"Even alcohol";

Smoking marijuana will certainly affect perception, but it does not cause permanent brain damage, researchers from the University of California at San Diego said on Friday in a study.

"The findings were kind of a surprise. One might have expected to see more impairment of higher mental function," said Dr. Igor Grant, a UCSD professor of psychiatry and the study's lead author. Other illegal drugs, or even alcohol, can cause brain damage.
More on dossier-gate;

Donald Anderson, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, demanded that he be allowed to question the chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), who oversaw the production of the government's reports.

Mr Straw refused, saying that it would be more appropriate for the JIC chairman to appear before the Commons intelligence and security committee, the proceedings of which are confidential.

Mr Anderson told Mr Straw: "In effect you are using this jurisdictional point to stop the committee having what could be absolutely decisive evidence."


Irony watch>;

"Politicians and corporate leaders are often forced to respond to the NGO media machine, and the resources of taxpayers and shareholders are used in support of ends they did not sanction. The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies, as well as the effectiveness of credible NGOs"

Fine, but who says?
"There were hundreds of reporters. People had spent huge amounts of money getting there and we were getting nothing."


"He claimed the decision to allow embedding had been a "moment of sheer brilliance" on the part of the Bush administration and suggested the move had turned reporters in such positions into little more than public relations people."

"The goal of chess is to mate"
From Pravda;

Oliver Stone Castro Documentary Prohibited in USA Now Showing in Russia

Sensation: Hamas Recognizes Israel

It has been discovered, nerves of aged people are stronger and their emotions are mostly positive
Alistair Campbell really should teach this course...

BBC reaction to AC's counter attack.
Today is doomed to die, because yesterday has died and because tomorrow shall be born. Such is the cruel and wise law. Cruel, because it dooms to eternal dissatisfaction those who today already see the distant heights of tomorrow; wise, because only eternal dissatisfaction is the guarantee of unending movement forward, of unending creativity. He who has found his ideal today, has already been turned into a pillar of salt as was Lot's wife, has already grown into the earth and moves no further. The world lives only by heretics: Christ the heretic, Copernicus the heretic, Tolstoj the heretic. Our creed is heresy: tomorrow is infallibly heresy for the today which has been turned into a pillar of salt, for the yesterday which has crumbled into dust. Today negates yesterday, but tomorrow is the negation of negation: always the same dialectical path, which carries the world into infinity along a grandiose parabola. Thesis yesterday, antithesis today, and synthesis tomorrow.

Between the old and the new, between tomorrow and today, there exists an eternal struggle. This struggle exists in all walks of human life -- including science, and science too has its own tomorrow and today. Today consists of everything that has already been mastered, determined, generally recognized, and is considered to be incontestable and infallible. And this belief in their own infallibility sometimes makes the representatives of "today's" science a conservative element, retarding the never-ending movement of science forward. . . Even now, when science has adopted the correct view that everything which seems infallible is infallible only relatively, is infallible only today -- even now traces of former reverence before dogma occasionally crop up. So recently. in our time, the miraculous properties of radium were discovered, which upset the seemingly most infallible scientific laws -- and in our time more than one orthodox scientist skeptically mocked the heretics who had encroached upon these still recently sacred foundations. And the world lives only through its heretics, through those who reject the seemingly unshakeable and infallible today. Only the heretics discover new horizons in science, in art, in social life: only the heretics, rejecting today in the name of tomorrow, are the eternal ferment of life and ensure life's unending movement forward.

Revolution is everywhere, in everything; it is infinite, there is no final revolution, no final number. The social revolution is only one of innumerable numbers; the law of revolution is not social, but immeasurably greater -- a cosmic, universal law -- like the law of the conservation of energy, of the dissipation of energy (entropy). Someday the exact formula for the law of revolution will be established, and in this formula nations, classes, stars, and books will be numerical quantities.

When the flaming, boiling sphere (in science, religion, social life, art) cools, the fiery magma becomes covered with dogma -- a hard, ossified, immovable crust. Dogmatization in science, religion, social life, in the arts, is the entropy of thought. That which has become dogma no longer burns, it only warms; it is warm, it is cool. Instead of the Sermon on the Mount under a blazing sun, above uplifted arms and groans, a drowsy prayer in a splendid abbey; instead of Galileo's tragic "But nonetheless it revolves," calm calculations in the warm office of an observatory. On the Galileos epigones slowly, polyp-like, as corals, build their own edifice: this is the path of evolution, until a new heresy explodes the crust of dogma and all the most solid stone structures that have been raised on it.

All extracts are cited in and taken from The Life and Works of Evgenij Zamjatin by Alex M. Shane (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), pp. 23, 46, 47, 48


The author goes on to assess the prospects for achieving a natural order of liberty. Informed by his analysis of the radical deficiencies of social democracy, and armed with the social theory of legitimation, he forsees secession as the likely future of the US and Europe, resulting in a multitude of region and city-states. Democracy-The God that Failed (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2001) is a brilliant and unflinching work that will be of intense interest to scholars and students of history, political economy, and political philosophy. READ THE INTRODUCTION.

Democracy -- The God That Failed

erm. dark?
Both reportorially and philosophically, Gitlin helps the reader understand once-familiar political strategies like "sit-in" and "teach-in," and why "activist" is not just another "ist" (like "feminist"), because "it's not your beliefs that make you one but your beliefs hooking up to your activities."

Unlike some other authors in the "Mentoring" series who've stressed Do's and Don'ts with insufficient history and context, Gitlin rightly praises activism's wins over time: "The Confederacy would not have abolished slavery. The eight-hour day, the minimum wage, Social Security, public funding for medical care and higher education, clean water... were not dreamed up by corporations or status quo governments."

He describes political movements that now seem clear successes, like the divestiture battle against South Africa and Larry Kramer's fight for the distribution of cheap AIDS drugs; the semi-successes, such as Gandhi's campaign to free India from Britain (Result: a free India, but a two-country solution, India and Pakistan, founded on hatred and intolerance); and the failures, in which he lumps the Black Panther Party with the Symbionese Liberation Army. Gitlin's activism looks a lot like classic, American, problem-solving pragmatism, but directed to altruistic social good rather than selfish personal goals or merely scientific accomplishment. [fuck pragmatism]

At bottom, Gitlin's a realist who urges progressive victories in social struggle, not the utopian, all-or-nothing attitude that tempts some idealists into thinking they're "ushering in a worldly paradise." The wise activist will keep the "rapture of purism" under control. ["dreaming? get with it! we're from/on mars" - tosser]

Among tools, the veteran of many protests recommends "a sense of irony" and "playfulness" instead of sarcasm or rage. Among motives, he names the three great ones as "duty, love and adventure," which exclude irresponsibility, hate and timidity. Among commitments, he cites the importance of "connecting to the public," citing Bertolt Brecht's acerbic warning to the East German government that you're not permitted to dissolve the people and elect a new one.
Religious conservatives have tended ever since to view the Enlightenment and its books with suspicion. They are hardly alone. When the upheavals of the French Revolution revealed the perils of unraveling established authority, many wondered if the Enlightenment injunction to ''Dare to know''-to think for oneself-was really such a good thing.

To 19th-century socialists or 20th-century Marxists, on the other hand, the Enlightenment seemed a rather tepid affair. Its vaunted liberal freedoms and individual rights, they argued, were really the false freedoms of the few, merely used to promote the rising bourgeoisie's ascent to power. By contrast, in the aftermath of World War II, critics of a variety of political persuasions came to see the influence of the Enlightenment as all too vast.

In an infamous case for the prosecution, the left-leaning German philosophers Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno argued that the Enlightenment was responsible for the Holocaust. Incapable of defining absolute moral ends, the Enlightenment's ''instrumental reason'' could define only means. A tool of power, it encouraged human beings to see their fellows as objects to be exploited like the natural resources of the earth. ''Enlightenment behaves towards things,'' Horkheimer and Adorno affirmed, ''as a dictator toward men.'' In a grim pun, they added, ''The fully enlightened earth radiates the triumph of destruction.''

Looking on from a quite different perspective, leading defenders of the West during the Cold War, such as the Oxford political theorist Isaiah Berlin, leveled similar charges regarding the allegedly totalitarian tendencies lurking in the Enlightenment. In their view, however, the end product was not the Holocaust but the Gulag. The Enlightenment's will to intellectual mastery, they charged, and its attempt to link all values-moral, political, and aesthetic-to a uniform rational system was akin to the perverted force that drove communist tyranny, stamping out genuine pluralism and difference in the name of reason.

More recently, a number of postmodern scholars have given their own spin to such interpretations. Frequently drawing on the work of the late French philosopher Michel Foucault, they tend to be suspicious, even contemptuous, of the Enlightenment's claims on behalf of reason. Such critics point out, for example, that so-called ''enlightened'' scientists developed dubious and ultimately insidious ways to classify gender difference and racial inferiority in the 18th century, basing their conclusions on the alleged authority of reason. And they press the uncomfortable fact that good enlightenment figures like Jefferson, Kant, and Hume had what by today's standards are extremely distasteful views on ''inferior'' (e.g. nonwhite) peoples. Far from being a movement of freedom, enlightenment was a tool of hegemony and social control.

enlightenment? terrible discussion- review in itself is so p-m confused, everybody except pre-revolution french feudals seem anti-foundational in outlook. including frankf school. standard = a-level geography..

teufel, fritz

kommune I "playboy"
Guarding Liberty from Democracy

Ancient writers on political themes would seldom recommend a purely democratic constitution on the grounds that, unless checked by powerful countervailing forces, democracy could at any moment degenerate into mob rule. The argument was refined by later thinkers, and notably in the 19th century by Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, both of whom warned against the “tyranny of the majority.” Unless the constitution protects the rights and freedoms of individuals and minorities, they argued, democratic choice could threaten anyone at any time—as it did in Hitler’s Germany. Put another way, the argument tells us that there is nothing inherently liberal in popular choice and that individual freedom might be better protected under an aristocracy than when exposed to the whims of democratic resentment. Indeed, that is what Edmund Burke thought and what he showed to be the case in his great study of the French Revolution.

Although the argument is familiar—and indeed no more than plain common sense—it is constantly forgotten by modern people, who seize on popular choice as the one criterion of legitimacy, for fear of otherwise endorsing the rule of elites and offending the official doctrine of human equality.

the american conservative presents us with this shameless anti-democratic polemic.. contempt for democracy- don't be misled: "minority", in this context, has nothing to do with black/gay rights. terrible arguments!

In this well-argued and far-ranging survey, Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria shows the damage that is being done by this un-nuanced pursuit of the democratic idea and argues once again for a society in which elites are accorded their proper place and esteemed for what they are—the true guardians of individual freedom and the ones who have the greatest stake in maintaining law, order, and accountability in the public realm. His argument is particularly pertinent now, when allied forces are attempting to bring freedom to Iraq by imposing democratic procedures on its people. As Zakaria points out, democracy could as well lead to an elected dictatorship of mullahs as to a modern civil society. For democracy without the rule of law is mob rule, and the rule of law is not built by democratic means.
Five days before the war began in Iraq, as President Bush prepared to raise the terrorism threat level to orange, a top White House counterterrorism adviser unlocked the steel door to his office, an intelligence vault secured by an electronic keypad, a combination lock and an alarm. He sat down and turned to his inbox.

"Things were dicey," said Rand Beers, recalling the stack of classified reports about plots to shoot, bomb, burn and poison Americans. He stared at the color-coded threats for five minutes. Then he called his wife: I'm quitting.

Beers's resignation surprised Washington, but what he did next was even more astounding. Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, he volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know?

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out."
re: below

83 year old confronting israeli police- even jesus h. would love this don

"As the Jewish leader of the Communist party of Israel (CPI), 95% of whose members are Arabs, he rejected Zionism, publicised his country's nuclear weapons programme in 1963, opposed the imposition of martial rule on Israeli Arabs (it was lifed in 1966), and, in 1969, was the only member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to protest at the official wining and dining of the then governor of the West German central bank, a convicted ex-Nazi.

Devotion to principle proved injurious to Vilner's health. In the wake of the 1967 six-day war, he was stabbed by a member of Herut (the precursor of today's Likud party) after insisting that Israel vacate the newly conquered West Bank. He was called a traitor for meeting Yasser Arafat during the 1970s, and, as recently as April last year, he needed hospital treatment after tussling with police outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv."

Meir Vilner: Marxist Israeli politician who rejected Zionism and championed Palestinian rights
american traveler international apology shirt from aufrecht.org. domestic version (minus english) available

perpetual war portfolio on rational enquirer- getting your (family's) capital through the post-dot-com world

wonderful onion "what do you think?" re: mayem in the mid-east.. enjoy

"It was like the fall of Rome," said historian and presidential biographer David Halberstam, who attended the party on the arm of former Clinton press secretary DeeDee Myers. "At one point, while everybody was circling the solid gold Party Globe in the Grand Newsroom in a conga line, poor Kissinger wiped out on a huge pile of AP-wire printouts that had collected in the sunken-fireplace pit by the gold statue of [U.S. News & World Report founder] David Lawrence. We thought he'd broken his neck, but in a flash, he was back on his feet and calling for 'more wine, more wine' in his unmistakable, German-accented, basso profundo voice. Then he shouted that he was 'more bombed than Cambodia in '73.'"

nb: kissinger was actually voted "sexiest man" for a 70s playboy issue
The author Leo Rosten defines chutzpah as follows: a man kills both his parents and then throws himself at the court's mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan.

The political activist Peter Tatchell also employs chutzpah as a means to an end. For example, earlier this year he stopped Tony Blair's motorcade by running out, suffragette-style, in front of his limousine, ending up under the wheels. It was a way of drawing attention to his protest against the invasion of Iraq. Last year, he twice attempted a citizen's arrest on Robert Mugabe, and got himself beaten up into the bargain.

I ring him to tell him he's been voted a top chutzperian in the Guardian's (admittedly unofficial) survey. For once, he's speechless. But I think he's pleased. Why does he think that we think he's got chutzpah? "Well, I guess I'm rather reluctant to show deference where many people think it is due, especially if there's an issue of injustice involved."

Does he have any chutzpah role models? "Oh yes. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Sylvia Pankhurst. They didn't play politics by orthodox rules. They were fearless in confronting the forces of oppression. I've tried to adapt their methods of non-violent direct action to the contemporary campaign for human rights."

activist chutzpah?
His announcement came as an Iraqi police officer said the six dead British soldiers had been attacked by local people in retaliation for civilian deaths at the hands of British troops.

Police officer Abbas Faddhel said the British troops shot dead four civilian protesters yesterday during a demonstration in the south-eastern town of Majar al-Kabir.

Armed civilians killed two of the British soldiers at the scene of the protest - in front of the mayor's office - then chased four others to a police station where they killed them after a two-hour gun battle, he said. According to reports, witnesses in Majar said the deaths followed days of tension due to methods used by British forces who were searching for weapons.

Abu Zahraa, a 30-year-old local market trader, said Iraqi civilians were killed by British soldiers during the demonstration against the presence of UK forces in the town. He said the British troops had formally agreed a day earlier to let local police patrol Majar.

Mr Zahraa and another witness, who was not named, said the British soldiers came under attack and retreated to the local police station. Angry townspeople went to their homes to fetch assault rifles, returned to the station and attacked the besieged British soldiers, all of whom died, the witnesses said.

i say: fair play! who would call the frenchies bad names for their armed struggle against the similarly illegal german occupation?


Here is a pretty good run-down of the two best candidates from the Democrat's side (I think, there still are a few candidates I haven't done much research on yet). The author of this table, Bob Harris (Tom Tomorrow's bud), declares himself to be a Kucinich sympathizer and I think he does give Dean short shrift a coupla times. One example; he says Dean will only cut 1/8 of Star Wars funding, when in truth the quote was something more along the lines of 1/8 of the Star Wars budget could pay for x... I forget x, I think it was an elderly prescription bill, but don't quote me. I think I like Kucinich's positions a good bit more, but at the same time... I trust him a little less. Dean has come across as a straight-shooter, while Kucinich has sounded more like a classic politician at times.
A very active internet movement is growing at Move On, which is in the thick of many political issues. Sign up for their newsletters - often very useful stuff. Like recently, they offered all the Dem candidates a chance to write a letter to their membership, and sent the letters from the 3 most popular candidates amongst their membership to our inboxes (Kerrey, Dean, and Kucinich). Read all the letters at Move On (they have letters from Braun, Gephardt, Sharpton, Graham, Edwards, and Lieberman, in addition to the top 3 mentioned above). If you read the Dean v. Kucinich letters, you'll see what I mean about the trust issue... although in interviews, Kucinich comes off very well, while Dean occasionally ducks... and of course, aside from the electability issue, there is the issue of workability. While ya gotta love Kucinich's vision of universal healthcare, a taste of drug legalization, and stand against the death penalty, there is a question as to whether any of it would ever be successful. If Clinton couldn't get anything done on healthcare back when the dems controlled both houses, I have slim hopes for Kucinich, while Dean does have incremental ideas that would be more likely to show gain...
Defending the lies - hilarious considering public ignorance.

"The Bush statement about supply of uranium to Iraq came in the most important speech an American president can make, apart from a declaration of war : the annual State of the Union Address in January. ... If Bush's definitive speech was not triple-checked for accuracy, then the White House is grossly incompetent. If it was checked and the several untrue items were detected and allowed to remain in the speech, the White House is contemptuous of the truth and of all of us out here. If it was checked and the untrue items were not identified (which is what Rice is claiming), the intelligence process of the United States is a shambles - not just "in the bowels of the agency", as Rice condescendingly has it, but throughout the entire intelligence system. ... The most notably mendacious statement was that by vice-president Cheney who said on 16 March that "we believe [Iraq] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think [the UN nuclear expert] Mr. El Baradei, frankly, is wrong". But it was Cheney who was wrong, because there were no nuclear weapons. Cheney and the rest of them lied to us."
Recent polls have revealed the shocking extent of misinformation about Iraq and 9/11. The apostropher also points to various statistics at thismodernworld.com, exhibiting a rather sad state of affairs.

Yes, 22% of the American public believe that Saddam actually used WMD's in this conflict. See for yourself.

More worrying stats:

27% believe divorce is "morally wrong"
26% think grade-school teachers should be allowed to spank their kids
21% say justice was served in the O.J. Simpson case
20% approve of the how the Catholic Church handles pedophilia
20% believe that the killing of civilians in Vietnam was "relatively rare"

wsws.org reveals that US soldiers seem to be pretty unenlightened about their presence in Iraq themselves:

"According to press reports, some US soldiers in Iraq carry pictures of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers inside their Kevlar vests to convince themselves that the killing of Iraqi civilians and the continued military occupation the country are justified by the slaughter of thousands of civilians in New York City on September 11, 2001.

Opinion polls indicate that fully half the American population believe that Iraqi citizens participated in the hijacking of the four aircraft utilized in the September 11 attacks, while 40 percent think that Saddam Hussein was behind the terrorist actions of that day.

Both these phenomena are the product of a systematic disinformation campaign waged by the Bush administration with the complicity of the mass media." full article


But just because a particular image or campaign is, at its origin, associated with a particular group or message does not by any means justify a connection in its present depiction. “Obey the Giant” would be the most recognizable example. Begun by a student at the very prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, “Obey the Giant” was originally conceived of and carried out as a counter-campaign to the billboards of Providence Mayor John Brown and his administration. “JOHN BROWN HAS A POSSE” would be stenciled onto the billboards at night, along with the very recognizable, “OBEY THE GIANT.” Apparently an attack on the Mayor’s policies, “Obey the Giant” quickly became something else entirely, as it inspired a nationwide flyering, stickering, and graffiti campaign aimed, not at Brown in particular, but at power structures in general. Somehow the image of Andre the Giant became associated with the phrase, which was even attached to images of President Bush and Vice President Gore during the recent electoral process. The creator of “Obey the Giant” now hosts a website, which calls the project, “an experiment in phenomenology.” Even Hegel is invoked in the defense and rationalization of this, dare we say, artistic movement. [this essay]
refusenik watch

add Refusnik Watch auto-updatee to your site

The Combattants' Letter
Yesh Gvul
add Refusenik Watch autoupdate to your site

electronic intifada - linked from above
liberal arts mafia too sickened to work

"If you’re still checking back here after a month with no update to show for it, then this mea culpa is for you. Obviously, right? Because no one else is going to read it.

The reason, the number one reason (drum roll please), why the Liberal Arts Mafia web log has disappeared from the radar screen for the last month is: I CAN’T FUCKING STAND IT ANY MORE.


So I’m sorry to my friends who came to rely on me. I may eventually get back to posting news. But right now my RAGE is beyond def con five. Right now I’m in a life and death struggle with the DISEASE."

response- and obituary at gordon coale


"The world in which we ourselves exist intellectually is a world largely molded by Marx and Nietzsche."

Max Weber

nb eric rudolph is a christian "terrorist"
"Specifically, the council will recognize the millions of people who serve their communities for their dedicated volunteer service. Beginning in 2003, the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation will launch the President's Volunteer Service Awards. These awards, which will be modeled after the President's Physical Fitness Awards, will be given on an annual basis."

freedom medal, anyone?

Each individual or family winner will receive:
- A personalized certificate of recognition;
- A letter of congratulations from the President of the United States; and
- Your choice of a specially designed product (such as a notebook, shirt or hat) that is embossed with the President's Volunteer Service Award logo.
polemic II

"Let's get straight to what is so unwise about this war, leaving aside for the moment its illegality and international unpopularity. In the first place, no one has satisfactorily proved that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction that furnish an imminent threat to the United States. Iraq is a hugely weakened and ineffective Third World state ruled by a hated despotic regime: there is no disagreement about that anywhere, least of all in the Arab and Islamic world. But that after 12 years of sanctions it is a threat of any kind to any other state is a laughable notion, and not a single journalist of the overpaid legions who swarm around the Pentagon, State Department and White House has ever bothered to investigate it.

Iraq might once have been a potential challenge to Israel. It was the one Arab country with the human and natural resources, as well as the infrastructure, to take on Israel's arrogant brutality. That is why Begin bombed Iraq pre-emptively in 1981, supplying a model for the US in its own pre-emptive war. How regrettable that the media have failed to elucidate the Likud's slow takeover of US military and political thinking about the Arab world. So fearful has everyone been of the charge of anti-semitism that the stranglehold of the neo-conservative cum Christian Right cum Pentagon civilian hawks on American policy is now a reality which forces the entire country into an attitude of undifferentiated bellicosity."

e said on iraq

"Fouad Ajami is a Lebanese Shia educated in the US who made his name as a pro-Palestinian commentator. But by the mid-1980s, he was teaching at Johns Hopkins; he'd become a fervent anti-Arab ideologue and had been taken up by the right-wing Zionist lobby (he now works for Martin Peretz and Mort Zuckerman) and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is fond of describing himself as a non-fiction Naipaul and quotes Conrad while sounding as hokey as Khalil Gibran. He also has a penchant for catchy one-liners, ideally suited to television. The author of two or three books, he has become influential as a 'native informant' - the Arab 'expert' is a rare species on American networks. Ten years ago, he started deploying 'we' as an imperial collectivity which, along with Israel, never does anything wrong. Arabs are to blame for everything and therefore deserve 'our' contempt and hostility.

Ajami has always had it in for Iraq. He was an early advocate of the 1991 war and has, I think, deliberately misled the American strategic mind into believing that 'our' power can set things straight. Dick Cheney quoted him in a major speech last August as saying that Iraqis would welcome 'us' as liberators in 'the streets of Basra' - which still fights on as I write. Like Lewis, Ajami hasn't been a resident of the Arab world for years, although he is rumoured to be close to the Saudis, of whom he has recently spoken as models for the Arab world's future governance."

expat iraqi opposition hey

"What is truly puzzling is that the prevailing American ideology is still underpinned by the view that US power is basically benign and altruistic. This surely accounts for the outrage expressed by US pundits and officials that Iraqis should have had the gall to resist at all, or that, when captured, US soldiers were exhibited on Iraqi TV. Apparently this is much worse than showing rows of Iraqi prisoners made to kneel or lie spread-eagled in the sand. Breaches of the Geneva Conventions are invoked not for Camp X-Ray but for Saddam, and when his forces hide inside cities, that is cheating, while high-altitude bombing is playing fair.

This is the most reckless war in modern times. It is all about imperial arrogance unschooled in worldliness, unfettered either by competence or experience, undeterred by history or human complexity, unrepentant in its violence and the cruelty of its technology."
polemic I

"Anyone who believes that the road map offers anything resembling a settlement, or that it tackles the basic issues, is wrong."

a road map to where? edward said

"Another chilling omission from the road map is the gigantic 'separation wall' now being built in the West Bank by Israel: 347 kilometres of concrete running north to south, of which 120 have already been erected. It is eight metres high and two metres thick; its cost is put at $1.6 million per kilometre. The wall does not simply divide Israel from a putative Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders: it actually takes in new tracts of Palestinian land, sometimes five or six kilometres at a stretch. It is surrounded by trenches, electric wire and moats; there are watchtowers at regular intervals. Almost a decade after the end of South African apartheid, this ghastly racist wall is going up with scarcely a peep from the majority of Israelis, or from their American allies who, whether they like it or not, are going to pay for most of it."

pretty entertaining

"Is this anti-Semitism? Or is it a profound ignorance about European history? Gaza is bad, but in two days in September 1941 at Babi Yar near Kiev, 34,000 Jews were shot by the Einsatzgruppen. The problem is that, for Palestinians, this is the ace of trumps in the suffering stakes."


Bernhard Williams dead

Philosophers, Williams said, "repeatedly urge us to view the world sub specie aeternitatis, but for most human purposes that is not a good species to view it under". His honesty, subtlety and scepticism compelled him to eschew monolithic system-building, eluding labels and being labelled.

This has led some to query what exactly his contribution consists of, but they have simply missed the point. Wanting to find a new way of doing philosophy, Williams simultaneously exploited and undermined established philosophical boundaries. He deconstructed, as Derrida would do if he were cleverer and more pledged to truth. Exhuming moral philosophy from a no-man's-land of logical, ahistorical analysis, into a sort of moral anthropology, he saw moral codes and writings as essentially embedded in history and culture, and questioned the whole "peculiar institution" of morality, which he considered a particular (modern western) development of the ethical.

So nuanced is his treatment of moral relativism as to incur speculation over how far he himself was a relativist. But he also infuriated philosophers by applauding the Enlightenment aspiration to scientific objectivity and "the absolute conception of reality".

Urging the neglected claims of emotion, motivation and sheer luck in morality, the importance of "internal" as well as "external" reasons, Williams extended moral philosophy from an over-theorised obsession with moral obligation into the Hellenic latitude of ethics - living a whole life well. Both Utilitarianism and Kantianism, usually seen as opposite moral theories, were equally his target, for each similarly claiming objective universality and a single calculable principle for morality. (Utilitarianism ceased to be the paradigm moral theory after his critique.)
George Orwell, venerated as "the wintry conscience of a generation", gave the British government a list of 38 suspected or actual communist sympathisers, the Guardian reveals today.

A carbon copy of the document - which the government still treats as secret 54 years later - is reproduced for the first time in today's Review.

The find confirms evidence first raised seven years ago. Among those singled out for suspicion by the author of Animal Farm and 1984 in the late 1940s, sometimes highly tentatively, were the comedian Charlie Chaplin, the bestselling novelist JB Priestley, the actor Michael Redgrave, the Soviet historian EH Carr, the historian of Trotsky, Isaac Deutscher, and the leftwing Labour MP Tom Driberg.

The list is revealed in a 4,000-word article in Review by the political historian and commentator Timothy Garton Ash. He says that what brought the creator of Big Brother and the foe of bureaucratic power into the hands of a real-life bureaucracy was the love of a beautiful woman - "or at least his quest for her affection".

The woman was Celia Kirwan, a friend of Orwell's who worked in 1949 for a secretly funded Foreign Office section, the information research department (IRD).

She asked his help in countering waves of communist bloc propaganda in the intensifying cold war. Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair, offered to compile from his notebooks a list of those "who should not be trusted as propagandists [for the west]".

orwell + beautiful women + time -> ugly

anti-communist trotzkiites + weak flesh + time -> neo-conservatives
Washington’s war of terror in Iraq

"A series of sustained counterinsurgency operations by US troops has signaled a new stage in the US occupation of Iraq. Faced with escalating armed resistance and growing hostility from the Iraqi people, Washington has decided to use overwhelming force to suppress and terrorize the country’s 24 million people.

A war that was waged under the pretense of destroying fictitious “weapons of mass destruction” is evolving into a classical colonial-style war of repression, the kind that has been waged with bloody results from the US campaign in the Philippines at the dawn of the 20th century, to the French bloodbath in Algeria beginning in the 1950s, to the US war in Vietnam.

Six weeks after President Bush strutted across the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed that major combat operations had ended and the military mission had been accomplished, American soldiers are being killed by Iraqis at the rate of one a day. Iraqi casualties over the same period have climbed to several hundred.


The bulk of the violent clashes between US forces and the Iraqi population go unreported. Unless an American soldier is killed or seriously wounded, the US Central Command does not reveal the incident. Iraqi sources charge that US authorities have covered up clashes, including those in which US troops have been killed.

The real character of what Washington called the “liberation” of the Iraqi people has emerged: it is a brutal occupation, with daily killings, house-to-house searches and mass arrests.


Press reports described US soldiers kicking down doors, forcing men to the ground and handcuffing them while planting their boots on the Iraqis’ necks. The soldiers taped shut the mouths and blindfolded those detained before taking them away for interrogation. Women and children, some as young as six, were also rousted from their homes in the pre-dawn hours, handcuffed and held for hours before being released.

The US occupation authorities, echoed by the US news media, claim that these operations are directed exclusively against “Ba’ath Party loyalists, terrorist organizations and criminal elements.” In fact, most of those caught up in these sweeps are ordinary Iraqi civilians.

The media propaganda cannot conceal the fact that Iraqi resistance to the occupation runs far deeper than the remnants of the Ba’athist regime. While the bulk of the ambushes and shootings of US soldiers has been concentrated in the predominantly Sunni area in central Iraq that provided the strongest popular base for the Ba’athist regime, attacks and protests have also erupted in the largely Shi’ite south, a center of opposition to Saddam Hussein’s rule.


The Iraqi people have every right to resist this occupation. Their democratic rights and social welfare can be secured only by throwing off the yoke of occupation.

They will continue to resist, and their struggle will inspire the oppressed masses throughout the Middle East to rise in opposition to US imperialism and its accomplices in the region—the oil sheikdoms and corrupt Arab bourgeois regimes from Jordan and Egypt to Syria and Lebanon. Future historians will record the US “victory” in Iraq as the catalyst for an unprecedented eruption of popular struggles against imperialism not only in the Middle East, but internationally.

And just as Vietnam became the focal point for an eruption of political and social struggles within the US, so too will Washington’s crimes in Iraq repel the broad mass of the American people, becoming a focal point for the deeply felt anger and disgust of working people for the right-wing clique headed by Bush and the financial oligarchy which it serves."

full text
Afghanistan, Now Godforsaken

US's campaign in Afghanistan obviously ended in a failure

"This may be a rash conclusion, but it seems that the Afghan campaign of Americans and their allies is almost over. At that, the campaign ended in an absolute failure. The same way as the government of Hamid Karzai, the coalition troops control just those areas where they are stationed. There are lots of problems with appropriation of financial aid to Afghanistan although much has been spoken on the issue. The country in its integrate form no longer exists: Afghanistan has split into dozens of semi-independent districts. In fact, now Afghanistan is in focus only when Talilbs organize another act of terrorism there. Is it possible that problems in Afghanistan are paid less attention to because there is practically no way to settle them?"

CLARK: "There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein."

RUSSERT: "By who? Who did that?"

CLARK: "Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.' I said, 'But--I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence."

Clark says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence

"Before all else, be armed."


3 May 1469 - 21 June 1527

The Prince


welcome to democracy in iraq

American troops opened fire on ex-Iraqi soldiers protesting against the loss of their jobs in Baghdad today, reportedly killing two men.

Victor Caivano, a photographer for the Associated Press, said shots were fired as the angry crowd began throwing stones at guards and reporters outside the main gate of a former presidential compound. The site is now being used as the headquarters of the US-led administration in Iraq.

Demonstrators claimed two were killed and two injured in the shooting. But Captain Scott Nauman of the US army disputed this, telling CNN that two Iraqis had been slightly injured but no one had been killed in the incident.

Some of the protesters, angered at losing their jobs when the US administrator, Paul Bremer, dissolved Saddam Hussein's armed forces last month, attacked a Reuters news agency television crew. They attacked two Iraqi cameramen, one of whom was beaten on his shoulders, neck and head with stones. American soldiers guarding the gates pulled the other man out of the crowd to safety.

The demonstrators also hit passing United Nations and television vehicles with their shoes, witnesses told Reuters. Mr Bremer's drive to destroy the legacy of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist state apparatus has led to the loss of up to 400,000 jobs in the armed forces, security services, and information and defence ministries.

Critics say the sweeping policy fails to distinguish between the men who enforced Saddam's regime, the many who joined the party out of expediency and those who genuinely believed in its Arab nationalist ideology. They say the policy has created a large pool of armed and resentful unemployed who may turn to crime or to fighting the US-led occupation, perhaps as part of a Ba'athist underground.

At least 41 American soldiers have been killed in a spate of attacks in and around Baghdad since the US president, George Bush, declared the war in Iraq over on May 1.

roman empire? administrative crack stinks of zero-culture effort as expected.. effort totally anti-productive up to date.. no need to pray for wrath of allah- these idiots can be reliably expected auto-fuck scheme
Hundreds of Iranians demanding more freedom demonstrated for the eighth night running early on Wednesday in now largely peaceful protests the United States said it wants to encourage.

Wary of beatings from hardline Islamic vigilantes that marked some previous nights, demonstrators kept to their cars and sounded their horns in traffic jams around Tehran University, the focus of the unrest.

Washington has lauded the protests as a cry for freedom from a people whose government U.S. officials accuse of being part of an "axis of evil" for allegedly developing nuclear weapons, backing terrorism and trying to destabilize post-war Iraq. "Our policy is to encourage people to demonstrate for their views," Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters during a visit to Cambodia.

Tehran's government and 217 of its 290 parliamentary deputies have condemned the United States and charged U.S. leaders with blatant interference in Iran's internal affairs. Hardline clerics say they have detected a U.S.-inspired plot to destabilize Iran.

But demonstrators said they were not on the streets for the sake of Washington, they were there for themselves.

"If coming to the streets will give me more freedom, I don't care who calls for it, I will come here and tell all my friends to come with me," said teenage high school student Amir.

Murdoch-owned neofascist daily the Times of London doesn't seem to accept open truth above, but is arguing against regime change by force:

"The words “regime change” are being uttered again. Washington hawks concerned about Iran’s nuclear capacity are urging the overthrow of its Islamist Government. These hawks confuse Iran with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iraq was a mere torture chamber for a brutal dictator. Unlike in Iraq, there is no need for a military confrontation in Iran, a country with a well-developed opposition, which allows a lively debate between hardliners and moderates, and has a strong chance of democratisation without US intervention.


The claim last week by Khamenei that the demonstrations were organised by American mercenaries was part of an initial panic reaction by a frightened regime. Since then wiser counsel seems to have prevailed. Now, even Khamenei’s associates admit that the pro-democracy movement is too broad-based to be dismissed as part of the pressure that the Bush Administration is exerting on the regime.

The American presence in countries neighbouring Iran, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, has put the fear of God in the Khomeinist Establishment. This does not mean, however, that there is any support for an aggressive posture by the US among the demonstrators. The threat of American military action could backfire by triggering an Iranian nationalistic reflex, giving succour to the hardliners."
Senior figures in the intelligence community and across Whitehall briefed the former international development secretary Clare Short that Tony Blair had made a secret agreement last summer with George Bush to invade Iraq in February or March, she claimed yesterday.

In damning evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, Ms Short refused to identify the three figures, but she cited their authority for making her claim that Mr Blair had actively deceived the cabinet and the country in persuading them of the need to go to war.

Ms Short told the first day of the committee's inquiry into the events leading up to the Iraq conflict that Mr Blair had "used a series of half-truths, exaggerations, reassurances that were not the case to get us into conflict by the spring".

She claimed Mr Blair told President Bush that "we will be with you" without laying down conditions to temper US ambitions.

She went on: "I believe that the prime minister must have concluded that it was honourable and desirable to back the US in going for military action in Iraq and therefore it was honourable for him to persuade us through various ruses and ways to get us there - so for him I think it was an honourable deception."
"Italy's parliament was on Wednesday set to approve a highly controversial law that will give Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while he remains in office.

The center-left opposition has condemned the bill, which the Senate approved earlier this month, as unconstitutional and says its content and timing are designed solely to protect billionaire Berlusconi, Italy's richest man.

The bill's backers say it merely restores to Italian politicians some legal protection removed in the wake of corruption scandals in the early 1990s and which many other countries have.

The immediate effect of the bill will be to freeze a current trial in Milan, where Berlusconi is charged with bribing judges in a 1980s corporate takeover battle nearly a decade before he entered politics."

whilst same berlusconi is being overtaken on the right over immigration..

Sicilian fishermen always know when they set out to sea that the chances are they will come back with human remains, as well as fish, in their nets. They describe the 100-mile stretch of water between Sicily and Tunisia a "liquid tomb".

In the past few weeks, Italians have watched in despair as the calm, still waters of summer have encouraged a surge of illegal immigrants to attempt the hazardous journey, crammed into tin-pot vessels, from north Africa to Italy. Just in June, 3,000 people have arrived at the tiny Italian outpost island of Lampedusa, between Sicily and Tunisia. Despite the calm weather, scores have also perished.

This week a wooden boat capsized off Lampedusa leaving its 70-odd passengers to sink or swim. Military police fished 11 bodies from the water and took survivors to the island's bursting temporary detention centre. One of 145 passengers on another vessel was a three-year-old Somalian girl. As similar scenes play themselves out along miles of Italy's southern coastline, the Italian debate on immigration is blazing with the fiery leader of the xenophobic Northern League, Umberto Bossi, complaining that the government had not effectively implemented a new immigration law he co-wrote last year.

Bossi, who is also minister for reforms and a heavyweight in Silvio Berlusconi's government coalition, wrote the law with Gianfranco Fini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the "post Fascist" National Alliance, which obliges all immigrants to have a work visa on arrival in the country. In an interview with Corriere della Sera on Monday, Bossi, who has frequently threatened to pull out of the government coalition if his "reforms" are not applied, suggested Italian marine patrols ought to fire on oncoming vessels full of illegal immigrants to deter them from ever reaching the country's shores.

"At the second or third warning, boom... the cannon should fire. Without so much beating around the bush. It should be cannonfire that takes out whoever is there. Otherwise we'll never end this problem," he was reported as saying. [...] Illegal immigrants must be chased away, either nicely or nastily. Only those with a work contract can come in. The rest, out! There comes a time when force has to be used."


Raymond Williams, has written extensively on Gramsci, cuture, hegemony, socialism and revolution. He is one of the fathers of "cultural studies" and modern understandings of the relationship between culture and power... space - place - meaning

Moreover, political struggle itself takes cultural forms. The 'DiY Culture' [sic] of squats, anti-roads protests and Reclaim the Streets actions is, among other things, a direct assertion of new cultural possibilities - and of a way of living in which culture, art, pleasure would play a central part. Actions such as these often involve the playful reappropriation of buildings and monuments, symbols of the dominant culture: in Williams' terms, an emergent culture is imposing itself, making itself heard. Predictably, the full armoury of the dominant culture and social order is brought into play to combat it: from "the scum on the front pages of the richer newspapers" (to quote Williams from 1968) through to direct - political - repression. For capitalism has not ceased to be victorious: the space available for cultural or political opposition is continually under attack, from the reappropriation of radical symbols to the literal occupation of social territory through CCTV. And culture cannot substitute for politics - cannot be a short-cut to a larger social transformation, any more than the instrumental model of left politics could function without culture. The complex set of transformations which Williams labelled 'the long revolution' could only triumph by dispossessing "the central political organs of capitalist society": "the condition for the success of the long revolution in any real sense is decisively a short revolution".

Ideological Hegemony

Gramsci accepted the analysis of capitalism put forward by Marx in the previous century and accepted that the struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class was the driving force that moved society forward. What he found unacceptable was the traditional Marxist view of how the ruling class ruled. It was here that Gramsci made a major contribution to modern thought in his concept of the role played by ideology.

Often the term "ideology" is seen as referring simply to a system of ideas and beliefs. However, it is closely tied to the concept of power and the definition given by Anthony Giddens is probably the easiest to understand. Giddens defines ideology as "shared ideas or beliefs which serve to justify the interests of dominant groups" [Giddens 1997 p583] Its relationship to power is that it legitimises the differential power that groups hold and as such it distorts the real situation that people find themselves in.

The traditional Marxist theory of power was a very one-sided one based on the role of force and coercion as the basis of ruling class domination. This was reinforced by Lenin whose influence was at its height after the success of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Gramsci felt that what was missing was an understanding of the subtle but pervasive forms of ideological control and manipulation that served to perpetuate all repressive structures. He identified two quite distinct forms of political control: domination, which referred to direct physical coercion by police and armed forces and hegemony which referred to both ideological control and more crucially, consent. He assumed that no regime, regardless of how authoritarian it might be, could sustain itself primarily through organised state power and armed force. In the long run, it had to have popular support and legitimacy in order to maintain stability.

By hegemony, Gramsci meant the permeation throughout society of an entire system of values, attitudes, beliefs and morality that has the effect of supporting the status quo in power relations. Hegemony in this sense might be defined as an 'organising principle' that is diffused by the process of socialisation into every area of daily life. To the extent that this prevailing consciousness is internalised by the population it becomes part of what is generally called 'common sense' so that the philosophy, culture and morality of the ruling elite comes to appear as the natural order of things.
Idler: Cars do allow you to enter idleness, when you’re driving you can get into those extended ...

Self: Reveries. Yes that’s what it’s all about. This cultural taboo against thinking – anti-intellectualism exists in England because of this protestant work ethic which demands that people shouldn’t be idle – ergo they shouldn’t think. So driving is a good way to recapture that. It’s very close to philosophising, large amounts of motorway driving.
peacekeepers, inc.

this idiot is advocating dispatches of unaccountable private army for ends of humanitarian intervention.. will be on the news "soonish" no doubt

Violence breaks out in a small African state. The local government collapses and reports emerge that civilians are being massacred by the tens of thousands. Refugees stream out in pitiable columns. As scenes reminiscent of the Rwanda genocide are played out on the world’s television screens once again, pressure mounts to do something. The U.N.’s calls for action fall on deaf ears. In the U.S., the leadership remains busy with the war on terrorism and Iraq and decides that the political risks of doing nothing are far lower than the risks of losing any American soldiers’ lives in what is essentially a mission of charity. Other nations follow its lead, and none are willing to risk their own troops. As the international community dithers, innocent men, women, and children die by the hour.

It is at this point that a private company steps forward with a novel offer. Using its own hired troops, the firm will establish protected safe havens where civilians can take refuge and receive assistance from international aid agencies. Thousands of lives might be saved. All the company asks is a check for $150 million.

Finally, the past few decades have been characterized by a normative shift towards the marketization of the former public sphere. The successes of privatization programs and outsourcing strategies have given the market-based solution not only the stamp of legitimacy, but also the push to privatize any function that can be done outside government. The past decade, for example, was marked by the cumulative externalization of a number of functions that were once among the nation-state’s defining characteristics, including schools, welfare programs, prisons, and defense manufacturers. In fact, the parallel to military service outsourcing is already manifest in the domestic security market, where in states as diverse as Britain, Germany, the Philippines, Russia, and the United States, the number of private security forces and the size of their budgets greatly exceed those of public law-enforcement agencies. In short, this newest outsourcing industry drew precedents, models, and justifications from the wider “privatization revolution.”

includes an interesting review of the private market for "military muscle"
An essay entitled “Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint,” by Stanley Kurtz – otherwise amusing for its Conradian irony for invoking another Mr. Kurtz -- which appears in the April 2003 issue of Policy Studies, is one of the more egregious examples of this emergent wave of unapologetic defenses of colonialism and imperialism. One might have thought, after over a century of explicit anti-colonial literature, mass political movements throughout former Euro-American colonies, anti-colonial conflicts involving tens of millions dead, and the resounding triumph of anti-colonialism, that such nonsense would remain confined to a lunatic fringe incapable of the articulateness that Kurtz, Niall Ferguson and Daniel Kruger on the British side of the Atlantic, and other advocates of neo-imperialism can bring to bear. In the immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion, however, an expanding class of right-wing US intellectuals is in the midst of servicing political needs to rationalize the establishment and maintenance of local rulers who putatively share those much over-estimated beliefs called 'Western values.'

What separates Kurtz from the crowd lies in his explicit historical reliance on the British model of colonial rule in India as a model for the future governance of Iraq. Specifically, Kurtz advocates the deployment of the English language as a means of ideological acculturation and language education for mass control. “India's English-speaking bureaucratic class made up only 1 or 2 percent of the population,” he writes. “Yet that class was sufficient to manage a modern democracy and slowly transmit modern and liberal ideas to the larger populace.” Since Arab nationalism would not permit prolonged US rule in Iraq, as in 19th-century India, Kurtz suggests reliance on immigrant returnees “who have lived in the West and imbibed its culture for years…a class of modern and liberal citizens who can help to govern and reform their society.” In other words, an English-educated wave of returnees, presumably coerced to return by deportation from the United States and its allies, would be positioned to undertake the work of Western-oriented cultural reform. Together with imported Americans and other Westerners who would assume positions in education and administration, an English-speaking corps would emerge as a liberal bureaucratic elite to create a “blended rule” that was neither direct colonial rule nor indirect rule through traditional elites.


Opposition to English is a futile cultural position, however, one most frequently adopted by cultural and religious obscurantists or blinkered advocates of communicative borders. The necessary task of antagonized imperial subjects, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, has become to learn to decode the ideological mechanisms embedded in such phrases as 'democratic imperialism.' English studies today are equally counter-hegemonic self-defense; learning the Englishes of globalization can provide a paradoxical safety from their more malignant effects. All human languages bear an inherent concept of an empowered speaking subject, the possessor of independent narrative rights, and English serves subversive purposes as well as any language.

I believe that man is the product of natural evolution; that he is part of nature and yet transcends it, being endowed with reason and self-awareness.

I believe that man's essence is ascertainable. However, this essence is not a substance which characterizes man at all times through history. The essence of man consists in the above-mentioned contradiction inherent in his existence, and this contradiction forces him to react in order to find a solution. Man cannot remain neutral and passive toward this existential dichotomy. By the very fact of his being human, he is asked a question by life: how to overcome the split between himself and the world outside of him in order to arrive at the experience of unity and oneness with his fellow man and with nature. Man has to answer this question every moment of his life. Not only - or even primarily - with thoughts and words, but by his mode of being and acting.


I believe that man's basic alternative is the choice between life and death. Every act implies this choice. Man is free to make it, but this freedom is a limited one. There are many favorable and unfavorable conditions which incline him-his psychological constitution, the condition of the specific society into which he was born, his family, teachers, and the friends he meets and chooses. It is man's task to enlarge the margin of freedom, to strengthen the conditions which are conducive to life as against those which are conducive to death. Life and death, as spoken of here, are not the biological states, but states of being, of relating to the world. Life means constant change, constant birth. Death means cessation of growth, ossification, repetition. The unhappy fate of many is that they do not make the choice. They are neither alive nor dead. Life becomes a burden, an aimless enterprise, and busyness is the means to protect one from the torture of being in the land of shadows.


I believe that the development of man in the last four thousand years of history is truly awe-inspiring. He has developed his reason to a point where he is solving the riddles of nature, and has emancipated himself from the blind power of the natural forces. But at the very moment of his greatest triumph, when he is at the threshold of a new world, he has succumbed to the power of the very things and organizations he has created. He has invented a new method of producing, and has made production and distribution his new idol. He worships the work of his hands and has reduced himself to being the servant of things. He uses the name of God, of freedom, of humanity, of socialism, in vain; he prides himself on his powers - the bombs and the machine - to cover up his human bankruptcy; he boasts of his power to destroy in order to hide his human impotence.

I believe that the only force that can save us from self-destruction is reason; the capacity to recognize the unreality of most of the ideas that man holds, and to.. penetrate to the reality veiled by the layers and layers of deception and ideologies; reason, not as a body of knowledge, but as a »kind of energy, a force which is fully comprehensible only in its agency and effects a force whose »most important function consists in its power to bind and to dissolve.« Violence and arms will not save us; sanity and reason may.

from: humanist credo - erich fromm (1962)

fromm profile on infed
If national stereotypes are anything to go by, Australians might be expected to concentrate on their desire for good times, rather than worry about what's going on in Canberra. And true to form, public reaction from third member of the coalition of the willing has largely been one of ennui.

This is strange, given the strength of the case against the government here. In Britain, journalists, politicians and activists have spent weeks trying to dig up evidence that the government made up its intelligence claims relating to Iraq. In Australia, that evidence was on the front page of the country's biggest news weekly a full two weeks before the first cruise missile was launched on Baghdad.

The revelation came with the resignation of Andrew Wilkie, a senior analyst at Australia's top intelligence body, the Office of National Assessment (ONA). A former soldier with an open, affable manner, Wilkie used to sit in his Canberra office reading raw intelligence reports from Australian and international spy agencies, weighing them up and then boiling them down into briefings for the prime minister and cabinet.


Wilkie does not mince his words. Claims of collaboration between Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda were "preposterous". "They were clearly concocted. There was no strong intelligence to support it whatsoever," he says.

Evidence about that missing stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was similarly unreliable. "It was clear before the war that some of the evidence on WMD coming out of Britain and America was garbage," he says. "It was being skewed by political information from Iraqis who were trying to encourage a US invasion."

Only half-jokingly, he talks about sitting at his desk and rapidly directing Pentagon-originated intelligence reports to the ONA rubbish bin.

Wilkie was initially stunned by the level of interest his resignation generated. With typical journalistic understatement, the columnist who broke the story forewarned him that he could expect a few days of calls from the media. In fact, he says that fielding press queries has been a full-time job in the three months since he left.

This week he is in London, where the foreign affairs select committee will question him further about the subterfuge used to sell the war. His testimony is likely to be explosive. Governments in Washington, London and Canberra, he will say, were simply lying to the public about Iraq.

The intelligence reports Wilkie passed to the Australian cabinet did not begin to justify the unequivocal claims made by politicians, including prime minister John Howard, about Iraq's "massive" WMD programme.

Furthermore, assessments of the British and American governments made by Australian diplomatic staff and defence attaches showed a similar gulf between claimed and genuine motives.

"I know for a fact that in Australia, the government was being well advised that WMD was not the sole reason for Washington going to war," he says. "In fact, it wasn't even the most important reason ... The British and Australian governments were well aware of the real reasons for the war."


No surprise there, a cynic might say. The Australian public have grown used to their government lying, most scandalously during the xenophobic campaign for the 2001 federal election.

In a masterpiece of innuendo and misinformation, ministers told the public that refugees on a stricken ship off the northwest coast of Australia were throwing their own children into the sea in an attempt to force the coastguard to pick them up and take them ashore. A photograph was given to the media purporting to show those children floating in the water.
Washington's determination to find an alternative energy source to the Middle East is leading to a new oil rush in sub-Saharan Africa which threatens to launch a fresh cycle of conflict, corruption and environmental degradation in the region, campaigners warn today. The new scramble for Africa risks bringing more misery to the continent's impoverished citizens as western oil companies pour billions of dollars in secret payments into government coffers throughout the continent. Much of the money ends up in the hands of ruling elites or is squandered on grandiose projects and the military.

Tony Blair will today urge the oil industry to be more transparent in its dealings with Africa. Openness and accountability are essentials for stability and prosperity in the developing world, he will tell oil company executives and oil exporting countries at a meeting in Lancaster House in central London. African countries own 8% of world oil reserves. An estimated $200bn (£125bn) in revenues will flow into African government treasuries over the next 10 years as new oilfields open up throughout the Gulf of Guinea. Oil will bring the largest influx of revenue in the continent's history, and more than 10 times the amount western donors give each year in aid.

But Ian Gary, author of a new report, Bottom of the Barrel, from the US aid agency Catholic Relief Services (CRS), warned yesterday: "Petro-dollars have not helped developing countries to reduce poverty; in many cases they have actually exacerbated it. In Nigeria, for example, which has received over $300bn in oil revenues over the last 25 years, per capita income is less than a $1 a day."

Despite the prime minister's backing for the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI), aid agencies and MEPs say Britain has let oil companies off the hook by watering down plans to make publication of payments to third world governments mandatory.

there has been some noise in the US press around the WMD issue..

On Sunday, Condoleezza Rice admitted that President Bush had used a forged document in his State of the Union speech to prove Iraq represented a nuclear threat: "We did not know at the time--maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency--but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course it was information that was mistaken."

United Nations inspectors, belatedly presented with the same document, realized within hours it was a crude forgery. While this garbage and much else like it got rushed into the light, the Bush Administration protected its continuing lie about a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein by repressing the results of interrogations of captured top Al Qaeda leaders.

Keeping secret any information that contradicted the pro-war line of the Administration allowed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to fabricate what he called a "bulletproof" connection between Al Qaeda and Hussein. We were expected to believe that our government had hard, definitive intelligence we couldn't be shown--just as we were told to trust that UN inspectors wouldn't be able to find all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in time to avert disaster.

Thus, with the pattern established, it was not surprising last week to read in the Los Angeles Times of a leaked report from the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency--secret since its completion last September--that indicated the depth of our government's confusion as to the nature of the Iraq WMD threat. The report stated that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has--or will--establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities," according to US officials interviewed by the Times. Yet that very month, Rumsfeld told Congress that Hussein's "regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons--including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas."

Only last week, on his trip to Europe, he pointed to two mobile trailers the United States had seized in Iraq as proof of Iraq's threatening WMD program. Yet, as emerged over the weekend in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, Bush's claims rest on intelligence that is again unable to withstand scrutiny: Some leading weapons experts summoned by the Administration to make the case for the ominous trailers take issue with the Bush Administration's interpretation of their design and use.

On Saturday, the New York Times, which had originally hyped the trailer story based on official US sources, published a front-page report quoting experts who repudiated the Administration's claims. One such expert went so far as to say the government's "white paper" on the labs "was a rushed job and looks political." Others questioned myriad technical claims and suppositions in the report that led to the government's conclusion that the trailers were germ labs that could be used to cook up anthrax or other bioweapons. "It's not built and designed as a standard fermenter," one top US scientist told the New York Times. "Certainly, if you modify it enough you could use it. But that's true of any tin can."

On Sunday, the London Observer, citing British intelligence sources, reported that it "is increasingly likely that the units were designed to be used for hydrogen production to fill artillery balloons, part of a system originally sold to Saddam by Britain in 1987."


According to the report, the draft contained such questionable material that Powell lost his temper, throwing several pages in the air and declaring, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."

Cheney's aides wanted Powell to include in his presentation information that Iraq has purchased computer software that would allow it to plan an attack on the United States, an allegation that was not supported by the CIA, US News reported. The White House also pressed Powell to include charges that the suspected leader of the September 11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer prior to the attacks, despite a refusal by US and European intelligence agencies to confirm the meeting, the magazine said.

The pressure forced Powell to appoint his own review team that met several times with Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to prepare the speech, in which the secretary of state accused Iraq of hiding tonnes of biological and chemical weapons. US News [AFP] also said that the Defense Intelligence Agency had issued a classified assessment of Iraq's chemical weapons program last September, arguing that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."


ivan illich died dec 2002 - observer obituary:

Ivan Illich, who has died of cancer aged 76, was one of the world's great thinkers, a polymath whose output covered vast terrains. He worked in 10 languages; he was a jet-age ascetic with few possessions; he explored Asia and South America on foot; and his obligations to his many collaborators led to a constant criss-crossing of the globe in the last two decades.

Best known for his polemical writings against western institutions from the 1970s, which were easily caricatured by the right and were, equally, disdained by the left for their attacks on the welfare state, in the last 20 years of his life he became an officially forgotten, troublesome figure (like Noam Chomsky today in mainstream America).


He was far more significant as an archaeologist of ideas, someone who helped us to see the present in a truer and richer perspective, than as an ideologue.


Illich retained a lifelong base in Cuernavaca, but travelled constantly from this point on. His intellectual activity in the 1970s and 1980s focused on major institutions of the industrialised world. In seven concise, non-academic books he addressed education (Deschooling Society, 1971), technological development (Tools For Conviviality, 1973), energy, transport and economic development (Energy And Equity, 1974), medicine (Medical Nemesis, 1976) and work (The Right To Useful Unemployment And Its Professional Enemies, 1978, and Shadow Work, 1981). He analysed the corruption of institutions which, he said, ended up by performing the opposite of their original purpose.

biography and stance

recent essays and "last words"


so ausdrücklich wie noch nie wollte er dort seine überlegungen zum kirchlichen ursprung einzigartig westlicher selbstverständlichkeiten mit seinen schülern und freunden besprechen. wie ein roter faden ziehen sich diese historischen untersuchungen zur perversion der frohen botschaft durch das letzte jahrzehnt seiner lehre in bremen.

history of ideas now contains two works by sexy ivan illich- deschooling society and tools for conviviality.. enjoy..
Irvine was also a big personal loss. But, under pressure from his own staff in No 10 and David Blunkett at the Home Office, he had finally agreed to the disbanding of the Lord Chancellor's Department. The three great roles of state held by Irvine - head of the judiciary, member of the Government with responsibility for legal affairs, and Speaker of the House of Lords - would go. The great reforming Government would reveal its true colours with sweeping changes to the criminal justice system, a final solution to the problem of Scotland and Wales and a complete shake-out of middle-ranking Ministers. New blood would show the Government had not run out of steam.

But the plans crashed and burned on the necessity of rapidity and secrecy. Downing Street was left announcing titles that were later changed and the abolition of jobs that had to be re-created the following day. A 'good news' week turned into chaos.

"President Blair? Ha ha" - observer commentary
Asylum-seekers arriving in Britain will be shipped to an 'offshore' camp in Croatia as part of a radical move to process all asylum claims outside European Union borders, The Observer can reveal. In an attempt to crack down on rising levels of illegal immigration, supporters of the plan say it is logical to handle claims close to applicants' countries of origin, easing racial tension over the integration of refugees in European Union countries.

australian-style treatment of refugees.. dirty dirty dirty

But critics claim the camps will breach international obligations to refugees, attract people traffickers and make it impossible to police any human rights abuses.


"who's european then" analysis from the new statesman

shameful p-m nonsense


The British empire had a British, not a universal, purpose, although naturally its propagandists also found more altruistic motives. So the abolition of the slave trade was used to justify British naval power, as human rights today are often used to justify US military power. On the other hand the US, like revolutionary France and revolutionary Russia, is a great power based on a universalist revolution - and therefore on the belief that the rest of the world should follow its example, or even that it should help liberate the rest of the world. Few things are more dangerous than empires pursuing their own interest in the belief that they are doing humanity a favour.

The cold war turned the US into the hegemon of the western world. However, this was as the head of an alliance. In a way, Europe then recognised the logic of a US world empire, whereas today the US government is reacting to the fact that the US empire and its goals are no longer genuinely accepted. In fact the present US policy is more unpopular than the policy of any other US government has ever been, and probably than that of any other great power has ever been.

marxist historian eric hobsbawm on america's imperial delusion
American forces, returning to large-scale combat in Iraq barely six weeks after President George Bush declared victory, have killed at least 97 Iraqi fighters during the past two days in battles against an increasingly sophisticated local resistance.
Six US soldiers were also injured in the raids directed at an area north of Baghdad that was a stronghold for many of Saddam Hussein's most loyal supporters.

The assaults - intended to "eradicate Ba'ath party loyalists, paramilitary groups and other subversive elements", according to the US military - were ordered after a particularly deadly fortnight for the occupation forces, with 11 soldiers killed. The high casualty rate has sharpened criticism in the US of the Pentagon's plans for postwar Iraq, with conservatives calling for a far heavier presence than the 150,000 American soldiers now in the country.

"What you are seeing here is a fundamental reassessment of the situation in Iraq in terms of political and military stability," said Daniel Gouré, a Pentagon adviser at the Lexington Institute in Washington.

go liberation front of mesopotamia
April 2002 was a turbulent month for the people of Bhutan. One of the remotest nations in the world, perched high in the snowlines of the Himalayas, suffered a crime wave. The 700,000 inhabitants of a kingdom that calls itself the Land of the Thunder Dragon had never experienced serious law-breaking before. Yet now there were reports from many towns and villages of fraud, violence and even murder.


But none of these developments, it seems, has made such a fundamental impact on Bhutanese life as TV. Since the April 2002 crime wave, the national newspaper, Kuensel, has called for the censoring of television (some have even suggested that foreign broadcasters, such as Star TV [murdoch], be banned altogether). An editorial warns: "We are seeing for the first time broken families, school dropouts and other negative youth crimes. We are beginning to see crime associated with drug users all over the world - shoplifting, burglary and violence."

Every week, the letters page carries columns of worried correspondence: "Dear Editor, TV is very bad for our country... it controls our minds... and makes [us] crazy. The enemy is right here with us in our own living room. People behave like the actors, and are now anxious, greedy and discontent."


The Bhutanese government itself says that it is too early to decide. Only Sangay Ngedup, minister for health and education, will concede that there is a gulf opening up between old Bhutan and the new: "Until recently, we shied away from killing insects, and yet now we Bhutanese are asked to watch people on TV blowing heads off with shotguns. Will we now be blowing each other's heads off?"

the story of the "fastest modernisation ever" gets really quite touching... enjoy


Stephen Schwartz disagrees. "I see a psychological, ideological and intellectual continuity," says Schwartz, who defines Trotsky's legacy to neo-conservatism in terms of a set of valuable lessons. By his opposition to both Hitler and Stalin, Trotsky taught the Left Opposition the need to have a politics that was proactive and willing to take unpopular positions. "Those are the two things that the neo-cons and the Trotskyists always had in common: the ability to anticipate rather than react and the moral courage to stand apart from liberal left opinion when liberal left opinion acts like a mob."

Trotsky was also a great military leader, and Schwartz finds support for the idea of pre-emptive war in the old Bolshevik's writings. "Nobody who is a Trotskyist can really be a pacifist," Schwartz notes. "Trotskyism is a militaristic disposition. When you are Trotskyist, we don't refer to him as a great literary critic, we refer to him as the founder of the Red Army."

another aldaily on the trotzky-neocon phil links

this, by the way, is a [german] web page for the resurrection of the fourth international.. or maybe one should just go about producing a unifying system and make it the fifth?

sexy: 1. weltkongress der kommunistischen internationalen 1919 - complete lyrics!
harharhar! guardian withdraws damaging "wolfowitz and oil" story..

medialens background

"On Wednesday, journalists on the Guardian's website were alerted to a story running in the German press, in which the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, was said to have admitted, in effect, that oil was the main reason for the war in Iraq. The German sources were found, translated, and at 4.30pm that day a story sourced to them was posted on the website under the heading, "Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil".

Mr Wolfowitz, in fact, had said nothing of the kind, as a deluge of email, most of it from the US, was quick to point out. Some of it registered disappointment more than anything else - disappointment that a valued source of news and liberal comment had in this instance let them down. "The briefest of searches will bring up articles to totally discredit your story," one complained."

correction published on guardian:

"A report which was posted on our website on June 4 under the heading 'Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil' misconstrued remarks made by the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, making it appear that he had said that oil was the main reason for going to war in Iraq. He did not say that. He said, according to the department of defence website, 'The...difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil. In the case of North Korea, the country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and that I believe is a major point of leverage whereas the military picture with North Korea is very different from that with Iraq.'

The sense was clearly that the US had no economic options by means of which to achieve its objectives, not that the economic value of the oil motivated the war. The report appeared only on the website and has now been removed."

why is this such a sensitive issue? truth leaking.. shock horror.. report never actually appeared in print..

previous posts on this: I; II
In an exercise in brute diplomacy which is causing more acute friction with the European Union following the rows over Iraq, the US administration is threatening to cut off tens of millions of dollars in aid to the countries of the Balkans unless they reach bilateral agreements with the US on the ICC by the end of this month.

The American campaign, which is having mixed results, is creating bitterness and cynicism in the countries being intimidated, particularly in the successor states of former Yugoslavia which perpetrated and suffered the worst war crimes seen in Europe since the Nazis. They are all under intense international pressure, not least from the Americans, to cooperate with the war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia in the Hague.

"Blatant hypocrisy," said Human Rights Watch in New York on Tuesday of the US policy towards former Yugoslavia.


The EU has sent letters to all the countries in the region advising them to resist the US demands and indicating that surrender will harm their ambitions of joining the EU.

Regional leaders are waiting to see what kind of offers or promises this month's EU summit in Greece makes to the region before deciding on their stance towards the ICC. One idea being floated is that the EU could make up the lost US aid money in return for Balkan refusal to toe the American line.


Although the eight east European countries joining the EU next year are expected to follow the Brussels policy and reject the US demands, the Poles in particular are also being pressed to reach an immunity deal with Washington.

Sources in Warsaw say that the US state department has made several requests in recent weeks for a deal by July 1. Poland is the biggest American ally in the region but has not yielded to the US requests.

i say: fuck'em! european counter-hegemonial crack in full flow it appears.. bismarckian wet dream of unified europe from western to very far eastern end under control of german capital may finally come true. "so sose balkanoids vill learn some german after all!"