in my The Decline of Males (1999).
5. Almost everyone when they return home tonight will check whatever device they use for messages or email. Social contact is a vitamin. Again, managers of solitary confinement understand how debilitating it is. Good zoos provide opportunities for animals to communicate with their fellows--they like it, even if they squabble. So the ability to communicate with members of our species is a vitamin. It may also take the form of freedom of expression, one variant of it. It also applies to the issue of censorship: who, if anyone, should decide what communication one member of the species should be able to indulge in, and which not? This is finally a primitive issue as well as a politically profound one. When our ancestral hunter-gatherer bands met to decide what to do next, anyone's opinion might turn out to be valuable. Freedom of speech is efficient.
6. A behavioral vitamin is the opportunity to reproduce. Obviously some political regimes have sought to curtail this with varying degrees of success and human cost. Inasmuch as this may involve efforts to affect the sexual behavior necessary for reproduction, then it is a very broad matter indeed, one very popular among people with opinions. There are also subtler or at least less draconian means of affecting reproductive freedoms--for example those antinatal ideologies at the core of much modern feminism, which in effect induced countless women to miscalculate the nature of human reproductive nature. Both Sylvia Hewlett and Midge Decter have recently written about what in retrospect will come to see rather like the unnecessary sacrifices to the Stalinist line by those who fell for it in this country to say nothing of the USSR and elsewhere.
7. Related to this is a vitamin young children need, which is the opportunity for durable and predictable connection to their parents--at least their mothers. In our study of the Israeli kibbutz movement, Women in the Kibbutz, Joseph Shepher and I described how it was the mothers and their mothers in the communities who overwhelmingly voted to disband the children's houses in which their kids were supposed to live from six weeks on. The men always supported the children's houses, which were ideologically better and cheaper. But the children and mothers clearly made their needs and preferences felt. We are entitled to ask if recent changes in the welfare system requiring women with children to earn money, very often by raising the children of other women in a similar pickle, is the desirable solution to a core mammalian issue--how to protect mothers and babies from the ruckus of the wider system. Let us recall before Christmas that that issue is at the mammalian core of the Christmas story, which is the centerpiece of the most popular celebration in the world. And meanwhile expensively and elegantly trained women turn over their children to unlettered nannies from countries they have never been to and with whom they would not abide a fifteen minutes coffee break at the diner.
8. Let me break into a cloud of big trouble by suggesting that a chronic vitamin factor in human arrangements is the opportunity for gender-specific behavior. This simply means that on balance there is good reason to expect that in various venues and for various reasons males and females will act differently and in others of course they will act the same. The human nature project makes clear that sex differences are not necessarily the result of conspiracy, patriarchal oppression, formal inequity, and the like. They may be and have certainly been in countless ways and are still in a widespread distribution. However as we look ahead it would do well to expect the emergence of sex difference in any complex ongoing social group and be surprised if there were not any and wondering why not.
9. Finally a vitamin that energizes a community when it exists and depresses it when it does not is the awareness of communal protection. Whatever authority exists has to provide the citizenry protection from internal criminality and more significantly and dramatically from the threats of warfare. Governments such as the North Korean clearly fail to generate any sense of fairness and safety among its population and depression and widespread alcoholism appear to be one clear result, to say nothing of the refugees who at great risk vote with their feet.

Here the human nature project suddenly expands into a large amphitheater potentially housing a chorus or cacophony of the voices traditionally heard on issues of good government, fair government, peaceful government, and the like. But if we abide by Aristotle's "by nature" description, even if the issue is huge we are nevertheless not exempt from approaching it with the same candor and even confidence as when we consider ideal playgrounds for children.

Where does this fit in the larger currents of contemporary social policy? Clearly there are no easy answers to the myriad problems posed by the industrial system and the complex vastly rambunctious stimuli it demands an upper Paleolithic former hunter-gatherer to attend to. But there is a model, which has served quite well. During its early splurges and then during the effective triumph of the industrial way of life over all others, there was a reasonable assumption, which appeared to work that the environment was somehow self-correcting and able to absorb whatever was given to it.

Then a mild-mannered marine biologist named Rachel Carson wrote The Sea around Us. This revealed that even the vast changing surging oceans were being polluted by the results of our new lives. The environmental movement began and it became clear that the hugeness of water and the hugeness of our air could not themselves repair what we produced. We were too clamorous and they were too frail, too equipoised for an immensely ancient non-industrial world.

Clearly there have been excesses--if insufficient successes too--to that environmental movement and too much baggage tied to the train. Nevertheless it is become clearly necessary and has become in a way also a conservative factor in seriously defining our lives as well as an easy cause for youngsters wearing bandanas.

My proposal here is both metaphorical and real, which is that we need now an inner environmental movement, about our nature in here, just as we have stretched and learned to comprehend the nature out there. The nature in here is obviously more mysterious, more personal, more intricately connected to foggy fears and orchestral dreams. An Irish poet once announced: "To the Blind, everything is sudden." But we know now about our history and more interestingly and complexly our prehistorical story, which is in fact told in our genes. Therefore it seems plain we should not and need not be blind about the forces which permitted us to perdure and prosper and which remain part of human Aristotelian nature.


21.12.02

How about democracy, rather than marxism, as being radical and revolutionary? Democratic life, the implications of which were misunderstood in the light of the communist rise? Anti-political, the totalitarian critique from Marx's viewpoint? Anybody have any insights on this?

20.12.02

Pot smoking marxist hobsbawm relaxes in his garden
"Honey I'm so glad we're free... what time's gladiators on?"

It all turns on what you make of this paragraph...

"Class war is the sine qua non of Marx. But the class war, if it ever existed, is over. In western democracies today, who chooses who rules, and for how long? Who tells governments how companies will be regulated? Who in the end owns the companies? Workers for hire—the proletariat. And this is because of, not despite, the things Marx most deplored: private property, liberal political rights and the market. Where it mattered most, Marx could not have been more wrong."



This link from the stiglitz article is interesting.

No rational behaviour econ style; be the rationality you want to see in the world!
There is no invisible hand
People don't behave rationally. So why do orthodox economists still cling to their discredited rational expectations theory?

Joseph Stiglitz
Friday December 20, 2002
The Guardian

Three cheers for the latest Nobel laureates in economics: Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University, and Vernon Smith of George Mason University in Virginia. Like many Nobel prizes, these awards recognise not only the seminal work undertaken by Kahneman and Smith, but also the schools of thought they help to lead.

Kahneman, a psychologist, has demonstrated how individuals systematically behave in ways less rational than orthodox economists believe they do. His research shows not only that individuals sometimes act differently than standard economic theories predict, but that they do so regularly, systematically, and in ways that can be understood and interpreted through alternative hypotheses, competing with those utilised by orthodox economists.

To most market participants - and, indeed, ordinary observers - this does not seem like big news. Wall Street brokers who peddled stocks they knew to be garbage exploited the irrationality that Kahneman and Smith exposed. Much of the mania that led to the bubble economy was based on exploiting investor psychology.

In fact, this irrationality is no news to the economics profession either. John Maynard Keynes long ago described the stock market as based not on rational individuals struggling to uncover market fundamentals, but as a beauty contest in which the winner is the one who guesses best what the judges will say.

This year's Nobel Prize celebrates a critique of simplistic market economics, just as last year's award (of which I was one of the three winners) did. Last year's laureates emphasised that different market participants have different (and imperfect) information, and these asymmetries in information have a profound impact on how an economy functions.

In particular, last year's laureates implied that markets were not, in general, efficient; that there was an important role for government to play. Adam Smith's invisible hand - the idea that free markets lead to efficiency as if guided by unseen forces - is invisible, at least in part, because it is not there.

This, too, is not news to those who work day after day in the market (and make their fortunes by taking advantage of and overcoming asymmetries in information). For more than 20 years, economists were enthralled by so-called "rational expectations" models which assumed that all participants have the same (if not perfect) information and act perfectly rationally, that markets are perfectly efficient, that unemployment never exists (except when caused by greedy unions or government minimum wages), and where there is never any credit rationing.

That such models prevailed, especially in America's graduate schools, despite evidence to the contrary, bears testimony to a triumph of ideology over science. Unfortunately, students of these graduate programmes now act as policymakers in many countries, and are trying to implement programmes based on the ideas that have come to be called market fundamentalism.

Let me be clear: the rational expectations models made an important contribution to economics; the rigour which its supporters imposed on economic thinking helped expose the weaknesses underlying many hypotheses. Good science recognises its limitations, but the prophets of rational expectations have usually shown no such modesty.

Vernon Smith is a leader in the development of experi mental economics, the idea that one could test many economic propositions in laboratory settings. One reason that economics is such a difficult subject, and why there are so many disagreements among economists, is that economists cannot conduct controlled experiments. Nature throws up natural experiments, but in most circumstances, so many things change so rapidly that it is often difficult to untangle what caused what.

In principle, in a laboratory, we can conduct controlled experiments, and therefore make more reliable inferences. Critics of experimental economics worry that subjects bring to experimental situations modes of thought determined outside of the experiment, and thus that the experiments are not as clean and the inferences not as clear cut as in the physical sciences. Nonetheless, economic experiments provide insights into a number of important issues, such as the improved design of auctions. Most importantly, the irrationality of market participants, which was the focus of Kahneman's work, has been verified repeatedly in laboratory contexts.

Among the more amusing results that have come out of experimental economics are those concerning altruism and selfishness. It appears (at least in experimental situations) that experimental subjects are not as selfish as economists have hypothesised, except for one group - the economists themselves.

Is it because economics as a discipline attracts individuals who are, by nature, more selfish, or is it because economics helps shape individu als, making them more selfish? The answer, almost certainly, is a little bit of both. Presumably, future experimental research will help resolve the question of the relative importance of these two hypotheses.

The Nobel Prize signifies how important it is to study people and economies as they are, not as we want them to be. Only by understanding better actual human behaviour can we hope to design policies that will make our economies work better as well.

Joseph Stiglitz is professor of economics and finance at Columbia University, the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, and author of Globalization and its Discontents. He was formerly chairman of the council of economic advisers to President Clinton and chief economist at the World Bank.

www.project-syndicate.org


Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
Richard Perle you satan's cock sucking mother fucking whore! Just where do the americans find these sick individuals for their political posts?Election delivers anti-war message to Washington hardliners
John Gittings
Friday December 20, 2002
The Guardian

South Korea's choice of president shows that voters are more worried by US sabre-rattling than any potential threat posed by the North.

On the eve of the election, Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's defence advisory panel, warned Seoul that a war against the North might be necessary.

Earlier this week, the US persuaded Japan to suspend further economic aid to the North until it halted its nuclear weapons programme.

The harder line taken after President Bush came to power has blighted the Korean peace process for nearly two years and was exemplified by Mr Bush's speech naming Pyongyang as part of the "axis of evil".

Some analysts believe this allowed hardliners in the North to slow the peace process almost to a halt.

US hostility, they argue, has created a vicious circle in which North Korea resorts to the "nuclear card" to win more diplomatic leverage.

The victorious Roh Moo-hyun has made the most of voters' anxieties that isolating the North could provoke a new crisis. He has also made the most of resentment caused by the perceived refusal of the US to let Koreans set their own pace.

"We don't want to become spectators again," he told voters this week. "In the old days we were not able to solve our problems ourselves. Now it is different."

Older Korean voters were more likely to be swayed towards Mr Lee by North Korea's often bizarre displays of belligerence. The younger generation is more likely to agree with the outgoing president, Kim Dae-jung, that there is no alternative to continuing the dialogue.

Mr Roh also benefited from a rising tide of anti-American feeling sparked by a recent accident in which two Korean girls were killed by a US armoured vehicle.

The American soldiers involved were acquitted by a US military tribunal, offering a blunt reminder of the privileges still enjoyed by the former occupying power.

The effect was to make the tough anti-Pyongyang statements of Mr Roh's rival, Lee Hoi-chang, sound like softness towards Washington.

The US, which is still technically at war with the North, maintains 37,000 troops in the South. Although it withdrew its nuclear weapons from the South a decade ago, the North continues to be a target.

In 1994 the US concurred with the deal known as the "agreed framework" in which the North would drop its nuclear programme in return for the supply of oil and construction of two light-water reactors for peaceful purposes. The programme has been seriously delayed, allowing Pyongyang to accuse the US of bad faith.

In October the North acknowledged that it had maintained a covert nuclear programme. After US pressure, fuel oil exports to the North agreed under the 1994 deal have been suspended.


Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

we all hate Bush. Even a former dictator state like South Korea is becoming more democratic. I just can't understand how the hell the republicans came back to power in the US...

At least Korea is united over one thing - anger at the US
There is a new desire for freedom on both sides of the 38th parallel

Martin Woollacott
Friday December 20, 2002
The Guardian

The division of Korea, predicted the South Korean radical and dissenter Paek Ki-wan, would make his country "a nail stuck in the flow of history". That obstructive quality, the way in which Korea constantly pulls us back to the struggles of half a century ago, has certainly been evident in recent months. It seems that the two Koreas cannot, will not or have not been allowed by the powers to settle issues which in other countries and regions are now only memories.

The North Koreans in October worried the world by revealing that their work on nuclear weapons, supposedly suspended, in fact has never stopped, while, in the south, presidential elections have been dominated by the connected questions of relations with the north and with the US. The most serious demonstrations against the American military presence in South Korea for many years marked the final days of campaigning. The common thread that ties together these different manifestations is the Korean desire for freedom from outside pressures, so often expressed and so rarely fulfilled.

Nuclear defiance in one half of the peninsula and electoral change in the other together represent a challenge to the established policies of America, Japan, China and Russia. What they suggest is a certain convergence of northern and southern objections to solutions, or rather the lack of them, imposed from outside, above all by the US.

The context is clearly different. In the north, those objections come from a narrow military and party elite that sees its survival threatened by American policies, especially since the Bush administration took over. To make matters more difficult to read, they are refracted through the personality of Kim Jong-il, who is, according to different observers, either a shrewd leader or a spoiled and perhaps mentally unstable man. In the south, yesterday's victory of the liberal candidate Roh Moo-hyun is a democratic phenomenon reflecting a shift in generations, slippage in the power of the political right, and a desire for spending on social policies rather than military hardware, as well as the feeling that the US is dangerously mismanaging Pyongyang.

In spite of these differences, however, what it amounts to is that the north thinks that it is being mistreated by the US, and that the current of opinion in the south which agrees with that view is growing and is still represented, with Roh succeeding Kim Dae-jung as president, at the highest political level. Indeed Roh, with his expressed doubts about the American military's usefulness in Korea, may well represent a more openly radical position. Even so, he will have to operate in power, just like his predecessor, with conservative partners and political associates.

Protests against the American presence have been ostensibly concerned with the treaty which, under most circumstances, shields US military personnel from the South Korean justice system. But the anger at the deaths of two schoolgirls crushed by an American military vehicle during recent manoeuvres also expressed a more fundamental questioning of the need for American protection. South Koreans know that while a North Korean attack could cause terrible damage, Pyongyang long ago lost the capacity to invade and conquer the south. South Korea's economic and military strength has for years so outweighed that of North Korea that it could deal with them without American help, at least on the ground, as Roh hinted during the campaign. The only military card the north has left was its nuclear, chemical and bacteriological potential, as a last resort if it came under attack. Indeed, that is the rub, for what matters strategically on the peninsula now is not the threat to South Korea but the threat to North Korea.

Korean troubles in their most recent form go back to the reunification of Germany, following which the North Korean elite began to suffer the disquieting experience of hearing other people talk about them as if they were dead. As the country lost its Chinese and Russian subsidies, the coming collapse of North Korea and the reunification of the peninsula on the south's terms were subjects on everybody's lips. Critics of the "agreed framework" of 1994 between the US and North Korea were told that, long before the US had to deliver, North Korea would have disappeared. That was the deal under which the pursuit of nuclear weapons would be halted in exchange for aid and trade, normalisation of relations and an American pledge not to use nuclear weapons against North Korea.

Often forgotten in accounts of North Korean duplicity is that the Americans have not kept most of these promises. The desire to get North Korea quickly into a well-deserved grave is still evident, a typical instance being recent leaks from the Bush administration about the idea that a collapse could be precipitated by a huge outflow of refugees, similar to that which precipitated change in eastern Europe.

K im Dae-jung understood the north's siege mentality, grasped that a North Korean collapse in whatever form would be a calamity for both sides, and tried to emphasise economic over political links as the two groped for agreement, only to find Pyongyang suspicious of that approach as well. Nevertheless he made progress, but that was undercut by Bush's dismissal of his "sunshine policy" at their meeting in March 2001. Since that encounter, the administration has again and again compounded the problem, notably with the "axis of evil" speech, and more recently with the September 20 announcement on pre-emptive attack, and with the interception of the North Korean ship taking missiles to the Yemen.

Bush has added a personal note in telling Bob Woodward: "I loathe Kim Jong-il." It is thus not altogether surprising that the North Koreans have been cheating on agreements which they feel the US has also not honoured. Yet, when Washington did belatedly decide to explore the diplomatic possibilities again, the North Korean admission in October that nuclear weapons work had continued was, in the view of the respected analyst Selig Harrison, an attempt "to wipe the slate clean and revive dialogue". If so, the US has not responded, preferring instead to ask China, Russia and Japan to put more pressure on North Korea.

Koreans have a well-grounded view that the best interests of their country have weighed little in international decision-making. They see the US and others colluding in the annexation of their country by Japan, because Japan was more important to the west than they were. They see the division of the country and the war that followed as the result of a combination of initial American inattention and later obsession with the communist threat. Now, once again, many feel Korean interests are at risk because of deals done and dogmas shaped in a distant capital. That is the message from both sides of the 38th parallel.

m.woollacott@guardian.co.uk


Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
Ryan should know, but Asians are quite elitest (like Morgan) - the fact that someone who never went to university is chosen as a president is a sign of huge social progress over here. The defeated candidate is a well known US whore who advocated closer ties with the US & the conglomerates who run Korea. You must understand, the incumbent president would have been unimaginable just 5 years ago. The election was revolutionary by many standards, with the lowest campaign funding ever. I can't believe my country is becoming so democratic.

South Korea elects dove as president
John Gittings, East Asia editor
Friday December 20, 2002
The Guardian

South Korea's voters chose a progressive new president yesterday in a tight election result which may give peace a better chance on the divided Korean peninsula.

The reform-minded Roh Moo-hyun, the candidate for the pro-government Millennium Democratic party, defeated the conservative Lee Hoi-chang by a margin of 2.3%.

The gap had narrowed sharply in the final days of the campaign.

With most of the votes counted, Mr Roh had 48.9% against Mr Lee's 46.6%. Turnout was 70.2%, almost 11% lower than the 1997 presidential election.

"Inter-Korean peace and cooperation is not a matter of choice. The survival of 70 million people is at stake," Mr Roh said on the day before polling.

He comes from a poor farming family and has pledged to continue the "sunshine policy" of president Kim Dae-jung towards the North despite Washington's diplomatic obstruction.

However he attacked "corruption and mismanagement" within the government. Mr Kim has lost public support after a wave of scandals extending to his own family.

Mr Roh benefited from the support of younger Koreans who are more willing to take chances to escape from the shadow of the cold war.

Seven out of every 10 voters are aged between 20 and 40.

Mr Roh, 56, is nine years younger than the hawkish Mr Lee. Both served in the army. Mr Lee was a captain before becoming a high court judge, and Mr Roh made his name as a human rights lawyer after serving as a corporal.

Mr Lee, running for the rightwing Grand National party, argued unsuccessfully that war was more likely unless the South stood firm against the alleged nuclear blackmail of the North.

His warning that South Korea would fall "into the hands of the radicals" was more effective among older Koreans who grew up in the time of civil war and division.

On Wednesday Mr Roh seemed to have gone too far by suggesting that the South would not necessarily support the US in a conflict with the North. "If the US and North Korea start a fight, we should dissuade them," he said.

His statement prompted the withdrawal of his official running-mate, Chung Mong-joon, a former candidate and the popular organiser of the World Cup.

The move by Mr Chung, who has his own political ambitions, appears to have been discounted by voters.

Mr Roh began his career as a radical lawyer who defended students accused of sedition by the military-dominated regime in the 1980s. He was arrested in 1987 after supporting a banned workers' protest. He made his name a year later by exposing government corruption.

Poll analysts say that the generation of the 1980s that grew up in a time of transition was an important "swing" factor in the poll.

It has been called the "sandwich generation": those who can remember the struggle against oppression while enjoying Korea's affluent modern lifestyle. They are closer in outlook to Mr Roh.

The new president has recently upset Korean industrial magnates by telling them that "the reform of conglomerates is critical and should be continued".

He also wants tighter controls on media companies.

Mr Roh has never visited the US and will be viewed warily in Washington. In the past he has called for the withdrawal of US forces from Korea but now says he supports a strong security alliance - though on more equal terms.



Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

19.12.02

Hi,

Two messages today...a head's up on what will be a huge story
(interfering with U.S. war plans) around the world, that MAY even break
into serious visibility in the U.S., and another in our series of book
interviews that we are periodically sending, to let you know about
excellent new titles (this one by Milan Rai called War Plan Iraq).


First, when the massive pile of documents from Iraq appeared, in photos,
in the paper, and the U.S. immediately pulled out all stops to get first
access, to shut down wide dissemination, etc. -- the smart money said
that buried in the morass there would be evidence of U.S. (and European)
culpability in aiding the Iraqi weapons programs, dating back to before
the Gulf War, but covering the period of Hussein's rise and his worst
crimes, etc.

And lo and below...to be reported in tomorow's Die Tageszeitung (Berlin
daily), here is a list of US corporations that alegedly supplied Iraq
with nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile technology, prior to
1991. The list comes, it seems, from the original Iraqi report to the
Security Council. This is a big breaking story in Europe - read the clip
from this morning's Independent (London) below the list.

---

U.S. corporations involved...

A - nuclear K - chemical B - biological R - rockets
(missiles)

1) Honeywell (R,K)
2) Spektra Physics (K)
3) Semetex (R)
4) TI Coating (A,K)
5) UNISYS (A,K)
6) Sperry Corp. (R,K)
7) Tektronix (R,A)
8) Rockwell )(K)
9) Leybold Vacuum Systems (A)
10) Finnigan-MAT-US (A)
11) Hewlett Packard (A.R,K)
12) Dupont (A)
13) Eastman Kodak (R)
14) American Type Culture Collection (B)
15) Alcolac International (C)
16) Consarc (A)
17) Carl Zeis -U.Ss (K)
18) Cerberus (LTD) (A)
19) Electronic Assiciates (R)
20) International Computer Systems
21) Bechtel (K)
22) EZ Logic Data Systems,Inc. (R)
23) Canberra Industries Inc. (A)
24) Axel Electronics Inc. (A)

Additionally to these 24 companies based in the US, are nearly 50
subsidiaries of foreign enterprises whose arms co-operation with Iraq
seems to have been operated from the US. In addition, Ministries for
defense, energy, trade, and agriculture, as well as the foremost U.S.
nuclear weapons laboratories at Lawrence Livermore. Los Alamos, and
Sandia, are designated as suppliers for the Iraqi arms programs for A,
B, and C-weapons as well as for rockets.

Here is the report from this morning's Independent, in London...

Leaked Report Says German and US Firms Supplied Arms to Saddam
By Tony Paterson
The Independent (UK)

Baghdad's uncensored report to UN names Western companies alleged to
have developed its weapons of mass destruction.

Wednesday, 18 December, 2002

Iraq's 11,000-page report to the UN Security Council lists 150 foreign
companies, including some from America, Britain, Germany and France,
that supported Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programme, a
German newspaper said yesterday.

Berlin's left-wing Die Tageszeitung newspaper said it had seen a copy of
the original Iraqi dossier which was vetted for sensitive information by
US officials before being handed to the five permanent Security Council
members two weeks ago. An edited version was passed to the remaining 10
members of the Security Council last night.

British officials said the list of companies appeared to be accurate.
Eighty German firms and 24 US companies are reported to have supplied
Iraq with equipment and know-how for its weapons programmes from 1975
onwards and in some cases support for Baghdad's conventional arms
programme had continued until last year.

It is not known who leaked the report, but it could have come from Iraq.
Baghdad is keen to embarrass the US and its allies by showing the close
involvement of US, German, British and French firms in helping Iraq
develop its weapons of mass destruction when the country was a bulwark
against the much feared spread of Iranian revolutionary fervour to the
Arab world.

The list contained the names of long-established German firms such as
Siemens as well as US multi-nationals. With government approval, Siemens
exported machines used to eliminate kidney stones which have a "dual
use" high precision switch used to detonate nuclear bombs. Ten French
companies were also named along with a number of Swiss and Chinese
firms. The newspaper said a number of British companies were cited, but
did not name them.

"From about 1975 onwards, these companies are shown to have supplied
entire complexes, building elements, basic materials and technical
know-how for Saddam Hussein's programme to develop nuclear, chemical and
biological weapons of mass destruction," the newspaper said. "They also
supplied rockets and complete conventional weapons systems," it added.

The five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States,
Britain, Russia, France and China -- have repeatedly opposed revealing
the extent of foreign companies' involvement, although a mass of
relevant information was collected by UN weapons inspectors who visited
the country between 1991 and 1998. The UN claims that publishing the
extent of the companies' involvement in Iraq would jeopardise necessary
co-operation with such firms.

German involvement outstripped that of all the other countries put
together, the paper said. During the period to 1991, the German
authoritiespermitted weapons co-operation with Iraq and in some cases
"actively encouraged" it, according to the newspaper which cited German
assistance allegedly given to Iraq for the development of poison gas
used in the 1988 massacre of Kurds in northern Iraq. It said that after
the massacre America reduced its military co-operation with Iraq but
German firms continued their activities until the Gulf War.

Die Tageszeitung quoted sources close to the US Vice President, Dick
Cheney, as saying the Bush administration was hoping to prove a German
company was continuing to co-operate with the Iraqi regime over the
supply of equipment allegedly useful in the construction of weapons of
mass destruction.

American weapons experts have recently voiced concern that the German
Government has permitted Siemens to sell Baghdad at least eight
sophisticated medical machines which contain devices that are vital for
nuclear weapons. The machines, known as "lithotripters", use ultrasound
to destroy kidney stones in patients. However, each machine contains an
electronic switch that can be used as a detonator in an atomic bomb,
according to US experts. Iraq was reported to have requested an extra
120 switches as "spare parts" during the initial transaction.

The delivery of the machines was approved by the European Commission and
the UN because sanctions against Iraq do not apply to medical equipment.
Siemens and the German Government have insisted that the machines, which
are being used in northern Iraq under a World Health Organisation
programme, cannot be used to make nuclear weapons.

--------

Also, here is a brief interview for your pleasure/edification with Milan
Rai, in ZNet's usual manner, regarding his new book, published by
Verso...

Interviewing Milan Rai
War Plan Iraq
http://versobooks.com/books/nopqrs/r-titles/rai_m_iraq.shtml

1) Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book is about? What is it
trying to communicate?

War Plan Iraq tries to explain and document how the US has been hostile
to both UN weapons inspectors and to real regime change in Iraq. It also
sets out reasons why a war on Iraq would be immoral and illegal,
including the likely catastrophic effects on the civilian population.
The book is intended to give anti-war activists the ammunition they need
to win the argument and persuade the uncommitted.

Recent history demonstrates that the US has tried to achieve 'regime
stabilisation and only leadership change' in Iraq (by denying support to
the uprisings in 1991, for example), and has prioritised these goals
over the disarmament/inspection process in Iraq (by collapsing the UN
weapons inspection process in December 1998, for example).

The idea of the book was that it should be possible to give it to
someone who is solidly pro-war and for them not to be able to
immediately reject it, but be forced to engage with the depth of
documentation and the sober presentation.

Very important to the book are anti-war observations by relatives of
September 11th victims photographs of young Iraqis by artist Emily Johns and professional
photographer Kim Weston-Arnold, as well as an important chapter
addressing 9/11 by Noam Chomsky.

(2) Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?

The bulk of the book draws on four years of full-time
anti-sanctions/anti-war campaigning as joint coordinator of Voices in
the Wilderness UK, and fourteen years of writing and activism on these
topics with ARROW (Active Resistance to the Roots of War). Quite a bit
of the content comes from reading the British newspapers closely over
the course of the last year. The idea of the images and photographs is
to humanise the Iraqi people, who I have met, and found enormously
hospitable on my four sanctions-breaking delegations to Iraq over the
past four years.

(3) What are your hopes for War Plan Iraq? What do you hope it will
contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and aspirations you
have for the book, what will you deem to be a success? What would leave
you happy about the whole undertaking? What would leave you wondering if
it was worth all the time and effort?

What do I hope for War Plan Iraq? I hope that it will be a useful tool
for the international anti-war movement (it is being translated into
Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese,
Japanese, and Korean) and that it will help to swing/shore up domestic
opinion in the US and the UK against war.

I hope that it will encourage and empower anti-war activists and
persuade the uncommitted to raise their voices against war.

I already feel that the book was worth all the effort, because it has
already helped a lot of people to resist propaganda and to win arguments
and to deepen their understanding of the depths of cynicism and
brutality with which we are faced.

I can't say that I am happy with the book and its effects, because I
wish that there was some way that cultural efforts (books) and political
efforts (organising civil disobedience and so on) could be sure of
preventing mass destruction in Iraq. I'm glad people have found the book
useful, including people like George Monbiot and Tariq Ali and Martin
Thomas (our version of Michael Moore) and left-wing Labour MPs.

In some tiny way the book is increasing the chances of survival of
children in Iraq, that is its purpose and I have to be content with
that.

==================================
This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.