zaterdag 27 mei 2006

Big Brother 16

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is
Hij schrijft: 'The Busheviks 05/26/06 "NFR" -- -DETROIT -- When the Liar in Chief declares, "We're not mining or trolling into the personal lives of innocent Americans," the enlightened know that is precisely what his fascist government is doing. President George W. Bush lies in small matters -- like his absurdly folksy claim that his greatest thrill and the "best moment" of his presidency was catching a fish. So when it comes to covering up his domestic spying program, you know he's spewing his Orwellian whoppers big-time.
The only problem the Busheviks had with their secret wiretapping program was they got caught. But don't worry, Bush assured us, it's only those "international communications" he wanted to "aggressively pursue." Always the master of the deceptive oversimplification to buttress his point, Bush added, "If there are people inside our country who are talking to al-Qaeda, we want to know." Little details like the law and the Constitution couldn't restrain our "wartime president" who claims absolute, unfettered authority to do anything he wants to "protect" our nation. So now he's caught kicking it up a notch to include widespread surveillance of domestic phone records and spying on millions of innocent Americans. USA Today blew the lid off the National Security Agency's spying and monitoring of domestic phone activities. One source told USA Today that the NSA spying program has produced "the largest database ever assembled in the world." This Big Brother snooping was done with the ignominious cooperation of phone company giants Verizon, AT&T and Bell South. Qwest, to its great credit, refused to cooperate in the sordid deed of betraying its own customers. Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest's former CEO, refused to provide the NSA with private phone records of its customers. Nacchio -- who's under indictment on an insider trading charge -- smelled serious legal issues when the NSA came knocking on his door. In a prepared statement for The New York Times, Nacchio's lawyer, Herbert J. Stern, said the government first approached his client in the fall of 2001. "Mr. Nacchio made an inquiry as to whether a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request," Stern stated. He added, "When he learned that no such authority had been granted, and there was a disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process," Nacchio became suspicious, figured the NSA requests violated privacy requirements and told his people "to refuse to comply." Any officer at Verizon, AT&T and Bell South who did comply should be summarily fired. Company board members should be outraged, and shareholders should be demanding accountability. This may be the incident that sparks the biggest class-action lawsuit ever. The company officers broke the law and their contracts with their customers. A $5 billion suit has already been filed against Verizon for sharing customer information with government spies. "This is the largest and most vast intrusion of civil liberties we've ever seen in the United States," said Bruce Afrin, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.' Lees verder:

De New York Times

Net zoals in de Hirsi Magan affaire het hele Nederlandse parlement voor een collega opkwam, terwijl alle anderen die in een soortgelijke situatie verkeerden genegeerd werden, zo maakt het Amerikaanse Congres zich ineens druk over het schenden van het recht van een politicus die door de FBI werd betrapt, terwijl het Congres niet onmiddellijk in het geweer kwam tegen het illegaal bespioneren van gewone Amerikaanse burgers. De New York Times schrijft nu verontwaardigt: 'One Man's Constitutional Crisis ... The New York Times Editorial.

Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have achieved an almost unprecedented level of bipartisanship in denouncing the FBI's search of a congressman's office. They talk angrily about the separation of powers and the implications of having an executive branch agency make a foray into a lawmaker's official space. Our first question is where all these concerned constitutionalists have been for the last five years.
Time and time again, Congress has played dead when the executive branch refused to provide it with information, answer questions or follow laws that the legislative branch has passed. Currently, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has not been the worst offender, is tinkering dangerously with the laws covering domestic wiretapping by the National Security Agency. It could end up endorsing a program that the White House won't even fully describe to a vast majority of lawmakers.
Compared with the enormous issues at hand, the matter of Representative William Jefferson is small potatoes. The FBI says that it videotaped the congressman accepting $100,000 to grease the way for some business deals in Africa, and that agents found most of the money in his freezer. The Justice Department obtained a warrant, entered Mr. Jefferson's office and removed files that it says are related to that investigation.
Mr. Jefferson says there are two sides to every story, although he has not yet offered his. That does not make him guilty - indeed, he is yet to be charged. The House leaders demanded that the seized documents be returned, and the White House ordered them sealed for 45 days to buy time.
The FBI is going to have to show some very good reasons for having precipitated this showdown. Federal investigators have managed to prosecute many other officials for corruption over the last 200-odd years without ever barging into Congressional offices in the process. The danger of abuse with this kind of activity is enormous, especially with a president and an attorney general whose grasp for power seems to have no limits. They cannot be trusted to keep legitimate police activity from turning into political persecution. Just yesterday, administration officials were talking about having the FBI interrogate lawmakers in an attempt to find the sources of the Times article disclosing Mr. Bush's domestic spying operation. That would certainly represent a major breach of the separation of powers principle.
The constitutional claims made by the Congressional leadership on the Jefferson case seem overblown. House and Senate members are protected from arrest while going about their official business to shield them from intimidation and meddling by the executive branch in the affairs of state, not to deter law enforcement officials from doing their lawful duty to investigate possible felonies.
But members of Congress who have been politically comatose or complicit as the Bush administration built itself an imperial presidency, immune from the historical powers of the legislative branch, are up in arms. The House Judiciary Committee, which has been in the forefront of the long-running cave-in, has scheduled a hearing that the chairman has titled "Reckless Justice: Did the Saturday Night Raid of Congress Trample the Constitution?"
It seems like a phony approach to a real problem.' Zie: Of: Tot nu toe is het de New York Times in zijn berichtgeving over de Hirsi Magan affaire ontgaan dat ook hier sprake is van het meten met twee maten. Als een gewone asielzoeker niet mag liegen, mag ook een volksvertegenwoordiger dat niet. Dat ook in Nederland iedereen gelijk is voor de wet, begrijpt de New York Times kennelijk nog niet. Ook nogal wat journalisten van de commerciele massamedia meten met twee maten.

Nederland en Afghanistan 78

Iemand die al lang een serieuze studie van Afghanistan maakt is de Amerikaanse hoogleraar Marc W. Herold. Hij schrijft: '“Grab News Headlines, Isolate Bombed
Area and Stonewall: U.S. Military’s
Virtual Reality about Afghan Civilian
Casualties. A Case Study of the U.S.
Assault upon Hajiyan”
Marc W. Herold
Departments of Economics and Women’s Studies
Whittemore School of Business & Economics
University of New Hampshire
Durham, N.H. 03824
May 24, 2006

A growing disconnect exists between the daily reality of war experienced by the common
Afghan and how this war is represented to the American general public by the corporate
media, many non-governmental organizations favoring “humanitarian interventions”
around the globe (e.g., Human Rights Watch), and the U.S. military and its defense
minions. The war in Afghanistan – as most other wars beginning with Vietnam – is
waged both on the ground there and in the living rooms here. The recent midnight assault
upon the small village of Hajiyan (also called Alizi) along the Arghandab River in
Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province provides a case study to explore this disconnect.1
No doubt many similar cases exist, but the U.S. military strategy to contain and stonewall
succeeded there.
A very graphic way – a picture is worth a thousand words – is simply to contrast photos
of how the U.S. military is portrayed with Afghan children. The first photo depicts U.S.
Army Capt. John Pritchard of Combined Joint Task Force 16 giving a tee-shirt to a young
boy in Panjwayi (from ). Another type of
interaction is shown in the second photo: the legacy of “precision fire” by A-10 Warthog
attack jets upon the village of Hajiyan in Panjwayi, revealed on the body of three year-old
Mohammad Imran (photo by Noor Khan, A.P.).
1 Four years ago, I wrote a similar article exploring the attack upon a wedding in Kakarak village, Uruzgan
Province. The article was widely reprinted and may be seen in India’s foremost weekly magazine,
Frontline, at: “The massacre at Kakarak. Of arrogance and Pentagon-speak, in the midst of chasing Mullah
Omar's shadows and keeping Hamid Karzai in power,” Frontline 19, 16 (August 16, 2002), at:
Both pictures are “true” and neither one alone represents reality. Both illustrate two
images of modern war: the war to win hearts and minds and the war to kill the enemy.
They are inseparable. But every effort will be made to keep images like that of Imran off
pages and screens of America because the wars the U.S. carries out are represented as
being the “good fights” where only the bad guys die in a hail of “precision” bombs and
rockets… “in the rockets red glare.”
On the other hand, the case of Imran was front-page news in the major national daily of
our neighbor to the north on May 23rd (an impossible event in the United States where
news about civilian casualties at best gets buried in pages twenty to thirty).' Zie: Zie ook Herold's website over Afghanistan:

Israelisch Expansionisme 17

Een paar jaar geleden, tijdens de tweede intifada, was ik getuige van hoe dit soort Isrealische sluipschutters demonstrerende Palestijnse kinderen doodschoten of zwaar verwondden. Bij Information Clearing House kunt u een documentaire zien over het Israelische expansionisme onder de titel: 'Tragedy in the Holy Land - The Second Uprising.
This documentary addresses the core issues of land and identity - It probes the evolution of the seemingly incurable conflict i Palestine from a historic perspective that is typically unknown to American audiences
Edward Said and Noam Chomsky


In de fascinerende documentaire 'Enron. The Smartest Guys In The Room' zegt de 34-jarige journalist Bethany McLean van Fortune Magazine, die als eerste doorkreeg dat er iets fundamenteels niet klopte met Enron, over de topmanagement: 'I think there was a huge amount of delusion at Enron... I think Jeff Skilling had a desperate need to believe that Enron was a succes. I think he identified with Enron. He proclaimed at one point: "I am Enron" and he had to believe that the company was succesful because to do otherwise would have meant that he himself was a failure and he just could not do that... It is part of the tragedy of the Enron story that most of the key figures were not people who were born with great riches or easy opportunities. They were people like Ken Lay, who was the son of a dirt poor baptist minister who even hadn't indoor plumbing untill he was 11 years old or Jeff Skilling who worked some 50 hours a week all the way through highschool years. His family was blue collar. Rebecca Mark, who grew up on a farm in Missouri and put herself through college. And these are people who really created themselves just by sheer force of will, who made something out of nothing. And to see their fatal flaws, which they all had, bring them down, there is something especially tragic about that.' De waanvoorstelling van de daders gaat zover dat ze zich naderhand als slachtoffer zien. De documentaire maakt ook duidelijk dat tot aan het bittere einde de aanhang, de werknemers van Enron in de handel en wandel van de top bleef geloven. Enron laat tenslotte zien dat mensen zonder identiteit ineens een identiteit verzinnen, ze nemen een rol aan en die kunnen ze tot het fatale einde blijven spelen, daarbij hun naasten in hun val meeslepend. Wat mij opviel was hoe buitengewoon scherp de observatie was van de betrekkelijk jonge McLean. Ook in Nederland leven politici en topmanagers die met leugen en bedrog iets van niets hebben gemaakt, iets van zichzelf hebben gecreerd dat niet op de werkelijkheid berust, en vervolgens de mist ingaan. We moeten ons afvragen waar en wanneer wat fout ging, maar misschien kunnen alleen grote volkeren dat, die een echte intellectuele cultuur hebben, zoals in de Verenigde Staten. Niet alles is daar McDonald's.

Alex Gibney, de schrijver/producer van 'Enron. The Smartest Guys In The Room,' verklaarde desgevraagd: 'I think the story of Enron exposes the major flaw in capitalism, which is the crude believe that raw self interest left untatered will always result in the best possible social good. It's not so.'

Bethany McLean concludeerde tenslotte: 'It was such a surprise to me that 99 percent of the people who worked at Enron, even the people who were in a position to see it, didn't see it, because they didn't want to add it up and I think that tells such a large story of human nature and of the process by which we rationalise and deceive ourselves when doing this is in our best interest.'


Trouw bericht: 'Broedplaatsen van terreur in kaart gebracht.
door Co Welgraven
Over de hele wereld gezien zijn er 41 gebieden aan te wijzen die het stempel terroristische vrijplaats verdienen.
· Klik hier voor een grote versie van de kaart
Dat zegt Rem Korteweg, onderzoeker en promovendus bij het Clingendael Centrum voor Strategische Studies. Hij heeft de gebieden in kaart gebracht, onder andere aan de hand van lijsten van terroristische organisaties die de Europese Unie en de Verenigde Staten hebben opgesteld.
Terroristische vrijplaatsen zijn landen, gebieden of regio’s waar wetteloosheid heerst, waar terroristen trainingsplaatsen kunnen bouwen, mensen kunnen rekruteren en hun financiële zaken kunnen regelen. Bovendien moeten er bevolkingsgroepen zijn die op zijn minst niet vijandig staan ten op zichte van die groep.
Behalve bekende vrijplaatsen als Somalië, Sri Lanka en Tsjetsjenië, vertoont de lijst van Korteweg ook plekken die niet als zodanig bekend zijn bij het grote publiek. Een van die voorbeelden is het drielandengebied tussen Brazilië, Argentinië en Paraguay. Toen zich daar eind jaren zeventig een groep Libanezen vestigde, ontdekte Hezbollah dat het een ideale plek was om operaties voor te bereiden en te schuilen.' Zie:

Hier is sprake van een kolossale omissie van Trouw en de Clingendael promovendus, een fout die iedere mediaconsument ogenblikkelijk in het oog springt, namelijk: De Verenigde Staten staat er niet op en ook niet het Verenigd Koninkrijk! Wat een blunder, dat proefschrift zal onmiddellijk in de prullebak verdwijnen, tenzij het niet drastisch gecorrigeerd wordt. Welke definitie van terrorisme wordt door de Clingendael promovendus gehanteerd en door Trouw? Als onafhankelijke journalist gebruik ik zelf de definitie zoals die beschreven staat in het Amerikaanse Leger Handboek, waarbij terrorisme omschreven wordt als ‘het bewust geplande gebruik van geweld of dreiging van geweld om doelen te bereiken die politiek, religieus, of ideologisch van aard zijn.’ Zie ook: En zelfs bij een oppervlakkige beschouwing van de Amerikaanse en Britse buitenlandse politiek ontkomt geen waardenvrije wetenschapper aan de conclusie dat het beleid van beide landen regelmatig ruimschoots onder deze definitie valt. Ik heb dit aan Trouw opgestuurd met de vraag of ze hun definitie kunnen geven. Ik ben benieuwd. Het viel me trouwens op dat op deze kaart het merendeels islamitische landen betreft en derde wereldlanden. Zou dit wetenschappelijke toeval zijn, of een bewust gemaakte keuze? Hoe zouden Trouw en de Clingedael-wetenschapper de Westerse terreur noemen, zoals die door journalisten, historici en andere wetenschappers beschreven wordt? Zie ook mijn audioblog met interviews hierover.

vrijdag 26 mei 2006

De Amerikaanse Middenklasse

De Daily Bulletin bericht: 'Are you drowning in debt?Much of the middle class is.

It's the middle of the month, a Wednesday evening that Joe Homeowner has set aside to pay the bills.
The paycheck at the end of the month pays the next month's mortgage; it's this one that takes care of everything else. Everything else, that is, that can be paid.
He starts with car insurance, noticing that his rate has improved a little, thanks to careful driving.
Then come the utilities -- gas, electric, telephone, cable. He looks twice at the cable bill. Does he really need HBO?
He's cruising along. Life has definitely been easier since he made the final payment on his car. Now if it will only hold together for a few years ... .
One bill left and $600 remaining. Maybe he can really make a dent in his credit-card bill this month.
Then his wife says something. ‘‘Did you remember you're supposed to pay Susan's tuition?''
Their daughter at Cal State Fullerton. The envelope that wasn't with all the others. A little more than $1,300 for the semester's tuition and fees.
Joe sighs. He'll still be able to pay $600 on his credit card, but only by charging the semester on the same card. Just like that, he has slipped further into debt by $700.
It's very little consolation that he is exactly like millions of other middle-income Americans these days.
Joe is drowning in debt.
A few quick facts about middle-class debt from a study by the Center for American Progress:
-- Middle-income is defined as between $25,000 and $70,000 a year.
-- Debt increased by 30.3 percentage points between 2001 and 2004 to stand at 108.4 percent of income.
-- White and Latino families spend an average of 18.3 percent of their income for debt service; African-American families spend 18.2 percent.
-- 13.7 percent of families spend more than 40 percent of their monthly income on debt service.
-- Contrary to popular belief, the biggest jump in debt has been for educational costs, which increased by 24.6 percent after adjustment for inflation between 2001 and 2004.' Lees verder:

De Pro Israel Lobby 9

De Electronic Intifada bericht: 'Israel Lobby WatchInterview with Prof. Norman Finkelstein. Christopher Brown, a grassroots radical journalist, conducted the following interview with Prof. Norman Finkelstein:Christopher Brown: Prof. Finkelstein, in your estimation why does it seem that when someone challenges Israel on its policies towards the Palestinians they are accused of anti-Semitism?Norman Finkelstein: I think the answer is that in the past, if you take the 1960s. 1970s and early 80s, the scholarly record and the documentary record, it seemed to be supporting Israel's position. And so Israelis and their supporters didn't typically charge anti-Semitism. What they did was tell you to look at the record, look at the history and see that it supports their claims. Beginning in the late 1980s and 1990s the work of important Israeli historians as well as the documentary record of human rights organizations, Israel's record not as good as it once did. And it turned out that many of the things that people thought were the case when they came to Israel actually turned out not to be the case. Thus Israel's position both historically and in terms of its current human rights record as that position became more indefensible; it was then that the charges of anti-Semitism began to be hurled with reckless abandon. Because there was no other way to respond to the charges that Israel has done and is doing. It's wrong.CB: We often here in this county that the mainstream media is objective in it's coverage regarding Israel/Palestine. But recently, when Israel fired more than 300 tank shells a day for over a week into populated civilian areas of Gaza, which caused death and injury to women and children, the corporate media remained silent. In this same time span, a suicide bombing occurred in Tel Aviv and the coverage of the event dominated the news cycle, in some places for three days. Could you speak about this phenomenon?NF: Well I think to begin with I don't think that anyone believes that American coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict is evenhanded. I don't even think that journalists and editors who are responsible for that coverage believe it. The coverage in the American media of the Israel/Palestine conflict is, frankly, useless. I don't read it at all, I'll be perfectly honest, and I stopped reading it. I don't read the editorials, I don't read the op-eds, and I don't read the news columns. You learn absolutely nothing from it. The best sources are; European sources, Israeli sources, and human rights organizations. But, you won't learn anything about the Israel/Palestine conflict from the American media that you can't learn by simply going to the official Israeli foreign affairs website. As far as the disparity between coverage, I think the record is pretty clear. If you look at what human rights organizations have to say. At this point, the figures are about 3,500 Palestinians have been killed and 1,000 Israelis since the beginning of the second Intifada till today. On both sides, the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, about two-thirds on each side have been civilians, innocent bystanders. And so, on the record of killings of civilians and innocent bystanders, Israel's record is about three times as bad as the Palestinian record. Some times people make the claim that; Palestinians purposely target Israeli civilians, whereas the Palestinian civilians killed by Israel are collateral damage or accidents and so forth. But no human rights organizations take those claims seriously. B'Tselem, Israel's leading human rights organization, puts it: "When so many civilians are killed intent is irrelevant." Israel is still responsible. And the principle is pretty straightforward for any rational person; If Hamas blows up a bus in Tel Aviv and says; "Well we didn't really mean to kill the passengers, we wanted just to destroy the bus" people would laugh. So shouldn't we also laugh if Israel drops a one-ton bomb in a densely populated neighborhood in Gaza, and didn't want to kill innocent civilians it only wanted to kill a terrorist leader? Which by the way is also illegal, but lets leave that aside. The claim is ludicrous. When you are firing indiscriminately into crowds, when your aiming at the heads of people at the heads o children and so on and so forth, the claim that this is collateral damage or unintentional is an absurd claim as human rights organizations have pointed out. CB: Your latest book, BEYOND CHUTZPAH, deals with the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history. It takes books like Joan Peters' FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL and Alan Dershowitz's THE CASE FOR ISRAEL to task as academic hoaxes. Could you talk more about this and about the difficulties of getting your own book published and the reception it has received since publication?NF: I can't say the work I do takes very little intelligence. But I have to be honest about these sorts of things. The kind of work I do doesn't take much intelligence, it just takes application because the sorts of frauds that I expose are so transparent, they're so silly, and so preposterous, that any seventh grader can do it. And it takes, usually, in the case of Peters or Dershowitz it took just a few months to assemble the data in readable form and complete the manuscript. The challenge always has been is getting the findings publicly acknowledged. In the case of the Dershowitz book, Prof. Dershowitz himself launched a major campaign to block publication of the book, hired what reputed to be the most powerful law firm in the country Cravath, Swain and Moore, went to the governor of California Arnold Swartzennegger to block publication of the book from coming out on the University of California Press, and as it happened his efforts proved unsuccessful. But I have to admit, that there were some close calls, like the book wouldn't come out because of the pressures he was exerting. But that's only half the story. Because once the book came out it was completely ignored. Now you would think that if a book documents that the senior most professor at Harvard Law School has plagiarized from a hoax (FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL), that he falsified records, mangled documents, put forth preposterous claims in a book which became a national best seller, and it's on the topic of the Israel/Palestine conflict, you would think reviewers would be interested. Leaving apart the whole scandal surrounding it, and his efforts to block publication of the book, notwithstanding the fact that he's a senior most professor at Harvard Law School, he plagiarized a hoax, engaged in fabrication, falsification and mangling of sources, the book bears on the Israel/Palestine conflict, a huge scandal surrounded its publication, the book didn't receive a single mainstream review in the United States. It's as if the book never came out.CB: Prof. Finkelstein, Israel is the only country that sanctions certain forms of torture to extract information from "alleged" resistance fighters. They have stated that The Wall is necessary for Israeli security. Yet, rather than building it along the "Green Line" they have built more than 80% of the wall in occupied Palestine displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, land, and neighbors. In addition, Israel has also placed more than 300,000 of its own citizens onto Palestinian land, which is a clear violation of the 4th Geneva Convention of which Israel is a signatory which states that no occupying power shall transport it's own citizens onto the land which it is occupying. Dr. Finkelstein, why does the West sit by and allow these gross violations of human rights to go on?' Lees verder:

De Bush Bende 12

Dit is president Bush met zijn belangste particuliere financier Ken Lay, de voormalige baas van Enron. 'Enron CEO Ken Lay personally contributes $290,000 to George W Bush's presidential campaign.
Enron CEO Ken Lay is named as a member of President George W Bush's transition team.
17 May 2001
Enron CEO Ken Lay meets with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Milken, and 12 other California Republicans at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. There they share (according to Enron emails) "an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation." Later, during his campaign for governor, Schwarzenegger claims he is unable to remember anything about the meeting, including whether he even met Ken Lay.
30 Jun 2001
The White House admits that political adviser Karl Rove was involved in administration energy policy meetings, while at the same time holding stock in energy companies including Enron.
15 Oct 2001
Enron CEO Ken Lay telephones Commerce Secretary Don Evans.
28 Oct 2001
Enron CEO Ken Lay telephones Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
29 Oct 2001
Enron CEO Ken Lay telephones Commerce Secretary Don Evans, asking him to dissuade Moody's from downgrading Enron's credit rating.
8 Nov 2001
Arthur Andersen receives a federal subpoena for Enron documents.
2 Dec 2001
Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
3 Dec 2001
Enron lays off 4,000 employees.
22 Jan 2002
A former Enron employee testifies that she saw people shredding documents after the investigation was announced.
23 Jan 2002
Enron CEO Ken Lay resigns as CEO.
25 Jan 2002
The body of former Enron vice chairman John Clifford Baxter is found in his car. His suicide note is released in April.
1 Feb 2002
The Department of Justice instructs the White House to preserve any and all Enron documents.
4 Feb 2002
Ken Lay resigns from Enron's board of directors.
17 Jul 2003
Without admitting any wrongdoing, Enron agrees to pay the state of New Jersey $109,000 to settle claims that the corporation had made 30 illegal state campaign contributions in 1999.
9 Apr 2004
At 4:00 a.m., New York police officers responding to a complaint that an emotionally disturbed person was "pulling on people's clothes and shouting aloud with intent to annoy" found themselves face to face with none other than the former Enron CEO, Jeffrey Skilling. Skilling was standing on the corner of Park Avenue and East 73rd Street: highly intoxicated, uncooperative, and making accusations at passers-by. "You're an FBI agent and you're following me," he was reported as shrieking. He ran up to several patrons in a Manhattan bar and "pulled open" their clothes. Police took Skilling to the New York Presbyterian Hospital for observation.' Zie:

Consortium News bericht: 'Bush's Enron Lies.
Four years ago, when the taboo against calling George W. Bush a liar was even stronger than it is today, the national news media bought into the Bush administration's spin that the President did nothing to bail out his Enron benefactors, including Kenneth Lay.
Bush supposedly refused to intervene, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Enron had poured into his political coffers. That refusal purportedly showed the high ethical standards that set Bush apart from lesser politicians.
Bush's defenders will probably reprise that storyline now that former Enron Chairman Lay and former Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling stand convicted of conspiracy and fraud in the plundering of the onetime energy-trading giant. But the reality is that the Bush-can't-be-bought spin was never true.
For instance, the documentary evidence is now clear that in summer 2001 - at the same time Bush's National Security Council was ignoring warnings about an impending al-Qaeda terrorist attack - NSC adviser Condoleezza Rice was personally overseeing a government-wide task force to pressure India to give Enron as much as $2.3 billion.
Then, even after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when India's cooperation in the "war on terror" was crucial, the Bush administration kept up its full-court press to get India to pay Enron for a white-elephant power plant that the company had built in Dabhol, India.
The pressure on India went up the chain of command to Vice President Dick Cheney, who personally pushed Enron's case, and to Bush himself, who planned to lodge a complaint with India's prime minister. Post-9/11, one senior U.S. bureaucrat warned India that failure to give in to Enron's demands would put into doubt the future functioning of American agencies in India.
The NSC-led Dabhol campaign didn't end until Nov. 8, 2001, when the Securities and Exchange Commission raided Enron's offices - and protection of Lay's interests stopped being political tenable. That afternoon, Bush was sent an e-mail advising him not to raise his planned Dabhol protest with India's prime minister who was visiting Washington. [For details on the Dabhol case, see below.]
Contrary to the official story, the Bush administration did almost whatever it could to help Enron as the company desperately sought cash to cover mounting losses from its off-the-books partnerships, a bookkeeping black hole that was sucking Enron toward bankruptcy and scandal.
As Enron's crisis worsened through the first nine months of Bush's presidency, Lay secured Bush's help in three key ways:
· Bush personally joined the fight against imposing caps on the soaring price of electricity in California at a time when Enron was artificially driving up the price of electricity by manipulating supply. Bush's resistance to price caps bought Enron extra time to gouge hundreds of millions of dollars from California's consumers.
· Bush granted Lay broad influence over the development of the administration's energy policies, including the choice of key regulators to oversee Enron's businesses. The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was replaced in 2001 after he began to delve into Enron's complex derivative-financing schemes.
· Bush had his NSC staff organize that administration-wide task force to pressure India to accommodate Enron's interests in selling the Dabhol generating plant for as much as $2.3 billion.' Lees verder: Of:

Deze affaire is mede het resultaat van het privatiseren en dereguleren van de energie door de neoliberalen. Desondanks volgt het kabinet Balkenende dit Amerikaans initiatief.

Kyra Somers

Dit is de Amsterdamse 19-jarige Kyra Somers die vrijwilligerswerk doet in Mozambique, 1 van de armste landen ter wereld. Ze helpt kleine arme weeskinderen. Op haar website schrijft ze: 'Juf Kyra.

Twee dagen nadat Jinda overleed, ging er nog een kindje van het weeshuis dood. Terwijl ik de eerste dag nog flink aangeslagen was, deed het me daarna eigenlijk niet zoveel meer. Het is hard om te zeggen, maar je went er wel aan. Misschien beter gezegd; ik ben er nu meer op ingesteld dat dit soort dingen hier gewoon gebeuren. Het heeft geen zin om er lang bij stil te gaan staan, want de wereld draait gewoon verder en er zijn nog een heleboel andere kinderen. Ik probeer ook zo min mogelijk met Nederland te vergelijken, want daar schiet je niets mee op. Het is hier gewoon een compleet ander leven. Ik ben veel in het kleine schoolgebouwtjes bezig en voel me af en toe een echte juf; ik sta voor de klas, schrijf en teken op het bord, leg dingen uit, geef aanwijzingen, roep kinderen tot de orde en help met huiswerk. Ik vind het wel hartstikke leuk om die kinderen wat te kunnen leren. Aan het eind van de les gaan ze liedjes zingen, terwijl ze in hun handen klappen en dansen, om even te ontspannen. Het is echt geweldig om dat te zien. De volgende keer zal ik proberen daar ook wat foto’s van te maken. Ik ga iedere vrijdagmiddag een soort handvaardigheid geven en lekker met een groepje kinderen tekenen, knippen en plakken. Het is trouwens nog best lastig om leuke dingen te bedenken, aangezien hun belevingswereld zo klein is. De meeste kinderen hebben een hoop dingen nog nooit gezien of zelfs nog nooit van gehoord. Ik heb een schitterende Afrikaanse dansvoorstelling gezien, waarin de geschiedenis van Mozambique werd verteld; De Portugezen zijn hier ruim driehonderd jaar de baas geweest. Na een hoop ellende te hebben veroorzaakt, vertrokken zij pas in 1975. De bevrijdingsoorlog en de daarna langdurige en verwoestende burgeroorlog brachten het land aan de rand van de afgrond. De weg is nog lang, maar de economie groeit en het gaat langzaamaan steeds beter met Mozambique. Jorrit, de oudste zoon van Jolke en Henny, is nu voor een paar weken hier in Maputo. Morgen gaan we voor twee dagen naar Swaziland, een klein buurlandje. Ik ben heel benieuwd wat ik allemaal ga zien tijdens dit tochtje naar Afrika en heb er heel veel zin in.' Zie:

Iran 50

Online Journal bericht: 'While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea, American leaders not only have abandoned existing treaty restraints but also have asserted plans to test and develop new weapons, including anti-ballistic missiles, the earth-penetrating "bunker buster" and perhaps some new "small" bombs. They also have abandoned past pledges and now threaten first use of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states.” Former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter. [1]
The U.S. and Israel are in the process of manufacturing a “crisis” to justify a war of aggression against Iran in flagrant violations of international law and norms. The current crisis is reminiscent to the crisis which was manufactured to justify the illegal war of aggression against a defenceless Iraq.
On its part, Iran poses no threat to other nations. Nor is Iran in violation of international law and norms. Therefore, Iran has an inalienable right to self-defence against aggression.
Contrary to media reports and distortions, Iran is not engaged in the development of nuclear weapons and Iran is not threatening other nations. Like many other nations, Iran is pursuing legitimate peaceful nuclear research. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful uses. There is absolutely no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The accusations that Iran has “nuclear weapon ambitions” are ridiculous at best.
Without any justification, the U.S. and Israel have threatened to attack Iran with nuclear weapons if Iran continues its nuclear program. Three members of the European Union, Britain, France and Germany, are being coerced by the U.S. to act against their interests and against the wishes of the vast majority of EU citizens.
Although Iran tried to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis, the U.S. has consistently rejected Iran’s offers and showed that it is not interested in a peaceful solution. Iran has stated publicly that it is seeking a “security guarantee” and Iran is willing to participate in the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Instead of pursuing peaceful dialogue, the U.S. continues to follow Israel’s ideology of war and expansion. Israeli leaders are publicly pushing the U.S. to attack Iran. The U.S. is acting as if the U.S. Army is Israel’s proxy army and many young Americans are dying for Israel’s Zionist ideology.
Israel has illegally attacked and invaded other nations. Israel is still occupying land in Lebanon and Syria in contravention of UN resolutions. Israel is currently arming and training Kurdish militias in northern Iraq and the Iranian Mujahideen el-Khalq (MEK) -- until recently listed as terrorist group by the U.S. State Department -- to carry out clandestine terror operations and surveillance inside Iran.
The U.S. goal is to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran, enforce U.S. imperialist domination over the oil resources of the Middle East and support Israel's Zionist policy. It is important to bear in mind that during the murderous dictatorial regime of the shah, the U.S. and Israel supported Iran in its pursuit of developing nuclear weapons technology. The current Iranian program is a peaceful nuclear technology to produce energy.
Furthermore, Iran is not guilty of violations of international law. Iran has voluntarily signed the Additional Protocol. As stated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report of 8 March, “Iran has continued to facilitate access under its Safeguards Agreement as requested by the Agency and, until 06 February 2006, implemented the Additional Protocol as if it were in force, including by providing, in a timely manner, the requisite declarations and access to locations.”' Lees verder: Of:


Unicef bericht: 'Insecurity and a lack of funding threaten progress in Darfur, Sudan
More than 3.4 million people have been affected by conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. UNICEF is providing desperately needed food, shelter and medicine for children and families living in overcrowded refugee camps. DONATE NOW to support UNICEF's work for the children of Sudan.
Communities throughout the Darfur region of Sudan continue to be in need of basic social services due to insecurity and a desperate lack of funding. Despite hopes for the return of around 1.9 million refugees last year, they are only becoming more entrenched in the camps that house them.
At least 1.8 million children have been affected by the conflict — some of them displaced multiple times due to repeated attacks. The impact of violence, disease, malnutrition and dependency is leaving a mark on this generation of children, weakening their abilities and trapping them in the cycle of poverty.
UNICEF and other organizations are working to shield the affected communities from the devastating effects of this continuing conflict, but the already limited funds are running out quickly. Compared to 2005, fewer resources are currently available for all of UNICEF's initiatives in the region. Bereft of this support, the displaced population will be exposed to the full brunt of a sharply deteriorating security environment.
UNICEF and its partners are providing humanitarian aid in the following key program areas.' Lees verder:

Nederland en Afghanistan 77

Le Monde bericht: 'The "Iraqization" of Afghanistan Worries the French Army. The French military consider that the recrudescence of fighting in recent days in Afghanistan illustrates an ever more marked "Iraqization" of the situation. According to them, the behavior of Taliban and associated forces follows a double development: increased recourse to terrorist methods and a hardening ability opposite Western troops. The fighting during which two French Special Forces soldiers of the 1st RPIMa (Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment) of Bayonne were killed on Saturday May 20 exemplifies that phenomenon.
Suicide attacks, which are a method a priori far removed from the Afghan mentality, bear the mark of an influence and an expertise most likely imported from Iraq, deems one military specialist. Now Taliban fighters systematically use "IED"s (improvised explosive devices). In that particular, "one finds everything," he remarks, "from the most simple to the most sophisticated": like the infrared beams that set off a delayed explosion in the middle of a convoy of vehicles. He believes there's been a "transmission of expertise," with foreign experts coming to Afghanistan as well as Taliban who have very likely been trained in other conflicts (Iraq, Chechnya).
In liaison with the General Delegation for Armament (DGA), troops are equipped with electronic scramblers, but their performance is not perfect since, while preventing an explosion, they don't allow for the detection of explosive devices. On a tactical level, the Taliban are indulging more and more in attacks with a high number of fighters (100 to 200) using sophisticated combat methods: "Their ambushes are well set-up; they know the habits of Western forces and are clearly battle-hardened," indicates the same source.' Lees verder: Of:,1-0@2-3216,36-775877@51-768888,0.html

donderdag 25 mei 2006

Theodor Holman

Dit is het hoofd van de 53-jarige Theodor Holman, die als Parool-columnist schrijft over jonge meisjes, poesjes, en over zijn obsessie dat de aanstormende generatie Nederlandse jongens een groter geslachtsdeel hebben dan hij. Maandenlang bleef hij in zijn krant ook dooremmeren over de dood van Theo van Gogh, met wie hij op de Amsterdamse televisie zich afvroeg of buitenlanders, gekleurde buitenlanders wel te verstaan die ook nog eens islamitisch waren, wel in staat waren om te integreren volgens het model Holman. Toen hij zich dat publiekelijk afvroeg dacht ik meteen: natuurlijk kunnen mensen integreren, dat doen ze overal en ten alle tijden. Kijk maar naar Holman zelf, die van Indonesische afkomst is. Ik ben nog in een tijd opgegroeid waarin mensen met 'Indisch bloed' door blanke Nederlanders discriminerend 'ploppers' werden genoemd. Een bijnaam voor oud-Knil militairen die voor het eerst in hun leven schoenen droegen en omdat ze dat niet gewend waren een ploppend geluid voortbrachten als ze liepen. Bovendien werden 'Indo's' met een scheef oog aangekeken omdat ze altijd naar knoflook stonken. In die tijd at een fatsoenlijke Nederlander geen knoflook, want je moest er ook nog winden van laten. En kijk nu eens hoe nog geen halve eeuw later de integratie is gelukt: onze Theodor kan zich ook namens alle blanke Nederlanders op de treurbuis afvragen of die islamieten wel deugen en of ze zich zullen kunnen aanpassen aan de Hollandse mores. En niet alleen Holman is geintegreert, maar wij ook, geen Nederlander meer die geen knoflok eet. Een tijdje geleden kwam ik de nestor van de Nederlandse journalistiek tegen, Henk Hofland, die hoewel bejaard, met een kwieke pas door Amsterdam wandelde en me toeriep toen ik met de fiets langs hem reed. Tijdens ons gesprek vertelde Henk me hoe moe hij werd van het gezeur van Holman over de dood van Van Gogh. Een goede columnist heeft een breed aandachtveld en alleen minor poets blijven hetzelfde deuntje fluiten. Ook een aantal Paroollezers krijgt er nu genoeg van. Zo schrijft Walter Mansveld: 'Wie schets mijn verbazing toen ik zag dat de heer Holman ( ik schaam me dood: ook hij is een Indo, net als mijn ouders) in zijn column van 16 mei iedereen voor NSB'er uitmaakt die te maken heeft gehad met de onthulling dat Ayaan Hirsi Ali heeft gelogen.' En het is waar: in een provinciale cultuur als Nederland wordt een zaak van niets tot kosmische proporties opgeblazen, want er is hier verder niets om zich druk te maken. Natuurlijk kan men zich bezighouden met de werkelijke problemen en gevaren van deze tijd, maar daarvoor verschuilen provincialen zich juist.

Correctie c.q. aanvulling. Mijn vriend en collega Mattias Ylstra wijst me in een email terecht op het volgende: 'De Ploppers waren juist de Merdeka-verzetsstrijders!!! Het woord “plopper”komt van het Maleisische woord “pelopor”. Het betekent: politiek strijder van de Indonesische zelfstandigheid.' Dat is juist, alleen in de plaats waar ik opgroeide wist men dit niet en had men als verklaring dat de 'Indo's' nog niet gewend waren om op schoenen te lopen.

woensdag 24 mei 2006

Nederland en Afghanistan 76

Common Dreams bericht: 'Concern Mounts over Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan. Villagers have insisted that dozens of civilians were killed in a coalition strike in Afghanistan, as rights groups voiced concern about mounting civilian casualties in days of fighting. The governor of southern Kandahar province, Asadullah Khalid, said Monday that at least 16 civilians were killed early Monday in an air and ground strike in the province's Panjwayi district. But a teacher in nearby Tulakhan village told AFP by telephone that he saw the bodies of 40 civilians, including children, and that about 50 others had been wounded. The US-coalition said up to 80 suspected Taliban had died in the raid targeting Azizi village in Panjwayi, adding it was investigating claims of civilian casualties. The teacher, named Abdullah, said he had assisted in burying 28 people and saw the bodies of 12 others being returned to their home village from other areas. Eight houses in his village were destroyed in the bombing, several damaged and scores of animals were killed, he said from the area, which was still off-limits to journalists. Other residents told AFP at the main hospital in Kandahar city on Monday that they had seen scores of dead and wounded.
An elderly man, Attah Mohammad, said he had lost 24 members of his family, including some children.' Lees verder:

Klimaatverandering 36

Terwijl de Amerikaanse voormalige vice-president Al Gore en nu ook de beroemde BBC-programmamaker Richard Attenborough via films waarschuwen voor de ernstige gevolgen van de klimaatverandering als gevolg van de broeikasgassen, is onze minister van Verkeer voor het uitbreiden van het wegennet, zodat nog meer auto's van hot naar her kunnen racen en nog meer broeikasgassen zullen worden uitgestoten en de klimaatverandering een extra zetje krijgt. De 61-jarige, een tikje ordinair ogende Karla Maria Henriette Peijs is er trots op dat 'mijn vader de eerste in het dorp [was] die een auto had.' Dit is het niveau van onze huidige ministers.

Paul Kennedy

Onlangs vond ik een videoband met een interview erop dat ik dertien jaar geleden had met de Britse hoogleraar Paul Kennedy en dat opgenomen werd door cameraman en programmamaker Frans Bromet. Toen Frans het in Hilversum aan de omroepen aanbood had geen van de chefs er enige belangstelling voor. De wereldberoemde Paul Kennedy was geen bekende Nederlander en wat hen betreft volkomen onbekend of onbetekenend. Ik heb de band weer eens bekeken en was verbijsterd over hoe actueel de analyses van professor Paul Kennedy, die aan Yale doceert, nog steeds zijn. Vandaar dat ik het interview op mijn audioblog heb gezet waar u ernaar kunt luisteren: onder de rubriek interviews.

Propaganda 20

Propaganda is vaak net onder het oppervlak verborgen. Het wordt ook met een vanzelfsprekendheid gepresenteerd die beangstigend is. Zomaar een bericht van CNN: 'Karzai orders 'human shield' probe. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into reports of the deaths of 16 civilians killed while apparently being used as human shields during fighting around Kandahar. The reports indicated that while Taliban fighters were on the run from coalition forces in the Panjwayi district, they took refuge in civilian homes, which were then bombed by coalition forces, according to a news release from the Afghanistan government...
The Reuters news service quoted government officials who reported that Taliban guerrillas attacked a convoy of provincial officials and police in the southern province of Helmand, killing three policemen and wounding six.' Lees verder: Wat opvalt is dat Karzai niet zozeer de 'human schield' laat onderzoeken maar het feit dat burgers door de Amerikanen werden gebombardeerd toen vermeende Taliban strijders hun huizen in vluchtten, een oorlogsmisdaad dus. Nog verborgener is de zin die stelt dat regeringsfunctionarissen 'reported.' Sinds wanneer berichtten regeringsfunctionarissen, zijn zij onafhankelijke journalisten of zijn ze als partij betrokken bij het conflict? Het laatste dus. Regeringsfunctionarissen kunnen van alles doen, ze kunnen verklaren of beweren, maar nooit berichten in een conflict waar ze partij zijn. Maar door dit woord te gebruiken, suggereert CNN dat de regeringsfunctionarissen onafhankelijke berichtgevers zijn, die 'report.' Het is net als wanneer Wouter Kurpershoek er blindelings vanuit gaat dat Iran een 'nucleair gevaar' vormt en bijvoorbeeld Israel niet. Het verraadt zijn bevooroordeeld standpunt ook, terwijl hij doet alsof hij een onafhankelijke beschouwer is. Meningen gepresenteerd als feiten. Propaganda kent vele gezichten.

Klimaatverandering 35

David Attenborough schrijft in de Independent: 'Climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I was sceptical about climate change. I was cautious about crying wolf. I am always cautious about crying wolf. I think conservationists have to be careful in saying things are catastrophic when, in fact, they are less than catastrophic. I have seen my job at the BBC as a presenter to produce programmes about natural history, just as the Natural History Museum would be interested in showing a range of birds of paradise - that's the sort of thing I've been doing. And in almost every big series I've made, the most recent one being Planet Earth, I've ended up by talking about the future, and possible dangers. But, with climate change, I was sceptical. That is true.
Also, I'm not a chemist or a climatologist or a meteorologist; it isn't for me to suddenly stand up and say I have decided the climate is changing. That's not my expertise. The television gives you an unfair and unjustified prominence but just because your face is on the telly doesn't mean you're an expert on meteorology. But I'm no longer sceptical. Now I do not have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate. The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years. ' Lees verder:

dinsdag 23 mei 2006

Wouter Kurpershoek

Dit is mijn favoriete Amerikaanse president met tegenover zich mijn favoriete NOS-Journaal correspondent Wouter Kurpershoek. Ik hoorde Wouter mijn favoriete dyslecticus Philip Freriks napraten toen hij sprak over het 'nucleaire gevaar' van Iran. Welk gevaar, Wouter? Het gevaar dat mijn favoriete Amerikaanse president je heeft ingefluisterd? Waarom spreek je over een nucleair gevaar? Is dat bewezen? En zo ja, door wie? Door Bush? Maar die heeft ook beweerd dat Irak massavernietigingswapens had. Houdt afstand Wouter, blijf wantrouwig tegenover de macht, kwaak niet onmiddellijk elke Amerikaanse autoriteit na, probeer desnoods de schijn van onpartijdigheid hoog te houden. En waarom vertelde je er niet bij dat in tegenstelling tot Iran, Israel wel over nucleaire wapens beschikt en dat het dus opmerkelijk is dat Israel nu pleit voor het bombarderen van Iran. De achtergronden en de context zijn voor de kijkers ook belangrijk. Ze zijn afhankelijk van jouw informatie. Bovendien is het een feit dat Israel kernwapens heeft en geen bewering. Probeer een beetje minder partijdig te zijn, Wouter. Meer dan dit advies kan ik je ook niet geven.

Nederland en Afghanistan 75

De Daily Telegraph bericht: 'US sets up £215m deal for Afghan arms - from RussiaBy Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
American defence officials have secretly requested a "prodigious quantity" of ammunition from Russia to supply the Afghan army in case a Democrat president takes over in Washington and pulls out US troops. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells - equivalent to about 15 times the British Army's annual requirements. The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan.' Lees verder: De vraag is hoe lang de Nederlandse troepen daar blijven om de democratie op te bouwen. Voor een democratie heb je kennelijk heel veel wapens nodig.

Inmiddels ontkennen de Russische machthebbers. 'Moscow has denied Western media claims of the U.S.’ alleged intention to buy “an unthinkable amount” of ammunition from Russia for Afghanistan. “Moscow is not considering large deliveries of ammunition to Afghanistan, and the United States has not made any such offer,” a high-ranking Russian military diplomat said. “Russia does not plan to supply ammunition or military hardware to Afghanistan. Besides, the Afghan army has sufficient reserves of all types of ammunition,” he said.' Lees verder: l

De Dollar Hegemonie 10

En terwijl de Nederlandse pers zachtjes door snurkt bericht de onafhankelijke Amerikanse journalist Mike Whitney: 'Vladimir Putin and the rise of the petro-ruble “If one day the world’s largest oil producers demanded euros for their barrels, it would be the financial equivalent of a nuclear strike”. Bill O’ Grady, A.G. Edwards On May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin ignited a firestorm that is bound to sweep across the global economy. In his State of the Nation speech to parliament,, he announced that Russia was planning to make the ruble “internationally convertible” so that it could be used in oil and natural gas transactions. Presently, oil is denominated exclusively in dollars and sold through the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMX) or the London Petroleum Exchange (LPE) both owned by American investors. If Russia proceeds with its plan, the ruble will go nose to nose with the dollar on the open market sending several billions of surplus greenbacks back to the United States. This could potentially send the American economy into freefall; triggering a deep recession and an extended period of hyper-inflation. “The ruble must become a more widespread means of international transactions,” Putin said. “To this end, we need to open a stock exchange in Russia to trade in oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for in rubles." Currently, the central banks around the world carry large stockpiles of dollars to use in their purchases of oil. This gives the US a virtual monopoly on oil transactions. It also forces reluctant nations to continue using the dollar even though it is currently underwritten by $8.4 trillion national debt. Putin’s plan is similar to that of Iran, which announced that it would open an oil-bourse (oil exchange) on Kish Island in two months. The bourse would allow oil transactions to be made in petro-euros, thus discarding the dollar. The Bush administration’s belligerence has intensified considerably since Iran made its intentions clear. In fact, just yesterday, Secretary of State Condi Rice said that “security guarantees were not on the table” regardless of any Iranian commitment to stop enriching uranium. In other words, Washington will not provide Iran a “non-aggression pact” whether it follows UN Security Council guidelines or not. Surely, this is a sign that Uncle Sam is on a fast-track to war. The United States must protect its dollar-monopoly in the oil trade or it will lose the advantage of being the world’s “reserve currency”. As the reserve currency, the US can maintain its towering $8.4 trillion national debt and $800 billion trade deficit without fear of soaring interest rates or hyper-inflation. Trillions of greenbacks are constantly circulating in oil transactions just as hundreds of billions are stockpiled in foreign banks. In effect, the Federal Reserve is issuing bad checks with every dollar printed on the assumption that they will never reach the bank for collection. So far, they’ve been right, and as the price of oil continues to skyrocket, the Fed just keeps cheerily printing more worthless paper sending it to the 4 corners of the earth. Regrettably, if Russia or Iran goes ahead with their conversion plan, then the bad checks will flood back to their source and precipitate a meltdown.' Lees verder:


Uit Trouw vanochtend

De Oorlogsstaat 54

Tom Engelhardt interviewt de Amerikaanse auteur Andrew Bacevich: 'The Delusions of Global Hegemony. A Tomdispatch Interview with Andrew Bacevich (Part 1)
I wait for him on a quiet, tree and wisteria-lined street of red-brick buildings. Students, some in short-sleeves on this still crisp spring morning, stream by. I'm seated on cold, stone steps next to a sign announcing the Boston University Department of International Relations. He turns the corner and advances, wearing a blue blazer, blue shirt and tie, and khaki slacks and carrying a computer in a black bag. He's white haired, has a nicely weathered face, and the squared shoulders and upright bearing of a man, born in Normal, Illinois, who attended West Point, fought in the Vietnam War, and then had a twenty-year military career that ended in 1992.
Now a professor of history at Boston University, he directs me to a spacious, airy office whose floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the picturesque street. A tasseled cap and gown hang on a hook behind the door -- perhaps because another year of graduation is not far off. I'm left briefly to wait while he deals with an anxious student, there to discuss his semester mark. Soon enough though, he seats himself behind a large desk with a cup of coffee and prepares to discuss his subjects of choice, American militarism and the American imperial mission. Andrew Bacevich is a man on a journey -- as he himself is the first to admit. A cultural conservative, a former contributor to such magazines as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, a former Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, he discovered sometime in the 1990s that his potential conservative allies on foreign policy had fallen in love with the idea of the American military and its imagined awesome power to change the world. They had jumped the tracks and left him behind. A professed cold warrior, in those years he took a new look at our American past -- and he's not stopped looking, or reconsidering, since. What he discovered was the American empire, which became the title of a book he published in 2002. In 2005, his fierce, insightful book on American dreams of global military supremacy, The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War, appeared. (It was excerpted in two posts at this site.) It would have been eye-opening no matter who had written it, but given his background it was striking indeed. Forceful and engaged (as well as engaging), Bacevich throws himself into the topic at hand. He has a barely suppressed dramatic streak and a willingness to laugh heartily at himself. But most striking are the questions that stop him. Just as you imagine a scholar should, he visibly turns over your questions in his mind, thinking about what may be new in them. He takes a sip of coffee and, in a no-nonsense manner, suggests that we begin. Lees verder:

Hirsi Ali 21

Afgelopen vrijdag zond ik dit verzoek aan mevrouw Halsema van Groen Links:

'Geachte mevrouw Halsema,
Voor zover ik weet heeft u nog geen spoeddebat aangevraagd voor het Iraakse gezin Naif, terwijl u wel onmiddellijk in actie kwam in het geval van Hirsi Magan. Zie: … 6rsquo%3B. Toch zijn beide zaken volgens prof. mr. H.U.Jessurun d’Oliveira, oud-hoogleraar migratierecht aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam nagenoeg identiek. Bovendien stelt Ulli d’Oliveira in de Volkskrant: ‘Het is… onverdedigbaar om blindelings en zonder enige afweging, buiten de gesloten wettelijke regeling van verliesgronden om, vast te houden aan het idee dat de naturalisatie niet tot stand gekomen is als er sprake is van een valse naam of geboortedatum.’ Terwijl Hirsi Magan volgens de Bush-regering ‘meer dan welkom is in de Verenigde Staten’ om daar de gelederen van de neoconservatieven te versterken, (en die volgens een mij bekende journalist van de New York Times al lang geleden in 2005 in de VS begon te solliciteren), staat dit acht leden tellende gezin er in politiek opzicht alleen voor. In Trouw verklaart hun advocaat: ‘Daarna kwam een nieuwe brief, eenzelfde als Hirsi Ali afgelopen maandagavond kreeg: het Nederlanderschap is nooit toegekend. „Ze zijn op een naïeve manier ontzettend voor de bijl gegaan", zegt hun advocaat Frits Koers. Het gezin heeft met behulp van Koers de beslissing van de IND aangevochten, tot aan de Hoge Raad toe. Tevergeefs. Koers hoopt dat wanneer Hirsi Ali toch Nederlandse kan blijven of weer kan worden, dit gevolgen heeft voor de Naifs. „Als de leugens van Hirsi Ali geen consequenties hebben, dan moet er ook naar mijn cliënten worden gekeken." „Waarom is er voor mevrouw Hirsi Ali wel ruimte in de wet, en voor ons niet?", vraagt Achmed zich af. „Is dat omdat ze een bekend politica is? Zij gaat naar het beste land ter wereld, en wij straks naar het slechtste. Alleen omdat niemand ons kent."’ En dit het punt waar het om draait. Deze mensen die in tegenstelling tot Hirsi Magan geen politici zijn lijken door u en andere politici aan hun lot te worden overgelaten. Om nu de schijn te vermijden dat politici van mening zijn dat ze onmisbaarder zijn dan de rest van de mensheid en boven de wet staan, zou het u sieren als u die opvatting weerlegt door een spoeddebat aan te vragen Het heeft iets buitengewoon wrangs wanneer u wel optreedt voor een rechtse politica die na de uitzending van Zembla tegenover NOVA verklaarde dat ze achter het standpunt van haar partij blijft staan dat de grenzen hermetisch gesloten moeten blijven, want 'ik deel de opvatting dat de integratie niet zal slagen als de emigratie niet wordt beperkt. Ik deel die opvatting omdat er een grens zit aan hoeveel migranten een welvaartstaat kan absorberen en tegelijkertijd een welvaartstaat blijven,' en u niet voor een Iraaks gezin opkomt. Zie: … ali-5.html Er speelt nog een argument, de leden van dit gezin bestaande uit moeder, vader en zes kinderen zijn in tegenstelling tot Hirsi Magan wel degelijk politieke vluchtelingen.In afwachting van uw antwoord,
Stan van Houcke'

Ik denk dat meer mensen de politici van Groen Links erop hebben gewezen dat rechtsongelijkheid niet kan, want vanochtend kreeg ik deze email van de Kamerfractie:

'Geachte heer Van Houcke,
Hartelijk dank voor uw e-mail die wij in goede orde hebben ontvangen.
Wij zijn blij dat u de moeite heeft genomen om onze fractie te
schrijven. Voor GroenLinks zijn vragen en opmerkingen uit de samenleving heel belangrijk.

Oproep: meld vergelijkbare gevallen als Hirsi Ali
22 mei 2006
GroenLinks wil weten van hoeveel vluchtelingen de naturalisatie is
ingetrokken omdat ze valse persoonsgegevens hebben gebruikt. Hoeveel
mensen bevinden zich in een vergelijkbare situatie als Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
GroenLinks roept advocaten op om deze gegevens (zo nodig anoniem) te
Het intrekken van de naturalisatie van Ayaan Hirsi Ali is onrechtvaardig en toont de hardvochtigheid van het huidige asielbeleid. Vele
vluchtelingen gebruiken uit angst valse persoonsgegevens. GroenLinks
roept alle advocaten op om vergelijkbare gevallen (zo nodig anoniem) te
melden. Van hoeveel vluchtelingen is de naturalisatie ingetrokken omdat
zij valse persoonsgegevens hebben gebruikt? Wij zullen die gegevens
gebruiken om er in het debat met de regering voor te pleiten dat zij
evenmin als Hirsi Ali hun nationaliteit dienen te verliezen.
Een grote meerderheid van de Tweede Kamer heeft minister Verdonk
opgedragen om terug te komen op de denaturalisatie van Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
GroenLinks heeft die motie gesteund. Maar GroenLinks vindt dat die
beleidslijn ook moet gelden voor alle andere vergelijkbare gevallen. Als vluchtelingen zonder kwade opzet hebben gelogen over hun
persoonsgegevens, is dat nog geen reden om hun nationaliteit af te
nemen. Terecht dat Hirsi Ali dat in haar persconferentie ook stelde.
Advocaten kunnen ons helpen om voor hen op te komen door alle
vergelijkbare gevallen te melden bij
Met vriendelijke groet,
Kim Hullegie
Tweede-Kamerfractie GroenLinks'

Nederland en Afghanistan 74

De Independent bericht: 'US air strike on Taliban kills Afghan civilians. At least 16 civilians were killed in air strikes by American-led forces on a village near Kandahar in Afghanistan yesterday. A US military spokesmen said a Taliban compound had been targeted but survivors from the village said civilian houses were bombed. It was impossible to confirm what happened after Afghan police and foreign troops cordoned off the village of Azizi, 30 miles south-west of Kandahar. It is the latest in a series of incidents in Afghanistan in which civilians have died in US air strikes on villages. It appears clear that Taliban insurgents were present in the village. US forces claimed as many as 80 Taliban fighters may have been killed in the air strikes, but said they had only verified 20 Taliban deaths. The Taliban confirmed the fighting but denied they had suffered any casualties. Wounded villagers in a Kandahar hospital said the Taliban had been sheltering in the village's madrassa or religious school. "Helicopters bombed the madrassa and some of the Taliban ran from there and into people's homes. Then those homes were bombed," said Haji Ikhlaf. "There were dead people everywhere," said Zurmina Bibi, cradling her eight-month-old baby. She said 10 people were killed in her home, including three or four children.' Lees verder:

maandag 22 mei 2006

De Bush Bende 11

Truthout bericht: 'Information Sharing on the Rove Indictment Story. I'd like to break this posting into two categories: What we know, and what we believe. They will be clearly marked.
We know that we have now three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment either late in the night of May 12 or early in the morning of May 13. We know that each source was in a position to know what they were talking about. We know that the office of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will not confirm, will not deny, will not comment on its investigation or on our report. We know that both Rove's attorney Robert Luskin and Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo have categorically denied all key facts we have set forth. We know we have information that directly contradicts Luskin and Corallo's denials. We know that there were two network news crews outside of the building in Washington, DC that houses the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm that represents Karl Rove. We know that the 4th floor of that building (where the Patton Boggs offices are located) was locked down all day Friday and into Saturday night. We know that we have not received a request for a retraction from anyone. And we know that White House spokesman Tony Snow now refuses to discuss Karl Rove - at all. Further, we know - and we want our readers to know - that we are dependent on confidential sources. We know that a report based solely on information obtained from confidential sources bears some inherent risks. We know that this is - by far - the biggest story we have ever covered, and that we are learning some things as we go along. Finally, we know that we have the support of those who have always supported us, and that must now earn the support of those who have joined us as of late. We now move on to what we believe. (If you are looking for any guarantees, please turn back now.) We believe that we hit a nerve with our report. When I get calls on my cell phone from Karl Rove's attorney and spokesman, I have to wonder what's up. "I" believe - but cannot confirm - that Mark Corallo, Karl Rove's spokesman gave Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post my phone number. I believe Howard Kurtz contacted me with the intention of writing a piece critical of our organization. I know that Anne Marie Squeo of the Wall Street Journal attacked us and independent journalism as a whole in her piece titled, "Rove's Camp Takes Center of Web Storm / Bloggers Underscore How Net's Reporting, Dynamics Provide Grist for the Rumor Mill." We believe that rolling out that much conservative journalistic muscle to rebut this story is telling. And we believe that Rove's camp is making a concerted effort to discredit our story and our organization.' Lees verder:

Hirsi Ali 20

Het melodrama rond Hirsi Magan blijft maar doorgaan. De NRC bericht: 'Hirsi: kosten VS van lijfwacht bij kabinet. Het voormalige Kamerlid Ayaan Hirsi Ali (VVD) vindt dat de Nederlandse overheid verantwoordelijk blijft voor haar beveiliging in de Verenigde Staten. De Nederlandse beveiliging dient ofwel mee te gaan naar de VS of de Nederlandse staat moet (mee)betalen aan de kosten van beveiliging aldaar. Dat blijkt uit correspondentie tussen de zaakwaarnemer van Hirsi Ali, Peter Voortman, en Arjan Jonge Vos van de NCTb (Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding), die in het bezit is van deze krant. Een woordvoerder van de NCTb zei vanmiddag dat beveiliging in de VS geen verantwoordelijkheid is van Nederland en verwijst naar de Amerikaanse overheid en naar Hirsi Ali’s nieuwe werkgever, het American Enterprise Institute… Minister Donner (Justitie, CDA) zei in het Kamerdebat afgelopen dinsdag, dat „zo zij naar de Verenigde Staten verhuist, zij een verantwoordelijkheid wordt van de Amerikaans autoriteiten en er overleg plaatsvindt over de manier waarop de overgang kan worden verzekerd.” Volgens Voortman is voorgesteld de beveiliging door een particulier beveiligingsbedrijf te laten doen. Jonge Vos noemt het „zoals het nu in het voorstel is vormgegeven volstrekt onbespreekbaar” dat de Nederlandse overheid zou bijdragen aan dergelijke kosten.' Lees verder: Kennelijk staat Hirsi Magan niet stil bij het feit dat dit geld beter aan hongerende kinderen zou kunnen worden uitgegeven. Kinderen die van haar niet naar het rijke Westen mogen omdat het de integratie hier zou belemmeren. Als een ware slachtofferist is Hirsi Magan onverzadigbaar, ze gaat tot het uiterste. In wezen is ze een eenzaam en meelijwekkend iemand, even tragisch als haar zuster, die zelfmoord pleegde. Het is niet verwonderlijk dat ze als voormalige volgeling van de fundamentalistische Moslim Broederschap zich nu gaat inzetten voor het extreem rechtse American Enterprise Institute, waarover Ralph Nader ooit eens verklaarde: 'What they are condemning, with vague, ironic regulatory nostrums proposed against dissenting citizen groups, is democracy itself.' Zie:

Israelisch Expansionisme 16

Nu keert ook oud-president Carter zich tegen het voortdurende Israelisch expansionisme. In USAToday schrijft hij:

Israel's new plan: A land grab

New Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced that Israel will take unilateral steps to establish its own geographical boundaries during the next four years of his administration. His plan, as described during the recent Israeli election and the formation of a new governing coalition, would take about half of the Palestinian West Bank and encapsulate the urban areas within a huge concrete wall and the more rural parts of Palestine within a high fence. The barrier is not located on the internationally recognized boundary between Israel and Palestine, but entirely within and deeply penetrating the occupied territories. The only division of territory between Israel and the Palestinians that is recognized by the United States or the international community awarded 77% of the land to the nation of Israel and the other small portion divided between the West Bank and Gaza. Only about twice the size of Washington, D.C., Gaza is now a politically and economically non-viable region, almost completely isolated from the West Bank, Israel and the outside world.
West Bank dissected
The Olmert plan would leave the remnant of the Palestinian West Bank with the same unacceptable characteristics. Deep intrusions would effectively divide it into three portions. The prime minister has also announced that Israeli soldiers will likely remain in the Palestinian territory, which will be completely encapsulated by Israel's control of its eastern border in the Jordan River valley. It is inconceivable that any Palestinian, Arab leader, or any objective member of the international community could accept this illegal action as a permanent solution to the continuing altercation in the Middle East. This confiscation of land is to be carried out without resorting to peace talks with the Palestinians, and in direct contravention of the "road map for peace," which President Bush helped to initiate and has strongly supported.
Although former prime minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government rejected the key provisions of the road map by the Quartet of negotiators — the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia — it has been endorsed unequivocally by the moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel's government had adopted carefully negotiated agreements at Camp David in 1978 and in Oslo in 1993. Israeli leaders Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres received Nobel Peace Prizes for these major steps toward peace, along with their Arab counterparts. The basic terms of both of these historic accords would also be violated by Olmert's plan, as would all of the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on which the agreements were predicated and the nation of Israel was founded. What is the alternative to this ill-advised move toward the unilateral confiscation and colonization of a major portion of the West Bank?
A better course
Good-faith negotiations should be initiated under the auspices of the international Quartet with President Abbas. During recent days, Abbas has been making the rounds of international capitals calling for the opportunity to find a path to permanent peace in the Holy Land. Although the recently elected Hamas legislators will neither recognize nor negotiate with Israel while Palestinian land is being occupied, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has expressed approval for direct Olmert-Abbas peace talks. He said, "The problem is not the Palestinian side or its consent to negotiations. ... If the (Palestinian) Authority chairman, as the elected president, wants to get the negotiations moving, we have no objection to that. If what Abu Mazen (Abbas) presents to the people as a result of negotiations serves its interest, then we too will redefine our position." Presumably, these talks would be monitored and orchestrated by the United States, and any successfully negotiated terms of the road map would subsequently be approved by both Israelis and Palestinians. Such approval of a final peace agreement was an important facet of the Camp David Accords. It would be a mistake to underestimate the difficulty of finding a mutually acceptable agreement, but many Israelis, Palestinians and international representatives are familiar with what must be its ultimate basic terms. They include reasonable border compromises based on the swapping of land, which could leave a substantial number of Israeli settlers undisturbed on Palestinian land. A mutual Israeli-Palestinian agreement would undoubtedly result in full recognition of Israel by all Arab nations, with normal diplomatic and economic relations, and permanent peace and justice for the Palestinians. It would also remove one of the major causes of international terrorism and greatly ease tensions that could precipitate a regional or even global conflict.'
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is founder of the non-profit Carter Center, advancing peace and health worldwide.

Ondertussen blijven de politiek beleidsbepalers in zowel Europa als de VS deze illegale Israelische politiek steunen door het verstrekken van financiele, economische en militaire hulp. Ook Nederland blijft dit misdadig beleid steunen.

Hirsi Ali 19

Groen Links realiseert zich dat het niet alleen voor Hirsi Magan moet opkomen maar ook voor degenen zonder politieke macht. De Tweede Kamerfractie laat weten: 'Oproep: meld vergelijkbare gevallen als Hirsi Ali.
22 mei 2006
GroenLinks wil weten van hoeveel vluchtelingen de naturalisatie is ingetrokken omdat ze valse persoonsgegevens hebben gebruikt. Hoeveel mensen bevinden zich in een vergelijkbare situatie als Ayaan Hirsi Ali? GroenLinks roept advocaten op om deze gegevens (zo nodig anoniem) te melden.

Het intrekken van de naturalisatie van Ayaan Hirsi Ali is onrechtvaardig en toont de hardvochtigheid van het huidige asielbeleid. Vele vluchtelingen gebruiken uit angst valse persoonsgegevens. GroenLinks roept alle advocaten op om vergelijkbare gevallen (zo nodig anoniem) te melden. Van hoeveel vluchtelingen is de naturalisatie ingetrokken omdat zij valse persoonsgegevens hebben gebruikt? Wij zullen die gegevens gebruiken om er in het debat met de regering voor te pleiten dat zij evenmin als Hirsi Ali hun nationaliteit dienen te verliezen.

Een grote meerderheid van de Tweede Kamer heeft minister Verdonk opgedragen om terug te komen op de denaturalisatie van Ayaan Hirsi Ali. GroenLinks heeft die motie gesteund. Maar GroenLinks vindt dat die beleidslijn ook moet gelden voor alle andere vergelijkbare gevallen. Als vluchtelingen zonder kwade opzet hebben gelogen over hun persoonsgegevens, is dat nog geen reden om hun nationaliteit af te nemen. Terecht dat Hirsi Ali dat in haar persconferentie ook stelde. Advocaten kunnen ons helpen om voor hen op te komen door alle vergelijkbare gevallen te melden bij

Femke Halsema.'

Zie: En als de lijst klaar is een spoeddebat aanvragen!

Lyndon LaRouche 2

Naar aanleiding van een bericht van Lyndon LaRouche schrijft iemand het volgende: 'Ik heb naar aanleiding van dit berichtje even gekeken wat voor een figuur die Larouche eigenlijk is. Zijn autoriteit is op z'n minst twijfelachtig, en de methoden die hij hanteert zijn gewoonweg onwetenschappelijk.Bekijk bijvoorbeeld die curve, waarmee hij illustreert dat de situatie van de hele wereld nu erg lijkt op die van de Weimar-republiek in 1923.1) Er staat geen eenheid langs de y-as, dus wat deze graaf moet illustreren is volkomen onduidelijk. Zo te zien gaat het om het gemiddelde prijspijl, maar de lezer wordt geacht dit zelf te achterhalen, terwijl ook niets in het betoog zelf dit verduidelijkt.2) Om onduidelijke redenen is gekozen voor een logaritmische schaalverdeling op de y-as, wat het voor leken een stuk moeilijker maakt deze grafiek correct te interpreteren.3)De grafiek beschrijft een ontwikkeling (waarschijnlijk van het gemiddeld prijspijl) van januari tot november 1923, en van januari tot november 2006. Het enige probleem is, de cijfers van mei tot november 2006 bestaan helemaal niet, aangezien die periode in de toekomst ligt.4) Als ik deze grafiek correct interpreteer - waar ik tamelijk zeker van ben - dan zou het prijspijl in Duitsland tussen januari en november 1923 met een factor gestegen moeten zijn. Dat klopt, wat mij sterkt in mijn overtuiging dat ik deze grafiek correct lees. Volgens deze grafiek zou bovendien het prijspijl in de gehele wereld tussen januari en mei 2006 gestegen moeten zijn met een factor 5. Iedere idioot kan zelf vaststellen dat dit gewoon niet waar is. De inflatie (gemiddelde prijsstijging op jaarbasis) ligt wereldwijd al jaren tussen de 2 en 5 procent, oftewel een factor 1,02 tot 1,05 op jaarbasis. Een inflatie van 400 procent in enkele maanden is zo heftig dat dit zeker zou leiden tot een grote maatschappelijke ontwrichting, en bovendien zou een brood dan plotseling 6 euro kosten.Meneer Larouche voert al jaren een volkomen irrationele haatcampagne tegen de zittende macht in de VS. De strategiën die hij placht te gebruiken houden onder andere in dat hij Bush en Cheney beschuldigd de kinderen van Satan te zijn. Hij is in het gunstigste geval een goedbedoelende idioot, in het slechtste geval een gewiekst oplichter. Met zulke medestanders heeft de linkse beweging in de VS geen tegenstanders meer nodig.Dit alles neemt natuurlijk niet weg dat de Amerikaanse economie dankzij de geldverslindende militaire operaties van de neoconservatieven, de snel oplopende staatsschuld en het kunstmatig laag houden van de olieprijzen, een ontzettend overspannen systeem is. Veel mensen hebben het gevoel dat "something's gotta give", en daar zouden ze best eens gelijk in kunnen krijgen.' Ik denk dat deze schrijver die kennelijk anoniem wil blijven gelijk heeft. Lyndon LaRouche is op zijn minst een omstreden figuur. Zie: Dank u voor de correctie.