Saturday, October 15, 2005

U.S. encourages "religious fundamentalism" to counter nationalist & socialist movements

It has been known for some times that U.S. President George W. Bush allegedly "heard God" telling him to invade Iraq. It is also alleged that Bush said: "I’m driven with a mission from God". Why God would tell Bush to invade Iraq remains a mystery. Bush invaded Iraq because Bush alleged that Iraq possessed Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). There were no WMD in Iraq. The war was an immoral act of aggression.

As it is promoted by Western politicians, propagandists and the mainstream media, the new "War on Terror", is a war against those Muslims, who "hate our freedom", and who have a broad strategy to "dominate much of the world". Although most Muslims believe - as Christians believe that Jesus is the only God - that "Islam is the only path to Heaven", Muslims are not interested in dominating the world, and most Muslims see this as impossible. On the contrary, most Muslim nations are striving to be free from Western domination and imperialism. The Arabs masses, in particular, want "liberation from foreign occupation and the freedoms of opinion, - expression and movement", noted the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report.

A recent report by the Defence Science Board of the Pentagon revealed that; "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing even increasing support for what Muslims collectively sees as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states". It is these U.S.-sponsored tyrannies and the unfair exploitation of the region’s oil resources - by Western corporations – that contributed to the emergence of political resistance movements against Western domination and imperialism.

New Orleans Can Give New Life to the Cooperative Movement by Ralph Nader

New Orleans, the largest city devastated by two Hurricanes, lies in ruins. The reconstruction plans are forming and the usual commercial interests are in the forefront to receive large subsidies, federal overpayments and special immunities from having to meet labor, environmental and other normal legal safeguards for the people.

The corporate looting of New Orleans is underway. The charges of corruption, political favoritism and poor delivery of services by corporate contractors for government projects are already being leveled by the media and some alert officials. After all, over $100 billion of taxpayer monies will be flowing to New Orleans and the Gulf area communities in the next several months.

Plans for the new New Orleans by the large corporate developers are not including many poor or low income families in their plans. These developers see a smaller ritzier New Orleans with gentrified neighborhoods and acres of entertainment, gambling and tourist industries. In a phrase, the corporatization of New Orleans' renewal.

A different more cooperative scenario needs attention. Here is a flattened major city in America where a cooperative economy can take hold that puts people first, that allows the return of low-income families back home with dignity, self-determination and opportunity.

Two Terrorists and a Lush - Luis Posada and Bush's Drinking

How did a judge's decision not to deport the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela connect to the report that George W. Bush has again hit the bottle?

The answer begins in the fact the Bush never entered a recovery program for his alcohol and drug addiction, which he supposedly gave up at age 40 while jogging. God talked to him, or Jesus or some envoy. This born again phenomenon apparently substituted for AA along with exercise and praying.

W had ongoing problems, of course, in Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, his poll ratings fell to 40% or less by September. Yet, Bush continued on Karl Rove's path, derived from Napoleon, Frederick the Great and the Nazi Party model of politics: forget about facts, truth, integrity, ethics; rely on audacity and aggression. This formula won him two elections, placed the gutless Democrats on the defense and secured the "stupid male vote," the dumbos who adore Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh and vote against their own interests.

The impregnable success model, however, eroded quickly and, according to the The National Enquire ("Bush's Booze Crisis," Sept. 21), Laura Bush caught George throwing down a drink at his Crawford ranch. Drinking began after aides informed him of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and FEMA's failure to deal with the aftermath.

Laughing about the source? Before the "respectable" press got wind of it, The Enquirer revealed Rush Limbaugh's oxycontin habit ("Limbaugh Caught in Drug Ring," Oct. 2, 2003).

Now, Jennifer Luce and Don Gentile report that "Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one 'insider.' "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: 'Stop, George!'" After listening to a September 12 exchange with a journalist, Laura may have already suspected he had started nipping.

"Did they misinform you when you said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees?"

"No," Bush responded. "When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, whew. There was a sense of relaxation, and that's what I was referring to. And I, myself, thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people, probably over the airways, say the bullet has been dodgedOf course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation in the moment, a critical moment. And thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that" (White House Web Site Sept. 12).

This mangled attempt at oral clarity hardly compensated for his non-handling of Katrina's aftermath. And bloodshed in Iraq dominated daily headlines. Popularity ratings went south. Gas prices went north. W went boozing.

Opus Dei attacks again

WASHINGTON, SAN FRANCISCO, AND MANILA -- October 14, 2005 -- Knowledgeable sources are reporting that the case of accused White House spy Leandro Aragoncilla, a former Marine aide on the staff of the Vice President and later a an FBI employee, involves a Roman Catholic Opus Dei espionage and political assassination team operating in the United States. Aragoncilla and his control officer, Michael Ray Aquino, a former officer with the Philippine National Police's Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) in the Philippines, were arrested for illegally obtaining classified documents from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and an FBI computer system that were injurious to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The documents were passed by Aquino to Philippine opposition figures linked closely to a powerful Opus Dei movement in the country. That movement was reportedly participating in a planned coup against Macapagal-Arroyo. (The April 2002 U.S.-supported abortive coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was also supported by Opus Dei elements in Venezuela). The Philippine Department of Justice has asked for an arrest warrant to be issued against Aquino and his one time police assistant Cesar Mancao for the murder of Philippine publicist Salvador "Buddy" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000. The Aragoncilla-Aquino ring is being linked to a wider Opus Dei espionage and political black bag operation that reached into the highest levels of the FBI. Convicted Soviet and Russian spy Robert Hanssen was a longtime member of Opus Dei's St. Catherine of Siena's Church in Great Falls, Virginia. Other prominent members of St. Catherine's included Hanssen's boss at the FBI, Louis Freeh, Jr. The Opus Dei espionage ring operating out of Cheney's office is reported to have had a degree of approval from officials inside the Bush White House. Although Aquino is being held in jail in Passaic, New Jersey, Mancao is reportedly at large in south Florida, possibly with a wink and a nod from Gov. Jeb Bush's administration.

Washington planning yet another coup d'etat attempt against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

WASHINGTON, DC AND CARACAS -- October 13, 2005 -- According to well-informed insiders, a phalanx of U.S. private military contractors (PMCs) that are active in Colombia under various contract unbrellas, including counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency, are also fomenting yet another coup d'etat attempt against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The PMCs have conducted several cross-border excursions in an effort to link up with disatsified officers in the Venezuelan military. The Pentagon has authorized the operation as part of a plan to make it appear that Chavez is militarily assisting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The PMCs have also established close links with right-wing Colombian paramilitaries and their associated drug cartels to smuggle weapons into Venezuela. Yesterday, a uniformed Colombian general, wearing the badge of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, was spotted on the Washington Metro on his way to the Pentagon. The exchange program is part of the Defense Department's Foreign Military Interaction program, which places foreign military "experts" on the U.S. Joint staff for purposes of "scenario simulation" and "force development."

Bush Political Hacks Buried & Doctored Key Outsourcing Report Before the 2004 Election

Manufacturing & Technology News, a well-respected trade publication, has just released an exclusive story about how the Bush administration buried a report on outsourcing before the 2004 election despite congressional legislation demanding it well before then. Worse, now that the government has been forced to release the report, Manufacturing & Technology News also found that the report's analysis by expert analysts was doctored by Bush political appointees in the Commerce Department.

Here are the details: The industry trade publication notes that Congress slated $335,000 for a report from the technical experts at the Commerce Department's Technology Administration. The timetable was well before election day as "the report was requested by Congress in an appropriations bill in December 2003, with a six-month deadline of June 2004." And to be sure, the report "was completed well before the November 2004 presidential election." However, it "was delayed for clearance by the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress due to the controversial nature of the subject." In fact, it might never have come out at all as it was only released now "as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request that [Manufacturing News] had filed on March 17, 2005."

Worse, after the election, an undoctored draft of the report by the government's technical experts "went into a vetting process among political appointees at the Commerce Department and White House" and the original report "never resurfaced." Instead, what did finally resurface was a "12-page version" that "focuses on the allegedly positive impacts for the U.S. economy of the offshore outsourcing." Instead of original data, the report "quotes research conducted by organizations and individuals that have been funded by corporations that benefit from shifting jobs overseas." And of course, "no mention is made of the conflict of interest inherent in the studies cited by the Commerce report."

Let's remember - this is only the latest example of political hacks doctoring and burying reports. Right after 9/11, for instance, the White House doctored EPA reports about air quality in New York City. Earlier this year, the White House doctored reports about the causes of global warming. And, as Think Progress shows, there are plenty of other examples.

What's particularly disturbing about these new revelations is that the report was not only doctored, but buried before the election, despite Congress specifically mandating the report be released before then. In other words, the White House didn't just take liberties - it deliberately violated the will of Congress in order to suppress and doctor government data for its own political purposes. That's way over the line, even for these guys.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios - Presente

They Can Kill a Revolutionary, but They Can't Kill the Revolution
On Friday, September 23, scores of FBI agents surrounded a house in semi-rural Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. They attacked, and a sniper shot Filiberto Ojeda Rios, the Responsible General of Los Macheteros, a revolutionary organization fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico. Wounded, Filiberto was left to bleed to death before the Feds moved in the next day.

This assassination sparked a wave of protest in Puerto Rico while the standoff was still going on, a wave which has continued to grow in the weeks since. Though some news stories appeared in the US media, they faded fast. In fact, this murder was three stories.

Three Stories

The first is the immediate story of imperialist vengeance and arrogance. Filiberto Ojeda Rios had taken up arms against the colonialist occupiers of his homeland, and had been set free by Puerto Rican juries for charges stemming from actions which had appropriated millions of dollars from the likes of Wells Fargo, actions which had resulted in the wounding of an FBI agent and others. Still a target of the US, Filiberto had eluded capture for 15 years. The FBI chose to open their assault on the fugitive on the day of El Grito de Lares, the patriotic holiday celebrating the 1868 uprising against Spanish colonialism.

The second is the underlying story of Puerto Rican anger and resistance. Thousands gathered the first night in San Juan and other cities across the island. Politicians and public figures soon denounced the murder and its timing, not only independentistas but also leading folks from the Commonwealth and Statehood parties. Filiberto's funeral motorcade was saluted by hundreds of thousands, as schools flying the Machetero flag emptied out. Anxious elected officials convened their own hearings on the crime.

The third is the unfolding story of broad-based actions and organization. Over the last decade the people of Puerto Rico have waged several rounds of struggle. The unsuccessful mass strike of 1998 trained them in mass civil disobedience. The successful battle to drive the US Navy off the island of Vieques followed, developing highly effective flexible tactics and the coordination of front-line struggle with building bases of support. This year, over 80% of the members of the Puerto Rican teachers union voted to uphold disaffiliation from the furious United Federation of Teachers, its US-based "parent," and run their own union. Lessons and leaders from all of these struggles came to the fore as word of the standoff spread. Respected lawyers and doctors demanded to cross the FBI cordon and arrange a peaceful arrest; they were refused. When the FBI insisted that power to the besieged house be shut off, the head of the electrical workers union warned on radio and television that any member who did so would be thrown out of the union forever.

Video-conference buffoonery

I've seen some weird shit in my day, and this definitely qualifies as weird.

I suppose Roget's Thesaurus could provide me with a more eloquent or evocative term, but weird is all I can think of that fits to describe that so-called video-conference that the Sociopath-in-Chief held with ten of the most haplessly humiliated officers and NCOs in the military, and one Iraqi collaborator.

Their fatigued faces almost sagging with temporary muscular failure from twenty-minute rigor mortis smiles (that surely seemed like 20 years), these unfortunates were required by the chain of command to leave their regular jobs on behalf of the slaughter and occupation and become public relations meat muppets for maybe the most inept perception management stunt yet performed by the Oval Office.

All you counter-recruitment activists out there! Invite teenagers and ROTC students to watch this "teleconference." Join the military and be put on display as ventriloquist dummies. Join the military and be humiliated before the whole world in a thespian performance on par with a third-grade Haloween skit.

Show this buffoonery to prospective troops, and the recruiters will have to hang around courtrooms - like in the old days - to offer convicted felons armed service as an option to prison.

White Pigs

That’s what we always hear when cops kill unarmed Black folk or beat the living shit out of a Black person who doesn't immediately accept their absolute authority. We always hear that these criminals with uniforms, guns, pepper spray, and a license to kill are bad apples.

Well, if the video of the brutal New Orleans police beating of 64-year-old retired school teacher Robert Davis teaches us anything about bad apples, it’s that the whole goddamned barrel is rotten already. Every one of those cops waited for their opportunity to dive in and get their licks on this elder.

I want to say something clever, but I don't feel clever after just having seen the whole videotape on television. These fucking white pigs didn't just abuse Mr. Davis, who didn’t do a fucking thing wrong except resist being handcuffed by a bunch of cops who had just punched him in the back of the head seven times in a row, each time slamming his face into a concrete wall. (We just attacked you and now we demand that you make our continued attacks easier.) They started attacking the witnesses, too.

And you know what? Because I know what!

Those pigs will all be exonerated. Mr. Davis will be charged and convicted of resisting arrest. Black people looking for food during the floods were called looters, while New Orleans pigs were stealing cash and cars as if they were Capone’s gang on meth. Bob Dylan said it, "where black is the color, and none is the number."

Colombians Protest Trade Pact With U.S.

From Yahoo
Tens of thousands of trade union workers and Indians took to the streets of Colombia's main cities Wednesday to protest a proposed free trade pact with the United States, accusing President Alvaro Uribe of selling out the country.

"Four more years of Uribe and we'll be in a coffin," chanted the demonstrators, who urged Colombia's highest court to strike down a measure that would allow Uribe to seek a second consecutive term in office during next year's presidential elections.

Thousands of state judicial, transport and education employees walked off the job, forcing the closure of public schools and notary offices in Bogota.

The protests snarled traffic. There were also fears that Colombia's main leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, would infiltrate the marches and incite violence.

Purported FARC leaflets distributed in Bogota accused Uribe "of placing the country in the hands of the gringos" by accepting billions of dollars in mostly military aid from Washington over the past five years to fight the insurgents.

Roundup of Iraq events on day of referendum voting (UPDATE 1)

My Two cents

It is worrisome that those who want to partake in the process and vote 'no' are being given the runaround by a government keen on seeing 'yes'.

Also, Riverbend alluded to something I wrote last week, which many of the Iraqi bloggers are picking up just now. None of the Iraqi diaspora are allowed to vote.

I went to the Iraqi embassy in this Arab capital and the second (or was it third) secretary said "Maku taswiit". No voting.

Khosh. It's because an overwhelming majority of Iraqis abroad would have voted "no".

Then you ask yourself, when 4-5 million people are removed from the voting process, is it really an exercise in democracy or thuggery?

That's what so many Americans can't understand. Not one media outlet has written about Iraqis abroad being prohibited from voting. Not one.

Why? Last January, they couldn't get enough of showing the blue-inked thumbs of Iraqis abroad.

That's why I oppose this sham of a draft constitution and the shameful conduct of a government that has pushed me and millions of other Iraqis of all sects and religious affiliations to the curbs.

Citing financial reasons is absurd - can Virginia be barred from a national vote because it doesn't have the finances?

Also, firing on people voting is just criminal. I think the draft constitution itself is criminal, poorly written and hastily jumbled up to satisfy political pressures from abroad. But to fire on people who are either voting 'yes' or 'no' is just reprehensible.

It serves nothing but to shed Iraqi blood and cause further strife in an already war-ravaged nation.

Clearly, the intelligence units of several neighboring countries are busy today.

Riverbend - Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Most educated Iraqis want to vote against the constitution. This makes the fact that Iraqis abroad aren't being allowed to vote this time around worrisome. Why was it vital for them to vote for a temporary government back in January but it's not necessary for them to contribute to this referendum which will presumably decide a permanent constitution for generations and generations of Iraqis? Could it be that the current Iranian inclined government knew that many Iraqis abroad didn’t like the constitution because of federalism, women's rights, and the mention of no laws to be placed which contradict Islam?
The Referendum...
So the referendum is tomorrow- well, technically speaking, today.

We've been having more than the usual power outages. Government officials were saying 'power problems', 'overload', etc. for the last two days and then suddenly changed their minds today and claimed it was 'sabotage'. It’s difficult to tell. All we know is that large parts of Baghdad are literally in the dark. We're currently on generator electricity. Water has been cut off for the last two days with the exception of an occasional dribble that lasts for ten to fifteen minutes from a faucet in the garden. We have a nice big pot under it to catch as much water as possible.

Private cars haven’t been allowed to drive in the streets since Thursday- this will last until Sunday. It's been declared a 'holiday' of sorts. Everyone is at home. In spite of these security measures, there were several explosions today.

The referendum promises to be somewhat confusing. People are saying it should be postponed. Now is not the right time. More changes were made a few days ago to the supposed 'final' draft of the constitution- the one that was submitted to the UN. It was allegedly done to appease Sunnis.

A treinta y ocho a&ntilda;os de Ernesto "Che" Guevara 1967 - 2005

Si el poeta eres tú, como dijo el poeta, y el que ha tumbado estrellas en mil noches de lluvias coloridas eres tú, qué tengo yo que hablarte, Comandante. Si el que asomó al futuro su perfil y lo estrenó con voces de fusil fuiste tú, guerrero para siempre, tiempo eterno, qué puedo yo cantarte, Comandante. (Pablo Milanés).

Estás en todas partes. En el indio hecho de sueño y cobre. Y en el negro revuelto en espumosa muchedumbre, y en el ser petrolero y salitrero, y en el terrible desamparo de la banana, y en la gran pampa de las pieles y en el azúcar y en la sal y en los cafetos, tú, móvil estatua de tu sangre como te derribaron, vivo, como no te querían, Che Comandante, amigo.

Cuba te sabe de memoria. Rostro de barbas que clarean. Y marfil y aceituna en la piel de santo joven. Firme la voz que ordena sin mandar, que manda compañera, ordena amiga, tierna y dura de jefe camarada. Te vemos cada día y puro como un niño o como un hombre puro, Che Comandante, amigo.

US troops 'starve Iraqi citizens'

From BBC News
A senior United Nations official has accused US-led coalition troops of depriving Iraqi civilians of food and water in breach of humanitarian law.
Human rights investigator Jean Ziegler said they had driven people out of insurgent strongholds that were about to be attacked by cutting supplies.

Mr Ziegler, a Swiss-born sociologist, said such tactics were in breach of international law.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad denied the allegations.

"A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the coalition's occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population," Mr Ziegler told a press conference in Geneva.

He said coalition forces were using "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare."

"This is a flagrant violation of international law," he added.

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

From Granma
HUMAN rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

Bush's flim-flam on faith

BY THE TIME our holy-roller-in-chief leaves office, we will really be confused about the role of religion. That is how President Bush wants it, starting with his faith-based initiatives that were merely an excuse for gutting government programs. In recent weeks, this blessed agenda has bumped up against unavoidable hypocrisy.

The most obvious is the Supreme Court. Bush named John Roberts to the court under a massive smokescreen. In July, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, ''Judge Roberts has said in previous testimony that personal beliefs or views have no role whatsoever when it comes to decisions that judges make."

Land War in Bolivia - Conflict for Territory and Powe

On a grassy hillside of the Bolivian highlands, on a sunny day in June of this year, hundreds of peasant farmers celebrated two years of liberation. A bullfight, dancing, and food for all. Close, but just out of sight, sat the solitary ruins of the ex-hacienda of Collana - "a sign," according to the settlement's own account of their anniversary, “that, here, not even a trace of a patrón (landowner) remains." [1]

The occupation two years ago of the large private estate, despite many obstacles the participants have faced, is in many ways a success story for the young but growing movement of landless peasants in Bolivia. Families who until 2003 had essentially been indentured servants in Bolivia's near-feudal countryside are living for the first time on their own terms. "With or without papers, the land was our grandparents' and now it is ours," stated Collana leader Dionisio Mamani in a recent article. [2] “With this, we are assuring a better life for our children.”

Here in Bolivia, the words "la tierra" (the land) imply more than a piece of the ground. They have hidden meanings - power, racism, violence, suffering, struggle and hope - depending on who is speaking them.

Bolivia may have gained international recognition for recent uprisings around water and gas, but this Guerra de la Tierra (Land War) is a daily bloody backdrop to the mass mobilizations that capture the world’s attention. It’s a battle for survival and sovereignty being waged in every corner of the country; a power conflict that is, in essence, rooted in colonial history of the white elite and the indigenous majority.

The national, 50,000-member-strong Landless Movement (Movimiento Sin Tierra, MST) has led the fight to equalize land ownership in a country where 90 percent of the population owns 7 percent of the cultivatable land, where campesinos (peasant farmers) primarily work as peons for large estates or have been forced to leave the countryside altogether. Over the past five years, MST has centralized the issue of landownership in country’s political agenda primarily by taking over owned land.

VI Foro Social Mundial y II Foro Social Américas

VI Foro Social Mundial y II Foro Social Américas
Caracas-Venezuela, del 24 al 29 de Enero 2006

“Otro mundo es necesario, contigo es posible”

Iniciado en 2001 en Porto Alegre, el Foro Social Mundial (FSM), se convierte ahora en un proceso permanente de búsqueda y construcción de alternativas.

Reúne y articula a entidades y movimientos sociales de todos los países del mundo, pero no pretende ser una instancia de representación de la sociedad mundial.

Es un espacio de debate de ideas, formulación de propuestas, intercambio de experiencias y articulación de movimientos, redes, organizaciones no gubernamentales y otras organizaciones que se oponen al neoliberalismo y al dominio del mundo por el

capital o por cualquier forma de imperialismo y, también, empeñados en la construcción de una sociedad planetaria orientada hacia una relación fecunda entre los seres humanos y de estos con la Tierra.

Cinco años más tarde, el Foro Social Mundial 2006 es ahora policéntrico y por eso se desarollará simultáneamente (del 24 al 29 de enero de 2006), en tres capitales del Sur : Bamako, Malí, África), Karachi (Pakistán, Asia) ; y Caracas (Venezuela), que será la sede para el capítulo América.

Despuès del I Foro Social América (Quito, 25 al 30 de Julio 2004), este espacio sirve de encuentro a las diversas respuestas que hacen frente a las expresiones del neoliberalismo, como el proyecto ALCA, ilustrado en el CAFTA y los TLC Andinos. Sin embargo, la lucha continúa; ejemplo de ello es la ebullición socio-política en Bolivia y Ecuador, así como otras alternativas que se promueven desde el Estado o desde los mismos movimientos sociales.

“Unámonos y seremos invencibles”(1)

Desde la ratificación de Caracas como sede, se ha estado trabajando en la organización del evento. Sin embargo, para que sea un éxito, tiene que contar con la participación y el protagonismo de cada uno de nosotros y nosotras. Por ello, se invita a los pueblos del mundo a la construcción participativa y protagónica de los temas y contenidos que serán debatidos en el VI Foro Social Mundial.

Invitamos a participar inscribiendo actividades culturales y artísticas, conferencias, talleres o testimonios (2) que ayuden a construir este otro mundo necesario.

Las inscripciones están abiertas hasta el el 31 de Octubre, a través de la página:

“Otro mundo es necesario, contigo es posible”

Para más información:

(1) Simón Bolívar, Oficio a Manuel Cedeño. Barcelona, 10 de

enero de 1817.

(2) Siempre que sean enmarcados en la Carta de Principios del Foro Social Mundial:

Agua que no has de beber...

Agua podrida y sangre. BECHTEL en 4 ciudades del Tercer Mundo: Guayaquil, Bagdad, Nueva Orleáns y Cochabamba.

En Guayaquil no puedes tomar agua «potable» porque está totalmente contaminada; con coliformes fecales, nada menos. En Bagdad no la puedes beber porque está mezclada con lágrimas y sangre, si es que todavía encuentras agua. En Nueva Orleáns no la puedes tomar, pues se halla enturbiada con una mezcla de lodo, llanto y humores descompuestos de cadáveres. Las tres ciudades forman un triángulo de agua podrida, signo de abandono, enfermedad y muerte. Y las tres ostentan como símbolo del mal una misma marca: BECHTEL, multinacional de origen norteamericano, que ejecuta 1.500 proyectos en 140 países y factura anualmente 15 mil millones de dólares.

Carta de octubre - Lo alternativo revolucionario en Ecuador

Luego del funesto y vergonzoso capítulo protagonizado por el nefasto dúo Gutiérrez-Palacio, sería un crimen social ofrecer una salida electoral como remedio para una realidad de un país que requiere una revolución. Sin embargo, no nos asusta el hecho de que la clase dominante -a través de la gama de colores partidarios- haya vuelto a retomar el control de la política a fin de seguir reproduciendo el Ecuador de las miserias.

Fog Facts #2

The Challenge Stands

You supply the billions, we here at Fog Facts will find Osama bin Laden. Plus any ten other terrorists to be named later.

It is astonishing that although the administration has spent $200,000,000,000, as a supplementary amount, on top of all other military and intelligence expenditures, they have not arrested – or captured or killed - the gang that attacked us.

I don't understand how that’s possible and I would like the opportunity to prove than any ordinary civilian ought to be able to do the job with that much money. Of course, I insist on US rules. I can kill, torture, bribe, whatever I want and I will never be liable.

The Terrorists Who Phoned In

Seven of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists declared themselves alive after 9/11. If that's true, then yes, they were not on the planes. And we don't know who was.

These are collated individual reports in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Time, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent and on the BBC.

Six purported to come from the individuals concerned and one from the Saudi government.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Emperor Doesn't Disclose: Why the Fight Against Fake News Continues

Like much news that's damaging to the Bush administration, the report came out on a Friday.

Since then, it's gotten little media attention -- just 41 mentions in U.S. newspapers and wire stories, according to a news database search on October 11. That's remarkably sparse coverage for a story showing that the U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens.

On September 30, the nonpartisan, investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), announced that several aspects of work done for the Department of Education by the public relations firm Ketchum violated federal law. Taxpayer-funded projects carried out by Ketchum or its subcontractors -- including Armstrong Williams and Karen Ryan -- constituted "covert propaganda" or "purely partisan activities," according to the GAO.

Yet, what the GAO has condemned, administration officials seem to consider business as usual.

Standard Operating Propaganda Procedures

In one such disputed activity, a Ketchum subcontractor wrote an article about an Education Department study of "parents' views on the declining science literacy of students." The article ran "in numerous small newspapers and circulars throughout the country," with no disclosure of "the Department's involvement in its writing." Similar practices also happened under another Education Department contract with the same company, the GAO noted.

Los diablos del Diablo por Eduardo Galeano*

Ésta es una modesta contribución a la guerra del Bien contra el Mal. El autor aporta algunos identikits que nos ayudan a identificar los diversos rostros del Príncipe de las Tinieblas. En esta muestra sólo figuran los demonios de más larga duración, que desde hace siglos o milenios siguen activos en el mundo.

WHO warns on bird flu false alarms

The spread of the deadly bird flu virus to poultry in new areas on the fringes of Europe has increased the chances of human cases, but false alarms are also likely, the World Health Organisation said.

On Friday, the UN agency called for tighter surveillance of both flocks and humans to quickly detect any further outbreaks after avian viruses were identified in Turkey and Romania.

But in a statement, it said all evidence indicated that the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus still does not spread easily from birds to infect humans.

Experts fear a spread from birds to humans on a larger scale could lead to a mutation in the virus allowing transmission from human to human. This could result in an avian flu pandemic.

"The spread of H5N1 to poultry in new areas is of concern as it increases opportunities for further human cases to occur," the WHO said.

Quick Take

* European Union experts open crisis talks on spread of bird flu, likely to issue recommendations on potential risk for humans.

* World Health Organisation says spread of virus to poultry at fringes of Europe has increased the chances of human cases, but "false alarms" are likely.

* WHO says all evidence so far shows the H5N1 virus does not spread easily from birds to infect humans.

* WHO says international community must raise about $260 million in the short term to fight bird flu virus in Southeast Asia.

* Results of tests on bird flu samples from Romania are delayed by a day until Saturday because of a customs hold-up. The tests will show whether Romania has the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, already found in Turkey.

* The spread of bird flu from Asia to Europe is a "troubling sign" and migratory birds will inevitably carry the virus farther, US Health Secretary Mike Leavitt says.

* Seeking to calm fears, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announce separately that they have eaten chicken.

Convocatoria al VI Foro Mesoamericano de los Pueblos

El Comité Mesoamericano del Foro Mesoamericano, convoca oficialmente a las organizaciones sociales y populares de Mesoamérica (desde México hasta Panamá), así como a organizaciones hermanas de otras latitudes y continentes, a participar activamente en el VI Foro Mesoamericano, cuyo país sede será Costa Rica y se realizará del 12 al 14 de diciembre de 2005.

Carácter, objetivos y ejes centrales del vi foro mesoamericano

El VI Foro Mesoamericano se caracteriza por ser un esfuerzo de construcción regional donde ocupan un lugar central la lucha y la resistencia contra el libre comercio y sus instrumentos. En este sentido, el VI Foro da continuidad a las anteriores ediciones de este espacio de convergencia, al mantener un carácter anticapitalista, antipatriarcal y multicultural.

Por otra parte, el VI Foro es un proceso orientado al fortalecimiento de los movimientos sociales, por lo que pone el acento en la articulación, la integración y la construcción de alternativas, creando espacios para el debate y la construcción política. Asimismo, apostamos a que el Foro se convierta en un referente de la región para la interlocución y articulación continental y global de la resistencia frente al neoliberalismo y la globalización del capital.

El eje central del VI Foro Mesoamericano será, por lo tanto, la integración de los pueblos contra el libre comercio. Relacionado con este eje central, los objetivos del VI Foro Mesoamericano son:

The 2005 International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States

When the possibility of far-reaching war crimes and crimes against humanity exists, people of conscience have a solemn responsibility to inquire into the nature and scope of these acts and to determine if they do in fact rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. That is the mission of the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity. The first session will be held October 21-22 in New York City. This tribunal will, with care and rigor, present evidence and assess whether George W. Bush and his administration have committed crimes against humanity. Well-established international law will be referenced where applicable, but the tribunal will not be limited by the scope of existing international law.

The tribunal will deliberate on four categories of indictable crimes: 1) Wars of Aggression, with particular reference to the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. 2) Torture and Indefinite Detention, with particular reference to the abandonment of international standards concerning the treatment of prisoners of war and the use of torture. 3) Destruction of the Global Environment, with particular reference to systematic policies contributing to the catastrophic effects of global warming. 4) Attacks on Global Public Health and Reproductive Rights, with particular reference to the genocidal effects of forcing international agencies to promote "abstinence only" in the midst of a global AIDS epidemic.

The Commission's jury of conscience will be composed of internationally respected jurists and legal scholars, prominent voices of conscience, and experts and monitors in relevant fields. The tribunal's legitimacy is derived from its integrity, its rigor in the presentation of evidence, and the stature of its participants. Representatives of the Bush administration will be invited to present a defense.

Prior to the meeting of the Commission, teams with sufficient expertise will prepare preliminary indictments in each of the four areas, setting forth the scope of the Bush administration’s actions and how they contravene legal and moral norms for international behavior. At the meeting of the Commission, there will be four prosecution teams that organize the presentation of the evidence. This evidence will be documents as well as eyewitness testimony by victims and observers of the crimes alleged. The formal proceedings will be held in a public venue and all attempts will be made to publicize and broadcast its deliberations internationally. The Commission’s jury of conscience will come to verdicts and its findings will be published.

The holding of this tribunal will frame and fuel a discussion that is urgently needed in the United States: Is the administration of George W. Bush guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity? The Commission will conduct its work with a deep sense of responsibility to the people of the world.

The Commission is sponsored by the Not In Our Name statement of conscience, joined by the following individuals and organizations:

[List in formation]

James Abourezk, former United States Senator

As'ad AbuKhalil, professor of politics & public administration, California State University-Stanislaus

Dirk Adriaensens, BRussells Tribunal executive committee and coordinator SOS Iraq

Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, social anthropologist at the University of Exeter, founding member of Act Together: Women's Action on Iraq & and member Women in Black UK

Anthony Alessandrini, organizer with the World Tribunal on Iraq and New York University Students for Justice in Palestine

Edward Asner

Russell Banks, novelist

The Rev. Luis Barrios, Ph.D., associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice & Anglican Priest

Amy Bartholomew, professor of law at Carleton University

Greg Bates, Common Courage Press

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies

Michael S. Berg, grieving father of Nick Berg killed in Iraq May 7, 2004, and one man for Peace

Ayse Berktay, from the organizing team of the World Tribunal on Iraq

William Blum, author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

Francis Boyle, author of Destroying World Order and professor at the University of Illinois College of Law

Jean Bricmont, Brussells Tribunal executive committee

Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and executive vice president of National Lawyers Guild

Lieven De Cauter, BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Patrick Deboosere, BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Michael Eric Dyson

Peter Erlinder, William Mitchell College of Law and lead defense counsel, United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania

Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda and Behind the Poison Cloud: Union Carbide’s Bhopal Massacre

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of International Law, Princeton, and Visiting Professor in Global and International Studies, UC-Santa Barbara

Thomas M. Fasy, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, member, American Academy of Arts & Letters and founder & editor in chief, City Lights Books, San Francisco

Ted Glick, former coordinator, Independent Progressive Politics Network

Dr. Elaine C. Hagopian, former president of Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) and primary founder of the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI)

Sam Hamill. director, Poets Against War

International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia

Abdeen Jabara, past president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Dahr Jamail, U.S. independent journalist who has reported extensively from Iraq since the invasion

C. Clark Kissinger, contributing writer for Revolution and initiator of the Not In Our Name statement of conscience

The Reverend Doctor Earl Kooperkamp, Rector, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, West Harlem, New York City

Joel Kovel, editor-in-chief, Capitalism Nature Socialism: A Quarterly Journal of Socialist Ecology, and author of The Enemy of Nature

Jesse Lemisch, professor of history emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine and author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back America from the Religious Right

New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee

New Jersey Workers Democracy Network

National Lawyers Guild

National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Rev. Davidson Loehr, Ph.D., First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas

Robert Meeropol, Executive Director, Rosenberg Fund for Children

Barbara Olshansky, deputy legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Secret Trials and Executions

James Petras, professor emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University, New York

Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author with Ellen Ray of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know

Stephen F. Rohde, civil liberties lawyer and co-founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

Marc Sapir MD, MPH, co-convener of the UC Berkeley Teach In on Torture and executive director of Retro Poll

Sister Annette M. Sinagra, OP

State of Nature on-line magazine

Inge Van de Merlen, Brussells Tribunal executive committee

Gore Vidal

Anne Weills, civil rights attorney in Oakland, National Lawyers Guild

Leonard Weinglass, criminal defense attorney

Naomi Weisstein, professor emeritus of Neuroscience, State University of NY at Buffalo

Howard Zinn, historian

[institutions referenced for identification only]

Criminal Arrogance

At the risk of stating the obvious: This is a rough time for U.S. public diplomacy. Recent studies have shown that over the last four years the world’s perception of the United States - although slightly improving - has remained disconcertingly negative. In fact, a June 2005 Pew Research Center Poll revealed that the populations of just six of 16 major industrialized nations gave the United States a favorability rating of 50 percent or above. While the ongoing Iraq conflict is a key source of frustration, it is not the only one. U.S. policy on a broad range of issues including climate change and development policy has failed to consider the wishes of the global community, including our key allies.

As sad as these statistics are, even more depressing has been the ineffectual steps the Bush administration has taken to repair America’s sagging reputation. Assuming that the use of more multilateral rhetoric and the appointment of Karen Hughes as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy will solve this crisis suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of the problem facing the country. Practical changes in policy will do more than rhetorical flourishes to improve global perceptions. A good place for the administration to start is with a simple reconsideration of the way the U.S. engages countries who are party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is the only permanent international court capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when there is no other recourse for justice.

Casualties of the Bush Administration - The Fallen Legion

From Tomgram
As the American toll in Iraq climbs toward 2,000 dead and 15,000 wounded, and the horror of those shortened or constricted lives continues to sink deep into American communities, various memorials to the fallen -- American soldiers, journalists, contractors, and sometimes Iraqis as well -- have sprung to life. Arrays of combat boots; labyrinths and candlelit displays for the dead; actual walls and "walls" on-line; newspaper "walls" as well as walls of words; not to speak of websites with ever-growing military and civilian casualty counts. The American Friends Service Committee, for example, has an exhibit, "Eyes Wide Open," that has long traveled the country, featuring "a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict, and a multimedia display exploring the history, cost and consequences of the war." The exhibit began with just over 500 combat boots and now features almost 2,000.

The Fallen Legion

Casualties of the Bush Administration
By Nick Turse
In late August 2005, after twenty years of service in the field of military procurement, Bunnatine ("Bunny") Greenhouse, the top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of awarding government contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, was demoted. For years, Greenhouse received stellar evaluations from superiors -- until she raised objections about secret, no-bid contracts awarded to Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) -- a subsidiary of Halliburton, the mega-corporation Vice President Dick Cheney once presided over. After telling congress that one Halliburton deal was "was the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," she was reassigned from "the elite Senior Executive Service... to a lesser job in the civil works division of the corps."
Read whole Article


Porn in High Places

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is out of jail. In all probability Miller played a role in revealing the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame and assisted the White House in discrediting Plame's whistle blower husband, Joseph Wilson. Whatever is ultimately revealed about Miller won't come from the pages of the Times. It has so far refused to come clean on her shilling for the Bush administration.

Bush's right hand henchman, Karl Rove, has testified four times before the grand jury investigating the case and special prosecutor James Fitzgerald may be ready to hand down indictments. It took quite a while for the corporate media to pay attention to the illegal outing of a CIA agent, and therein lies a very sordid tale.

Jeff Gannon, born James Guckert, is like the bad penny that won't go away. Gannon is the "reporter" from the now defunct Talon News Service. Talon was a Republican phony news service that existed only to bolster White House propaganda efforts. When would be reporter Gannon was still calling himself Guckert he was also advertising his services as a gay prostitute.

It is easy to be distracted by Gannon's personal life because this administration cynically uses anti-gay bigotry to energize its political base. As tempting as it would be to expose the ugly underbelly of the already ugly, that would not do justice to the point of this column.

While the private lives of the Bushmen may be ugly – no surprise there – it is their public lives which must be closely scrutinized. In the scheme of things it really is not important that Gannon used to be a professional whore. It is important that this former prostitute and phony reporter was allowed to gain access to the classified information that identified Plame. Gannon is a bit coy, saying only that "I acquired knowledge of the memo...."

We already know he wasn't really a reporter. If Gannon "acquired knowledge" of anything classified it is because someone gave him the information. The self-made web site porn star had a friend in a very high place.

Meanwhile, the worst and ugliest act undertaken by this administration, the occupation of Iraq, continues. President Bush made it clear in a recent speech that it isn't going to end anytime soon. We must not falter, we must stay the course, we must continue the war on terror and so on. While Bush speaks the same awful words that are used to hide the destruction of a nation, America's namby pamby media have sadly chosen to assist him in keeping that horror in the closet.

Occupations are inherently oppressive. You can't take over someone else's country without breaking bodies, homes and dignity. We saw a brief glimpse of the humiliation and violence waged against Iraqis when photos of abuse and death at Abu Ghraib prison were first made public. As awful as those images were, there are more to come that are apparently much, much worse.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the federal government to force the release of an additional 87 photographs and 4 videos. The feds took the position that the images will ruin America's image abroad and increase the likelihood of terror attacks. That is quite an admission of guilt.

It has been reported that these new photos may depict the sexual abuse of women and minors. If that is true it will be further proof that the U.S. is in fact the infidel, the great Satan and anything else that will cause aggrieved people to want to kill us all.

Speaking of photos and Iraq, the mixture of violence and sex recently exposed yet another incident that goes under the heading of "scandals that should have been but were swept under the rug." A patriotic porn meister offered access to his web site to anyone who submitted photographic evidence of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Some soldiers sent humdrum shots of Baghdad while others felt compelled to use gruesome images of bodies blown to bits.

It seems the government doesn’t have to worry about more Abu Ghraib photos. They have to worry about horny soldiers emailing pictures of dead bodies so that they can see pictures of live nude girls.

The war in Iraq, like every other war, has killed and maimed thousands of people. Unlike other wars the killers in this conflict
have digital cameras and can spread their handiwork thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds.

The New York Times has access to the same technology. The Gray Lady could show us how Iraqis are suffering because of the United States. Instead, their ace reporter Judith Miller gave us pornography when she aided the war mongers in their campaign of lies. Unless the Times fully discloses its role in this dirty story it is no better than Hustler. Actually it is worse. Hustler has no pretense about what it is selling.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached via e-Mail at You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at

Haiti's Children's Prison - Hope is Fading

Rays of Haiti's scorching noontime sun slip between the bars into the otherwise dark 8 by 10 foot cell, illuminating the sets of eyes that stare out at the visitors.

My eyes adjust and the forms of children emerge. I count 16 boys. Most squeeze seated together on the upper and lower levels of the three bunk beds that fit into a tight "U." A few sprawl behind the seated ones or sit in the tight space on the concrete floor that separates the beds. Three more cells, each with 16 boys, adjoin this one. The youngest of the 64 children is 10. There are at least three 10-year-olds. The oldest is 17. Many have lived in these cells for more than a year.

A journalist visiting Haiti for the third time, I'm accompanying San Francisco Bay Area human rights workers. With me at the children's prison is Sr. Stella Goodpasture, OP, Justice Promoter, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose and translator, guide, advisor and friend, Daniel Tillas.

Black Mecca: The Death of an Illusion

It was the place to be, we were told throughout the Eighties and Nineties. The housing was cheap, the weather benign, the social and business networks poppin’, the elected officials black and enlightened, and the opportunities limitless. Twenty years before it had been "the city too busy to hate." Now it was the "Black Mecca," and pilgrims streamed in by the tens of thousands each year.

Maynard Jackson was elected Atlanta's first black mayor in 1973, only 5 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. According to a June 29, 2003 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Ernie Suggs:

"In 1973, fewer than 1 percent of the city's contracts went to minorities. Five years later, it was 38.6 percent. At one point, more than 80 percent of all minority contracts at U.S. airports were in Atlanta, prompting Jackson once to boast that he had helped create 25 new black millionaires..."

Those first 25 millionaires, with the assistance of the next three black Atlanta mayors, have helped to create scores of additional black millionaires along with the thriving, empowered, well-connected and ambitious business and professional class which identifies with the people who run Atlanta to this day.

Bush Teleconference with Soldiers Staged

It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.

"This is an important time," Allison Barber, deputy assistant defense secretary, said, coaching the soldiers before Bush arrived. "The president is looking forward to having just a conversation with you."

Barber said the president was interested in three topics: the overall security situation in Iraq, security preparations for the weekend vote and efforts to train Iraqi troops.

As she spoke in Washington, a live shot of 10 soldiers from the Army's 42nd Infantry Division and one Iraqi soldier was beamed into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building from Tikrit - the birthplace of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"I'm going to ask somebody to grab those two water bottles against the wall and move them out of the camera shot for me," Barber said.

A brief rehearsal ensued.

"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

And so it went.

"If the question comes up about partnering - how often do we train with the Iraqi military - who does he go to?" Barber asked.

"That's going to go to Captain Pratt," one of the soldiers said.

"And then if we're going to talk a little bit about the folks in Tikrit - the hometown - and how they're handling the political process, who are we going to give that to?" she asked.

Before he took questions, Bush thanked the soldiers for serving and reassured them that the U.S. would not pull out of Iraq until the mission was complete.

"So long as I'm the president, we're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory," Bush said.

The president told them twice that the American people were behind them.

"You've got tremendous support here at home," Bush said.

Less than 40 percent in an AP-Ipsos poll taken in October said they approved of the way Bush was handling Iraq. Just over half of the public now say the Iraq war was a mistake.

Pinter: Torture and misery in name of freedom

By Harold Pinter who yesterday won the Nobel Prize for Literature
Published: 14 October 2005

The great poet Wilfred Owen articulated the tragedy, the horror - and indeed the pity - of war in a way no other poet has. Yet we have learnt nothing. Nearly 100 years after his death the world has become more savage, more brutal, more pitiless.

But the "free world" we are told, as embodied in the United States and Great Britain, is different to the rest of the world since our actions are dictated and sanctioned by a moral authority and a moral passion condoned by someone called God. Some people may find this difficult to comprehend but Osama Bin Laden finds it easy.

What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of International Law. An arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public. An act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort (all other justifications having failed to justify themselves) - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.

An independent and totally objective account of the Iraqi civilian dead in the medical magazine The Lancet estimates that the figure approaches 100,000. But neither the US or the UK bother to count the Iraqi dead. As General Tommy Franks of US Central Command memorably said: "We don't do body counts".

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery and degradation to the Iraqi people and call it " bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East". But, as we all know, we have not been welcomed with the predicted flowers. What we have unleashed is a ferocious and unremitting resistance, mayhem and chaos.

You may say at this point: what about the Iraqi elections? Well, President Bush himself answered this question when he said: "We cannot accept that there can be free democratic elections in a country under foreign military occupation". I had to read that statement twice before I realised that he was talking about Lebanon and Syria.

What do Bush and Blair actually see when they look at themselves in the mirror?

I believe Wilfred Owen would share our contempt, our revulsion, our nausea and our shame at both the language and the actions of the American and British governments.

Adapted by Harold Pinter from a speech he delivered on winning the Wilfred Owen Award earlier this year

A Nazi in the (pocket) is worth four in the Bush (family)

What is interesting about the history of the Bush family are the connections; Avril Harriman, Allen Dulles, the Rockefellers (the start of the oil connection), James Baker III, Gulf Oil, Pennzoil, Osama bin Laden…on and on it goes.

"On October 20, 1942, the US Alien Property Custodian, under the "Trading With the Enemy Act," seized the shares of the Union Banking Corporation (UBC), of which Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder. The largest shareholder was E. Roland Harriman. (Bush was also the managing partner of Brown Brothers Harriman, a leading Wall Street investment firm.)

"The UBC was established to send American capital to Germany to finance the reorganization of its industry under the Nazis. Their leading German partner was the notorious Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen, who wrote a book admitting much of this called "I Paid Hitler."

"Among the companies financed was the Silesian-American Corporation, which was also managed by Prescott Bush, and by his father-in-law George Herbert Walker, who supplied Dub-a-Ya with his name. The company was vital in supplying coal to the Nazi war industry. It too was seized as a Nazi-front on November 17, 1942. The largest company Bush's UBC helped finance was the German Steel Trust, responsible for between one-third and one-half of Nazi iron and explosives.

"Prescott Bush was also a director of the Harriman Fifteen Corporation, (this one owned largely by Roland's brother, Averell Harriman), which owned about a third of the Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation, the rest owned by Friedrich Flick, (a member of Himmler's "Circle of Friends" who donated to the S.S.)."


What is interesting about the history of the Bush family are the connections; Avril Harriman, Allen Dulles, the Rockefellers (the start of the oil connection), James Baker III, Gulf Oil, Pennzoil, Osama bin Laden…on and on it goes. It looks like this’ll have to be part one of an on-going series on the Bush dynasty and their dirty dealings.

'Frauds-R-Us' The Bush Family Saga

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you have to focus on" – GW Bush

"You have to look at the entire Bush Family in this context -- as if the family ran a corporation called ‘Frauds-R-Us,’

George Jr.’s specialty was insurance and security fraud.

Jeb’s specialty was oil and gas fraud.

Neil’s specialty was real estate fraud.

Prescott’s specialty was banking fraud.

And George Sr.’s specialty? All of the above." -- Lt. Cmdr. Al Martin, US Navy,(Ret)

"While opportunism isn’t new in U.S. politics, never did so many in one family extract so many dollars from taxpayers as when George Bush senior was president a decade ago" -- David E. Scheim, author of Contract on America.

"What you’ve got with Bush [George senior] is absolutely the largest number of siblings and children involved in what looks like a never-ending hustle." -- Republican pundit Kevin Philips

"Texas businessmen [are] not crooks, "they just have an over-developed sense of the extenuating circumstance."" -- Molly Ivins


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Remembering Suharto, the West's Fallen Hero. Nothing Has Changed.

"The propagandist's purpose," wrote Aldous Huxley, "is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." The British, who invented modern war propaganda and inspired Joseph Goebbels, were specialists in the field. At the height of the slaughter known as the First World War, the prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided to C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know."

What has changed?

"If we had all known then what we know now," said the New York Times on 24 August, "the invasion [of Iraq] would have been stopped by a popular outcry." The admission was saying, in effect, that powerful newspapers, like powerful broadcasting organisations, had betrayed their readers and viewers and listeners by not finding out - by amplifying the lies of Bush and Blair instead of challenging and exposing them. The direct consequences were a criminal invasion called "Shock and Awe" and the dehumanising of a whole nation.

This remains largely an unspoken shame in Britain, especially at the BBC, which continues to boast about its rigour and objectivity while echoing a corrupt and lying government, as it did before the invasion. For evidence of this, there are two academic studies available - though the capitulation of broadcast journalism ought to be obvious to any discerning viewer, night after night, as "embedded" reporting justifies murderous attacks on Iraqi towns and villages as "rooting out insurgents" and swallows British army propaganda designed to distract from its disaster, while preparing us for attacks on Iran and Syria. Like the New York Times and most of the American media, had the BBC done its job, many thousands of innocent people almost certainly would be alive today.

When will important journalists cease to be establishment managers and analyse and confront the critical part they play in the violence of rapacious governments? An anniversary provides an opportunity. Forty years ago this month, Major General Suharto began a seizure of power in Indonesia by unleashing a wave of killings that the CIA described as "the worst mass murders of the second half of the 20th century". Much of this episode was never reported and remains secret. None of the reports of recent terror attacks against tourists in Bali mentioned the fact that near the major hotels were the mass graves of some of an estimated 80,000 people killed by mobs orchestrated by Suharto and backed by the American and British governments.

Pipelineistan's Biggest Game Begins

History may judge it as one of the capital moves of the 21st century's New Great Game: May 25, the day high-quality Caspian light crude started flowing through the Caucasus toward the Mediterranean in Turkey. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) - conceived by the US as the ultimate Western escape route from dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf - is finally in business.

This is what Pipelineistan is all about: a supreme law unto itself - untouchable by national sovereignty, serious environmental concerns (expressed both in the Caucasus and in Europe), labor legislation, protests against the World Bank, not to mention mountains 2,700 meters high and 1,500 small rivers. BTC took 10 years of hard work and at least US$4 billion - $3 billion of which is in bank loans. BTC is not merely a pipeline: it is a sovereign state.


National Security Archive Update, October 13, 2005
Postwar Projections "had little or no impact on policy deliberations"

Declassified Kerr Report Available on National Security Archive Website

Washington D.C. October 13, 2005 - The White House disregarded intelligence projections on post-Saddam Iraq according to a newly-declassified CIA report, "Intelligence and Analysis on Iraq: Issues for the Intelligence Community," posted today on the website of the National Security Archive.

"In an ironic twist," the report finds, "the policy community was receptive to technical intelligence (the weapons program), where the analysis was wrong, but apparently paid little attention to intelligence on cultural and political issues (post-Saddam Iraq), where the analysis was right."

The report, from July 2004, is the third of three prepared by a group of intelligence experts led by Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy director of central intelligence, to examine the U.S. Intelligence Community's assessments in the months before the U.S. invasion. The first two reports remain classified despite the fact that many of their key findings are summarized in the July report and in unclassified reports produced by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Kerr report also identifies a number of weaknesses in the Intelligence Community's analytical products, particularly the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraqi weapons programs, which the report says was prepared "under an unusually tight time constraint" and was "the product of three separate drafters, drawing from a mixed bag of analytic product." The October 2002 NIE was at the center of Bush administration claims about Iraq's weapons programs in the prewar period.

The report also finds that intelligence analysts were under constant pressure to find "links between Saddam and [al-Qa'ida]" causing them to take a "purposely aggressive approach" to the issue, "conducting exhaustive and repetitive searches for such links." No such ties were ever found, however, and "the Intelligence Community remained firm in its assessment that no operational or collaborative relationship existed."

The Kerr report was first reported by USA Today on October 12 and is featured in an article by Douglas Jehl in today's New York Times. The text of the report was published this month with an edited introduction in the CIA's Studies in Intelligence journal (Vol. 49, No. 3). The complete, unedited version of the report was declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and appeal by National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson.

Please follow the link below to read the full report:

Operation Latin American Freedom (yeah right!)

Preparations are underway for renewed US militarization and intervention in Latin America. To protect its own hegemony and economic interests, the US government is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for military operations aimed at destabilizing leftist movements and governments and securing natural resources such as oil and gas.

By focusing on social programs in education, land reform and healthcare, many of the region's new leaders have put the needs of the people ahead of the demands of multinational companies. This leftist resurgence makes corporate investors and other harbingers of the free market nervous. Recently, the Bush administration has gone to extreme measures to ensure that this leftist trend is put in check.

Hundreds of US troops arrived in Paraguay on July 1st for secretive operations and are believed to be populating a military base 200 kilometers from the Bolivian border. Political analysts in the region consider this questionable activity to be part of a strategy to quell popular uprisings in Bolivia – where upcoming presidential elections are expected to favor a leftist candidate – and take over the country’s vast gas reserves.

Venezuela to Expel U.S. Evangelical Group

Venezuela will expel the U.S. evangelical group New Tribes Mission, which has been active in indigenous communities along the southern border with Colombia and Brazil since 1946, President Hugo Chávez announced Wednesday.

"They will leave Venezuela," said the president. "They are agents of imperialist penetration. They gather sensitive and strategic information and are exploiting the Indians. So they will leave, and I don't care two hoots about the international consequences that this decision could bring."

New Tribes, an evangelical organisation that has long had close ties with the U.S.-based Summer Institute of Linguistics, is active in a number of countries in Asia and Latin America, and in Venezuela has focused its efforts on the Yanomami, Ye'kuana and Panare indigenous groups and other ethnic communities in the southern part of the country.

The Summer Institute of Linguistics was founded in 1934 with the declared purpose of translating the Bible into indigenous languages.

Chávez was delivering collective land titles, boat motors, vehicles and credits to indigenous communities in the plains region in southern Venezuela on Wednesday, the date he had declared "day of indigenous resistance," when he made the surprising announcement on the New Tribes Mission in a nationally broadcast speech.

"I have seen reports and videos on the activity of these New Tribes. We don't want them here; we all form part of an old tribe," Chávez quipped.

Since the 1970s, New Tribes has drawn heavy criticism from many quarters, including leftist political groups, environmentalists, indigenous organisations, academics, Catholic Church leaders and even members of the military. The controversial group has been accused of prospecting for strategic minerals on behalf of transnational corporations and of the forced acculturation and conversion of indigenous people.

Sociologist and environmentalist Alexander Luzardo, who 20 years ago published a report on the New Tribes Mission's operations in the Amazon jungle, welcomed Chávez's decision.

He told IPS that the decision "complies with what is stipulated in the constitution of 1999, which establishes indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and to respect for their beliefs, values and customs.

President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

Iraq has descended into anarchy, says Fisk

Most of Iraq is in a state of anarchy, with insurgents controlling parts of Baghdad just half a mile from the so-called Green Zone, an Independent debate was told last night.

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, whose new book The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest of the Middle East has just been published by 4th Estate, painted a picture of deepening chaos and misery in Iraq more than two years after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

He said that the "constant, intensive involvement" in the Middle East by the West was a recurring pattern over centuries and was the reason why "so many Muslims in the Middle East hate us". He added: " We can close doors on history. They can't."

Fisk doubted the sincerity of Western leaders' commitment to bringing democracy to Iraq and said a lasting settlement in the country was impossible while foreign troops remained. "In the Middle East, they would like some of our democracy, they would like a couple of boxes off the supermarket shelves of human rights as well. But I think they would also like freedom from us."

Religion May Be Dangerous to Our Health

The Roman Catholic Jesuit Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in its Journal of Religion and Society recently published a report by social scientist Gregory Paul. The report is entitled "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies."

The study contradicts a commonly held belief that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society. Belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society, but may actually contribute to social problems.

Mr. Paul's report is based on a decade long, cross-national collaboration on social science surveys of 38 nations and 23,000 interviews. The study assessed such issues as societal health and dysfunction, measuring rates of homicide, youth suicide, sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, and abortion data. This data was analyzed relative to the nations that had the highest rates of absolute belief in God as creator, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer, and Biblical literalism.

The report concludes, "The populations of secular democracies are clearly able to govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical 'cultures of life' that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developing democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards."

Fog Facts

Fog Facts are things that have been made public, but have somehow disappeared into the mist.

Thereby becoming invisible.

Here are some examples: seven of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers have phoned in to say they were alive.

After the US took over Iraq, including the oil for food program, $19 billion of Iraq’s money disappeared.

The Florida recount, completed in 2001, showed that Al Gore got more valid, countable votes than George Bush.

What keeps us oblivious to these things is the failure to frame them, the failure of somebody to push them, and sometimes the deliberate manufacture of fog.

In turn, ignorance of the facts, keeps us from seeing the real picture.

A lot what has happened in the last six years is baffling. Let's focus on one area, our response to the 9/11 attacks.

Uranium fallout

Coverage of the Plame affair has been tainted by the press's cosy duet with the White House

From the steakhouses of the lobbyists to the cloakroom of the Senate, from the book-launch parties to the news bureaux, the main subject in Washington is who will be indicted, and when. As the inquiry of independent counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity approaches its deadline of October 28, the cast of characters appears for final performances before the grand jury. Trailing clouds of mystery, they disappear into the windowless chamber to emerge illuminating nothing. Fitzgerald's airtight office, leaking to no reporter, only fuels the fires of rumour by its silence.

The President's day: One high crime and two misdemeanors

Many have been agitating in recent days for the impeachment of President Bush, primarily on the grounds of deliberately lying to the American people about Iraq. But why stop there. Just today alone, Bush committed at least one "high crime" and two "misdemeanors," by our casual tally.

Let's review:

The act: President Bush said Wednesday that Harriet Miers' religious beliefs figured into her nomination to the Supreme Court as a top-ranking Democrat warned against any "wink and a nod" campaign for confirmation.
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
Misdemeanor No. 1: In using religion as a key basis for offering Miers a job, the president would appear to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the law "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

Misdemeanor No. 2: More specifically, one could make the case that Bush's actions are also in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which specifically covers federal employees. According to the same EEOC primer: "The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability."

High crime: As you might expect, the "high crime" here is more serious, and is also the area where it's hardest to argue that the president did not cross the line. We are referring to Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Do you honestly believe that Harriet Miers -- with all her other qualifications exactly the same -- would have been nominated to the Supreme Court if she had been Jewish, or an atheist, or Muslim? Of course not, because the president and Karl Rove, or Andy Card, or whoever's really running things these days, knew that such a choice would not pass muster with the radical clerics who sit on "the board of directors" of Bushco.

A mid-level bureaucrat who treated a job vacancy in this manner would surely be fired. Shouldn't we hold the president of the United States to an even higher standard?

George W. Bush has an easy choice now. He can withdraw Miers' nomination. Or he can be impeached.

The President's day: One high crime and two misdemeanors

Since Attytood is now officially a "liberal journalist" according to, we feel it's our duty to report that many on the farther left have been agitating in recent days for the impeachment of President Bush, primarily on the grounds of deliberately lying to the American people about Iraq. But why stop there. Just today alone, Bush committed at least one "high crime" and two "misdemeanors," by our casual tally.

Let's review:

The act: President Bush said Wednesday that Harriet Miers' religious beliefs figured into her nomination to the Supreme Court as a top-ranking Democrat warned against any "wink and a nod" campaign for confirmation.
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
Misdemeanor No. 1: In using religion as a key basis for offering Miers a job, the president would appear to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the law "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

Misdemeanor No. 2: More specifically, one could make the case that Bush's actions are also in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which specifically covers federal employees. According to the same EEOC primer: "The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability."

High crime: As you might expect, the "high crime" here is more serious, and is also the area where it's hardest to argue that the president did not cross the line. We are referring to Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Do you honestly believe that Harriet Miers -- with all her other qualifications exactly the same -- would have been nominated to the Supreme Court if she had been Jewish, or an atheist, or Muslim? Of course not, because the president and Karl Rove, or Andy Card, or whoever's really running things these days, knew that such a choice would not pass muster with the radical clerics who sit on "the board of directors" of Bushco.

A mid-level bureaucrat who treated a job vacancy in this manner would surely be fired. Shouldn't we hold the president of the United States to an even higher standard?

George W. Bush has an easy choice now. He can withdraw Miers' nomination. Or he can be impeached.