merry christmas all!...hope you all consume more than your neighbour! some tom tomorrow to console you in these dark days…

term "old europe" as in robert kagan "europeans from venus" and "angloams from mars" made german word of the year

altes europa

Die Wörter des Jahres, Platz 1 bis 10:

Das alte Europa

Agenda 2010 - legislative packet for social "reform", blairite "white paper"-style.

Reformstreit - public "discussion" of above

Sars (Lungenkrankheit)

Eingebettete Journalisten - embedded journalists [eye-raq]





steve bell on form of late.. happy birthday jesus..


"Almost as soon as the war was over, American forces began to discover stupendous caches of Japanese war treasure. General MacArthur, in charge of the occupation, reported finding 'great hoards of gold, silver, precious stones, foreign postage stamps, engraving plates and . . . currency not legal in Japan'. His officials arrested the underworld boss Yoshio Kodama, who had worked in China during the war, selling opium and supervising the collection and shipment to Japan of industrial metals such as tungsten, titanium and platinum. Japan was by far the largest opium producer in Asia throughout the first half of the 20th century, initially in its colony of Korea and then in Manchuria, which it seized in 1931. Kodama supplied heroin and liquor to occupied China in return for gold coins, jewellery and objets d'art, which the Japanese melted down into ingots.


Back in Washington, it was decided at the highest levels, presumably by Truman, to keep these discoveries secret and to funnel the money into various off-the-books slush funds to finance the clandestine activities of the CIA. One reason, it has been alleged, was to maintain the price of gold and the system of fixed currency exchange rates based on gold, which had been decided at Bretton Woods in 1944. Just like the South African diamond cartel, Washington's plotters feared what would happen if this much 'new' gold was suddenly injected into world markets. They also realised that exposure of the Imperial household's role in the looting of Asia would destroy their by now carefully constructed cover story of the Emperor as a peaceful marine biologist. Washington concluded that even though Japan, or at least the Emperor, had ample funds to pay compensation to Allied POWs, because of the other deceptions, the peace treaty would have to be written in such a way that Japan's wealth would remain secret. The treaty therefore gave up all claims for compensation on behalf of American POWs. To keep the Santa Romana-Lansdale recoveries secret, MacArthur also decided to get rid of Yamashita, who had accompanied Chichibu on many site closings. After a hastily put-together court martial for war crimes, Yamashita was hanged on 23 February 1946."

LRB re cheeky gringo elite


Statewatch: monitoring civil liberties in the EU
The two new aircraft-carriers that our visionary Government is hankering after in pursuance of the world role it feels obliged to play, won't by all accounts be as big as it had hoped, because unless this tabled hardware is downsized there won't be the money on hand to pay for it. Thousands of tons will have to be knocked off the projected displacement of warships which, the idea was, would have been approaching the gross dimensions of those American carriers, clips from the life on board which, both indoors and out, we've grown all too used to seeing on our screens every time they put to sea to engage in some offshore bombardment of the landmass. As floating icons of high-tech belligerence they are without compare, which is no doubt why, five months ago, we were treated to the unlovely sight of a triumphalist George Bush touching down on one such, flak-jacketed it goes without saying, perhaps for fear of an episode of friendly fire during his approach.

LRB on UK mil planning for new aircraft carriers


"Bürger, die mit ihrer Klasse gebrochen, aber bürgerliche Sitten noch beibehalten haben, getrennt vom Proletariat durch die kommunistische Schranke, losgelöst von der aristokratischen Illusion, hängen wir in der Luft, unser guter Wille dient keinem, auch uns selber nicht... Schlimmer noch: wir schwimmen gegen den Strom."

J P Sartre
re: "Saddam could implicate the US and Britain in his crimes"

yesterday (sat 20th) was the 20th anniversary of rummy's handshake meeting with saddam- now available: video clip!

U.S. documents published in today's Saddam Hussein Sourcebook quote Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975 telling the Iraqi foreign minister "we do not think there is a basic clash of national interests between Iraq and the United States" (the Iraqi disagreed), and that Israeli influence on U.S. policy would diminish given "our new electoral law" which means "the influence of some who financed the elections before isn't so great."


white anglo-saxon male;

* "Videos recorded inside a New York jail show Arab and Asian detainees, who were picked up in a sweep of immigrants in the wake of the September 11 attacks, being slammed and bounced off the prison walls by guards, according to an official US government report."


"The investigators reported that the detainees in each case appeared to have done nothing to warrant rough treatment; they had in fact been entirely compliant with their captors. The report found evidence on the tapes - discovered in a prison storeroom in August this year - to support detainees' allegations that they were routinely abused verbally.

The tapes also confirmed allegations that the guards twisted detainees' arms while they were cuffed behind their backs, and that they sometimes over-tightened leg and arm restraints and stepped on chains connected to shackles in a way that increased the pain inflicted by them."

* "Six months on from the 11 September attacks, a significant number of people detained in the USA in their aftermath continue to be deprived of some basic rights under international law, and many appear to have been detained arbitrarily, Amnesty International said today.

The organization released today a report detailing its concerns on the post-11 September detentions in the USA, based on research including numerous interviews with attorneys, detainees, relatives, and visits to two jails."

"I have now been in solitary confinement for 3 and a half months and by the time of the next hearing I will have been here for four months. [...] Why am I imprisoned? Why in solitary confinement? And why under maximum security measures? I have many questions and no answers. What are they accusing me of? Nobody knows."

(Letter from a detainee held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre, Brooklyn, New York, for an immigration violation)
Update - Transparency Watch;

* "A man detained in Britain without charge or trial for two years on the basis of secret evidence he can neither know about nor challenge has told of his despair at his treatment under anti-terrorist legislation.

Exactly two years after he was arrested at his family home in the early hours and taken to Belmarsh high-security prison, Mahmoud Abu Rideh is the first of 14 detainees held on suspicion of terrorism to speak out publicly, through a letter sent to the Guardian. "

* "The international press organisation “Reporters Sans Frontiers” (RSF) recently lambasted Israel for abusing and harassing Palestinian and foreign journalists covering the Intifada against Israeli occupation.

The Paris-based group did recognise that Israel generally respected “the local (Jewish) media freedom of expression”, but criticised Israel for violating the international covenant on civil and political rights, including press freedom, especially in the occupied territories.

“Since the start of the Israeli army’s incursions into Palestinian towns and cities in March 2002, very many journalists have been roughed up, threatened, arrested, banned from moving around, targeted by gunfire, wounded or injured, had their press cards withdrawn or been deported,” it said. "
article about controversial arms trade with indonesia. as far as i can remember, the deal was brokered with the conservative government, including a clause preventing use of these arms for internal aggression. straw obviously couldn't care less now, possibly taking advantage out of the fact that 'it was the last government who got into this relation'. was trying to find a guardian analysis on this from about a year ago, to no avail.

"The legality of Britain's arms sales to Israel and Indonesia is to be challenged in the courts on the grounds that they breach stated government policy, the Guardian has learned.

Bringing an unprecedented action, lawyers for human rights groups will tell the high court that the sales violate the government's criteria for export licences.

They argue that the assurances of the Indonesian authorities that the arms would not be used for internal repression, and by Israel that they would not be used in the Occupied Territories, have proved hollow."


"The British government has failed to admit that British weapons were being used in Aceh and is ignoring human rights violations," he said yesterday. He said British Hawk jets and Scorpion light tanks had been seen in Aceh province, where rebel forces are fighting for independence."


"In the latest operation to crush the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) in Sumatra, 40,000 heavily armed soldiers have pushed the rebels into the jungle-covered hills.

The death toll, officially put at about 1,600 since President Megawati Sukarnoputri declared martial law in May, is impossible to assess because there is a de facto ban on foreign media, and local journalists are strongly intimidated into what the military describes as "patriotic" reporting."

"From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid."
Putin: "We"re not interested in the USA losing their fight against international terrorism, we are their partners. But Iraq is a special case, there were no international terrorists there under Hussein. Use of force out of one"s borders can be allowed only by UN Security Council sanctions. Hence everything done without such sanctions can not be legitimate, neither be justified. And it is speaking softly. But in the history of humankind great countries, empires, have always suffered a number of problems: feelings of invulnerability, of greatness, of infallibility. This has always worked against them. I hope it wouldn"t happen to our American partners."


"Saddam Hussein's former translator has said the US will not allow the ex-Iraqi president to be tried in public because of potentially damaging revelations.

In his first interview with Middle Eastern media after Saddam was captured, Dr Saman Abd al-Majid told Aljazeera.net that Saddam could implicate the US and Britain in his crimes. "


"He knows a lot of things that could damage international relations - he knows crucial secrets. I don't think that a public trial is in the interest of any of the countries that launched the war on Iraq.

"And maybe that is why US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hinted that Saddam is considered a prisoner of war, because international law stipulates that POWs cannot be tried."
Noam Chomsky- 2001 guardian profile

Political systems often rest on a view of human nature, and in his 1970 essay Language And Freedom, Chomsky wrote of language as a "springboard" for investigating that nature. "Linkages were drawn in the 17th and 18th centuries between language as a fundamental, creative component of intelligence, and an instinct for freedom that could be the basis of how humans organise their lives.."


But it's an interesting question as to why behaviourism had the appeal and prestige it did when it's so barren and shallow. Within the Marxist left - not including Marx - there's a strong tendency to insist there is no human nature; that people are just constructed by their historical circumstances and environment. This makes no sense, but these ideas are very convenient for those who aspire to managerial politics; they remove moral barriers to manipulation and coercion.

"If people have no fundamental human nature based on some instinct for freedom that can challenge and overthrow aggression and hierarchy, then there really are no moral values; if people are ignorant, malleable creatures who can be modified by experience and training, they can be controlled for their own good. That's an appealing idea to intellectuals across the political spectrum. Leninism is one expression of it, and social democracy is another."
*TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian man faces a possible lengthy prison term or even the death penalty for attaching a sticker to the rear window of his car proclaiming "The era of arrogant rulers is over".

Remarkably it turns out, later in this article, the Iranian president is more moderate than bush!

"When asked on Wednesday whether Saddam Hussein ought to receive the death penalty, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said: "If anyone is to be executed, the most appropriate person would be Saddam. But it don't want any human being, even a criminal, to be killed if there is an alternative."

*QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - In a steamy jungle of winding laurel trees and sprawling palms, a battle is raging between Ecuadorean Indians trying to protect land rights and oil companies who want to drill in the Amazon.

In the northern Amazon, Indians are suing a U.S. oil company over environmental damage they say ruined their land and made people sick. Further south, indigenous demonstrators have led violent protests to keep firms off their property.
a piece from aljazeera on the patriot act which has effectively negated a host of constitutional rights, with predictable consequences for vulnerable members of society;

"Few laws in recent history have sparked as much controversy as the USA Patriot Act, passed by Congress less than two months after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Federal law enforcement officials justified introducing the sweeping new measure as a necessary tool to investigate the lives of “suspected terrorists”.

Yet, in doing so, they aroused the ire of numerous civil liberties organisations which denounced the law as an assault on the basic freedoms of ordinary citizens."

"Many Arab and Muslim Americans feared the statute would target their communities."

[here's the beauty of it]

"Those opposed to the Patriot Act are faced with the challenge of substantiating their criticism of the law’s potential for abuse with hard evidence of its enforcement, a problem noted by former Republican congressman Bob Barr in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-November.

“Part of the problem, of course, Mr Chairman, with coming up with what traditionally might be thought of as hard evidence of abuses - that is, actual cases in which the government has abused the powers in the Patriot Act or other laws - is made necessarily difficult because of the secrecy, of course, that surrounds it,” Barr said. "


"Perhaps the most scrutinised section of the Patriot Act is Section 215, which made it easier for the government to secretly obtain personal documents such as financial, library, medical, phone and Mosque records with less stringent judicial oversight.


Under Section 215, the FBI must go to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authorisation to request private records, as long as it asserts that the order pertains to an investigation involving terrorism. "

[and who's gonna be on the sharp end of this...]

"Strossen said the mere existence of Section 215 was creating a chilling effect among many Muslim Americans who “stopped expressing their political views because they are afraid that this power can be used against them.”
Correspondance between me and Matthew Randall from Media Lens, on Media and Immigration... fascinating stuff, but quite long so I've posted it on the Inquiry. First, check out his article from Zmag on the topic, which is great.
this email arrived this morning about former sec of state james baker's role in "restructuring" iraq's (make that saddam's) debt;

"Justin Alexander, Coordinator of Jubilee Iraq says:

“A Paris Club debt restructuring will ignore the odious nature debt of much of Saddam’s debt. Instead it will be based on Iraq’s “financing capacity” according to the French Foreign Minister. This means Iraq will be forced to pay large amounts of odious debt, whitewashed by the language of “debt forgiveness”, instead of only paying the small amount of commercial debt which a fair arbitration tribunal would judge legitimate.”

“Iraq will be drained of up to $5bn a year, on top of reparations payments and new debt, according to City brokerage Exotix. This is deeply unjust for a battered country which is unlikely to earn more than $20bn in 2006.”

“Critically, a Paris Club restructuring it will rob Iraq of economic freedom, by requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program. This will mean rapid privatization, foreign asset stripping and little support for fledgling Iraqi businesses. Iraq’s freedom will be reduced to choosing the colours of the flag and the tune of the national anthem, while the important economic decisions will all be made by foreign institutions which are unaccountable to Iraqi voters, leading to an early disillusionment with democracy – fertile ground for future Saddams.”


"The home secretary, David Blunkett, is coming under increasing pressure to shut down an extreme rightwing website following the discovery of a secret hitlist of targets - including social workers, journalists and politicians.

The Guardian has seen documents from a secure email network which show hardline fascists are planning a campaign of "violence and intimidation" and are swapping information on bomb-making and details of possible targets.

The group is linked to the Redwatch website which carries hundreds of pictures and details of anti-fascists - many taken during protests against the British National Party - alongside the slogan "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes."
The Bush administation seems to have developed a habit of declaring the result of trials prior to their actually taking place;

"Despite his unquestioned duty to represent the nation on matters of public concern, and his more specific responsibility to keep the nation informed of the Justice Department's efforts in the war on terror, the Attorney General has an equally vital and unyielding obligation, as the nation's chief prosecutor, to ensure that defendants are accorded the fair trial guaranteed them under the constitution," [U.S. District Court Judge] Rosen wrote in Tuesday's ruling."


"President Bush said Tuesday Saddam Hussein deserves the death penalty -- the "ultimate penalty" -- for his iron-fisted rule in Iraq and that Iraqis should conduct the trial."

In other words the Iraqis can conduct the trial but the americans will let them know the verdict their working towards in advance...


*From ZNet, "A Saddam Chronology"

"Saddam Hussein is one of the world's great monsters. Nothing would be more welcome than to have him put on trial, a trial which could offer Iraqis and the world an honest accounting of his many crimes. However, as so often happens, when a trial is organized by those who are themselves guilty of serious crimes, truth is not the goal. Instead the historical record is falsified to make the one monster seem uniquely blameworthy and the ones running the show above criticism."


"It is a matter of principle in Washington that Americans not be held to the same international standards as others. Thus, the U.S. refuses to endorse the International Criminal Court and demands that its allies give up their right to invoke the jurisdiction of the court when U.S. citizens are involved. But those of us who truly care about justice ought to demand that Saddam Hussein be tried before a court that is in no way subject to U.S. control or manipulation. Only in that way can the real truth come out."

more on saddam from znet, "Got Saddam But Not Much Else"

*Justice = transparancy, so no surprise that "Wesley Clark testifies in secret at Milosevic trial" since he is doubtless as worthy of prosecution for war crimes as sloba...

"Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial in The Hague heard testimony behind closed doors yesterday from the former Nato commander Wesley Clark, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in next year's presidential election.

Under a laboriously negotiated agreement with the tribunal, the US has the right to edit out evidence deemed damaging to national security."

As Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister points out to PM Jim Hacker "The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, it is to protect officials.", in other words "If people don't know what you're doing, they don't know what you're doing wrong."

*Inglan is a bitch;

Drugs study finds children aged 11 on heroin and crack


"A statistic:
At this moment,
there are more black males in prison
than in college."

Anyone remember this, from Ice-T's 1992 album Body Count? [It was quite the thing at the time believe it or not!]

Well, 12 years on in blighty "Twice as many black people in prison as on campus"
COINTELPRO is an acronym for the FBI's domestic "counterintelligence programs" to neutralize political dissidents. Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the COINTELPRO's of 1956-1971 were broadly targeted against radical political organizations.
Indications Saddam Was Not in Hiding But a Captive, from a DEBKAfile Special Report
The Logic of Withdrawal by Howard Zinn


bush lauding "alliance of values"

The 50-minute speech began with a well-received joke, as the president made light of protests against his visit by suggesting there were some who would rather see him suspended above the Thames in a glass box like "the last famous American" to visit - a reference to the illusionist David Blaine.

But Mr Bush quickly reverted to his more familiar themes: the global war against terror, ending the "cycle of dictatorship" in the Middle East, and the "advance of freedom".

He said the foreign policies of Britain and the US were guided by their "deepest beliefs" in the value of human rights and "open societies ordered by moral conviction".

"The United States and Great Britain share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest," he said. "We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings. Together, our nations are standing and sacrificing for this high goal in a distant land at this very hour. America honours the idealism and bravery of the sons and daughters of Britain."

Mr Bush referred to the "idealism" of Woodrow Wilson, the last US president to stay at Buckingham Palace, whose appeals for global justice in the wake of the first world war led to the creation of the League of Nations.

But - in what appeared to be a swipe the United Nations for its refusal to sanction the invasion of Iraq - he said: "The League of Nations, lacking both credibility and will, collapsed at the first challenge of the dictators. Free nations failed to recognise, much less confront, the aggressive evil in plain sight."

*That's his lot - Saddam captured;

"His arrest will put an end to military and terrorist attacks and the Iraqi nation will achieve stability," said Amar al-Hakin, a senior member of the Shi'ite political party the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq told Reuters.

*"Disturbing new details have emerged about the treatment of 14 foreign terrorist suspects held without trial in British high-security jails."

At least half of them are showing signs of serious mental illness. Their lawyers say they have been pushed 'beyond the limits of human endurance'. One detainee is a polio victim, another has lost two limbs and a third has attempted suicide.


"Although poor people have never had it particularly sweet, America has long been considered the land of opportunity, where upward class mobility is hard work's reward," Park said. "However, our study shows that limited access to quality education and a shortage of employment opportunities in depressed areas all but ensure that, once fucked, an individual tends to stay fucked."

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 34.6 million Americans were living below the poverty line in 2002.

"Not only are the down-and-out fucked, but the number of down-and-out fucks is growing," Park said. "Conditions of disadvantage are often passed from one generation to the next, making it especially difficult for young people to emerge from the cycle of poverty."

"Man, my heart goes out to those poor fuckers," Park added.

America's increasingly rigid class system worsens the situation for the poor.

"After analyzing the economic performance of U.S. households over the past several decades, we concluded that class mobility, while steady in the '70s and '80s, declined in the '90s," Park said. "About 40 percent of families ended the decade in the same economic strata in which they began it. That's up from about 35 percent in the '80s. That's good news for those sittin' pretty, but it spells 'fuck you' to the poor."

"In a healthy capitalist economy, some people are going to be out-competed," Knoep said. "I'm sorry, but some of those fuck-ups have fucked themselves. I am not condoning an anarchic 'fuck or be fucked' ethos, but I can hardly get behind a welfare state that punishes the unfucked by fucking all equally."


Media Lens... is excellent, check out their media alerts and the debate between them and Monbiot over the propaganda model in the British media which is interesting and revealing
The good news about global warming and wine ...
Improvements in wine quality in the past half-century have had as much to do with global warming as with advances in winemaking and grapegrowing, according to research presented at the Geological Society of America's conference in Seattle last week.

Apparently Scotland could become a wine growing area. Speaking at a United States Geological Society conference in Seattle, Dr Jones said: "In a warmer world, Scotland could have very good wines, like Germany does today".

sorry for the flipancy, apparently we'll have to wait untill 2050 for the first good Scottish bottle of Blue Nun.
A Pentagon audit of Halliburton, the oil services firm once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, found the company may have overbilled the U.S. government by more than $120 million on Iraq contracts, U.S. defense officials said on Thursday. via ai.

*Humanitarian intervention;

"Cluster bombs used in Iraq by US and British forces caused "hundreds of preventable civilian deaths", many of them in cities, despite pledges to avoid such indiscriminate weapons in populated areas, a human rights group alleges in a report published today."


"The bomblets killed hundreds of civilians when first used, and unexploded duds continue to pose a threat in the postwar period, particularly to children, HRW alleged. The study confirms allegations by Washington and London that Iraqi forces customarily placed their guns near schools, hospitals and other civilian sites, but argues that the coalition should have used different weapons and tactics against them."

*"A retired military intelligence officer has been arrested in Chile for his role in the execution of the American film-maker Charles Horman, whose death during the 1973 military coup became the focus of the film Missing.

The arrest on Wednesday of Colonel Rafael González, 64, was the first big break in the 30-year investigation of the killing. "


"Recently unearthed papers in the Chilean military archives show that Horman's arrest was closely monitored by the US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, whose responses to questions about his knowledge of the affairs have failed to satisfy the victim's lawyers.

Gen Pinochet's part in Horman's death is also being re-examined: the courts are considering a human rights lawyer's request to interview him about it.

Mr Corvalán said Horman's death had been "completely avoidable".

He said the newly discovered memoranda showed that US officials could have saved his life.

He said: "These arrests are a huge advance, but we need further cooperation from US authorities. Many of the relevant documents are still classified. "

*"In some parts of the world people are crying 'revolution, revolution' in others they're crying 'evolution, evolution'

MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani man has been sentenced to be blinded by acid after a judge found him guilty of doing the same to his former fiancee, court officials said Friday.

"Acid drops will be thrown into his eyes in line with the Islamic laws," Mohammad Shahid, a court official told Reuters.

*No problem here (see diagram below too);

"At least 150,000 people die needlessly each year as a direct result of global warming, three major UN organisations warned yesterday. The belief that the effects of climate change would become apparent in 10, 20 or 50 years time was misplaced, they said in a report. The changes had already brought about a noticeable increase in malnutrition, as well as outbreaks of diarrhoea and malaria, the three "big killers" in the poorest countries of the world."


When the Frenchman Michel Foucault tripped on LSD, part of his "visionary quest" in Death Valley in California, he thought he achieved a supreme revelation about the world. "The only thing I can compare this experience to is sex with a stranger," he said.

extremely bland article, must add. dig the gcse language in conclusion.
ssri indication for children banned in uk - no more 'seroxat kids'

"Modern antidepressant drugs which have made billions for the pharmaceutical industry will be banned from use in children today because of evidence, suppressed for years, that they can cause young patients to become suicidal.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told doctors last night not to prescribe all but one of the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

The exception is Prozac, which is licensed for use in depressed children in the US. But the MHRA will warn that, at best, it helps only one child in 10."
NOT an article from 'The Onion' : Maverick idea: 'Top Gun' Bush action figure WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A U.S. company that sells foot-tall "action figures" of President Bush has added a new "Top Gun" model sporting a fighter pilot's flight suit in time for Christmas. The new George W. Bush action figure comes with helmet and visor, goggles and oxygen tank. Phrases in the president's own voice, placed on the doll's sound chip, include, "Terrorism against our nation will not stand" and "Working to put food on your family." The dolls are assembled in China.
"The Swiss government archives reveal that those in power in Switzerland after 1945 pursued a calculated policy of delay, deception and dishonesty towards not only the Allies but also towards the Jewish organizations pleading for fairness. Unaware that the records of their discussions would be read by a foreign journalist years later, those involved in the discussions were shockingly candid about their motives and intentions.

The object of Swiss policy was to protect the nation's huge wartime profits, to protect the looted gold accepted from the Reichsbank, to protect the loot deposited by the SS and Nazi party plunderers in Switzerland's banks and safety deposit boxes, and to protect German investments in Switzerland. In that selfish endeavor, the Swiss government coolly exploited the Jewish predicament, using the Jews as pawns to deny the truth and to compel the Allies to abandon their just claims. "


"According to those records, repeatedly in the post war era, those in power in Switzerland agreed upon a policy of deceit, not least towards the Jews. For example, in 1949 when the Swiss government concealed from Jewish representatives a secret agreement with Poland; in 1952, when Switzerland's foreign minister signed a letter to the Allies testifying that there were no heirless Jewish assets in Switzerland; and after 1962 in the dishonest administration of a law introduced allegedly to help Jews find their inheritance in Swiss financial institutions. Recent research has shown that half of the heirless Jewish assets admitted by the banks were returned to the banks rather than transferred to the Jews. The utterances to government officials by Max Oetterli, one of the secretaries of the Swiss Bankers Association, were so violently anti-Semitic that it is now clear why the issue is unresolved 50 years after the war"
*The privatisation of war

"Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.

While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private mlitary contractors now on the ground. "

*MoD chief refused to sign £800m Hawk order

"The top civil servant responsible for defence spending refused to sign the cheque for an £800m RAF order for Hawk trainer jets until he was ordered to do so by the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, the Guardian can disclose.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, did not believe the contract for the aircraft, built by BAE Systems, represented value for money. The rebellion by the civil servant responsible for the £35bn annual defence budget is the most extreme action a Whitehall official can take when he believes a minister's policy decision infringes "propriety" or "the economy, efficiency and effectiveness" of his department. "
blocher gets seat -

guardian - "As one of Switzerland's richest industrialists, Blocher is also its most influential politician. He led the charge against membership in the European Union, maintaining that Switzerland shouldn't cede its cherished independence to bureaucrats in Brussels. He noisily campaigned against foreign pressure on Swiss banks - which sat on assets for decades - to pay compensation to the heirs of Holocaust victims.

He is an outspoken critic of Swiss asylum laws, claiming the country is being flooded with foreigners.

Blocher's critics maintain he's a right-wing extremist and a covert anti-Semite who foments anti-immigrant feelings - labels he denies.

Before the October parliamentary elections, Blocher's party ran full-page newspaper advertisements criticizing ``pampered criminals, shameless asylum-seekers and a brutal Albanian mafia,'' implicitly linking them to an increase crime. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees criticized the ads as ``nakedly anti-asylum.''

nzz english

nyt information on blocher

inglan style?


two v interesting articles in yesterday's guardian media review.

** "Only 0.5% of today's believers believe they are destined for the fiery pit; 64% "know" they are heaven-bound. And, as they alight from the celestial stretch limo, it won't be Allah or Jehovah who greets them, but all-American Almighty - wearing a Laker's vest, sneakers and a reversed baseball cap. Hallelujah!


Christian self-confidence distorts American foreign policy. Domestically the separation of church and state is crumbling. America is slipping inexorably towards theocracy. Resistance to this trend has traditionally come from two quarters: the press and the universities. Neither functions effectively any more. Newspapers won't offend what their market research tells them is an inflexibly "faith-based" readership. Universities are similarly neutered. They don't burn flags; they wear them, neatly enamelled, on their lapels as tokens of American pride.


One citadel of resistance remains [...] Hollywood, if it wants to make a political difference, should stick to what it does best, which it has done with the hilariously subversive film, Bad Santa. The anti-hero of the title is a department-store Father Christmas (in fact a career thief) played by Billy Bob Thornton. BS is foul-mouthed and filthy. His main recreation (in brief intervals of sobriety) is anal intercourse, in full Santa fig, with "heavy" ladies. Rudolph's haunches may not be safe from violation, one fears, when big babes are scarce."

now that sounds like a good movie!

Can Bad Santa save Americans? - analysis of current post-modern u.s. theology - shows how optimism derived from moral relativism and "chosen people" nonsense enables neo-fascist empire. in fact i would (and have) argue/d that "chosen people" kills j.c. "love + forgive" socialism -> fascism when combined with nation-state ideology- cf israel.. useful material for countering "remnants of christianity harmless and positive in effect if there is any" arguments. consider baptist "jesus + death penalty" style forgiveness! not to forget commercial exploitation of residual sentiment re mythology during "the season" [oct-jan?]. mandatory reading.

** The notorious Rwanda radio station RTLM began to broadcast racism in 1991, and by 1994 was airing instructions to "kill and exterminate" the Tutsi minority. In the same year, a national newspaper, Kangura, printed a large cover picture of a machete with the slogan "What Weapons Shall We Use To Conquer The Inyenzi Once And For All?


For the first time since the Nuremberg Trials, international criminal justice last week turned to the role of the media. In the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, three journalists were found guilty of direct incitement to cause genocide, and now face life sentences.


While such international justice will be welcomed with a shiver of relief by many, it may worry those who aim to protect freedom of expression in developing countries. According to Helen Darbishire of the Open Society Institute: "We generally fear that advocating application of hate speech regulations will create an impetus to act without ensuring that any steps taken are in conformity with international standards." We might expect that sufficient safeguards are in place if it is the UN tribunal that judges on hate speech, but a more general clampdown on hate speech could constitute an unacceptable curtailment of freedom of expression.

She continues:"In Rwanda, in 1995, the Ministry of Information, failing to distinguish between criticism and incitement - and perhaps erring on the side of caution - launched an attack on the entire media sector and impounded several papers.


Thinktanks close to the US president and international organisations have also launched projects on hate speech this year and clearly in a more transparent, more media-focused world, the monitoring of incitement is more than a passing fad. "We have high hopes for hate speech monitoring, but it is crucial that at an early stage we isolate the key principles that are really at stake," says Westcott. "

Hate alert- "role of the media in inciting hatred" [guardian]. i say of interest a) re: possibilities of technological leverage to further primitive ingroup ideology with some thoroughly adverse effects on outgroup- essentially a case study with some very real dirty consequences. b) the limitations of human rights language in identifying underlying relations of interest. such discourse is limited and open to abuse (nb above- the gringo gov have gotten hold of it already!)
"This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.

"It is bonkers, insane. Here we are - we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."

"They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg," a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said. "


"When we turn to anyone for insights, it doesn't mean we blindly accept it," Col Peters said. "But I think what you're seeing is a new realism. The American tendency is to try to win all the hearts and minds. In Iraq, there are just some hearts and minds you can't win. Within the bounds of human rights, if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area."


One of the planners behind the offensive is a highly controversial figure, whose role is likely to inflame Muslim opinion: Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin.

In October, there were calls for his resignation after he told a church congregation in Oregon that the US was at war with Satan, who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army".

"He's been promoted a rank above his abilities," he said. "Some generals are pretty good on battlefield but are disastrous nearer the source of power."


point re: top-up fees

Britain's university system is dominated by middle-class students who get into the top universities despite being less talented than teenagers from working-class backgrounds.

n.b. there is no such thing as a middle class, especially in inglan. when discussing university access, it makes very little sense to talk in the language of social democracy- outdated, smelly. why employ blairite language when discussing blairite ideology?

In a report that goes to the heart of the explosive political debate about top-up fees for university students, the Blairite Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank reveals that the present system benefits the wealthy and is subsidised by taxes on the poor.

sounds like raising fees would actually make system fairer/more honest as bourgeois class would finance larger proportion of apparatus necessary to its own intergenerational cultural reproduction

'Taxpayers' money should be spent on improving the educational success of those young people from disadvantaged backgrounds rather than on more generous subsidies for predominantly middle-class students in higher education,' said Piatt.

the answer: a culture of one-scholarship-per-ghetto, u.s. style!
Cheney, Neo-Cons Geek Over LaRouche

"The leaking of the Feith annex to the neo-con media occurred simultaneously with the theft of Democratic Party staff memos from the Senate intelligence panel and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sources say that both the thefts and the leaking of the pilfered staff memos to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and rightwing radio gadfly Sean Hannity, were all aimed at bullying Democrats into a defensive posture--allowing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) to shut down the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee altogether, on the grounds that the Democrats were playing “partisan politics'' with the national security of the United States in the midst of the “war on terror.''


At least the next generation of bilderburgers wont have trouble picking up their university places, especially now top up fees will price out significantly more povs...

"Britain's university system is dominated by middle-class students who get into the top universities despite being less talented than teenagers from working-class backgrounds.

In a report that goes to the heart of the explosive political debate about top-up fees for university students, the Blairite Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank reveals that the present system benefits the wealthy and is subsidised by taxes on the poor."
"Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government."

"Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderburgers meeting. Unbeknownst to Kissinger, his speech was taped by a Swiss delegate to the meeting."


"The barely disguised contempt for humanity is only too familiar within the ranks of the "Elite", and this man is particularly active at the moment. No doubt he is seeing the beginnings of a Faustian pay-off for services rendered. I dread to think what misanthropic propaganda he is peddling behind the closed doors of conferences and special "interest groups" in 2003."


[Tommy Franks:] "the worst thing that could happen" is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties. If that happens, Franks said, "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy."

Franks then offered "in a practical sense" what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

"It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important."

questioning constitutional authority leads to a natural militarization of the country? fascism before our eyes - it doesn't even sound outrageous anymore. language deeply disturbing.


"The government is selling arms and security equipment to countries whose human rights record it has strongly criticised, according to lists of weapons cleared for export that have been seen by the Guardian."
from the NSA;

a criminal president wants to invade a country and needs to come up with a pretext.... under the heading "The Problem" is the question "what reason can we come up with to invade?" The answer, well, lie about the threat at home, try to scare the locals into attacking you first, maybe sink a US ship and then claim provocation. In fact use any terrorist means available to you. New shit come to light about Iraq? no. simply "liberal" president kennedy and plans to make cuban the 51st state (ironic that he seems to have been shot by someone who was over taking on the right, over the grassy knoll area...). funny how the bush administration has been so rententive of late as regards disclosure of the documentary record (dispite its legal oblogations under the FOIA).

"In his new exposé of the National Security Agency entitled Body of Secrets, author James Bamford highlights a set of proposals on Cuba by the Joint Chiefs of Staff codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS[the list of terrorist measures starts page 10]. This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage. Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.”

Hans Köchler responded to my email to Kirsty Scott at the Guardian (unlike her...) and included a link to this article in the Mail on Sunday, an unlikely source of radicalism.
"The politics of the RAF are always immediately associated with armed struggle. But it was never supposed to be that way, and the fact that it became that way was a mistake."


"Leftist groups often criticized the fact that the RAF acted primarily on a military, rather than a political, basis.

Yes, but only when it fit with their political concept. That's why these discussions always failed. I think the fundamental mistakes made by everyone, from groups on the radical-left in general to the RAF itself, was that we weren't based enough in reality and were too obsessed with ideology"

Contact Prisoners out of the Red Army Fraction (RAF). Most of them are more now more than 20 years in prison, most of the time in strict isolation.

* Birgit Hogefeld, Postfach 101155, 60011 Frankfurt
* Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Münchner Str. 33, 86551 Aichach
* Christian Klar, Schönbornstr. 32, 76646 Bruchsal
* Eva Haul, Obere Kreuzackerstr. 4, 60435 Frankfurt
* Heidi Schulz, Rochusstr. 350, 50827 Köln
* Helmut Pohl. Paradeplatz 5, 34613 Schwalmstadt
* Rolf Heissler, Ludwigshafenerstr. 20, 67227 Frankenthal
* Rolf-Clemens Wagner, Paradeplatz 5, 34613 Schwalmstadt
High Windows
Philip Larkin

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he's fucking her and she's
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives--
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That'll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide
Like free bloody birds. And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
"lies worn smooth by much use" - a nice quote from someone...

The "true" story of the battle of Samarra from the Independent, 'spin', propaganda or what you might call plain lies are flooding the mainstream media, like the Jessica Lynch affair, the propaganda war is obviously still going ahead at full speed, you can't believe anything you read, because it will be exposed as an obvious lie a few days later...

The "truth" about the Velvet Revolution in Georgia from SchNEWS, it appears the CIA have got this stuff down to a well worn routine now.


Cheney The Radical
The End of Democracy, this is a great piece of journalism. I've done a lot of research on this particular issue (for whatever reason evote hasn't put it up yet, perhaps due to possible legal issues - I was asked to tone down my first draft) and let me assure you, all the things mentioned in this article have very solid foundations. America is quite simply a scary scary place right now...
My Way Finance - News speaks of how the US economy is actually looking bearish. I read on interesting (offline) article in The Economist that argued, under the initially rosy outlook of quarter growth, all signs are pointing towards a massive bubble. The economy is being pumped up by low interest rates, but the debt level of households is larger than it has been in quite a long time, larger than during the boom years (when debt is often a little higher, due to optimism) and that, once the interest rates ratcheted up (as they must, being about as low as they can get and to prevent problems with the dollar) then the debt burden is going to be pretty unbearable. And, of course, unemployment remains high (for the US that is, about 6%)... this is something to watch.
"ITV's Middle East correspondent, Julian Manyon, has challenged the US military's claims to have shot dead 54 Iraqi guerrillas in a new row over the way the conflict is being spun.


"The truth of this feat of American arms seems to be something like this: relatively small numbers of Saddam loyalists and local men fired on the American convoys and were met with a blizzard of machine-gun and automatic grenade fire," he said.

Iraqi officials in Samarra immediately challenged the US's version of events, accusing American soldiers of spraying fire at random people on the city's streets and killing civilians - an account that appears to tally with Manyon's description."
ITV's Middle East correspondent, Julian Manyon, has challenged the US military's claims to have shot dead 54 Iraqi guerrillas in a new row over the way the conflict is being spun.


"Short of cash and in possession of two kidneys? Philosopher John Harris thinks you should be able to sell one of them to the NHS - and the medical establishment is taking him seriously"
Another anti-Bush animation, but with one difference; this one is directly off a democratic candidate's website. It's gonna be a pretty interesting election year I think, guys...


congressional inquiry into alleged cia involvment in the south central LA crack cocaine drug trade;

"The case of José Bueso Rosa demonstrates the lengths to which high White House and CIA officials were willing to go to protect an individual who fit the classic definition of a "narco- terrorist." General Bueso Rosa was involved in a conspiracy to import 345 kilos of coke into Florida--street value $40 million. Part of the proceeds were to be used to finance the assassination of the president of Honduras. I think most people in this room would agree that a major cocaine smuggler and would-be international terrorist such as General Bueso Rosa should be locked up for life. But because this general had been the CIA's and the Pentagon's key liaison in Honduras in the covert war against Nicaragua, North, Clarridge, and others in the Reagan administration sought leniency for him. As North put it in an e-mail message U.S. officials "cabal[ed] quietly to look at options: pardon, clemency, deportation, reduced sentence." The objective of our national security managers was not to bring the weight of the law down on General Bueso, but to "keep Bueso from...spilling the beans." By the way, he ended up serving less than five years in prison--in a white collar "Club Fed" prison in Florida."
Is there anything more comical, more truly ludicrous, than a failed suicide bid?
"A radical change in medical law to allow the NHS to buy organs from live donors in Britain and Europe will be debated in closed session today by the British Medical Association, the powerful organisation representing doctors throughout the UK."


Another nutcase with a rant and some hilarious music...

written & produced by Theo Simon / Seize the Day
(previously unreleased)
© 2002 Theo Simon / Seize the Day

it could've been Manhattan on the day the market fell,
and it could've been a candy store in Kandahare as well
and she might have been a Muslim, but it's kind of hard to tell
when your body's ground to zero
and your skin's been fried to hell
so tell me it's a war to end all war, or don't tell me nothing
cos if this sacrifice is not for peace, it was not worth making
seems to me you did your best
to put your hand in the hornet's nest that bit you
just when it hit you
there's other people hurt as much as you
and grief is no excuse for what you do
high flyers at the corporations daisy cutting edge,
they hold each other's hands
and plummet from the window edge,
and the monitors have melted
on the coffee deal which meant
5 thousand farmers wondering
where their livelihood just went

America my family
the whole world feels your pain,
and before this war is over
you'll make sure we do again
even as the tower tumbled
on that fire-fighting team
we wondered who you'd barbecue
for puncturing your dream
I am not an Islamicist
religion's not my thing,
but they're friendlier than Christians
and I like the way they sing
and I want my sisters free
to burn the burqa if they choose,
not lie awake and calculate
what weight they need to lose

you're beautiful, big-hearted, in many ways you're free,
and you're smart enough to get the world how you want it to be
so it's hard for me to tell you what you shouldn't have to hear
your nation is that terrorist most human beings fear:
Nicaragua, El Salvador, Columbia and Nam,
Cambodia, Grenada, Chile and Afghanistan,
Palestinian and Iraqi, and some more you never knew,
united states of people who deserved as much as you
so tell me that you don't support this war
or don't tell me nothing
cos if this song of mine don't change your heart
it was not worth singing
but I believe you did your best, chasing life and happiness
never wondered, never guessed
how the news had been suppressed
of a never-ending killing fest
rip the kid from the mother's breast
shrapnel thru her daddy's chest
while we're all singing glory hallelujah!
I'm talking to ya: somebody made a killing in your name
so take your power back, or take the blame

From a new anti war movement CD compilation with some good speeches from Tariq Ali, Ken Livingstone, and some great songs... The people who made it are also organising a big Peace festival in London in February... with 4 days of great music. Here is the website with flyers, lyrics and CD ordering


"Civilians shot back at the Americans," said 30-year-old Ali Hassan, who was wounded by shrapnel in the battle. "They claim we are terrorists. So OK, we are terrorists."


Six destroyed vehicles sat in front of the hospital, where witnesses said US tanks shelled people dropping off the injured. A kindergarten was damaged, apparently by tank shells. No children were hurt.

"Luckily we evacuated the children five minutes before we came under attack," said Ibrahim Jassim, a 40-year-old guard at the kindergarten. "Why did they attack randomly? Why did they shoot a kindergarten with tank shells?"


toll of coalition dead in november 111
readers may be familiar with the parallels between the oslo "road map to peace" and the establishment of apartheid in south africa. and so the process continues...

"Israeli academics are threatening to call for an international boycott of their own university heads if admission tests alleged to have curbed the number of Arab students are reintroduced."
"Nobody who saw the glee with which passersby trampled the corpses of our countrymen can still maintain that the majority of Iraqis consider coalition troops to be their liberators," El Mundo newspaper said.
9/11 timeline, quite extensive gathering of information pertaining to 9/11, ranging from 1979-present.