31.3.04

search for wmd shifts - or rather, new approach to casus belli taken.

* the u.s. is broadening its language to provide a rationale for iraq invasion. this take reflects the increasing desparation with which the u.s. is acting to that end. the new word is: intention. the hunt for wmd will now also include whether saddam "intended" to construct wmd. charles duelfer, appointed to replace david kay, said before a senate committee:
"What we want is a comprehensive picture not just simply answering questions - were there weapons, were there not weapons [...] We're looking at it from soup to nuts - from the weapons end to the planning end and to the intentions end."

* meanwhile,
"A Democratic senator has accused CIA Director George Tenet of making false statements regarding Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction."

* and,
"US Secretary of State Colin Powell now says it is an "open question" as to whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."

* whilst blix, as ever, maintains that they were all destroyed in 1991 anyway. which is probably the assumption that is most likely to be correct.

29.3.04

interesting situationist-inspired group called glowlab. this post illuminates certain aspects of the web from the public sphere angle. applying debord's notion of "drifting" to the internet, this provides for a critique of the click-through structure in order to control exposure (msn - "where do you want go today?"):
"Guy Debord, describing the situationist practice of the dérive (“drifting”), calls it "a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances."

He goes on to say "Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll. In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.""

glowlab also seems to organize a psychogeographical forum. maybe debord's description of late industrial society is becoming more applicable these days.

27.3.04



after a hard days raging against imperial and material evil chommers, liked nothing better than to relax with pop idol
From Empire Notes, a new zmag blog;

"The 15-nation Caribbean Community does not intend to recognize the U.S.-created government in Haiti. A few weeks earlier, the 53-nation African Union called the removal of Aristide "unconstitutional." So there's at least 68 countries that agree -- unfortunate that the great proponents of "democracy" have no time for global democracy."

26.3.04

yet again the US vetoes a SC resolution opposing to terror in the form of the imperial vote of john "smoke me a sadinista baby, i'll back for breakfast" negroponte (actual quote... so...);

"The Algerian draft condemned "the most recent extrajudicial execution committed by Israel" and "all attacks against any civilians as well as all acts of violence and destruction".

[....]

"Washington, alone among major powers in not condemning Monday's assassination as an extrajudicial killing, rejected the resolution because it did not also denounce Hamas for bombings in Israel. The vote was 11 in favour, three abstentions, and the US veto that killed the measure."

negroponte said, "This Security Council does nothing to contribute to a peaceful settlement when it condemns one party's actions and turns a blind eye to everything else occurring in the region."

here (from a campaign website pointing out the sort of person who was, at that time, being proposed to be US ambassador to the UN) is what he did "to contribute to a peaceful settlement" in honduras when he was viceroy...

"The New York Times credits John Negroponte with "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua" during his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 and 1985. He oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year. In early 1984, two U.S. mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contra army after the U.S. Congress had banned governmental add. Documents show that Negroponte connected the two with a contact in the Honduran military. The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any U.S. government involvement, despite Negroponte’s contact earlier that year. Other documents uncovered a scheme of Negroponte and then-Vice President George Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government.

In addition to his work with the Nicaraguan Contra army, Negroponte helped conceal from Congress the murder, kidnapping and torture abuses of a CIA-equipped and -trained Honduran military unit, Battalion 3-16. No mention of these human rights violations ever appeared in State Department Human Rights reports for Honduras. The Baltimore Sun reports that Efrain Diaz Arrivillaga, then a delegate in the Honduran Congress and a voice of dissent, told the Sun that he complained to Negroponte on numerous occasions about the Honduran military’s human rights abuses. Rick Chidester, a junior embassy official under Negroponte, reported to the Sun that he was forced to omit an exhaustive gathering of human rights violations from his 1982 State Department report. Sister Laetitia Bordes went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras in May 1982 to investigate the whereabouts of 32 Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Oscar Romero’s assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing, but in 1996, Negroponte’s predecessor Jack Binns reported that the women had been captured, tortured, and then crammed into helicopters from which they were tossed to their deaths.

According to the Los Angeles Times, shortly after Negroponte’s nomination was decided, the U.S. government revoked the visa of General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, who was Honduras’ deputy ambassador to the UN. General Discua was the commander of the Battalion during Negroponte’s tenure as ambassador. He has publicly claimed to have information linking Negroponte with the battalion’s activities. His testimony would be invaluable in illuminating Negroponte’s collusion with Honduran opponents on Capitol Hill. In 1994, the Honduran Human Rights Commission charged Negroponte personally with several human rights abuses.

On August 27, 1997, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a 211-page classified report entitled "Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980s." This report was partly declassified on October 22, 1998, in response to persistent demands by the Honduran human rights ombudsman. You can read parts of the document on the National Security Archives website. Only senators and their staff who have security clearance can read the report in its entirety. It is absolutely critical that every senator read and consider the entire report before approving Negroponte’s nomination. Negroponte is highly respected in diplomatic circles as "a man who speaks five languages but knows when to keep silent." Due to his urbane temperament and broad support in the professional diplomatic field, it will be very tempting for senators to whisk his nomination through."

an excellent counterpunch piece on negoponte

also while researching this came across this interesting section on the NSA website about the president's daily briefing

25.3.04

qadhafi - what an oddball, clicking around his persona can be quite amusing

* from "social philosophy of russian anarchism (kropotkin) and of muammar al qadhafi: an essay in comparison", by said gafourov, who appears to be acting head of department of state property in insurance, export and financial organizations, russian ministry of state property (crazy world...):

"In the last quarter of the twentieth century Libya has been in the focus of world attention. Unorthodox foreign and domestic policies, her challenge to the developed countries together with a strategic geographic position and great mineral (mainly oil) resources, attract special interest in comparison with other countries of the Third World."


the "special interests" take us to recent events:


* blair's visit - oil and weapons (shell and british aerospace). the guardian reports:

"The prime minister and the Libyan leader met in an elaborate Bedouin tent on farmland near the Libyan capital, Tripoli, for historic talks. There appeared to be a little tension, but Mr Blair smiled as he shook hands with a man the former US president Ronald Reagan once described as a "mad dog".

[...]

Col Gadafy first spoke in Arabic before switching to English to say: "You did a lot of fighting on this issue and seem exhausted."

Mr Blair replied: "There's been a lot to do."

Col Gadafy, again speaking in English, said: "You look good, you are still young."


paternal qadhafi, hehe...


* http://www.qadhafi.org: world thinker. this guy still plays the pan-arabic "socialist" story. guess now all this stuff will have to be amended ;-).

and then there's qadhafi on how to tell a woman:

"A woman is tender. A woman is pretty. A woman weeps easily. A woman is easily frightened.

According to a gynaecologist, woman menstruates or suffers feebleness every month, while man, being a male, does not menstruate and he is not subject to the monthly period which is a bleeding."


The Green Book, Muammar Gadafy's revolutionary thought, 1976
imperialistic?

"We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic. We never have been. I can't imagine why you'd even ask the question."

rumsfeld to an al-jazeera reporter, when questioned about imperialist ambitions.

u.s. military presence world-wide:

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Antigua Argentina Azerbaijan Australia Austria
Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belgium Belize Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Bulgaria Burma Burundi
Cambodia Cameroon Canada Chad Chile China Columbia Congo Costa Rica Cote D'lvoire Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark Djibouti Dominican Republic
East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia
Fiji Finland France
Georgia Germany Ghana Greece Guatemala Guinea
Haiti Honduras Hungary
Iceland India Indonesia Iraq Israel Italy
Jamaica Jordan Jamaica Japan
Kazakhstan Kenya Kuwait Kyrgyzstan
Laos Latvia Lebanon Liberia Lithuania Luxembourg
Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Mali Malaysia Malta Mexico Mongolia Morocco Mozambique
Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North Korea Norway
Oman
Pakistan Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal
Qatar
Romania Russia
Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia and Montenegro Singapore Sierra Leone Slovenia Spain South Africa South Korea Sri Lanka Suriname Syria Sweden Switzerland
Tanzania Thailand Togo Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan
Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Uruguay
Venezuela Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia Zimbabwe

roughly 75% of the globe. so...
and so does michael albert

multi-author blog on economic vision beyond capitalism - goodbye maggie. looks like this will center around participatory economics.

"Okay, opting for "Goodbye Maggie" as a title won’t appeal to everyone, but it does have its virtues.

First, it refers to Maggie’s Farm, a fictional creation in a Dylan song about the ills of current economic arrangements. In a new economy, none of us will work on Maggie’s Farm.

Second, it refers to Margaret Thatcher, the past British Prime Minister and most recent prominent proponent of the stance that there is no alternative to current economic relations summarized as TINA.

So the point is, this blog is about transcending corporations and markets and all the familiar economic mess that Dylan alludes to and that Maggie Thatcher celebrates as eternal."
noam chomsky blogs

"This blog will include brief comments on diverse topics of concern in our time. They will sometimes come from the ZNet sustainer forum system where Noam interacts through a forum of his own, sometimes from direct submissions, sometimes culled from mail and other outlets -- always from Noam Chomsky."


his comment box all-telling though.

24.3.04

primo levi

have just read 'survival in auschwitz' by primo levi. his account is so gripping - i read it in one sitting.

i would say that this is an essential study of the human mind and personal identity - the dehumanizing conditions of auschwitz acting as a kind of metaphysical probe for this. what does it mean to be human?, he asks. does it mean to kill, practice injustices or suffer from them? or is it hoping for your fellow inmates' death, in order to eat his crust of bread?

can only recommend the most engaging account of life in auschwitz i've ever come across.

phil, found some extracts in .de for you here.

"Man biete einigen Individuen, die ein Sklavendasein führen, eine privilegierte Stellung, gewisse Annehmlichkeiten und die Aussicht zu überleben, man fordere dafür den Verrat an der natürlichen Solidarität mit ihren Kameraden, und einer von ihnen wird sich gewiß dazu bereitfinden. Er wird dem allgemeinen Gesetz nicht mehr unterstehen und unantastbar werden; darum wird er um so gehässiger und gehaßter sein, je mehr Macht er erhält. Bekommt er die Befehlsgewalt über eine Handvoll Unglückseliger und das Verfügungsrecht über deren Leben und Tod, dann wird er grausam und tyrannisch, denn er weiß, daß sonst ein anderer an seine Stelle treten wird, den man für geeigneter ansieht. Ferner wird die ganze Gewalt seines Hasses, die sich den Unterdrückern gegenüber nicht Luft machen konnte, nun unsinnigerweise auf die Unterdrückten niedergehen: Und er wird erst dann genug haben, wenn er die von oben erlittene Unbill auf seine Untergebenen abgewälzt hat."

23.3.04

Why ideas no longer matter

Terry Eagleton in todays guardian

"Richard Nixon's chief of staff once asked a White House aide why he had chosen to highlight certain options rather than others in a presidential briefing paper he had written. "Because I thought it was more in line with the president's philosophy," answered the aide. "The president has no philosophy," replied the chief of staff. It was, of course, said approvingly rather than disparagingly. Having no philosophy was like having no contagious diseases, not like having no conscience..."

read on
the slaughter bench of capital

"In the first five years of New Labour rule there have been over 2,500 deaths at work, with the official figures for the number of deaths rising by 32 per cent in 2001. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has estimated that at least 40 per cent and possibly as many as 70 per cent of these deaths were due to corporate failings. Note that these figures do not include deaths that are widely suspected to be work-related: in the last five years of the 1990s, for example, over 6,000 people – most of whom had been workers in construction and insulation industries – died of mesothelioma, a disease resulting almost exclusively from inhaling asbestos. In addition to deaths at work, in the last fifteen years at least 1,000 members of the public in Britain have died in incidents suggesting corporate failing of some sort (including, for example, 193 at Zeebrugge, 31 in the King’s Cross fire, 35 in the Clapham train crash, 51 in the sinking of the Marchioness, 96 at Hillsborough stadium, 7 in the Southall rail crash, 31 in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, and 4 in the Hatfield rail crash). Add these figures together and tally them with figures from across the world, including the thousands killed in single ‘accidents’ such as Bhopal in 1984 (in which approximately 6–7,000 people were killed immediately with an estimated 22,000 dying in directly related deaths up to 1999), and it soon becomes clear that history is indeed a slaughter bench, with capital its most active participant."

Mark Neocleous, via radical philosophy
Deleuze and Guattari argue that capitalism is a schizophrenic system

marx plus freud plus french -> post-something? confusion!
passagenwerk



the "passagenwerk" or "arcades project" - what was going to be benjamin's magnum opus, is a huge collection of writings on 19th century life in paris, in particular, the outdoor "arcades" which were so typical of parisian street life at the time. this project, with the potential to have become a major work in 20th century cultural criticism, was never finished (benjamin committed suicide in the pyrenees running from the ss). it has been edited in various forms since then.

it seems that the frankfurt school, having already emigrated to new york, funded benjamin for this work. nevertheless horkheimer wasn't overly pleased with the outcomes and ordered adorno to re-write most of the fragments benjamin had sent to the u.s. it should also be pointed out that benjamin's extended stay in paris is held to be a major factor in him not being able to get away from the nazi regime in time. thus, some dark characters have later held adorno and horkheimer responsible for his death.

via junk for code
Tillsammans (Together) (Swe 2000)

"Elisabeth tires of her husband, so she packs her bags, takes her children and goes off to her brother, Goran. The year is 1975. Elisabeth is a fairly ordinary housewife from the suburbs, but Goran is a little different. He lives in a commune and that's where Elisabeth arrives with her children to a chaotic house inhabited with long-haired people who discuss politics, have free sex, grow vegetables and drink lots of red wine. The collision of these two separate worlds sets off a drama that will change all their lives."

i'll get straight to the point:

moodyson taking a thoughroughly disappointing look at a commune in 1975 sweden, when dreaming was apparently just being rendered illicit again. if such melancholy rides are questionable territory per se, this movie is an interesting case of how the contemporary mood of hopelessness finds expression in bourgeois artistic fashion. "looking back at those over-the-top years- weren't we so wild, so naive back then!" of course, we know that this mood of necrophilia (no life before death) is induced by cultural managers. such as this guy. as our swedish sources correctly point out, moodyson is producing visuals for the conservative classes of sweden. his film is therefore a hymn of shallow harmony, in tune with the limited scale of lived emotion our current regressive post-pop-regime allows for.

why was i so displeased?

the characters, which are all quite impressively done, never manage to escape the frigid bourgeois behavioural frame. this reduces the most recent crack at the people making history (cf zinn) to a meaningless language game, with radical discourse being portrayed as a vacuous speech bubble that does not find any manifestation in the daily ongoings of communal life. apart from shaving armpits/not shaving armpits type lifestyle decisions, in terms of liberation, we get two characters discovering their homosexuality. "thanks god we're free honey". both "conversions" are portrayed as being due to seduction. this i find deeply questionable.

in terms of heterosexual liberation, we've got one female who is sleeping with two characters in turns- apparently there aren't enough females but plenty of gay males around. character a, soft-hearted, lovely goran, is deeply in love with this "slag from hell", and has to endure loud noises ("mama! uuuuh!") as she's repeatedly having intercourse with Eric, the commune's "angry communist" (official web page). she then feels compelled to inform goran just how special fucking with eric is. which is of course upsetting to romantic goran. the only possible reading on this seems to be a) it was after all Eve's fault, it must have been that damn apple! b) sea gulls have monogamic relationships, therefore humans should too, otherwise we all end up getting hurt. "poor sweet goran, being denied possessive 'love'!"

and that really is as far as it goes- it's freedom's lot, i'm afraid.

Eric launches a lonely project at liberating one of stockholm's palaces by debating the issue with the palace guard ("don't you think there should be apartments here?"), before leaving the commune to join baader-meinhof. ts ts ts- we all know what they got up to. goran kicks out "eve" in a one-off fit of rage. some other people leave. "get with it- back to reality" sobering disintegration feel. the kids protest the vegetarian regime and it is decided per show of hands that they should be allowed hot dogs. they also secretly play with the toy guns they aren't allowed, as this is apparently so deeply in tune with human nature. a tv is introduced "for the kids". the whole commune ends up in front of it with big pleased smiles on their faces, watching some idiocy-guaranteed tele-tubby type programme. the film's main character, a woman who's fled her alcoholic husband with her kids, returns to his (reformed) arms in the end, big group hug, no drama, no lives changed, film ends on abba's "S.O.S.":

Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find
I tried to reach for you, but you have closed your mind
Whatever happened to our love
I wish I understood
It used to be so nice, it used to be so good
etc..

Moodyson re: abba: "they came from sweden and wanted to be an international brand. so do i."

phil's quick capsule review: piece of shit

22.3.04

rowson super talented it appears..

below:

us op in haiti



labour MP reaction to clare s revelations

dada wants:

The introduction of progressive unemployment through comprehensive mechanization of every field of activity. Only by unemployment does it become possible for the individual to achieve certainty as to the truth of life and finally become accustomed to experience:


Before going down among you
to pull out your decaying teeth,
your running ears,
your tongues full of sores,

Before breaking your putrid bones,
Before opening your cholera-infested belly
and taking out for use as fertilizer
your too fatted liver,
your ignoble spleen
and your diabetic kidneys,

Before tearing out your ugly sexual organ,
incontinent and slimy,
Before extinguishing
your appetite for beauty,
ecstasy, sugar, philosophy,
mathematical and poetic metaphysical
pepper and cucumbers,

Before disinfecting you with vitriol,
cleansing you and shellacking
you with passion,

Before all that,
We shall take a big antiseptic bath,
And we warn you
We are murderers.


Manifesto signed by Ribemont-Dessaignes and read by seven people at the demonstration at the Grand Palais des Champs Elysees, Paris, 5 February 1920.
"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler
"The power of enclosing land and owning property was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers, and that sin of your fathers shall be visited upon the head of you and your children to the third and fourth generation, and longer too, till your bloody and thieving power be rooted out of the land."

from The Law of Freedom 1652

by Gerrard Winstanley of the diggers, also known as the true levellers


the waxman report (as linked under eclippings on the right) is required reading - at least the exec summary and the (somewhat curt and limp) conclusion. invaluable the research that has been done for us by the 'third party' demonstration of the range of misrepresentation or straight lying by the bushies.

article on zinn below is a fucking travesty. "this is history as straight cynicism" says the reviewer, challenging zinn's approach that rather than "add one or two bricks" to the edifice of history attempts to "dynamite the lot". there's nothing more offensive than the original of course. the conventional interpretation is of course beyond respectable criticism and anything else is, a priori, a polemic. zinn's book is certainly not a polemic, i can report having read it. it is a bold thesis, and recognises itself as an attempt to change the focus point of history from elites to peoples - not as the last word but as significant in this change of focus.

that the standard account of history is a legitimating fairy tale should be obvious to all but the most naive observers - and of course our friend does not systematically consider any particular event from the conventional and zinn's standpoint. take say the american revolution. some wealthy landowners seek to rid themselves of the constraints of british rule and so go about manufacturing support for a bourgeoise revolution to further their interests. compare to the standard account about washington's love of freedom (rather than his love for the territory west of the appalachian mountains that George II had claimed for the crown) suddenly spilling over into a desire for revolutionary emancipation and the spontaneous overthow of the tyrant with peace and liberty for all. no mention in this account of the fact that the land was not empty (how did those 25m native americans, circa 1700, become 4m by 2000? magic? weak genes perhaps... impotence cause by continous exposure to ultra virility of aryan invaders? select the muder concealing myth of your choice - by the way washington did introduce biological warfare to the world by giving natives blankets from the smallpox factory and thus became the first war criminal to lead the US, but not the last of course).

well, take a look and judge for yourself. look at the wealth distribution and see whether things were improved by the revolution and if so for whom. black slaves? women? rich businessmen? cynical account?

if you want the straight answer, if you need convincing, consider this - in a functioning democracy, why would the majority of the people support a distribution of income, goods and services, that disadvantaged the majority. these inequalities would, if they existed at all, need to be demonstrably in the interests of the least advantaged - or else why vote for them? how would it be possibly to have 45m americans without health insurance and yet have a top 1% of earners with the same wealth as the bottom 50%? the answer is it takes a lot of time, effort and resources to legitimate all this. mens minds need to be trained to accept the 'reality' of such arrangements, even, perhaps amongst the intellectual/social managers that such arrangements are 'fair'.

the role that history plays in providing a legitimating fable of benign leaders is not questioned or even discussed and so zinn's work in essence remains uncriticised.
* the guardian - more heat against bush

"Bush ignored terror threat, claims ex-aide

George Bush's re-election campaign suffered a stinging blow yesterday when the president's former chief counter-terrorism adviser accused him of doing "a terrible job" in protecting America against attack, largely because of a fixation on Iraq.

Richard Clarke, who retired as the White House counter-terrorism coordinator last year, accused the president of putting pressure on him to find evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks, despite being told repeatedly that there was no link."

* rorty's leftism - via crosscurrents.org

* howard zinn's history lessons - via dissentmagazine.com

* end of history in israel - netanyahu, peres, and fukuyama come together to discuss the end of history in israel

19.3.04

Noam Chomsky 'Voices on Iraq' in an interview with the Guardian, the section also has some other good 'voices'...

17.3.04

our australian neighbours-philosophers pick up on the same continental theme at spurious.

how does alan feel about this?
good article on the increase of terror due to the Bush doctrine

Bush's Iraqi Terrorism Laboratory; Was it Worth it? By Rob Kall, from Opednews

Ask the Spaniards, Fillipinos, Moroccans, Saudis, Turks and the rest of the nations that have been victims of explosion in terrorism since the Iraq Invasion if the world is a safer place thanks to George Bush.

click here to continue

Another article along similar lines from AlterNet
You'll read this line here everyday, but nice to see congress concurs;

Bush camp exposed as 'serial liars'

"Most of the statements were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials, according to the report.

Ten statements were just completely false.

Waxman said it demonstrated a "systematic distortion of the intelligence on Iraq," which he said urgently needed investigation. "
* attack on london "inevitable". best be fearful forever?

le bacon

went to a francis bacon exhibition yesterday. thought i'll post the mandatory pope thing.



in 1650 diego velazquez made above painting of pope innocent x. bacon was incredibly fascinated by this painting, since the type of depiction reflects the power gradient of that time. the coded use of colours, the dominating physical presence of the pope etc.

bacon adopted these qualities in his own paintings of the pope. he also went a step further by taking the introverted pope in velazquez' painting and letting him explode in his version, thereby extracting all that was internally hidden and repressed - aspects that velazquez wasn't able to make explicit due to the artistic restrictions of his time.



which restrictions need to be tackled next?

16.3.04

I went to an amazing, scary lecture the other day by a Professor Brian Murphy Niagara University, New York.
Who is Ambushing Africa???

The American Panopticon in Africa: Communication, Clientilism and the Bush Doctrine

This seminar will detail Bush's little known new military/resource program for Africa designed to capture Africa's oil for the United States and promote a rapid military intervention force along with 10 African countries. Professor Murphy's research has been culled from secret CIA documentation and other obscure sources. The consequences of this new imperialism, based in Djibouti and Sao Tome are of enormous importance to the world community but are little appreciated or understood. The development, strategic and ecological results of the Bush Africa program may be both dangerous and destructive.

It was great... The guy was a good speaker, and seemed to know what he was talking about.

Basically he outlined a change in US military strategies and communications since the National Security Strategy (NSS) in 2002. The NSS included Africa, and gave the US the justification for the war in Iraq, using the justification of the US's right to prevent suspected threats.

Why Africa?

A certain Dr. Thomas Barnett is one of the US top military stategic thinkers. He divides the world into 'Core nations', those which are well integrated into Global capitalism, and 'Gap nations' which are not. Africa has the highest number of gap nations of any continent. He also identifies inportant 'seam nations' or gateways such as Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morrocco and Algeria. The strategic aims of Barnett's ideas are to
(1) Increase core 'immunisation'
(2) work the seam states to create 'fire walls'
(3) patrol and shrink the 'gap'

Oil in West Africa, Angola is the only nation in Africa where US oil companies dominate. In the late 90s new offshore oil techniques were discovered (Exxon Mobil, has led this expolration). New coastal oil has been discovered in Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe (site of new Navy Base), Equatorial Guinea. By 2015, the US could get 25% of it's oil from West Africa.

But it's a risky and troublesome part of the world, 'incompetent repression, means that the oil is out of control. 'Piracy resistance in Nigeria loses big oil companies 100-300,000 barrels of oil a day, and companies need military security from the US.

The 'Israeli conection' is the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, a right wing thinktank, close to the Likud party based in Jerusalem and Washington. Their theory, which they have been lobbying for in Washington, is that West African oil could replace Middle Eastern oil for the US. This would take enormous influence and power away from Saudi Arabia, and leave israel to manage the Middle East.

so, Israel+big oil+state department= Africa in NSS

This is a Pentagon strategy, it has no diplomatic or development element. It is a military plan for the whole of Africa, with a strategy to deter, destroy, and disrupt.

There are three theatres of Action: West Africa- for the oil, The Sahara- where the emp[ty space and 'failed states' are a breeding ground for Terrorism, and the Horn of Africa/Somalia, for control of the Gulf. Central command will be here.

The first permanent US base in Africa has been set up in Djibouti with 2000 US military currently there, it is big and has hi tech communications and espionage instalations. These are to set up an intelegence, listening/intercepting station for Africa and manage the US fleet in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. Most sinister of all is the setting up of "P2OP" Proactive Preemptive Operations Group a new covert operations outfit, which neatly gets around US law banning the CIA from operations on US soil. Their objectives are to provoke terrorist activity, wage information warfare, create cover and deception for other operations, and assasination. They are currently 'experimenting' with these techniques in Somalia.

American communication/intelligence+client intervention=minimal deployment

Navy units from Mediterranean patrol West Africa. Future naval base in Sao Tome and Principe. Forward operating bases in Ghana Mali, Algeria, Morrocco and Uganda, with a capacity of 3-5000, and forward operation locations, lightly equiped for special forces. The US will also get involved in training national armies in counter terrorism and pre-emptive intervention.

The "Golden Spear" nations engaged in this are: Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda. They have also agreed 7 joint action agreements with: Morrocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad.

This is a plan of breathtaking ambition and evil. The US has not been deeply involved in Africa before, and is getting involved in a major way. Whether it will work remains to be seen. Brian Murphy was a good speaker, and will publish this stuff soon (he may die shortly afterwards). He also said that his first thought after the Madrid bombings was ... CIA.
'Rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream'...

samuel huntington seems to be convinced of his own clairvoyance. after the resurrected success of his essay 'the clash of civilisations? (1993) post 9/11, his new book deals with what he believes to be the new apocalyptic threat to american identity. a harvard academic and one-time member of the US national security council, his new book is titled: 'Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity'

his previous thesis in clash of civ? that the "fundamental source of conflict [for 21st century] will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural." He cites Islam, with it's "population bulge and transnational appeal" as the most plausible source of conflict in our time...

the content of his new book is equally controversial, addressing the question 'who are we?, (referring to americans in the white anglo-protestant tradition...) he concludes there is a new threat on the horizon - the latinos! and they're under your beds, as such... (or rather licking your toilets clean and looking after your cracker, demon spawn...)

in fact, he argues they're already here and eating away at a once proud, unified country of everything that held it together. "Will the US remain a country with a single national language and a core Anglo-Protestant culture?" he asks in an essay entitled 'the hispanic challenge', published in the journal Foreign Policy. the actual book is not available until may, but an article based on the book in Foreign Policy (a magazine, incidentally, which Huntington co-founded but which is now run by a Latino editor and a Latino managing editor - !)

"The single most immediate and most serious challenge to America's traditional identity comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico, and the fertility rates of these immigrants compared to black and white natives. The assimilation successes of the past are unlikely to be duplicated with the contemporary flood of immigrants from Latin America." i.e, the latinos are over here, oversexed and will soon be overpaid as well.

in an essay bolstered with fact and figures etc (a nice four page spread of colourful charts and diagrams, think brass eye), he is eager to note that hispanics passed african-americans as the largest minority in the last US census.

all this is supposedly illustrative of an end to civilisation. he even postulates what might have happened if the conquerors of american were french, spanish or portuguese catholics, rather than white anglo-prodistant: "It would not be the United States; it would be Quebec, Mexico or Brazil," ...

it's evident from the article that huntington seems most upset by them speaking spanish: "According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, in 1990 about 95 percent of Mexican-born immigrants spoke Spanish at home; 73.6 percent of these did not speak English very well"

dan glaister in the guardian:

'It is this last quality that most irks Huntington, leading him to make some decidedly unempirical assertions. "One might suppose," he writes, "that, with the rapid expansion of the Mexican immigrant community, people of Mexican origin would have less incentive to become fluent in and to use English in 2000 than they had in 1970." Well, possibly, one might suppose that. From there it is a short, blind leap of faith to the conclusion that "Americans [the good ones, that is, not the other ones] will not be able to receive the jobs or pay they would otherwise receive because they can speak to their fellow citizens only in English."

The spread of Spanish, he argues with an impressive command of the conditional clause, "could, in due course, have significant consequences in politics and government - those aspiring to political office might have to be fluent in both languages ... government documents and forms could routinely be published in both languages ... the use of both languages could become acceptable in congressional hearings ... [and] English speakers lacking fluency in Spanish are likely to be and feel at a disadvantage in the competition for jobs."' read on in the guardian

15.3.04

engaging diary called "spurious" by lars iyer, lecturer in philosophy at newcastle:

"When I worked in Analytic departments, it was a great struggle to be able to teach Husserl – teaching Heidegger or Merleau-Ponty would have been unthinkable; ‘continental’ thought was not deemed philosophical. It was worse when I was as an undergraduate: we were presented with no post-Kantian ‘continental’ thinkers at all, which means no Hegel, Schelling, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty let alone Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida and others. Most courses drew on papers written in the Analytic tradition published, for the most part, in the last twenty years. Some were interesting, some were dull, but the approach to philosophy was narrow. As students, several of us campaigned to be able to study what we knew under that vague word existentialism. There was no chance of this, however. What about the philosophies of the East? There was no chance to come into contact with the great traditions of India and China – there was a course on Indian philosophy taught elsewhere in the university, but we were not allowed to study it.

I feared I was not philosophical enough and, retreating to my room, began to read literature, listen to classical music and look at art; when my degree was over, I got rid of all the philosophy books I owned. Thereafter, I found myself totally unable to read books like Discipline and Punish or The Concept of Anxiety let alone Being and Time and the Phenomenology of Spirit. Everything, of course, has changed. But having switched sides, I am ever conscious of the superficiality of my grounding in the Continental tradition and the paranoia which puts me always on the defensive with respect to what I take myself to be doing. And what am I doing? Trying to catch up, to read what I should read even as I churn out articles and books. Five years off when the current book is done, I tell myself. Study Aristotle, the Scholastics, take a look at British Idealism and reread the classics of Analytic philosophy I came across as an undergraduate. Understand the relationships between Husserl, Frege, Meinong and others; read Mach, Duhem and other neglected philosophers of science; study Whitehead. It is endless, of course."
* new spanish pm wants iraq pull-out

great britain's head of school with an amusing reaction:

"No one should get the idea that somehow, if you were a country that was opposed to military action in Iraq, you are less of a target of al-Qaida and these terrible Islamic fanatics."

and then (garbled application of gwb's "either with us or against us"):

"Unless you are 100% with the terrorists, you are seen to be 100% against them."


* brawling latinos - huntington's newest threat, stirring up questionable anti-immigration tones, and the cultural xenophobia he's so famous for, by packing it into another baseless theory with a questionable interest at its center.

outrageously:

"The spread of Spanish, he argues with an impressive command of the conditional clause, "could, in due course, have significant consequences in politics and government - those aspiring to political office might have to be fluent in both languages ... government documents and forms could routinely be published in both languages ... the use of both languages could become acceptable in congressional hearings ... [and] English speakers lacking fluency in Spanish are likely to be and feel at a disadvantage in the competition for jobs."

He further stirs up the brew with nods to the scale of Hispanic immigration, noting that Hispanics passed African-Americans as the largest minority in the last US census.

It all spells, for Huntington, the end of civilisation. Indeed, the Founding Fathers might as well not have bothered. Huntington goes so far as to imagine what might have happened if the conquerors of America, instead of being white Anglo-Protestants had been French, Spanish or Portuguese Catholics. "It would not be the United States; it would be Quebec, Mexico or Brazil," he concludes."

what a nonce. you can read his article at foreign policy.


* since i was already clicking through the policy mags, i came across another kagan offering - "america's crisis of legitimacy". habermasian term ("legitimation crisis")! seems like an accurate description if you ask me. the normative end of things however...

"Summary: Europeans accuse the United States of acting like a bully: aggressive, self-interested, and disrespectful of rules. That charge is hypocritical. Still, it must be taken seriously, for as a liberal democracy with a global vision, the United States needs the approval of other nations that share its ideals. The American project is in Europe's interest, too--whether the Europeans understand that or not."
circularity

via kritische masse

MARCUSE Die citoyen ist ja nicht mehr jeder beliebige, citoyens sind die Menschen, die bereits anders geworden sind. ('citoyen' is no longer just anyone, 'citoyens' are humans that have already become different.)

LUBASZ Die müssen in der Mehrzahl sein. (they must be in majority.)

HABERMAS Im Prinzip alle. (everyone, in principle.)

LUBASZ Ja. (yes.)

MARCUSE Nein, nicht alle. (no, not everyone.)

LUBASZ Doch, im Prinzip alle. (yes, everyone, in principle.)

SPENGLER Wir kreiseln. (we're circulating.)

HABERMAS Wir kreiseln. Ich finde, wir sollten zur ästhetischen Theorie übergehen. (we're circulating. i think we should move onto aesthetic theory.)

SPENGLER Ich schlage vor, etwas zu essen. (i think we should go eat.)

HABERMAS Ja. (quite.)

MARCUSE Das gehört auch zur Ästhetik. (that's an aesthetic matter too.)

LUBASZ Erst das Essen, dann die Moral... (first food, then morality...)

SPENGLER Und dann die Ästhetik. Das ist eine ganz neue Definition der Geschichte. (and then aesthetics. that's an entirely new definition of history.)

III.

HABERMAS Also, lieber Herbert, nachdem wir uns an Tafelspitz und Wiener Schnitzeln gestärkt haben, gehen wir zur Ästhetik über. (so, dear herbert, after we've fuelled ourselves at the table, we're now moving onto aesthetics.)

MARCUSE Freut mich. (pleased.)


Habermas, Bovenschen u.a.: Gespräche mit Herbert Marcuse, Frankfurt am Main, 1981, S. 38 ('conversations with herbert marcuse')
spectacular views

"In Ways of Seeing, a highly influential book based on a BBC television series, John Berger observed that ‘according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger 1972, 45, 47). Berger argues that in European art from the Renaissance onwards women were depicted as being ‘aware of being seen by a [male] spectator’ (ibid., 49).

Berger adds that at least from the seventeenth century, paintings of female nudes reflected the woman’s submission to ‘the owner of both woman and painting’ (ibid., 52). He noted that ‘almost all post-Renaissance European sexual imagery is frontal - either literally or metaphorically - because the sexual protagonist is the spectator-owner looking at it’ (ibid., 56). He advanced the idea that the realistic, ‘highly tactile’ depiction of things in oil paintings and later in colour photography (in particular where they were portrayed as ‘within touching distance’), represented a desire to possess the things (or the lifestyle) depicted (ibid., 83ff). This also applied to women depicted in this way (ibid., 92).

Writing in 1972, Berger insisted that women were still ‘depicted in a different way to men - because the "ideal" spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him’ (ibid., 64). In 1996 Jib Fowles still felt able to insist that ‘in advertising males gaze, and females are gazed at’ (Fowles 1996, 204). And Paul Messaris notes that female models in ads addressed to women ‘treat the lens as a substitute for the eye of an imaginary male onlooker,’ adding that ‘it could be argued that when women look at these ads, they are actually seeing themselves as a man might see them’ (Messaris 1997, 41). Such ads ‘appear to imply a male point of view, even though the intended viewer is often a woman. So the women who look at these ads are being invited to identify both with the person being viewed and with an implicit, opposite-sex viewer’ (ibid., 44).

We may note that within this dominant representational tradition the spectator is typically assumed not simply to be male but also to be heterosexual, over the age of puberty and often also white."

via notes on the gaze - chandler

14.3.04


via infoshop
the regime change band wagon rolls on, next stop venezuela?

"Washington has channelled hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) at the weekend reveal that in 2002, the US was also involved with those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago."
excerpt from die schwalbenhode:

"die edelfrau pumpt feierlich wolken in säcke aus leder und stein
lautlos winden riesenkräne trillernde lerchen in den himmel
die sandtürme sind mit wattepuppen verstopft
in den schleusen stauen sich ammonshörner diskusse und mühlsteine
die schiffe heißen hans und grete und fahren ahnungslos weiter
der drache trägt die inschrift kunigundula und wird an der leine geführt
den städten sind die füße abgesägt
den kirchtürmen nur volle bewegungsfreiheit in den kellern gegeben
darum sind wir auch nicht verpflichtet die krallen hörner und wetterfahnen zu putzen"

hans arp, 1887-1996

via dada online, good resources, in english too
"Only someone completely distrustful of all government would be opposed to what we are doing with surveillance cameras." - NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir, 27 July 1999.

the surveillance camera players: completely distrustful of all government.

part of notbored.org - "an anarchist, situationist-inspired, low-budget, irregularly published, photocopied journal. no copyrights, rights reserved, advertising or subscriptions." also contains a lettrist and situationist archive.

13.3.04

NC: US-Haiti

Those who have any concern for Haiti will naturally want to understand how its most recent tragedy has been unfolding.
Alam interviews NC

In the aftermath of September 11, the Bush administration has pursued an aggressively militaristic foreign policy marked by religious rhetoric and ambitiously imperial declarations. Is the social and ideological base and agenda of this administration uniquely rooted in the Christian Right, neoconservatism, and the less scrupulous sections of the corporate elite, or is this simply a more crass reflection of a prevailing consensus among an American elite emboldened by the emergence of America as the world's sole hegemon?

Chomsky: We do not have internal documents, so what we say about the details of planning and its motivation is necessarily speculative. However, I am inclined to believe that the Christian Right influence is not very great. It is possible that Bush is telling the truth when he rants about his born-again experiences and how he is driving Evil from the world, but I suspect he is just playing the role for which he is being trained by his handlers, and that the religious fanaticism is mostly part of a plan to throw a little red meat to a substantial constituency. The US is one of the most extreme religious fundamentalist societies in the world. It is hard to believe that the actual planners - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, etc. - take any of this seriously. As for "neoconservatism," it is not clear what the term is supposed to mean. In practice it is the program of radical statist reactionaries, who believe that the US should rule the world, by force if necessary, in the interests of the narrow sectors of concentrated private power and wealth that they represent, and that the powerful state they forge should serve those interests, not the interests of the public, who are to be frightened into submission while the progressive legislation and achievements of popular struggle of the past century are dismantled, along with the democratic culture that sustained them.
the making of holy lands



thomas moran - "the grand canyon of the yellowstone", 84x144", 1872, oil, u.s. department of the interior

thomas moran was part of the 'hudson river school', a group of american landscape painters in the mid-19th. they took a decadently romantic approach to depicting the hudson river valley, the white mountains, and on and on as the american frontier moved further west. the school's depiction of expanding territory found an enthusiastic audience, the political background in these therefore most interesting. the paintings were usually extremely dramatic, including religious and literary motives:

"Most of these painters had read a book called "Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste" by Archibald Alison. In it he talks about how the beauty and grandeur of unspoiled nature can inspire good moral qualities"

also note that most of these painitings depict lands of special relevance to native american culture.

the propagandistic fusion of morality and aesthetics is what is striking here; the particular painting above hangs in the u.s. department of the interior and was used to persuade government to establish a national reserve at yellowstone.
some worthwhile hits;

* disinfopedia - "a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests."

* theocracywatch.org - the rise of the religious right in the republican party

11.3.04

Salon.com | The new Pentagon papers: "I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.


While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.


To begin with, I was introduced to Bill Luti, assistant secretary of defense for NESA. A tall, thin, nervously intelligent man, he welcomed me into the fold. I knew little about him. Because he was a recently retired naval captain and now high-level Bush appointee, the common assumption was that he had connections, if not capability. I would later find out that when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense over a decade earlier, Luti was his aide. He had also been a military aide to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the Clinton years and had completed his Ph.D. at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. While his Navy career had not granted him flag rank, he had it now and was not shy about comparing his place in the pecking order with various three- and four-star generals and admirals in and out of the Pentagon. Name dropping included references to getting this or that document over to Scooter, or responding to one of Scooter's requests right away. Scooter, I would find out later, was I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the vice president's chief of staff."

10.3.04

Stumbled across this interesting looking website... Fundamentalism(s): Resources for concerned citizens everywhere
An ongoing compilation about use of religion, culture, ethnicity, nationalism and nativism by fundamentalists and those on the far right.

Also, I don't know whether I am the last person to have heard of GNN Guerilla News network, which a friend showed me the othe day, it is really good, has some amazing videos, articles, the obligatory Chomsky interview, and lots of other stuff. maybe we should link this site?
saudi women may obtain vote in next election

9.3.04

Will The End of Oil Mean The End of America?: "The broader implications of the Patriot Acts go far beyond the abusive treatment of criminals or terrorists. Their portent can be glimpsed in the language used to justify them. When Attorney General John Ashcroft testified on behalf of the Act, he stated, “…those who oppose us are providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” These are carefully chosen words. “Aid and comfort to the enemy” are the words used in the Constitution to define Treason, the most fateful of crimes against the state. In other words, protest against the government—the singular right without which America would not even exist—is now being defined as trying to overthrow the government.

And by the internal logic of a global Oil Empire, this is entirely reasonable. The needs of the people of any one country must be subordinated to the larger agenda of Empire itself. This is what the Romans learned in 27 B.C. when Augustus proclaimed himself Emperor. It was the end of the Roman Republic and the disappearance of representative government on earth for almost 1,700 years, until the English Civil Wars in the 1600s. That is the reality we are confronting today—offering up our democracy in propitiation to an Empire for Oil. It will be a fateful, irreversible decision.

Returning to Pirsig’s metaphor, the choice of a Grab the Oil strategy is the equivalent of the monkey holding onto the handful of food, remaining trapped by the coconut. It is an ironclad guarantee of escalating global conflict, isolation of the US in the world, unremitting attacks on the US by those whose oil is being expropriated and whose societies are being dominated, the militarization of the US economy, the irreversible rescission of civil liberties, and the eventual extinguishment of American democracy itself. It is the conscious, self-inflicted consignment to political and economic death."

This is a must-read article.

8.3.04

that other whistleblower.. about to be released

Vanunu, aged 51, has endured some of the harshest punishment ever meted out to an Israeli prisoner since his dramatic revelation in The Sunday Times newspaper in 1986 that Israel had a secret nuclear weapons plant in the Negev that had assembled up to 200 warheads. Vanunu had been employed for nine years as a technician at the plant, which was hidden under a textiles factory in the town of Dimona.

The revelations blew a hole in Israel's long-standing policy of "nuclear ambiguity" -- its refusal to confirm or deny that it has nuclear bombs -- and caused huge embarrassment to its superpower ally, America, which had agreed to turn a blind eye to Israel's development of weapons of mass destruction.

During his 18 years in detention, Vanunu has been held in a cell measuring just two metres by three. For the first two and a half years a light bulb burned continuously in his cell so that he could not tell night from day. When he was briefly allowed out of the cell he was followed by guards videoing him. Basic rights, such as access to newspapers and TV, were also denied. Amnesty International described his ordeal as "cruel, inhuman and degrading".
erm... vielleicht liegts ja am entdeckungszusammenhang

"the theory starts from the assumption that God has a 50/50 chance of existing"

?

hehe...

do you see now?
* israel as a theocracy? - sauer-thompson wonders about secularity in israel (his links also worth checking out - 1/2):

"It was a European settler-state that was founded on driving 700,000 Palestinians out of their villages by the Zionist army in 1948. This process can be called 'ethnic cleansing'. Ethnic cleansing is usually defended on the grounds that it is okay (morally right) if carried out by a superior civilization. We can compare this to the killing of indigenous Aborigines by the European settlers in Australia. That policy by a British settler-state is also justified as morally right.

Zionism holds that a Jewish state could never have been established without force, coercion and ethnic cleansing; that its survival depends on superior power to crush all Arabic opposition; the creation of the Israeli state was fired by a conviction of its moral rightness which accorded Jews a special place over others; and because of this, everything is instrumental to its goal."


* on a similar note - this post by the same led to some interesting accusations of "anti-semitism". evidently the veil between criticism and anti-semitism is invisible for some.

gary's collaborator on philosophical conversations writes an engaging piece in response to this. all worth a look. what is mostly telling in the responses to gary's post, is the reactionary use of "anti-semitism" - as if the radical left's newest strategy was some kind of conspiracy against world jewry, let alone the notion of such a thing. everytime somebody points out the u.s.-israeli veto club, israel's nuclear weapons arsenal, hell, even u.s. policy in the region, you can be sure some spineless idiot will cry "anti-semitism".

as trevor sums up quite nicely:

"In my book, the people who attack Gary are the true anti-Semites, because criticism lies at the very essence of Judaism, for it is forbidden to speak of God but only of the ungodly. Pharisees rule! No thanks."

5.3.04

The Miners' Strike 20th Aniversary... SchNEWS article

“The Miners of Silverwood, having been told they were confined to six pickets only, built themselves a seventh comrade in the shape of a large snowman, wearing a plastic policeman’s helmet. Next morning, Chief Inspector Nesbitt appears on the scene and seeing the jeering miners and their snowy companion, ordered the constables to knock the snowman down. This order brought rebellion to the police ranks as PCs declined to, “look so fucking stupid knocking down a snowman”.

“Very well,” shouts the irate Nesbitt, jumping in his Range Rover and charging off to demolish the snowman… As the vehicle made contact, it came to a dead stop, smashing front grill, bumper and headlamps and hurling the shocked Nesbitt into the steering wheel. PCs found excuses to walk away or suppress body-shaking laughter while pickets fell about on the ground with side-splitting mirth. The snowman had been constructed around a three foot high two foot thick concrete post!”

From ex-miner Dave Douglass’s book, ‘All Power to the Imagination’ published by The Class War Federation

VATAN... Anti terror laws in action from SchNEWS 392 (which has a great cartoon by the way)

In December, five Turks and a Briton were charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 for supporting the Turkish Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C. They were nicked because DHKP-C has been banned by the UK government and the six arrestees were supposedly “facilitating the retention or control of terrorist property.” Guns? Bombs? Er, no, the people arrested were simply in possession of magazines, videos and posters that supported the DHKP-C. At a pretrial hearing, the judge ordered all the defendants to surrender their passports and banned them from selling or distributing copies of “Vatan,” a radical Turkish-based magazine that has the bare faced cheek to criticise that bastion of human rights, Turkey.
One of those nicked was Rory O’Driscoll, who had recently joined other people in a visit to Turkish hunger strikers protesting about prison conditions. His house was then raided and he was held for two weeks at Paddington Green police station where every hour someone would open up the hatch to his cell and ask if he was ‘alright’ (a friendly way to deny a prisoner of sleep, don’t you reckon?). If found guilty of the ‘crime’ of possessing magazines and supporting Turkish hunger strikers, Rory could face up to 10 years in prison.

£1m terrorism case is thrown out by judge ... Vatan update.

The case against six people charged under Anti-Terrorism laws has been thrown out of court due to a "tragi-comic" prosecution by the Home Office. The six were charged under the Terrorism Act for supposedly supporting the banned Turkish Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C. They were arrested for selling copies of “Vatan,” a radical Turkish-based magazine that criticises Turkey’s human rights record, and possessing posters and other media supporting the banned group. The prosecution said that Vatan is “terrorist property”, even though it is sold legally throughout Turkey and Europe.

A week before the trial, defence lawyers produced a letter from the Home Office confirming that the six were actually working for the similarly named DHKC which has never been banned. The prosecution went ahead with the case anyway, claiming that the six also worked for the DHKC's militant wing, the DHKP-C.

Lawyers for the six were then told four days before the trial that the consent of the attorney general - a requirement for prosecutions under the Terrorism Act which involve another country - had never been given. At the last minute, the attorney general gave a rushed consent for prosecution on conspiracy charges in case the other charges were thrown out by the judge. The case was thrown out by the judge who said: “Were this prosecution to continue, it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute amongst right-thinking people and offend this court’s sense of propriety and justice”. Piss up and brewery justice...

I spoke to their Lawyer yesterday, and he said all charges had been dropped and the six were all free and well.

Guardian coverage

3.3.04

DIRTY KUFFAR

It's rap, jihad-style. A music video with blood-curdling images, fronted by a young British Muslim rapper brandishing a gun and a Koran is the latest hit in radical Islamic circles.
The rap song is called 'Dirty Kuffar' - Arabic for dirty non-believer - and it praises Osama bin Laden and the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

The video has recently been posted on the British website run by the Islamic extremist Mohammed al-Massari, the UK-based Saudi Arabian dissident who has lived in Britain since 1994. Al-Massari claims that the video has been selling in large quantities at mosques to the younger generation and is in heavy demand overseas.

The rapper fronting the video calls himself Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew - a take on the rap group So Solid Crew. 'Salah' is Arabic for faith.

read more

more, and link to the film
Rob Newman
He's always been leftwing - his first ever bit of public speaking was for Third World First (now called People And Planet) and his "nickname at school, apart from prat and wanker, was Red Robbo". But his reputation was never made on a political platform, and his trenchancy comes as a bit of a surprise. He said that Americans had taken out a patent on basmati rice ("that's like India taking out a patent on fat Bon Jovi fans with mullets"); that we need to understand the connection between corporations and local problems, otherwise we'll just start blaming immigrants; that the primacy of the global market was reversing all the progress in democracy and human rights made over the past century.
* paul sent me this link from a group who describe themeselves as postanalytic - which sounds encouraging; statement of intent here and an engaging piece on marx and ideology

* the gudgeon links us and posts this critique of NC.

* unusual blog called rhetorica - "The Rhetorica Network offers analysis and commentary about the rhetoric, propaganda, and spin of journalism and politics, including analysis of presidential speeches and election campaigns." unsure whether they see propaganda as value free or not. includes this textbook and a propaganda section.

2.3.04

us occupation of haiti

"Scott McClellan dismissed them as "nonsense" and "conspiracy theories"."

development economist jeffrey sachs, another "conspiracy theorist":

"Mr Aristide's foes in Haiti benefited from tight links with the incoming Bush team, which told Mr Aristide it would freeze all aid unless he agreed with the opposition over new elections for the contested Senate seats, among other demands. The wrangling led to the freezing of $500m in emergency humanitarian aid from the US, the World Bank, the Inter- American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The tragedy, or joke, is that Mr Aristide agreed to compromise, but the opposition simply balked; it was never the right time to hold elections, for example, because of "security" problems, they said. Whatever the pretext, the US maintained its aid freeze and the opposition maintained a veto over international aid. Cut off from bilateral and multilateral financing, Haiti's economy went into a tailspin.

...

"The ease with which the US thereby brought down another Latin American democracy is stunning. What has been the CIA's role among the anti-Aristide rebels? How much US money went from US institutions and government agencies to help foment this uprising? Why did the White House abandon the Caribbean compromise proposal it endorsed just days before? These questions have not been asked. Then again, we live in an age when entire wars can be launched on phony pretences with few questions asked."

1.3.04

"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told some 60,000 cheering supporters he would block US access to Venezuela's oil resources if Washington moves against his government.

In a three-hour anti-American diatribe that described US President George Bush as an illegitimate leader and an "asshole", Chavez spelled out on Sunday what would happen if America turned up the diplomatic pressure."