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March 31, 2003

"embedded"

Indymedia has assembled circumstantial evidence that independent journalists in Iraq are being disposed of. Often I feel like indymedia exaggerates facts for the sake of being dramatic (I do this too) and I often wish they (and I) didn't. But this is a compelling read.

hot blue on blue action

"Combat is what I've been trained for. I can command my vehicle. I can keep it from being attacked. What I have not been trained to do is look over my shoulder to see whether an American is shooting at me."
More survivors of a US Thunderbolt anti-tank aircraft attack, uh, I mean happy campers among the British troops.

thanks for the freedom, motherfuckers

U.S. officers say they recognize that roundups of men who appear to be civilians, and who may or may not be armed, will be among the most controversial tactics they could employ, and, if applied indiscriminately, could undermine their campaign to win the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
WP: U.S. Forces Rounding Up Civilian Suspects.

originally posted by xowie

hersh

Over the next year, a former American intelligence officer told me, at least one member of the U.N. inspection team who supported the American and British position arranged for dozens of unverified and unverifiable intelligence reports and tips - data known as inactionable intelligence - to be funnelled to MI6 operatives and quietly passed along to newspapers in London and elsewhere. "It was intelligence that was crap, and that we couldn't move on, but the Brits wanted to plant stories in England and around the world," the former officer said. There was a series of clandestine meetings with MI6, at which documents were provided, as well as quiet meetings, usually at safe houses in the Washington area. The British propaganda scheme eventually became known to some members of the U.N. inspection team. "I knew a bit," one official still on duty at U.N. headquarters acknowledged last week, "but I was never officially told about it."
Just in case you live under a rock and haven't read this and this yet.

like a flower

"What's the sin of the children? What have they done?"
WP: A boy who was 'like a flower'.

originally posted by xowie

photo by dan chung via a.p.

Grim preview.

originally posted by xowie

March 30, 2003

images.google slideshow

I've got an old pair of red/blue 3D glasses near my desk, "just in case" -- Boy Scouts motto, you know, 'be prepared' -- so I was searching images.google for some 3D pictures. There doesn't seem to be any way to view the results as a slideshow, which seems not only fairly obvious but probably trivial with the Google API. In fact, the halfbakery has already considered the idea but I'm not sure the lazyweb has. What do you think?

Peace?

Is justice peaceful? Is peace just? Is peace just peace and no fighting? Is it no bombs? Can the U.S. still engage in covert activities in Colombia under peace? Can we still occupy the Philippines and Afghanistan and have troops just about everywhere else under peace? Can there BE a military under peace?

eleven o'clock alchemy, courtesy of yomamasays!

conscientious objectors?

Now I've heard mutterings about this today on the radio. So where did the article go? On the Sunday Times front page, scroll down to the 'Britons sent home for refusing to fight' link, where, if the page loads, you will get this Error 404 message. Unless you want to read it from outside the UK, in which case you'll be asked to pay an annual subscription fee of £39.99. Bargain!

blogs against war: pings for peace

Blogs Against War aggregates posts for peace across a growing number of weblogs. If you use Movable Type, it's easy to have links to (and excerpts of) your peace-related posts show up on Blogs Against War automatically. If you don't use Movable Type, there's a form you can fill out which will accomplish the same thing. I really hope this takes off. Please encourage your favorite peacebloggers to contribute.
    Other weblogs about peaceblogs:
  • "PeaceTrack is a site devoted to gathering reports of peace activities"
  • Peaceblogs.org is a site devoted to making connections between bloggers who oppose the impending war against Iraq
  • Diveintomark.org has collected a list of blogs for peace
See also the wonderful A Beginners Guide to Trackback from the brilliant folks at Movable Type.

two things

rest in peace, and thank you

Carlo Urbani, the World Health Organization doctor who first identified the terrifying mystery illness that we know as SARS in Vietnam, died of the disease this Saturday at age 46.

Dedicated to the Love it or Leave it crowd

I've seen this attributed to either a Victor Forsythe or a Bill Davidson, and neither Google nor Snopes is telling me who really wrote it, but make sure to read it regardless:

"A WARMONGER EXPLAINS WAR TO A PEACENIK"

(Dedicated to the Love it or Leave it crowd)

PeaceNik: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?

WarMonger: We are invading Iraq because it is in violation of security
council resolution 1441. A country cannot be allowed to violate security
council resolutions.

PN: But I thought many of our allies, including Israel, were in
violation of more security council resolutions than Iraq.

WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point is that Iraq
could have weapons of mass destruction, and the first sign of a smoking
gun could well be a mushroom cloud over NY.

PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors said Iraq had
no nuclear weapons.

WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.

PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range missiles for
attacking us or our allies with such weapons.

WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather terrorists
networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.

PN: But coundn't virtually any country sell chemical or biological
materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the eighties ourselves, didn't
we?

WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil man that has
an undeniable track record of repressing his own people since the early
eighties. He gasses his enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a
power-hungry lunatic murderer.

PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a power-hungry lunatic
murderer?

WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam did. He is the
one that launched a pre-emptive first strike on Kuwait.

PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't our ambassador
to Iraq, April Gillespie, know about and green-light the invasion of
Kuwait?

WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today, Iraq could sell
its biological and chemical weapons to Al Quaida. Osama BinLaden himself
released an audio tape calling on Iraqis to suicide-attack us, proving a
partnership between the two.

PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading Afghanistan to kill
him?

WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama Bin Laden on
the tapes. But the lesson from the tape is the same: there could easily
be a partnership between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein unless we act.

PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels Saddam a
secular infidel?

WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape. Powell
presented a strong case against Iraq.

PN: He did?

WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Quaeda poison factory in
Iraq.

PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the part of Iraq
controlled by the Kurdish opposition?

WM: And a British intelligence report...

PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date graduate
student paper?

WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...

PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?

WM: And reports of Iraquis scuttling and hiding evidence from
inspectors...

PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons inspector,
Hans Blix?

WM: Yes, but there is plently of other hard evidence that cannot be
revealed because it would compromise our security.

PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons of mass
dectruction in Iraq?

WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB to find
evidence. You're missing the point.

PN: So what is the point?

WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because resolution 1441
threatened "severe consequences." If we do not act, the security council
will become an irrelevant debating society.

PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the security council?

WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.

PN: And what if it does rule against us?

WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to invade
Iraq.

PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?

WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for starters.

PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave them tens of
billions of dollars.

WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.

PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries was against war.

WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority expresses its
will by electing leaders to make decisions.

PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the majority that is
important?

WM: Yes.

PN: But George Bush wasn't elected by voters. He was selected by the
U.S. Supreme C...-

WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders, however they
were elected, because they are acting in our best interest. This is
about being a patriot. That's the bottom line.

PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president, we are not
patriotic?

WM: I never said that.

PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have weapons of mass
destruction that threaten us and our allies.

PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any such weapons.

WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.

PN: You know this? How?

WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago, and they are
still unaccounted for.

PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?

WM: Precisely.

PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons would degrade to
an unusable state over ten years.

WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.

PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that such weapons exist,
we must invade?

WM: Exactly.

PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of usable chemical,
biological, AND nuclear weapons, AND long range missiles that can reach
the west coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors, AND
threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.

WM: That's a diplomatic issue.

PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using diplomacy?

WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because we cannot allow
the inspections to drag on indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying,
deceiving, and denying for over ten years, and inspections cost us tens
of millions.

PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.

WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about security.

PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite radical Muslim
sentiments against us, and decrease our security?

WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to change the way we
live. Once we do that, the terrorists have already won.

PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security,
color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot Act? Don't these change the
way we live?

WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.

PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?

WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the world has called
on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he has failed to do so. He must now
face the consequences.

PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do something, such as
find a peaceful solution, we would have an obligation to listen?

WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United Nations?

WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an an obligation to listen to the Security Council?

WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.

PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of the Security
Council?

WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.

PN: In which case?

WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.

PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not support us at
all?

WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security Council.

PN: That makes no sense.

WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there. Or maybe France,
with the all the other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. It's time to
boycott their wine and cheese, no doubt about that.

PN: I give up!

Proof that dolphins are superior

Petty Officer Whitaker had tempted fate by saying: ‘Why would they go missing when they have the best food and daily spruce-ups and health checks?’ Two hours later Takoma had gone Awol. ‘Twenty-four hours is not unusual,’ a nervous Petty Officer Whitaker said. ‘After all, he may meet some local company.’ Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.
Takoma the dolphin goes AWOL

March 29, 2003

woo!

Robin Cook (remember him?) sez British troops out now.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT

'Some Tomahawks Fall on Saudi, U. S. Suspends Routes'.

nothing ever goes as planned

‘The enemy we’re fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against.’
That stroke of brilliance from U.S. Army jackass Lt. Gen. William Wallace, who obviously missed this fabulous Guardian article about last summer's rigged war games:
Van Riper had at his disposal a computer-generated flotilla of small boats and planes, many of them civilian, which he kept buzzing around the virtual Persian Gulf in circles as the game was about to get under way. As the US fleet entered the Gulf, Van Riper gave a signal - not in a radio transmission that might have been intercepted, but in a coded message broadcast from the minarets of mosques at the call to prayer. The seemingly harmless pleasure craft and propeller planes suddenly turned deadly, ramming into Blue boats and airfields along the Gulf in scores of al-Qaida-style suicide attacks... "A phrase I heard over and over was: 'That would never have happened,'" Van Riper recalls. "And I said: nobody would have thought that anyone would fly an airliner into the World Trade Centre... but nobody seemed interested."

originally posted by daiichi

to witness their grief

In the midst of all this, Dr Ahmed Sufian lashed out: "Our floors are covered with blood of our people, the walls are splashed with blood. Why, why, why? Why all this blood? I'm a doctor, but I can't understand such things. They say [they] come to free us? Is this freedom?"
SMH: Gruesome toll grows as army grinds to a halt.

originally posted by daiichi

U.S. and World Opinion

Among the top-line findings: it's American policies, not American people, that many respondents disliked.

Wait, isn't that what we're saying about Iraq? Watch Bill Moyers' Now.

an eye for the ladies

R.A.: Most of the drawings in it are of Aline. Is she your muse?

R.C.: Oh, you know. She's around a lot, and she always wanted me to draw her. Back in the 70's and 80's, she'd say: ''I'll pose. I'll pose.'' After about half an hour, she'd say, ''Can I go yet?''

L.E.: Do girls ever dress up like one of your fantasies to meet you?

R.C.: When Aline first met me, she used to dress up to suit my fancy. She kind of got tired of that. She used to put on white knee socks and these little schoolgirl outfits. She was a lot chubbier in the early days. Now she's gotten quite thin. It's a little disheartening to see her derrière go down. But she's happier being that way, so what the heck. But she's still quite muscular. She says her ideal body type now is Lance Armstrong's.
NYTM chats with R. Crumb.

originally posted by xowie

kiss my Freedom Ring

Al-Jazeera's English-language website, launched on Monday, was crippled by the Freedom Cyber Force Militia: 'The channel said it hoped to have the Arabic site back up soon, but admitted that its English-language service might now be delayed for several weeks.'

Breaking down the Geneva Convention

This being so, Rumsfeld had better watch his back. For this enthusiastic convert to the cause of legal warfare is, as head of the defence department, responsible for a series of crimes sufficient, were he ever to be tried, to put him away for the rest of his natural life.

His prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where 641 men (nine of whom are British citizens) are held, breaches no fewer than 15 articles of the third convention. The US government broke the first of these (article 13) as soon as the prisoners arrived, by displaying them, just as the Iraqis have done, on television. In this case, however, they were not encouraged to address the cameras.

They were kneeling on the ground, hands tied behind their backs, wearing blacked-out goggles and earphones. In breach of article 18, they had been stripped of their own clothes and deprived of their possessions.

They were then interned in a penitentiary (against article 22), where they were denied proper mess facilities (26), canteens (28), religious premises (34), opportunities for physical exercise (38), access to the text of the convention (41), freedom to write to their families (70 and 71) and parcels of food and books (72).

They were not "released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities" (118), because, the US authorities say, their interrogation might, one day, reveal interesting information about Al Qaeda. Article 17 rules that captives are obliged to give only their name, rank, number and date of birth. No "coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever". In the hope of breaking them, however, the authorities have confined them to solitary cells and subjected them to what is now known as "torture lite": sleep deprivation and constant exposure to bright light. Unsurprisingly, several of the prisoners have sought to kill themselves, by smashing their heads against the walls or trying to slash their wrists with plastic cutlery.

The US government claims that these men are not subject to the Geneva conventions, as they are not "prisoners of war", but "unlawful combatants". The same claim could be made, with rather more justice, by the Iraqis holding the US soldiers who illegally invaded their country. But this redefinition is itself a breach of article 4 of the third convention, under which people detained as suspected members of a militia (the Taliban) or a volunteer corps (Al Qaeda) must be regarded as prisoners of war.

Even if there is doubt about how such people should be classified, article 5 insists that they "shall enjoy the protection of the present convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal". But when, earlier this month, lawyers representing 16 of them demanded a court hearing, the US court of appeals ruled that as Guantanamo Bay is not sovereign US territory, the men have no constitutional rights. Many of these prisoners appear to have been working in Afghanistan as teachers, engineers or aid workers. If the US government either tried or released them, its embarrassing lack of evidence would be brought to light.

One rule for them, another for us: Violation of Geneva Convention

Winning Hearts and Minds...among other body parts.

As the bulldozer crashed through another crumbling wall of his house, Abdel-Fattah's brother, Thamir Sheikhly, cried out. "Bush is cursed!" he shouted. "This is a civilian building, a civilian building, 100 percent. There are no weapons of mass destruction. He wants to destroy the people. Maybe God will destroy him." For a moment, he was quiet, then spoke again. "We'll have our revenge with Bush."
In Baghdad Missile Strike Shatters a House, and a Family Attack on Neighborhood Evokes Anger at U.S.

March 28, 2003

that's not what she said

[....] a small number of anti-Muslim American soldiers endanger their brothers-in-arms and tarnish the reputation of American soldiers generally.
Deliberately misquoted from this racist tract.

"Sorry, Coca-Cola is not available any more due to the current political situation."

Demonstrators in Paris smashed the windows of a McDonald's restaurant last week, forcing police in riot gear to move in to protect staff and customers of the American fast-food outlet. The attackers sprayed obscenities and "boycott" on the windows. [..]"This started as a light-hearted reaction to Americans dumping French wine in the gutter and renaming 'French Fries' as 'Freedom Fries'," he said. "But it feels good to take a stand against this war. It is just a small gesture, but a good one."
Boycott of American goods over Iraq war gains pace

Michael Moore's next project

Filmmaker Michael Moore's next project.

stoner signs

It won't help him at the polls, but Pat's message has penetrated the smoky haze and captured the imagination of the stoner demographic.

To them he offers the promise not of a chicken in every pot, but of a pot sign for anyone who isn't chicken to grab one.

"It seems the younger generation has decided that being a stoner is cool," said Pat, who was born a Stoner and will die a Stoner. He is running for re-election as alderman.

"It's irritating," he said. "They're $4.87 apiece with the wires."

Stoner's campaign signs are a steal. c/o Fark.

originally posted by xowie

the killing of joe mills

Ten years go by, you have kids, and you get healthier,’ he says. ‘And at some point I revisited the negatives and, lo and behold, the photographs I had only dreamed of taking all lay in front of me. The photographs ended up being the pictures I thought I’d failed to take, the work I thought had never existed—because I was no longer looking at them as mirrors. It’s absolutely beautiful and almost incomprehensible how that worked, how over time you feel yourself heal inside, and the work takes on a completely different nature than it had at the time.
Washington City Paper profiles Joe Mills, urban photographer and one-time giant-pumpkin-grower. His work is now on display at the Corcoran.

for auntie agony

Bush is still really pissing me off. Why can't I just forget about him?
Kim Jong Il's LiveJournal. [mefi]

originally posted by daiichi

to the victor

According to a report to be published today by the US watchdog Center for Public Integrity, at least 10 out of 30 members of the Pentagon committee are executives or lobbyists with companies that have tens of billions of dollars' worth of contracts with the US defence department and other government agencies.
Guardian on Richard Perle's resignation. See also: Halliburton Handed No-Bid Iraqi Oil Firefighting Contract.

originally posted by xowie

aeronautics.ru

For intercepted intelligence and military communications, articles on the US's tactics and the current vacuum information on the war, plus everything you ever wanted to know about the Russian defence budget but were too scared to ask, check out Venik's Aviation at aeronautics.ru.

more tales of the massacre

4. Have you noticed that what the Iraqis say in press conferences is essentially true, even those things which are mocked by the U. S. press because they conflict with the American stories which turn out to be lies, but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, said by the Americans is a lie (I'm not exaggerating - EVERYTHING)?
Xymphora.

originally posted by xowie

messengers and killings

To truly understand how wrong it is to attack al-Jazeera, one needs to consider two points.

First, that to be anything but a lackey in the Arab media is to invite beatings, torture or death. The Society for the Protection of Journalists’ annual list of reporters killed in the line of duty is littered with the corpses of moderate, tolerant Arab journalists who have stood up to their bullying dictatorships, on the one hand, or their puritanical mullahs, on the other.

Second, the fact that bin Laden’s zealous murderers chose al-Jazeera as a way to get their message out has very little to do with the fact that al-Jazeera is the Middle East’s only free news network. Did the rebel Irish Republican Army send coded messages to the BBC and the Reuters news agency claiming responsibility for its bombings because it thought British journalists would be sympathetic? Did Saddam Hussein choose CNN as a conduit for his own propaganda during the Persian Gulf War because he took a shine to Peter Arnett? Of course not, though some — most memorably former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, claimed so at the time.
Michael Moran, "In defense of al-Jazeera"

March 27, 2003

embed this

Who's messed up more, the U.S. military or the corporate media? (swiped from the unbelievably awesome The Agonist.)

originally posted by zagg

use #2 pencil

1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately so they neither kill nor get killed in a unjust war. How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?
a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.

b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from impact aid programs which provide school funding for children of military personnel.

c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.

d. All of the above.
Iraq War Quiz by Stephen Shalom.

originally posted by xowie

no business as usual

NYC Indymedia is running constant updates of today's Day of Action. I was at Rock Center this morning where it looked like more than 100 were arrested after a die-in blocked up 5th Avenue for 15-30 minutes. About 1,500 protesters were there overall.

originally posted by zagg

iBush special wartime edition

iBush - special wartime edition

An artificially unintelligent Oval Office Occupant simulator

New in version 2.0:
  • iBush now talks openly about the need to control US oil supplies;
  • Some minor tweaks.
Download the new beggarware iBush application.

perle vs. hersh

Over at Index on Censorship:

ad hoc oil war

Last night I watched an excellent documentary on BBC2 about the terminal decline in global oil production and the importance of Iraq's oil fields (nationalised in 1972) to the West. A British geologist who forecast that the decline in oil production would begin around 2010, said that the current war was about establishing 'a military presence in the Middle East - aimed partially at Iraq by all means but with a wider significance to control the production elsewhere.' The documentary noted that: "For a war supposedly not about oil, military planners made a high priority of securing the oilfields. Apart from a handful of wells torched by Iraqi troops, the huge southern oilfields were taken largely intact. But other major oil-producing regions are still in Iraqi hands and there is still a danger that, as in Kuwait 12 years ago, massive sabotage may hit oil production for years to come."

From today's Guardian:

March 26, 2003

this war brought to you by

Yesterday, in southern Iraq, U.S. troops provided an ironic example. They named two temporary refueling facilities Camp Shell and Camp Exxon.

A tad indelicate? Deliberately insensitive, given the criticism that the United States has undertaken the war to secure Iraqi oil? Neither, said a Pentagon spokesman, who explained that the camps are "basically gas stations."
c/o WP.

originally posted by xowie

CIBCAR

Impeach Bush Now: the CIBCAR, the Campaign to Impeach Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld. The draft resolution for impeachment is here. (via bazima chronicles.)

"I don’t work for Colin Powell, I work for a British newspaper called The Independent"

In their attempt to dream up an excuse to invade Iraq, they’ve started out, remember, by saying first of all that there are weapons of mass destruction. We were then told that al Qaeda had links to Iraq, which, there certainly isn’t an al Qaeda link. Then we were told that there were links to September 11th, which was rubbish. And in the end, the best the Bush administration could do was to say, ‘Well, we’re going to liberate the people of Iraq’. And because it provided this excuse, it obviously then had to believe that these people wanted to be liberated by the Americans.

And, as the Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said a few hours ago, I was listening to him in person, the Americans expected to be greeted with roses and music- and they were greeted with bullets. I think you see what has happened is that -- and as he pointed out -- the American administration and the US press lectured everybody about how the country would break apart where Shiites hated Sunnis and Sunnis hated Turkmen and Turkmen hated Kurds, and so on. And yet, most of the soldiers fighting in southern Iraq are actually Shiite. They’re not Sunnis, they’re not Tikritis, they’re not from Saddam’s home city. Saddam did not get knocked off his perch straight away, and I think that, to a considerable degree, the American administration allowed that little cabal of advisors around Bush- I’m talking about Perle, Wolfowitz, and these other people—people who have never been to war, never served their country, never put on a uniform- nor, indeed, has Mr. Bush ever served his country- they persuaded themselves of this Hollywood scenario of GIs driving through the streets of Iraqi cities being showered with roses by a relieved populace who desperately want this offer of democracy that Mr. Bush has put on offer-as reality.

Robert Fisk talks to Democracy Now!

the best way to support our troops

Bring them home NOW.

originally posted by xowie

March 25, 2003

war is wrong because it hurts Jesus

Dear President Bush,
Please stop the violence because I believe it is wrong. And can you stop war and bombing places? I want peace to come soon! I love everybody in Iraq. Please could you change your ways?
Love Marianne Blough — 2nd grade
Bruderhof Communities: Dear President Bush.

The Fall of NY Press

Since the New York Press was bought out and changed editors, the quality of what was once New York's best alternative weekly has fallen dramatically. Gawker has unconvered the following hidden text on many of the sidebars:
It was up to spiderman and shakira to stop that rotten scoundrel osama bin laden and his taliban.. First he brought down the world trade center, then he created napster—what evil would be next? Studying the works of nostradamus, they figured the best place to catch him would either be at the world cup or the winter olympics, where he planned to unleash an envelope full of anthrax on the unsuspecting crowd. CNN caught morrowind of the plot, and predicted there would be neverwinter nights for years to come. It would be a dungeon siege when these forces came together. It would be like a battlefield 1942.
Presumably rW's traffic will soon equal that of NYPress.com

New York's #1 Alternative Newspaper
It was up to spiderman and shakira to stop that rotten scoundrel osama bin laden and his taliban.. First he brought down the world trade center, then he created napster—what evil would be next? Studying the works of nostradamus, they figured the best place to catch him would either be at the world cup or the winter olympics, where he planned to unleash an envelope full of anthrax on the unsuspecting crowd. CNN caught morrowind of the plot, and predicted there would be neverwinter nights for years to come. It would be a dungeon siege when these forces came together. It would be like a battlefield 1942.

"Each man involved is an american idol," eminem told avril levigne in front of the pink gareth gates of their local Ikea. "All your base are belong to us," bin laden said in a taped message. "The battlefield will run red with los ketchup. It will be star wars. A trillian bodies will litter the sand!" Natalie Portman of the FBI had heard enough. She contacted the Pentagon and ordered operation flashpoint, which involved crashing the mir space station into Afghanistan, which soon thereafter would resemble the Planet of the Apes. Segway to Angelina Jolie, who shouted to her comrade and fellow tomb raider loana, "Hurry! We must return to castle wolfenstein! Don1t they realize that all this is designed to lead to big brother 2?"

They fled on foot, together into the night

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Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies?

The New York Times: Channels of Influence, Paul Krugman.
Bushologists let out a collective "Aha!" when Clear Channel was revealed to be behind the pro-war rallies, because the company's top management has a history with George W. Bush. The vice chairman of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, whose name may be familiar to readers of this column. When Mr. Bush was governor of Texas, Mr. Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, called Utimco, and Clear Channel's chairman, Lowry Mays, was on its board. Under Mr. Hicks, Utimco placed much of the university's endowment under the management of companies with strong Republican Party or Bush family ties. In 1998 Mr. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Mr. Bush a multimillionaire.

riding high on u.s. lies

"It's something that we eat, and drink and breathe every day," he said.
Pentagon Officials Say Depleted Uranium Powerful, Safe.
The Americans are again using depleted uranium (DU) munitions in Iraq, just as they did in 1991. Before the war began, they stated that they intended to use these warheads, which are manufactured from the waste of the nuclear industry — to pierce armor — and which are believed by thousands of Gulf War Syndrome sufferers, along with Iraqi doctors, to be responsible for a plague of cancers. Yesterday, the BBC told us that the US Marines had called up A-10 strike aircraft to deal with ‘pockets of resistance ‘ — a bit more military-speak from the BBC — but failed to mention that the A-10 uses DU rounds. So for the first time since 1991, we — the West — are today spraying these uranium aerosols in battlefield explosions in southern Iraq; and we’re not being told. Why not?
Fiskie: The shocking truth about 'shock and awe'.

originally posted by xowie

neighbors

To all the journalism professors who say blogs aren’t ‘real’ journalism, I say, ‘I don’t see you getting out of your tenured chair and putting your butt in the middle of Kurdistan to report on what’s happening.’ To those who say, ‘You’ve got no editor,’ I reply, ‘My readers are my editors.’ To those who complain, ‘You’re biased, you offer nothing but op-eds,’ I reply, ‘I am biased, but at least you know where I’m coming from. And just wait until next week when my butt is in Kurdistan.’

One of my neighbors is going back to Iraq.

originally posted by zagg

March 24, 2003

did it turn you on? does it make you horny?

Spent so much time playing first person shooters or watching Bruce Willis movies that images of war don't move you any more? This is what "collateral damage" really looks like. [ via mrdankelly ]

this war reeks of political incompetence

"One group of Iraqi boys on the side of the road smiled and waved as a convoy of British tanks and trucks rolled by. But once it had passed, leaving a trail of dust and grit in its wake, their smiles turned to scowls. 'We don't want them here,' said 17-year-old Fouad, looking angrily up at the plumes of grey smoke rising from Basra. 'Saddam is our leader,' he said defiantly. 'Saddam is good'."
G: Flags in the dust.

originally posted by xowie

blood sacrifice by diane christian

Most Americans don’t do blood sacrifice, except for giving blood to the Red Cross.

Most Americans don’t kill goats or sheep or chickens ritually. If they drink the blood of Christ it’s wine or grape juice.

As we watch the reports of our fighting men making the ultimate sacrifice we don’t see mangled bodies and blood, but faces of family pain and official piety. Mothers say he died doing what he loved in service of a cause he believed in.

We change the blood into fine noble wine. The Secretary of Defense is already tipsy. Our now-dry President is in the grip of a mortal addiction.
c/o Counterpunch.

originally posted by xowie

a coalition of welfare states

When Turkey waffled on allowing the United States to deploy troops on its border with Iraq, the United States pulled a $15 billion aid package. That is why Ethiopia and Eritrea, which need aid to fight starvation, are ''coalition'' partners. That is why Colombia, which needs our aid in the drug war and to fight rebels, is a partner. That is why the Czech Republic, which is just getting into the Western economic game with wonderful products like cigarettes, put their name on the list. Bush needs none of them to waste a rust-bucket like Iraq. He needs them to add a veneer of morality to his aggression.
What 'coalition'? by Derrick Z. Jackson.

originally posted by xowie

road to damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - A U.S. missile hit a passenger bus carrying Syrian civilians fleeing the war in Iraq, killing five and injuring 10, Syria's official news agency reported Monday.

A Syrian official said the Foreign Ministry had summoned the U.S. and British ambassadors to Damascus "to protest this appalling aggression.''
Syria claims a US missile strike has killed Syrian civilians fleeing Iraq.

March 23, 2003

it's all going pete tong

Terry Lloyd, ITN's longest-standing reporter, has been killed by Coalition (and according to ITN's TV broadcast tonight, probably British) troops. ITN (Independent Television News) is, as far as I know, the UK's most popular TV news programme.

friendly fire chapter 1, verse 1

US Patriot missile brings down British Tornado plane and kills both crew members. And lo, it came to pass that the shit did hit the fan. I hear that the new term for this is 'blue on blue' - ??!

hello slobo i'm tony

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, Centre for Economic and Global Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights have served papers, as they said they would here and here, on UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Defence Minister Geoff Hoon and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to the International Criminal Court for breaches of international humanitarian law: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Michael Mandel of Lawyers Against the War (Canada) and Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto said today: "Our governments are planning to commit nothing short of mass murder. They are planning to kill Iraqi civilians without any lawful justification or excuse. That's a crime in England and in Canada and under international law. No one is above the law, not even Prime Ministers. If they do this terrible thing, we are going to see to it they are personally brought to justice. We are going to prosecute each and every one of them for each and every crime they commit."

March 22, 2003

have i said anything that is avoidably ugly?

Even using the term "shock and awe" -- I have this notion of Iraqis standing back in Baghdad being shocked and awed. Well, you know, what they are going to be is dismembered, eviscerated, and killed. So whatever disquiet we feel, we're almost robbed of the vocabulary with which to speak. I think the press would be well-advised to carry a copy of Politics and the English Language by George Orwell in their pocket.
Poynter: Chris Hedges on War and the Press. see also: An Orwellian Pitch by John R. McArthur. see also: Politics and the English Language by George Orwell.

originally posted by xowie

poets for peace

100 poets against the war features a compilation of poetry for peace. From stingy kids, with some more at mefi and dayku.

a catastrophe for the world

By almost any measure of civilised attainment, from Nobel prize-counts on down, the US leads the world by miles. You would think that a country with such resources, and such a field of talent, would be able to elect a leader of the highest quality. Yet, what has happened? At the end of all the primaries and party caucuses, the speeches and the televised debates, after a year or more of non-stop electioneering bustle, who, out of that entire population of 300 million, emerges at the top of the heap? George Bush.
Richard Dawkins, Bin Laden's victory.

originally posted by xowie

that chair will be empty forever

Michael Waters-Bey said he did not support the war. Asked what he would tell President Bush, he said: "This was not your son or daughter. That chair he sat in at Thanksgiving will be empty forever."

As he held a picture of his son, Waters-Bey said: "I want President Bush to get a good look at this, really good look here. This is the only son I had, only son." He then walked away in tears, with his family behind him.
Baltimore Marine Dies In Chopper Crash.

originally posted by xowie

they hate our freedom

LA Times: Red carpet isn't out for war activists.
Los Angeles police are gearing up for demonstrators on both sides of the Iraq war debate outside the Oscars on Sunday, but the activists won't be allowed to get within sight of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where celebrities will be arriving for the 75th Academy Awards ceremony.
That's a rather arbitrary abrogation of the First Amendment, if you ask me.

March 21, 2003

Shock and Awe, Incorporated.

Hey! Guess who's getting rich on the murder of thousands of families (now huddling, says May Ying Welsh, in bomb shelters with their grandmothers and family dogs) and the poisoning of the former Mesopotamia with tons of depleted uranium? Can't you just hear the diabolical laughter in the Bechtel board room?

Bechtel, the engineering giant that employed the likes of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of State George Schultz and former CIA Director William Casey before they took their government posts, gave $1.3 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions between 1999 and 2002. As it prepares its bid for the postwar project, Bechtel is facing allegations that it contributed to Iraq's military buildup nearly two decades ago. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that a German journalist uncovered a document prepared for the United Nations by Iraq that says Bechtel was among 24 U.S. companies that supplied the country with weapons during the '80s.

originally posted by judlew

Excuse me, after reading this, from Guerilla News Wire, which led to this, I feel like going out and overturning Range Rovers on Hollywood Blvd. Maybe I'll get to explain on the evening news.

chin chin everybody

Drink when:
  • Bush mispronounces the word 'nuclear'
    - finish your drink if it's referring to a bomb that has gone off
  • If you can't find Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, or the United Arab Emirates on a map
    - x2 if you even own a map of the region
    - finish your drink if you can pronounce them all correctly
  • A puppet government is installed in iraq
    - x2 if its by the puppet government installed in the US
Gulf War Drinking Game (via uffish). I'd add:
  • Blair pronounces 'disarm' as 'dizarm' or 'absurd' as 'abzurd' (must be the company he keeps)
  • the BBC or indeed any news network breaches the Geneva Convention by broadcasting footage of POWs, who have the right to anonymity in case of later recriminations, or
  • not drinking just doesn't have the same appeal any more.

get your war porn

Pentagon officials told CNN's Barbara Starr that Friday is "A-day," the day a promised campaign of "shock and awe" is to hit Iraq.

"There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told America's CBS News after a briefing on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."

Shock and Awe is terrorism. "I know it can be really effective on a beautiful cloudless morning."

If you've got the Real player, you can watch and hear it live (and free) on the BBC's video stream.

a guide to street protest tactics

De-arresting: The best time to do this is as soon as the snatch has happened. You need a group of people to break the police’s grip and some people to act as blocks. An important and low risk role in the de-arrest involves simply placing your body between the police and their target. This is sometimes called the pick or pick and roll. Once you have your person back, all should link arms and disappear into the crowd.
Fight the man and get away safely.

originally posted by xowie

a snapshot of a midnight ploy

Lies, sanctions, and cruise missiles have never created a free and just society. Only everyday people can do that. Which is why I'm joining the millions world wide who stood up to oppose the Bush administration's attempt to expand the U.S. empire at the expense of human rights at home and abroad. In this spirit I'm releasing this song for anyone who is willing to listen. I hope it not only makes us think, but also inspires us to act and raise our voices.
Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow, "March of Death"

"All You Peace Protestors are Ugly"

Vilifying the peace movement by suggesting that it is spitting in the face of the U.S. troops in Iraq has been a common slander in the inexorable advance toward the war that began Wednesday night. It is a simplistic, mean-spirited and politically charged characterization, and a telling example of a much larger issue, the intellectual dishonesty so rampant in the public forum.
A practical guide to intellectual dishonesty (the title of this post was actually yelled out of a car window at a group of peace protestors standing on a sidewalk in Austin, Texas.)

March 20, 2003

this is (not) a test

[...] [Khokhlov] What will come after the war?

[Slipchenko] The Americans will have to occupy Iraq. The occupation corps will apparently consist of four mechanized and armored divisions, one parachute division, and one division of the British Armed Forces. All these troops will not fight. There will be no ground operations in Iraq! The US Army will enter a burning desert -- the Iraqis will certainly set fire to the oilfields -- without a single shot being fired. There will simply be nobody to shoot at them.

[Khokhlov] How long will the direct occupation last? Will the Americans stay in Iraq forever?

[Slipchenko] They will certainly leave Iraq. There is no point in their staying there. The occupation will last one and a half, two, or at the most three years and will cost American taxpayers a further $80-100 billion to maintain the troops in Iraq. Then the United States may enlist in an operation that they will undoubtedly call "peacekeeping" the Poles, Czechs, and other "new recruits" to NATO, the Estonians, but they themselves will leave. The "peacekeepers" will stay a further one to one and a half years in Iraq.

During this time major investments will be made in the country with a regime friendly to the United States, and in two years' time Iraq's oil sector will reach a level of oil extraction of 2-2.4 million barrels a day. In five years they will be extracting up to 5 million barrels of oil a day. The world oil price will fall to $12-15 a barrel. The currently stagnant US economy will soar.

[Khokhlov] And what will happen to Russia's economy, which is currently supported exclusively by "petrodollars"?

[Slipchenko] I have no answer to that question. I am an expert in wars.
Global Research's "Russian Expert Predicts 500,000 Iraqi Dead in War Designed To Test Weapons" (via Megnut)

radio killed the video star

Some of the biggest rallies this month have endorsed President Bush's strategy against Saddam Hussein, and the common thread linking most of them is Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations.

originally posted by zagg

alert status: burnt sienna

The troops are on the move, and the first shots have been fired. We support the troops, and wish they did not have to fight Bush's unnecessary war. The greatest support we can give these young men and women is to call for their safe and fast return home. Just because the politicians in Washington and the UK aren't listening to us, does not mean we should stop calling on them to back away from aggression. Destroying a country and people in a hail of missiles is neither the way to free people nor the way to spread democracy and good will. All you need remember is this: War is over, if you want it.
Michael Moore.

originally posted by xowie

today i weep for my country

I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.

But, today I weep for my country.
Remarks of U.S. Senator Robert Byrd.

originally posted by xowie

'day after' protests

On the day after war begins, global protests will shock and awe. I'm often reminded that it took years for Vietnam protests to reach the levels we've already seen -- of course, after 3-4 hours, it may hardly matter. *cries*

today's front pages

The newseum presents 211 front pages from 27 countries presented alphabetically.

That speech is hypnotic, don't you think?

March 19, 2003

Salam Pax blogs from Baghdad

there is still nothing happening im baghdad we can only hear distant expolsions and there still is no all clear siren. someone in the BBC said that the state radio has been overtaken by US broadcast, that didn't happen the 3 state broadcasters still operate. :: salam 6:40 AM :: ... air raid sirens in baghdad but the only sounds you can here are the anti-aircraft machine guns. will go now. :: salam 5:46 AM ::
Where is Raed?

al gore joins apple

‘Al brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom to Apple from having helped run the largest organization in the world—the United States government—as a Congressman, Senator and our 45th Vice President. Al is also an avid Mac user and does his own video editing in Final Cut Pro,’ said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
Former Vice President Al Gore Joins Apple’s Board of Directors.

originally posted by xowie

the irony would be delicious if he didn't have so much power

Scalia bans media from free speech event:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia banned broadcast media from an appearance Wednesday where he will receive an award for supporting free speech.

The City Club usually tapes speakers for later broadcast on public television, but Scalia insisted on banning television and radio coverage, the club said. Scalia is being given the organization's Citadel of Free Speech Award.

``I might wish it were otherwise, but that was one of the criteria that he had for acceptance,'' said James Foster, the club's executive director.

The ban on broadcast media, ``begs disbelief and seems to be in conflict with the award itself,'' C-SPAN vice president and executive producer Terry Murphy wrote in a letter last week to the City Club. ``How free is speech if there are limits to its distribution?''

[ via Interesting People ]

war is a force that gives us meaning?

Bill Moyers Talks with Chris Hedges:
MOYERS: What would you like most as — what would you most like us to be thinking about this weekend as it looks as if war is about to happen?

HEDGES: That this isn't just about the destruction of Iraq and the death of Iraqis. It's about self-destruction.

MOYERS: How so? What's happening to us?

HEDGES: Our whole civil society is being torn apart. Once again, as is true in every war, the media parrots back the clichés and jingos of the state. Imbibes and promotes the myth. In wartime, the press is always part of the problem.

And that we are about to engage in that ecstatic, exciting, narcotic that is war. And that if we don't get a grasp on the poison that war is, then that poison can ultimately kill us just as surely as the disease.

MOYERS: What have you learned as a journalist covering war that we ought to know on the eve of this attack on Iraq?

HEDGES: That everybody or every generation seems to have— seems not to listen to those who went through it before and bore witness to it. But falls again for the myth. And has to learn it through a tragedy inflicted upon their young.

That war is always about betrayal. It's about betrayal of soldiers by politicians. And it's about betrayal of the young by the old.

March 18, 2003

support our troops

Bush took time away from planning last night's ultimatum to deny clemency to Louis Jones Jr., a decorated veteran of the first Gulf War, who was executed this morning. Jones was exposed to nerve agents during the first Gulf War that doctors now believe could have caused brain damage and contributed to him committing the rape and murder of Tracy Mcbride.

One problem: the government didn't tell him this until 2000, 5 years after he committed the crime, and well after the trial was concluded. Jones' clemency petition included the "diagnosis that Mr. Jones suffers war-related brain damage, not psychological illness, and that he lacks an enzyme that lets most people fend off low-level exposure to toxins."

A jury never got to hear that evidence and Jones' sentence was determined after it was originally argued that he suffered brain damage from childhood abuse.

Next time Bush talks about "supporting our troops," think about Jones and McBride. Think about VA hospitals, which are now facing cutbacks. Think about Gulf War Syndrome. Think about depleted uranium and poison gas tested on soldiers.

originally posted by zagg

March 17, 2003

no. 1

Former foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook resigns from Blair's cabinet over war against Iraq.

a massive escalation of non-violence

Salon.com, The antiwar movement prepares to escalate.
Vandenberg is about 50 miles north Santa Barbara, Calif. In a few days, activists will start converging on a nearby four-acre plot of land that Bud Boothe, a World War II veteran, donated to the Military Globalization Project. They're going to camp there and train to breach the base's security and possibly vandalize some of its equipment.

Lumsdaine, the Military Globalization Project coordinator [mgpnofate.org], is a 48-year-old who has been arrested at Vandenberg twice. He describes the base as the electronic nerve center of the global-surveillance-targeting, weapons-guidance, and military-command satellites that will largely direct the war.
San Jose Mercury News, Vandenberg Air Force Base authorizes 'deadly force' against trespassing protesters.
Vandenberg officials revealed Friday that military security police may shoot to kill, if necessary, to protect base residents and machinery. The directive has always been in existence, but a base spokeswoman said it is more critical now that people understand its severity.

It's impossible for us to determine what their intent is, she said. Are they protesters? Are there terrorists in that group and (do) they plan on killing everyone on base?

"the U.S. military effectively is engaged in combat operations that are staying just below the threshold of war"

Washington Post: Two B-1 Bombers Employed In Iraq (Saturday, March 15th).
Now, with more than 1,200 warplanes in the region, the Air Force and Navy have intensified the patrols, and one recent day flew 1,000 sorties -- that is, one mission by one plane -- into Iraqi airspace. Some military experts contend that the U.S. military effectively is engaged in combat operations that are staying just below the threshold of war, but are preparing the way for an eventual air and ground assault.

media bias?

Reporters argue that they have no choice. They’ll say they can’t protest or boycott the staged format, because they risk being stripped of their seat in the press pool. For the same reason, they say they can’t write anything too negative. They can’t write, for instance, "President Bush, looking like a demented retard on the eve of war…" That leaves them with the sole option of "working within the system" and, as they like to say, "trying to take our shots when we can."
But the White House press corps’ idea of "taking a shot" is David Sanger asking Bush what he thinks of British foreign minister Jack Straw saying that regime change was not necessarily a war goal. And then meekly sitting his ass back down when Bush ignores the question.

Matt Taibbi rips into the White House press corps. From the same issue of New York Press, a profile of activists postering cities everywhere with photos of ordinary Iraqis.

originally posted by zagg

Brooklyn Wants Peace

We took park in the Global vigil for peace this evening. At the beginning of the evening, only 2 police officers stood between 1500 protesters at Senator Charles Schumer's house. They called for backup as the protestors spilled into Prospect Park West. I wonder if they police would have been as accomodating in another neighborhood with a less well to do crowd. More pictures here.

March 16, 2003

error 1441

Error 1441: These Weapons of Destruction Cannot be Displayed.

In the long run, an open society cannot survive unless the people who live in it believe in it

The Bush doctrine is built on two pillars: (1) The United States will do everything in its power to maintain its unquestioned military supremacy; and (2) the United States arrogates the right to preemptive action.

These pillars support two classes of sovereignty: American sovereignty, which takes precedence over international treaties and obligations, and the sovereignty of all other states. This is reminiscent of George Orwell's Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. To be sure, the Bush doctrine is not stated starkly; it is buried in Orwellian doublespeak. The doublespeak is needed because the doctrine contradicts American values.
George Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy.

March 14, 2003

mozilla 1.3

Mozilla 1.3 is here.

If the dinosaurs had had a Mars programme, they might still be here.

Stacy, 29: Mankind has already landed on the Moon. I think it's womankind's turn on Mars.

Derek, 22: It may seem a little crazy to be out here pretending we are on Mars but it is even crazier that we are not doing the real thing and exploring the planet. That would benefit humanity in ways that we can't even imagine right now.

Pierre-Emmanuel, 38: The pioneering spirit that runs through us all is the bridge that connects past and future.

Alain, 55: I think it is very important that we go to Mars, to compare the evolution of planets, understand more about the origins of life, develop new technologies that can be used on Earth and increase young people's interest in science. Also we need to dream.

I can't be the only one who wants to see the reality show. BBC News: The Mars Desert Research Station.

buqshas

So I've been reading the excellent Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis, and studying two-letter word lists, but still can't beat Janie at Literati. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a basketball coach is losing his job, maybe, under the watchful eye of the Coach Wooden Pyramid of Success, which does not seem to apply to Scrabble, by the way. Also, what the heck, here's an entertaining metafilter thread that might come in handy for some trivia contest yet to come.

originally posted by xowie

revolutionary librarian superheroes

We're not saying relationships are like "Georgia O'Keefe bright, blossoming flowers, or impossible to dissect until they're dead, like squids" (from Terry Moore's Collected "Strangers in Paradise" Volume III), or that they're "deep or multi-faceted" in any way. We don't know how they work. The key ingredient for an enduring relationship seems to simply be: Not-Breaking-Up. But we're not tackling that.
Cashew teaser: Blue and Casey have superpowers and a nemesis.

steve bell

Why won't they see things our way George?

March 13, 2003

A creature with a thousand arms and eyes, making love with itself and reaching back as far as creation and forward to the very end of time.

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :: Old School
Evolution was no longer competition, it was a team sport. Fueled by music, chemicals, motion, and, most of all, empathy. We were navigating a course through hyperspace to the attractor at the end of history.

war is god's way of teaching americans geography

At his news conference last week, George W. Bush broke a 43-year tradition by failing to call on Helen Thomas, now of the Hearst Syndicate, who has been asking questions at presidential news conferences since 1960. Thomas is openly critical of this administration, and particularly of this war. Afraid to take a question from an 82-year-old woman? Bush has no class. Equally disgusting was the White house press corps' failure to respond to the insult. What makes that bunch of smug chumps think it won't be done to any one of them?
Bring out a dunce cap, by Molly Ivins

originally posted by xowie

sounding louder

Yusuf Islam's Peace Train.

originally posted by xowie

yo ho ho

Bren Mar Park, Cameron Station, March 1. A park employee found a miniature boat made of plastic, duct tape and plastic foam floating in a pond, with three mice peering out. An animal control officer took the mice to the city shelter, where they were being cared for. Their owner, a young man, was deciding whether to take the mice home.
From today's Alexandria (Va.) Animal Watch.

so misunderstood

I've never been arrested. What the police saw was a black man with a mask and duct tape and their interpretation was fear. It was meant to be metaphorical.
Two performance artists fell prey to D.C.'s hyperactive security last week.

Fighting the war at home

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary is organizing an April 1 march on Washington to defend Affirmative Action in relation to the University of Michigan cases before the Supreme Court that could overturn Brown v. Board of Education. I saw a speech by one of the lawyers organzing the students' case last night and she made two key points. One was that the Brown decision only had meaning because it gave people the confidence to go out into the streets and actually fight for desegregation (something we desperately need again with schools more segregated than they've been in 30 years). She also made a point to connect the fight for Affirmative Action with the fight to stop a racist war in Iraq.

originally posted by zagg

March 12, 2003

classicized squarepusher

Squarepusher's "Port Rhombus," originally a jazzy cut-up drumbeat answered by edgeless chords and crackles of static, traded electronics for eerie wind and string combinations. David Horne's transcription of Aphex Twin's "afx237 v.7," originally a sputtering, splintered dance track, played down the beat to transform it into something like manic, skewed Stravinsky.
New York Times: Where Avant-Garde Masters Meet the Stars of Electronica.

embedding is bullshit

"Embedding is bullshit," Scheer insisted. "You're just getting swept up into a big, mass machinery. They're just giving you photo ops. It's when you get away from the crowds, stick around and talk to people that you get the real stories. Otherwise, you're just being led around by the nose."
SFBG: Spoon-feeding the press. Speaking of Robt. Scheer: When bombs fall, U.S. will join ranks of war criminals, nice and bitter.

originally posted by xowie

skinny legs and all

Tom Robbins on U.S. aggression:
I’m just not one of those people who believes that American lives are more valuable than the lives of others.
Seattle Weekly: War or Peace? Local notables take their stands.

Passages from Skinny Legs and All.

due time we fight the non-violent fight

"In A World Gone Mad..." is a new anti-war song from the Beastie Boys available for free download.

blair bricks it

"Their situation is distinctive to their country and they have a government that deals with a parliament in their distinctive way," Mr Rumsfeld said. "And what will ultimately be decided is unclear as to their role; that is to say, their role in the event a decision is made to use force."
Now, in English: Blair was a fool to think that he was an equal partner (pardner?) in this. He is f@*%ked.

March 11, 2003

what the fuck?

This is outrageous, any idea if it's true?

smh.com.au: Boys quizzed about their terrorist boss father


By Olga Craig in Kuwait
March 10 2003

Two young sons of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being used by the CIA to force their father to talk.

Yousef al-Khalid, nine, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, seven, were taken into custody in Pakistan in September when intelligence officers raided a flat in Karachi which their father had fled hours earlier. They were found cowering behind a wardrobe with a senior al-Qaeda member.

The boys have been held in Pakistan, but this weekend they were flown to America to be questioned about their father.

CIA interrogators confirmed on Saturday that the boys were staying at a secret address.

"We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said an official. "But we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care."

Their father, Mohammed, 37, is being interrogated at the Bagram US military base in Afghanistan. He is being held in solitary confinement and subjected to "stress and duress" interrogation.

He has been told that his sons are being held and is being encouraged to divulge future attacks against the West and the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

"He has said very little so far," one CIA official said Saturday. "He sits in a trance-like state and recites verses from the Koran. But while he may claim to be a devout Muslim, we know he is fond of the Western-style fast life. His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

sxsw notes

5 lines

Draw yourself in 5 lines (or less), then submit. Via b3ta.

You're surrounded by it from the day you're born until the day you die, so it's easy to take for granted that you already know just about everything there is to know about it.

The Onion: White History Year Resumes
White History Year, which runs annually from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, with a 28-day break for Black History Month in February, is dedicated to the recognition of European-Americans' contributions to American politics and culture. (...)

From now until Feb. 1, 2004, educators will eschew discussions of Rosa Parks in favor of Andrew Carnegie, Neil Armstrong, and Tim Allen. Schools nationwide will shelve African-American history pamphlets in favor of such Caucasiacentric materials as the Macmillan & Rowe American History Textbook New Revised Standard Edition and Encyclopedia Britannica.

how would you listen to a fish?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/s_120924.html
I'm so interested — you know I don't want to hurry it — but I'm so interested in getting to heaven. Frankly, I think that after we die, we have this wide understanding of what's real. And we'll probably say, Ah, so that's what it was all about.


I really think this guy was a Buddha.

Beliefnet: A Prayer for Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers on Charlie Rose (1)
Mr. Rogers on Charlie Rose (2, ft. the secret of life)

Mr. Rogers: Zen Master

March 10, 2003

is the pope catholic... enough?

Not many people know Mel Gibson is an uber-conservative tradionalist Catholic, but did you know that his father, Hutton Gibson, is a fucking nut?

On our first night together, he nursed a mug of sassafras tea while leading a four-hour tutorial on so-called sedevacantism, which holds that all the popes going back to John XXIII in the 1950's have been illegitimate -- ''anti-popes,'' he called them. As Hutton explained it, the conservative cardinal Giuseppe Siri was probably passed over for pope in 1958 in favor of a more reform-minded candidate. Hutton said Cardinal Siri was duly elected, but was forced to step aside by conspirators inside and outside the church. These shadowy enemies might have threatened ''to atom-bomb the Vatican City,'' he said. In another conversation, he told me that the Second Vatican Council was ''a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.''

The intrigue got only murkier and more menacing from there. The next day after church, over a plate of roast beef at a buffet joint off the highway, conversation turned to the events of Sept. 11. Hutton flatly rejected that Al Qaeda hijackers had anything to do with the attacks. ''Anybody can put out a passenger list,'' he said.

So what happened? ''They were crashed by remote control,'' he replied.

He moved on to the Holocaust, dismissing historical accounts that six million Jews were exterminated. ''Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,'' he said. ''It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?''

short spanks pm

In a carefully orchestrated move, the International Development Secretary contacted the BBC's Westminster Hour programme early yesterday afternoon to tell them she wanted to go on air. The delighted producers lined her up, but even Andrew Rawnsley, the show's host, could not believe the ferocity of her remarks as she warned darkly of the threat to Mr Blair's "future, position and place in history".
BBC: Short escalates war crisis, Ind: Resignation and threats spark talk of Labour splits.

originally posted by xowie

what has it got in its pocketses, eh?

I carry my iPod, cell phone, wallet, cash, keys, a pen, a Leatherman Micra, and some Rolaids. I stopped carrying my Palm m505 a few months ago when I realized that over a week I couldn't remember pulling it out of my pocket once. I miss having Bejeweled handy sometimes but reading The Lord of the Rings has kept me busy on the subway.

My backpack is often with me, and that usually contains: a stack of assorted papers I really don't need, a magazine, a book or two, a ton of change (handy, though I often forget I have it), some more pens, bus schedules, a Leatherman Juice, a firewire cable (forgotten today -- drat!), and more Rolaids. I have been assembling a list of anti-terror devices I would like to toss in there soon, including: a flashlight, some Clif bars, a mini radio, ... that's all I can think of right now. Maybe I should write this list down somewhere.

Mark asks Boing Boing readers: What do you carry and why?.

exploding the gene myth

Ruth Hubbard: I was absolutely horrified listening on the radio to some of the congressional hearings on the Gays in the Military...and to hear...I remember one...I don't remember whether he was an officer or what...testifying before the Committee and saying 'I've been to my minister. I've been to psychiatrists. Do you really think I would choose this life...if I had a choice?' Now that's just heartbreaking.

Frank Aqueno: I know. It is. It seems like almost everyday the question comes at me: 'why would anyone choose to be homosexual'...these are homosexuals asking that...

RH: ...yes...

FRA: ....I always respond: Can you think of a more homophobic question to ask? That goes right over their heads.
Most of this (10-year-old) discussion centered around genetics and homosexuality goes way over my head, but it's fascinating (and provocative) nonetheless.

this is an american flag

A match is approaching the American flag.

Hare Harassment

The Pitch (Kansas City), May 23, 2002: Guards tell Krishna devotees to keep off the Plaza's private parts.
They must have said go to jail a hundred times. They said we couldn't be on their private property. They told us that all the fountains, all the benches, all the courtyards and all the trash cans belong to Highwoods.

I said, Well, everything does belong to God, Swami continues. Then a female officer told me, Not here. Here, Highwoods is God.

Despite the threat of jail time, the Hare Krishnas have no plans to stop their twice-weekly chants on the Plaza. Swami still holds out some hope that the security officer who declared that "Highwoods is God" will one day be less caught up in the temporary identity of being a security guard.

Amy Goodman profile

The Washington Post profiles Amy Goodman:
When former senator Bob Kerrey called a news conference to defend himself against charges he committed a war crime while a soldier in Vietnam, Goodman asked if perhaps a war crimes tribunal should be set up to examine the guilt of the war's architects, such as Henry Kissinger.

Kerrey's halting demurral made a few television broadcasts. But Goodman's question displeased some establishment media worthies. That Sunday, NPR reporter Mara Liason went on "Fox Special Report With Brit Hume" and complained that Goodman was not really a journalist and that no one would have asked such a question in Washington.

March 9, 2003

the network is the war machine

They are counting on the combination of battlefield omniscience, smart bombs and new weapons like microwave pulses and nausea gases to drive Baghdadis out of their homes and bunkers. The use of "nonlethal" (sic) weapons against civilian populations, especially in light of the horror of what happened during the Moscow hostage crisis last October, is a war crime waiting to happen.
War-Mart by Mike Davis.

originally posted by xowie

youssou n'dour

Youssou N'dour scraps US tour: it would be "inappropriate to perform in the US at this juncture".
"I understand that there are many in the US who do not support the idea of their government initiating war in Iraq at this time, and I offer my greatest respect to them."

Code Pink

DC indymedia reports on the high-profile Code Pink arrests.

wiki my blues away

Experimental peace wiki.

originally posted by xowie

March 8, 2003

Phish Resurface

Rolling Stone: Phish Resurface

We had these jam sessions, Anastasio says one night after practice, where we drank hot chocolate with mushrooms and just played, trying to get in tune with each other, for eight hours. One of those jams, he points out, is on a record: "Union Federal," a bonus track on the CD reissue of Phish's 1989 independent cassette release, Junta. We used to rehearse like demons, Anastasio, 38, says excitedly, a big smile busting through his ginger forest of beard. A lot of it was mind games, challenging each other. We'd change roles: I'm always the natural leader. Page, you be that person now. We'd make Fish set up his drums left-handed instead of right: Use your mind to play, not your hands. Or we'd just play one note for an hour -- weird stuff.

The weirdness bloomed in concert: in clubs such as Nectar's on Main Street in Burlington, where Phish first played in December 1984 and honed their writing and jamming chops through 1989; then in theaters and, finally, arenas. Fishman, who turns thirty-eight on February 19th, played most gigs during Phish's first two years flying on LSD. I still play with the feeling I got from those experiences, trying to generate wind and water, he claims quite earnestly.

March 7, 2003

show us some pink

When one of the protest leaders, Jodie Evans of Venice, Calif., tore off her full-length pink slip and presented it to Mrs. Clinton, the senator walked out.
"I am the senator from New York," she said, "and I will not put people's security at risk."
"But you are," the demonstrators shouted at her as she exited.
Medea pink slips Hill.

originally posted by xowie

mother's little helper

Occasionally he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be endless. There were times when it seemed every sentence Bush spoke was of the same duration and delivered in the same dour monotone, giving his comments a numbing, soporific aura. Watching him was like counting sheep.
Tom Shales thinks the president "may have been ever so slightly medicated" for his press conference last night.

originally posted by xowie

March 5, 2003

two americas

It is Cover the Uninsured Week. The group has come out with a report estimating that one out of every three Americans under the age of 65 went without insurance for at least part of 2001-02. Bush's solution: tax credits for workers who pay for their own insurance. That wouldn't possibly encourage the continued erosion of employer-sponsored insurance, and benefit corporate America would it? And that's just one part of the health care crisis in this country.
Meanwhile, 33 million Americans-11.7 percent-were living in poverty in 2001, and we have the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world all while workers here work longer hours than any other industrialized nation. There's a war going on in the U.S. and it's not being waged against terrorists. It's being waged against us.

originally posted by zagg

uncle joe

Today is the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death. Click on that second link there for possibly the best ever totalitarian-chocolate-box portrait of Uncle Joe.

March 4, 2003

'peace is becoming stylish'

Yesterday's activities kicked off early, with a combination news conference/vigil outside the White House. With temperatures in the low twenties, the event was for those who didn't need persuading -- though they did win some rather unlikely converts, with a sign that read "No Peace, No [Unprintable]" pinned strategically over one Lysistratan.

"Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah!" crowed a gaggle of high school boys passing through on a school field trip. "That's the best slogan I've ever heard in my life."
WP: Getting Raucous for Peace.

originally posted by xowie

*reloads*

MetaFilter in the Ruins

that'll be the day

The problems reached a crescendo on August 9, 1995: the day Jerry Garcia died. "Everybody turned to 'NEW," St. John recalls. "They came to share the pain of losing Jerry, as they did when John Lennon died." But instead of a Garcia tribute, WNEW stayed in its format-of-the-moment: a mix of classic and alternative rock. Instead of "Casey Jones" or "Touch of Grey," listeners heard the Smashing Pumpkins.
CNN: How to kill a radio station and more on the death of WNEW-FM.

originally posted by xowie

by the way

AP: Guantanamo Detainees Moved to New Prison
But as U.S. officials have privately acknowledged, many of these people are totally innocent.

March 3, 2003

jailed by married by america

Mrs. Xowie is on TSG today (via Drudge Report).

originally posted by xowie

People is people, pigs is pigs.

The war isn't inevitable? It's already begun. US and UK bomb Iraqi targets. And also from today's Guardian, Holocaust on a plate - ??? - dearie me.

March 2, 2003

lysistrata lysistrata lysistrata

What do Blume and Bower expect will come from that attention? ‘We’re generally not gifted with the knowledge of the results of our actions,’ says Blume. ‘But you know what the Buddhists tell us: No act is small. I refuse to believe this war is inevitable.’
Peace comes in threes by Judith Lewis.

see also: Aristophanes vs. Rumsfeld and Peace from the ancients.

originally posted by daiichi

tom lehrer: not dead

He says he couldn't do anything with the Israelis and the Palestinians "because I'm against everybody and I can't take a side". Nor can the man who found so many snappy couplets and delightful tunes in impending nuclear doom see any toe-tapping inspiration in September 11, the invasion of Iraq, or the thing he seems most keen to talk about the Columbia space shuttle explosion. "They are calling it a disaster instead of a screw-up, which is all it was. They're calling these people heroes. The Columbia isn't a disaster. The disaster is that they're continuing this stupid program."
SMH: Stop clapping, this is serious. [mefi]

originally posted by daiichi

dirty tricks

The Observer reports on America's hush-hush plan to bug other Security Council members to ensure a US-friendly vote on Iraq. The memo is here. Plus ça change and all that.

Kimya Dawson

Kimya Dawson rocked the 930 Club last night. Don't miss her MP3s -- "this one is about Pee Wee Herman and Michael Jackson."

March 1, 2003

don mclean on george michael

McLean, famous for his hits American Pie and Vincent (Starry, Starry Night), said he was "proud of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity". "I am delighted that he chose a song of mine to express these feelings," he said in a statement. "We must remember that the Wizard is really a cowardly old man hiding behind a curtain with a loud microphone."
BBC: Michael praised for protest cover.

originally posted by daiichi

life along the dmz

LAT photo essay on the DMZ.

originally posted by daiichi

a theatrical act of dissent

The Lysistrata Project was conceived just six weeks ago by New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower. "Before we started Lysistrata Project, we could do nothing but sit and watch in horror as the Bush Administration drove us toward a unilateral attack on Iraq," says cofounder Blume. "So we emailed all our friends and put up a web site. The response has been enormous." Co-founder Bower adds, "Many people have emailed us to say they now feel empowered to do something, and foster dialogue in their own communities about the dangers of this war."
This Monday: The Lysistrata Project.

originally posted by xowie