zaterdag 31 december 2005

Casey Sheehan

Dit kruis is ter nagedachtenis aan Casey Sheehan, een Amerikaanse soldaat die op 4 april 2004 in Bagdad bij een granaataanval in de buurt van Bagdad op 24-jarige leeftijd gedood werd. Zijn moeder Cindy kreeg in august 2005 landelijke en zelfs internationale bekendheid door haar langdurig verblijf in een vredeskamp net buiten de ranch van George W. Bush in Texas, waar ze tegen de oorlog in Irak protesteerde. In Truthout schrijft Cindy Sheehan nu: 'From Camp Casey, to Katrina, to use of chemical weaponry and extraordinary rendition, to illegally spying on American citizens without due process, BushCo has miserably failed our country and the world. We as Americans said "enough is enough." We sacrificed a lot when we showed up in DC and other cities around the country in the hundreds of thousands to protest and show that we withdraw any consent to be governed by murderous thugs. We started to peacefully but forcefully resist the notion that this government has any right to govern us when they have betrayed their offices and their sacred trusts as "defenders" of the Constitution so horribly. This was also the year that we also began to hold such Republicans in Democratic clothing like Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, and Diane Feinstein (list is my no means all inclusive) accountable for their support of what George is doing in Iraq. When we as Democrats elect our leaders we expect them to reject and loudly repudiate the murderous and corrupt policies of this administration, not support and defend them... In 2005, we learned that we have the power. We learned that we can't rely on the propaganda media or the empty promises of most of our elected leadership. We learned that we need to be the change that we desire to see. We learned that one person can and does make a difference. We cannot relax in 2006. We cannot slip back into the evil of apathy and complacency that the neocons rejoice in. We need to keep pounding, working, and fighting. We need to support organizations like Gold Star Families for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War, or the Peace organization of your choice so we can continue our struggle for peace with justice. We need to support true American patriots like John Conyers who is calling for an investigation and censure for the lies that have cost us so much of our national human treasure. 2006 will be a great year for the people of our country. I know it. It won't be easy, but we will prevail and the struggle will be worth it.' Lees Verder: Dit jaar heeft de diepe kloof in de VS zichtbaar gemaakt tussen de mensen die zich bedrogen voelen door de Amerikaanse beleidsbepalers en de mensen die blind achter hun leiders aan blijven marcheren. De onthullingen over het grootschalige bedrog heeft dit jaar vele goedgelovige Amerikaanse burgers de ogen geopend. Dat is de eerste stap op weg naar een verandering in de oorlogszuchtige politiek van onze machtige bondgenoot. Nu wij nog. Alvast een gelukkig nieuwjaar voor u en de uwen.

De Neo Conservatieven

Dr. Richard Drayton, die geschiedenis doceert aan de Cambridge University, schrijft in The Guardian een uitstekend achtergrondartikel over het ideologisch failliet van de Bush regering. 'Shock, awe and Hobbes have backfired on America's neocons Iraq has shown the hubris of a geostrategy that welds the philosophy of the Leviathan to military and technological power Richard Drayton. The tragic irony of the 21st century is that just as faith in technology collapsed on the world's stock markets in 2000, it came to power in the White House and Pentagon. For the Project for a New American Century's ambition of "full-spectrum dominance" - in which its country could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major-theatre wars" - was a monster borne up by the high tide of techno euphoria of the 1990s. Ex-hippies talked of a wired age of Aquarius. The fall of the Berlin wall and the rise of the internet, we were told, had ushered in Adam Smith's dream of overflowing abundance, expanding liberty and perpetual peace. Fukuyama speculated that history was over, leaving us just to hoard and spend. Technology meant a new paradigm of constant growth without inflation or recession.' Lees verder:,12271,1674403,00.html Of:

Klimaatverandering 9

Michael McCarthy, milieuredacteur van de Britse kwaliteitskrant 'The Independent,' schrijft: 'Review of the Year: Climate ChangeMercury rising, stormy weather - our world is taking a battering. You see it in heat, you see it in ice, you see it in storms. Climate change without doubt became the critical environmental issue of 2005. The evidence of global warming occurring here and now mounted up during the year and is proving ever harder to ignore, even by habitual sceptics.' In het buitenland mag dit zeker waar zijn, maar niet in Nederland, afgaande op onze massamedia die minimaal of geen aandacht hebben besteed aan de opzienbarende rapporten van diverse internationale instanties die dit jaar verschenen. Lees verder: Volgens een redactrice buitenland van Radio I die ik vroeg waarom haar nieuwsprogramma geen aandacht aan een belangrijk milieurapport had besteed was de reden van dit verzuim eenvoudig: ‘Milieuonderwerpen moeten wel heel bijzonder zijn willen we er aandacht aan besteden. Waarom? Misschien omdat het geen politiek issue meer is, in elk geval niet een belangrijk issue. Het is ook een vorm van hysterie, dat achter de politici aanrennen. Elke oprisping van Hirsi Ali of Wilders wordt wel breed uitgemeten, ook al zeggen ze niets nieuws. Hysterie ja.’ Zie:

Olie Voorraden

Common Dreams bericht: 'Oil Market Analysts Issue Dire Warnings. CARACAS - While this year's record high oil prices are unlikely to come down in the near future, analysts are warning the world's traditional and emerging economic powers to curb consumption, saying that at the current rate, proven reserves will only meet demand up to 2030. "The current model (of consumption) is suicidal," Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez recently told journalists. "The United States, for example, will use up its oil reserves in 10 years, and after that it will go after its rivers, lakes and forests." This month, Democratic Party lawmakers in the U.S. Senate narrowly blocked a Republican-led bill that would have allowed drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has an estimated 10 billion barrels in reserves. The United States devours one out of four of the 84 million barrels of oil consumed daily around the world, and one out of two litres of gasoline. But the emerging powers are steadily closing the consumption gap. In India, less than 200,000 new cars were sold annually two decades ago, compared to 802,000 in 2004.' Lees verder: Of:

Kissinger en Pinochet

Op deze foto staan twee mensen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor grootschalige schendingen van de mensenrechten en het omverwerpen van een democratische regering. Links ziet u Henry Kissinger, de voormalige minister van buitenlandse zaken van de VS en rechts generaal Augusto Pinochet, van 1973 tot 1990 dictator van Chili, leider van een regime dat tenminste 3000 Chileense burgers liet doodmartelen of voor eeuwig liet verdwijnen. Kissinger gaf logistieke en militaire steun voor de staatsgreep die Pinochet aan de macht hielp. Kissinger is nooit hiervoor officieel aangeklaagd, laat staan veroordeeld. Pinochet is afgelopen woensdag naar een politiebureau overgebracht voor het nemen van zijn vingerafdrukken en het maken van een portretfoto als eerste stap in een juridische procedure waarbij hij zich moet verantwoorden voor de doden en verdwijningen. Zie: Zie ook: De Amerikaanse auteur Marc Cooper schrijft in Truthdig: 'During those horrible morning hours of the first Sept.11, the Chilean military coup of 1973, President Salvador Allende gave his farewell speech to the nation over the radio. I listened to his crackling, metallic voice along with millions of others as Allende raced to get out his final words before the tanks and planes of the military would bombard the radio transmitter, silence him and obliterate Chilean democracy. A long dark night of felonious repression was coming, Allende said. But “make sure you know,” he said to his nation minutes before his death, “that sooner rather than later” Chileans would once again live in a better society where justice would prevail. For more than three decades, that was a tough promise to hang on to. But last Wednesday, almost under the international media radar, something happened that those of us who survived the coup--and the families of those who didn’t--had waited for since Allende uttered those words 32 years ago. Chilean detectives and judicial officers went to the door of 90-year-old General Augusto Pinochet--leader of the 1973 coup and the man who imposed 17 years of bloody dictatorship on his country--and then proceeded to enter his suburban Santiago mansion and fingerprint him and take his mug shot as if he were any other criminal. It was a stunning moment not only for those of us who have always opposed Pinochet but also for anyone in the world who cares about human rights. Here was the arrogant, once untouchable dictator, who during his reign boasted that “not a leaf moves in Chile if I don’t know about it,” finally being brought to justice.' Lees verder: Voor meer over de misdaden van Henry Kissinger zie Christopher Hitchens' boek 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger.' Het is in het Nederlands uitgegeven door de Arbeiderspers. En anders via Amazon: 'Christopher Hitchens doesn't mince words when it comes to Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state and national-security advisor: Kissinger deserves vigorous prosecution "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture." The Trial of Henry Kissinger is a masterpiece of polemics; even readers who don't agree that its target is an emanation of "official evil" will appreciate the verve and style brought to Hitchens's fiery brief. ("A good liar must have a good memory: Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory.")'

Klimaatverandering 8

Kelpie Wilson, milieuredactrice van Truthout schrijft: 'Climate Shock: We're on Thin Ice. Climate shock comes from the realization that climate change is not only real, but huge; it is not only huge, but it is now; and it will affect your life very shortly. Not your grandchildren's lives. Not your children's lives. Your life. Soon - if it hasn't already. If you have not experienced climate shock yet, you will when you read Thin Ice by Mark Bowen. Thin Ice is the story of the scientific team from Ohio State University, led by researcher Lonnie Thompson, that has spent the last two decades drilling ice cores in tropical mountain glaciers. Their aim is to retrieve information about climate history from the ice, but there has been a race against time as these glaciers melt, making new history. Thin Ice is an exciting adventure story. The logistics of transporting the scientists and their drilling equipment into the most inaccessible places on Earth bring hair-raising tales. The team members struggle with altitude sickness, windstorms destroy the solar panels that power their drill, crampons get stuck in ladders deployed over widening crevasses, and the crew tries to float ice core samples off the mountain with a hot-air balloon.' Lees verder:

Irak 10

Dit is Ahmad Chalabi, die door een Jordaanse rechtbank tot 22 jaar dwangarbeid is veroordeeld wegens het verduisteren van 300 miljoen dollar. De voortvluchtige Ahmad is hier omringd door bendeleden en is momenteel een van de vier vice-premiers van Irak. Bij de recente verkiezingen in zijn land kreeg Chalabi nog geen 1 procent van de stemmen. Desondanks was deze misdadiger voor de neocons in de Amerikaanse regering de beoogde grote man van Irak. (Zie Irak 8) Al Jazeera bericht nu dat Chalabi per onmiddellijke ingang de leiding heeft overgenomen van het machtige ministerie van Olie. De Amerikaanse autoriteiten besloten al voor de inval dat de bezetting van Irak zou worden gefinancierd uit de olie-inkomsten van Irak. Maar door de permanente aanslagen op oliepijpleidingen is deze financieringsmethode hopeloos mislukt en verliest de VS miljarden dollars. Tot nu toe kost de bezetting de Amerikaanse belastingbetaler al meer dan 230 miljard dollar en het eind is nog lang niet in zicht. Zie: Voor het bericht van Al Jazeera: Het inhuren van locale gangsters is een oude en beproefde methode in de buitenlandse politiek van Washington om bepaalde politieke doeleinden te verwezenlijken. Door de aanstelling van een veroordeelde zwendelaar tot hoofd van de olierevenuen probeert de VS alsnog uit het financiele moeras te kruipen. Kennelijk is de Bush-regering zo wanhopig dat ze zelfs de schijn van democratie niet eens meer probeert hoog te houden. Voor meer over Chalabi:

vrijdag 30 december 2005

Mevrouw Anthrax Vrijgelaten

Kunt u zich nog de triomfantelijke Amerikaanse aankondiging herinneren dat mevrouw Anthrax was gearresteerd, nummer 5 in het kaartspel van 55 'meest gezochte terroristen in Irak,' zoals ondermeer Elsevier hen betitelde? Welnu deze 'levensgevaarlijke terroriste' is inmiddels door de Amerikaanse autoriteiten op vrije voeten gesteld. Columnist Robert Scheer stelt enkele vragen: 'Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Set Free. Why is it not bigger news that those infamous Iraqi female scientists once routinely referred to in the media as "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax" have been quietly released from imprisonment in Iraq without any charges being brought by their US captors? Don't the newspapers and TV networks that all but pre-convicted them of crimes against humanity owe them - and us - the courtesy of an explanation for the sudden presumption of their innocence? After all, it was to stop these mad leaders of Saddam Hussein's allegedly booming weapons-of-mass-destruction programs that the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. We were told at the time by the White House that the UN inspectors scouring the country were being blocked by lying officials and scientists, themselves complicit in breaking UN sanctions, and so we wouldn't get the truth until we could interrogate them as prisoners. Yet, when Rihab "Dr. Germ" Taha and Huda "Mrs. Anthrax" Ammash, both of whom were once on a Pentagon most-wanted list, were released after two-and-a-half years, their US captors didn't even announce it. When questioned afterward as to why no war crimes charges had been brought against the pair, US commander Gen. George Casey said in a joint statement with the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, that they "no longer posed a security threat to the people of Iraq and to the Coalition forces." US forces "therefore, had no legal basis to hold them any longer."' Lees verder:


Rechts op de foto ziet u Evo Morales, een indiaan die midden deze maand tot de nieuwe president van Bolivia is gekozen. Morales brengt 'een verfrissende wind voor alle inheemse volkeren,' zegt de Guatemalteekse Nobelprijswinnares Rigoberto Menchú. Inheemse leiders in heel Latijns-Amerika zijn opgetogen dat Bolivia voor het eerst een president van inheemse afkomst krijgt. Voor het eerst in 500 jaar sinds de verovering van Amerika door de Europeanen. Vandaag werd hij door Fidel Castro ontvangen. Het alternatieve nieuwsagentschap Countercurrents publiceert een toespraak van Evo Morales waarin hij ondermeer dit zegt: 'What happened these past days in Bolivia was a great revolt by those who have been oppressed for more than 500 years. The will of the people was imposed this September and October, and has begun to overcome the empire's cannons. We have lived for so many years through the confrontation of two cultures: the culture of life represented by the indigenous people, and the culture of death represented by West. When we the indigenous people ­ together with the workers and even the businessmen of our country ­ fight for life and justice, the State responds with its "democratic rule of law." What does the "rule of law" mean for indigenous people? For the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the "rule of law" means the targeted assassinations and collective massacres that we have endured. Not just this September and October, but for many years, in which they have tried to impose policies of hunger and poverty on the Bolivian people.Above all, the "rule of law" means the accusations that we, the Quechuas, Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia keep hearing from our governments: that we are narcos, that we are anarchists. This uprising of the Bolivian people has been not only about gas and hydrocarbons, but an intersection of many issues: discrimination, marginalization , and most importantly, the failure of neoliberalism. The cause of all these acts of bloodshed, and for the uprising of the Bolivian people, has a name: neoliberalism. With courage and defiance, we brought down Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ­ the symbol of neoliberalism in our country ­ on October 17, the Bolivians' day of dignity and identity. We began to bring down the symbol of corruption and the political mafia... What I want to tell you, compañeras and compañeros ­ what I dream of and what we as leaders from Bolivia dream of‹ is that our task at this moment should be to strengthen anti-imperialist thinking. Some leaders are now talking about how we ­ the intellectuals, the social and political movements ­ can organize a great summit of people like Fidel, Chávez and Lula to say to everyone: "We are here, taking a stand against the aggression of the US imperialism." A summit at which we are joined by compañera Rigoberta Menchú, by other social and labor leaders, great personalities like Pérez Ezquivel. A great summit to say to our people that we are together, united, and defending humanity. We have no other choice, compañeros and compañeras ­ if we want to defend humanity we must change system, and this means overthrowing US imperialism.That is all. Thank you very much.' is an alternative news site. "We bring out what the mainstream media fails to tell you, or hides from you. These are the things that really matter. The things which may determine the fate of planet earth! The future of our children! In a word, the survival of the species!"

Big Brother 7

Ook de Verenigde Naties wordt al jarenlang bespionneerd door de Verenigde Staten. Dat is allang bekend, maar in de VS en trouwens ook Nederland krijgt dat nauwelijks aandacht. Kennelijk beschouwen de massamedia dit als normaal. Truthout bericht: 'NSA Spied on UN Diplomats in Push for Invasion of Iraq. Despite all the news accounts and punditry since the New York Times published its Dec. 16 bombshell about the National Security Agency's domestic spying, the media coverage has made virtually no mention of the fact that the Bush administration used the NSA to spy on UN diplomats in New York before the invasion of Iraq. That spying had nothing to do with protecting the United States from a terrorist attack. The entire purpose of the NSA surveillance was to help the White House gain leverage, by whatever means possible, for a resolution in the UN Security Council to green light an invasion. When that surveillance was exposed nearly three years ago, the mainstream US media winked at Bush's illegal use of the NSA for his Iraq invasion agenda. Back then, after news of the NSA's targeted spying at the United Nations broke in the British press, major US media outlets gave it only perfunctory coverage - or, in the case of the New York Times, no coverage at all. Now, while the NSA is in the news spotlight with plenty of retrospective facts, the NSA's spying at the UN goes unmentioned: buried in an Orwellian memory hole. A rare exception was a paragraph in a Dec. 20 piece by Patrick Radden Keefe in the online magazine Slate, which pointedly noted that "the eavesdropping took place in Manhattan and violated the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the Headquarters Agreement for the United Nations, and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, all of which the United States has signed."
But after dodging the story of the NSA's spying at the UN when it mattered most - before the invasion of Iraq - the New York Times and other major news organizations are hardly apt to examine it now. That's all the more reason for other media outlets to step into the breach.' Zie:

Martelen 10

Dit zijn meneer en mevrouw Tuttle uit de Verenigde Staten, dat spreekt voor zich. Robert Tuttle was tot voor kort autohandelaar in Beverly Hills, waar de schatrijken van Californie wonen. Sinds deze zomer is Robert ambassadeur in Groot Brittannie. Die baan kocht hij van de regering Bush door grote sommen geld in het verkiezingsfonds van de Amerikaanse president te storten. Hoewel Tuttle goed kon liegen als autohandelaar moet hij het diplomatiek liegen en bedriegen nog onder de knie krijgen. Hij is daarin nog niet echt bedreven, zoals de Britse Guardian zijn lezers wist te melden. Common Dreams nam het artikel over: 'US Embassy Close to Admitting Syria Rendition FlightStatement contradicts ambassador's interview. The US embassy in London was forced to issue a correction yesterday to an interview given by the ambassador, Robert Tuttle, in which he claimed America would not fly suspected terrorists to Syria, which has one of the worst torture records in the Middle East. A statement acknowledged media reports of a suspect taken from the US to Syria. Torture is banned in the US but the CIA has been engaged in a policy of rendition, flying terrorist suspects to countries in the Middle East and other parts of the world where torture is commonplace. Although Mr Tuttle, a Beverly Hills car dealer and major donor to George Bush's re-election campaign, has been ambassador in London only since the summer, he is proving to be accident-prone. Last month he vigorously denied British media reports that American forces used white phosphorus as a weapon in Iraq, only to be undercut by an admission from the Pentagon the next day. Mr Tuttle gave an interview to the BBC Today programme on Thursday for broadcast yesterday morning. On Friday, the US embassy returned to the BBC with a lengthy statement of clarification, which was also broadcast yesterday at the end of the interview. Asked by the BBC if the US dumped suspects in Syria, Mr Tuttle said: "I don't think there is any evidence that there have been any renditions carried out in the country of Syria. There is no evidence of that. And I think we have to take what the secretary [Condoleezza Rice] says at face value. It is something very important, it is done very carefully and she has said we do not authorise, condone torture in any way, shape or form." A US embassy spokeswoman contacted the BBC on Friday to say the ambassador "recognised that there had been a media report of a rendition to Syria but reiterated that the United States is not in a position to comment on specific allegations of intelligence activities that appear in the press".' Lees verder:

Irak 9

Het Franse persbureau AFP geeft het volgende bijschrift bij deze foto: 'An Iraqi policeman gestures using his AK-47 machinegun as he guards bodies of nine bricklayers outside the morgue of a local hospital in Baghdad 11 July 2005. The men, detained by security forces on suspicion of involvement with Iraqi insurgents suffocated to death while held for over 14 hours in a police van, an interior ministry official said. Three other suspects, who survived the ordeal of being locked up in the metallic van in the burning sun, were taken to hospital where they were to be interviewed by authorities who are investigating the case, the official said.' Het martelen van Soennitische gevangenen door Sjiietische bewakers is het onvermijdelijke gevolg van de chaos in Irak, die is ontstaan na de Amerikaanse inval. Het onafhankelijke Common Dreams heeft het volgende artikel uit Christian Science Monitor overgenomen: 'US-Shiite Struggle Could Spin Out of Control. The George W. Bush administration has embarked on a new effort to pressure Iraq's militant Shiite party leaders to give up their control over internal security affairs that could lead the Shiites to reconsider their reliance on U.S. troops. WASHINGTON - The George W. Bush administration has embarked on a new effort to pressure Iraq's militant Shiite party leaders to give up their control over internal security affairs that could lead the Shiites to reconsider their reliance on U.S. troops. The looming confrontation is the result of U.S. concerns about the takeover of the Interior Ministry by Shiites with close ties to Iran, as well as the impact of officially sanctioned sectarian violence against Sunnis who support the insurgency. The Shiite leaders, however, appear determined to hold onto the state's organs of repression as a guarantee against restoration of a Baathist regime. The new turn in U.S. policy came in mid-November, when the administration decided to confront Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari publicly over the torture houses being run by Shiite officials in the Ministry of Interior at various locations in Baghdad. The decision was not the result of a new revelation, because the U.S military command and U.S. Embassy had known about such torture houses for months, from reporting by U.S. military officers. U.S. Army doctor Maj. R. John Stukey told the Christian Science Monitor that he and U.S. military police had visited Interior Ministry detention facilities and had reported evidence of torture and other mistreatment at those facilities up through the chain of command before he left Baghdad in June. Washington had nevertheless remained silent about the issue. However, the U.S. military raided an Interior Ministry's detention centre in the Baghdad suburb of Jadriya on Nov. 13, whereupon the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Command issued an unusual joint statement calling the torture centre "totally unacceptable". The embassy then used the torture house revelation to issue a public demand that the militant Shiite parties give up their power over the key state security organs. On Nov. 17, the embassy said, "There must not be militia or sectarian control or direction of Iraqi Security Forces, facilities or ministries." Shiite leaders viewed these U.S. moves as part of an effort to reduce the majority controlled by the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) in the parliament and to increase the vote for former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite and former Baathist who has been a long-time collaborator with the Central Intelligence Agency.' Lees verder: Of:

Pers en Propaganda

De Amerikaanse oud-hoogleraar James Petras stelt in Information Clearing House enkele fundamentele vragen over pers en propaganda in een democratie: 'The national debate, which the indictment of Irving Lewis Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice has aroused in the mass media, has failed to address the most basic questions concerning the deep structural context, which influenced his felonious behavior. The most superficial explanation was that Libby, by exposing Valerie Plame (a CIA employee), acted out of revenge to punish her husband Wilson for exposing the lies put forth by Bush about Iraq's "importation" of uranium from Niger. Other journalists claim that Libby acted to cover up the fabrications to go to war. The assertion however raises a deeper question -- who were the fabricators of war propaganda, who was Libby protecting? And not only the "fabricators of war", but the strategic planners, speech-makers and architects of war who acted hand in hand with the propagandists and the journalists who disseminated the propaganda? What is the link between all these high- level functionaries, propagandists and journalists? Equally important given the positions of power which this cabal occupied, and the influence they exercised in the mass media as well as in designing strategic policy, what forces were engaged in bringing criminal charges against a key operative of the cabal?'

Angst voor Terrorisme

De columnist Robert Steinback zet het allemaal nog eens op een rijtje in the Miami Herald: 'AFTER 9/11 Fear destroys what bin Laden could not. One wonders if Osama bin Laden didn't win after all. He ruined the America that existed on 9/11. But he had help. If, back in 2001, anyone had told me that four years after bin Laden's attack our president would admit that he broke U.S. law against domestic spying and ignored the Constitution -- and then expect the American people to congratulate him for it -- I would have presumed the girders of our very Republic had crumbled. Had anyone said our president would invade a country and kill 30,000 of its people claiming a threat that never, in fact, existed, then admit he would have invaded even if he had known there was no threat -- and expect America to be pleased by this -- I would have thought our nation's sensibilities and honor had been eviscerated. If I had been informed that our nation's leaders would embrace torture as a legitimate tool of warfare, hold prisoners for years without charges and operate secret prisons overseas -- and call such procedures necessary for the nation's security -- I would have laughed at the folly of protecting human rights by destroying them. If someone had predicted the president's staff would out a CIA agent as revenge against a critic, defy a law against domestic propaganda by bankrolling supposedly independent journalists and commentators, and ridicule a 37-year Marie Corps veteran for questioning U.S. military policy -- and that the populace would be more interested in whether Angelina is about to make Brad a daddy -- I would have called the prediction an absurd fantasy. That's no America I know, I would have argued. We're too strong, and we've been through too much, to be led down such a twisted path. What is there to say now? All of these things have happened. And yet a large portion of this country appears more concerned that saying ''Happy Holidays'' could be a disguised attack on Christianity.'

Victor Klemperer

Victor Klemperer was een Duitse hoogleraar filologie, een jood die het Nazisme tenauwernood overleefde dankzij het feit dat zijn vrouw christelijk was. Tijdens het nationaal-socialistisch bewind hield hij een beroemd geworden dagboek bij. Bovendien hield Klemperer vanaf 1933 ook een eveneens befaamd taalkundig notitieboek bij waarin hij het ontstaan en de evolutie van de 'taal van het Derde Rijk', de Lingua Tertii Imperii (LTI) optekende. Klemperer schrijft daarin: 'Mijn dagboek was in die jaren steeds weer mijn balanceerstok, zonder die stok was ik wel honderdmaal gevallen. In uren van weerzin en wanhoop, in de eindeloze troosteloosheid van uiterst mechanisch fabriekswerk, aan ziekte- en sterfbedden, aan graven, in eigen benauwenis, in momenten van opperste smaad, bijeen fysiek falend hart, steeds hielp mij deze eis aan mezelf: observeer, bestudeer, prent je in wat er gebeurt; morgen ziet het er alweer anders uit en morgen voel je het ook alweer anders; leg vast hoe het zich juist nu manifesteert en wat voor gevolgen het heeft. En weldra verdichtte zich die oproep om me boven mijn situatie te verheffen en mijn innerlijke vrijheid te bewaren tot de altijd werkzame geheime formule: LTI, LTI!'

Big Brother 6

De Washington Post bericht: 'Covert CIA Program Withstands New Furor. Anti-Terror Effort Continues to Grow. The effort President Bush authorized shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to fight al Qaeda has grown into the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over its clandestine tactics, according to former and current intelligence officials and congressional and administration sources.The broad-based effort, known within the agency by the initials GST, is compartmentalized into dozens of highly classified individual programs, details of which are known mainly to those directly involved.'

Het Falend Terrorismebeleid

Patrick Baudouin is een jurist en ere-voorzitter van de Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH). Truthout heeft een interessant artikel van hem in het Franse dagblad Liberation vertaald waarin hij niet alleen stelt dat de maatregelen tegen terrorisme de staat buitensporig veel macht geeft, maar dat: 'Even more serious than these measures, the anti-terrorist struggle has served as a pretext for scandalous practices. In contempt of all human rights principles and international conventions, the American authorities, invoking the unheard of concept of "enemy combatant" or "illegal combatant," have authorized themselves to hold hundreds of prisoners in the sadly famous camp at Guantanamo for periods of unlimited detention. Torture was practiced at Abu Ghraib, and recourse to abusive treatment has become expressly recommended. Planes chartered by the CIA use European airports to transport terrorism suspects to secret detention centers implanted in various countries, where, globalization obliging, the most brutal methods of interrogation and incarceration are practiced. And even in Great Britain, an innocent man whose behavior appeared vaguely suspicious was shot down on a London subway platform, without the incident arousing particular emotion or even a very serious apology. All these avatars of the sweeping war against terrorism raise numerous questions, as much with regard to effectiveness as to legitimacy. Certainly, the terrorism that blindly aims at civilian populations and displays itself almost daily on our television screens can only arouse revulsion and condemnation. Certainly, security and life constitute the citizen's essential rights, and states have the right and the duty to take appropriate measures to assure citizens protection against terrorism. But one must be truly blind not to see that the increase in anti-terrorist practices and measures over the last five years has in no way arrested terrorism, which, on the contrary, never stops developing. This totally unsurprising observation was, moreover, perfectly predictable. Terrorism is not deterred by the strengthening of repression: It's not because he risks twenty years of prison instead of ten that a terrorist will renounce the performance of his act. As for the serious human rights violations committed at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere, they only succeed in intensifying hatred of the United States and the countries that support it and in producing new suicide bombers' vocations. In this sense, it may be said that George Bush is bin Laden's best ally. Other perverse effects of the "Global War against Terrorism" are manifold in trivializing abuses of power from Chechnya to Palestine, but one may especially evoke the revival made by many authoritarian states, which, under cover of contributing to the anti-terrorist fight, have adopted repressive legislation, used in fact to muzzle opponents and human rights defenders. When regimes despised by their own people a re involved, the only way out becomes extremism, which itself generates terrorism.' Lees verder: Of:

donderdag 29 december 2005

Economische en Politieke Corruptie 2

Nog meer corruptie en fraude in economie en politiek. KPMG is een wereldwijde accountantsorganisatie. De activiteiten omvatten assurancediensten, financial advisory services, belastingadvies en juridische dienstverlening. De omzet van alleen al de Nederlandse KPMG-vestiging steeg dit jaar met 5 procent tot 604 miljoen euro. Amy Goodman van Democracy Now stelde eeen deskundige enkele vragen over misdaden die niet bestraft worden: 'AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined in our Washington D.C. studio by Russell Mokhiber. He’s editor of Corporate Crime Reporter. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Russell. RUSSELL MOKHIBER: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Well, why don't you talk about your report, “Crime Without Conviction”? Talk about these deals. RUSSELL MOKHIBER: Well, Amy, if you and I engaged in a fraud against the government that cost the government $2.5 billion, as KPMG did, then you and I would be criminally prosecuted and sent to prison. I went to the press conference where the Attorney General of the United States announced this prosecution of KPMG, and he started off the press conference by saying, “Today, KPMG admits its criminal wrongdoing in this tax shelter fraud that cost the government $2.5 billion.” And then there was a pause, and he started talking about what was going on. The head of the I.R.S. comes on, and he details the criminal activity. Was there a conviction? No. The company was charged with a felony, and then the government gave the company a deferred prosecution agreement. This is an agreement that was intended – these kinds of agreements were intended for juvenile delinquents, to clear the courts of minor issues. But now they are being used in cases like KPMG to relieve the company of its criminal liability.' Ook in Nederland worden deals gesloten tussen corrupte bedrijven en de overheid. Ook hier wordt niet altijd tot vervolging overgegaan. En als, zoals in de bouwfraude, enkele topcriminelen worden veroordeeld dan zijn de straffen opmerkelijk laag. De Financiele Telegraaf: 'De rechtbank in Rotterdam legt milde straffen op aan de hoofdverantwoordelijken in de bouwfraude-affaire. Zo komt de Groningse bouwer Henk Koop van Koop Tjuchem er vanaf met een taakstraf van 180 uur. De topmannen van Heijmans, KWS en BAM krijgen boetes van enkele duizenden euro’s elk. De man die de fraude aan de kaak stelde, Ad Bos, is teleurgesteld, evenals het GroenLinks-Kamerlid Marijke Vos, ex-voorzitter van de parlementaire enquêtecommissie voor de bouwfraude.' Toch handelde het hier om fraude die jarenlang heeft geduurd en waarbij het om honderden miljoenen aan belastinggeld ging. Tegen de streng christelijke Henk Koop was 1 jaar cel geeist en een boete van 2 miljoen. Nog niet veel gezien de bedragen waarom het gaat. Desondanks werd het een taakstrafje en 100.000 euro boete. Klassejustitie in een democratisch land. Zolang de burger dit accepteert zal er geen einde aan komen.

Economische en Politieke Corruptie

Het Enron schandaal in de VS toont de nauwe banden tussen de grote concerns en de Amerikaanse regering. Het laat ook zien hoe in een corrupt systeem een president kan worden gekocht. Democracy Now bericht: 'Four years ago Enron filed for bankruptcy after years of defrauding its own employees and investors. The bankruptcy put over 4,000 people out of work. The value of the company's stock dropped from ninety dollars to about 30 cents. Thousands of Enron employees lost their lifesavings. The opening of Lay and Skilling's trial has now been pushed back to January 30. Up until yesterday, Causey's attorneys were working directly with them on a joint defense. It remains unclear how the upcoming trial will affect President Bush - who was closely linked to the Texas-based firm. The family of Enron founder Ken Lay was one of President Bush's biggest financial backers. It donated about $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the White House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay "Kenny Boy." Overall Enron employees gave Bush some $600,000 in political donations. According to the Center for Public Integrity this made Enron Bush's top career donor - a distinction the company maintained until last year. Shortly after Bush took office in 2001, Vice President Cheney reportedly met with Enron officials while he was developing the administration's energy policies. ' Het laatste nieuws over deze corruptie leest u hier:

Big Brother 5

De Amerikaanse hoogleraar Marjorie Cohn schrijft in Truthout: 'Big Brother Bush Is Listening. In an assertion of executive power that rivals the excesses of the McCarthy era of the late 1940's and 1950's, and the dreaded COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, George W. Bush's National Security Agency has been secretly spying on United States citizens without warrants for the last three years. George Orwell's book "1984" was first published during the heyday of McCarthyism in 1949. In the society Orwell described, everyone was under surveillance by the authorities. The people were constantly reminded of this by the phrase, "Big Brother is watching you." During the McCarthy period, in an effort to eradicate the perceived threat of communism, the government engaged in widespread illegal surveillance to threaten and silence anyone who had an unorthodox political viewpoint. Many people were jailed, blacklisted and lost their jobs. Thousands of lives were shattered as the FBI engaged in "red-baiting." Although Orwell's allegory was aimed at communism, it was the United States government that initiated COINTELPRO, designed by its own terms to "disrupt, misdirect, discredit and otherwise neutralize" political and activist groups. In the 1960s, for example, the FBI targeted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a program called "Racial Matters." King's campaign to register African-American voters in the South raised the hackles of the FBI, which disingenuously claimed King's organization was being infiltrated by communists. In fact, the FBI was really concerned that King's civil rights campaign, and particularly his opposition to the Vietnam War, "represented a clear threat to the established order of the US." The FBI went after King with a vengeance, wiretapping his telephones and securing very personal information which it used to try to drive him to divorce and suicide, and to discredit him.' Lees verder:

Democratie in Latijns Amerika

Mijn vriend en collega Ronald van den Boogaard die vandaag voor het laatst het radioprogramma Wereldnet heeft gepresenteerd, schreef me onlangs in een email goed op te letten op Latijns Amerika. Daar is een omwenteling aan de gang. Tijdens de revolutionaire jaren zeventig hielp de VS er fascistische regimes in het zadel, maar door hun wreedheid en corruptie moeten die nu plaatsmaken voor democratische vernieuwingsgezinde regeringen. Dit tot grote schrik van Washington. Yifat Susskind, onderdirecteur van de mensenrechtenorganisatie Madre schrijft in het linkse Amerikaanse ZMagazine: 'Misery in the Name of Democracy. The US Works Elections in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Haiti.The Bush Administration is touting Iraq's December 15 election as a giant leap forward for freedom guaranteed to ignite fervor for democracy across the entire Middle East. But closer to home, the Administration has discovered that democracy has created a monster and that the monster is democracy. In Latin America and the Caribbean, popular movements are demanding that the United States' "gift to the world" make good on its promise of majority rule. That would likely disrupt a system-otherwise known as "free-market democracy"-that has benefited a small elite and worsened poverty for most people. The possibility has so alarmed CIA Director Porter Goss that he recently labeled the spate of upcoming elections in Latin America as a "potential area of instability."' Of:

Big Brother 4

Common Dreams heeft het volgende bericht uit de New York Times overgenomen: 'Police Infiltrate Protests, Videotapes Show.
Undercover New York City police officers have conducted covert surveillance in the last 16 months of people protesting the Iraq war, bicycle riders taking part in mass rallies and even mourners at a street vigil for a cyclist killed in an accident, a series of videotapes show. In glimpses and in glaring detail, the videotape images reveal the robust presence of disguised officers or others working with them at seven public gatherings since August 2004.
The officers hoist protest signs. They hold flowers with mourners. They ride in bicycle events. At the vigil for the cyclist, an officer in biking gear wore a button that said, "I am a shameless agitator." She also carried a camera and videotaped the roughly 15 people present. Beyond collecting information, some of the undercover officers or their associates are seen on the tape having influence on events. At a demonstration last year during the Republican National Convention, the sham arrest of a man secretly working with the police led to a bruising confrontation between officers in riot gear and bystanders. Until Sept. 11, the secret monitoring of events where people expressed their opinions was among the most tightly limited of police powers.'

woensdag 28 december 2005

This is Hell

'This is Hell' is een buitengewoon boeiend radioprogramma van Chuck Mertz in Chicago. Elke zaterdagochtend interviewt hij meer dan drie uur en drie kwartier progressieve, linkse mensen uit de hele wereld, maar meestal Amerikanen. Hij laat zijn gasten rustig hun verhaal opbouwen, onderbreekt ze niet hinderlijk met wijsneuzige opmerkingen en laat zo een hier in Europa nagenoeg onbekende kant van de VS zien. Mertz heeft gevoel voor humor en is niet behept met die cynische betweterige ondertoon van veel Hilversumse en Haagse journalisten. Op 17 december sprak hij met Robert Dreyfuss, auteur van: 'Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. The first complete investigation of America's most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism. Devil's Game is the previously untold account of America's misguided efforts, stretching across six decades, to cultivate the Islamic right in an effort to dominate the economically and strategically vital Middle East. Drawing on archival research and interviews with policy makers and CIA, defense, and foreign-service officials, Robert Dreyfuss argues that America's historic alliance with the Islamic right is greatly to blame for the emergence of Islamist terrorism in the 1990s. Among the hidden stories of U.S. collusion with radical Islam that Dreyfuss reveals here are President Eisenhower's 1953 Oval Office meeting with a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the United States' later secret alliance with that group and their Saudi patrons against Egypt's President Nasser. Dreyfuss meticulously documents the CIA's funding of the Iranian ayatollahs in the coup d-etat that restored Iran's shah to power, the United States' support for Saudi Arabia's efforts to create a worldwide Islamic bloc as an antidote to Arab nationalism, and the longstanding ties between Islamic fundamentalists and the leading banks of the West. With clarity and rigor, Dreyfuss also chronicles how the United States looked the other way when Israel's secret service supported the creation of the radical Palestinian group Hamas and how a secretive clique of American strategists in the 1970s exploited political Islam to conduct a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan -- leading directly to the rise of the Taliban.
Wide-ranging and deeply informed, Devil's Game reveals a history of double-dealing and cynical exploitation that continues to this day -- as in Iraq, where the United States is backing radical Islamists, allied with Iran's clerics, who have surfaced as the dominant force in the post-Saddam Hussein Iraqi government. What emerges is a pattern that, far from furthering either democracy or security, ensures a future of blunders and blowbacks.' Voor meer over het boek Het programma ´This is Hell´ kunt u ook via podcast beluisteren. Een absolute aanrader voor geinteresseerden.

Media Leugens

Leugens, verdraaiingen, halve waarheden en het domweg niet berichten. De macht van de massamedia is groot. Het onafhankelijke Media Channel bericht: 'What Else Don't We Know?
By Justin Frank. In today’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports that the White House actively pressures the editors of major newspapers to withhold stories that could damage the Bush administration’s image and reputation with American citizens. The important question this revelation raises is, “What else don’t we know?” What other information, gathered by professional reporters and editors, has been kept from the American public. Kurtz has finally blown the whistle, revealing what he says, “may be the tip of a large and rather dirty iceberg.” It is incumbent upon those whose own stories have been suppressed to come forward and make their voices heard, starting with my own.' Zie ook voor een verklaring bij de foto hierboven:

Robert Fisk 3

Media Channel heeft een artikel van Robert Fisk in The Independent overgenomen over gekleurde berichtgeving: 'I first realized the enormous pressures on American journalists in the Middle East when I went some years ago to say goodbye to a colleague from the Boston Globe. I expressed my sorrow that he was leaving a region where he had obviously enjoyed reporting. I could save my sorrows for someone else, he said. One of the joys of leaving was that he would no longer have to alter the truth to suit his paper's more vociferous readers. "I used to call the Israeli Likud Party 'right wing,' " he said. "But recently, my editors have been telling me not to use the phrase. A lot of our readers objected." And so now, I asked? "We just don't call it 'right wing' anymore."'

Het Geweten

Volwassenen weten dat het geweten een mens kan achtervolgen en jaren na dato ineens als een monster kan toeslaan. Het onafhankelijke Amerikaanse Thruthout bericht: ' The spiraling cost of post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans has triggered a politically charged debate and ignited fears that the government is trying to limit expensive benefits for emotionally scarred troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past five years, the number of veterans receiving compensation for the disorder commonly called PTSD has grown nearly seven times as fast as the number receiving benefits for disabilities in general, according to a report this year by the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A total of 215,871 veterans received PTSD benefit payments last year at a cost of $4.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 1999 - a jump of more than 150 percent. Experts say the sharp increase does not begin to factor in the potential impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, because the increase is largely the result of Vietnam War vets seeking treatment decades after their combat experiences. Facing a budget crunch, experts within and outside the Veterans Affairs Department are raising concerns about fraudulent claims, wondering whether the structure of government benefits discourages healing, and even questioning the utility and objectivity of the diagnosis itself. "On the one hand, it is good that people are reaching out for help," said Jeff Schrade, communications director for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "At the same time, as more people reach out for help, it squeezes the budget further." Among the issues being discussed, he said, was whether veterans who show signs of recovery should continue to receive disability compensation: "Whether anyone has the political courage to cut them off - I don't know that Congress has that will, but we'll see." Zie:

Noam Chomsky 2

Het Amerikaanse ZNet publiceert de uitgeschreven versie van het interview dat Andy Clark voor Radio Netherlands voerde met Noam Chomsky: 'No rational person pays the slightest attention to declarations of benign intent on the part of leaders, no matter who they are. And the reason is they're completely predictable, including the worst monsters, Stalin, Hitler the rest. Always full of benign intent. Yes that's their task. Therefore, since they're predictable, we disregard them, they carry no information. What we do is, look at the facts. That's true if they're Bush or Blair or Stalin or anyone else. That's the beginning of rationality. All right, the basic facts we know: when Bush and Blair invaded Iraq, the reason was what they insistently called a 'single question.' That was repeated by Jack Straw, by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, everyone. 'Will Iraq eliminate its weapons of mass destruction?' That was the single question, that was the basis on which both Bush and Blair got authorization to use force. Within a few months this single question was answered and the answer came out the wrong way and then all of sudden...
Andy Clark: This was weapons of mass destruction you're talking about?
Noam Chomsky: Yes. Then very quickly it turned out that that wasn't the reason of the invasion.' Voor het hele interview:

Thomas Friedman 4

Naar aanleiding van mijn beschrijving van het gedachtengoed van de Amerikaanse columnist Thomas Friedman stuurde ik gisteren een email met het verzoek om een reactie van de Volkskrant-redactie. Binnen 20 minuten kreeg ik een voorlopige reactie van het redactiesecretariaat.
'Geachte heer Van Houcke,
(Op persoonlijke titel): Allereerst mijn complimenten voor uw informatieve en interessante weblog en de artikelen op uw website. Het is goed te weten dat iemand zich zo inzet voor het onrecht dat de Palestijnen en Irakezen wordt aangedaan.
Wat betreft een reactie van de Volkskrant; ik heb uw mailtje doorgestuurd naar de heer Thom Meens, die de aangewezen persoon is om hier iets over te zeggen. De heer Meens is echter t/m 2 januari met vakantie, dus daarna kunt u een antwoord op uw vraag verwachten.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Martine Rasing
Redactiesecretariaat de Volkskrant

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Stan van Houcke []
Verzonden: dinsdag 27 december 2005 14:20
Aan: VK Redactie
Onderwerp: E-mail met bijlage (attachment):

Geachte redactie
In mijn weblog werp ik de vraag op waarom Thomas Friedman de ruimte van de Volkskrant krijgt voor zijn gedachtengoed. Die vragen heb ik gemotiveerd, zoals u kunt lezen wanneer u op onderstaande snelkoppeling tikt. Bij deze verzoek ik u vriendelijk mij een reactie te sturen, die ik dan weer in mijn weblog publiceer. Vriendelijke groet Stan van Houcke'

Thom Meens is de ombudsman van de Volkskrant. Ik hou u op de hoogte.

dinsdag 27 december 2005


Hoewel negen van de tien doden in een moderne oorlog burgers zijn, onder wie vrouwen, kinderen, bejaarden, weerhoudt dit politici er niet van om oorlogen te beginnen. Napoleon hoorde nog de gewonden en stervenden op het slagveld kermen. Hitler niet, die weigerde een gebombardeerde stad te bezoeken om er met slachtoffers te praten. Volgens Herodotus vult koningin Tomyris van de Massageten op het slagveld een leren zak vol met bloed om er vervolgens het afgehakte hoofd van de verslagen Perzische koning Cyrus in te dompelen. 'Jij bent mijn ondergang geweest,' schreeuwt ze verscheurt van verdriet uit, 'ondanks het feit dat ik leef en je heb verslagen. Door jouw gemene list moet ik nu mijn zoon missen. Kijk, ik hou me aan mijn woord en zal je bloeddorst lessen.' Een moderne president ziet geen bloed. Hij bezoekt het slagveld niet. Hij doet alsof zijn oorlog er een is van precisie bombardementen. Een cleane oorlog van geavanceerde technologie zonder spuitend bloed, rondvliegende darmen, half weggeschoten hoofden, geschreeuw van angst en pijn. Een moderne leider leeft niet in een wereld van vlees en bloed maar in een wereld van verzinsels. Altijd weer worden koningen en presidenten gedreven door begeerte en machtswellust, toen en nu. In zijn boek 'Reizen met Herodotos' schrijft de Poolse journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski over Cyrus en Napoleon: 'Beiden lijden een nederlaag, omdat ze de Griekse wet overtreden, de wet van de matigheid: nooit te veel willen, niet alles wensen. Maar op het ogenblik waarop ze net aan hun veldtocht beginnen, zijn ze te verblind om dat te begrijpen, hun veroveringslust heeft hen hun oordeelsvermogen ontnomen, van het verstand beroofd.' De geschiedenis herhaalt zich wel degelijk, zo zal de Amerikaanse president nu langzamerhand beseffen. Maar nooit zal hij een druppel bloed zien, nooit zal Bush geconfronteerd worden met de geur en kleur van de dood die hij veroorzaakt heeft, nooit zal zijn hoofd in een leren zak met bloed verdwijnen als posthume straf voor zijn onverschilligheid tegenover het menselijk lijden. Een moderne president sterft keurig in bed tussen gestreken lakens in de aanwezigheid van zijn geliefde familie. Daarna spreken zijn collega politici en natuurlijk de journalisten als officiele kronikeurs van hun tijd, lovende woorden. Ze prijzen de daden van de zojuist gestorven man. Een historische figuur, een groot mens. En zo blijft de geschiedenis zich herhalen. Vergeten zijn de mensen die in helse pijn en in doodsangst alleen ergens op een landweg vermoord werden vanwege een hersenschim, een ideologie, een geloof, een ideaal, de dictatuur of de democratie, voor de machtigen maakt het niet uit.

Thomas Friedman 3

Hier ligt een Irakees slachtoffertje van een Amerikaanse luchtbombardement. In een democratie is de terreur van een oorlog alleen mogelijk dankzij propaganda. Het Amerikaanse Leger Hand Boek definieert terrorisme als volgt: 'het bewust geplande gebruik van geweld of dreiging van geweld om doelen te bereiken die politiek, religieus, of ideologisch van aard zijn.' Uitgaande van deze officiele Amerikaanse definitie is de New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman niets anders dan een ideoloog van het terrorisme. Lees wat hij schrijft: 'the US has to make clear to Iraq and US allies that... America will use force, without negotiation, hesitation, or UN approval.' En: 'Blow up a different power station in Iraq every week, so no one knows when the lights will go off or who's in charge.' En in zijn memo aan Bush junior: 'I ran Iraq with an iron fist. You're trying to run it on the cheap with an iron finger. No way. This ain't Norway here, pal. Your powerlessness will scare people here much more than your power.' En: 'I have no problem with a war for oil.' En: 'De verborgen hand van de markt zal nooit werken zonder een verborgen vuist. McDonalds kan niet floreren zonder McDonnell Douglas, de ontwerper van de F-15. De verborgen vuist die de wereld veilig houdt voor de technologie van Silicon Valley heet het Amerikaanse Leger, Luchtmacht, Marine en het Mariniers Korps.' En in zijn advies aan de Amerikaanse politici: 'bombing Iraq, over and over again.' En na de Golfoorlog van 1991 schreef hij dat een nieuwe 'iron-fisted Iraqi junta' zonder Saddam 'the best of all worlds' zou betekenen. De enige conclusie die overblijft is dat Friedman iemand is die terrorisme verheerlijkt. Waarom deze propagandist van terreur in de Volkskrant de ruimte krijgt is iets waarop de Volkskrant-redactie een antwoord moet geven. Ik weet het namelijk niet. Zeker niet wanneer ik op deze foto het resultaat zie van Friedman's propaganda over Amerika's 'ijzeren vuist.' 'Bombing Iraq, over and over again.'

Thomas Friedman 2

Het is opmerkelijk dat mensen met ronduit fascistische gedachten zoveel ruimte krijgen. Thomas Friedman, columnist van de New York Times bijvoorbeeld kan zonder te worden aangeklaagd allerlei impliciet racistische beweringen publiceren en oproepen tot het plegen van oorlogsmisdaden. De Amerikaanse auteur Anthony Arnove schreef voor de Amerikaanse inval in Irak in het uitstekend gedocumenteerde boek 'Iraq Under Siege': 'No one better embodies the depths of this convergence between military and governmental interests than New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman, for example has advocated "bombing Iraq, over and over again." In an article titled "Craziness Pays," Friedman explains that "the US has to make clear to Iraq and US allies that... America will use force, without negotiation, hesitation, or UN approval." Sounding like a character from Dr. Strangelove, he states, "Saddam Hussein is the reason God created cruise missiles. Cruise missiles are simply the only way to deal with him." In another column, he writes: "[I]f and when Saddam pushes beyond the brink, and we get that one good shot, let's make sure it's a head shot." But this pales compared with Friedman's column "Rattling the Rattler" [...] "Blow up a different power station in Iraq every week, so no one knows when the lights will go off or who's in charge..." That Friedman can openly advocate committing war crimes such as targeting power station... indicates how debased mainstream reportage of Iraq has become. Every power station that is targeted means more food and medicine that will not be refrigerated, hospitals that will lack electricity, water that will be contaminated, and people who will die. All of this is done, we are supposed to believe, in the name of democracy and human rights. More recently, Friedman has urged Bush to refine his message on Iraq. "If the Bush team is serious about Iraq, it needs to zero in on one clear objective, produce a tightly focused war plan around it, and then sell it - with a simple bumber sticker - to America and the world." Iraqi lives should be reduced to a catch phrase. Such is the nature of the "debate" about pre-emptive attack on Iraq: the primary topic elites are discussing today is not whether to attack Iraq, but how to "sell" the war",' aldus Anthony Arnove. In nagenoeg niets verschilt Friedman's columns met de vooroorlogse propaganda van Nazi-Duitsland, behalve dan dat andere groepen het slachtoffer zijn van de terreur der machtigen. De permanente bombardementen op Irak vanaf 1991, de vernietiging van de totale infrastructuur en de economische boycot leidde al voor de bezetting van het land tot de dood van een half miljoen Irakese kinderen onder de vijf jaar, aldus de cijfers van de Verenigde Naties. Iemand die oproept tot het plegen van terroristische aanslagen is een Schreibtisch-Mörder. Desondanks publiceert ook de Volkskrant de columns van de man die vooral bekend is geworden door zijn hetze tegen de arabische wereld en zijn voorgestelde schendingen van het internationaal recht.

Thomas Friedman

Dit is Thomas Friedman, als columnist van de New York Times al jarenlang een pro-Israel lobbyist met alles behalve democratische opvattingen. Zo adviseerde hij president Bush junior in een open 'memo' in zijn krant: 'I ran Iraq with an iron fist. You're trying to run it on the cheap with an iron finger. No way. This ain't Norway here, pal. Your powerlessness will scare people here much more than your power,' want in zijn racistische gedachtenwereld luisteren arabieren alleen als ze met een 'ijzeren vuist' worden geregeerd. Vlak voor de Amerikaanse inval in Iraq schreef hij: 'Is the war that the Bush team is preparing to launch in Iraq really a war for oil? My short answer is yes.' En een gewelddadige bezetting van een olierijk land vond Friedman geen enkel probleem: 'I have no problem with a war for oil.' Zijn filosofie is kortweg deze: 'De verborgen hand van de markt zal nooit werken zonder een verborgen vuist. McDonalds kan niet floreren zonder McDonnell Douglas, de ontwerper van de F-15. De verborgen vuist die de wereld veilig houdt voor de technologie van Silicon Valley heet het Amerikaanse Leger, Luchtmacht, Marine en het Mariniers Korps.' Dat daarbij vrouwen, kinderen, bejaarden om het leven komen, interesseert hem niet, zolang het maar de VS rijk en machtig houdt. De columns van deze propagandist worden ook door de Volkskrant gepubliceerd. Vandaag schrijft Thomas dat Europa door Iran wordt omgekocht. 'Iran kan zoveel oliedollars rondstrooien in Europa dat het geen tel bang hoeft te zijn dat de Europeanen ooit sancties zullen afkondigen omdat Teheran weigert inzicht te verschaffen in zijn nucleaire activiteiten.' Dat het met wapens en geld door het Westen gesteunde Israel hetzelfde weigert terwijl het al meer dan 150 kernwapens heeft, is iets dat de pro-Israel lobbyist verzuimd te melden. Tussen de regels door maakt hij de geesten rijp voor een aanval op Iran. Hij heeft het over de geringe populariteit van het regime bij de Iraanse jeugd, met wie Friedman ineens bijzonder sympathiseert, en over de 'energieke en goed opgeleide burgers,' van wie de 'kansen om die talenten te ontplooien al vanaf het begin van de Iraanse revolutie gefnuikt [worden].' Kortom, hoogste tijd voor een regime change. Friedman voert een 'energiedeskundige van het Instituut voor de Analyse van Internationale Veiligheid' op om zijn stelling te onderbouwen dat Europa wordt gemanipuleerd door Iran. Hij meldt er niet bij dat deze 'energiedeskundige' Gal Luft alles behalve een neutrale deskundige is. Volgens het 'Jewish Journal' is Luft een voormalige luitenant-kolonel van de Israelische strijdkrachten en dus is de conclusie gerechtvaardigd dat hij de oorlogsbelangen van Israel behartigt. Friedman: 'Nadat de Verenigde Staten Afghanistan en Irak waren binnengevallen, "beseften de Iraniers dat ze een verzekeringspolis nodig hadden," voegt Luft eraan toe. Daarom deden ze twee dingen: ze stortten zich op de ontwikkeling van een bom en ze sloten contracten voor de levering van aardgas aan eenderde van de wereldbevolking - in India en China, wat tegelijk de snelstgroeiende energieverbruikers ter wereld zijn.' Ik zou zeggen: dat verbaast me niets, het is juist begrijpelijk. Logisch dat een natie die bedreigd wordt door een 'oorlog om olie,' vanwege 'de ijzeren hand van de markt' zich voorbereid op Amerikaanse 'ijzeren vuist' en dat het via het ontwikkelen van een kernbom de VS buiten de deur probeert te houden. Over de inval van Irak schreef Friedman: 'Let's cut the nonsense. The primary reason the Bush team is more focused on Saddam is because if he were to acquire weapons of mass destruction, it might give him the leverage he has long sought - not to attack us, but to extend his influence over the world's largest source of oil, the Persian Gulf.' En daar draait het allemaal om. Zodra Iran een eigen nucleair wapen heeft kan het niet langer meer gechanteerd en bedreigd worden door de VS. Maar dat schrijft Friedman nu niet. Na het fiasco in Irak weet hij dat dit argument door het grote publiek niet geaccepteerd wordt. Dus schrijft hij nu: 'nog drie jaar olie a 60 dollar per vat en al het goede wat de Verenigde Staten in de wereld proberen te bereiken wordt onderuit gehaald.' De 'ijzeren vuist' heet nu ineens 'al het goede,' aldus onze gevaarlijke reactionair. Het staat er echt. In de Volkskrant.

maandag 26 december 2005

Olie en Klimaat

De almaar naderbij komende uitputting van de oliereserves en de klimaatverandering zijn twee fenomenen die de komende vijftig jaar de wereld ingrijpend zullen veranderen. Terwijl politici handelen alsof er niets aan de hand is, schrijven deskundigen als James Howard van de Britse organisatie PowerSwitch: 'The Fusion of Peak Oil & Climate Change. Peak Oil and Climate Change are two historic events for humans and life on earth. The first threatens modern industrial ways of living and the latter threatens the climatic systems that are an integral part of our world and the way we live and survive. A quick recap on both. Peak Oil is the point of historic maximum global oil flow, Climate Change is the alteration of established climate systems due to (in this case, anthropogenic) global warming. The onset of both will affect food & water supplies, mortality rates, conflict, migration and much more. The evidence that climate change is underway and almost past the point of no return is very strong and Peak Oil day by day gathers more credence as many studies point to an imminent peak. How do these two events affect each other though? The decline of global oil supply and the increasing cost of everything as a consequence means we will see our ability to deal with the consequences of Climate Change reduced.'


Haar stem lijkt steeds meer op die van haar moeder. Licht, soms een tikje breekbaar. In haar Kersttoespraak gisteren koppelde het Nederlandse staatshoofd het persoonlijke aan het politieke. Ze zei onder andere: 'Het koningschap heeft mij de laatste 25 jaar geleerd hoe wezenlijk de steun is van anderen. Een ieder's leven wordt tenslotte bepaald door een omgeving waarin medemensen een plaats hebben... Meer dan ooit zijn blijken van warmte tussen mensen van wezenlijke betekenis. We leven in een tijd waarin steeds nadruk wordt gelegd op wat ons ontbreekt. Dankbaarheid begint bij de erkenning dat er veel goed is, dat hoop zich voortdurend vernieuwt, dat steeds weer wegen opengaan en dat daarin rede ligt om zegeningen te tellen.' De hele toespraak van ons staatshoofd kunt u hier beluisteren bij fragmenten/broadband:

Israel's Extremisme 7

In Counterpunch schrijft de Amerikaanse hoogleraar James Petras over Israel's oorlogszuchtige taal: 'Never has an imminent war been so loudly and publicly advertised as Israel's forthcoming military attack against Iran. When the Israeli Military Chief of Staff, Daniel Halutz, was asked how far Israel was ready to go to stop Iran's nuclear energy program, he said "Two thousand kilometers" ­ the distance of an air assault. More specifically Israeli military sources reveal that Israel's current and probably next Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered Israel's armed forces to prepare for air strikes on uranium enrichment sites in Iran According to the London Times the order to prepare for attack went through the Israeli defense ministry to the Chief of Staff. During the first week in December, "sources inside the special forces command confirmed that 'G' readiness ­ the highest state ­ for an operation was announced" (Times, December 11, 2005). On December 9, Israeli Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, affirmed that in view of Teheran's nuclear plans, Tel Aviv should "not count on diplomatic negotiations but prepare other solutions". In early December, Ahron Zoevi Farkash, the Israeli military intelligence chief told the Israeli parliament (Knesset) that "if by the end of March, the international community is unable to refer the Iranian issue to the United Nations Security Council, then we can say that the international effort has run its course". In other words, if international diplomatic negotiations fail to comply with Israel's timetable, Israel will unilaterally, militarily attack Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party and candidate for Prime Minister, stated that if Sharon did not act against Iran, "then when I form the new Israeli government (after the March 2006 elections) we'll do what we did in the past against Saddam's reactor." In June 1981 Israel bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.' Voor zover ik weet hebben de de Europese Unie en de VS nog niet gereageerd op de dreigende agressie van Israel. Die agressie is in strijd met het internationaal recht, maar kennelijk mag Israel dat. Het feit dat de Israelische bevolking er niet voor is, speelt bij politici kennelijk geen enkele rol. Kijken hoe lang ook het kabinet Balkenende blijft zwijgen. Overigens werd Iran wel meteen bestraffend toegesproken toen de president van dat land zich negatief over Israel uitliet. Het meten met twee maten mag in het Westen als normaal worden beschouwd, maar niet in de rest van de wereld, en zeker niet in het olierijke Midden Oosten. En de Westerse steun aan de Israelische agressie wordt ook niet langer meer geaccepteerd. Het Westen zal er een prijs voor moeten betalen.

zondag 25 december 2005

Amerikaanse Bombardementen

De Washington Post bericht: 'Military Confirms Surge in Airstrikes. US airstrikes in Iraq have surged this fall, jumping to nearly five times the average monthly rate earlier in the year, according to US military figures. Until the end of August, US warplanes were conducting about 25 strikes a month. The number rose to 62 in September, then to 122 in October and 120 in November. Several US officers involved in operations in Iraq attributed much of the increase to a series of ground offensives in western Anbar province. Those offensives, conducted by US Marines and Iraqi forces, were aimed at clearing foreign fighters and other insurgents from the Euphrates River Valley and establishing Iraqi control over the Syrian border area. But Air Force Maj. Gen. Allen G. Peck, deputy commander of the US air operations center in the region, said the higher strike numbers also reflected more aggressive military operations in other parts of Iraq that were undertaken to improve security for last week's national elections. "I'm hard-pressed to provide a single definitive explanation for the increase," Peck said in a telephone interview. For most airstrikes in Iraq, US crews have been employing 500-pound, precision-guided bombs rather than the 1,000- or 2,000-pound versions used in past conflicts, Peck said. The smaller bombs are intended to reduce the potential for collateral damage. In limited cases, the 100-pound Hellfire missile is used. "It won't knock down a house, but it can be effective in taking out a car," Peck said. With the Pentagon preparing to reduce the level of US ground forces in Iraq next year, some defense experts have speculated that US airpower will be used more intensively to support operations by Iraq's fledgling security forces and protect US advisers embedded with them. Indeed, American commanders have said that US air forces in the region will not be drawn down as quickly as ground forces.' Of En hoe meer bomberdementen des te meer burger slachtoffers. Nogmaals de Washington Post: 'U.S. Airstrikes Take Toll on CiviliansEyewitnesses Cite Scores Killed in Marine Offensive in Western Iraq. RAMADI, Iraq -- U.S. Marine airstrikes targeting insurgents sheltering in Iraqi residential neighborhoods are killing civilians as well as guerrillas along the Euphrates River in far western Iraq, according to Iraqi townspeople and officials and the U.S. military.Just how many civilians have been killed is strongly disputed by the Marines and, some critics say, too little investigated. But townspeople, tribal leaders, medical workers and accounts from witnesses at the sites of clashes, at hospitals and at graveyards indicated that scores of noncombatants were killed last month in fighting, including airstrikes, in the opening stages of a 17-day U.S.-Iraqi offensive in Anbar province.' Of

'God's Schepping'

Op deze christelijke feestdag is het voor de vrome gelovigen die achter het beleid van het kabinet Balkenende staan zinnig om stil te staan bij het feit dat ze zich de rentmeesters van god's schepping zien. Common Dreams heeft het volgende bericht uit de Britse Guardian overgenomen: 'American Global Warming Gas Emissions Accelerate to a Record High. Emissions of global warming gases from the United States have nearly doubled in 14 years and reached an all-time high in 2004, according to figures released by the American government. But new analysis suggests Europe is also falling behind in its attempt to meet legally binding United Nations targets. The US energy department report shows emissions rose 2% in 2004 and stood one year ago at 7,122.1m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year - about 25% of the world total. The rise was the greatest in five years and is part of an accelerating trend. Revised figures also published showed emissions in 2003 were at the second highest level. This year's figures have not been published but are expected by analysts to be similar or greater because of strong US economic growth.'

Irak 8

Dit is Ahmad Chalabi, een van de vier vice premiers van Irak, die de Bush-bende ervan overtuigde dat Amerikaanse troepen met open armen in Irak zouden worden verwelkomd. Tegelijkertijd gebruikte de Bush-bende Ahmad Chalabi om Judith Miller van de New York Times ervan te overtuigen dat Saddam Hoessein massavernietigingswapens bezat. Ahmad wordt door de Jordaanse autoriteiten gezocht wegens fraude in dat land. Hij is in 1992 door een Jordaanse rechtbank bij verstek veroordeeld tot 22 jaar dwangarbeid voor het verduisteren van 300 miljoen dollar. Desondanks was deze misdadiger de grote man voor de Amerikaanse regering. Het onafhankelijke Global Circle Net heeft het volgende bericht overgenomen: 'Chalabi, Judith Miller Source and Exile Leader, Gets Less than 1% in Election. NEW YORK. The politician and onetime administration and U.S. newspaper source, Ahmed Chalabi, "appears to have suffered a humiliating defeat at the recent Iraq polls," NBC News reports today, according to the uncertified preliminary results. It said that preliminary results in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad indicate that Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress scored a minuscule 0.36 percent of the votes. In the Shiite city of Basra, the results indicate Chalabi, the current deputy prime minister who some neocons thought might soon head the country, had an equally dismal showing of 0.34 percent of the vote. In the Sunni province of Anbar, 113 people voted for him.' Zie: En: Onder andere om deze crimineel in het zadel te helpen zijn Westerse troepen naar het Midden Oosten gestuurd. Hetzelfde geldt voor Afghanistan, waar de door Nederland gesteunde krijgsheren rijk worden door de heroinehandel. Zoals blijkt, heeft dit allemaal niets met democratie of nation building te maken. De Afghaanse president Hamid Karzai is een voormalige adviseur van Unocal, een Amerikaanse oliemaatschappij die overal in Centraal Azie olie- en gasbelangen heeft. Nauwelijks was Karzai door de Amerikanen aan de macht geholpen of hij tekende een contract waarbij Unocal via een pijplijn door Afghanistan gas vanuit Turkmenistan naar de Pakistanse kust kan transporteren. Zie: En: Om die handel mogelijk te maken sterven jonge Westerse militairen in het Midden Oosten. Officieel natuurlijk om er de democratie te brengen, maar in werkelijkheid om de aandeelhouders zo rijk mogelijk te maken.

Gelukkig Kerstfeest Iedereen!

Gelukkig Kerstfeest Iedereen!

Merry Christmas Everybody!

zaterdag 24 december 2005

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy is een beeldend kunstenaar wiens werken soms niet meer dan enkele seconden bestaan, zoals zijn rode rivierstenen die tot poeder vermalen even door de lucht dwarrelen, steeds veranderende vormen makend. Een van zijn boeken heet: 'Tijd.' Alles in het werk van Goldsworthy toont het mysterie van verandering, tijdelijkheid, het onbestendige. Dat maakt zijn werk ook zo onweerstaanbaar fascinerend. Hij fotografeerde ooit eens zijn bevroren schaduw in het gras. De zon had zijn contouren tijdelijk op de grond vastgelegd. Over hem is geschreven: 'Andy Goldsworthy creates sculptures in the landscape, using nature as the raw material and subject of his work. This exhibition brings together a series of fifteen colour photographs of these works, made between 1977 and 1979. Goldsworthy uses materials, from stones and twigs to snow and icicles, to create works that offer the viewer a heightened experience of the energy and patterning of the natural world. Photographs often provide the only lasting evidence of the artist’s reworking of nature, preserving ''the optimum moment, the moment when I had not just made the piece, but understood the piece.'' Zelf zegt de kunstenaar: 'For me, looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a sourse of twigs and branches... I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn... Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work... The energy and space around a material are as important as the energy and space within. The weather- rain, sun, snow, hail, mist, calm- is that external space made visible. When I touch a rock, I am touching and working the space around it. It is not independant of its surroundings and the way it sits tells me how it came to be there. In an effort to understand why that rock is there and where it is going, I must work with it in the area in which I found it.' Al jaren bewonder ik zijn werk en vooral ook zijn verbeeldingskracht. Meer over hem kunt u ondermeer hier lezen:

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