• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 14 januari 2006

China en India



De realisten in de politiek bereiden zich voor. De Financial Times bericht: 'China and India forge alliance on oil. China and India, the world’s two fastest growing energy consumers, on Thursday set aside long-standing rivalries and agreed to co-operate in securing crude oil resources overseas. The agreement, aimed at preventing the two nations’ competition for oil assets pushing up prices, symbolises their increasingly assertive role in global energy politics. In an age of growing energy insecurity “it makes sense for India and China to co-operate [rather] than compete... the time of access to easy oil is in the past”, said Jim Steenhagen, managing director at PFC Energy, the US consulting firm. The agreement came as fears over a serious threat to oil supplies from Iran began to rattle the market yesterday. Prices rose above $65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as Tehran’s nuclear ambitions threatened instability at the centre of the world’s main oil-producing region.' Lees verder:
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/25b30866-83a4-11da-9017-0000779e2340.html Of
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011306L.shtml

vrijdag 13 januari 2006

Martelen 14


Het hoofd linksachter stelde dit soort praktijken voor, minister van Defensie Rumsfeld. Het ging zelfs sommige Amerikaanse militairen tever, zoals de Washington Post bericht: 'Tough Interrogation Tactics Were Opposed. Pentagon Task Force Was Told Not to Use Techniques Approved in 2002, Records Show. Members of a Defense Department investigative task force were told not to participate in aggressive interrogation techniques approved for use at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 because officers and lawyers believed the tactics violated policy and would not elicit information, according to documents released by the Pentagon. The aggressive techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in late 2002, led to at least one high-value detainee being placed in women's underwear, led around by a dog leash and stripped in front of female interrogators. Similar tactics later emerged in Iraq and were highlighted in photographs of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.' Lees verder:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/12/AR2006011202220.html Of http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/

Nederland en Afghanistan 20













U ziet Amerikaanse soldaten kijken hoe goed een Taliban-lijk kan branden nadat ze het in de fik hebben gestoken. Door deze voor islamieten intense vernedering hopen ze kennelijk 'de harten en geesten' van de Afghanen te winnen. De Nederlandse regering wil op verzoek van de Amerikanen nog meer militairen naar Afghanistan sturen. De kleuters in Den Haag zijn eruit. Met parmantige woordjes en mondjes verklaart premier Balkenende dat de politieke problemen allemaal een vormkwestie waren, een misverstandje, en de parlementaire pers slikt het braaf. Ondertussen gaat de grote mensenwereld buiten Nederland gewoon door en trekt zich niets aan van de mannetjes en vrouwtjes op het Haagse pleintje.

Tom Engelhardt



Na alle leugens en chaos van de Amerikaanse buitenlandse politiek is de vraag: wat brengt 2006? Tom Engelhardt van het onafhankelijke 'TomDispatch' kijkt vooruit. Een opmerkelijk artikel: 'The Year of Living Dangerously. Bush v. Reality. War, Trials, Leakers, Investigations, Packed Courts, and a Constitutional Crisis. 2006 is sure to be the year of living dangerously -- for the Bush administration and for the rest of us. In the wake of revelations of warrantless spying by the National Security Agency, we have already embarked on what looks distinctly like a constitutional crisis (which may not come to a full boil until 2007). In the meantime, the President, Vice President, Secretaries of Defense and State, various lesser officials, crony appointees, acolytes, legal advisors, leftover neocons, spy-masters, strategists, spin doctors, ideologues, lobbyists, Republican Party officials, and congressional backers are intent on packing the Supreme Court with supporters of an "obscure philosophy" of unfettered Presidential power called "the unitary executive theory" and then foisting a virtual cult of the imperial presidency on the country. On the other hand, determined as this administration has been to impose its version of reality on us, the President faces a traffic jam of reality piling up in the environs of the White House. The question is: How long will the omniscient and dominatrix-style fantasies of Bushworld, ranging from "complete victory" in Iraq to non-existent constitutional powers to ignore Congress, the courts, and treaties of every sort, triumph over the realities of the world the rest of humanity inhabits. Will an unconstrained presidency continue to grow -- or not?' Lees verder: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=48892

Iran 6



Dit is een nucleaire installatie nabij de Iraanse stad Isfahan. Voordat we ons militair nog meer gaan bemoeien met het Midden Oosten is het belangrijk de altijd goed geinformeerde Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Richard Dreyfuss te lezen: 'The Bush Who Cried Wolf. Under normal circumstances—that is, under any previous U.S. administration—the battle over Iran’s pugnacious effort in pursuit of nuclear technology would be amenable to a diplomatic solution. But, by insisting on a national security strategy of pre-emptive war, by illegally and unilaterally invading Iraq on false pretenses, and by hinting that the White House would tolerate an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear plants, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have made a successful diplomatic resolution of the Iran crisis nearly impossible. Speaking yesterday at the Council for National Policy, Larry Wilkerson—the former top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell who caused a stir last fall when he accused Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld of operating a “cabal” —said that it is likely that Pentagon officials are polishing contingency plans for a strike against Iran. Iran, said Wilkerson, is the “principal winner” from the war in Iraq. As a result of the power of the Shiite religious forces in Iraq, he said, the Iranians “own the south” of Iraq. Wilkerson insisted that the United States ought to “talk to the people who really matter in Iran”—i.e., to the ayatollahs. But he said that U.S. policy has failed so utterly that the door to negotiations with Iran is virtually closed. “When you close the door to diplomacy, you have no other option but to rely on military power,” he said. “I hope to hell we don’t have to use it.”' Lees verder: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20060112/the_bush_who_cried_wolf.php Of: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011206D.shtml En zijn eigen site: http://www.robertdreyfuss.com/

CIA Activiteiten 3



James Risen is journalist van de New York Times, die bericht over de Amerikaanse Inlichtingendiensten. Zijn onlangs verschenen boek 'State of War' is een vernietigend portret van de CIA. Het onafhankelijke Salon.Com publiceert een boekbespreking: 'The yes man and the thug In his disturbing new book, Times reporter James Risen reveals how George Tenet's gutless surrender to war-obsessed Donald Rumsfeld led to the total breakdown of U.S. intelligence. Marketing copy is always suspect, so when journalist James Risen's new book "State of War" arrived accompanied by a press release containing the phrase "tip of the iceberg," I began to worry. "Tip of the iceberg" is a lemonade-from-lemons construction, an attempt by the publisher to allay concerns that the book's biggest scoops have already been widely aired. After all, several weeks ago the New York Times, where Risen covers national security issues, published much of what you'll read in the book's second chapter, which reveals that President Bush authorized a program to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants. Since then, Bush has acknowledged the existence of the wiretapping plan, and Risen and Times colleague Eric Lichtblau have uncovered a great deal more about the program that goes beyond what's in "State of War," including the fact that federal judges and senior members of Bush's own Justice Department have balked at it. After all this new news, it's natural to wonder whether "State of War," which made it to stores just last week, might already be stale on the shelf, a blockbuster-to-be that's now just bust. Yet it turns out that far from an empty bit of P.R. puffery, "tip of the iceberg" may be the perfect phrase to describe Risen's compelling, disturbing, if ultimately somewhat unfulfilling, volume. In sketching the recent history of the American intelligence apparatus, Risen serves up scooplet after astonishing scooplet of our spy agencies' mistakes and misdeeds.' Lees verder:
http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news2/salon78.html Risen onthult ook dat het bespioneren van Amerikaanse burgers al voor de aanslagen van 11 september 2001 begon. Wat dat betreft begint Bush steeds meer te lijken op Nixon. Truthout bericht: ' The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document. The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.' Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011306Z.shtml

Irak 15


Rechts op de foto ziet u de machtigste man van Irak, de pro-Iraanse geestelijke Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. De New York Times bericht over een dreigende burgeroorlog in Irak: 'An Incendiary Threat in Iraq. Iraq's most powerful Shiite politician has just dealt a huge blow to American-backed efforts to avoid civil war through the creation of a new, nationally inclusive constitutional order. That leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, has turned his back on the crucial pledge, made before last October's constitutional referendum, that the new charter would be open to substantial amendment by the newly elected Parliament. Instead, Mr. Hakim, who runs the dominant, Iranian-supported fundamentalist party, now says no broad changes should be made. In particular, he defends the current provisions allowing substantial autonomy for the oil-rich Shiite southeast… Mr. Hakim's latest position is a prescription for a national breakup and an endless civil war. It is also a provocative challenge to Washington, which helped broker the original promise of significant constitutional changes. On the basis of that promise, Sunni voters turned out in large numbers, both for the constitutional referendum and for last month's parliamentary vote. Drawing Sunni voters into democratic politics is vital to creating the stable, peaceful Iraq that President Bush has declared to be the precondition for an American military withdrawal. The most unacceptable defect of the new constitution for Sunnis is its provision for radically decentralizing national political and economic power, dispersing it to separate regions.' Lees verder:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/opinion/12thur2.html?pagewanted=print Of:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11544.htm

Irak 14

Dit is een foto van Geert van Kesteren gemaakt in Irak toen hij met Amerikaanse soldaten optrok. Het illustreert minachting en angst van de bezettingsmacht. De Britse Times bericht. 'The US military has struggled to improve the cultural sensitivity of its troops — often raw youths on their first trip abroad — since the start of the occupation when the first soldiers to hit Baghdad slipped a Stars and Stripes over the head of Saddam Hussein’s statue. Jittery superiors swiftly ordered them to replace it with an Iraqi flag. Long before the Abu Ghraib scandal, there were numerous examples of brutality and insensitivity by US troops to match tales of their courage. Sometimes it was purely a lack of local knowledge: a minor riot ensued when dogs — considered unclean in the Muslim world — were used to sniff staff entering the Oil Ministry.' Lees verder: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1981556,00.html

Ariel Sharon 4



De vredesactivist Ludo de Brabander schrijft over premier Sharon: 'Sharon een man van de vrede noemen is niet zomaar een verbloeming van de werkelijkheid, maar een ronduit leugenachtige manipulatie van de ware feiten. Een grondige terugblik op zijn militaire en politieke carrière kan alleen maar doen besluiten dat Sharon maar één status verdient en dat is deze van oorlogsmisdadiger die achter de tralies hoort. Hij was daar overigens zeer consequent in, al van jongs af aan. Sharon begon zijn drieste carrière als lid van de Alexandroni-Brigade van de Hagana-militie die in opspraak kwam omwille van een slachting in Tantura, een Palestijns dorp ten zuiden van Haifa, in mei 1948. Enkele jaren later werd hij officier en leidende commandant van eenheid 101, verantwoordelijk voor ‘vergeldingsacties tegen het Arabisch terrorisme’. In augustus 1953 vonden naar schatting 50 vluchtelingen als gevolg van zo’n actie de dood in het kamp El Bureij (het ging om willekeurig geweld, door o.a. het gooien van granaten door de ramen). In oktober van hetzelfde jaar was het de beurt aan het dorp Qibya. 69 burgers, onder wie vrouwen en kinderen, werden afgeslacht, 45 huizen werden met de grond gelijk gemaakt. Militaire waarnemers van de VN hebben de aanval als ‘gruwelijk’ omschreven. Het magazine Time stelde dat Sharons soldaten “elke man, vrouw en kind neerschoten die ze konden vinden. Het geschreeuw van de stervenden was te horen midden de explosies.” Het Amerikaans ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken stelde dat de “verantwoordelijken rekenschap behoorden af te leggen.” Sharon was evenwel niet onder de indruk en hij zou straffeloos doorgaan met het plegen van oorlogsmisdaden. Tijdens de Brits-Franse campagne om het Suez-Kanaal te veroveren op Egypte zouden naar schatting 270 Egyptische krijgsgevangenen en enkele Soedanezen zijn vermoord door Israëlische paratroepen. Eén van de verantwoordelijke officieren was… Ariel Sharon. Als hoofd van het zuidelijk commando van het Israëlische leger was hij alleen al in augustus 1971 verantwoordelijk voor de vernietiging van 2.000 huizen in de Gaza-strook. Als minister van Defensie leidde Ariel Sharon de Israëlische invasie in Libanon – met de eufemistische naam ‘vrede voor Gallilea’ - die moest leiden tot de ontmanteling van de PLO. Deze campagne zou het leven kosten aan vele duizenden Palestijnen en Libanezen, onder wie 40 procent minderjarigen. Dramatisch dieptepunt was de slachting in de kampen Sabra en Shatila van 16 tot 18 september 1982 door de Falangisten in door het Israëlische leger gecontroleerd gebied. Het Rode Kruis telde 2.750 lijken. Het jaar daarop zou de Israëlische parlementaire Kahan Commissie Defensieminister Sharon ‘indirect verantwoordelijk’ achten voor deze slachtpartijen. De affaire zou slechts tijdelijk zijn politieke carrière schaden. Al vanaf 1984 verscheen hij terug op het politieke toneel, en vervulde hij diverse ministerposten. Van 1990 tot 1992 en nogmaals in 1996 zou hij als verantwoordelijk minister zorgen voor de drastische uitbouw van de joodse nederzettingen in de Palestijnse bezette gebieden. Van 1993 tot 1999, de periode die tegen de werkelijkheid in ‘vredesproces’ werd genoemd, verdubbelde het aantal kolonisten in Palestijns gebied en kwamen er 30 nieuwe nederzettingen bij. Een van de belangrijkste architecten daarvan was opnieuw Ariel Sharon. Volgens een verslag van het Franse persagentschap Agence France Presse (15 november 1998) sprak Sharon als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken tijdens een meeting met de extreemrechtse Tsometpartij volgende woorden: “Iedereen moet zich inzetten om zoveel mogelijk heuveltoppen te veroveren als we maar kunnen om de nederzettingen te vergroten, want alles wat we nu nemen zal van ons blijven… Alles wat we niet nemen zal naar hen gaan”. Een maand eerder had de regering Netanyahu het Wye River Memorandum getekend, waarin Israël beloofde om de bouw van nieuwe woningen op de Westelijke Jordaanoever te beperken.' Lees verder:
http://www.vrede.be/

Martelen 13




Een Amerikaanse generaal weigert te praten over de Abu Ghraib affaire. Common Dreams heeft het volgende bericht van Reuters overgenomen: 'WASHINGTON - A U.S. Army general who helped set up operations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has asserted his right not to incriminate himself in the courts-martial of two soldiers accused of mistreating detainees there, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. The move by Major Gen. Geoffrey Miller is the first time he has indicated he might have information that could implicate him in wrongdoing, the newspaper said, citing military lawyers. Invoking the right does not legally imply guilt it said. It said the action came shortly after the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib, Col. Thomas Pappas, accepted immunity this week and was ordered to testify at upcoming courts martial. Miller once supervised the jail for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He helped introduce Guantanamo-style questioning methods in Iraq ahead of the 2003 abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.' Zie: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0112-03.htm Intussen bericht Information Clearing House: 'Army Knew of Systemic Abuse in Afghanistan Back in January 2002. NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released new documents obtained from the Defense Department detailing abuse at U.S. facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Included in the release is the first publicly available government document confirming the existence of a secret “Special Access Program” involving a special ops unit, Task Force 6-26, which has been implicated in numerous detainee abuse incidents in Iraq, and whose operatives used fake names to thwart an Army investigation. “These documents confirm that the torture of detainees and its subsequent cover-up was part of a larger clandestine operation, in all likelihood, authorized by senior government officials,” said ACLU attorney Amrit Singh. “Despite mounting evidence of systemic abuse authorized or endorsed from above, however, not a single high level official has thus far been brought to justice.”' Lees verder:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11546.htm

Corruptie in Washington 5



In deze straat worden democratische politici en regeringen gekocht en verkocht. De International Herald Tribune bericht: 'Embattled Lobbyists Face Their Watergate. Washington - In the parlance of Washington they call it K Street, almost as if it were a separate branch of government. Capitol Hill is where Congress sits. The West Wing of the White House is where the president works. And K Street is where the lobbyists are - at least 30,000 of them. Literally it is a street filled with modern office buildings that house the law firms and other companies that try to influence the outcome of decisions on Capitol Hill, at the White House and in scores of federal agencies. Sixteen big lobbying firms have more lobbyists than the Senate's 100 members; this white-collar industry takes in more than $2 billion a year. No other country has anything of this magnitude. But now K Street is at the center of a scandal that some Washington observers feel could be to the lobbying business what Watergate was to campaign finance and Enron was to corporate oversight. "This scandal has the potential to have a huge effect on K Street for decades," said Alex Knott, who monitors lobbying for the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity. "It will not only further shape people's opinions about lobbying but could also lead to reform."' Lees verder: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/12/news/lobby.php Of:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011206Q.shtml

Iran 5













Namens wie heeft de VS al die landen gebombardeerd? Is Iran de volgende op de lijst? Op een dag lukt het niet meer om volkeren in het gareel te bombarderen. De Independent bericht: '"We are not worried about our nuclear case being sent to the Security Council," Gholamreza Rahmani-Fazli, the deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on Iranian television. Earlier, the former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani said on radio that the stand off had "become very serious and has reached its climax". He said Iran intended to press on with its nuclear programme and had no intention of complying with " colonial taboos". Western fears that Iran is bent on developing a nuclear weapon have been fuelled by statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since his election in June last year. He has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" , and Iran has taken steps since August to reverse commitments to the international community on freezing its uranium-related activities. The most serious step came on Tuesday, when the Iranians broke UN seals at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, which can be used to produce weapons-grade material... Sounds familiar?... SECURITY COUNCIL. 12 January 2006: Britain, France and Germany call for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Failure to reach agreement could give US hawks - and Israel - an excuse for unilateral military action.' Israel zelf heeft in het geheim naar schatting 200 kernbommen gefabriceerd om daarmee de rest van de wereld te chanteren. Zie daarvoor: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2005/12/trouw-misschien-wel.html Voor artikel Independent zie: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article338254.ece Een aanval op Iran zal betekenen dat de Amerikaanse troepen in Irak door de shiieten aldaar zullen worden aangevallen. De Amerikanen hebben een pro-Iraanse fractie in Irak aan de macht geholpen en dat beperkt hun mogelijkheden.

Olie Voorraden 2











De reden van de huidige en toekomstige oorlogen: olie en de dollar. 'Energiebulletin' is onafhankelijk van de olie-industrie, overheden en officiele instituten. Het bericht het volgende: 'During the past year, the average price of oil increased 33 percent almost matching the 34 percent increase of 2004. If one wants to think of peak oil just as steadily increasing prices, then we are clearly on our way. Since 2001, oil prices have nearly tripled.The most memorable feature of 2005 from the peak oil perspective was the pair of powerful hurricanes that smashed into the Gulf oil facilities, momentarily sending oil to over $70 per barrel, and causing extensive damage to Gulf oil production and refining facilities that has still not been fully repairedAmong the noteworthy features of the storms however was how little they seemed to have harmed the US economy. Obviously a lot of people were directly affected by the destruction of one major and numerous smaller cities and towns. However, by moving quickly, the government was able to import, and withdraw from the national reserves, enough crude and refined products to forestall shortages. For now, the US economy gives every appearance of continuing to grow and most observers are forecasting further growth in 2006. From the peak oil perspective, however, this "good news" means more demand for oil in the year ahead and still higher prices coming sooner rather than later.America, however, is slowly coming to the realization that high energy prices are here to stay. In their annual end-of-year-review, the general consensus among Wall Street analysts was the energy situation has indeed tightened and $30-40 oil is unlikely to be seen again. Even governments are starting to perceive a problem is ahead. A peak oil caucus has been formed in the US House of Representatives and the administration has asked the National Petroleum Council to look into the future availability of "affordable" oil. In December, the Swedish government, in a bold step, publicly acknowledged that peak oil is indeed imminent and formed a commission to study how the country can eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2020.In retrospect, those following the peak oil situation are coming to appreciate that 2004 was the watershed year in the history of petroleum production. That was the year worldwide demand grew by 2.8 million barrels a day (3.5%), nearly double the usual annual growth of 1.8 percent. This unprecedented surge, largely occasioned by increased demand from China , nearly eliminated any spare capacity in worldwide oil production. From then on, supply and demand has been precariously balanced so that sudden increases in demand or supply interruptions are likely to result in significantly higher prices.' Lees verder: http://www.energybulletin.net/12022.html

donderdag 12 januari 2006

Boris (O.) Dittrich

Volgens het NOS-Journaal van acht uur is Boris O. Dittrich vervroegd teruggekeerd van een wat officieel 'werkbezoek aan de Antillen' heet te zijn, maar in feite een - zeg maar - vakantietripje naar de tropen is geweest, op kosten van de gemeenschap. Het zijn per slot van rekening koude en mistige januaridagen, ook voor een bovenmodale volksvertegenwoordiger. (Voor degene met goede ogen: hij zit daar links onder die klapperboom) Wat zal Boris O. in het vliegtuig hebben gebaald. Overigens heeft hij nu toch na al die jaren definitief afscheid van die O. genomen. Toen ik hem ooit in een VPRO-uitzending vroeg waar die O. voor stond, antwoordde hij enigszins besmuikt 'Ottocar,' maar daar werd hij op school mee gepest en dus werd het O punt. Waarom die O. dan toch bleef in Boris O. werd niet duidelijk. Waarschijnlijk omdat nooit iemand er naar vroeg, want nadat ik ernaar gevraagd had liet hij de O. ogenblikkelijk vallen en noemde hij zich voortaan Boris Dittrich. Misschien was hij in het begin ook bang dat er meerdere Borissen O. Dittrich waren en er verwarring zou ontstaan over welke Boris O. in de media op een bepaald moment bedoeld werd. Het kan toch niet zo zijn dat een andere Boris O. met jouw heldendaden gaat pronken, of dat jij ineens wordt aangezien voor een volstrekt onbekende Boris O. Je moet er niet aan denken. Het leven is al gecompliceerd genoeg. In elk geval is onze Boris O. van D'66 genoemd naar koning Ottocar van Bohemen, de zoon van Wenceslaus I, de man van dat plein in Praag. Boris zijn vader was een asielzoeker uit Tsjechie. Hoe dan ook: Boris is terug in verband met een dreigende kabinetscrisis vanwege al dan niet nog meer troepen naar Afghanistan. We zijn benieuwd en houden hem in de gaten.

Orion Nevel







Nieuwe foto's van de Orion Nevel, gemaakt door de Hubble. Nasa bericht: 'NASA'S HUBBLE REVEALS THOUSANDS OF ORION NEBULA STARS. In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This turbulent star formation region is one of astronomy's most dramatic and photogenic celestial objects. "Orion is a bustling cauldron of activity. This new large-scale Hubble image of the region reveals a treasure-house of beauty and astonishing detail for comprehensive scientific study," said Jennifer Wiseman, NASA's Hubble program scientist. The crisp image is a tapestry of star formation. It varies from jets fired by stars still embedded in their dust and gas cocoons to disks of material encircling young stars that could be the building blocks of future solar systems. In a mosaic containing a billion pixels, Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys uncovered thousands of stars never seen before in visible light. Some are merely one-hundredth the brightness of previously viewed Orion stars…Orion is a perfect laboratory to study how stars are born, because it is 1,500 light-years away, a relatively short distance within our 100,000 light-year wide galaxy. Astronomers have a clear view into this crowded stellar maternity ward, because massive stars in the center of the nebula have blown out most of the dust and gas in which they formed, carving out a cavity in the dark cloud of gas and dust.' Kijk en lees verder: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2006/01/
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2006/01/text/

De Nuance van de NRC










Dit is Vance Serchuk, 'onderzoeker' van het American Enterprise Institute, een zogeheten onafhankelijke denktank met in de raad van bestuur topmensen uit de zaken- en financiele wereld, de olie- en wapenindustrie. http://www.aei.org/about/contentID.20038142214500073/default.asp In de VS wordt het AEI gezien als een spreekbuis van de neoconservatieven. Gisteren voerde Tom-Jan Meeus van de NRC deze vlot ogende jongeman op als behorende tot 'de kleine groep deskundigen die de vormgeving van de Amerikaanse buitenlandse politiek op de voet volgt,' en die zo 'de Nederlandse aarzelingen over deelname aan de militaire missie in de Afghaanse provincie Uruzgan nauwgezet' bijhoudt. Vance 'is negatief over het „schichtige” opereren van Nederland en de „bijna lachwekkende besluiteloosheid van deze Europese bondgenoot in de oorlog tegen terreur”, ' aldus Tom-Jan. Volgens hem is het blad waar Serchuk voor schrijft, de Weekly Standard, 'een veel geraadpleegde bron in de regering-Bush.' Zonder enig weerwoord laat de NRC-journalist Vance het volgende zeggen: 'Het valt hem op dat er zo weinig aandacht is voor de „moedige” mensen die in Afghanistan een democratie proberen te vestigen, terwijl men vecht „tegen een vijand die de geschiedenis 1.300 jaar wil terugdraaien”. En dat Nederland altijd bereid is steun te verlenen aan in nood verkerende landen in Afrika, maar in dit geval aarzelt. „Als je arm in Afrika bent krijg je steun van Nederland, als je militaire bescherming in Afghanistan nodig hebt niet?” Wanneer Nederland afhaakt zal dat de VS weinig uitmaken, zegt hij. „Het zal Nederland meer schaden. De VS doen al zo veel in de oorlog tegen terreur. Dat deeltje kunnen we er nog wel bijdoen.”' Zonder enig weerwoord, geen enkele vraag over de Amerikaanse mensenrechtenschendingen in Afghanistan en het in het zadel houden van de corrupte krijgsheren die hun inkomsten krijgen uit de sterk toegenomen heroinehandel. Geen enkele opmerking over de Amerikaanse oliebelangen in de regio en de geweldige chaos die de Amerikanen daar geschapen hebben. Geen woord over het feit dat Washington nu een fundamentalistische fractie in Irak aan de macht heeft geholpen, en daarvoor in de toekomst een hoge prijs zal betalen. Niets van dit alles. Tom-Jan laat gewoon een extreem rechtse Amerikaan aankwekken in de hoop dat het een effect heeft op Nederlandse politici. Wie Vance precies is wordt in de NRC niet duidelijk gemaakt, dat is kennelijk voor NRC-lezers niet relevant. Daarom wat aanvullende informatie. Na de Amerikaanse oorlogsmisdaden in Fallujah pleitten de Amerikaanse generaals meer troepen te sturen om zo het verzet in Irak de kop in te drukken. Vance Serchuk riep in zijn weekblad vervolgens op om het Amerikaanse leger in Irak uit te breiden tot maar liefst 480.000 man. Daarnaast moest volgens hem het budget voor wat eufemistisch 'defensie' heet met twee procent van het bruto nationaal produkt worden verhoogd. En dat terwijl de VS nu al meer aan bewapening uitgeeft dan alle landen ter wereld tezamen. Die uitbreiding is nodig volgens Vance omdat de oorlog in Irak 'a contest [is] between liberalism and radical Islam to supplant the crumbling autocracies that have dominated the region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.' Het gaat volgens hem om 'preserving Pax Americana,' het handhaven van het Amerikaanse rijk. En het heersen over de wereld ten behoeve van een Amerikaanse plutocratie kost natuurlijk veel belastinggeld van de gewone mensen. Vance: '[America] will continue to contribute the lion's share of the blood and treasure in the effort to transform the greater Middle East,' en het is daarom 'impossible to have a Bush Doctrine world with Clinton-era defense budgets. The problem for the United States is not imperial overstretch, it's trying to run the planet on the cheap.' Zo is is het maar net. De vraag is alleen waarom de VS zo nodig een rijk wil waarover het kan heersen. Het libertaire Cato Insitute schrijft over mensen als Vance Serchuk: 'Neocons Forced to Face Reality. As American operations in Iraq continue to lose support from both the American and Iraqi people, the neoconservatives who engineered the war are on the defensive. There is a pervasive fear among neoconservatives in Washington of the resurgence of realism: a foreign policy that emphasizes the defense of vital national security interests and rejects values-based foreign interventions. The most recent anti-realist article, "Unrealistic Realism," comes from Thomas Donnelly and Vance Serchuk of the American Enterprise Institute. This and other counterattacks on realism suffer from internal contradiction, strategic errors, and faulty assumptions.' Enfin, leest u het zelf maar: http://www.cato.org/dailys/07-26-04.html Blijft over de vraag waarom de NRC zo graag deze neoconservatieven aan het woord laat. Omdat de Volkskrant dat ook doet? Desalniettemin: gematigdere en kritische stemmen kunnen buitengewoon interessant zijn, zo weet iedereen die een beetje in de VS is ingevoerd. Wonderlijk toch dat een Nederlands dagblad 'voor wie de nuance zoekt' dat niet beseft.


Irak 13














De Independent bericht: 'US Army publishes British officer's essay criticising its handling of Iraq. The US Army has published a criticism of its performance in Iraq by a senior British officer. He accuses American forces of making a tricky situation worse with their cultural arrogance, over-reliance on technology, and inability to recognise the special challenges of counter-insurgency warfare. The essay, published in the Military Review, was written by Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who served in Iraq from December 2003 to November 2O04… At times, he adds, the Army showed "a cultural sensitivity ... that arguably amounted to institutional racism." Above all, he argues, it had failed to adapt to the demands of counter-insurgency work, where military operations had a vital political dimension.' Zie: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article337990.ece

Klimaatverandering 10














De Independent bericht: 'Global warming: Climate change is killing off amphibians. Global warming has triggered the decline of hundreds of species of frogs and toads by helping a deadly skin infection to spread across the world.
Scientists believe they have found the first clear proof that global warming has caused outbreaks of an infectious disease that is wiping out entire populations of amphibians. The dramatic decline of the 6,000 species of amphibians was first identified in 1990 and one theory for the loss was the spread of a devastating skin infection caused by a fungus. A study by an international team of researchers has now linked the spread of a species of chytrid fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis with a rise in tropical temperatures associated with global warming. The scientists believe the average temperatures of many tropical highland regions, which are rich in endemic species of frogs and toads, have shifted to become perfect for the growth of the fungus.' Lees verder: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article338006.ece

Bush Tribunaal









Voor wie zich wil inzetten! Via via kreeg ik net dit email: '~NOTICE~Please circulate. The International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration (see http://www.bushcommission.org/) is seeking law students to assist the tribunal in preparing material for the trial on January 20-22. The Commission has a special and unique character. The Commission has an historical responsibility that can only be fulfilled on the basis of firmly establishing its moral and political authority. This authority, in turn, is derived from the integrity of the tribunal as a whole including the rigor of the presentation of factual material, the referencing of existing law where applicable, and the stature of its participants. And while this is not a court of law with power to impose sanctions, the verdicts of this tribunal contribute a great deal to efforts by all people of conscience to repudiate this administration’s actions and bring its operatives to justice.The following are the tasks:1) summarize the testimony from the first session for new judges who werenot there.2) assist the judges in writing their decisions (do drafts, help reconciledifferences, make sure nothing gets left out).3) keep track of, summarize, and file all the documentary evidence submitted.No pay or credit is offered but the Commission can offer certificates or letters of completion, the experience may be used on the student's resume, and this is a fantastic opportunity to participate in this historic event. Please contact: Janet at commission@nion.us.' Lees verder:
http://www.bushcommission.org/

woensdag 11 januari 2006

Amerikaanse Bombardementen 2













De Amerikaanse hoogleraar Michael Schwartz schrijft in TomDispatch een interessant en uitgebreid achtergrondartikel over de bombardementen op Irak: 'One of the true scandals of media coverage of the war in Iraq has been the simple fact that you -- relatively small numbers of you anyway -- had to visit Tomdispatch.com, or Juan Cole's invaluable Informed Comment blog, or Antiwar.com, or other Internet sites to find out anything about the fierce (if limited) ongoing air war in that country. The American media's record on coverage of the air campaign against the Iraqi insurgency since Baghdad was taken in early April 2003 has been dismal in the extreme. Our military has regularly loosed its planes in "targeted" attacks on guerrillas in Iraq's heavily populated urban areas (where much of the fighting has taken place), sometimes, as in largely Shiite Najaf and largely Sunni Falluja in 2004, destroying whole sections of major cities, in part from the air. Despite this, American reporters in Iraq have essentially refused to look up, or even to acknowledge the planes, predator drones, and low-flying helicopters passing daily overhead. ' Lees verder: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=48180

Tony Blair en Irak



In verschillende Nederlandse kranten konden we vandaag een grote foto zien van de Britse premier die graffiti van een muur spoot, in het kader van zijn campagne: 'Respect - Geef Respect, krijg respect,' een campagne die zijn dramatisch gedaalde populariteit en vertrouwen in hem weer moet verhogen. Onder andere de Volkskrant vond dit kennelijk relevanter nieuws dan het feit dat Blair in eigen land in de media onder vuur ligt. Ook in het Verenigd Koninkrijk gaan nu namelijk stemmen op voor een impeachment-procedure, maar dan met premier Blair as hoofdrolspeler. Sir Michael Rose was generaal van het Britse leger en commandant van de VN vredesmacht in Bosnie. In de Guardian schrijft hij: 'Enough of his excuses: Blair must be impeached over Iraq. The only way parliament can regain the trust of disaffected voters is to admit that it was wrong to support the war... Now it is clear that parliament was misled by Mr Blair, either wittingly or unwittingly, parliament should also call on him for a full explanation as to why he went to war. It is not a sufficient excuse for Mr Blair to say that he acted in good faith and that his decisions were based on the intelligence he had been given. For it is the clear responsibility of people in his position to test intelligence. No intelligence can ever be taken at face value. Indeed it is negligent so to do. Parliament should therefore ascertain how far the prime minister did evaluate intelligence regarding WMD and how he assessed the reliability of the many sources that provided that intelligence. It should ask him what corroborating evidence there was for his specific statement about WMD - and why more use was not made of the UN inspectors on the ground in Iraq to test the validity of that statement. It should inquire just how much he discounted the mass of intelligence that came in from the Iraqi National Congress - a body that had a vested interest in removing Saddam from power. The list of possible questions is huge and would no doubt be usefully expanded during any hearings. Mr Blair is an able barrister who should relish the opportunity to put his side of the case. No one can undo the decision to go to war. But the impeachment of Mr Blair is now something I believe must happen if we are to rekindle interest in the democratic process.' Lees verder: http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5370711-103550,00.html

Irak 12

Common Dreams heeft het volgende bericht van het persbureau IPS overgenomen: 'World Bank president and former U.S. deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz had said Iraq could "really finance its own reconstruction." But such words have fallen flat because the state of the infrastructure is clearly worse now than even during the harsh economic sanctions of the 1990s. As the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq approaches, a study by Linda Bilmes at Harvard University and Dr. Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University found that "the total economic costs of the war, including direct costs and macroeconomic costs, lie between 1 trillion and 2 trillion dollars." A trillion is a thousand billion. This money has done little for Iraq. The situation on the ground remains dire, with estimates of unemployment at 70 percent… With 2,206 U.S. soldiers killed so far, and more than 100 attacks on coalition forces every day, occupation forces appear unable to protect either themselves or Iraqis. Under the Geneva Conventions, it is the responsibility of the occupying power to provide security for citizens. "The Americans destroyed everything in Iraq," Gen. Aziz said. "I think every Iraqi should weep all his life over what is going on. Bush should be among the greatest terrorists along with his colleagues in Britain, because they are all criminals who have killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."' Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0110-11.htm

Barricaden














Een bommelding? Een Ontruiming? Een Gaslek? Nee, er worden hier ergens nieuwe rioleringsbuizen gelegd. Daarom is deze doorgangsroute in het centrum van Amsterdam gebarricadderd en moet iedereen zich door een nauwe doorgang wurmen. Anders blijven de mensen doorfietsen. Er staat wel een bord dat men moet omrijden, maar iedereen heeft het druk, druk, druk! Dus met het verstand op nul rechtdoor. En maar blijven duwen, vaak chagrijnig, soms zelfs agressief, altijd geirriteerd. En de oudere lieve 'onzichtbare' dames die het verkeer regelen, maar uitleggen waarom die obstakels er staan.

Een Doodgewone Held












De man op de foto rechtsboven is Hugh Thompson. Linksonder ziet u het resultaat van een slachting in Vietnam. Robert Parry, onderzoeksjournalist van het onafhankelijke Consortiumnews, schrijft: '“Hero” is one of the most abused words in the English language, often applied to people who simply face some danger or who do well in sports or business. But the word really should be reserved for someone who – in the face of danger – does the right thing. Hugh Thompson, who died on Jan. 6 at the age of 62 from cancer, was such a hero. In one of the darkest moments of modern American history – on March 16, 1968, in the Vietnamese village of My Lai – Thompson landed his helicopter between rampaging U.S. soldiers and a group of terrified Vietnamese villagers to save their lives. Circling over the village, Thompson was at first uncertain what he was witnessing. A bloodied unit of the Americal Division, furious over its own casualties, had stormed into a hamlet known as My Lai 4. Revenge-seeking American soldiers rousted Vietnamese civilians – mostly old men, women and children – from their thatched huts and herded them into the village's irrigation ditches. As the round-up continued, some Americans raped the girls. Then, under orders from junior officers on the ground, soldiers began emptying their M-16s into the terrified peasants. Some parents used their bodies futilely to shield their children from the bullets. Soldiers stepped among the corpses to finish off the wounded.' Lees verder: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2006/011006.html

De Dollar Hegemonie


Jody Paulson. Ik weet niet wie ze is, maar ze heeft wel een verhaal te vertellen. Ik hoorde haar op Radical Radio, een progressief radiostation in Seattle. http://www.radicalradio.org/ Ze zegt: 'Today international finance uses the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency instead of gold which is intrinsically worth more than kindling or toilet-paper. Yet our fiat money is still treated as the world’s gold standard. In order to protect an attack on its currency, a country’s central bank must have dollar reserves corresponding to its currency in circulation. The dollar now accounts for 68% of global currency reserves, up from 51% a decade ago. However, at the same time, we sell only 12.3% of the world's goods but we buy 18.9%. That's like spending 150% of your paycheck every week. Yet the rest of the world keeps producing things in exchange for a bunch of green paper printed in the USA. Why? The answer is that the world's most essential commodities, including oil are denominated in dollars. Everyone accepts dollars because you need dollars to buy oil. This all came about in 1974, when the Saudi oil cartel agreed to dollar hegemony in exchange for American arms. Think about this for a minute won't you, it costs the Fed about 4 cents to print a hundred dollar bill. Foreign countries have to buy this money in order to buy the oil they need. Essentially we're getting our oil for free. That's been fine and dandy for decades but now look out. There's a new currency vying for hegemony, the Euro. Today European banks are seeking to have the Euro accepted as the new world reserve currency. In November, 2000 Saddam Hussein moved to sell Iraq's oil directly for Euros. You can imagine the panic this caused at the Fed. All the oil that gets bought with its 4 cent pieces of paper would be lost and worse it set an unacceptable example for other OPEC members. Saddam had to be stopped. Enter the war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Today 14 permanent military bases are being built in Iraq along with the world’s biggest embassy in Baghdad. The US needs a huge permanent presence in the region to protect its dollar hegemony but Iran is seriously talking about ditching the dollar for the Euro and so are the Saudi's. Judging from their past behavior, the current administration won't let these rumblings go unanswered.' Lees verder: http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/319 Of luister: http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/news/313

Martelen 12



Van Amnesty International ontvang ik net het volgende persbericht: 'Persbericht Amnesty International 11 januari 2006Amnesty International:Vier jaar Guantánamo is te lang.Nieuwe getuigenissen van marteling en mishandeling.“…de ergste dagen tijdens mijn gevangenschap waren vol ontbering, vernedering,onderdrukking en psychologische stress…” “…Ik kon alleen maar praten met de drie mensen die me martelden…” Getuigenis van Jumah al-Dossari uit Bahrein die op Guantánamo vastzit sinds januari 2002. Vandaag precies vier jaar na de aankomst van de eerste gevangenen op Guantánamo in Cuba, publiceert Amnesty International nieuwe documenten met bewijs van mishandeling en marteling van gevangenen in Amerikaanse gevangenschap. Zo is er de getuigenis van een van de eerste gevangenen die naar Guantánamo werden overgebracht. Jumah al-Dossari, een 32-jarige Bahreini, werd in januari 2002 naar de marinebases overgebracht. Hij werd door Amerikaanse troepen aangehouden op het vliegveld van Kandahar in Afghanistan. De getuigenis van Jumah al-Dossari is bevestigd door mensen die inmiddels vrijgelaten zijn van Guantánamo.Het bevat een aantal voorbeelden van fysieke en psychische marteling en mishandeling door Amerikaans personeel tegen hem en tegen andere gevangenen, zowel in Afghanistan als op Guantánamo. "Op Guantánamo worden ruim 500 mannen met totale minachting behandeld. Het is dan ook niet verrassend dat na jaren van onzekerheid over hun lot, sommige van hen zeggen liever te willen sterven dan voor altijd op Guántanamo te moeten blijven", aldus Amnesty International.' Lees verder:
http://news.amnesty.org/pages/usa-news-eng En: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011106Z.shtml

dinsdag 10 januari 2006

Nederland en Afghanistan 19













Het persagentschap Reuters bericht: 'Taliban Leader Vows More Attacks in Afghanistan. KABUL (Reuters) - Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar on Monday vowed more attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested he "get in touch'' if he wanted peace. In a message to mark the three-day Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which starts in Afghanistan on Tuesday, Omar reiterated his call for jihad, or holy war, against the United States. "The Taliban attacks in Afghanistan will further intensify in this New Year, which will force Americans to leave Afghanistan very soon,'' he said in a message carried by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency. Lees verder: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/news/news-afghan-karzai.html Of: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011006N.shtml Dit wordt bekend op het moment dat de regering Bush en de door Washington aangestelde NAVO secretaris-generaal Nederlandse politici onder druk zetten om nog meer troepen naar Afghanistan te sturen nu de Amerikanen zelf hun troepen daar willen verminderen.

Martelen 11

De Britse Observer bericht: 'Scandal of force-fed prisoners Hunger strikers are tied down and fed through nasal tubes, admits Guantánamo Bay doctor. New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive. They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer.'Experience teaches us' that such symptoms must be expected 'whenever nasogastric tubes are used,' says the affidavit of Captain John S Edmondson, commander of Guantánamo's hospital. The procedure - now standard practice at Guantánamo - 'requires that a foreign body be inserted into the body and, ideally, remain in it.' But staff always use a lubricant, and 'a nasogastric tube is never inserted and moved up and down. It is inserted down into the stomach slowly and directly, and it would be impossible to insert the wrong end of the tube.' Medical personnel do not insert nasogastric tubes in a manner 'intentionally designed to inflict pain.'It is painful, Edmonson admits. Although 'non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient, sometimes stronger drugs,' including opiates such as morphine, have had to be administered.' Lees verder:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,16937,1681736,00.html Of:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11496.htm

Jan Tromp van de Volkskrant


'De Prins Spreekt,' was de eerbiedige titel van een vorig jaar verschenen boekje waarin de interviews stonden afgedrukt die de Volkskrant coryfeeën Pieter Broertjes en Jan Tromp met Bernhard hadden. 'De Prins' sprak en de journalistieke lakeien luisterden met open oren en schreven alles vervolgens ongeclausuleerd op. Zonder wederhoor en ook maar iets te checken, zoals nog eens te lezen is in het rapport van de jury die de 'Prijs voor Dagbladjournalistiek 2005' toekende: 'In hun verantwoording stellen de auteurs nadrukkelijk dat zij hebben afgezien van pogingen tot wederhoor en het checken van feiten.' Desondanks behoorde het tweetal tot de genomineerden en de jury was laaiend enthousiast getuige haar rapport: 'Het interview wordt als zeer compleet beoordeeld - er is geen element uit Bernhards leven overgeslagen - en het is prikkelend geschreven. Ook aan criteria als exclusiviteit, impact, en relevantie wordt in royale mate voldaan. Samenvattend: journalistiek van de eerste orde,' aldus mede namens de juryvoorzitter drs. F.W. Weisglas, voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer. Zie: http://www.nuv.nl/upload/182801_7093_1127227631856-Juryrapport_Prijs_vd_Dagbladjourn.pdf In angelsaksische landen mag men dan wel hechten aan wederhoor en het checken van feiten, maar zo niet in Nederland. Hier acht een 'competente jury' een 'interview met de Prins' een 'zeer compleet interview,' ook zonder al deze journalistieke poespas. De onafhankelijke jury was er dolgelukkig mee, net zo dolgelukkig als het tweetal toen het naar de doldrieste avonturen van 'de Prins' mocht luisteren. Een leuke vent vonden ze de schuinsmarcheerder die destijds wegens corruptie door de regering Den Uyl was berispt. Zouden ze wederhoor hebben toegepast en de 'feiten' hebben gecheckt dan zou er natuurlijk geen 'prikkelend' geschreven boekje zijn overgebleven. En zo ken ik Jan Tromp weer. In 1980 sprak ik hem in een journalistenforum dat ik voor Stad/Radio Amsterdam leidde. Jan had net met Paul Witteman een boekje geschreven over Dries van Agt, onder de titel 'Voor de Duvel niet Bang,' waarin deze toen bij progressieven gehate politicus als een sympathieke kerel werd geportretteerd, die voor de duvel niet bang was. In die tijd riep het alom verbazing op dat twee als links te boek staande journalisten dit boekje hadden geschreven. Overigens opnieuw zonder al te veel te checken, want daar was ook Paul Witteman niet zo erg voor, omdat Paul zijn 'goede relatie met' zijn politieke vrienden nooit 'op het spel wilde zetten.' Zie daarvoor: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2005/12/paul-witteman.html En: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2005/12/paul-witteman-2.html Vlak voor de uitzending vroeg Jan Tromp mij zenuwachtig niet al te indringende vragen te stellen. Hij wist weliswaar dat ik een kritische journalist was, maar per slot van rekening waren wij toch collega's. Ook in dit boekje kreeg de geinterviewde ruim baan. Dat er door deze kritiekloze werkwijze een vertekend beeld van Van Agt gegeven werd, was voor Jan en Paul van ondergeschikt belang. 26 jaar later hanteert Jan Tromp nog steeds dezelfde hier te lande zo succesvolle journalistieke praktijk van het ongecheckt en zonder wederhoor laten doorpraten. Gisteren verscheen een artikel in de Volkskrant waarin hij Paul Bremmer the third, de voormalige Amerikaanse proconsul in Irak, Nederland liet bedreigen en chanteren. Als de democratisch gekozen politici hier in de polder weigeren Washington's expansionisme militair te steunen, dan volgen er repercussies. Zie: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/01/uncle-sam-en-nederland.html Vandaag verschijnt de Volkskrant-correspondent met een follow-up, opnieuw ongecheckt, opnieuw zonder wederhoor, opnieuw dolgelukkig dat hij een hooggeplaatste mag spreken. Jan schrijft: 'De Amerikaanse regering staat "perplex" van de Nederlandse aarzeling over de troepenzending naar Afghanistan. De onderminister van Europese Zaken, Daniel Fried, noemt het debat in Nederland "oververhit"... Fried bestrijdt dat het zuiden van Afghanistan, waar de Nederlandse troepen zouden moeten opereren, extreem gevaarlijk is. "Om openhartig te zijn: wij denken niet dat de situatie in het gebied zo slecht is als wordt voorgeschoteld in dit oververhitte debat. Dat is gewoon niet waar. Natuurlijk zijn er risico’s, maar die zijn er overal."' Jan Tromp moet zo onder de indruk zijn geweest dat hij verzuimde de onderminister te confronteren met de werkelijkheid. Zo vluchtte vijf dagen geleden de Amerikaanse ambassadeur uit dit gebied nadat iemand zich niet ver van hem vandaan had opgeblazen. Of zoals de New York Times schreef: 'KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 5 - A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning in a crowd in the southern province of Uruzgan, killing 10 people, among them two children, and wounding up to 50 civilians and police officers, Afghan officials said. The bomb was detonated just as the American ambassador was visiting the town and meeting with provincial officials.' Zie: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/05/international/asia/05cnd-afghan.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1136896184-9IxflSz/55u1a7Q6VmQVvA Geen woord daarover van Jan, want voor hem staan niet de feiten op de eerste plaats, maar het effect, of zoals onze jury zo kernachtig formuleerde: 'de impact.' Daarom ziet hij al zijn hele journalistieke leven af van het 'pogingen tot wederhoor en het checken van feiten,' zodra dit opportuun is. Zelfs een poging zal hij niet doen. En dat is in de Nederlandse journalistieke traditie een prijzenswaardige houding, zo weten we nu dankzij ondermeer de voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer, de VVD-er Weisglas. Soms is het ronduit een zegen om in dit prachtland te mogen wonen.

Huurlingen in Irak 2

Dit is een Westerse huurling die in Irak vecht. Onnesha Roychoudhuri van AlterNet schrijft: 'Who's Fighting Our Wars? A new documentary explores the role of the modern-day 'mercenaries' waging the war in Iraq for private companies like Blackwater. During the first Gulf War, there was one private military contract (PMC) employee for every 100 soldiers. In today's Iraq war, that ratio has risen dramatically to one PMC for every 10 soldiers. It's figures like this that make Nick Bicanic's new documentary, "Shadow Company," such an eye-opener. Nation-states are paying private companies to provide armed civilians, in lieu of soldiers, on an unprecedented scale. Yet, aside from a handful of allegations about contract workers firing on innocent civilians, little is known about PMCs.' Lees verder:
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/30462/ Of: http://mediachannel.org/blog/node/2702 Hier kunt u zien hoe deze particuliere moordenaars van het Britse bedrijf Aegis Defence Services volstrekt willekeurige Irakese burgers beschieten: http://www.truthout.org/multimedia.htm Of: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112805A.shtml De website van Aegis is: http://www.aegisworld.com/index.lasso

maandag 9 januari 2006

Irak 11

De publicist Eliot Weinberger schrijft in de London Review of Books: 'What I Heard about Iraq in 2005. In 2005 I heard that Coalition forces were camped in the ruins of Babylon. I heard that bulldozers had dug trenches through the site and cleared areas for helicopter landing pads and parking lots, that thousands of sandbags had been filled with dirt and archaeological fragments, that a 2600-year-old brick pavement had been crushed by tanks, and that the moulded bricks of dragons had been gouged out from the Ishtar Gate by soldiers collecting souvenirs. I heard that the ruins of the Sumerian cities of Umma, Umm al-Akareb, Larsa and Tello were completely destroyed and were now landscapes of craters. I heard that the US was planning an embassy in Baghdad that would cost $1.5 billion, as expensive as the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, the proposed tallest building in the world. I saw a headline in the Los Angeles Times that read: 'After Levelling City, US Tries to Build Trust.' I heard that military personnel were now carrying 'talking point' cards with phrases such as: 'We are a values-based, people-focused team that strives to uphold the dignity and respect of all.' I heard that 47 per cent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 and 44 per cent believed that the hijackers were Iraqi; 61 per cent thought that Saddam had been a serious threat to the US and 76 per cent said the Iraqis were now better off.' Zie: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n01/wein01_.html Of: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010906O.shtml

Propaganda 5



Propaganda is een onmisbaar wapen in een moderne oorlog. Journalisten van de masamedia zijn onmisbaar in de propaganda-oorlog. De Amerikaanse auteur Norman Solomon schreef over deze foto: 'The picture was perfect. It provided a moving portrait, an image that journalists called "iconic." It was true to the moment. Yet the photograph was deceiving in a way that media images often are - showing us what's more apparent than real…The day after the photo was snapped, "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather told viewers: "The picture. Did you see it? The best war photograph of recent years is in many newspapers today, front page in some. Taken by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times, it is this close-up of a U.S. Marine on the front lines of Fallujah. He is tired, dirty and bloodied, dragging on that cigarette, eyes narrowed and alert. Not with the thousand-yard stare of a dazed infantryman so familiar to all who have seen combat firsthand, up close. No. This is a warrior with his eyes on the far horizon, scanning for danger..." On the third day of 2006, when the man in the iconic photo returned to the CBS airwaves on "The Early Show," this time the mood was more somber. "Blake Miller made it home from the war," co-host Harry Smith reported. "But like many of his comrades, he wasn't able to completely put it behind him. While on duty during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, Blake suffered from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and was granted an honorable discharge from the Marines..." The real person Blake Miller, not the media icon, said: "I'm continuing my therapy. I continued up until the day I got out, actually." And, speaking of other Americans who had fought in Iraq, he said: "The more and more I talked to them, the more I found out that there was a lot of Marines that were going through same, similar emotions. And I mean, it's - it's tough to deal with. I mean, being in Iraq is something that no one wants to talk about." As an American soldier in an "iconic" photo, Blake Miller was newsworthy for a little while. But in sharp contrast to the media enthusiasm that greeted him back in November 2004, there was no major media coverage in the days after "The Early Show" revealed on January 3 that he's suffering from posttraumatic stress. For the warfare state, he has outlived his usefulness.' Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010906L.shtml

Iran 4



William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know. Hij schrijft in Truthout: 'Attack on Iran: A Looming Folly... 1. Blowback in Iraq. The recent elections in Iraq were dominated by an amalgam of religiously fundamentalist Shi'ite organizations, principally the Dawa Party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Both Dawa and SCIRI have umbilical connections to the fundamentalist Shi'ite leadership in Iran that go back decades. In essence, Iran now owns a significant portion of the Iraqi government. Should the United States undertake military action against Iran, the ramifications in Iraq would be immediate and extreme. In the first eight days of January, eighteen US troops have been killed in Iraq, compounded by another twelve deaths from a Black Hawk helicopter crash on Saturday. Much of the violence aimed at American forces is coming from disgruntled Sunni factions that have their own militias, believe the last elections were a sham, and hold little political power in the government. If the US attacks Iran, it is probable that American forces - already taxed by attacks from Sunni factions - will also face reprisal attacks in Iraq from Shi'ite factions loyal to Iran. The result will be a dramatic escalation in US and civilian casualties, US forces will be required to bunker themselves further into their bases, and US forces will find themselves required to fight the very government they just finished helping into power. Iraq, already a seething cauldron, will sink further into chaos.' Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010906I.shtml

Uncle Sam en Nederland



Uncle Sam heeft het altijd al moeilijk gehad met democratische naties zodra die een eigen weg inslaan en weigeren Washington's oorlogszuchtige activiteiten blindelings te steunen. Ditmaal is Nederland aan de beurt om te worden bedreigd en gechanteerd. De Volkskrant bericht: 'VS straffen Nederland bij afhaken. "Als de Nederlanders besluiten geen troepen naar Afghanistan te sturen, zal dat schadelijk zijn voor de Nederlandse belangen in de Verenigde Staten. De Nederlanders kunnen niet zomaar zeggen: oké, wij gaan niet naar Afghanistan, verder blijft alles hetzelfde. Dat zal niet gebeuren." Oud-diplomaat Paul Bremer III voorspelt dat Amerika Nederland zal straffen als het niet de elfhonderd militairen levert die het de NAVO heeft toegezegd voor de stabilisatiemacht in Afghanistan. Bremer was tussen 1983 en 1986 Amerikaans ambassadeur in Den Haag. In 2003, kort na de val van Saddam Hussein, werd hij als vertrouweling van president Bush de Amerikaanse bewindvoerder over Irak.' Lees verder: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/1136700142637.html

De Neoliberale Economie











Grafiek van de aandelenkoersen voor en na de crash van 1929. Global Circle Net heeft een artikel overgenomen van Gracchus Jones, 'the pen name of an historian and monetary theorist from Washington, D.C.' Hij schrijft het volgende: 'The Washington Post and the Coming Crash. The Washington Post is one of the world’s “great” newspapers. But to the American-European financial establishment, it is much more than that. It is one of their house organs, with close ties to the U.S. government intelligence community. The Post’s job is to shape the news the way the East Coast establishment wants it shaped. No one should think for an instant that rookie reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would have been allowed to unmask President Richard Nixon if the intelligence/financier elite hadn’t decided it was time for the cursing Californian to go. Nixon’s crime? Probably not so much the dirty tricks and use of the IRS to hound those on his “enemy list” as much as his use of the Federal Reserve under Arthur Burns to radically ease credit in order to create a mini-economic boom in time for the 1972 presidential election. The Federal Reserve, you see, is an institution the establishment guards jealously as their own private preserve, one that not even presidents can tinker with.' Lees verder:
http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/guest1.htm

zondag 8 januari 2006

LA Times en Sharon





Dit is het Israelische leger in actie tegen Palestijnse kinderen tijdens het bewind van Sharon. Sinds het begin van de tweede intifada in september 2000 zijn 728 Palestijnse kinderen, van wie 98 onder de acht jaar oud, door het Israelische leger of joodse kolonisten vermoord. http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=454&CategoryId=1 Bovendien zijn Palestijnse kinderen in strijd met de Conventie over de Rechten van het Kind door het leger gevangen gehouden en worden sommigen volgens 'Defence for Children International' zelfs gemarteld. Opmerkelijk is dan ook de wijze waarop de massamedia Sharon portretteren als een groot staatsman zonder wie Israel niet verder zou kunnen. Gelukkig verschijnt er nu in de internationale media een tegengeluid, zo blijkt ook uit een artikel, dat Saree Makdisi, hoogleraar aan de Universiteit van California, voor de gezaghebbende Los Angeles Times schreef en dat overgenomen is door de Electronic Intifada: 'The whitewashing of Ariel Sharon. THE 'MAN OF COURAGE AND PEACE' STORY IGNORES HIS BLOODY AND RUTHLESS PAST. AS ARIEL SHARON'S career comes to an end, the whitewashing is already underway. Literally overnight he was being hailed as "a man of courage and peace" who had generated "hopes for a far-reaching accord" with an electoral campaign promising "to end conflict with the Palestinians." But even if end-of-career assessments often stretch the truth, and even if far too many people fall for the old saw about the gruff old warrior miraculously turning into a man of peace, the reality is that miracles don't happen, and only rarely have words and realities been separated by such a yawning abyss. From the beginning to the end of his career, Sharon was a man of ruthless and often gratuitous violence. The waypoints of his career are all drenched in blood, from the massacre he directed at the village of Qibya in 1953, in which his men destroyed whole houses with their occupants -- men, women and children -- still inside, to the ruinous invasion of Lebanon in 1982, in which his army laid siege to Beirut, cut off water, electricity and food supplies and subjected the city's hapless residents to weeks of indiscriminate bombardment by land, sea and air.' Lees verder: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4387.shtml Nu de Nederlandse media nog. In Israel zelf neemt het verzet tegen de Israelische militaire repressie op de bezette Westbank toe. Door middel van publicaties en foto's proberen gewone Israelische soldaten van de actiegroep 'Breaking the Silence' hun joodse landgenoten duidelijk te maken welke terreur er in hun naam wordt uitgeoefend. Zie daarvoor het interview met Avichay Sharon in het programma 'This is Hell' van vorig jaar 3 december. http://www.thisishell.net/archives_2005.html En hun eigen site: http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/index_en.asp Of een artikel over hen: http://www.afsc.org/pwork/0410/041008.htm

Israel's Expansionisme


Eind vorige maand schreef Sarah Leah Whitson van de mensenrechtenorganisatie Human Rights Watch in een brief aan president Bush: 'Dear President Bush, I am writing to you with respect to multiple Israeli announcements of its plans to continue expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This directly contravenes international law and Israeli commitments under the Road Map. You recently reiterated Israel’s obligations to stop expanding settlements when you said, on October 20, 2005, following your meeting with Palestinian President Abbas: “Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes its road map obligations, or prejudices the final status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. This means that Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion.” Israel has acted contrary to these obligations, escalating the building of settlements in 2005. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in the first half of 2005, there was a 28% increase in settlement housing starts compared to the same period in 2004. Israel now proposes to further expand West Bank settlements in the coming year. We urge you to use U.S. diplomatic and financial influence to stop this trend in 2006.' http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/12/27/isrlpa12346.htm Vorige week donderdag werd Sarah Leah Whitson geinterviewd in het programma van Democracy Now. De journaliste Amy Goodman vroeg haar ondermeer het volgende: 'What would it mean for Israel to lose this money? SARAH LEAH WHITSON: I think more than the money, it would mean a huge understanding that the United States is not willing to support Israel’s unlawful activities, that the United States is actually willing to stand behind the public commitments, statements it’s made that it does not want Israel to expand settlements, that it continues to believe that these are wrong acts, that they undermine the political process and, obviously, they're unlawful, as well.' Zie: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/06/1451234 Voor een overzicht van het Israelische expansionisme van het afgelopen decennium, zie: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/israel/map/

Irak 10

De Sydney Morning Herald bericht: "The country's on the verge of a civil war," General Sanchez told soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq during a ceremony held in Heidelberg, Germany.
Senior Shiite Muslim religious and political leaders urged restraint yesterday after some Shiites called for retaliation against Sunni Arab militants whom they blamed for Thursday's suicide bombing in the Shiite holy city of Karbala. Shiites make up 60 per cent of Iraq's population but were oppressed by the minority Sunni Arabs under former president Saddam Hussein, who also persecuted Iraq's Kurdish population. The new government is expected to be dominated by Shiite Islamists. General Casey sought to downplay last week's violence. "We can't let what's happened the last few days distract us from the progress that's been made over the last year. That's what the terrorists want," General Casey said.' Zie:
http://smh.com.au/news/world/us-generals-disagree-on-iraq-violence/2006/01/07/1136609984022.html

Irak 9











Op de bovenste foto ziet u: 'Razaq Al Kazem Al Khafaji grieves over the bodies of his children in Hilla in the southern province of Babylon on Tuesday. Khafaji lost 15 members (including six children) of his family as his car was bombed by coalition helicopters while fleeing Haidariya towards Babylon. Thirty-three civilians were killed and 310 wounded in a US-British bombing of the residential area of Nader south of the city of Hilla, 80km south of Baghdad (photo by Karim SAHIB/AFP).' Zie: http://www.streamreel.com/media/war.htm Op de onderste foto's ziet u de doodskisten van Amerikaanse soldaten vlak voordat ze worden teruggevlogen naar de VS.
De Amerikaanse onafhankelijke journalist Dahr Jamail schrijft in zijn dagboek: 'US Propaganda vs. Iraqi Reality... What better time to maintain tax cuts in the US, particularly when a new study by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard budget expert Linda Bilmes estimates the cost of the Iraq war to be between $1-2 trillion, and the national debt already over $8 trillion? Meanwhile, the reality in Iraq is the opposite of that generated by the Cheney administration as the carnage and chaos in Iraq worsens each day. A quick look at foreign media outlets yields the following developments that were either not reported or under-reported in the US: January 4: -Unidentified gunmen assassinated Rahim Ali al-Sudani, director-general of the Iraqi Oil Ministry, and his son early on the morning of 4 January in Al-Amiriyah area in northern Baghdad. -Clashes broke out between civilians protesting against unemployment and Iraqi police in Al-Nasiriyah city in Dhi Qar Governorate, wounding scores of civilians and police officers. The TV added within the same news summary that two civilians were “martyred” and two others were injured when an explosive charge missed a US patrol unit in Kirkuk. -Al Sharqiyah television reported that a US plane had crashed in Mosul. Quoting its correspondent in the city, the TV said that US forces had rushed to the area and sealed off the scene where the crash occurred. January 5: -At least 130 Iraqis and 11 US soldiers die (highest number of US soldiers killed in one day since August) in one of the bloodiest days in Iraq since the invasion.' Lees verder:
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000345.php#more

'Collateral Damage' 2













Dit zijn slachtoffertjes van een Amerikaans napalm bombardement op Vietnam. In 1973 onthulde de Australische journalist John Pilger dat 'Americans were still fighting' in Vietnam 'even though they were supposed to have pulled out following the Paris Peace Agreement in January of that year and President Nixon's announcement of "peace with honour". "They had sent in private contractors who were really military in civilian dress,"explained Pilger. "Companies were contracted by the defence department to hire so called retired American officers to do exactly what US officers were doing when they weren't retired. It made a mockery of the Paris Agreement. Moreover, with this ghost army in place, the Americans intensified the bombing. More Vietnamese civilians were killed in those three years to 1975 than in all the years back to 1965.' Meer dan 30 jaar later voltrekt zich dezelfde militaire strategie in Irak. Niet alleen worden er nu ook 'private contractors' ingezet, particuliere huurlingen, maar aangezien de Amerikanen de grondoorlog in feite hebben verloren, nemen ook de luchtbombardementen op de burgerbevolking toe en daarmee de zogeheten 'colateral damage,' zoals International Clearing House laat zien. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11480.htm Voor meer informatie over Irakese burger slachtoffers zie ook: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2006/01/collateral-damage.html