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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 20 oktober 2007

Andy Warhol 3

Sonja schreef mij het volgende naar aanleiding van een uitspraak van Andy Warhol:

'Sonja zei...
'Andy' was een pedante nicht met sterallures. En een echte, inventieve, kunstenaar. Daar waar de surrealisten hun 'ready mades' allang aan de bomen hadden gehangen, de dapelijkse (pop) objecten geplaatst in een estetische context waardoor het van betekenis veranderde, en de Amerikaanse literaire Beat groepering ongeveer hetzelfde deed met taal, dacht Andy: kom, ik geef er een nieuwe draai aan, en ga daar geld mee verdienen. Hij koos zijn onderwerpen uit de dagelijkse populaire (pop) commerciële cultuur, transformeerde die met wat kunstgrepen en technieken tot beeldende kunst, en plaatste ze vervolgens weer terug in de commercie. Hij vulde een leegte, zowel in die van de kunst als in die van de platte consumptiemaatschappij.Hij omgaf zich in zijn atelier, die hij de Factory noemde, en in het uitgaansleven het liefst met 'freaks' en maatschappelijke outcasts als junkies, travestieten, hasbeens en wannabes. Jullie willen plat vermaak, jullie willen kopen? Dan zul je het krijgen ook, maar dan op mijn manier. Een manier die er verdomd mooi uit kon zien, dat wel. Wat Andy Warhola fascineerde was niet het spirituele scheppingsproces, zoals de meeste mensen nog steeds denken dat beeldende kunstenaars daarmee bezig zijn, maar het commerciële succes (of mislukking) in de kunst. Niet alleen ontmaskerde hij dat proces, maar genoot hij er ook van. En was daar ook nog eens zeer genereus in.'Schilderijen' maakte mij niet, maar hij gebruikte de traditionele artistieke dragers zoals canvas op een spieraam, celluloid, vinyl, of een (liefst zo prestigieus mogelijke) tentoonstellingsruimte. "Een kunstenaar is iemand die dingen maakt die mensen niet nodig hebben." "Het mooie van dit land is dat Amerika een traditie uitdroeg waarin in essentie de rijkste consumenten hetzelfde kopen als de armsten." "Mijn idee van een goed schilderij is wanneer het in de aandacht staat en er een beroemdheid op staat." Aan uitspraken had Andy geen gebrek. De beeldende kunst is nooit meer hetzelfde geweest.
7:57 AM'

Ik denk dat ze gelijk heeft. Ook voor mij is Andy Warhol een fascinerende kunstenaar, die als geen ander de moderne tijd heeft weten te definieren, of beter heeft weten te vatten. Hij was de moderne tijd. Hijzelf bestond niet, hij was 'slechts' de weerspiegeling van wat was en is. Hoe vindt u deze uitspraak:
'All my films are artificial, but then everything is sort of artificial. I don't know when the artificial stops and the real starts.'

Als iemand het wel weet, laat mij het dan weten. Het knappe van deze uitspraak vind ik dat hij zei when en niet where. De moderniteit is namelijk tijd en niet een plaats. De moderniteit dringt namelijk onvermijdelijk overal doorheen. En juist dat is het totalitaire aspect van al het moderne. We kunnen ons niet meer verstoppen, beschermen.

Pieter Herman Bakker Schut.


Ik heb gisteren in De Duif aan de Prinsengracht in Amsterdam afscheid genomen van Pieter Herman Bakker Schut, niet alleen een goede advocaat maar ook een groot mens, met het hart op de goede plaats, hoewel hij ironisch genoeg aan zijn hart bezweken is. Maar misschien heeft dat met elkaar te maken. Er spraken enkele mensen, onder wie zijn vriend de journalist Rudi van Meurs, die Pieter Herman prees voor zijn standvastigheid in zijn diepste overtuigingen. Hij was niet iemand geweest die links en radicaal was toen het uitkwam en modieus was. Tot op het laatst was hij kritisch over de zogeheten kapitalistische rechtstaat, die twee konden volgens hem niet samen gaan. Terwijl een VPRO tv-fragment werd getoond, waarin Pieter Herman enkele kritische woorden sprak over het kapitalisme en de rechtstaat werd er door enkele aanwezigen meewarig geglimlacht. Ach ja, die Pieter toch. Ik zag dat het allemaal een tikje te radicaal voor hen was. De mensen die zo reageerden hadden voor het merendeel carriere gemaakt in de rechterlijke macht.
Terwijl ik de bovenste foto nam, kwam er ineens een man in een grijs pak naar me toe; die mij zei: 'U mag niet fotograferen.' Ik vroeg hem wie hij was. 'Van de bewaking.' Bewaking? Ik draaide me van de man weg. Na een minuut stond een vrouw voor me. 'Bent u van de pers?' Ik zei dat ik hier als kennis van Pieter Herman was. 'De familie wil niet dat er gefotografeerd wordt.' Dat verzon de vrouw van de bewaking ter plaatse. Ineens realiseerde ik me hoe fundamenteel de wereld is veranderd sinds ik Bakker Schut voor de eerste keer ontmoette. De afgelopen kwart eeuw is een geweldige angst onze samenleving binnengeslopen. Een angst en daarmee een dwang. Overal, zelfs bij een afscheidsbijeenkomst, zie je nu mensen zonder beroep of vak in grijze pakken met zo'n oortje in, die zich hinderlijk bemoeien met zaken die ze niet aangaan. Ze opereren onbelemmerd in een ruimte die door de angst is geschapen. Waar komt die intense angst vandaan? Wij in het Westen zijn rijk en zwaar bewapend. Waar komt die angst toch vandaan? Is het dezelfde angst die de carrieristen meewarig deed glimlachen? Daar stonden ze, oud, grijs en oninteressant. Ze waren alleen nog maar een schim van hun imago en hadden in wezen niets meer te vertellen. Letterlijk en figuurlijk niet. Ze werden beschermd door mensen in al even grijze pakken. Pieter's vrouw Adele, die hier met hem op de foto staat, zei me dat hij wilde dat iedereen op de bijeenkomst nog eens gezellig een borrel pakte, maar als alcoholist drink ik al jaren geen alcohol meer. Bovendien had ik geen zin meer nu ik zoveel bewaking om me heen had. Het was die benauwende rechtschapen wereld waartegen Bakker Schut zijn hele werkzame leven lang had gevochten.

Jan Wolkers



Bij de dood van een mens dient men te fluisteren en niet zoals in de commerciele massamedia gebeurt hardop te roepen en met kwalificaties te smijten. De Volkskrant opende vandaag met de kop 'De blik van een zuiver mens.' Die uitspraak was van de schrijfster Hella Haasse, maar de Volkskrant had, zoals de krant wel meer doet, deze woorden zonder aanhalingstekens zich eigen gemaakt, in de trant van onze Jan Wolkers is heen gegaan. De moderne media bevuilen alles, kunnen nergens met hun vingers afblijven, schakelen alles gelijk, en staan te schreeuwen waar een fatsoenlijk mens zwijgt. Ik kom uit een tijd waarin de katholieke elite van de Volkskrant niets van Wolkers moest hebben, en trouwens ook de protestantse elite gruwde van hem omdat hij zich tegen de benardheid van het plat burgerlijke christendom verzette. Voor hen, en ook voor de massa die de Volkskrant leest, was en is Wolkers vooral ook sex. 'Ze doen vaak net of ik alleen maar over seksualiteit heb geschreven, terwijl de dood veel pregnanter aanwezig was' zei Wolkers eens.

Een herinnering aan Wolkers. Ik bezocht hem eens samen met de dichter Theun de Winter. Ik vertelde de schrijver een anecdote over een politicus die we de avond daarvoor hadden gehoord. Wolkers zei schaterlachend: 'Hahaha... Weet je wat het is met die politici, ze gebruiken de taal als een schamele deken om de waarheid te verhullen. Politiek is de dialoog van de lafheid, elke opmerking kan alle kanten op worden gedraaid of zonder consequenties worden ingeslikt. Politiek is de ontwaarding van de taal. Het is alsof de taal gegalvaniseerd wordt, alsof het overdekt wordt met een laagje nep. Het is wartaal waarmee ze veel andere mensen aansteken, al die zakenmensen en sporters, om gek van te worden. Ken je die politieke prent waarop schapen staan die blij roepen dat ze van nu af aan hun eigen slagers mogen kiezen?' Dit zijn de woorden van een schrijver en beeldend kunstenaar. Deze eerlijkheid en helderheid missen we in kranten als de Volkskrant en hun gegalvaniseerde nep. In Godsnaam collega's, zwijg als er een engel voorbij zweeft!

Naomi Klein 6



Afgelopen maandag stond in de Volkskrant een interview met Naomi Klein afgedrukt. De interviewer was iemand met de naam Olav Velthuis. Ik citeer een fragment van Olav: 'De kwade genius in het verhaal (De Shockdoctrine, het nieuwe boek van Klein. svh) is volgens haar Milton Friedman, de vorig jaar overleden Nobelprijswinnaar en vader van het neoliberale gedachtengoed. Friedman, wiens pupillen aan de Universiteit van Chicago over de hele wereld zouden uitzwerven, deinsde er niet voor terug om ook Pinochet van advies te dienen.' Vervolgens stelt Olav de vraag: 'Dat klinkt als een samenzweringstheorie.' Als lezer vraag je je dan af: wat klinkt als een samenzweringstheorie? De beschrijving van Naomi Klein dat Friedman met Pinochet een persoonlijk onderhoud had, en de dictator adviseerde door te gaan met zijn economische shocktherapie terwijl in de gevangenissen Pinochets tegenstanders werden dood gemarteld? 'Throughout his stay, Friedman hammered at a single theme: the junta was off to a good start, but it needed to embrace the free market with greater abandon. In speeches and interviews, he used a term that had never before been publicly applied to a real-world economic crisis: he called for "shock treatment."'Maar beste Olav, deze beschrijving van Klein is geen samenzweringstheorie, dat is de werkelijkheid zoals die zich toen afspeelde. Kennelijk voor jouw geboorte allemaal, maar ik heb het via gesprekken met Chileense slachtoffers, die naar Nederland waren gevlucht, van betrekkelijk nabij kunnen mee beleven. Heb je het boek wel gelezen? Het is nu in het Nederlands vertaald.

Het valt me op dat tegenwoordig maar al te vaak de kwalificatie samenzweringstheorie van stal wordt gehaald zodra het om een beschrijving gaat die de commerciele massamedia onwelgevallig is. Als bijvoorbeeld het neoliberalisme ter discussie wordt gesteld. Ik had het laatst met een jonge verslaggever van Trouw. Ook al bezweken onder de officiele versie van de werkelijkheid. Naomi Klein fungeert als een soort lakmoesproef, de gehersenspoelde journalisten, bang om de macht tegen de haren in te strijken, beginnen meteen te stijgeren.

vrijdag 19 oktober 2007

Klimaatverandering 116

'Economic Costs of Climate Change ‘Will Affect Every American’
by Haider Rizvi

NEW YORK - Independent economists and environmentalists are warning of dire consequences for the U.S. economy if policy makers fail to take urgent action on climate change.
“Climate change will effect every American economically in a significant and dramatic way,” said Matthias Ruth, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Environmental Research.
In a new study released this week, Ruth observed that further delays in tackling climate change would not only cause greater damage to the U.S. economy, but would also raise the future cost of dealing with natural disasters.
The authors of the study, entitled “The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction,” say their efforts to analyze the economic research done in the past and pull in other relevant data make the study the first of its kind.
The costs of climate change inaction is likely to be much higher than the required spending on cuts in carbon emissions, the report’s authors said, adding that the United States can expect to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to its infrastructure, agriculture, and manufacturing sector if more isn’t done soon to slow climate change.
“We’re making billions of dollars of infrastructure investments every year and often without taking impacts of climate change into account,” said Ruth, stressing there was a “strong need for action across all sectors.”
The report concludes that the real economic impact of climate change is “fraught with hidden costs,” which will vary regionally and will put a strain on public sector budgets.
For example, the combined impacts of storms on the United States since 1980 have surpassed $560 billion. Hurricane Katrina alone accounted for nearly $200 billion in economic losses.'

Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/18/4657/

donderdag 18 oktober 2007

De Commerciele Massamedia 91

Traders at the New York Mercantile Exchange. In electronic trading at the exchange, the crude oil price was almost $88 a barrel. (Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse)

Leest u dit bericht eens goed en stel u zelf vragen:

'Oil soars above $88 as Turkey threatens to strike in Iraq
NEW YORK: Oil futures rose above $88 a barrel in trading Tuesday, their highest price ever, amid unrest in the Middle East.

The surge this week is being fueled by the threat of a Turkish military incursion in northern Iraq. The renewed tensions in the highly volatile region raised new concerns about further instability in the oil-rich Middle East. Iraq is the third-largest holder of known oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Iran. Turkey is a major passage for oil exports from Iraq and the Caspian Sea.
"Markets hate uncertainty," said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation. "The fundamentals are very supportive of high oil prices. But the majority of the latest run-up has nothing to do with the fundamentals of the markets but has to do with fear."
Despite the rally of the past week, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ruled out an emergency release of oil supplies. At its last meeting in Vienna, in September, the oil cartel agreed to a modest increase of 500,000 barrels a day in supplies.
The secretary general of OPEC, Abdalla Salem El-Badri, said in an e-mail message Tuesday that the cartel was concerned with rising prices. But he pointedly added, "There has been no interruption in crude supplies."
"While the Organization does not favor oil prices at this level, it strongly believes that fundamentals are not supporting current high prices and that the market is very well supplied," El-Badri wrote. "The rising oil prices which we are currently witnessing are, however, largely being driven by market speculators."'

Lees verder: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/16/business/oil.php?WT.mc_id=newsalert

Hetzelfde bericht maar dan nog onnozeler was te vernemen via de Nederlandse radio en tv en in de kranten. Een vat olie wordt duurder want Turkije kan Irak binnenvallen. Daar moet een verband tussen zijn, althans volgens mijn collega's. De vraag is waarom? Omdat '"Markets hate uncertainty," said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation.' Hoezo? Markets??? Zijn dat zelf handelende levende entiteiten? Hebben markets een gevoelsleven? Kunnen ze haten en liefhebben? Nee, dames en heren. Een market is in dit verband een abstract gegeven. Waar het hier om gaat zijn speculanten, institutionele beleggers, banken, verzekeringsmaatschappijen, pensioenfondsen, al die mensen die bij instituten werken en die met de handel in lucht miljarden verdienen. Dat geld verdwijnt voor een groot deel in de zakken van westerse speculaten en degenen voor wie ze werken, allemaal verdienen ze aan uncertainty. Sterker nog, zij zijn degenen die die onzekerheid zelf scheppen, hoe meer onzekerheid, des te meer ze verdienen. De secretaris-generaal van de OPEC heeft gelijk. Het is zwendel, meer niet. Die zwendel wordt mogelijk gemaakt door onze neoliberale democratie, die natuurlijk geen democratie is. Waarom zouden mijn collega's daarover zwijgen. Heeft u een idee?

Ewald Vanvugt

De schrijver/publicist Ewald Vanvugt stuurde me de volgende email:

'Dag Stan.
Misschien vind je het zinvol om deze link te bekijken en als je kunt te verspreiden
. Ik doe dat graag:

'Reactie op ''Islam niet als geloof behandelen''
Liever geen hetze tegen de islam
Door: Ewald Vanvugt

De neiging een hetze te voeren de Islam is niet goed - ook al komt die van afvalligen. Natuurlijk weten ex-gelovigen veel meer van de Islam dan buitenstaanders die er gewoonlijk niet meer van weten dan dat de vrouwen hoofddoeken en hobbezakachtige jassen moeten dragen en dat de gelovigen bidden met de kont omhoog. Laten we ons liever verdiepen in de Islam.
· 'Islam niet als geloof behandelen'
`Er is geen beschaving in de islamitische geschiedenis,' stond woensdag prominent in De Pers als samenvatting van het grote interview met een ex-moslim. Geen beschaving in de islamitische geschiedenis? Het Alhambra in Granada, de paleizen van Isfahan - algebra, geografie, de Duizend-en-één Nacht - geen beschaving? BeschavingDe Arabieren namen het over van de Perzen, zegt de afvallige. Ja, en die kenden het van de Meden die het uit Babylon en Egypte haalden, uit India en China. Zo vormen culturen elkaar door de eeuwen en de millennia heen. Wie zegt dat er geen beschaving in de islamitische geschiedenis is, weet niet wat beschaving is. Misschien kan De Pers nog eens een paar pagina's vullen met lijsten van concepten en voorwerpen die de Europese beschaving heeft te danken aan de Islam - van tientallig stelsel tot matras. Zonder de invloed van de Islam sliepen wij hier in Europa nog op planken. Iedereen weet nu toch wel dat de Europese beschaving eerst is opgebloeid in de tijd van de kruisvaarders, ongeveer tussen 1000 en 1200, in het contact met de zoveel beschaafdere moslims. Toen al was in Europa de profeet Mohammed, vaak geprezen is zijn naam, de slechtste mens ooit in de geschiedenis, erger dan de anti-Christ of de duivel zelf. VeelwijverijNiet alleen deed hij aan veelwijverij en trouwde hij met een erg jong meisje, Aïsha, zeker nog een kind. Bovendien was het in Europa algemeen bekend dat Mohammed de Profeet graag een vrouwelijke kameel besteeg. Nog altijd zijn er serieuze publicisten in het Westen die moslims bij wijze van grap `mohammedanen" noemen - ketters, volgelingen van die afgrijselijke Mohammed. Al deze vreselijke dingen - en nog veel meer - zijn ook over andere profeten verteld. In de heilige boeken van het Jodendom en het Christendom staan soortgelijke gruwelijkheden als in de heilige Koran. De Koran vrouwonvriendelijk? Lees nog eens de brieven van de heilige Paulus in het Nieuwe Testament. De Here Jaweh zelf gaf bijvoorbeeld aan koning Saul het absolute vernietigingsbevel: ‘Ga nu heen en versla Amalek, verwoest alles wat zij bezitten en spaar hen niet, maar dood man en vrouw, kind en zuigeling, os en schaap, kameel en ezel.’ (I Samuël 15: 3.)'

Lees verder: http://www.depers.nl/binnenland/111874/Liever-geen-hetze-tegen-de-islam.html

Hillary Clinton



















In godsnaam niet Hillary Clinton.

Gelul Beschermers

Ook in de Verenigde Staten scoort gelul heel hoog volgens opiniepeilingen. Sinds kort zijn deze handige gelul-beschermers op de markt voor 9 euro 99. Ze zijn vooral populair bij kijkers van het NOS-Journaal. Ze zijn bij mij te bestellen.

'Onion Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
By MediaChannel.

http://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2007/10/18/onion-poll-bullshit-is-most-important-issue-for-2008-voters

Andy Warhol 2



Andy Warhol in het Stedelijk Museum van Amsterdam. 'My paintings never turn out the way I expect them to, but I'm never surprised.'

Laat het even inzinken.

De Dollar Hegemonie 35




'Foreign investors abandon U.S. assets

Reuters News Agency

October 17, 2007

NEW YORK -- Foreign investors fled from U.S. assets in August as a meltdown in the U.S. subprime mortgage market triggered a global credit crunch, Treasury Department data showed yesterday.

Foreigners dumped a net $163-billion of U.S. securities in August, a record outflow.

Net sales of long-term securities such as bonds, notes and equities - a more closely watched gauge of foreign demand - hit $69.3-billion, also a record. The last time this measure turned negative was in August, 1998, the month when Russia defaulted on its sovereign debt, sparking a global crisis.

Economists had expected net foreign purchases of long-term securities of $60-billion, according to a Reuters poll.

"Investors seem to be moving money outside of the U.S., which leads us to believe they are planning for a continual U.S. dollar decline," said Mark Meadows, currency strategist at Tempus Consulting in Washington. "What they are saying," he added, "is they are not going to receive as much in return as it will cost them to hold dollars."'

Lees verder: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071017.IBUSINVEST17/TPSto
ry/TPBusiness/America/

De Nuance van de NRC 41

De NRC bericht:

Bush ziet dreiging ‘WO III’

Washington, 18 okt. De Amerikaanse president George W. Bush heeft gisteren gesuggereerd dat een „Derde Wereldoorlog" zou kunnen uitbreken als Iran een kernwapen verwerft.
Bush zei dit nadat hem op een persconferentie werd gevraagd of hij „echt gelooft” dat Iran met zijn uraniumverrijkingsprogramma een kernwapen nastreeft.
De eerste zinnen van zijn antwoord wijdde Bush aan de Iraanse verklaringen op dit punt. Vervolgens noemde hij een nucleair bewapend Iran „een gevaarlijke bedreiging voor de wereldvrede”. Daarna stelde hij: „We hebben een leider in Iran die heeft aangekondigd dat hij Israël wil vernietigen” – een verwijzing naar een uitspraak van de Iraanse president Ahmadinejad eind 2005, die in de Angelsaksische pers is vertaald als de bewering dat Iran „Israël van de kaart wil vegen” – om daar aan toe te voegen: „Dus ik heb tegen mensen gezegd dat als zij graag een Derde Wereldoorlog willen vermijden, het ernaar uitziet dat je er belang bij zou moeten hebben om te voorkomen dat zij [Iran] de kennis [hebben] die nodig is om een kernwapen te maken.”

Lees verder: http://www.nrc.nl/buitenland/article790687.ece/Bush_ziet_dreiging_WO_III

Als ik nu redacteur was geweest van een krant die zichzelf afficheert als de slijpsteen voor de geest dan had ik geschreven wat de Iraanse president werkelijk had gezegd en dat ook is afgedrukt in de Angelsaksische pers. Waarom dan wel het NRC-citaat en niet de andere vertaling? De enige verklaring die ik kan bedenken is dat dan duidelijk was geworden dat wat president Bush beweert pure propaganda is. Hij voert via de commerciele massamedia een hetze en bereid zo de geesten voor geweld, net zoals hij het Amerikaanse geweld tegen de Irakese bevolking rechtvaardigde met de leugen dat het land massavernietigingswapens bezat en daarom een gevaar voor de wereldvrede was.

Hoe kunnen de commerciele massamedia zo onnozel zijn dat ze door dezelfde bedrieger op dezelfde manier tweemaal bedrogen kunnen worden? Dan is er wat aan de hand. Of bij de NRC zitten onvoorstelbaar onnozele mensen of ze bedrijven propaganda. Bepaalt u zelf maar als lezer wat het is. Voor wat Ahmadinejad werkelijk zei, zie mijn weblog John Pilger 11 en voor meer propaganda over hem, zie Volkskrant 35.

Ondertussen bericht het persbureau Reuters hetzelfde nieuws in de volgende context:

'Stepping up his rhetoric, Mr. Bush said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a "dangerous threat to world peace."

Lees verder: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/

RTGAM.20071017.wbushiran1017/BNStory/International

En zo is het maar net, collega's van de NRC. Het is allemaal retoriek, holle frasen om domoren te mobiliseren tegen het grote kwaad in de wereld. Wordt wakker! Of leer een vak.

De Britse hoogleraar John Gray schrijft in zijn nieuwe boek dat binnenkort bij uitgeverij Ambo in een Nederlandse vertaling verschijnt: 'Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion... It continued in neo-conservative theories... Modern revolutionary movements are a continuation of religion by other means... Whether they stress piecemeal change or revolutionary transformation, theories of progress are not scientific hypothese. They are myths, which answer the human need for meaning.' Het enige verschil met vroeger is dat gelovigen als Bush immens veel gevaarlijker zijn dan vroeger omdat alles veel massaler is geworden, de dynamiek veel groter, de consequenties onafzienbaar, oorlog maakt geen enkel onderscheid meer tussen militairen en burgers, als het dat al ooit deed. Elke oorlog is per definitie een grote oorlogsmisdaad. En ondertussen geldt dat 'primitive versions of religion are replacing secular faith that has been lost... With the death of utopia, apocalyptic religion has re-emerged, naked and unadorned, as a force in world politics.' En al deze terreur wordt ingeleid en gelegitimeerd door kleine mensjes bij de massamedia die keurig hun brood verdienen.

Irak 226

'The Iraqi Genocide

By Paul Craig Roberts

Why has not the Turkish parliament given tit for tat and passed a resolution condemning the Iraqi Genocide? As a result of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, more than one million Iraqis have died, and several millions are displaced persons. The Iraqi death toll and the millions of uprooted Iraqis match the Armenian deaths and deportations. If one is a genocide, so is the other. It is true that most of the Iraqi deaths have resulted from Iraqis killing one another. But it was Bush’s destruction of the secular Iraqi state that unleashed the sectarian strife. Moreover, American troops in Iraq have killed more civilians than insurgents. The US military in Iraq has fallen for every bit of disinformation fed to it by Al Qaeda personnel posing as “informants” and by Sunnis setting up Shi’ites and Shi’ites setting up Sunnis. As a result, American bombs and missiles have blown up weddings, funerals, kids playing soccer, and people shopping in bazaars and sleeping in their homes. Not to be outdone, Bush’s private Waffen SS known as Blackwater has taken to gunning Iraqi civilians down in the streets. How do Blackwater and Custer Battles killers escape the “unlawful combatant” designation? One can only marvel at the insouciance of the US Congress to the current Iraqi Genocide while condemning Turkey for one that happened 90 years ago. People seldom see the beam in their own eye, only the mote in the eyes of others. Every member of the Bush Regime is busily at work denouncing Iran for causing instability in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the US has invaded two countries, throwing them into total chaos, while beating the drums for war with Iran and conspiring with Israel to invade Lebanon and to attack Syria. The indisputable facts are that the US and Israel have attacked four Middle East countries and are determined to attack a fifth. Yet, it is peaceful Iran, at war with no one, that Bush and Israel blame for causing instability in the Middle East. Not content with its many wars in the Middle East, the Bush Regime is sponsoring wars in Africa and is setting up an African Command. The US government has been bombing and attacking other countries ever since the cold war ended. Instead of peace, the gang in Washington DC chose war. Other than the Israel Lobby, the greatest supporters of Bush’s wars are Christian evangelicals, specifically the “rapture evangelicals” and the “Christian Zionists.” I remember when Christianity was about saving one’s soul. Today it is about bringing on Armageddon. While the various evangelical Christians preach war in the Middle East, they condemn Islam for being a “warlike religion.” Americans are so full of themselves that they are blind to their extraordinary hypocrisy.'



Lees verder: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18564.htm

dinsdag 16 oktober 2007

The Empire 283



' "Many in the US Military Think Bush and Cheney Are Out of Control" der Spiegel Interview with Gabriel Kolko der Spiegel, Germany

In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, the Amsterdam-based military historian Gabriel Kolko talks about the prospect of war with Iran and argues that many in the US military now view the White House as being "out of control."
Spiegel Online: Mr. Kolko, editorials in US papers like the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard and the National Review are pushing for military action against Iran. How does the leadership in the US military view such a conflict?
Gabriel Kolko: The American military is stretched to the limit. They are losing both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everything is being sacrificed for these wars: money, equipment in Asia, American military power globally, etc. Where and how can they fight yet another? The Pentagon is short of money for procurement, and that is what so many people in the military bureaucracy live for. The situation will be far worse in the event of a war with Iran.
Many in the American military have learned the fundamental dilemma of modern warfare: More money and better weapons don't mean that you win. IEDs, which cost so little to make, are defeating a military which spends billions of dollars per month. IEDS are so adaptable that each new strategy developed by the United States to counter them is answered by the Iraqi insurgents. The Israelis were also never quite able to counter IEDs. One report quotes an Israeli military engineer who said the Israeli answer to IEDs was frequently the use of armored bulldozers to effectively rip away the top 18 inches of pavement and earth where explosive devices might be hidden. This is fantastic, as the cost of winning means destroying roads, which form the basis of a modern economy.
Spiegel Online: Are people in the Pentagon getting nervous about how influential voices in the White House continue to push for conflict with Iran?
Kolko: Many in the US military think Bush and Cheney are out of control. They are rebelling against Bush and Cheney. Washington Post reporter Dana Priest recently said in an interview that she believed the US military would revolt and refuse to fly missions against Iran if the White House issued such orders.
CENTCOM [US Central Command, the military grouping whose responsibilities include the Middle East] commander Admiral William Fallon reportedly thwarted Cheney's wish to sent a third additional aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. One paper wrote that he "vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM."
Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, in charge of US forces in Japan, told the Associated Press last week that the Iraq war had weakened American forces in the face of any potential conflict with China. He was quoted as saying, "Are we in trouble? It depends on the scenario. But you have to be concerned about the small number of our forces and the age of our forces."'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101607B.shtml

Iran 171

'In Iran, Putin Warns Against Military Action
By Nazila Fathi

The New York Times

Tehran - President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia told a summit of five Caspian Sea nations in Iran today that any use of military force in the Caspian region was unacceptable and in a declaration the countries agreed that none of them would allow their territories to be used as a base for launching military strikes against any of the others.
"We should not even think of making use of force in this region," Mr. Putin said. "We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state," he added.
Mr. Putin's comments and the declaration come at a time when France and the United States have refused to rule out military action to halt Iran's nuclear program, which they believe is focused on nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
The comments were also a strong message that Russia objects to any American military presence in other Caspian Sea states.
Mr. Putin arrived in Tehran today for strategic meetings with Iran and the leaders from three other nearby Caspian Sea nations that have rich oil and gas resources, promising to use dialogue to try to resolve the international debate over Iran's nuclear program.
He was the first Kremlin leader to travel to Iran since 1943, when Stalin attended a wartime summit meeting with Churchill and Roosevelt. In the declaration, the nations acknowledged the rights of all signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Reuters reported.
Russia has obstructed a third set of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations that are intended to persuade the country to stop enrichment activities, which Western nations fear could lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Iran insists it wants to use its nuclear program for conventional purposes only.
Mr. Putin, who stresses the need for further dialogue and working within the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitoring agency based in Vienna, was scheduled to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad twice today.
The main reason for the trip is ostensibly the meeting in Tehran of nations that border the Caspian Sea, including the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. They discussed the division of the Caspian Sea resources, particularly oil, among the five coastline states.
With world oil prices at about $86 a barrel, the legal status and ownership of the sea's vast oil and gas deposits have become a contentious issues.'


The Empire 283


Many Americans Don't Realize Iraq War Is Illegal
by Sherwood Ross
http://www.opednews.com

'Many Americans Don\'t Realize Iraq War Is Illegal';

Mistakenly, many Americans still believe President Bush's war on Iraq is justified because Congress supported it and funds it.
Yet, as international legal authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois points out, President Bush got congressional backing by lying that Hussein had W.M.D. and that Hussein was connected to 9/11.
That's fraud, probably the bloodiest, costliest lie in White House history.
Also, to start a war, a country needs UN Security Council approval, which Bush failed to get. Otherwise, a nation can fight only in self-defense when attacked.
By attacking Iraq, Bush violated the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, the UN Charter, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals, and the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, Boyle said.
As all treaties become the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Bush-Cheney presidency is guilty of breaking all of the above, warmongering in spades.
In testimony defending U.S. soldiers who have refused to fight in Iraq, Boyle noted that, under Nuremberg, "a soldier has a right to absent himself or herself from committing international crimes."
In short, if given a criminal order, the defense used by Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's master killer, that he was only doing his job, is a phony.
Boyle testified that First Lt. Ehren Watada had the right, "if not the obligation," to say, "I don't want to participate in this." Watada faced an army court martial for not deploying with his unit for Iraq. Watada won a victory when the judge ruled a mistrial.
Boyle believes, "A soldier has an obligation to disobey illegal orders," which he says is printed in black-and-white in the Army's Field Manual(AFM) 27-10. Without Security Council authority, President Bush's war is "a crime against peace," Boyle says.
That's also written in paragraph 498 of the AFM. "Any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian, who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment (as)...crimes against peace," the AFM reads.'

Lees verder: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_david_sw_071016_ten_silent_senators.htm

De Israelische Terreur 265


De Zuidafrikaanse hoogleraar Volkenrecht John Dugard doceerde acht jaar lang in Leiden. Hij bezit vier eredoctoraten, en wordt algemeen beschouwd als een van de grootste deskundigen ter wereld op het gebied van het internationaal recht. Het moet toch niet zo moeilijk zijn voor de Nederlandse commerciele massamedia om deze geleerde eens uitgebreid aan het woord te laten over de grootschalige Israelische schendingen van het internationaal recht en de mensenrechten. Ik begrijp dat mijn collega's het daar niet graag over hebben, maar toch, probeer eens onafhankelijk te zijn.

'UN expert rails at Quartet policies
By Tim Franks BBC News, Jerusalem
John Dugard speaks slowly and carefully. He rarely hesitates. But from his measured voice comes a reputation for being outspoken.
Earlier this year, in his role as special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council for the Palestinian Territories, the South African law professor wrote a report for the UN General Assembly in which he compared Israel's actions to those of apartheid South Africa.
Indeed, the word "apartheid" appears 24 times in the 24-page report.
But in his interview with the BBC, Mr Dugard goes further than before.
He has been trenchant in his belief in the past seven years that he has held the UN post that Israel is collectively punishing the Palestinians.
Now, though, he has the international community, and the UN itself, in his sights for complicity.
'Little good'
A few weeks ago, Mr Dugard was reported to have levelled criticism at the UN secretary general for failing to stand up to Israel.
The reports, he says, followed some of his remarks being "generously translated" into Arabic.
But there is little room for misinterpretation in his comments to the BBC.
He complains that his catalogues of what he sees as human rights abuses in the occupied territories fall on "deaf ears" in the secretary general's office.
He also says the UN is doing itself "little good" by remaining in the Quartet - the international group charged with overseeing the "peace process" between the Israelis and Palestinians.
He also, tellingly, strays to the very limit of his mandate by saying that the Quartet is hampering the Palestinian right to self-determination.
His argument is not just that it is failing to heal the rift between the militant Islamist group, Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the Fatah group of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but that the UN has, through the Quartet, thrown in its lot with Fatah.
"The UN," he says, "is not playing the role of an objective mediator that behoves it."'

The Empire 282

'Pipeline Through Paradise: Big Oil's Plan to Tap the Arctic

It's estimated that one quarter of the world's untapped oil and gas reserves lie in the Arctic. And while politicians bicker loud and long over Iraqi oil, and oil executives lay plans for bringing natural gas and oil from West Africa, most know that the Arctic is the real prize in the ongoing international struggle to control dwindling energy resources. That's especially true now, as global warming causes Arctic ice to melt, exposing virgin territory and even, perhaps, opening for shipping the fabled Northwest Passage, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The region has become the center of an international skirmish, with Russian interests going so far as to plant an underwater flag in order to at least symbolically claim reserves presumed to exist beneath the North Pole's Lomonosov Ridge (which, they say, is connected to Russian territory by a submerged shelf). Even the U.S. government, which for decades has resisted signing an international treaty called the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea—which establishes rules for national sovereignty over portions of the earth's oceans and seas, along with the resources beneath them—suddenly supports ratifying the treaty. The Senate's Foreign Relations Committee began hearings in late September to get the process rolling.
Oil executives have discussed the "Arctic play" for well over 30 years. But so far, U.S. exploitation of the area's petroleum resources has been limited largely to the rigs in Prudhoe Bay off the Beaufort Sea on Alaska's north coast, which pump oil into the Alyeska pipeline that runs south through the state to the port of Valdez, where it is loaded onto tankers. Now, the industry is seeking to move forward on a number of grand schemes to fully exploit what the former president of Shell Oil called the "stranded" reserves of the Arctic region—such as Shell's planned drilling in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been delayed by a court challenge by Native Alaskan and environmental groups.
Making profitable use of these abundant fossil fuels depends not only on drilling rights, but on creating a mode of transportation—a way to bring the oil and gas south to energy-hungry consumers. And here, the path to the industry's goals both short-term and long runs through one thousand miles of pristine Canadian wilderness, following the course of the mighty Mackenzie River. Now, decades-old plans are again moving forward to build a pipeline through the Mackenzie River Valley that would carry natural gas directly to southern Canada and the lower forty-eight. If current proposals succeed, they will lay the groundwork for what will become North America's greatest ever industrial development plan—bigger than the Colorado dams or the Tennessee Valley Authority. They also will disrupt the native cultures of a vast, virtually untouched region and wreak widespread destruction on one of the last best places on earth. "This is the environmental frontier," Kert Davies of Greenpeace told Mother Jones. "It will be a giant fight over the next 20 years."'

Lees verder:
http://motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/10/road-to-riches.html?src=email&link=hed_20071015_ts2_Pipeline%20Through%20Paradise%3A%20Big%20Oil%27s%20Plan%20to%20Tap%20the%20Arctic

The Empire 281

'The Iraq Effect
War has increased terrorism sevenfold worldwide.

By Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank
Research fellows at the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law. Bergen is also a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.

"If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people." So said President Bush on November 30, 2005, refining his earlier call to "bring them on." Jihadist terrorists, the administration’s argument went, would be drawn to Iraq like moths to a flame, and would perish there rather than wreak havoc elsewhere in the world.
The president’s argument conveyed two important assumptions: first, that the threat of jihadist terrorism to U.S. interests would have been greater without the war in Iraq, and second, that the war is reducing the overall global pool of terrorists. However, the White House has never cited any evidence for either of these assumptions, and none appears to be publicly available.
The administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism: implications for the United States," circulated within the government in April 2006 and partially declassified in October, states that "the Iraq War has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists...and is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."
Yet administration officials have continued to suggest that there is no evidence any greater jihadist threat exists as a result of the Iraq War. "Are more terrorists being created in the world?" then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rhetorically asked during a press conference in September. "We don’t know. The world doesn’t know. There are not good metrics to determine how many people are being trained in a radical madrasa school in some country." In January 2007 Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte in congressional testimony stated that he was "not certain" that the Iraq War had been a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and played down the likely impact of the war on jihadists worldwide: "I wouldn’t say there has been a widespread growth in Islamic extremism beyond Iraq. I really wouldn’t."
Indeed, though what we will call "The Iraq Effect" is a crucial matter for U.S. national security, we have found no statistical documentation of its existence and gravity, at least in the public domain. In this report, we have undertaken what we believe to be the first such study, using information from the world’s premier database on global terrorism. The results are being published for the first time by Mother Jones, the news and investigative magazine, as part of a broader "Iraq 101" package in the magazine’s March/April 2007 issue. '

Lees verder:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/03/iraq_effect_1.html?src=email&link=hed_20071015_ts1_The%20Iraq%20Effect

The Empire 280

'Orwell in 2007
By Robert Weiner and John Larmett
The Oregonian

In "1984," the novel that most baby boomers read in high school, George Orwell creates a theoretical modern-day government with absolute power - a state in which government, called the Party, monitors and controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought is against the law.
On Sept. 26, a federal judge in Eugene ruled that crucial parts of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow federal surveillance and searches of American citizens without demonstrating probable cause. U.S. District Judge Ann L. Aiken said the federal government would "amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning."
Ruling in favor of an Oregon lawyer who challenged the act after he was mistakenly linked to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain, Aiken stated: "A shift to a nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill advised."
Earlier in September, another federal judge, this one in New York, ordered the FBI to stop obtaining e-mail and telephone data without first securing a warrant. The secrecy provisions are "the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering, with an ominous free pass to the hijacking of constitutional values," U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero wrote.
In "1984," the Party barrages citizens with psychological stimuli designed to overwhelm the mind. The giant telescreen in every room monitors behavior. People are continuously reminded of government's surveillance, especially by omnipresent signs reading, "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU." Individuals are encouraged to spy on each other, even children on their parents, and report any instance of disloyalty to the Party - i.e., government.
"1984" is happening in 2007.
Signs along interstate highways urge citizens, "Report Suspicious Behavior." Cameras mounted at strategic locations monitor our everyday movement (just as in the novel). Red, orange and yellow are no longer just bright, pretty colors: They now represent levels of national security alerts. Intelligence agencies now define "chatter" as "terrorist speak."
The Party in "1984" uses psychological manipulation to make citizens "doublethink" - hold two contradictory ideas contrary to common sense.
Back to 2007: The Patriot Act by its very name defies individuals to disagree with it, for to do so would be "unpatriotic."
The Patriot Act was passed hastily in October 2001, under a cloak of fear in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Some of the fundamental changes to American's traditional legal rights include:'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101507M.shtml

Martelen 81

An Egyptian activist flashes an Arabic banner condemning torture in front of riot troops during a protest in Cairo.

Outsourcing Torture
By Chris Hedges

The Bush administration has called for the respect of human rights in Burma, a pretty safe piece of posturing, but it remains silent as Egypt’s dictator, Gen. Hosni Mubarak , unleashes the largest crackdown on public opposition in over a decade. Our moral indignation over the shooting of monks masks the incestuous and growing alliance we have built in the so-called war on terror with some of the world’s most venal dictatorships.
Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 26 years and is grooming his son, Gamal, to succeed him, can torture and “disappear” dissidents—such as the Egyptian journalist Reda Hilal, who vanished four years ago—without American censure because he does the dirty work for us on those we “disappear.” The extraordinary-rendition program, which sees the United States kidnap and detain terrorist suspects in secret prisons around the world, fits neatly with the Egyptian regime’s contempt for due process. Those rounded up by American or Egyptian security agents are never granted legal rights. The abductors are often hooded or masked. If the captors are American the suspects are spirited onto a Gulfstream V jet registered to a series of dummy American corporations, such as Bayard Foreign Marketing of Portland, Ore., and whisked to Egypt or perhaps Morocco or Jordan. When these suspects arrive in Cairo they vanish into black holes as swiftly as dissident Egyptians. It is the same dirty and seamless process.
We have nothing to say to Mubarak. He is us. The general intelligence directorate in Lazoughli and in Mulhaq al-Mazra prison in Cairo allegedly holds many of our own detained and “disappeared.” The more savage the torture techniques of the Mubarak regime the faster the prisoners we smuggle into Egypt from Afghanistan and Iraq are broken down. The screams of Egyptians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans mingle in these prison cells to condemn us all.
We know little about what goes on in the black holes the CIA has set up in Egypt. But snapshots leak out. Ibn-al Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured by U.S. forces in late 2001, was an al-Qaida camp commander. He was taken to a prison in Cairo where he was repeatedly tortured by Egyptian officials. The Egyptian interrogators told the CIA that he had confirmed a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. The tidbit, used by then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his United Nations speech, turned out to be false. Victims usually will say anything to make severe torture stop. Al-Libi was eventually returned to Afghanistan, although he has again disappeared. Mamduh Habib, an Egyptian-born citizen of Australia, was apprehended in October 2001 in Pakistan, where, his family says, he was touring religious schools. A Pentagon spokesman claimed that Habib spent most of his time in Afghanistan and was “either supporting hostile forces or on the battlefield fighting illegally against the U.S.”
Habib was released a few days after The Washington Post published an article on his case. He said he was first interrogated and brutalized for three weeks in Islamabad. His interrogators spoke English with American accents. He was then bustled into a jumpsuit, his eyes were covered with opaque goggles and he was flown on a small jet to Egypt. There he was held and interrogated for six months, according to Joseph Margulies, a lawyer affiliated with the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Chicago Law School, which is representing Habib.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20071015_outsourcing_torture/

De Israelische Terreur 264

'The 41st kilometer
By Amira Hass

A zoo. This is one of the ways that Palestinians describe the conditions under which nearly 1.5 million of them have been living: in an area of some 360 square kilometers, closed in on three sides by sophisticated barbed-wire fences, concrete walls and military lookout towers, and to the west by Israeli navy ships that seal them off from the sea. Overhead, in the sky, unmanned aircraft and hot air balloons continually photograph whatever happens inside this closed cage, which has seven gates connecting it to the world, all of which are sealed off almost hermetically. During the past four months, Israel has permitted about 2,000 people to leave the Gaza Strip - a minority of them were ill; more than half were Fatah senior activists or loyalists who were fleeing from the Strip; and the rest were individuals holding dual citizenship or visas for prolonged stays abroad. For the sake of comparison: In 1999, 1,400 people a day went through the Rafah crossing point alone, in addition to the thousands who passed though the Erez crossing point, despite the permanent closure policy. Now, 1.5 million human beings are living with the knowledge that the length of their world is at most 41 kilometers long and 12 kilometers wide. The comparison to a zoo was made by Dr. Mamdouh al Aker, a doctor who heads the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights. For another Gazan, a prominent businessman whose food plant is working at about 5 percent of its capacity, the situation is reminiscent of a hospital: Like patients, the inhabitants do not work, but they receive food. They do not work, because for four months Israel has prohibited not only the exit of any Gazan products to market, but also the entry of any raw materials or means of production. If the prices of goods continue to rise and the cash crisis worsens because of the severing of contact between banks in Israel and the banks in Gaza, the international aid organizations will soon increase the quantities of food that they donate, which today account for about 10 percent of the supplies that are brought in. Perhaps the day will come when they will drop food packages from helicopters.
Advertisement

The governments of Israel, the United States and Europe see the hermetic imprisonment of 1.5 million human beings and the final destruction of Gaza's economic infrastructure as a suitable answer to Hamas, at least until it falls. It appears that the Ramallah "government" agrees with them. Indeed, the head of the Gazan "government," Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, has hinted that the exclusive Hamas regime in Gaza is temporary. But, this temporary nature depends on the success of a dialogue between Hamas and Fatah, whereas Israel and the United States are forbidding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from carrying on such a dialogue. And Abbas, in any case, is for the moment sticking to the approach that Hamas is a hostile entity.'

Lees verder: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/912729.html

maandag 15 oktober 2007

Naomi Klein 5



'Disaster capitalism: Israel as warning Raymond Deane, The Electronic Intifada.

I think we can safely deduce that Jewish extremist Kach members aren't too fond of Naomi Klein. On their informative online S.H.I.T. (Self-Hating and/or Israel-Threatening) List, we read that she "is an ISM supporter and Rachel Corrie lover. If Hitler were alive today, she'd love him as well!" This considered evaluation will probably need to be rephrased in less glowing terms if any patient Kahanists get around to reading The Shock Doctrine - the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Many are now familiar with the outlines of Klein's argument: in the wake of natural and unnatural disasters, neo-liberal economic reform is foisted on stricken societies while their citizens are in a condition of collective disorientation. While the ruling class is quick to avail of these "opportunities," it doesn't actually set out to create them, because it doesn't need to: "An economic system that requires constant growth, while bucking almost all serious attempts at environmental regulation, generates a steady stream of disasters all on its own, whether military, ecological or financial." After great destruction comes privatized reconstruction to the benefit of multinational corporations and the detriment of ordinary people.In itself, the thesis that capitalism thrives on disaster isn't exactly novel. What Klein has done, however, is to draw analytical conclusions from the consistency with which the metaphor of "shock" is employed in this context. She recounts how in the 1950s the CIA funded electric shock experiments by the US-American psychiatrist Ewen Cameron that entailed "attacking the brain with everything known to interfere with its normal functioning -- all at once" in order to reduce it to a tabula rasa upon which, it was mistakenly believed, anything could be written. These experiments inspired the CIA's MKUltra program designed "to break prisoners suspected of being Communists and double agents." As a bonus, Cameron's and the CIA's procedures laid the groundwork for torture practices from Santiago de Chile to Abu Ghraib.
Next, Klein explores the doctrines of Milton Friedman and his Chicago School disciples, those influential advocates of economic "shock therapy" who also drew up their theories in the heady 1950s. Friedman, according to Klein, was "the other Doctor Shock ... Friedman's mission, like Cameron's, rested on a dream of reaching back to a state of 'natural' health, ... before human interferences created distorting patterns. Where Cameron dreamed of returning the human mind to that pristine state, Friedman dreamed of depatterning societies, of returning them to a state of pure capitalism ... the only way to reach that prelapsarian state was to deliberately inflict painful shocks ... Cameron used electricity to inflict his shocks. Friedman's tool of choice was ... the shock treatment approach he urged on bold politicians for countries in distress."The first society to be remodeled on the basis of Friedman's theories was Pinochet's Chile. Here the overlap between Friedman and Cameron ceases to be merely metaphorical: the ruthless implementation of the former's shock therapy required the employment of the latter's, in the form of torture.'

Lees verder: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9044.shtml

Andy Warhol



Vanmiddag naar de Andy Warhol tentoonstelling geweest in het Amerdamse Stedelijk Museum, nabij het CS. Geen goed tentoonstelling, maar daar vertel ik u de komende dagen over. Desondanks was het er druk. De bezoekers moest 3,50 euro extra betalen in verband met de hoge verzekeringspremie voor zijn werk. Veel belangstelling voor de man die zelf zei: 'I like boring things. I like things to be the same over ans over again.'

The Empire 279

'Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Pentagon's 100-Year War

How can we understand our world, if we have hardly a clue about the mini-worlds where planning for our future takes place? Just the other day, the Washington Post had one of the odder reports of the year. According to journalist Rick Weiss, demonstrators at protests in Washington DC and elsewhere have been independently reporting large "dragonflies" (with a bizarre "row of spheres, the size of small berries, attached along the tails") hovering near their rallies. ("'I'd never seen anything like it in my life,' the Washington lawyer said. 'They were large for dragonflies. I thought, is that mechanical, or is that alive?'")
Is this the micro-equivalent of UFO madness? Folie à Philip K. Dick? Are these actual dragonflies, which do look robotic, or advanced "spy drones" loosed by some unnamed agency in search of homeland-security troublemakers?
As a matter of fact, militarized insects have been on the Pentagon's drawing boards for quite a while, as Nick Turse pointed out at Tomdispatch back in 2004. Most recently, the British Times reported that the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was developing cyborg moths, implanted with computer chips while still in their cocoons, that might someday soon flutter into an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan and beam back video and other information. (The Post's Weiss quotes DARPA program manager Amit Lal as saying: "You might recall that Gandalf the friendly wizard in the recent classic 'Lord of the Rings' used a moth to call in air support…. [T]his science fiction vision is within the realm of reality.") And don't forget those Pentagon-funded neural-implant experiments involving blue sharks in hopes that they might someday be turned into stealth spies of the oceans.
The first robobug, the "insectothopter," was developed by the CIA back in the 1970s. It "looked just like a dragonfly and contained a tiny gasoline engine to make the four wings flap," but it couldn't handle the crosswinds. Three decades later, no agency will fess up to siccing robobugs on crowds of American demonstrators (as the Cleveland Indians sicced gnats on the Yankee's Joba Chamberlain in a crucial recent playoff game). And some experts agree with Vice Admiral Joe Dyer, former head of the Naval Air Systems Command, who claims: "I'll be seriously dead before that program deploys,"
Whatever the truth of the hovering "dragonflies," planning for new weaponry and supportive technologies no less strange, no less futuristic, no less implausible (if it weren't actually happening) is indeed underway -- and the number of Americans who know anything about it, or the uses to which such new militarized technology is likely to be put, runs to the vanishing point. Fortunately, Tomdispatch's intrepid Pentagon correspondent Nick Turse -- whose new book, The Complex, on the military-industrial-academic-entertainment-everything complex, will be out in the spring -- spent time behind the closed doors of a Pentagon-approved conference that had in mind nothing less than planning weaponry, strategy, and policy for the next hundred years -– yours, mine, and our children's. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for G-force, and blast off into a future only a military planner could possibly love. Tom

Slum Fights
The Pentagon Plans for a New Hundred Years' WarBy Nick Turse.'

Lees verder: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174847

Howard Zinn 12



U weet, ik ben een scepticus, maar dit boek kan ik alleen maar aanprijzen. Een absoluut meersterwerk is Howard Zinn's Geschiedenis van het Amerikaanse Volk. Het is veretaald in het Nederlands en uitgeverij Epo schrijft het volgende:

'Met een inleiding van Johan Depoortere

Howard Zinn is een van de invloedrijkste Amerikaanse historici van de laatste decennia. Zijn bekendste boek is A People’s History of the United States waarin hij het ontstaan en de groei van de VS bekijkt door de ogen van de underdogs. Zijn boek is de oral history van Indianen, slaven, deserteurs, textielarbeiders, GI’s uit Vietnam, feministen en jonge zwarten uit de slums. Het groeit uit tot een relaas van het volksverzet tijdens de opgang van een voormalige Britse kolonie tot absolute wereldmacht: 'Wat zoudt gij zonder 't werkvolk zijn?'
Tegenover de officiële, heroïsche geschiedschrijving (van Christoffel Columbus tot George Walker Bush) rijst een andere heroïek: die van gewone mensen tegen het lot dat de 'groten der aarde' hen opleggen. Neoconservatieve kringen kelderden het boek als politiek incorrect, maar wie de geschiedenis van de VS door Zinns bril leest, zal verbijsterd zijn over de déjà vu’s die de VS ons vandaag te bieden heeft.
Colofon:
isbn: 9789064454431 · 2007 · garengenaaide linnen hardcover (15 x 22,5 cm) met aanbelijming en wikkel, met leeslintje - 896p. · oorspr. titel: A People’s History of the United States - uit het Engels vertaald door Jan Reyniers. · prijs: € 44.95
Meer info over het boek:
o inhoud
o woord vooraf
o fragment
Alle boeken in de rubriek Geschiedenis'

Zie: http://www.epo.be/uitgeverij/boekinfo_boek.php?isbn=9789064454431

Ik heb een paar jaar geleden Howard Zinn geinterviewd. Hier kunt u het lezen: http://home.planet.nl/~houck006/zinn.html

The Empire 278


The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda
By Richard W. Behan, AlterNet.
The fraudulence of the "War on Terror" is clearly revealed by looking at the pattern of actions that preceded and followed its launch.
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie ... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state." --Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush has told and repeated a lie that is "big enough" to confirm Joseph Goebbels' testimony. It is a mega-lie, and the American people have come to believe it. It is the "War on Terror."
The Bush administration endlessly recites its mantra of deceit:
The War on Terror was launched in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is intended to enhance our national security at home and to spread democracy in the Middle East.
This is the struggle of our lifetime; we are defending our way of life from an enemy intent on destroying our freedoms. We must fight the enemy in the Middle East, or we will fight him in our cities.
This is classic propaganda. In Goebbels' terms, it is the "state" speaking its lie, but the political, economic, and military consequences of the Bush administration lie are coming into view, and they are all catastrophic. If truth is the enemy of both the lie and George Bush's "state," then the American people need to know the truth.
The military incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were not done in retaliation for 9/11. The Bush administration had them clearly in mind upon taking office, and they were set in motion as early as Feb. 3, 2001. That was seven months prior to the attacks on the Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and the objectives of the wars had nothing to do with terrorism.
This is beyond dispute. The mainstream press has ignored the story, but the administration's congenital belligerence is fully documented in book-length treatments and in the limitless information pool of the internet. (See my earlier work, for example.)
Invading a sovereign nation unprovoked, however, directly violates the charter of the United Nations. It is an international crime. Before the Bush administration could attack either Afghanistan or Iraq, it would need a politically and diplomatically credible reason for doing so.
The terrorist violence of Sept. 11, 2001, provided a spectacular opportunity. In the cacophony of outrage and confusion, the administration could conceal its intentions, disguise the true nature of its premeditated wars, and launch them. The opportunity was exploited in a heartbeat.
Within hours of the attacks, President Bush declared the United States "… would take the fight directly to the terrorists," and "… he announced to the world the United States would make no distinction between the terrorists and the states that harbor them." Thus the "War on Terror" was born.'

De Israelische Terreur 262

De Britse fotograaf die Rich Wiles, die op de Wetbank leeft, mailde me het volgende bericht:

'Behind the Wall - “They Cannot Stop Our Dreams…”

This is a story about two people who were raised in houses less than 300 metres apart, but who were not raised in their homes for they were banished from their land, two people who lived in the area of Aida Camp, two people who have known each other for their entire lives but who have grown closer with the passing of time. Neither of these two young people have moved from their houses yet as time has brought them much closer together so greater time now also separates them, sometimes hours, sometimes weeks, and sometime months…

Mahadi and Susu are cousins, and refugees from the village of Al Malha which is located no more than five or six kilometers from Aida Camp. They both grew up to all intents and purposes in Aida Camp but whilst Mahadi lived inside the camp itself Susu lived in a house much older than any house here as it greatly predates Al Nakba. Her house stands alone amongst olive groves and fruit trees whilst Mahadi’s is sandwiched between others without anything green in sight. Mahadi is now 26 and like everybody else of his generation from the area spent much of his youth in the large expanse of Bethlehem’s land adjacent to Aida Camp around Susu’s house. This land offered space and fresh air that was startlingly evident only in its absence amongst the cramped streets and alleyways just metres away. But over the last few years this fresh air has become hollow, and the spaciousness has turned to emptiness, as the Apartheid Wall took route around Aida Camp isolating Susu’s house, and a large swathe of Bethlehem, onto the Israeli side of this grotesque creation. At first it was just a fence and often Susu and her sisters would go to speak to the IOF soldiers guarding the worksite who would sometimes let them pass on their way into Aida. Other times a refusal meant a detour one way or the other to a section not yet complete, but usually they were still able to get to their school, their friends, and their other family members inside the camp. Susu studied at the Basic Girls School in Aida but this only runs up to Tawjihi years (the final two exam years of education) so from 2005 she studied in Bethlehem but her younger sisters still study here. By 2005 any chance of passing the Wall straight into the camp had vanished as it was by that time complete, and nine metres of solid concrete with no gate, But the completion of the Wall was not the only dramatic realisation for Mahadi and his younger cousin. Susu’s journey to school now involved a walk much longer than the 200 metres that stood between her house and the gates of the Basic Girls School. She was forced to follow the Wall’s route every morning up the hill to the large gate at what had become the new ‘entrance’ to Bethlehem, despite the fact that Bethlehem actually stood on either side of the gate. Mahadi still saw her most days after she had walked back down on this side of the Wall to bring her sisters to school and began to ‘notice’ her more, he soon realised he was falling in love with her. Following tradition in Palestine it is not unusual for cousins to marry so Mahadi spoke to Susu’s grandfather with whom she lived and asked for his blessing:

“He was very happy because he said I was a good man and he knew me well. He told me that I could see her when they came into the camp because his son – Susu’s uncle, lives in the camp. He knew that I couldn’t go there, to their house, anymore…”

Both Mahadi’s and Susu’s houses are inside the West Bank so both had West Bank ID’s but now that the Wall had been built things had changed. Mahadi was unable to walk from the camp straight to his fiancés house because the path was now blocked by a huge symbol of modern-day Apartheid and when he tried to walk through the gate which was now acting as the new entry to, and exit from, Bethlehem he was stopped by the IOF manning the gate and told he couldn’t pass because he didn’t have ‘permission’. ‘Permission’ now meant an Al Quds (Jerusalem) ID, Israel was now claiming that this part of Bethlehem was in fact part of Al Quds so separate permission was needed, permission which could only be obtained from the Occupation authorities themselves. As easily as that, Israel had grown almost over night as it stole the land and claimed it as its own, much as it has been doing ever since 1948 when the two young lovers’ parents were chased from Al Malha.

Soon after Susu’s grandfather had granted them permission to marry he came through to Aida Camp and sat with Mahadi’s family to read Al Fatha. Al Fatha is a traditional Islamic form of acceptance between two families for a marriage whereby the families will sit together and read verses from the Koran:

“After Al Fatha I saw her for ten minutes and we talked together. We were both so happy. Then she went home and I didn’t see her again for three months… This was March 2005 and they had put the big gate in the Wall, and wouldn’t give her ‘permission’”

Susu had West Bank ID so didn’t need permission to be in Aida Camp but in a stark and vivid demonstration of the Zionist land grab policy the Israeli authorities were now claiming that the land on the other side of the Wall where Susu’s house stood was no longer part of the West Bank or Bethlehem despite every internationally recognised agreement and border saying otherwise. According to this unilateral reclassification of land Susu now needed ‘permission’, by which they meant official permission to be in Al Quds, to be inside her own house. When she applied for ‘permission’ it was refused. So Susu had ‘permission’ (West Bank ID) to travel inside the West Bank only she couldn’t get into the West Bank since Israel had moved it, and the authorities were claiming she was now living in Israel but wouldn’t give her ‘permission’ (Al Quds permission) to be there. She was truly stuck in ‘no-mans-land’. This situation sounds ridiculous but sadly was Susu’s reality for a full three months during which time she was unable to leave her house. Had she tried to pass the checkpoint and enter the West Bank she could have been arrested for being in ‘Israel’ without ‘permission’, or thrown into the prison that the West Bank had now become, and banned from leaving again and returning to her own house. Had she been caught in Al Quds itself she would have received the same treatment. Whilst this sounds incredibly complicated it was devastatingly simple for Susu now unable not only to reach her newly engaged fiancé but also a prisoner within her own home terrified that if the IOF raided her house she would be arrested for being in her home illegally…

Mahadi was distraught and tried numerous ways to reach her:

“I tried to pass the checkpoint many times but they always refused me. I tried to get Al Quds ‘permission’ but the only way was if I could get a hospital appointment in the city. I only wanted the ‘permission’ so I could get to her, I didn’t want to go to Al Quds. I went to see a doctor in Bethlehem and managed to get a referral to Al Makassad hospital (in Al Quds) so I took that to Acion (the Occupation Authorities Administration in Gush Etzion Settlement – responsible for issuing ‘permissions’). They told me to come back in three days which I did and was then told to see the ‘security’ who said I didn’t need the referral to Al Makassad as I could get the treatment in Bethlehem.”

He spoke to Susu on the phone everyday and had tried every official route possible to reach her. He began to look for other ways and in his desperation he went underground, quite literally:

“I had heard that some workers had been getting through a drainage tunnel near the camp and passing underneath the Wall. I found the tunnel and the gate was open so I entered it quickly. It was about 15 metres long but as I got to the other end I found it was blocked. I was so sad and depressed. I kept asking myself why was it not open, and wondering what else I could do. Then one night workers told me it was open and that they had got through. I ran there as quickly as possible but I found this end was now blocked. I thought to myself ‘not even a mouse could get through here’!’

A laugh echoes out of Mahadi as he tells me this before he stops himself and rephrases his metaphor:

“No, not a mouse, not even a fly could have got through there!!”

Again he laughs. The desperation of Mahadi’s attempts are clear and for many people would not be the source of humour, but for Mahadi its probably better than the alternative, and anyway he likes to laugh, I know that from our occasional meetings in the streets around the camp or here in Lajee Center where we sit together now as he relays his story to me.

During the three months that Susu had no ‘permission’ Mahadi would ring her everyday. Often he would go up onto the rooftop of a friend’s house in Aida Camp near to the Wall. From there he could see Susu’s house and she would stand outside of her house next to the front door. Her house, surrounded by olive trees and fresh air, looks like paradise compared to the camp, but for Susu it had become even more of a prison than Aida. Mahadi says he couldn’t see the land though:

“I couldn’t see the trees or the land, I was blind to it all, all I could see was her… We would wave to each other, it made me so sad and angry. I wanted to find ways to pass the 150 metres that separated us. I thought about climbing the Wall somehow, about making a ladder, but the Wall is covered with cameras and watchtowers and it would have cost me my life! She would tell me that she dreamt about me going to her house so we could be together and she could cook for me and I could take her gifts. It made her so sad that we couldn’t be like normal engaged couples, I just wanted to drink tea that was made by her hands…”

Eventually Susu got ‘permission’ so was able to come to Aida Camp to visit Mahadi again but they then faced more problems. She could walk from her house directly to the checkpoint which didn’t take too long but when she came to leave she found the IOF would not let her walk the same route back claiming it was a ‘military area’ so she was forced to take a huge detour which could take up to three hours. Susu was understandably frightened to walk alone when there were so many soldiers around and often didn’t want to take the risk. Instead they would both walk up to the gate and stand either side of a metal fence, with two and a half metres separating them, so they could at least see each other and talk:

“We often talked about the Wall and how it made us feel bad. I couldn’t even touch her hand, but we talked about other people too and how some people couldn’t even get this close to each other. I hate this Wall and what it does to people!”

On occasion Mahadi would stand waiting at the gate for hours for Susu if the IOF chose to keep her away or blocked her path for some reason. He particularly remembers two occasions during the autumn when he had gone dressed in just a shirt only to see the heavens open and heavy rain begin to fall, but still he waited, and waited. As the rain soaked through to his skin he kept thinking he would stay just five more minutes, then five more minutes, then five more minutes. He later found out that the IOF had not let her approach the gate for some reason.

Susu completed her Tawjihi this summer and is now 19. She comes into Aida around once a week but leaves early because it is dangerous in the dark. When the IOF impose closure on the West Bank all Al Quds ‘permissions’ become invalid so if Susu is in Aida when this happens she must stay here until the total closure finishes, if she is at home she must still stay indoors as again according to Israel she would technically be inside ‘Israel’ without ‘permission’ so could be arrested. She is currently being given ‘permission’ papers that are renewable every three months and when they expire her grandfather goes to Accion to renew them.

Another restriction placed upon her is that Palestinians are not allowed to take local grocery products like food out of the West Bank through the checkpoint. This has happened to Susu several times and the IOF tell her she must buy her food inside ‘Israel’ which means paying Israeli taxes and much higher prices plus of course also having to pay for transport to get there and back.

Earlier this year I went to Mahadi and Susu’s engagement party in Bethlehem. Mahadi is currently working hard in his work as a lorry driver to save money for their marriage which is planned for May 2008. He is also spending a lot of time getting their future apartment together, he wants everything to be perfect when they finally do get married. She will then leave the olive trees and fruits of her land and come to live in Aida Camp, but according to Mahadi she is not worrying about leaving it behind:

“She spent all here life here before the Wall. Now she has space there but no people. Paradise without people is not paradise.”

The struggles that Mahadi and Susu and been put through for their relationship are abhorrent, but as Mahadi himself said ‘others cannot even get this close’. Families and relationships all over Palestine have been torn apart by the Apartheid Wall, travel restrictions, ‘permission’ denials, family ‘reunification’ denials, and other forms of separation. It is part of the Zionist policy of sucking the life out of people, of making life so desperate, miserable, and intolerable, that people are forced to leave. It fits into the evils of ethnic cleansing that began over 60 years ago, and I say over 60 years ago because Zionist militias were ‘cleansing’ Palestinian villages even before the State of Israel was officially created in 1948. But in Mahadi and Susu their plans have more than met their match, as they have, and will continue to do, with millions of Palestinians who refuse to give up. All the inhumane actions and restrictions of the Occupation prevent and stop many aspects of Palestinian life but some things and simply unstoppable. The undeniable spirit of Palestine’s people is one such factor. The Wall may stop movement and physically imprison people but some things can fly. Some elements of humanity simply cannot be shackled.

Ask Mahadi what he thinks about giving up, about if he ever thought it was just an impossible relationship, and you will see a glimpse of this irrepressible spirit:

“We have faced difficulties but this makes our love stronger. It makes me love her more because the Wall will not stop our dreams. They cannot stop our dreams…”'