30.4.03

an excellent site... with some politics, art... etc...

happyfeettravels.org
** Ed Herman draws on similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. Interesting site, in fact.


** - for April.
"To the Americans it was justified self-defence, to most residents it was murder."

"While the western humanitarian focus is on Iraq, millions are starving in Africa in what is becoming a permanent continent-wide crisis."
The revolution X stuff is incredible... there is blatant censorship going on all over the place, and the poem is great. If I was in the US government I would ban it....
"Four EU states that opposed the Iraq war today agreed to create a joint military HQ for operations where Nato is not involved - a move that could widen the gulf between "old" and "new" Europe."

[....]

"It comes one day after Mr Blair yesterday warned France and other critics of the US that any attempt to create "rival centres of power" to compete with America and its allies would restore the disastrous divisions of the cold war era."

Democracy = end of history consensus?

29.4.03

"Speaking truth to power" - A review of Chomsky on mis-education. Some of the ideas, included those cited to others, are in fact straight out of Paulo Freire - education as knowledge transference ("pouring into empty receptacle") for instance is one Freire attributes to Satre even! Michael Apple may get an email...
Postwar Tony: going back to what he does best - Simon Hoggart

"Back to real business yesterday. Tony Blair gave another press conference in Downing Street. His postwar look is pretty terrible, though not anything like as bad as the fashion plate pictures of himself in the Financial Times [read interview here] this weekend."

[...]

"Over in the Commons, Jack Straw pointed out that British troops had already repaired and reopened the railway line between Umm Qasr and Basra, and was now extending it to Baghdad.

Tories couldn't quite believe what they heard. They had managed this feat in around a fifth of the time it took to re-open the Central Line in London, and one thousandth of the time we've been faffing round over the West Coast Line. Why doesn't the army run everything?"
Washington

** Washington's Intricate Policy - Pravda.ru on hawks and doves

"The present American administration is much more successful with the solution of international problems than with domestic ones. Condoleezza Rice say her job is to let Colin speak to people until he gets exhausted, while, she allows Donald to tell his listeners he will deliver a smack on the back of their heads if they are inattentive."


** From PNAC.info: This brief provides an excellent short overview of the growth of the PNAC foreign policy wave, from Paul Wolfowitz's 1992 Defense Planning Guidance document (mentioned below), to fall 2002, when the final press for regime change in Iraq began. The brief is by Joseph Cirincione, a Senior Associate and Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. You can hear him in a good segment on NPR's Fresh Air (as well as the PNAC's William Kristol) here.

Origins of Regime Change in Iraq

Proliferation Brief, Volume 6, Number 5
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

"Long before September 11, before the first inspections in Iraq had started, a small group of influential officials and experts in Washington were calling for regime change in Iraq. Some never wanted to end the 1991 war. Many are now administration officials. Their organization, dedication and brilliance offer much to admire, even for those who disagree with the policies they advocate. We have assembled on our web site links to the key documents produced since 1992 by this group, usually known as neo-conservatives, and analysis of their efforts. They offer a textbook case of how a small, organized group can determine policy in a large nation, even when the
majority of officials and experts originally scorned their views.

In the Beginning

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then-under secretary of defense for policy, supervised the drafting of the Defense Policy Guidance document. Wolfowitz had objected to what he considered the premature ending of the 1991 Iraq War. In the new document, he outlined plans for military intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats from terrorism.

The guidance called for preemptive attacks and ad hoc coalitions but said that the U.S. should be ready to act alone when "collective action cannot be orchestrated." The primary goal of U.S. policy should be to prevent the rise of any nation that could challenge the United States. When the document leaked to the New York Times, it proved so extreme that it had to be rewritten. These concepts are now part of the new U.S. National Security Strategy."
** Revolution X - "Strong suspicion has arisen among parents and students that the suspension was because Nevins, who coaches the Rio Rancho school poetry team, did not prevent students from publicly performing poems that opposed the US attack on Iraq and criticised the US government. Nevins was suspended soon after an anti-war poem — "Revolution X" — was performed over the school's closed-circuit TV system."

Read full poem here and send protest letters to New Mexico governor Bill Richardson from his website.


** Prevention Programs And Scientific Nonsense - Policy Review on critical thinking.

"It remains true, however, that most evaluations in this area have come to resemble exercises in what the philosopher Mark Notturno called, in his book Science and the Open Society (Central European University Press, 2000), “political thinking” — that is, thinking motivated by the need to be accepted by and to defer to apparent authorities. In the case of the anti-science evident in community-based health promotion, the authorities are those that have declared a new postmodernist era in program evaluation. The heretics are those who hang on to their old positivist ways — individuals who at best are misguided or at worse agents of oppression and exploitation. Vanquishing these positivists is what passes for political activism among postmodernist academics. Hence, silencing those who suggest that research evidence be used to determine whether ideologically driven programs such as “Boy Talk” and “Girl Power!” are funded is perfectly acceptable."

[...]

"It is interesting to note in this respect that both the proponents of postmodernist evaluation and the proponents of “research-based” health promotion invoke the idea of a paradigm shift in describing their activities. As noted above, the former explicitly present their approach to theory, research, and practice as a radical break with what they call “positivism.” For their part, the advocates of the “research-based” approach present this as a fundamental break with previous approaches such as information dissemination, fear arousal, moral appeals, and alternatives. This is significant, for, as Notturno observes, what is most debilitating about paradigms is that they require the uncritical commitment of followers: Allegiance to the community of fellow adherents and solidarity of belief are what matter, not rational and free thought. Thus, censoring critics and ostracizing those who have yet to convert are not aberrations; they are precisely the functions that the paradigm-based community is intended to serve." hmm...


**
Ludwig Wittgenstein 26 April 1889 - 29 April 1951 - the most reflective positivist?



Russell on Wittgenstein: "Do you remember that at the time when you were seeing Vittoz I wrote a lot of stuff about the theory of knowledge which Wittgenstein criticised with the greatest severity? His criticism, tho' I don't think you realised it at the time, was an event of first rate importance in my life, and affected everything I have done since. I saw that he was right, and I saw that I could not hope ever again to do fundamental work in philosophy. My impulse was shattered, like a wave dashed to pieces against a breakwater. I became filled with utter despair, and tried to turn to you for consolation."





marxist.org: Wittgenstein lectures on philosophy

Tractatus logico-philosophicus (bilingual version!)

28.4.03

Chomsky, anarchism & revolutionary theory.

From Communist Voice.
Stumbled across this anarchist site. Practical tips here;

"- Buy a cop a bagel. Talk to them about finding a new line of work.
- Let the air of of police car tires " etc
A victory for fairness, and a corresponding loss for property rights fascism;

in Los Angeles on Friday. There, a judge decided that the online file-swapping services Streamcast and Grokster - two networks that let computer users see the public folders of fellow users, and copy files between themselves - should not be outlawed simply because users can use them to share copyright material.

"Judge Stephen Wilson found that "[the] defendants distribute and support software, the users of which can and do choose to employ it for both lawful and unlawful ends... Grokster and StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights."
This is very good;

"Why this state Luddism, this rage at machines? Well, Brukman isn't just any factory, it's a fabrica ocupada , one of almost 200 factories across the country that have been taken over and run by their workers over the past year and a half. For many, the factories, employing more than 10,000 nationwide and producing everything from tractors to ice cream, are seen not just as an economic alternative, but as a political one as well. "They are afraid of us because we have shown that if we can manage a factory we can also manage a country," Celia Martinez, a Brukman worker, said on Monday night. "That's why this government decided to repress us."

If the means of production were cleansed...
** Depleted Uranium -

The issues

Returning soldiers to be checked


** The National Security Archive released declassified information on North Korea's nuclear issue last week. See list of documents here.


** FAIR.org - "A Chapter From Tomorrow's History Books" - Powell and media

"In reporting on Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation on Iraq at the U.N. Security Council, many media outlets gave more credence to his allegations because Powell is considered by media insiders to be both supremely trustworthy and a reluctant warrior. As a USA Today headline put it (2/6/03), "Case Is Stronger When 'Biggest Dove' Makes It." Or as Time magazine gushed (2/17/03): "Powell, we sometimes forget, is a phenomenon, a chapter from tomorrow's history books walking right in front of us. It isn't just the unique resume that demands respect; it's also the presence and the personality--the unforced authenticity and effortless sense of command...that stills and fills a room." It went on like that."


** How millions of poor Americans are being medically exploited thanks to 'fascist-in-chief'

"The Bush administration has opposed such legislation. Administration officials and many House Republicans say Medicaid, created in 1965 as a pillar of the Johnson administration's Great Society agenda, is unsustainable in its current form."

Bullshit - unsustainable is: to channel all the money to the rich and fight wars that have an impact of spending.


** And straight out of Q's labs: AK-MP3 - The Kalashnikov Jukebox


26.4.03

*** I gotcher fuzzy math right here. "Reaching heretofore unplumbed depths of shamelessness, Bush says, "Now, you hear talk about deficits, and I'm concerned about deficits, but this nation has got a deficit because we have been through a war.""
"In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communication workers, garbagemen and firemen. These people -- the employed, the somewhat privileged -- are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.

That will happen, I think, only when all of us who are slightly privileged and slightly uneasy begin to see that we are like the guards in the prison uprising at Attica -- expendable; that the Establishment, whatever rewards it gives us, will also, if necessary to maintain its control, kill us."

Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present (Revised and Updated Edition) , ch. 23

25.4.03



anarchist library
It’s easy to overgeneralize and get the idea that a small group of neoconservatives have worked some voodoo on a sitting President—you may remember Hillary Rodham Clinton’s initial reaction to Monicagate on NBC’s Today Show, that it represented "a vast right-wing conspiracy." It may be easy to insist that this small, concerted group of men and women have propelled an entire nation’s foreign policy toward the radical concept of "benevolent hegemony," wonk-speak for an American Empire that brings democratic ideals to dictatorships around the globe. But that, as the neoconservatives say themselves, would be simplistic.

"I have been amazed by the level of conspiracy-mongering around neocons," said David Brooks, an editor at Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Kristol’s Weekly Standard, and author of Bobos in Paradise. "I get it every day—the ‘evil Jewish conspiracy.’ The only distinction between ‘neoconservative’ and ‘conservative’ this way is circumcision. We actually started calling it the Axis of Circumcision."

That’s the kind of knowing humor that neoconservatives often allow themselves to indulge in; it’s almost impossible to imagine the embattled and shredded remains of the liberals having that kind of laugh on themselves! But political security breeds gentle good humor.

For instance, when asked if she was a neocon herself, the best-selling right-wing pundit Ann Coulter replied, "No, I’m a gentile. That’s only partially a joke. These days, the term ‘neoconservative’ is almost always used to insult someone. More recently, the term has become a liberal epithet to mean ‘Jew conservative.’"

That kind of brusque humor is endemic to the movement.

The core of the neoconservative movement couldn’t be more precise. Take the beginning of Mr. Murdoch’s Weekly Standard, for example. It was founded, as so many New York ideas were, in a coffee shop on West 72nd Street—the very place where so many ideas were hatched by the progenitors of the neoconservatives, back when they were lefties in the 1930’s and 1940’s. And in an exquisite irony that would have been appreciated by that generation of ideologues—most of whom experienced their own conversion to the right, which then brought them to power and allowed them to make possible the current neoconservative moment—it had just the right name. Saul Bellow could hardly have done better: The Weekly Standard was spawned in the Utopia Coffee Shop.
Media-related

** Powell defends attack on Baghdad hotel

"Our review of the April 8 incident indicates that the use of force was justified and the amount of force was proportionate to the threat against United States forces," Mr Powell wrote in a letter to Ana Palacio dated April 21."

Since when is force proportionate vs. the big bad USA? Plain nonsense.

"The US commander also stated that he did not know the hotel was a major base for journalists, although US intelligence had been made aware of their presence."



** Think Tanks and media - The rich get richer

"Much like in the global economy, in the world of the think tanks that dominate the mass media, the rich have gotten richer.

There has been little shuffling at the top of the most cited think-tank list, based on references to the group in major papers and broadcast transcripts in the Nexis database. Once again, the Brookings Institution led the way, with close to 3,000 citations among major newspapers and television and radio transcripts."



** FAIR.org's Norman Solomon on 'being in the same line of fire from big media for the sin of strongly challenging the president's war agenda.'

"So, on the April 22 edition of CNN's "Moneyline" program, host Lou Dobbs (with an American flag pin in his lapel) summed up a news report this way: "Blix appearing for all the world to look like a petulant U.N. bureaucrat about a month to go before his retirement." Mainstream U.S. reporters rarely apply an adjective like "petulant" to petulant administration officials like, say, Ari Fleischer. But then again, Fleischer doesn't challenge U.S. foreign policy. Dennis Kucinich does. The four-term U.S. representative from Ohio is now running for the Democratic presidential nomination. And some media pundits find his anti-war views outrageous."

24.4.03

In Spain it is technically illegal to protest against a war in which Spain is taking part... if you understand spanish read on below, it is quite incredible. I could spend several years in prison, along with millions others, for taking to the streets in protest against the war.

rebellion (spanish alternative electronic magazine)


Deep Throat, the secret source who tipped off journalists about the Watergate scandal, has been identified as former White House lawyer Fred Fielding.

*** Zimbabwe was largely brought to a halt yesterday by a three-day strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in protest at the government's decision last week to triple the price of fuel.

*** Looking for Chomsky DVD's on ebay I came across the site of this T-Shirt maker. They wouldn't allow a picture of the shirt to be shown on ebay since it is deemed to be "inappropriate". The site and sentiment are in solidarity to us and ours. His site revealed a super Chomsky link - an entire book on Znet.

*** "Last week, two members of the American military killed in Iraq were granted posthumous citizenship, a decision which highlighted the fact that around 37,000 members of the US military are not Americans and the figures are on the increase. Around half of new recruits to the armed forces in some LA areas are non-citizens whose service in the military will accelerate their route to citizenship. "

23.4.03

Re: The force is not with us. I sent the below to the author;

“What explains it? It can't be blamed on poverty, as the bleeding hearts always insist: we are much richer now than we were then.”

But this ignores the important issue, relative wealth not absolute wealth is significant. This point was well made in Richard Layard’s recent speech the thrust of which is aptly summarized by your colleagues thus;

“Those executives earning gigantic salaries do not find happiness; instead, they make many more of us unhappy because of the sheer unfairness of the emerging pattern of rewards.

In study after study, Layard shows that it is not absolute wealth that we care about once we reach a threshold of income, but how we sit in relation to others. “

Will Hutton

“Money does matter in various ways. People earning under around £10,000 are measurably, permanently happier when paid more. It matters when people of any income feel a drop from what they have become used to. But above all, money makes people unhappy when they compare their own income with others'. Richer people are happier - but not because of the absolute size of their wealth, but because they have more than other people. But the wider the wealth gap, the worse it harms the rest. Rivalry in income makes those left behind more miserable that it confers extra happiness on the winners. In which case, he suggests, the winners deserve to be taxed more on the "polluter pays" principle: the rich are causing measurable unhappiness by getting out too far ahead of the rest, without doing themselves much good. “

Polly Toynbee

Toynbee’s last point grounds the point rather nicely within rational choice theory (the epistemic basis of economics). What applies to happiness here also applies to crime – after all happy, content people are not the sort of people who are likely to commit crimes. Most crime is property related, and much violent crime is in furtherance of property crime. The replacement of theology with materialistic fetishism has much to answer for in this regard. But the essence of our materialist fetishism in my opinion depends on the exclusivity of much of the objects of desire (Ferrari’s etc.) – in turn dependent on highly inequitable wealth distribution patterns.

I absolutely agree with your article that having highly authoritarian paramilitary commissars running round imposing order in virtue of their monopoly of legitimised violence this is hardly a satisfactory state of affairs in a supposed “liberal” state! But the mentality that demands more violent and oppressive policing (which of course has the effect of tyrannising the poor and ethnic groups and further alienating and dehumanising them) cannot be divorced from the mentality that “freedom” and “individual rights” entail the legitimacy of a massive disparity between rich and poor. That some people’s contribution to society, as calculated by the market In Its Infinite Wisdom, entitles them to many, many multiples of the earnings of others in that society is clearly ludicrous (consider the difference between the market value of nurses and footballers vis a vis their relative social value).

That extreme disparate wealth is allowed to exist and such advanced avarice is seen as praise worthy can only mean that those who are poor are equally considered as undeserving and unworthy of the respect that is lavished on their richer brothers. If economic value is portrayed as the measure of things and you score lowly you have of course nothing to lose by taking matters into your own hands.

Thus income distribution is at the route of crime. The failure to address this problem is a result of misinformation (along the lines of Thatcher’s “There Is No Alternative”) and sheer tyranny – police brutality such as in the coal miners’ strike as you mention and daily in the harassment of poor and ethnic citizens – is one way to ensure that these distribution patterns persist. In a properly functioning democracy why would the majority be prepared to accept a hard to live on average wage of £20k in order to support an undeserving and parasitic opulent class? A democracy would surely eliminate poverty; an opulent oligarchy would surely by concerned to preserve its position by eliminating democracy.

In other words the police have become paramilitary because they are needed to enforce increasingly unjust social relations. To make them less paramilitary we need to tackle these unjust social relations, and at the heart of this matter is income distribution.
How well a British child does at school is defined by their social class, the Liberal Democrats claimed today.
"People are increasingly questioning the role these brands play in their societies. They ask, 'Should the money of the oppressed go to the oppressors?'," added Mr Iqbal.

22.4.03

This article is reminiscient of the 'democracy, the implications of which were misunderstood during anti-communism' line - What's New After September 11?, by Dick Howard

'pretty good, pretty neat'

"Must the intellectual, or the leftist--who need not be identical--always adopt a critical position, declaring that the glass is half-empty? Must the intellectual, or the leftist, always oppose the government, or the imperial hegemon? Must the intellectual, or the leftist, always take the side of the minority, the underdog, the victim--and in so doing, ignore any responsibility that might fall to that minority, underdog or victim? Is the intellectual, or the leftist, faced with choices that are morally clear-cut to the point that political choice and personal responsibility are superfluous? Must the intellectual, or the leftist, always have a good conscience and opt always if not for the side of the angels at least for that of Historical Progress?"

[...]

"The centrality of judgement in politics does not, however, mean that politics takes place in a landscape governed by moral relativism. There clearly are values and moral standards. That is why, for example, members of the Frankfurt School remained anti-capitalist even while they worked for the OSS, forerunner of the CIA: Nazism represented a greater evil and presented an immediate challenge. More generally, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, as one could have learned already before that War, when progressive intellectuals were told not to criticize the Moscow Trials because America still lynches Negroes! This old argument remains valid still today."

[...]

"The September attacks can be seen as marking the end of a different kind of economistic antipolitics: the right-wing version popularized by Reagan and Thatcher, for which the role of the state must be reduced to a minimum while the development of a (supposedly self-regulating) capitalist market society is encouraged. Phenomena as different as the folly of leaving airport security in the hands of private airlines; the selfless courage of firemen and police which contributed to overcoming the stereotype of the self-indulgent state employee; and the recognition that, like it or not, America is now part of a globally interdependent world support the hope for a Social Democratic renewal. Indeed, recent polls show that for the first time since the 1970's, a majority of Americans now trust Washington! This makes possible a social politics of the half-full glass.26 But the democratic component, which cannot be identified with the political party wearing that name, remains to be defined."

sex
"There is only one way to check American power and that is to support the euro."
Monbiot makes the same kind of point about reserve currencies as in Phil's NY Post link below - except pro rather than anti of course.
Here's something I became aware of professionally today but the implications of which could have as big an impact for the internet as the yahoo/nazi memorabilia trial in France, which luckily went freedom's way. More here. There is some way to go yet before a decision is reached but a damaging precedent lies hidden.
"I stopped singing love songs and started singing protest songs because protest songs were needed," she said. "You can be a complete politician through music. I have become more militant because the time is right." Amen.


Simone: an act to be handled like hot coals or priceless china.

The SUV

"Federal figures show that four-wheel-drive SUVs average 17.3 miles per gallon and on some larger models that goes down to 12. Hummers are even worse. In comparison, the average petrol-fuelled saloon manages 30mpg. In a country where, according to the US department of energy, per-capita energy consumption has been about 4.5 times greater than the world average, the debate over SUVs is inextricably linked to the broader national debate - namely what responsibility America has to the rest of the world and how it should go about fulfilling it. "You could say that the American way is to do what you want when you want," says Weinstock. "But there's another American way where people pull together for the common good and we try to set an example for the rest of the world."

In January, anti-SUV campaigners launched a particularly strident offensive airing a TV ad which suggested that through their gas guzzling, SUV drivers were inadvertently supporting terrorists. (The sort of countries that sold the petrol to them also fund terrorists, geddit?) The ultimate aim is to inflict pariah status on the vehicle. "We want to stigmatise ownership," says John Tagiuri, one of the founders of Earth on Empty. "We want the SUV to epitomise greed, waste and global climate change. We feel that if we galvanise a movement and keep a discussion going, if we make it uncool to drive SUVs then we are doing our part in the fight."
Nina Simone dies at 70




Official Website

21.4.03

Spain has quietened down a bit now the strike on the 10th of april was very badly publicised and between 4 and 70 percent of the workers participated.... statistics are like that here, you have to choose who to believe, or make up your own! Spanish comapanies are licking their lips as they are beeing offered some of the leftovers from the construction of 'New Texas'.

monty python takes to the press again... good stuff from the reliable Terry Jones

Welcome aboard the Iraqi gravy train

"Congratulations to all the winners of tickets to take part in the greatest rebuilding show on earth

Terry Jones

Well the war has been a huge success, and I guess it's time for congratulations all round. And wow! It's hard to know where to begin.

First, I'd like to congratulate Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and the Bechtel Corporation, which are the construction companies most likely to benefit from the reconstruction of Iraq. Contracts in the region of $1 billion should soon coming your way, chaps. Well done! And what with the US dropping 15,000 precision-guided munitions, 7,500 unguided bombs and 750 cruise missiles on Iraq so far and with more to come, there's going to be a lot of reconstruction. It looks like it could be a bonanza year."

more
rupert-owned ny post re: us financial architecture

Over the past year, foreigners have taken $214 billion worth of their assets out of the United States.

That figure is proving to be extremely troubling to the Federal Reserve, I'm told by a highly reliable source with close ties to that organization. In fact, the trend is so worrisome that none of the other considerations may matter as the Fed gets closer to its May 6 meeting on interest rates.

Hold your nose; here's a brief economics lesson. The first thing you need to understand is that the U.S. needs all that foreign money. With federal debt at $6.5 trillion and our country running annual deficits, foreigners essentially pay our bills.

They buy huge amounts of our government's securities. They help prop up our stock market. And they, more than the Fed, keep interest rates at the low levels we've come to enjoy and need.

If foreigners didn't loan money to Washington - by purchasing government securities - then our government would have to pay higher rates to attract the additional money from American investors.

The final straw for foreigners would be signs that the United States is being fiscally irresponsible.

You probably haven't noticed, but a number of Fed officials have come out lately and hinted that there are alternatives to cutting interest rates - like pumping money directly into the banking system.

And you may have also missed last week's vehement opposition to new tax cuts to stimulate the economy, which came from a group of highly prominent and respected former politicians and Wall Streeters.

The idea here is the same: force Washington to be fiscally responsible, not increase the budget deficit with a tax cut at the same time the war bills are piling up. Don't send foreigners running.

if the fetish/belief system of the u.s. dollar collapses, hallelujah
The occupation of Iraq continues...

* ...as US is 'to keep bases in Iraq'

"The US is planning a long-term military presence in Iraq, in a move which will dramatically extend American power in the region and spread dismay and fear among its opponents across the Arab world.

According to reports, the Pentagon intends to retain four military bases in Iraq after the invasion force withdraws. It is already using the bases to support continuing operations against pockets of resistance. They are at the international airport near Baghdad, at Talil; close to the city of Nassiriya in the south; at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert; and at the Bashur airfield in the Kurdish north."



*...and Jay Garner arrives in Baghdad

"Gen Garner arrived with about 20 top aides, including his British deputy, Major General Tim Cross. His staff is to grow to about 450 over the next week as others arrive by overland convoy from Kuwait to set up the full office of reconstruction and humanitarian aid (ORHA).

The ORHA is to coordinate delivery of outside assistance to the 24 million Iraqis, made more needy by the impact of war; to oversee rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure, in disrepair from a decade of UN economic sanctions and further damaged by three weeks of US bombing; and to oversee a political process establishing an interim Iraqi government. For ordinary Iraqis, however, the first needs are for water and electricity - knocked out during the war - and, especially, for security in a city wracked by almost two weeks of looting."

Do keep in mind the fact that his role will be played down as mostly humanitarian. An assumption which his recent history does not necessarily point to.

The Observer recently brought this article: Oliver Morgan on Jay Garner, the hawkish head of the Pentagon agency that will be handling lucrative reconstruction deals.
* The Bush administration - how do they get away with it? Media seems to be the usual outgrowth of political prosthetics. Norman Solomon at FAIR.org brings an interesting analysis (FAIR.org Media Beat 17/4 - Media and the Politics of Empathy) shedding light on this question:

"Congress cannot stop him. That's not what the Constitution says, and it's not what the War Powers Act says, but that's how it works in practice."

Mostly, it works that way in practice because countless journalists-- whether they're flag-wavers at Fox News or liberal sophisticates at NPR News-- keep letting authorities define the bounds of appropriate empathy and moral concern. I know of very few mainstream American journalists who have pointed out that President Bush has the blood of many Iraqi children on his hands after launching an aggressive war in violation of the U.N. Charter and the Nuremberg principles established more than half a century ago."

The Nation also concludes that the media continues to fail:

"Deficits are exploding, unemployment remains high, the stock market is still in the tank and interest rates are poised to take off. The country is headed to hell in a handbasket from so many directions one can barely keep track. And yet the increasingly Foxified media tell a story only of heroism: of the US military, of the American people and of the President of the United States, who has so far managed to avoid service to either one."

20.4.03

When a student asked Secretary of State Colin Powell about the 1973 military coup in Chile, the retired general turned diplomat made no secret of his deep misgivings about the U.S. role in that upheaval.

"It is not a part of American history that we're proud of," Powell said, quickly adding that reforms instituted since then make it unlikely that the policies of that Cold War era will be repeated.

The matter might have ended there had not Washington operative William D. Rogers taken notice of Powell's televised comment. Rogers served under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975-76 as the department's top official on Latin America and maintains a professional relationship with Kissinger.

In a highly unusual move, the State Department issued a statement that put distance between the department and its top official. The statement asserted that the U.S. government "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973" — a reference to the elected president, Salvador Allende.

Rogers was concerned that Powell's comment was reinforcing what he called "the legend" that the Chile coup was a creation of a Kissinger-led cabal working in league with Chilean military officers opposed to Allende. He called the department legal office to point out that there was a pending law suit against the government and Powell's comment was not helpful.

"I also called Kissinger," said Rogers. "I talked to him about it. I wouldn't say he was upset. ... I told Henry I think this is bad stuff. It doesn't help the U.S. legal position."

Rightly or wrongly, Kissinger has been linked to the coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military government to power.
Beneath the uniformity of a US media high on victory in Iraq, a wave of books of a heretical flavour is flooding the bestseller lists.

At number five in the New York Times bestsellers and climbing Amazon's chart is The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, a collection of essays by journalist Greg Palast, one of a triad known as the 'Angry White Men' - a play on the title at number six in the chart, Stupid White Men by film director Michael Moore, with 500,000 sales.

The third in the 'axis of anti' is Noam Chomsky, whose controversial 9/11 - in which he calls America 'a leading terrorist state' - has 205,000 copies in print.

The books are comfortably outselling titles which might seem at first to better reflect the zeitgeist, such as Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism and similar.

Once Palast's book was published in America, the media took a cue from Tony Blair's aide Alastair Campbell, who issued a political health warning on the author in Britain.

Plans by CNBC television to have him as a commentator on the Phil Donahue chat show were reversed after one performance, following an internal company memo recommending against guests who were 'sceptical of the Bush administration' when 'other networks are taking every opportunity to wave the flag'.

But his book is selling without the name recognition or marketing behind Moore and Chomsky.

'Michael Moore was the battering ram through the media Berlin Wall,' he said, 'and Chomsky and I are rushing through.

'There is a whole number of Americans who have been hypnotised, propagandised, and short-changed, who know something is wrong. Apparently the moment has come for the awful truth.'
From PNAC.info:

"Here is an extensive analysis that first appeared in the Washington Post on September 30, 2001. It is by James Mann, former diplomatic correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and senior writer-in-residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. It traces the development of the foreign policy philosophies of most of the top members of the Bush foreign policy team, from the 1970's until September 2001."
If we won't, who will?


Happy Easter, fellow heathens!
On US foreign policy:

* Check the newest Progressive Response, a weekly newsletter from Foreign Policy in Focus.

"Many of the same people who led the campaign for war against Iraq signed a report released three years ago that called for using military force to disarm Syria of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to end its military presence in Lebanon.

Among the signers are several senior members of the administration of President George W. Bush, including the chief Middle East aide on the National Security Council, Elliott Abrams; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith; Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky; and senior consultants to both the State Department and the Pentagon on Iraq policy, Michael Rubin and David Wurmser. Also signing were Richard Perle, the powerful former chairman of the Defense Policy Board (DPB); Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former United Nations ambassador; Frank Gaffney, a former Perle aide who heads the Center for Defense Policy; Michael Ledeen, another close Perle collaborator at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); and David Steinmann, chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

The study, Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, was co-authored by Daniel Pipes, who has just been nominated by Bush to a post at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), and Ziad Abdelnour, who heads a group founded by him called the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL). The study was released by Pipes' group, the Middle East Forum."



* PNAC - The rise of the Washington neo-con's - The Guardian brings a short summary of the PNAC movement shaping America's foreign policy, who's who etc. Most segments are taken from articles duly posted here in the past (how about we make our own executive summaries?).

And their Middle East plan? - "The US establishes a reasonably democratic, pro-western government in Iraq. When Palestinians see Iraqis beginning to enjoy real freedom and economic opportunity [they'll] demand the Palestinian Authority reform politically and negotiate with Israel. A democratic Iraq will also hasten the fall of the fundamentalist Shia mullahs in Iran, whose citizens are gradually adopting anti-fanatic, pro-western sympathies. Jordan's pro-western Hashemite monarchy would likely come into full bloom. Syria would be no more than a pale reminder of the bad old days. (If they made trouble, a US invasion would take care of them, too). The corrupt regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt would [look like] holdouts against the democratic tide. We could decide whether to ignore them as harmless throwbacks to the old days or deal with them, too." Joshua Micah Marshall in Washington Monthly, April



* Edward Said article in the current London Review of Books on misguided US policy

"For Lewis, vast generalisations about Islam and about the backwardness of 'the Arabs' were viable routes to the truth. Common sense about human experience was out: resounding pronouncements about the clash of civilisations were in (Samuel Huntington derived his lucrative concept from one of Lewis's essays about the 'return of Islam'). A generalist and an ideologue, Lewis found a new audience within the American Zionist lobby to whom, in journals such as Commentary and later the New York Review of Books, he addressed his tendentious pontifications."

[...]

"Another thought-stopping premise underlying the campaign in Iraq is that the map of the Middle East can be redrawn in such a way as to set in motion a 'domino effect' that will introduce Israel-friendly democracies all over the territory. According to this model, the Iraqi people are a blank sheet on which to inscribe the ideas of William Kristol, Robert Kagan and other deep thinkers of the Far Right. As I said in an earlier article for the LRB (17 October 2002), such ideas were first tried out by Ariel Sharon in Lebanon during the 1982 invasion, and then more recently in Palestine, where, in terms of security, peace and subaltern compliance, there's been nothing to show for it."
Oh, and welcome back Ryan - all good at your end? Successful relocation to Kyoto?
re: earlier, more radical Habermas (yes, am currently a bit dismayed by his later work... more on this in the future) and Positivismusstreit - I know I seem to be obsessed with this topic these days, however, it does shed light on an interesting relationship between politics and knowledge (ie. everything).

In 'Knowledge and Interest' (as in a recent post last month), Habermas notes that, historically, "positivism unreflectively skips over the epistemic dimension of inquiry, thus has fallen behind the level of reflection as designated by Kant". What does this mean technically?

Historically it may be so that positivism couldn't have been possible without Kant, however, is it not so that Kant's reflective essence allowing for the Copernican analogy of heliocentricity is missed in positive philosophy? Does positivism's dogmatic belief-in-itself and consequent inability for epistemic self-reflection make it geocentric? Does its barring of the synthetic potential of the reflective subject make it unenlightened? Does positivist methodology require the Kantian contribution to epistemology at all?

Am lazy - anyone in Kant mode at the moment?
What the hell is going on?

19.4.03

18.4.03

left side of the web links- enjoy

sds alumni page

wem gehoert die welt? die eigentumsfrage- projekt der rosa luxemburg stiftung


*chuckle*
"War Reimen rechts?"

Gernhardt: "Nein, das glaub ich nicht."
"Ist es nicht so, daß die Befreiung von der gebundenen Sprache, also noch schlimmer als Reimen ist ja vielleicht Versmaß... noch rechter als der Reim, kann wohl nur das Versmaß sein!"

m.v. please do videotape this for revolutionary comittee archives! thanks x

Und abschüssig ging es runter zum Podium, und wir saßen da, und ich saß da, und da kam erst mal in einer leicht gebückten Haltung, wie so die Assistenten waren, kam ein Assistent heruntergelaufen, ging ans Mikrofon und sagte: 'Der Herr Professor Adorno wird heute etwas leiser sprechen, er ist erkältet'. Und dann kam erst Adorno und das war für mich so ein Initiationserlebnis, ich dachte: Ja das ist große Theorie! Große Theorie ist, wenn jemand nicht selber sagen muß, daß er erkältet ist."

Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen!

APO!
* Recently mentioned 4-part series website 'Was War Links?'. It contains full transcripts of all parts - bathe in it Mr. Dorner! Quality flim-making.

From the Horkheimer interview, the non-utopist conception of critical theory as mentioned below:

"Die kritische Theorie sagt, Du kannst zeigen, was das Schlechte ist, und versuchen, es zu überwinden, aber Du kanst das Allerletzte, Höchste nicht darstellen. Daher legt die kritische Theorie ihren Hauptwert auf die Kritik der Gesellschaft und nicht etwa auf das Bild der schlechthin richtigen Gesellschaft. Das gilt sogar, dasselbe gilt sogar auch für Karl Marx. Marx hat zwar auch vom Reich der Freiheit gesprochen, aber er hat sich gehütet, dieses Reich der Freiheit auszumalen."

Marcuse on anti-systemic violence:

"So deckt, glaube ich, der Begriff der Gewalt zwei sehr differente Formen. Die institutionalisierte Gewalt des Bestehenden und die Gewalt des Widerstandes, die notwendig dem positiven Recht gegenüber illegal bleibt. Von einer Legalität des Widerstandes zu sprechen ist Unsinn. Kein Gesellschaftssystem, selbst das freieste nicht, kann verfassungsmäßig oder in anderer Weise eine gegen das System gerichtete Gewalt legalisieren."

Safranski on Adorno:

"Mit Adorno und an ihm vollzog sich eine Tragödie. Man kann schon sagen, das, was ihm da widerfahren ist, hat ihm das Herz gebrochen. Als er dann im Sommer 69 an Herzschwäche auch starb. Das Tragische war, daß wir, die 68er Bewegung, seine radikalen Analysen der Gesellschaft, daß die Gesellschaftsstruktur selber das Falsche ist, in dem wir leben, diese von ihm radikal vorangetriebene Analyse, "Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen", das war damals das geflügelte Wort, daß er diese Analyse vorgelegt hatte, mit dem Bewußtsein und mit der Voraussetzung, daß es einen solchen systemischen, also aufs System bezogenen, Verhängniszusammenhang und Verblendungszusammenhang, das waren die Ausdrücke damals, das dieser Zusammenhang so dicht ist, daß man da nicht rauskommt. Man kommt nicht raus. Und er selber als der Theorievirtuose entwickelte schon sehr viel Freiheitsimpuls und realisierte sehr viele Freiheitsimpulse einfach durch die Tatsache, daß er eine Theorie darüber machte. Das war schon ein Stückchen Befreiung für ihn. Aber dieses Stück der Befreiung, das nur in der Theorie liegt, das wollten wir nicht akzeptieren, wir wollten es konkreter haben. Und das ging für Adorno nicht. Und wir nahmen seine theoretischen Impulse auf und wollten eine viel holzschnittartigere Praxis der Befreiung. Er sah nur das Schweißtuch der Theorie: Auseinanderfalten, das war schon sein Akt von Befreiung, und wir wollten mehr.

"Dann gab es eine ganze Reihe von Vatermordszenen, aus der Distanz wird das so richtig deutlich, daß hier der Vater gemordet werden sollte, als hilflos, als lächerlich vielleicht. In Berlin gab es eine Veranstaltung, die war vielleicht die schlimmste, die ich hier auch erlebte, wo man dem Theodor Adorno mitten in einem sehr subtilen Vortrag über Iphigenie von Goethe im Audimax der FU einen aufgeblasenen Teddybär überreichte. Und das sind Formen von Vatermord, die sind ganz furchtbar. Ihn auf diese Weise lächerlich zu machen, und das, neben manchem anderen hat ihm dann auch wirklich das Herz gebrochen.""

Andreas Baader kehrte heim und sagte: "Mutti, in einem Staat, wo man so verdroschen wird, da ist was faul!"

17.4.03

take a laugh at this gents... killer onion returns................j

SADDAM SO PROUD HE KILLED MORE CIVILIANS THAN U.S

"Reflecting on his time as Iraq's president in a pre-taped television address, Saddam Hussein expressed pride Tuesday that, despite the success of the U.S. invasion and the civilian casualties it has inflicted, he still has killed far more Iraqis than President Bush.
"George Bush believes he is so powerful, so strong," Saddam said. "But even with all of his bombs and missiles and Marines, he has not even come close to killing as many Iraqis as I did." more
They're the studio's villains of choice when comes to depicting terrorists, arms dealers or torturers. And after September 11, it looks like getting worse:

arabs + hollywood productions

Professor Jack Shaheen has spent 20 years cataloguing Tinseltown's portrayal of Arabs in over 900 movies. He's found that, with very few exceptions, Arabs are presented in the movies as "subhuman" and destable to a degree that the studios would no longer dare with any other ethnic group.

"The tragedy" he admits, "is that we've begun to unlearn other stereotypes" - about Blacks, Jews, Native Americans. "But we haven't with this one. And 9/11 took it to another level."

By contrast, there is rage in abundance within the Arab world itself. "Arabs to whom I've spoken love American movies. But one fellow I spoke to in the United Arab Emirates told me that some of these films make him feel like he's been physically hit in the stomach, that he wants to go out and throw up."

-------------------------


Terror and Liberalism lays bare the dynamics of these movements. Though left-wing (Bolshevik) and right-wing (fascist), they shared "a single ur-myth," which goes back at least as far as the Book of Revelation (also known as Apocalypse) in the New Testament. In this myth, the people of God, dwelling in peace and simplicity, are attacked from within by the wealthy and corrupt denizens of Babylon, aided by evil foreign allies. In a great battle at Armageddon, the people, under a quasi-divine Leader, destroy the satanic forces and inaugurate a thousand-year reign of purity and virtue.

hahahaha haahahaha! Babylon? harharharharHARHARHAR! jesus h., Berman, you're fucking killing me!

re: below- let's get vicious.. it only takes one to kick it off.. moral responsibility

War protesters attack the British/Spanish/Italian and even French embassies
War on terror begins at home? Not yet. State sponsored terrorism is doing very well thank you.

"CATHOLICS were killed by loyalist terrorists with regular and systematic help from elements of the Army and RUC, an official police report confirmed for the first time today."

Also see - Ulster's Secret War
Re: Robin Cook article below - I saw an image of him somewhere carrying a copy of Michael Moore's Stupid White Men the other day, is obviously sinking in....
America on probation - The peace will give the final verdict on this war. The US is not the Great Satan, but it may again be the Great Gatsby

Guardian's Timothy Garton Ash: "The biggest danger is not American imperialism," he says. "It's American inconstancy." Wait and see how the US handles the new Middle East,
and then judge whether the war was a success or not."
* Following below review of Berman's Terror and Liberalism (do read it, it's very amusing), the Boston Globe also published this piece by him last week.

"Let us fear, then. But let us also remember that, at moments like this, every possibility is still in play-the worst, but also the best: the road that leads to Yugoslavia, as well as the road to Poland. Iraq could go either way right now. So let us hope, too. Let us press for greater American involvement, a more generous budget, an all-is-forgiven attitude that welcomes and even requests support from the rest of the world-a big campaign of reconstruction and not a small one."

Anyway, read it all - it's mad. Where does this liberal hatred come from? It must be our language...



* Robin Cook wrote a commentary in the New Statesman, reprinted in today's Politics Guardian, portraying the Bush-Blair alliance as 'a strategic error'.

"To question the degree of Britain's complicity with a Bush administration is not to be anti-American. The US is not just the country of George Bush, it is also the country of Michael Moore, Martin Sheen and Woody Allen. Most Americans did not vote for Bush; indeed the majority of those Americans who did turn out to the polls voted for AI Gore. Nor will Bush be there for ever. In only a year's time, Blair's aides will be confronted with demands from the White House for signals of endorsement of a Bush re-election. I fear their basic instinct, if they expect Bush to win, will be to oblige. It is vital that they master those instincts: Britain's interest is in a Democratic victory."



* I was watching a German-produced documentary last night on different aspects of 'leftism'. The approach was historical, centering mainly around 60's and 70's protest culture and the SDS, with a good load of Frankfurt School input. A lot of people from that time were interviewed, most of them recently - 'Are you still a leftist?' - a good question, as some of the semi-militant protesters now run profitable companies. As usual then, the fall of the communist states was interpreted as a loss for the leftist cause ('Has this weakened the left?'). This seems to me the major point of madness and misunderstanding. Firstly, as Horkheimer never fails to mention, socialism seizes to be of importance as soon as the revolution has happened. The left only consists in opposition and doesn't exist per se - a leftist state is a contradiction in terms. The revolutionary dialectic steps out of gear as soon as 'greener grass' is mentioned - utopias are not for us. Secondly, as Chomsky illustrates in a 1986 article published in 'Our Generation', the relationship between authoritarian communist regimes and socialism has always been a shady one:

"Since its origins, the Soviet State has attempted to harness the energies of its own population and oppressed people elsewhere in the service of the men who took advantage of the popular ferment in Russia in 1917 to seize State power. One major ideological weapon employed to this end has been the claim that the State managers are leading their own society and the world towards the socialist ideal; an impossibility, as any socialist -- surely any serious Marxist -- should have understood at once (many did), and a lie of mammoth proportions as history has revealed since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime. The taskmasters have attempted to gain legitimacy and support by exploiting the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them, to conceal their own ritual practice as they destroyed every vestige of socialism.

As for the world's second major propaganda system, association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the State capitalist institutions, to ensure that the necessity to rent oneself to the owners and managers of these institutions will be regarded as virtually a natural law, the only alternative to the 'socialist' dungeon.

The Soviet leadership thus portrays itself as socialist to protect its right to wield the club, and Western ideologists adopt the same pretense in order to forestall the threat of a more free and just society. This joint attack on socialism has been highly effective in undermining it in the modern period."

Think we're going to have to invent a new language for this whole business.

Since I'm on an idealist strain, one mention re: 'Positivismusstreit' - actually stumbled across a text of the 'Empirical Methods in Social Sciences' sort that for once contains a criticism of the Popperean programme. The text was German and the critique of critical rationalism didn't point to any practical aspects of the hermeneutic/dialectic approach. It does however rather nicely describe the imperialist tendencies of the analytical method, pointing to its unreflective belonging to the totality of production and power structures, thus itself being the stabilising moment in the status quo (quoting entire clauses from Adorno and Habermas - am not quite sure the writer was reflectively aware of the full meaning of the words). Obviously, the whole critique was blown off by pointing to the unsuitability of these idealist musings - the normativity would convert science into ideology, which is apparently unacceptable.

In any case - how this insight cannot compel anyone to produce severe anti-systemic sentiments is not clear to me. These 'scientists' writes these books - they see the political twistings of critical theory, yet... fetshism has killed the activist.

Then, consider the Hegelian precursor to all this - a recent contribution from Phil:

"Positive philosophy was a conscious reaction against the critical and destructive tendencies of French and German rationalism, a reaction that was particularly bitter in Germany. Because of its critical tendencies, the Hegelian system was designated as 'negative philosophy.' Its contemporaries recognised that the principles Hegel enunciated in his philosophy led him 'to a critique of everything that was hitherto held to be the objective truth.' His philosophy 'negated'-namely, it repudiated any irrational and unreasonable reality. The reaction saw a challenge to the existing order in Hegel's attempt to measure reality according to the standards of autonomous reason. Negative philosophy, it was claimed, tries for the potentialities of things, but is incapable of knowing their reality. It stops short at their 'logical forms' and never reaches their actual content, which is not deducible from these forms. As a result, so the critique of Hegel ran, the negative philosophy can neither explain nor justify things as they are. This led to the most fundamental objection of all, that negative philosophy, because of its conceptual make-up, negates things as they are. The matters of fact that make up the given state of affairs, when viewed in the light of reason, become negative, limited, transitory - they become perishing forms within a comprehensive process that leads beyond them. The Hegelian dialectic was seen as the prototype of all destructive negations of the given, for in it every immediately given form passes into its opposite and attains its true content only by so doing. This kind of philosophy, the critics said, denies to the given the dignity of the real; it contains 'the principle of revolution' (Stahl said). Hegel's statement that the real is rational was understood to mean that only the rational is real.

Hegel had considered society and the state to be the historical work of man and interpreted them under the aspect of freedom; in contrast, positive philosophy studied the social realities after the pattern of nature and under the aspect of objective necessity. The independence of matters of fact was to be preserved, and reasoning was to be directed to an acceptance of the given. In this way positive philosophy aimed to counteract the critical process involved in the philosophical 'negating' of the given, and to restore to facts the dignity of the positive."

16.4.03

* WMD?

"Powell asserted Sunday on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost. "We will find weapons of mass destruction." Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, told Fox News that same day that he has "absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country." White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer noted last week that "we know Saddam Hussein is there, but we haven't found him yet, either."

Weapons of mass destruction are "what this war was about -- and it is about," Fleischer said.

But none have been found yet.

"When we have something to report, it will duly get reported, of course," Fleischer added Tuesday."



* Robert Fisk seems to be reporting from Iraq daily these days. Today's piece illustrating how plainly obvious the whole thing actually is.

"It casts an interesting reflection on America's supposed war aims. Anxious to "liberate" Iraq, it allows its people to destroy the infrastructure of government as well as the private property of Saddam's henchmen. Americans insist that the oil ministry is a vital part of Iraq's inheritance, that the oilfields are to be held in trust "for the Iraqi people". But is the Ministry of Trade relit yesterday by an enterprising arsonist not vital to the future of Iraq? Are the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Irrigation still burning fiercely not of critical importance to the next government?"



* Whilst Kagan, assuming him to be a propagandist, can be excused for alterior motives, Paul Berman's 'Terror and Liberalism' tops it all. This quite amusing review of 'the latest pile of wank' demonstrates reactionary irrationality of the 'definitive and final world order' sort. Best bit obviously:

"After the Indochina war, Berman writes, Chomsky had no way to explain the atrocities in Cambodia. He therefore set out, basing himself on his "customary blizzard of... obscure sources" (an ungracious remark, this, coming from the author of so lightly documented and empirically thin a book as Terror and Liberalism), to demonstrate that "in Indochina, despite everything published in the newspapers...that genocide never occurred," or if it did, was all America's fault.

What Chomsky and Edward Herman actually set out to do in The Political Economy of Human Rights was to show how differently the crimes of official enemies are treated in mainstream American media and scholarship than are those of official allies or of America itself. Accepting without argument the existence of "substantial and often gruesome atrocities" in postwar Cambodia, Chomsky and Herman reviewed the sources uncritically relied on in the mainstream, showed how inferior they were to sources that told a less convenient story and pointed out that equally credible sources that told of roughly equivalent atrocities within the American sphere of influence (for example, Indonesia's in East Timor) were generally ignored. Not the one-dimensional soundbite Berman alleges. But he is hardly alone in misrepresenting The Political Economy of Human Rights. Dealing fairly with the book's argument requires a modicum of discrimination, attention to detail and polemical scruple, courtesies rarely accorded Chomsky by his critics.

After 9/11, Berman continues, Chomsky was similarly doctrinaire and deluded. He found the "entirely predictable" attacks by Al Qaeda "the reply of oppressed people from the Third World to centuries of American depredations." Chomsky, Berman scoffs, "had no basis at all," in his ridiculous bestseller 9/11, "to attribute these centuries of Third World motivation to bin Laden."

No; but then, he didn't. The "terrorist atrocities," Chomsky noted in 9/11, were "a gift to the harshest and most repressive elements on all sides." The likely perpetrators were "extreme Islamic fundamentalists," "murderous...religious elements" who "for 20 years have caused great harm to the poor and oppressed people of [the Middle East]"; not surprisingly, since the latter are "not [their] concern." Al Qaeda has "little concern for globalization and cultural hegemony," and bin Laden himself "knows virtually nothing of the world and doesn't care to." There is not a word in 9/11 ascribing Third Worldist political motivations to bin Laden or Al Qaeda. Berman had no basis at all to attribute this absurd misreading of their motives to Chomsky.

In ten pages, Berman manages to make more, and more serious, errors of fact and logic than Chomsky has made in 10,000. An impressive performance."
Forgot to add this gem in bit below, necessary to tempt phil!

Ascherson says that while he had the "odd joint" when in Berlin, he essentially saw the 1960s through German eyes. "The whole of the drugs, fashion and music scenes were considered unimportant to these highly politicised people," he explains. He came into contact with several activists who later became associated with the Red Army Faction - including Ulrike Meinhof - and when back in London he briefly let "one or two contacts" stay at his home. "I thought their way of dealing with things was catastrophically mistaken but you often come across this situation as a foreign correspondent. By letting them stay I wasn't making a commitment to their cause. I was interested in them and wanted to talk to them and find out who they were."
"When the president says go, its hammer time, its hammer time" to wit;

"Jack Straw distanced Britain from America's increasingly critical stance towards Syria yesterday but warned that the government in Damascus had "serious questions" to answer. "
A hungover glance at the web

** Firstly, apart from a linkback for which we are grateful, the apostropher notes that "if you think that parts of this administration aren't actively looking for an excuse to roll tanks toward Damascus, remember that Doug Feith and Richard Perle carry huge weight in this administration a couple years after publishing this report for the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies that recommends "rolling back" Syria. Convenient how they put it all down on paper, rendering conspiracy theories passé."

Exactly. No need for conspiracy theories - it's all there. Oh, and the paper is here. Great find Jesse, thanks.



** Syriaspeak remains prominent as Gulf states warn US over Syria - "Ties between the US and Syria have long been strained Six key pro-Western Gulf Arab states have called on the United States to stop threatening Syria in the wake of the war in Iraq."

Also worth a read is Fisk's analysis of the situation:

"But Syria just might have provided a transit station for the Baath officials from Iraq. To where? My own favourite is Belarus – because its capital, Minsk, is awash in whisky, corruption and damp apartments (the first two of which would appeal to most Iraqi Baathists). Vladimir Putin, of course, would be asked to help to retrieve them and hand them over to Washington. And he would have a price, no doubt, a price involving oil concessions and Russia's already signed oil contracts in Baghdad ..."



** FAIR.org brings a great analysis of the NYT manufacturing consent - When "Doves" Lie - The New York Times plays down anti-war opinion

"After the invasion began, when more than 100,000 people in New York City demonstrated on March 22, it was front-page news the next day in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. But the New York Times, whose offices are two blocks away from where the anti-war march started, placed the story on page B11."



** More media: How the White House plays the game

"It's the first full day of the war against Iraq, and the White House's much-vaunted discipline is in full flower. "The president isn't taking any risks with his message," says Martha Joynt Kumar, an expert on presidential communication at Towson University in Maryland, who attends most White House briefings. "So, no questions."" (liberalartsmafia.com)



** Doing the US's dirty work - Interesting expose of Colombian paramilitary carnage, inspired by the Israeli structure.

"As it stands now at the time of this writing, if Uribe and the US Embassy have their way, the AUC paramilitaries will now be demobilized as the AUC per sé and then transformed into legal entities of the Colombian state as "peasant soldiers;" trained by the army, but living in villages and not at military bases. Thus Castaño’s men will become retrained and legitimized and continue the counterinsurgent war under the aegis of the Colombian Army with the direct assistance of the United States, their bloody hands washed in State Department PR."



** And before I go off (am very tempted to cure hangover at home all day... aber es muss sein):

Habermas on Dutschke:

"Hat die Kugel das Attentaeters ihn doch noch erreicht? Damals, 1969, war Dutschke aus einem Leben der Kreativitaet herausgerissen worden. "Weitermachen", hatte Marcuse ihm am Krankenbett zugerufen, und weitergemacht hatte er dann, mit grosser Energie die Sprache, Wort fuer Wort wiederlernt - seine Vitalitaet wiedergewonnen."

In short, Marcuse at Dutschke's bedside after his assassination: "Carry on!"

Shiver down spine - Amen.

15.4.03

After national service Ascherson went up to Cambridge to read history. His tutor was Eric Hobsbawm, who says his opening remark to Ascherson was: "'How does it feel to have won your medals in a colonial war?' But we've remained friends ever since." Hobsbawm describes Ascherson as "perhaps the most brilliant student I ever had. I didn't really teach him much, I just let him get on with it."

[....]

"Ascherson was awarded a triple-starred first but declined offers to become an academic saying that he wanted to see the world, although by then he had already turned down one invitation to travel. "Which was just as well," he now recalls. "It would have been a one-way ticket to the gallows." While at Cambridge he had been approached by the intelligence services..."


Very much worth reading;

"It influenced enormously Bauman's Modernity and the Holocaust published four years later. The book received great critical acclaim in Germany, and provoked controversy elsewhere for "letting Germany off the hook". Bauman's thesis was that the Holocaust was a product of modernity rather than being specific to German nationalism. As Dr Richard Kilminster, another Leeds sociologist colleague, explains: "When the book was published in Germany, it caused a sensation. He argued that the Holocaust could only happen because of modernity's technology and bureaucracy. What modernity did was to generate unintended consequences of bureaucratic complexity and created the conditions in which moral responsibility disappeared."
Quotes below from Public Education Network. A sort of ZNET looking type site.

Appeasement something for the frenchies hey?

"From the standpoint of
stable political conditions,
it is perhaps well that Hitler
is now in a position to wield
unprecedented power."
- U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Frederic Sackett,
1933
Source: Letter to President Roosevelt, U.S. Department of State, Foreign
Relations of the United States, 1933, 2:209.

"There are only two governments in Europe capable of
being a real victor. One is Germany, and the other is
Russia . . . I shudder to think of a Russian domination of
Europe. While a German domination would be hard and
cruel, at least in the beginning, it would be an
intensification of a culture which is more akin to ours
than that of Russia. Further than that, if Germany should
be dominant throughout the greater part of Europe, she
would act as a bulwark against the westward progression
of Russia."
- U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Breckinridge Long, 1935
Source: Letter, Long to Roosevelt, 19 April 1935, Italy: Long, President's
Secretary File, FDR Papers, Roosevelt Library. Cited in David Schmitz, the
United States and Fascist Italy, 1988, p. 156.
"The limitations imposed by
democratic political
practices makes it difficult
to conduct our foreign
affairs in the
national interest."
- US Secretary of State, Dean Acheson
Source: Acheson, "Citizen Looks at Congress," 50.
More like minded people.
Terrorism sponsored by Britain. The inquiry into loyalist hit squads - where loyalist terrorists in Northern Ireland were fed information by police/security services/the military and then certain people then got killed. There may be a pattern here i think... and would you believe;

"There is talk of Stevens [ex-police chief heading the inquiry] recommending charges against 20 members of the security services. But he won't. He will send reports to the director of public prosecutions, and the DPP has been notorious for not pursuing cases against the security forces."

"you are either with us [the elite, the few, "the wealthy who are the more capable set of men" James Madison] or you are against us"

14.4.03

But Mr Blair insisted these remarks had to be regarded "in context" and that the notion of a US-led invasion of Syria was a "conspiracy theory that will fade away in time".

tony, "mark my words"

But he rejected criticism from anti-war MP Alice Mahon that US and UK forces protecting oil fields, rather than hospitals and museums, showed the coalition's true priorities. He said he had "never had one single conversation ever" about "the need for Iraq's oil."

what an odd thing to say
bush speech at AEI: close your eyes, pray to god!

The Bush approach effectively postpones, for several years at least, any real attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its justification for doing so is bizarre.

Adopting a thoroughly US capitalist view of terrorism, that suicide bombers are only in it for the money, Mr Bush wants to wait until the funds for Palestinian attacks on Israel have been cut off.

He goes on to suggest that other countries allegedly responsible for funding Palestinian terrorism must be dealt with after Iraq. They include Syria and Iran, but also, according to the Israelis, Saudi Arabia and the EU.

The Bush approach effectively postpones, for several years at least, any real attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its justification for doing so is bizarre.

Adopting a thoroughly US capitalist view of terrorism, that suicide bombers are only in it for the money, Mr Bush wants to wait until the funds for Palestinian attacks on Israel have been cut off.

He goes on to suggest that other countries allegedly responsible for funding Palestinian terrorism must be dealt with after Iraq. They include Syria and Iran, but also, according to the Israelis, Saudi Arabia and the EU.
From its neutral stance, GRU offers detailed, top-grade, and wholly unspun analysis. The bulletins are in Russian (bilingualism is suddenly in demand on Wall Street). You can get English translations a day later on Venik's Aviation website.
The Anglophone world just got bigger and better - Der Spiegel in English.
Brian Whitaker looks at the influence of rightwing theorists on US policy in the Middle East.
Re: Syria. I wouldn't worry too much about Straw/Blair hesitancy at the moment. Notice how war is made clearly off the agenda (or "list" to employ US dumbspeak) since "what is important is that Syria agrees to sit down with the United States and United Kingdom and actively cooperate over these questions that have been raised over their current relations with Iraq" (straw speaking on this mornings Today Radio 4 prog). So, they're saying that there is no pre-emptive programme that includes an invasion of Syria/Iran/North Korea/Cuba/France etc but this will soon change since invasion has been made effectively a penalty for "non-cooperation", and we've already seen that the only judges of what constitutes evidence of "non-cooperation" and what scope that cooperation might have and what it might entail for sovereignty of said nation is embodied in the judge/jury/executor - the US. Britain is dealing with domestic hostility to the perpetual war for perpetual peace and is lining itself up to play the Colin Powell role in stage two - "A first I wasn't convinced Iraq needed invading, but then is realised that..." and stew for five seconds of international "debate" before going ahead with original plan regardless. Basically Syria will be judged not to have "complied" or whatever and then its roll tanks - after all the kits already there. We are about to witness what managers like to call "synergy"; two/three (watch out Iran!) invasions for the price of one.

Where's my proof? Well spurious or otherwise Richard Perle's opinions often seem a good guide to where the bodybags will come from next. In this article written in 2000 he makes the case for the Iraqi makeover and he is, if anything, more emphatic regarding Syria.
** On the Syrian question, Britain seems to distance itself from the bellicose line out of Washington, as Straw denies threat to Syria

"Jack Straw insisted today that Syria was not "next on the list", despite the bellicose noises coming out of Washington over the weekend. However, the foreign secretary warned Damascus to "cooperate" over US allegations it was developing chemical weapons and may provide sanctuary for fleeing members of the Iraqi regime. His comments came as his junior minister, Mike O'Brien, arrived in the Syrian capital for talks today, and the prime minister, Tony Blair, prepared to brief MPs on the situation in Iraq ahead of the Commons Easter recess."

Will we see real unilaterial action this time?



** On the SARS front, Chinese SARS patients are being turned away if unable to pay for treatment.

"The man, who was also exhibiting symptoms of SARS, owed the hospital $250, said Chen's daughter, Chen Lili, who was visiting her father at the time. "They made him pack up and go," she said. "Who knows what happened to him? He had no money and he was sick."
The SARS epidemic has hit China at a time of turmoil in its health care system. Once the pride of this nation, the country's socialist health care system, with its "barefoot doctors" and free clinics, has collapsed. In its place has emerged a dog-eat-dog medical system that benefits the rich and generally hurts the poor, Chinese economists and public health researchers say."

Extensive looking SARS weblog SARS Watch.org



** The Washington Post writes that 'Bush's hardest battle may be over agenda at home'.

"Emboldened by the rapid military success, the president plans to use his new popularity to fight for his undiluted agenda of deep tax cuts, Medicare reform and strict limits on domestic spending. But the Iraq war has had an equally profound effect on the opposition. Democrats have concluded that the only way to challenge the popular war leader is to fight him vigorously on domestic policy."




** 'Property of transaction = theft' style commentary by Naomi Klein - Bomb before you buy

"And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government, the key economic decisions about their country's future will have been made by their occupiers."
I've been looking for this for ages. If you want stated war aims there you go... the latest chomsky linked below (asked Why did the US attack Iraq?) clearly draws on these stated aims (Compare and contrast with offical nonse-speak...). Thanks to Info Clearing House for link.
Afghanistan - the real numbers


The Iraqi Security Secretary called in all four hundred Saddam-look-alikes for a briefing.

"I have good news and bad news," he told them.

"The good news: Saddam is still alive."

"The bad news: he has lost an arm."
"As George Bernard Shaw puts it, in substance, 'The American white relegates the black to the rank of shoeshine boy; and he concludes from this that the black is good for nothing but shining shoes.' This vicious circle is met with in all analogous circumstances; when an individual (or a group of individuals) is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he is inferior. But the significance of the verb to be must be rightly understood here; it is in bad faith to give it a static value when it really has the dynamic Hegelian sense of 'to have become'. Yes, women on the whole are today inferior to men; that is, their situation affords them fewer possibilities. The question is: should that state of affairs continue?"

The Second Sex - marxists.org full transcript


Pretty sexy despite hyperexistential smell (i.e. full of Sartrespeak). Think emancipatory argumentation via Hegel (analysis dialectical - reflective subject at the centre) plus cultural use of Marx makes it rather rich though - although essentially Hegelian, 'bad faith', 'authenticty' and 'other' disrupts my teutonic unconscious, a bit like 'is' and 'everything' on acid (if you can hack 'Verwurzelung' and 'Heimat' though...). I have this impression that she was politically motivated in a way that Sartre never was.




Simone de Beauvoir, 1/9/1908 – 14/4/1986 (you'd never guess what tomorrow's occasion for rememberance will be...)
** Newest Chomsky - "The question of who rules Iraq remains the prime issue of contention. The US-backed opposition demands that the UN play a vital role in post-war Iraq and rejects US control of reconstruction or government (Leith Kubba, one of the most respected secular voices in the West, connected with the National Endowment of Democracy). One of the leading Shi'ite opposition figures, Sayed Muhamed Baqer al-Hakim, who heads the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), just informed the press that "we understand this war to be about imposing US hegemony over Iraq," and perceive the US as "an occupying rather than a liberating force." He stressed that the UN must supervise elections, and called on "foreign troops to withdraw from Iraq" and leave Iraqis in charge.

US policy-makers have a radically different conception. They must impose a client regime in Iraq, following the practice elsewhere in the region, and most significantly, in the regions that have been under US domination for a century, Central America and the Caribbean. That too is well-understood. Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to Bush I, just repeated the obvious: "What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."



** Syrian FM: If US attacks, Israel will suffer

"Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk a-Shara said Sunday that if the United States decides to attack Syria, Israel will also be harmed as a result. Shara also rejected claims that Syria was providing shelter to senior Iraqi leaders, and said that the Americans "know well that these accusations have no basis."

[...]

"Asked whether Syria could face military action if it does not turn over Iraqi leaders, Bush said: "They just need to cooperate." Syria has been on the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism for many years and some hawks in Washington say that after Iraq, the United States should set its sights on "regime change" in Syria and Iran."



** Rumsfeld, Schultz and Saddam - Why Donald Machiavelli went to war with old buddy Saddam

"The primary goal of Mr. Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad was to improve relations with Iraq. But another matter was also quietly discussed. The powerful Bechtel Group in San Francisco, of which Secretary Shultz had been president before joining the Reagan administration, wanted to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, near the Red Sea. It was a billion-dollar project and the U.S. government wanted Saddam to sign off on it.

This remains, two decades later, a touchy subject. When I brought the matter up last week with James Placke, who in 1983 was a deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, he said, "My memory on that is kind of foggy."

[...]

"This unilateral war and the ouster of Saddam have given the hawks and their commercial allies carte blanche in Iraq. And the company with perhaps the sleekest and most effective of all the inside tracks, a company that is fairly panting with anticipation over oil and reconstruction contracts worth scores of billions of dollars, is of course the Bechtel Group of San Francisco."

Another retirement outlet of the corporation, including options and futures:

"We are not in the construction and engineering business. We are in the business of making money."

--Steve Bechtel Sr.

"Key Bechtel alumni are Reagan Secretary of Defense Casper Weinburger former Bechtel general counsel, and Reagan Secretary of State, George Schultz former Bechtel President, and current Bechtel board member. W. Kenneth Davis, former vice-president for nuclear development became Reagan’s deputy secretary of Energy and head of the Atomic Energy Commission under Reagan. William Casey, chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission under Nixon, head of the Export-Import bank under Ford, Reagan campaign manger and head of the CIA under Reagan was also a Bechtel consultant.

Richard Helm was CIA director under Nixon and eventually became a Bechtel consultant. White House political advisor Perter Flanigan under Nixon became a senior partner in the Bechtel-owned investment house Dillon, Read and Company. Robert L. Hollingsworth, AEC’s general manager under Nixon became manager of manpower services at Bechtel. Nixon Treasury secretary William Simon became a Bechtel consultant. Additionally, numerous friends of Bechtel, too long to list, many working in the AEC eventually ended up with Bechtel. The close collaboration between the AEC and Bechtel was "so incestuous it is impossible to tell where the public sector begins and the private one leaves off""



** New Statesman - "The Weird Men Behind George W. Bush's War" - America's allies and enemies alike are baffled. What is going on in the United States? Who is making foreign policy? And what are they trying to achieve? Quasi-Marxist explanations involving big oil or American capitalism are mistaken. Yes, American oil companies and contractors will accept the spoils of the kill in Iraq. But the oil business, with its Arabist bias, did not push for this war any more than it supports the Bush administration's close alliance with Ariel Sharon. Further, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are not genuine "Texas oil men" but career politicians who, in between stints in public life, would have used their connections to enrich themselves as figureheads in the wheat business, if they had been residents of Kansas, or in tech companies, had they been Californians. Equally wrong is the theory that American and European civilisation are evolving in opposite directions. The thesis of Robert Kagan, the neoconservative propagandist, that Americans are martial and Europeans pacifist, is complete nonsense."