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US citizens: As Republicans try to claim that Libby's lies were just a "technicality", write a letter to your local newspaper saying that lying to start a war is a serious crime. The MoveOn site provides an easy way to do it.
The feds got Al Capone for tax evasion--a secondary crime when compared with the multiple murders he was guilty of. If charges of perjury and obstruction of justice bring down Libby for protecting the gangster kingpin he works for, that's justice.
Counting the human cost of the war in Iraq.
A US court ruled that the FBI needs a specific court order to get the data on where you were with your cell phone.
That's the right ruling--but I am still not going to carry around a cell phone, broadcasting my location for permanent records.
Juma al Dossary was tortured in Guantanamo, then threatened with further punishment more because he exposed the torture to a visiting lawyer.
Prosecutor Fitzgerald has extended his investigation to include the fabrication of the fraudulent "evidence" proving Hussein's purchase of uranium ore. This could lead to charges against Rove and Cheney.
The charges against Libby helped Cheney to remember the principle that suspects are "innocent until proven guilty"--a principle he conveniently when it comes to suspects he is not friends with. If Patrick Fitzgerald were investigating enemies of Bush and Cheney, they would call for torturing the suspects, or just throwing them in prison without a trial.
Serbian police have been arrested for a massacre in Kosovo.
Israel retaliated for a bombing by punishing a large civilian population. It uses the occasional rare attack as an excuse to cut off negotiations until the Palestinian authority cracks down--which it is in no position to do, because Israel has kept it weak. In effect, Israel prevents peace and puts the blame on the Palestinians.
Peter Zendran is personally fighting back against persistent harassnent by Rhode Island police.
Bush regime officials, by authorizing torture, have violated a US law that provides for life imprisonment, even the death penalty.
Bush would clearly get the death penalty under this law, but since the death penalty is wrong, Bush should spend his life behind bars for what he has done.
An American in the Bush forces is now in prison for refusing to go back to Iraq. I read elsewhere that he followed the procedures for conscientious objection, but his superiors dishonestly refused to even recognize that he had done so.
An officer who trained death squads in El Salvador is now in Iraq doing the same thing.
Rich nations are accused of giving 'nothing' to help the people made homeless by the Kashmir earthquake.
An autopsy says the Iraqi prisoner was suffocated to death, but nobody working for Bush has been charged.
Hofstra University is attacking students who peacefully protested Coca Cola Company. See the 7th story in killercoke.org.
A Republican has been convicted of laundering a large amount of money for the Bush campaign by dividing it up and passing it through various others.
I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption of Bush campaign finance. But I wonder, why did they bother? The Republicans were sure to win the vote count, no matter who won the vote.
The Bush administration withheld crucial information from a Congressional investigation so as to put blame on the CIA's "mistakes" for was in fact the administration's dishonesty.
Of course, we knew this at the time, but now there's clear proof.
Iran's president called for the destruction of Israel.
Israel's occupation of Palestine should be ended, because Palestinians have a right to live a life that isn't a prison. Israeli Jews also have that right. I don't mention that as often, because it is is not under much threat; those Palestinians that try armed attacks cannot harm more than a tiny fraction of Israelis. Iran conceivably could.
The best way to prevent that from really happening is to bring Iran to peace with the rest of the world.
The Australian government is trying to rush through a terror law that goes beyond what Bliar and Bush have done. It wanted to keep the law's text secret until the last minute, but a state published the text. The government still plans to rush the bill into law without allowing time for opponents to study what it means.
What's the rush? There is no possible legitimate reason--only a tyrant's reason.
Israel has tried to interfere with the weekly Bil'in nonviolent protests by arresting many of the people who normally participate. But the protest occurred anyway. Afterwards, some soldiers threw stones at other soldiers, perhaps as part of a black propaganda campaign.
Malcolm Kendall-Smith refuses to return to Iraq to fight for the Bush forces, on the grounds that the war is illegal and his orders to fight there are illegal too. When the UK military put him on trial for this, his defense will have to show that Bliar and Dubya committed the supreme war crime: starting a war of aggression.
Here is a summary of the case against them.
Here are more details on the new terrorist laws that the government of Australia wants to impose.
Australia is considering " biometric passports" with RFIDs. Once someone cracks the security--which surely is possible--it will be fairly easy for anyone to snarf the info off the RFID as an Australian passes by.
Galloway challenges US senators to charge him with perjury, so he can fight their accusations in court.
Was the assassination of Hariri carried out by the US and Israel so as to blame it on Syria?
Leaking the name of Valerie Plame is just a symptom. Here's a summary of the larger issue: how the Bushmen faked "intelligence" information, and corrupted its evaluation, so as to fabricate a case for the war that they had already decided on.
What's the right way to oppose an unjust war? To "support the troops" and win their support for ending the war, or to condemn what they are doing? This article says that the latter is both right and more effective.
I don't agree 100% with its conclusions. I think that any soldiers in the Bush forces who refuse to fight this war do deserve our admiration and support. By refusing to participate in the evil, they cease to deserve criticism for it. And they are probably doing so at great risk or cost, which takes courage. I think we should admire this courage.
Mothers of murdered innocent Iraqis have a stronger case to plead, as innocent victims, than mothers of Bush forces troops who died trying to subjugate Iraq for Bush. However, we don't have to choose one or the other; we can support both. And when mothers of Bush forces troops become anti-war activists, like Cindy Sheehan, their work deserves admiration--like that of any effective anti-war activist.
Speaking of Cindy Sheehan, here's her report on a protest in DC.
The counter-protestor who was carrying a sign for money is typical of the dishonesty of the right wing.
Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers have refused to work because they fear for their lives. One of them was killed, apparently by Iraqi police.
Human Rights Watch presented evidence that Saddam Hussein did use gas against Kurds--not in Hallabja during the Iran-Iraq war, but afterwards in another location.
Has anything refuted this?
Police in Florida arrested a teenage anti-war protestor who was holding a sign at the side of the road. Then they told lies about him to make it look justified.
This is standard police behavior--so common it isn't considered newsworthy. But if we want a free society, we must not allow police to get away with such conduct. Police, who can operate openly, are more dangerous than the same number of gangsters without badges, who have to hide what they do.
We have to teach every policeman a lesson: if he twists the facts to harass citizens, or bears false witness against them, he will go to prison for a long time. Until we achieve this, the police will be a menace to democracy.
Plamegate: Worse than Watergate.
An Australian newspaper warns readers: read this story now, because if the same thig happens with new "anti-terror" laws, nobody will be allowed to tell the public about it.
If you can find a copy of the article in the Financial Times about Col. Lawrence Wilkinson's accusations against Cheney and Rumsfeld, could you email it to me? rms (at) gnu (dot) org.
Even more flaws in Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein worked with Al Qa'ida.
The Bush regime has admitted sending troops into Syria.
General Karpinski says that the orders for torture came straight from the top.
The connections are outlined here.
Confirming the administration's continued support for torture, Cheney is pressing for an exception for the CIA, in the proposed law that would prohibit torture by US government agents.
The UN Human Rights Commission is now investigating US violations of treaties protecting the rights of prisoners.
Republicans are already preparing to smear prosecutor Ferguson, so as to get their leaders off the hook for crimes such as perjury and treason.
The new president of Poland is a right-wing extremist that would be dear to Bush's heart. This is bringing him into conflict with the EU.
A new disease: Gonorrhea Lectim.
The government of New Zealand is planning to introduce "biometric passports", giving the US what it wants.
If you live in New Zealand, talk to your legislators and government and say you want them to make these optional--not mandatory! And spread the word.
Italian intelligence fabricated the fake evidence about Iraqi uranium purchases, and brought it directly to the White House after the CIA rejected it as unbelievable. Berlusconi (il ducino) is tied directly to these events.
Half of the world's coral reefs could be dead in 40 years. 20% already are.
Since coral reefs help protect coasts from storm damage, the death of reefs will combine with rising seas and increasingly severe hurricanes, to cause increased damage to coastal areas and increased loss of land. All three are caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Suspicion that Bush is deliberately provoking civil war in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the puppet government's police are operating as death squads.
As part of Bush's War on Public Safety, the US government officially lets trucking companies make their drivers drive for up to 11 hours a day. As a further blow to public safety, the US government does not enforce that limit.
In the UK, when the police kill someone, they then demonize him to make it look excusable.
In principle, police who kill innocent people can be prosecuted. In fact, the criteria for doing so effectively give police total impunity.
Scientists estimate global warming of 1 to 6 degrees C in this century. 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, a rise of around 6 degrees nearly wiped out life on Earth.
But that's not all the bad news. It appears that a smaller temperature rise released lots of methane that was frozen under the Arctic seas, and that this caused the temperature to rise even further.
Nobody knows how far away we are from a repeat. One more degree? Two? Three?
Global warming is causing drought in Africa. All the recently agreed increase in aid to Africa may be eaten up by compensating for the harm that the rest of the world is doing to Africa.
Public opposition convinced some Republicans not to support the severe cuts in social programs that the neocons desire for ideological reasons.
Bush seems to have let the "road map" die, while Israel embarks on renewed annexation and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.
At least 21 prisoners of the US were killed, autopsies show.
A prisoner of the Bush administration wrote a clever message, giving support to his captors in exaggerated terms, to tell us that he is not allowed to speak freely and we should not believe what he says.
There are accusations that the vote on the Iraqi constitution was rigged. That's no surprise--what else would Bush do in an election?
The Bush regime continues to press for war with Syria. This despite the fact that Syria has cooperated with the Bush regime against Al Qa'ida. (The US has delivered people to Syria to be tortured.)
Iran says that the UK was behind recent terrorist bombings.
There isn't enough detail here to judge the claim. I don't know if the Foreign Minister of Iran would lie about such things. I am sure that the Prime Minister of the UK would.
Using disasters--natural or otherwise-- to militarize the US.
Bush has a long history of trying to give the military more power over civilians in the US. The indication that they are excuses rather than reasons is that they change from time to time.
Scott Ritter warns that a fake terror attack could be the Bush administration's next tactic.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to think they did this already.
Did Saddam Hussein use poison gas against Kurdish Iraqis?
U.S. News/Harvard/BP Ban Reporters from First Amendment Room.
The policy of using tax breaks to encourage business investment are unwise, as well as unjust.
Protestors against US army recruiters in US colleges have been beaten up by police, and threatened with arrest for "trespassing" if they set foot in the schools where they study. Campaigns to defend them are still under way.
I wonder where the idea of threatening them with "trespassing" came from. It's not the sort of thing that police would do spontaneously; someone must have ordered them to do it. Who was it?
The Bush forces have a pattern of attacking journalists, but this is something that the mainstream US media don't dare mention.
The Iraqi "government" took a poll, and found that 80% of Iraqis want the invading troops out--and 45% support fighting to drive them out. (I am surprised it isn't more.)
Independent journalist Dahr Jamail provides a picture of what Iraq is like under the Bush forces' occupation.
An obvious gap in the investigation of Hariri's killing could be a sign of a rush to pin the blame on Syria.
I would not put such an assassination past the government of Syria--or the government of the US. This gap ought to be filled, with investigation.
The CIA is whitewashing its employees for acts of torture, some of which were fatal to the prisoners being tortured.
In effect, the CIA has told its staff, "Kill anyone, we don't care."
Israeli settlers are continuing their campaigns of sabotage against Palestinians.
This is standard practice for settlers; they try all sorts of violence, up to and including murder, to drive out the Palestinians that live near them.
Another silly scandal erupts over burning the corpses of Taliban fighters.
Cremation does not hurt the dead--they can't feel it. What about the living? They have merely been insulted. We should not exaggerate the wrong of insulting anyone. However, mere insults that don't make a thoughtful point are foolish. There are many things to condemn about Islam. When we insult Islam, let's do it so as to make a point, not merely to infuriate Muslims.
Above all, let's not let this distract us from the killing and torture of living people that the Bush regime regularly practices.
Jonathan Magbie, crippled by a drunk driver as a child, used medical marijuana. Ostensibly his sentence was 10 days in the Washington DC jail, for possession of one joint. In fact, his sentence was death.
Wal Mart, facing consumer pressure, says it will impose more rules on its manufacturers about environmental protection and equal opportunity. However, what it says it will do is not enough to imply it will no longer abuse its workers.
When an astrologer in India predicted his own death, he attracted a lot of media attention. This provided a great opportunity for Rationalists International to debunk astrology before a large audience. Let's pity the poor astrologer--for not dying.
Bush wants to use the WTO to prohibit labels on products about their energy efficiency. This is in the name of "competition".
This proposal clearly shows what kind of competition the WTO is in favor of: at the expense of transparency, the environment, and everything else that matters. The WTO gives business too much power, and it must be abolished.
The practice of going to an international agency to effect changes in domestic law is known as "policy laundering". I suggest that the US executive branch should be forbidden to advocate any treaty provisions that would require changes in US law if the treaty were signed, unless it has the prior specific authorization of Congress, which could be given only in a separate motion, not as part of any larger bill.
The Canadian spy chief said, in a conference, that the war in Iraq makes the world a more dangerous place.
Another speaker said, "We have lost the moral high ground to the wrong people, and we need to get it back." The first step is to stop doing things that are very very wrong.
Robert Fisk: Iraq has descended into anarchy, with insurgents controlling areas half a mile from the Green Zone.
The government of Taiwan will ignore the anti-flu drug patent on moral grounds.
I just wish they wouldn't verbally kowtow to the patent holder while they're about it.
New satelite measurements show that Amazon rainforest destruction is happening twice as fast as previously thought.
Another article explains that pulling down one tree in a rain forest tends to damage surrounding trees, due to the vines that connect them; pulling down a few percent of the trees in an area tends to make it dry up and makes it vulnerable to subsequent fires.
Large areas of permafrost in Alaska now have a temperature of -1C. When they melt, they will release methane into the atmosphere, giving a big jolt to global temperatures.
Multinational companies continue trying to privatize water supplies. When they do this, they usually raise the rates by several times and cut off poor people from water supply.
The people in charge of FEMA received timely information about the broken levee in New Orleans, and ignored it.
Bad as the Bush regime's response to the flooding was, we should not let it distract us from things that were even worse:
Cutting funds to repair the levee in order to commit war crimes in Iraq.
Not helping poor people to evacuate the city.
The Japanese Prime Minister continues worshiping at the Yasakuni shrine, symbol of Japanese aggression and atrocities in World War II.
Congressional Republicans continue using the hurricane damage as an excuse to screw most Americans, but some moderate Republicans won't support it, and they have had to delay the vote.
When they talk about "disciplined spending", that is total bullshit. Clinton left the US government a surplus; it was Bush who sent the US into deficit.
The Israeli Army is testing new not-usually-lethal weapons against the nonviolent protestors in Bil'in.
Saddam's trial does not follow international standards for fair trials. Meanwhile, witnesses are scared to testify against him.
Uri Avnery: War is a State of Mind
Greenpeace says China's economic growth is causing environmental disaster all around the world. Projections of China's future growth lead to unustainable consumption which would require drastic changes in the economic system.
Of course, this just could mean that something else will happen to derail China from growing that far.
While oil companies like to pretend that global warming is uncertain, other companies are rushing to invest in the Arctic Ocean, becoming accessible as the ice melts.
These companies, as well as the oil companies, will try to prevent any solution to the problem of global warming, and to keep the Earth on the road to catastrophe.
How Israel persecutes Palestinian shepherds (it starts with stealing their sheep).
A UK airman has refused the order to go back to Iraq, saying that it is an illegal order. He faces a trial, since the Bliar regime does not want to admit that the order was illegal.
As Saddam Hussein goes on trial for various massacres he ordered, Human Rights Watch is concerned that the trial will not be fair. His crimes appear to be enormous, but he deserves a fair trial, and only a fair trial can properly establish his guilt. Meanwhile, everyone in Iraq must be wondering when their new dictator will go on trial.
The Bush regime has a systematic pattern of announcing "terror alerts" when it will help their image in the media. Here the pattern is laid out with 13 examples.
The New York subway bomb threat hoax has been attributed to an Iraqi "informant". But we don't know whether he was tortured--or whether he sought to give the Bush forces what they wanted, much like those who produced the so-called "intelligence" proving that Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore.
Iraq's constitution has probably been approved, but since it was not established under free and democratic circumstances, this is not enough to make it legitimate.
The Iraqi Constitution, written under the Bush regime, follows Islam in denying women equal rights.
It may be that most Iraqis are thinking about the constitution in terms other than human rights. It is also possible that most of them now support Islamic law. Bush has given Islamists a great opportunity, because they gain prestige from standing up to him, and the general insecurity enables them to intimidate people who disagree with them. They might look bad for that, if Bush were not there to make them look good by contrast.
However, laws that trample human rights cannot be legitimized by any circumstances. Human rights and democracy together are needed; one without the other makes no sense. But Bush seems to have created a situation in Iraq where the one prevents the other. So much for the phony goal of implanting "freedom and democracy".
US government torture is not limited to Iraq and Guantanamo. The US does not hesitate to torture people who use marijuana to relieve their pain. Steven Tuck, who grew marijuana to cope with the pain from a parachuet injury in the Army, was arrested in a hospital, then subjected to denial of his prescription painkiller, morphine, as well as to the pain of withdrawal from that morphine. Not to mention denial of the marijuana. This cruel punishment comes before his trial.
When I imagine being in his situation, threatened with prison for trying to relieve permanent pain, prison which would include torture through the infliction of that very pain, I think of suicide as the way to escape from torture while achieving something useful for others. I imagine taking cyanide in the court immediately after hearing the verdict, if convicted.
Is Bush planning to attack Iran to distract the public from Iraq?
A profile of Bunnatine Greenhouse, who tried to uphold the rules designed to prevent corruption in government contracts, and was removed from her job as part of Bush's War on Integrity.
A former Greenpeace leader says that the group has degenerated into corporate careerism.
Article: Why can't the left face the Stolen Elections of 2004 & 2008?
As part of the War on the Environment, Bush now plans to relax air quality rules and allow coal-burning plants to increase their emission of poisons.
A letter on the Animal Rights movement.
A Colombian congress member and union leaders are getting death threats from paramilitaries supported by the Colombian government and its masters in the US.
The treaty between the US and Colombia, "Plan Colombia", was published only in English so that the public in Colombia would not notice how the US gives Colombia step-by-step orders for what to do.
In response to Bennett's idea of aborting all babies of Blacks, one commentator suggests aborting all babies of neo-cons to cut down on white-collar crime.
Soon many of those "neo-cons" will be just plain "cons".
Another suggestion to reduce white-collar crime--aborting all white male babies likely to go to Harvard Business School.
Bush: "We cannot accept that there can be free democratic elections in a country under foreign military occupation".
This article does not mention that a bunch of armed "Black Block anarchists" were seen in a police station, suggesting that the violence attributed to the Black Block was a police provocation.
Uri Avnery's views on Iraq.
The EFF has cracked the code which Xerox color printers use to label every document with when it was printed and on which printer.
This code will be perfect for the US and other governments to track down "subversives" who say things that the government wants to suppress. I'm sure it is also useful for detecting amateur counterfeit money, but there are other ways to do that.
So if you are printing anything for political reasons, buy a printer with cash in another city and don't give your name. Before they make that illegal!
The US Green Party warns that Bush plans to treat disaster areas like Iraq.
Q: How did Bush use religion to make himself the "teflon president"?
A: He practiced no-stick (gnostic) Christianity.
(Pun invented by Richard Stallman.)
The Bushmen are starting to admit that the resistance in Iraq is not going to disappear any time soon.
Halliburton employs foreign workers in sweatshop conditions in Iraq.
With all the millions they squander, you'd think they could at least pay their employees a good wage. But that would cut into the millions left for crooks like Cheney.
Ski areas in the Alps and the Rockies are trying to forget that global warming is making their snow disappear. One town in Switzerland covered its glacier to protect it from the summer heat.
An unusual drought in the Amazon rainforest, perhaps due to global warming, poses the threat of contributing to more global warming.
This is not the only form of positive feedback that global warming has encountered, and it suggests that a bigger disaster than currently forecast will soon be upon us.
Israel divides Palestinians into those "resident in Gaza" and those "resident in the West Bank", and doesn't allow them to visit, and refuses to recognize that they have moved. Palestinians who are caught living in the wrong half of Palestine face being arrested and separated from their families.
The annexation wall has turned Palestinian villages surrounded by "Greater Jerusalem" into prisons; their inhabitants are forbidden to leave.
Israeli troops were caught disguised as Arabs, urging Palestinian youths to throw stones at other Israeli troops.
Where I saw that link, in the "Other Israel" newsletter, it also said:
The report of Haaretz English does not contain all of the Hebrew version. In the Hebrew version the soldiers didn't disperse the fake demonstrators but pretend to arrest them and removed them from the scene (rather than "disperse them".) The Hebrew also refers to the tear gas and the salt bullets used by the IDF. The Hebrew also says: "A few months ago the same unit operated in a demonstration in Bili'in. On that occasion a military judge determined that the Prison Service [to which the Masada unit belongs -- translator] has no authority to operate in the [Occupied] Territories. It is unclear whether a special permit for their operation was obtained on this occasion.
The Blair regime arrested protestors for No2ID before they could even begin their peaceful protest.
Blair's complete hostility towards the idea of the rights of the accused, towards the idea of any human rights that limit government power, can be seen in this recent speech. Search for "In turn however I believe".
Not content with killing Colombians through the work of state-sponsored paramilitaries, Bush also fights against abortion rights there.
Robert Fisk has doubts that a Syrian general who excercised Syrian power in Lebanon really committed suicide, as the official story claims.
In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, government aid to the survivors of the earthquake is effectively nonexistent, and it is blocked partly because Pakistan invested little in infrastructure in previous years.
How much like Bush!
The editor of a womens' rights magazine in Afghanistan has been charged with blasphemy--because he published an article criticizing the barbarous penalties of Islamic law. He faces the death penalty.
Islamic law is vicious and cruel, and illustrate the evil side of religion--also visible in other religions.
The Bush forces accuse Iran of providing explosives training to the Iraqi resistance.
If Iran is indeed doing this, it is only turnabout. Look at all the countries that provide aid and training to the Bush forces.
Democrats ask for an outside investigation of whether a federal prosecutor was demoted to stop him from investigating a Bush crony.
Three New Orleans police were arrested after they were caught on film beating up a black man. One of them attacked the film crew, too. Two federal agents joined in the attack.
Meanwhile, it seems that the biggest looters during the hurricane were police who stole 200 new cars. This is nothing compared to the looting that Halliburton is doing now, of course. Of course, the US mass media focus on demonizing the poor people who stole food and water to save their families' lives.
A study by the United Nations University says that in a few years there will be 50 million people fleeing from environmental disasters.
In a Jail in Cuba Beat the Heart of a Poet.
What Morocco did to those who failed to cross the Spanish border was harrowing.
Morocco was quick to deal with the Africans who tried storming the Spanish border: it dumped them in the Sahara desert with no food or water. Because of this, Spain cannot expel illegal immigrants to Morocco.
Another man-made "natural" disaster--caused by deforestation of El Salvador.
Some former chief judges in the UK condemned Blair's plans for internment of suspects and penalizing opinions.
Bush is working on plans to imprison millions of Americans in internment camps--like what the US did to Japanese-Americans in World War II, but on a bigger scale.
New Orleans should be rebuilt--but moved to high ground!
Al Jazeera is launching an English-language TV service. The people supported by the dishonest corporate US media are already accusing Al Jazeera of their brand of dishonesty.
First Intelligent Design, then Intelligent Falling--now, Intelligent Delivery (of babies) will be taught in schools, as an alternative to secular and materialistic theories of human reproduction.
The Bush regime seems to have canceled a plan to protect and clean up the Great Lakes.
As Bush directs the EPA and other agencies to stop protecting the environment and human health, states are suing the federal government to block Bush.
Uri Avnery: Why Israel should negotiate a permanent peace with the Palestinians now--while Israel is strong, and most Palestinians want peace.
Bush is using bird flu as an excuse to ask for more power for the army to intervene in civilian affairs.
It is absurd to propose quarantining a region of the US to stop a disease like the flu. But especially so with bird fly. Quarantine would be entirely ineffective against bird flu as long as it can still infect birds. It is being spread by wild birds, which are notorious for their refusal to obey police or even soldiers.
An EU court ruled that decisions of the UN Security Council override all ordinary human rights, including the right to a trial before punishment.
There are reports that Iran is supporting the Iraqi resistance.
These reports come from the Bush forces, so they might be fabricated. They might also be true--and why shouldn't Iran help the Iraqis overthrow the conquerors of their country?
China is exporting cosmetics made from prisoners who were executed.
The US and the UK don't go this far. But they do have large armies of prisoners "employed" for a pittance to make products that go on sale to the general public. For a government inclined to support business rather than citizens, prison slave labor has two benefits: it facilitates keeping large numbers of people in prison, and it keeps wages down even outside the prison.
Bush says that "God told him" to invade Iraq.
However, the one whose voice he heard need not have been a real deity.
He also says that Islamic fundamentalists are evil because they are trying to subjugate nations to theocratic rule. That could be a description of his own supporters.
Rep. De Lay faces two more criminal charges.
The hunger strike in Guantanamo is still going strong, and the Bush regime is force-feeding 21 prisoners through tubes in their noses.
The diaries of a Vietnamese doctor who died protecting her patients from the invading US Army--published decades later, by the military intelligence officer who collected them after her death.
The Supreme Court of Israel has prohibited the army's practice of taking Palestinian civilians hostage and using them as "human shields".
A Philippine union leader, in the union on strike against Nestle, was assassinated--apparently with police involvement.
It is part of a pattern of violence against unions there.
The Republicans are trying to destroy the Endangered Species Act to "protect" profits of business.
This is part of the general short-term outlook of business. Business will risk causing an irreparable loss for everyone, to get more money in the short term.
The US Senate voted to prohibit torture--over the objections of Bush and Cheney. Their moral depravity is too much even for most Republicans.
Senator Frist's record of corruption.
The former murderous dictator of Chad faces extradition for trial in Belgium. If not for US pressure, other dictators might face this too.
I think people in Europe should push for Belgium to defy Bush and reinstate its law of universal jurisdiction for mass-murderers, so that someday Bush may face justice there.
The Pentagon does a sloppy job of testing soldiers for contamination with DU (Deadly Uranium), so some states are offering National Guard troops a better test.
Drug-resistant E Coli has spread around the UK. It will surely spread around the world.
A major part of the cause of this problem was the practice of feeding antibiotics to cattle. It's a typical instance of how business endangers people's lives for short-term profit.
Tigers may be wiped out if China abolishes its trade ban on tiger parts.
Kuchma, the former president of Ukraine, ordered the murder of a journalist. An ex-minister who was going to testify about this was found shot--supposedly suicide, but one is entitled to doubt it.
The people who overturned Kuchma last year have fallen into feuding, and seem to be just as corrupt as their predecessors, whom they are also pardoning.
If Hamas wins the Palestinian elections, it would impose its fundamentalist rules on everyone. It is the Palestinian equivalent of the theocratic Christians that support Bush.
The religious nuts who don't believe in evolution have proposed a "scientific" alternative, "intelligent design". Now there's an "intelligent" alternative to the theory of gravitation: "intelligent falling".
There is No God ( And You Know It).
A Labor party member who shouted "nonsense" when leaders defended the occupation of Iraq was physically ejected--then they accused him of terrorism to stop him coming back in.
Warming land and sea, and melting ice, are rapidly driving many familiar species towards extinction--as well as thousands of unfamiliar ones. Scientists project that arond 40% of species of life will die out in 45 years due to human activity.
The European Union, obedient to the media companies, is planning its own version of the infamous US "broadcast flag".
The GAO says Bush's payments for journalism were illegal partisan political use of government funds.
A secret, leaked US government inquiry found that the Iraq war directly contributed to the disaster in New Orleans.
More Bush forces troops reveal torturing prisoners. And a captain who tried to stop it found that his superiors were more interested in preventing it from coming out.
Attacking human rights for the sake of copyright, the Motion Picture Association (of India) got a search warrant that covers the entire city of New Delhi. This is to stamp out sale of what they call "pirate" copies.
I'm not against having a copyright system covering commercial copying of movies. However, these same companies want to oppress individuals, too. Meanwhile, to grant such broad search warrants defeats the whole point of search warrants, which is that the police can't just go anywhere and look at anything. When governments trample human rights for the sake of business, that is the road to fascism.
Local authorities along with the US government played a role in preventing the Red Cross from providing aid in New Orleans just after the hurricane.
Others who ignored the police drove in and out of the city safely. Surely there was no reason to keep the Red Cross out.
India's Supreme Court has ruled that projects that involve cutting down a forest have to pay the full environmental cost of the loss of that forest.
Italian prosecutors continue their pressure on CIA kidnappers.
William Bennett was criticized for appearing to suggest aborting every Black baby as a way to reduce the crime rate. He says he presented it as an example of an unacceptable solution.
I don't know what he actually said, but aborting _unwanted_ babies, of any race, is a great way to reduce both crime and many other kinds of suffering.
This 2002 article, from the LA Times, reports that Rumsfeld was considering a proposal to create an organization to provoke "enemies" into attacking the US, which would provide an excuse to destroy them.
(I put "enemies" in quotation marks, because they might not be real enemies until thus provoked.)
And perhaps this is what we are seeing in Iraq.
Tali Fahima, a young Israeli woman, faces absurd criminal charges for helping in day-care for Palestinian children in a refugee camp.
The UK is going to ban sale of junk food in schools. I think it is a good idea--why should schools train or encourage children to eat badly?
"We have been lied to about the war. I dared to speak the truth."
Cheney's chief of staff identified Valerie Plame to Judith Miller.
Republican leader Tom DeLay was indicted for conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. As a result, he had to step down from his leadership post.
The sad thing is that most Democrats in Congress are not much better. They all have to suck up to business--and unless we put an end to that, we will not have democracy.
The EU has imposed limited sanctions against Uzbekistan. This won't be enough to change things by itself, but it is a start.
Some Bush forces troops express their hatred for all Iraqis along with gruesome pictures of dead Iraqis.
To make a big fuss about these photos is foolish; they don't hurt anyone. If you find them disgusting, don't look at them. (I don't expect to look at them.) But the attitude expressed, an attitude of "kill all Iraqis", is immensely important. It shows why the idea that the Bush forces would give Iraqis freedom and democracy is absurd. Reuters has complained to the Bush regime about its interference with journalism in Iraq.
The Bush forces have killed several journalists, and often lied about the circumstances. I think the first instance was when a tank shelled the office of Al Jazeera in Baghdad, in a hotel filled with foreign journalists. The Bush forces then said the tank was returning fire for shots from the hotel--but recordings made by other journalists proved this was a lie.
Only one Iraqi brigade in the Bush forces is capable of attacking on its own. The rest are full of patriotic Iraqis.
Bush has greatly expanded the use of political appointees in US agencies--part of his War on Integrity.
The Bush regime seems to be stepping up production of biological weapons of mass distruction. We need some UN weapons inspectors!
An FCC statement claims that the police have veto power over what software Americans can run on their computers.
In the warming Arctic, the disappearance of sea ice has begun to remove ice that has been stable for years.
Police in Nashville beat a man to death. He had been expelled from a concert for "acting strangely", but he was not violent.
Greenpeace has proposed a plan for moving Europe to renewable energy sources which would eliminate 80% of CO2 emissions by 2050, without nuclear power.
In the UK, people with "severe learning disabilities" are forbidden to have sweethearts. Just kissing them, even if they request it, is a crime that can lead to a sentence of life imprisonment.
It's not quite as bad as Iran, but it is heading that way.
I'm told that the Neue Zürcher Zeitung published a story saying there were some sort of minerals to be mined in the area that the (real) Bushmen are being forced to leave.
More info about clearing out Bushmen for diamond mining can be found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalahari.
Blair plans to attack freedom of the press, imprison suspects for three months, and criminalize certain opinions about selected historic events.
The Blair strategy is clear: ask for outrageous restrictions, compromise, and get part of them. Then, when there's another excuse (for there always will be one), demand even more. It adds up to a steady campaign against human rights.
Violence in New Orleans during the hurricane was greatly exaggerated.
This exaggeration may have killed people, if it was the motive for stopping the Red Cross from delivering supplies, or stopping refugees from walking out.
500 Africans stormed the Spanish border fences with ladders in their desperation to get to Europe.
As poverty increases in Africa and people there lose hope, these hundreds may become thousands, and ultimately millions fleeing rising seas.
Abolishing school fees in Burundi led to a jump in enrollment.
But why did Burundi have school fees? Probably because the World Bank and IMF imposed them, as they did in other African countries.
Arresting him for bank robbery would have been appropriate. Keeping doctors away while he bled to death was simply murder. Telling lies to make it look justified is typical of police. If you are on a jury, don't assume that police witnesses are more likely to tell the truth than the defendant!
I have never supported the goal of independence for Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans have had multiple chances to vote on independence, and they always voted to preserve the status quo. Those Puerto Ricans who would prefer independence are free to try to convince the rest, but I never saw reason to take a side in the matter.
Now, however, I might support the campaign, simply to help some people escape from the rule of the Bush regime.
The Kurds falsified the election in a mostly-Sunni part of Iraq last January, and they may do so again so as to fake "approval" of the proposed Constitution.
The true story of how multinational drug companies took liberties with African lives.
In South Africa, the head of the labor movement has denounced President Mbeki and his ministers for misleading the public about AIDS.
5 million people there have HIV, and only 60,000 of them are getting treatment. The irrationality of Mbeki and his ministers is part of the reason, but here's another, not mentioned here: the US and the WTO are doing all they can to prop up drug company profits, even if it means millions die.
In South Africa, the head of the labor movement has denounced President Mbeki and his ministers for misleading the public about AIDS.
5 million people there have HIV, and only 60,000 of them are getting treatment. The irrationality of Mbeki and his ministers is part of the reason, but here's another, not mentioned here: the US and the WTO are doing all they can to prop up drug company profits, even if it means millions die.
A gay Iranian, now seeking asylum, describes how he was tortured in Iran for being gay.
Students in Cali, Colombia, supported protests by people whose water has been cut off. In response, the police paramilitaries attacked the student protestors--and shot and killed a student.
Al Sadr is now fighting the Bush forces openly in Baghdad.
And the electricity in Baghdad still does not work.
Of course, the Bush forces say they are working on it, and things will be better any day now. The same thing they have said all along.
Bush has already corrupted the National Park system. Now there's a Republican plan to sell off some national parks and commercialize the rest.
The same bill would weaken pollution controls on oil refineries, using the temporary damaged states of some refineries as an excuse to create a permanent health danger.
Uzbekistan has begun show trials against protestors whose testimony appears to have been written for them. At the same time it claims the protestors were radical Islamists, it also says that Western media stirred up the protests. The combination is absurd.
Interviews with members of Iraq Veterans Against the War at a peace demonstration.
Republicans propose about a trillion dollars in cuts to "compensate" for the $200 billion cost of rebuilding. Here's a complete list of the Republicans' planned cuts.
Some of these cuts might be good to make, but some are harmful, to the nation and to the poor. None of them would not be necessary if not for the Bush largesse to the the rich.
This progressive group suggests an alternative way to bring the budget into balance.
Senator Frist abused his "blind trust" by obtaining information about what stocks it owns. Frist disregards the facts and claims that the abuses did not occur.
This also talks about the effects of the Bush regime policy to play on Islam to humiliate prisoners. As an Atheist, who believes in toleration of religion but sees little good in most religions, I don't feel great personal sympathy for people who are offended by this. But it seems that the policy's result is to build support for the resistance.
Bliar reversed course on climate change, giving his support to Bush. (This was the one major issue on which Bliar did not publicly support Bush already.) Bush must have pulled on his leash.
It is further proof that Bliar's claim to be quietly influencing Bush is fabricated.
An Iraqi cleric says al-Zarqawi died long ago--and that the supposed messages from him are fakes.
These could be false reports. The stories of bombs planted by the Bush forces do not give the names of the people, and I don't know who the writer is. People do fake their deaths, and Zarqawi might have done so; but it doesn't stand to reason that he would fake his death and then continue making press releases.
If this is true, it adds up to a scheme by the Bush forces to incite civil war between the Iraqi Shi'ites and Sunnis. And that makes it plausible, because so much else they are doing would seem to be headed in that direction too.
The government of Botswana arrested all the leaders of the First People of the Kalahari, which is resisting forced relocation. It has banned journalists and harrassed human rights investigators.
I don't know the background of the issue, and I would like to know of the reasons for the relocation. The area is labeled as a game reserve; perhaps this is being done to protect endangered species from extinction. Or maybe not. But even if there is a good reason to turn the area into a park and make people move out, it can be done without trampling basic human rights.
Demand for palm oil is pushing the extinction of orangutans through the destruction of rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo.
Putting it all together on Bush, hurricanes, and global warming.
Will Bush now have to admit that his burn-it-all-now oil policies have caused disaster?
I doubt it. I think he will continue lying and denying till the end.
The FBI keeps trying to push for more power to collect information secretly without search warrants. In the House of Representatives it got most of what it wanted.
Thai Muslims found undercover soldiers near the site of a killing, and tied them up, accusing them of being part of the government's death squads. Then some masked men killed the soldiers.
Writer Sharon Olds rejected an invitation to the National Book Festival because it would have meant "breaking bread" with Laura Bush.
Bliar announced a plan to remove the UK's troops from the Bush forces in Iraq--based on the unlikely assumption that resistance activity will quiet down next year.
In other words, this is more of the pretense that the Bush forces are winning. If that does not happen, I wonder if Bliar will simply lie and say it did happen. Well, that would be better than not withdrawing the troops.
The Center for Strategic International Studies disputes the Bush claim that the resistance in Iraq consists of foreigners. They say foreigners make up about 4 to 10 percent. Which means at least 90% are Iraqis. The foreigners trying to impose their will on Iraq are those in the Bush forces.
When Bush speaks of Iraqi forces, he means the Kurds and some Shi'ites that he uses to fight the Sunnis.
The Bush regime banned Robert Fisk from visiting the US to give speeches. This is not a new practice; the US government has banned foreigners for decades from giving speeches to express views it does not like.
In the 80s, noted author Farley Mowat was banned from doing a book tour in the US, which was great for sales of his book. He demanded a formal apology, and wrote a book about it. ISTR that Bertrand Russell was once thus barred.
Bush is using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to abolish laws that protect working people from abuse by business.
Former General Janis Karpinski says the torture at Abu Ghraib prison was ordered by higher-ups who have been shielded.
US troops practiced torture in Afghanistan too, and there too, the footsoldiers are being prosecuted while the people who gave the orders are being let alone.
A British citizen was convicted of the crime of "possessing items of use to terrorists".
Assuming the description of those items is accurate (which may or may not be the case), I would say they provide a basis to suspect that he might have been planning some sort of violence (which might or might not be terrorism, depending on details). His explanations could have been lies.
However, what provides enough basis for suspicion is not enough grounds to conclude someone is guilty. When laws are twisted so that presenting a basis for suspicion is defined as a crime, that is merely a disguise for disregarding the right to a fair trial. A trial which only proves there was grounds to suspect you is a meaningless trial, and governments which possess this arbitrary power are more dangerous than any non-state-supported terrorist.
What an honest and legitimate government would do was start watching him carefully. Specific grounds for suspicion are enough basis to do that, and if he had later begun to plan an actual act of violence, they would probably have been able to stop it. And then they could convict him and his accomplices of a real crime in a fair trial.
Some brave and humane Israeli soldiers talk about how their commanders gave orders to shoot unarmed Palestian civilians--often purely arbitrarily.
After a half-hearted investigation, the Israeli police decided not to prosecute the policemen that killed 13 unarmed Arab protestors. However, some of the judges on a panel which also studied the events disagreed with this conclusion.
Prisoners in a New Orleans jail were left locked in cells for days without food or water to drink, as sea water rose around them. Some 500 are missing--whether escaped or drowned, nobody knows.
A report says that a supposed passenger on one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 was arrested, alive, in Europe.
I am not sure whether to believe this. I am skeptical of claims that something other than a jetliner hit the Pentagon. I am also puzzled by why, if Ms Olsen was part of the 9/11 conspiracy, US agents would participate in arresting her now. Wouldn't they either help her get away, or kill her, so as to maintain the secret?
But this report might be true, and if it is, it's important.
People have notice a couple of other discrepancies in this story: there is no Austrian-Polish border, and the Lira is obsolete, having been replaced by the Euro. (I don't know what "international Lira" would mean; I took that to be an unclear reference to some sort of financial instrument I don't know about.) Another message claims it was really the Polish-German border. Is there still a border control at that border? I don't remember.
It could be that the writer was careless simply got these details wrong. But it does reduce the credibility of the story.
China admits that some personnel imposes forced sterilizations and abortions, but says this is not official policy.
I support China's one-child policy; I do not believe that people have an unquestionable right to have as many children as they wish. To have a child, presuming that we won't just let it starve, means imposing a substantial added burden on the world's future, and each extra child imposes a bigger burden that an extra house or car. We don't guarantee everyone the right to as many houses or cars as he or she might desire, and we cannot do this with children either.
Democracy Now! Interview with Hugo Chavez.
In Basra, Bush forces soldiers masquerading as Arabs shot an Iraqi policeman and were arrested. The Bush forces sent tanks to knock down the walls of the jail, and 150 prisoners ran away. The city then rioted.
The Bliar regime says the rioting was actually prepared by Al Sadr's militia.
It might be true, but if true, it does not make the situation any better.
North Korea tentatively agreed to drop its nuclear weapons program. Then a day later it changed the conditions, which may break the deal.
The Bliar regime censored publication of an official's diary, not for the sake of the national interest, but only because what he intended to say made Bliar look bad.
Hurricane Rita may or may not clober the same areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. But if it doesn't, another storm will, and another, and another. These low-lying coastal areas will become increasingly vulnerable in future decades, as sea levels rise and storms become more powerful. A rise of two feet could happen in this century.
We should take the hint from these hurricanes, and cut our losses, by not building any more in those areas. When something is destroyed, replace it further inland.
A day at the polls, Afghanistan-style. Some Afghans are so eager to vote that they will walk for hours. But women cannot make the long trek, so they cannot vote. And some of the candidates expected to win are warlords.
Thousands of people in the UK face forced "treatment" for mental illness, and the legal protections against this are (as always under Blair) inadequate.
The newest form of nonviolent protest in Bil'in: a recital by an Israeli pianist--on a truck.
For a man who predicted a Soviet-style collapse of the US, the events of New Orleans are confirmation.
What I have seen over and over is a government that fusses about obedience to regulations--various different kinds of regulations--while ignoring the fact that people are dying. Whether it is blocking foreign rescuers because it can't decide what visa to give them, or burning food with British meat because of a remote chance of BSE (just like US meat), or not letting the Red Cross bring supplies to refugees because "it's too dangerous to let anyone in", the pattern is the same.
Publicly, some oil companies pretend there is no global warming, but privately, they study reports on how climate change will affect their own operations.
Only 7% of Brazil's Atlantic Forest is left. Lula has yet to sign a weak law to begin to protect it.
The Bush-puppet Iraqi Ministry of Defense was swindled of a billion dollars, which were supposed to be spent to buy arms.
The contracting was done in such a fishy way that any honest procurement official would smell a rat. But Bush won't stand for honest procurement officials, as the example of Bunnatine Greenhouse shows--so events like this are no surprise.
NATO standard rations sent by the UK to feed Hurricane refugees are to be burned--because of exaggerated concern for BSE. This makes no sense, because it is already too late to keep BSE out of the US.
According to an article I read in Spanish, 120 peasants have occupied the Ministry of Energy in Ecuador, demanding an end to the power of the oil companies and no trade treaty with the US.
And to the Fish and Wildlife Service, where his nominee has already prosecuted this war in one part of the country.
Ending the prohibition of marijuana would save the US some 7 billion dollars a year. Taxing it like the more dangerous tobacco would bring in some 6 billion in revenue
Marijuana use among teenagers has decreased greatly since the 1990s, and this includes the states that have passed laws liberalizing marijuana use.
Journalists under Attack in Louisiana and Iraq.
Details of killings of journalists by the Bush forces.
President Chavez of Venezuela says that he has a copy of a secret US invasion plan.
"Loyalists" in Ulster have resumed the violence which the IRA has ended.
Cluster bombs are on sale at a giant arms dealers' convention in the UK, contrary to the event's stated policy. And when told the policy is being ignored, the even organizers try to excuse the violators.
Global warming has passed a tipping point--as the arctic ice melts, it warms the arctic more. This may be irreversible, and could lead to disaster for the whole world.
An Iraqi journalist's remotex report on the attack.
Human Rights Watch reports that the Uzbek government is torturing the witnesses to its massacre of protestors to make them admit to being radical islamists--which they are not.
Bush denies aid to countries that won't buy expensive US anti-AIDS medicine. Meanwhile, the WTO is cutting off the supply of cheap AIDS medicine from India. This makes the WTO a mass murderer.
I think Malawi (or various other countries) could legitimately arrest the WTO's leaders in any country where they can be found, and put them on trial for murder. Along with Bush, of course.
Blair plans to deport a Zimbabwean to certain death. If Mugabe doesn't kill him (he was driven out by threats), AIDS will.
A lawsuit in Washington State, to investigate apparent manipulation of the last election, calls for the court to reject the trade secrecy of voting machines because the conduct of elections cannot be secret.
"I don't want to kill anyone else--just me." The irrational and unjust "control orders" in the UK, permanent denial of basic human rights without a trial, drove one man to attempt suicide already.
The Blair regime says hundreds of people will be treated this way, and that it extends to citizens as well as foreigners. The foreigners at least theoretically have another country they could go to, though some of them face torture if they return "home". The British citizens have nowhere to go unless granted political asylum.
The historic and touristic parts of New Orleans were not flooded, and some people fear that they will be operated as a kind of theme park.
That's not really feasible, since the thousands of people who work there would need places to live, too; they would form a substantial city, meaning that much of the city would have to be rebuilt. But it could be rebuilt on high ground, so as not to ask for a repeat of the disaster a short time from now.
An Israeli general who retaliated for an attack by bulldozing the homes of civilians was going to be arrested in England and tried for war crimes. But he was tipped off somehow and left in a hurry.
My understanding is that retaliating against innocent civilians violates the treaties for the conduct of occupying armies.
Muslims are bringing the brutality of "honor killings" to Germany.
I wonder if some of the nonviolent forms of sexual humilliation practiced in Abu Ghraib on people never charged with a crime could be effective as punishments for convicted murderers. Maybe these macho men would hesitate to murder their sisters if they knew it would mean being paraded publicly in handcuffs wearing women's underwear.
A few years ago, one of the leaders of the BBC had the idea of releasing its archives of taxpayer-funded radio and TV programs for the public to use in freedom.
In bringing this plan to reality, it has been twisted and gutted. With the help and support of Creative Commons, the BBC has restricted the use of these works to the UK--converting a potential triumph for the Free Culture Movement into a setback.
It is a shame that Creative Commons lends its help and its name to such restrictive licenses. Works limited to one country are not part of humanity's commons. Neither are the works released under Creative Commons' "Developing Countries" licenses, which give no freedom whatsoever to anyone in developed countries. These practices, these licenses, are the reason why I and others have withdrawn our support for Creative Commons.
Shell in Ireland wants to try a possibly-dangerous new scheme for transporting natural gas onshore--and hired phony "independent" consultants to study the plan.
Conseratives are trying to blame environmentalists for the flooding of New Orleans; as usual, they do this based on distorting the facts.
Some real democracy in Afghanistan: a candidate for MP gains strength by criticizing some (but not all) NGOs as corrupt, wasting foreign donors' money and not helping the country.
It appears President Karzai protexts the corrupt NGOs.
A new treaty may protect the great apes from extinction, if it works.
Bush is covering up the extent of poisoning in New Orleans.
Blair threatened to use anti-terror laws against nonviolent protestors criticizing high gas prices, thus demonstrating once again that the names of these laws are lies. They are anti-democracy laws.
I do not sympathize with these protestors, because rising oil prices are just as inevitable, as a consequence of the world's oil consumption, as rising seas. If protestors block access to gas stations or refineries, it would be proper to arrest them--but accusing them of "terrorism" is lying.
Meanwhile, the Blair regime practices explicit racial profiling in searching people of Asian decent as potential "terrorists".
After Katrina Fiasco, Time for Bush to Go
The US has plans to use nuclear weapons preemptively to destroy other countries' nuclear or biological weapons. This is a response to nuclear proliferation which Bush has encouraged by his visible willingness to attack countries if they don't have nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, whose renewal was blocked by Bush, called on the authorized nuclear powers to move towards disarmament, but that movement stopped in the 90s--leading the other countries to conclude it is unfair.
Increased price of hydrocarbons is pushing many poor people to burn wood for cooking. That will work until they cut down all the trees.
One way or another, Earth has too many human beings. The resulting strains can manifest in different ways, but it is very hard to avoid them.
In the Andes, people build solar cookers that don't need fuel. I wonder if these would work in the context of the Philippines.
The Netherlands is starting a system of universal surveillance of all citizens--starting with those to be born after now.
The privacy protections that they speak of could easily be swept away later. Systems like this are more dangerous than beneficial.
Coca Cola brought criminal charges against the leaders of the union of its employees in Colombia--for criticizing Coca Cola.
That's what happens when the state becomes the arm of the rich against the poor. The Bush-supported government of Colombia is the biggest terrorist in the country.
Coca Cola Company has been murdering union organizers in Colombia for many years. Meanwhile, in India it has dried up the wells for lots of poor people--and had thugs beat them up when they protested. And that's not all. See www.killercoke.org, and boycott Coca Cola Company.
The European Parliament is pushing research to move towards hydrogen fuel, as well as to increase public transportation, as an intelligent response to high oil prices.
Wal-Mart has been sued on behalf of foreign sweatshop workers that produce the goods they sell.
9-11, Iraq, New Orleans, America: See A Pattern Here?
FEMA accused of misusing trained disaster workers as public-relations workers.
The Bush regime has given the job of burying the bodies from New Orleans to a company already known for discarding corpses--and tied to Bush.
Has it been given the mission of making corpses disappear, so as to "lower the death toll" and make Bush look good?
A UN report points out how parts of the US population are living in poverty normally associated with third-world countries. Infant mortality has been rising ever since Bush took office.
This article says, "Lack of leadership led to disaster in New Orleans".
But that's not true--or rather, it fails to recognize the depths of the problem. Before the storm, the US government neglected the levees, incapacitated FEMA, failed to clean up poisons in the ground, and encouraged global warming. But these were not random neglect; they were instances of a general policy, applied across the board: to cut taxes on business and its owners, and cater to them in other ways, while neglecting public needs.
Thus, the destruction of New Orleans can be traced to the replacement of democracy with corporatocracy.
Bush said he "takes responsibility" for the bad response to Hurricane Katrina.
That's clever misdirection, because he doesn't have much of the responsibility for what was done, or not done, *after* the storm (unless the story about destroying the levee with explosives is true). Thus, taking responsibility for those screw-ups makes him look mature and statesmanlike. But limiting this to the "response" excludes the big things they did wrong before the storm, which really are his personal doing.
FEMA director Brown has resigned, as expected, trying to take the blame with him and away from Bush.
Democrats are calling for a congressional probe of the New Orleans disaster modeled on the 9/11 Commission.
That is the wrong model if we want a real investigation. Let's not forget that the 9/11 Commission failed to investigate many suspicious aspects of the issue--for instance, anything that pointed a finger at the Bush regime. It was very limited in its power to get testimony from anyone in the administration. Most of the people in it were inclined to turn a blind eye towards Bush, and the few who weren't so inclined were neutralized.
By all means, let's have a real investigation of what happened after the storm--but we already know the biggest things that the Bush regime and Republicans did wrong, the ones that happened long before the storm. The investigation must not become a distraction.
The UN is considering various reforms and projects to address various world problems, but it seems that most of them will be blocked by disagreement between states.
Thousands who survived in New Orleans plan to resist being forced to leave their pets to die. And why should they trust the police now?
Toxic industrial wastes dumped in New Orleans, and not cleaned up because governments wanted to lower taxes, are now in the water, and as it is pumped out, it will contaminate the entire region. The result may be a disaster far bigger than what nature alone would have produced.
People may have thought they could ignore the danger of these wastes, because the danger they posed appeared remote. It depended on an unlikely combination of circumstances. But the various harms we are inflicting on our world are converging, making such combinations more likely. We have to continue cleaning up these wastes.
Uri Avnery: on what killed Arafat & the nonviolent protest at Bil'in.
The stress of war leads men to do this, when they think of the civilians as the enemy. In civilized countries (not as numerous now as 10 years ago), the authorities prosecute when they can make a clear case. But that is not enough to prevent such acts, which appear to be commonplace in Iraq. The way to prevent them is--don't start an unnecessary and unjustified war!
As part of his campaign to increase oil consumption, Bush ordered the DOE to stop setting standards for fuel efficiency of appliances. Now several states are suing.
Greenpeace accused the IAEA of trying to understate the number of people who have died, or will die, from the Chernobyl accident.
Bliar is trying to spread his campaign against human rights all across Europe. He makes the usual claims that this is "necessary for safety"--without any attempt to prove it.
Private insurance companies have pulled out of Florida because of frequent hurricanes. In many areas of the US, insurance companies face a big increase in weather-related losses, due to global warming (combined with people's prediliction to live in vulnerable places).
500 settlers in Hebron have expelled 25,000 Palestinians, over 2/3 of the population, through years of harassment. The police and troops look on and let it happen.
When international visitors try to monitor this, they are arrested.
However, Israeli and Palestinian protestors managed to overcome intense army opposition to hold their regular nonviolent protest.
There is a report, attributed to an anonymous Army diver, of finding explosives in debris from the levee that broke and flooded New Orleans.
I would not put it past Bush to do such a thing. On the other hand, I can't see any possible motive for sabotaging the city; all he has got is trouble. And the anonymous report is not very credible--why doesn't this diver step forward and speak up? So I think this report is more likely not true. But it might be true.
A US appeals court supported Bush's dictatorial power to hold people in prison forever without trial.
The story calls it the end of "rule of law". It is not quite the end, since there is a chance that the Supreme Court could reject this position. However, I would guess that Bush has already ascertained that Roberts will support him.
By the standards that we Americans learned in school, the Bush regime is no more legitimate than that of Saddam Hussein.
Democrats are starting to call for a major program to rebuild New Orleans. The city is unique, and should be rebuilt--but not below sea level. That would be sheer stupidity.
The easiest way to build anew without inviting another similar disaster is to move the city inland to higher ground. Another way is to dump 40 feet of dirt on the flooded areas of New Orleans, and build a new city above sea level there.
The survivors of New Orleans are still well-off compared with many in parts of the third world.
Blackwater mercenaries are on the prowl in New Orleans.
The Bush regime is interfering with journalism in New Orleans. Part of his cover-up campaign, to hide his responsibility both before and after the hurricane, is to hide the dead bodies from public view.
When police attacked a photographer who had taken pictures of them beating up someone they had just arrested, this was probably not a Bush policy--it was just typical police dishonesty. I think that reporter should file a complaint.
Two Navy helicopter who took a side trip to rescue stranded people off the roofs of New Orleans were lectured that their supply missions were more important. That was at a time when very few rescue missions were being done.
200 prisoners in Guantanamo are on hunger strike.
Bush does not acknowledge the Federal government's wrongs in New Orleans (which began long before Hurricane Katrina--see previous notes). He is trying to pretend that he did a good job, and is trying to put blame on Democrats. In other words, the Bushmen don't care what happens to New Orleans, only how it affects their image.
They surely expect that much of the corporate media will back them up in trying to evade responsibility.
Fighting between Iraqi ethnic groups is heating up, and the police often kill on behalf of these groups.
The Bush policy of using Shi'ite and Kurdish troops to occupy Sunni areas is contributing to the problem. Are the Bushmen utterly blind, or are they intentionally setting off a civil war? I wonder if their aim is to incite the Shi'ites and Kurds to massacre most of the Sunnis.
A small group of countries are trying to block UN moves to protect human rights and reduce poverty.
The Egyption election was rigged in many ways. This led to protests, despite a ban on protests.
Al Qaida took credit for the London bombings and described them as a response to the occupation of Iraq.
Why couldn't poor people without cars evacuate from New Orleans? Because police wouldn't allow them to walk out to safety. Poor people, tourists, convention attendees, anyone without a car, was trapped. Refugees were repeatedly lied to, threatened, and forced back by police, who even confiscated their food and water.
When they camped in a visible place to wait, this embarrassed the police, who lied to them and threatened them with guns. They forced honest people to split up into small groups, which were vulnerable to criminal gangs. All in all, they acted like they considered the people an occupied populace.
I wonder if any of these police can be identified, named, and shamed.
Another page provides commentary, with links to various corroborating material.
It seems to be a bit distracted about whether Socialists can be trusted. I would trust a Socialist over a Bushman any day of the week. Note in particular how right-wing propagandists on TV revealed the depths of their contempt for the lives of the poor and weak--and their willingness to hide the truth to serve their agenda.
Testimony from ex-soldiers, collected by an NGO, has forced the Israeli Army to investigate unjustified shootings of civilians.
The army appears to have done nothing to give soldiers any possible response to stone-throwing except shooting lethal ammunition, and in some cases the officers directly encouraged shooting civilians. To their credit, many soldiers are unhappy about this. Bravo to them!
The top 10 censored news stories of the past year.
France is evicting poor immigrants from housing deemed "unsafe"--without providing anywhere else for them to go.
The Montreal Protocol that banned ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbon gases is working; the ozone layer is slowly starting to rebuild.
This treaty illustrates how rational beings respond to the recognition that they are destroying their world. It makes a sharp contrast with the denial response that we see to so many other world problems, including global warming, overfishing, destruction of rainforests, depletion of aquifers, etc.
The US government is allowing Worldcom/MCI to get away with fraud--and apparently also to merge with a major competitor, Verizon.
If companies such as Worldcom/MCI can get away with fraud because they are "too big to be allowed fail", it stands to reason that, for the sake of not allowing fraud to pay, companies should not be allowed to get so big. Which means that this merger is the exact opposite of what is needed. Permitting this merger is the act of a government that is trying to transform itself into the flunky of business.
Yahoo willingly gave China the contact info to find a journalist who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Yahoo also censors its information to please the Chinese government.
Many poor people could not leave New Orleans because the state did not help them leave. However, some poor fools were led astray by religion.
People were told to go to the Superdome, but they have no food, no water there. And before they could get in, people had to stand in line for 4-5 hours in the rain because everybody was being searched one by one at the entrance. And then it got worse...
The racism of the New Orleans non-evacuation developed out of the racism of the city and its police. Refugee camps were run more like prisons than aid stations; people were sent away without being able to find out where they are being sent to, and people bringing food were turned away "unless you have enough for everyone".
Egypt is holding a contested presidential election, and opinion polls say the challenger has a chance to win--but there's no check on how Mubarak will count the votes.
Slaves in the US were treated as persons when they were accused of crimes, but not when their human rights were concerned. Today, for corporations, it's just the reverse: they are treated as persons in regard to their supposed rights, but not when it comes time to punish them.
Cold water coral reefs, often deep under water, are just being explored--but they are being destroyed by trawlers faster than scientists can explore them.
Another article mentioned that coral reefs are breeding grounds for many kinds of fish. By destroying these reefs in their haste to catch fish, the fishing businesses are destroying their own future (and ours). Like many businesses today (think of Bush and co), they are too focused on the short term to care.
Venezuela is providing humanitarian aid to the US.
Cuba offered to send 1000 doctors, but the offer was rejected.
US laws designed to end overfishing have not worked, because they have not been enforced. Overfishing is increasing, and important fishstocks such as cod continue to decline.
Giving local people control over local ecosystem management can help them become better off through managing the resources carefully.
However, this has to be accompanied by a stable population, if the benefits are to last.
Global warming threatens to dry up the Ganges river and leave much of India with no water.
The increase in oil prices has caused a 10% decrease in gasoline use in Belgium and Germany. It might cause an even bigger decrease in the US.
When high oil prices reduce CO2 emissions, that is a very good result. However, the article is mistaken in its optimism, and in its conclusion that treaties to reduce greenhouse gases are unnecessary. High gasoline prices can reduce consumption, which reduces emissions. But it can also encourage production of gasoline from other fossil fuel sources. That would reduce the economic effect of declining oil extraction, but it won't reduce global warming.
The floodwaters covering New Orleans are full of toxic waste, and pumping them out is going to poison some other place.
The Israeli Army demolished the Palestinian village of Hirbat Tana, and now claims the area is "uninhabited" while the inhabitants try to rebuild their homes. People from Rabbis for Human Rights tried to help them rebuild, and were arrested.
Famous scientists criticized the Bush regime prediliction to ignore science.
The Israeli Army kills Palestinians who are passing by, or assassinates them while they hide in cupboards, then calls them "terrorists" and boasts about it.
This reminds me of various other governments that preferred or prefer to lie rather than admit a mistake.
In Venezuela, Chavez's supporters are not surprised by assassination threats from up north. The rich there, who know nothing about how the poor people live, want all the oil wealth for themselves.
Large studies show homeopathy is no better than a placebo. In other words, the homeopathic "remedies" are entirely worthless. Like any other worthless medicine, when taken by people who believe they work, a certain fraction do recover--but anything else would work as well.
This answers the question I posed a few days ago. The poor stayed behind because the state did not give them what it took to leave--and now the corporate media are trying to pretend that their own foolishness was the reason.
Bush wants to open the national parks to abuses that could destroy them.
Under the Bush standard, activities would be allowed in national parks unless one can "prove" they would cause irreparable damage. Often there can't be conclusive proof that a certain activity would cause irreparable damage until it has already done so. But even then, Bush appointees might refuse to recognize the proof, as they have done with global warming; none so blind as he who will not see.
In effect, this would be an all-purpose excuse to trash the national parks. That's the neoliberal attitude towards national assets: strip them.
Uri Avnery: If Likud splits over the withdrawal from Gaza, as it is on the verge of doing, this could open the way to a political rearrangement that Israel needs.
Israeli troops attacked a nonviolent protest in Bil'in.
The last time New Orleans was flooded, Huey Long built a populist movement based on the anger people felt at the government's failure to help them.
It is ironic that nowadays the World Bank, etc., pressure countries to make children pay for their own textbooks again. This is part of "structural adjustment", a campaign to hurt the poor.
The latest move in Bush's War on Integrity: blocking publication of statistics on Driving While Black.
Bush doesn't feel a need to see Cindy Sheehan, because his agents have been spying on her group's activities for months.
On Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Nagin said that the US government was failing to provide substantial help to the people caught in the city.
It doesn't surprise me that the Bush administration officials congratulate themselves for doing a good job. That's standard Bush policy: don't solve problems, deny them.
One reason FEMA is ineffective is that Bush has been sabotaging it ever since he captured the White House.
Orhan Pamuk, a famous Turkish novelist, faces charges of "insulting national character" for talking about the genocide of the Armenians.
If Turks support this law, they will insult the national character of Turkey worse than anyone else could do it.
10% of the world's coral reefs became unhealthy in the past two years. Only 70% are still healthy.
I wonder whether coral reefs can keep up with rising sea levels. I suspect that the way coral species survive a rise is by seeding new colonies in newly submerged land. That may be especially difficuly when they are so unhealthy to begin with.
Lula has failed to end the illegal cutting of the Amazon forest because he isn't trying hard enough.
The US government is canceling half the land set aside to protect an endangered species in California, but builders are not satisfied--they want the rest.
The claim that this protected land interferes with affordable housing is absurd, because single-family homes on big lots in semi-rural areas are not affordable--not for poor people. They also need public transit.
The Bush regime delivered New Orleans to unnatural disaster--by cutting the funds for restoring protective wetlands and maintaining the levees.
It also helped produce hurricane Katrina, by encouraging global warming for 5 years.
I've read that it was mainly poor people who could not evacuate from New Orleans and are now dying there. Why couldn't poor people evacuate? Did the state not offer them transportation? Did it not offer them a place to go? Either one should be a scandal. If you come across a report on this, please send me the text and a publicly accessible URL I can link to. [The answers are yes and yes; see other following notes.]
A US appeals court sustained the use of the DMCA to forbid development of interoperating software.
I link to this EFF statement reluctantly, because it implicitly endorses the thinking that gave us the DMCA, by harping on "legitimately purchased products" as if that made a difference. The phrase is clearly meant to refer to "authorized copies", which it makes the implicit assertion that authorized copies are legitimate and that unauthorized copies are not.
Once you accept that assumption, you will find it hard to fight against things like the DMCA or Treacherous Computing, whose intention is is to prevent these supposedly "illegetimate" copies, because you can only argue about side issues such as "add-on innovation".
Some two million women and children are enslaved every year.
Mugabe is moving Zimbabwe further into tyranny.
The great apes are all facing extinction due to human destruction of their habitat.
Human overpopulation and unchecked business are responsible.
A former Scottish police chief says that Lockerbie evidence was planted to frame Libyans for a crime they did not commit.
In Argentina, old growth forests are being cut down rapidly to grow soybeans for just a few years. Greenpeace is blocking the bulldozers.
In Turkey, Greenpeace is protesting a coal-fired power plant that was built while wind power goes to waste.
Denmark says it will bar CIA flights carrying prisoners for torture.
Food aid to Africa is often mismanaged, and this could be impeding Africa's development.
Beslan mothers blame Putin for deaths.
A strategic alliance between Russia and China is a natural response to US hegemonism.
As Orwell would have put it, Eastasia and Eurasia are temporarily allied against Oceania.
Cell phone radio waves seem to be driving away or killing sparrows.
There are reports that the two youths executed in Iran were convicted of raping a boy, not of consensual sex. But others say this conviction may have been false.
Rape should be punished, but not with execution.
A Russian human rights monitoring group says that Russia's prisons today are gratuitously cruel, comparable to the Soviet gulag or Abu Ghraib.
Merck donated lots of money to arthritis charities, in effect buying their support as marketing agents for Vioxx.
I think that pharma companies should be forbidden to give anything to doctors, hospitals, clinics, charities, or anyone; instead, they should pay a special tax which will be divided among those worthy recipients at the discretion of an independent board.
Bush is sending more combat troops to Iraq, where the proposed constitution is increasing the hostility among the ethnic groups.
Closing Fuel Economy Loopholes Can Save Consumers Billions.
But Bush doesn't want to do that.
Senators from both parties visited Alaska to see the effects of global warming, and to try to put pressure on Bush.
I predict Bush will continue to deny everything and obstruct all efforts to prevent this problem from getting worse. Those who direct him profit from using lots of oil, and they want to draw as much profit as they can.
Peace in Aceh may be on the way.
Bunnatine Greenhouse, a Pentagon contract official, has been removed from her job for doing it properly.
This is part of Bush's War on Integrity.
Chavez offers to sell gasoline cheap to poor communities in the US. He also offered to provide free health care there.
The low-cost gasoline idea would not really be a good thing, since it would take away the pressure to conserve energy. However, providing medical care would be a very good deed, as well as a propaganda coup.
Israel is confiscating a lot more Palestinian land to expand settlements.
Antiabortionists have been passing restrictions on abortion in many states.
Christian fanatics are moving to South Carolina with the aim of establishing a theocracy.
A 10-year-old refugee who has spent half his life in prison in Australia is suing the government for neglecting his medical needs.
Chavez says that Venezuela will take legal action against Pat Robertson. I'd love to see Robertson in jail for incitement to terrorism.
The Menezies shooting: contradictions and possible cover-up.
A thousand nonvoilent protestors against the annexation wall.
9 northeast states have made an agreement to cap and then reduce CO2 emissions.
Freeing slaves in Brazil is hard work. The slave-owners buy the police.
Dear Settlers and a few other addressees - Uri Avnery
War Made Easy--how the US media enthusiastically support invasion.
The FCC and FBI are trying to stretch the CALEA law which requires phone companies to build in facilities for massive wiretapping, to make it apply to internet service in general.
They are doing this for the specific and unusual case of WIFI and cell phones on airplanes. But if they succeed in stretching the law that far, they won't need to stretch it any further to apply it to all ISPs.
Bush is now trying to destroy everything that the UN has agreed to work for. Even Blair is refusing to support it.
Here's more of what Bush wants to eliminate.
A newspaper strike in the Toronto area is going unreported, because the concentrated corporate media decline to cover it.
Increasing oil prices, and conflicts between the US and China, seem to be the sign that peak oil has arrived.
I wish there were a side in this conflict that deserved the support of people of good will, but they seem to be scoundrels on all sides.
US cities and environmental groups are suing the US government for funding projects that contribute to global warming.
The withdrawal from Gaza has created a great opportunity, but also a great danger.
Europeans are forming a campaign to demand Judith Miller's release from prison.
I appreciate the courage she shows by going to prison for the principle of confidentiality of sources--even though in this case she is protecting people who work for Bush. I hope she would show the same courage if it were protecting someone else. In any case, we must not be misled into thinking that the New York Times upholds the other traditional journalistic virtues along with this one.
The draft Iraqi constitution displeases many Iraqis for many reasons. I get the impression that there's nothing they could do which wouldn't have this problem, which stems from the depth of division and mistrust in Iraq.
It would take a great statesman, admired by most of the people, to overcome such deep divisions--and Bush and his men hardly qualify.
The Blair Watch Project--using biometric ID cards to do mass surveillance of everyone.
Animal rights activists in the UK shut down a guinea pig farm through persistent protests.
The protestors are accused of being violent, but the descriptions of the accusations leave room for doubt about whether it was really violent.
Pat Robertson, speaking on TV, called for assassination of Venezuela's president Chavez.
As Bush faces for the first time the clear disapproval of most Americans, his personality is degenerating into a permanent temper tantrum.
Wetlands in the US are threatened by many causes, including rising sea level due to global warming.
Wetlands play a role in cleaning up pollution, so losing them is dangerous.
Roberts has a history of attacking and undermining environmental protection.
As the US focuses attention on Iran's possible nuclear weapons program, Israel's real nuclear weapons are ignored.
Is a US invasion of Bolivia coming soon?
Bush is citing false intelligence about Bolivia, perhaps to justify an attack.
Persistent and increasing drought in some places, flooding in others-- and it will only get worse as global warming continues to distort the world's climate patterns.
The policemen who shot de Menezies face an investigation that could result in charges against them.
Roberts' record reveals a right-wing extremist.
The US mainstream media showed the public how controlled they are by either ignoring Cindy Sheehan or ridiculing her, while local media covered her protest sympathetically.
Bush is suing the operator of a web site that criticizes him. And Isuzu is suing Consumer Reports because it made a report they did not like.
Blair may get a $400k per year payoff from Bush's friends.
The Center for Democracy and Technology has sold us out and given support to the "broadcast flag".
A study shows a world-wide pattern about suicide bombing: it is a response to foreign occupation. That is why it is occurring now in Iraq.
There are 50 co-sponsors for a congressional resolution for removing the Bush forces from Iraq, and from Bush. It is a very gentle resolution, with no deadline to complete the withdrawal, but it is a step.
Merck is likely to be sued by relatives of thousands of people who had heart attacks after using Vioxx, because Merck knew about this side effect and tried to cover it up.
I think that even these suits are not enough to deter companies from doing this. I think there should be criminal penalties for drug companies (and their staff) that try to hush up such information.
Novo Nordisk, a company that specializes in treatment of Diabetes ("and prevention"), gives out fattening treats to doctors and their staff. Is this how they claim to prevent Diabetes?
In case you ever serve as a juror in a criminal trial, you should read this article.
Carbon sequestration as a way to cope with global warming is becoming technically feasible; but it won't be applied until countries like the US adopt policies to make it happen.
China is setting up new police units to crush the protests and uprisings that often occur when people are chased off their land by developers. At the same time, it is changing the law to make it harder for these people to defend themselves legally--which means they will have no recourse except uprisings.
Compare this with the US, where the Supreme Court ruled that cities can use eminent domain to take private land on behalf of businesses, and you get a pattern of convergence towards tyranny.
In the UK, a neighborhood built on a former toxic waste dump is told, "Don't let your children play in the garden."
I think the government has an obligation to compensate their loss. If everyone shares in shouldering the burden, it will be bearable, but it is unfair to let it fall randomly on just a few.
An Israeli commentator says that the Gaza pullout was due to... firm pressure from Bush.
The Chinese government has organized an exhibit about Japan's wartime atrocities, whipping up public anger towards Japan.
Since the Chinese government is no great supporter of human rights, I am sure it is not doing this because of outrage against atrocities. But that's a side issue; doing the right thing for the wrong reasons does not make it wrong. The Japanese army committed atrocities by the thousands in its war of aggression--and it didn't stop with bombing and shooting civilians; they performed fatal "medical experiments" on some civilian prisoners. They mistreated prisoners of war, too, many of whom died.
No nation is immune to the temptation to commit atrocities. The Japanese government must acknowledge these wrongs so it can teach Japanese never to consider such things again.
Innocent bomber suspect De Menezes was pinned down by police--then shot while helpless.
Uri Avnery on the proof that it is possible for Israel to demolish settlements.
His quote about land mines is very impressive.
In Pakistan, another writer has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Pakistan is one of the few countries on Earth that I would simply refuse to visit. I too might be sentenced to death for what I have said on this site.
The Turkish government was negotiating with someone about paying House Speaker Hastert to change his position--and then he did so. Was he paid to change it? The FBI is covering it up, according to Sibel Edmonds.
(For officials to take pay from corporations is just as bad as taking pay from foreign governments; it is equally a betrayal of the nation.)
TV camera recordings show that the UK police lied to whitewash their killing of the man falsely suspected of carrying a bomb into a train.
The Iraqi puppet government has been unable to work out a constitution.
The job of designing a constitution for Iraq might be intractable even if it were done by statesmen with real popular support who had no conquering foreign army to placate.
In Baghdad alone, 1000 civilians are killed every month. This leads to a rought estimate of 36,000 per year in Iraq as a whole.
Here's what Melanie House says about the death of her husband, in Iraq.
Unlike Ms House, I am not "for" the Bush forces, except in the limited sense that I wish they were safely out of Iraq. Thet are not "our" troops, not any more, until we can take them away from Bush. They are engaged in a vicious and inexcusable war of conquest--so in general they are not heroes.
However, Petty Officer House was an exception, because he was a medic. Medics are heroes no matter which army they are in.
Congressman and senators who supported the war and Bush are feeling the pressure--and awareness is sinking in that Bush cannot win the war.
The Bush forces will have to leave Iraq sooner or later. The sooner they leave, the less evil they will have done.
Businesses (including Haliburton) are trying to push for massive new highway-building plans in the US, taking advantage of the Bush regime's readiness to bow serve business' wants.
If oil prices skyrocket around 2010, there won't be the traffic to fill these new roads--which is a good thing, since that much more CO2 in the air would assure global disaster.
A report says that Earth is 1 degree of warming away from disaster.
In the US, many states are developing renewable energy, despite Bush's opposition to it.
The Liberal Democrat party leader in the European Parliament has endorsed legalization of all drugs.
I don't necessarily go that far; for dangerous addictive drugs, the Dutch system, which lets addicts register and get injections legally but prohibits commercial sale, might be better. Both systems cut out the basis for the profitable black market, both avoid forcing addicts into crime or imprisoning them for their habits. I don't know which one would be better at discouraging people from taking up these drugs.
Baghdad: ten minutes on a trip to the supermarket can mean the difference between life and death.
The Israeli soldier who shot a British nonviolent activist was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
I don't think 8 years is an unreasonable sentence for manslaughter, but given the facts of the case, it should have been murder.
Global warming is melting the permafrost of Siberia, which spews methane into the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming.
As we carry our world ever closer to a disaster which we won't actually see until it is too late to avoid, rich men who assume they can buy their personal way out of the painful consequences insist that it is too expensive to do anything.
That's as stupid as claiming you can't afford to get your tooth filled. Would you rather wait and have a root canal?
The use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is commemorated annually as a call for nuclear disarmament.
Winter Soldier, an unflattering documentary of the US Army featuring Vietnam veterans, may finally be shown in the US--after more than 3 decades of suppression. Iraq has given it current relevance again.
Unacceptable regimes in Iraq and the United States.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY: With Violent Greetings
Blair wants to deport some Islamic extremists--some of them to countries that are likely to torture them. Some of these are the same people who were formerly imprisoned without trial. At least one is being deported to a country where he was tried in absentia, which trial was in itself a violation of human rights.
Torture, imprisonment without trial, and trial in absentia, in the hands of an all-powerful state, more dangerous than whatever acts they are supposedly intended to prevent (and which they are just as likely to provide the motivation for). Nobody should be deported to a country where he faces a sentence issued by a trial in absentia. If that country wants to ask for extradition, and makes a credible promise of a new (and fair) trial, then the request deserves to be considered normally.
By contrast, I see no harm in refusing to let Omar Bakri Mohammed return from Lebanon. Since he went there voluntarily, he cannot plead that his human rights are in danger there.
Uri Avnery's comments on the removal of settlers from Gaza.
Over half the settler families in Gaza are leaving peacefully.
Iran nuclear row: No end in sight.
I will not feel safer if Iran has nuclear weapons. However, given that the US has made it clear to other countries that only nuclear weapons can protect them from the likelihood of a US attack, it's only natural that they should try to avail themselves of the only known protection.
The idea of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is that it would acknowledge a few nuclear powers, which would try to move towards nuclear disarmament, and in exchange the rest of the world's states would forego nuclear weapons. But the movement towards nuclear disarmament ended in the 90s. Bush wants a world in which he has nuclear weapons and his enemies do not; but he can't expect the rest of the world to support that goal.
Bliar is trying to attack judges for upholding the legal rights of suspects, even those suspected of terrorism. (Of course, innocent people are often suspected of terrorism, and sometimes even shot dead.) The judges are fighting back.
This is part of Bliar's general attack on all kinds of human rights.
In a part of Gaza cut of by Israeli settlements, Palestinian fishermen have been forbidden to go to sea for years, and a man who went to the hospital in Rafah has been forbidden, since 3 months ago, to return home.
Evacuation of the settlements might change this, or might not.
Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize winner, tears the idea of "intelligent design" to shreds.
Support Cindy Sheehan, on a vigil against Bush for sending her son to die for a lie.
Colleges in the US are starting to offer students textbooks that disappear after the one semester. And don't even think of lending them to someone else.
Meanwhile, Hollywood is now dictating the design of the next version of Microsoft Windows, with the specific aim take away your control over your own computers.
This takes us a step closer to the world I imagined 8 years ago, in The Right To Read.
I urge students and faculty to organize to reject these phony textbooks. Not buying them is just the first step--people should go further and denounce the restrictions that they carry. They should not be offered even as an "alternative", because society should not accept the "alternative" of losing traditional freedoms.
Students who don't appreciate intangibles such liberty and community cooperation might still be persuaded by secondary reasons--such as that students will probably pay more, in the long run, if they can't borrow each other's books or resell them to next year's students.
Is Bush preparing to carry out a medium-size military attack in October? I am in no position to verify any of these facts, but even as a rumor it is worth calling attention to.
Roundup, the Monsanto pesticide that Monsanto likes to genetically engineer crops to resist, seems to be very dangerous to amphibians.
China's rule over Tibet continues to be brutal. Cowardly Western rulers such as Bliar, who are willing to fight wars to bring "democracy" to weak countries such as Iraq, sell out to China's money.
Some investors worm info out of doctors about how drug experiments are working, so they can do insider trading.
At the same time, similar investors often stop doctors from publishing experiment results properly, through the power they get through funding the research.
The UK government is trying to tell the newsmedia to stop talking about the dangers of GM crops.
I guess they'd prefer not to have any news reports on embarrassing superweeds.
A witness who survived one of the London bombs says the bomb was under the train, not in it.
This article also provides an example of the idiocy of religion. The lucky survivor thanked his imaginary god for saving him and his friend, but doesn't blame the same imaginary god for killing or injuring everyone else. A recent article in Free Inquiry, focusing on this pattern of bias, was entitled "Teflon God". It must be cozy to be praised for the good you do while never blamed for the bad--but I would rather not be exempt from ethical standards, nor would any being with a conscience.
A genetically modified herbicide-resistant plant cross-bred with a weed to produce a herbicide-resistant weed. So now farmers have to fight a super-weed.
The cross-breeding will probably work in the other direction, too. Wherever the super-weed grows, it will probably cross-breed with crops. Then Monsanto will sue the farmers for patent infringement.
But don't worry--Monsanto will sue the weed for patent infringement and get rid of it.
A wide range of businesses systematically try to distort science, faking enough doubt as to prevent the problems caused by their products or operations from being addressed. And they have arranged (bought) a law to help them.
Australia's ruler says that Australia's draconian anti-terror laws need to be "strengthened". Like every ruler using this excuse to take away people's freedom, he sticks to generalities, never meeting the challenge to show that his specific freedom-limiting measures are really necessary, or even helpful.
Australia's current laws allow grabbing people secretly, and imprisoning them if they do not answer questions. These people are essentially disappeared, since it is considered a crime for them, or anyone else, to report what happened to them. How much more "strengthening" is needed to reach something like Stalin? I'd say they are already at the level of the early Gestapo.
Legacy of the Iraq war: a new increase in nuclear terror.
An Israeli settler fanatic went on a rampage, shooting Arabs on a bus. Fortunately he didn't get very many before the rest of the passengers mobbed and killed him.
While in the Palestinian territories, I was told that settlers frequently snipe at Arabs, any Arabs that appear in range, up to the maximum range of their weapons.
One MP in the UK is not afraid to recognize how Bush and Blair are the chief mass murderers. There may be some US politicians who dare say this, but we don't hear about them much. The media in the UK are not as thoroughly under the corporate thumb as those in the US.
Of course, there are people who condemn him for this. There are people for whom it is impossible to recognize one's own country as the origin of evil no matter how obvious it gets.
About the Cuban exiles in Miami that keep trying to attack Cuba (and dragging the US government into it).
Here's the latest Amnesty International report on Cuba:
Castro's doesn't respect human rights well enough, but Bush respects human rights less in Cuba than Castro does. He's not doing it very well in the US either: I don't know if the Cuban dissidents got fair trials, but with Bush, you may not get one at all.
Corruption was bad in Russia before Putin, but now it is much worse.
A glacier in Greenland is moving 3 times faster than it was 10 years ago.
If this spreads (or has spread) to the rest of Greenland, lots of us will be in cold water.
Iraqi Shi'ites are about to form militias-- to protect themselves from Sunnis. Bush will have trouble stopping this, and I think it will turn out badly for him.
Meanwhile, the new Iraqi constitution seems likely to abolish equal rights for women.
There is so much irony here. This negation of human rights results from having a certain limited amount of democracy in Iraq--together with the fact that Islamic extremism is now powerful in Iraq.
Most Americans won't like what these religious extremists have done, but Bush may not mind it. He's a religious extremist himself.
Overfishing has cut the number of species in half in many areas of the ocean.
South Africa plans to push harder to transfer land from rich Whites to poor landless Blacks.
I support this if it is done carefully. Those rich whites had the help of a colonial system in acquiring their property.
Musharraf is opposing Islamic fundamentalists who are trying to impose Taliban-style laws in part of Afghanistan. However, these are the same people whose political support he relies on.
I think Pakistan is headed for something horrible, and it could include nuclear war.
To censor a pro-union web site, run by a locked-out employee, Canadian ISP Telus blocked 766 other sites. A million customers were unable to access these sites (unless they knew of a proxy to bypass the restriction).
The injunction against posting photos of scabs bothers me, too. That they could get such an injunction reflects the same sort of bias, for business and against citizens, that Canadian courts showed in the Harry Potter injunction case.
The private company that is supposed to provide medical care at many prisons in the US consistently skimps, and when doctors complain that they are not given the resources to do the job, it makes up an excuse and fires them.
It is typical behavior for companies to fail to do the jobs they have promised or claimed they will do. The same companies also insist that people pay them every dime they are owed--but they don't deserve it.
We need a legal system that will hold companies to the same standard that it holds individuals, but first of all we need to do so in our own standards of ethics. We have to reject absolutely the idea that company executives have a duty to make as much money as they can even if this means being nasty to the rest of the community.
"Nobody dies of overpopulation" because people work hard to find something else to blame.
Monsanto is trying to patent breeding pigs. That's right, breeding them. Not engineering genetic modifications in pigs, but selecting pigs, as farmers have done for millenia.
China announced a gigantic reforestation plan.
It remains to be seen how well the plan will be implemented. In the Chinese government, at all levels, there is a tendency to lie to cover up failures.
$15000 bail for spray-painting? Only for political activists.
Uzbekistan, whose dictator was defended by Bush and Blair for strategic reasons and oil, has now switched to Russian allegiance.
Will Bush now begin to denounce the crimes that he ignored when this dictator was an ally?
When a product is dangerous, and the manufacturer wants this hushed up, of course it calls that a "trade secret". Thus, any agency of the state that gets involved has to choose a side: the public or the company, democracy or fascism.
But there may be some good news here, that our protests after Adobe had Dmitri Sklyarov arrested may have had some deterrent effect on the FBI: it didn't just go and grab Lynn; instead, it is thinking twice about which side to take.
When researcher Mike Lynn found a security risk in Cisco routers, Cisco wasn't concerned with the problem they had created--only with whether the public would find out about their mistake.
I applaud Mike Lynn's willingness to fight against this abuse of the legal system. But I am disappointed that both he and the conference where he spoke agreed to censor themselves on the matter forever after. Perhaps he figured that the information was already out of the bottle and that Cisco would be unable to stuff it back in. Maybe that's true--but Cisco clearly isn't convinced, and I can't be confident they are mistaken.
Lynn was somewhat confused when he said that Cisco "had to do what's right for their shareholders". What's right for Cisco's shareholders is to act, on their behalf, in an ethical way. Perhaps he meant "what's good for their shareholders"--not the same thing. But if that's what he meant, the statement is mistaken. Nobody has to bully people, and making money for the shareholders is not an excuse for doing so.
I think it is superfluous to call a boycott of Cisco, because only idiots would buy a router made by a company whose response to a problem like this is to try to hush it up. However, this case, like the Harry Potter injunction, illustrates both the injustice of the relevant laws and the hostile prejudice of the governments that enforce them. Any government that takes Cisco's side is not on your side. Any official that isn't disgusted that Cisco was able to gag Lynn does not deserve to be in office.
The US as well as several other countries have signed a new treaty intended to reduce global warming. However, it doesn't have any specific required targets, so what good it will do is not clear.
Inside evidence--leaked emails from former prosecutors--says that Bush's military courts for Guantanamo prisoners are "rigged".
It was clear all along that this would be the case, more or less. But it is useful to have direct evidence.
I honor those prosecutors whose personal integrity led them to quit the proceedings that they found to be unjust. I fear that Bush will retaliate against them now, if he has not done so already. Bush recognizes only one law: "Never thwart me in anything!"
Deadly heatwaves and droughts on various continents are a consequence of global warming.
The weather always fluctuates--but as the whole world gets warmer, weather that used to be so extreme it would happen once a century can start happening once a year. Rainfall patterns change; some places will get much less average rainfall, while others get more.
The AFL-CIO voted to call for removal of the Bush forces troops from Iraq "as soon as possible".
The resolution presents this as support for the troops, and that's right. The most important support they deserve, and the only kind they should get, is no longer to fight an unjust war of occupation against a justifiably hostile people.
Bush loyalists are likely to insist that "as soon as possible" means "after complete victory". But they are slowly giving way to the pressure.
Self-proclaimed experts in business ethics are now trying to justify business' having influence in government, on the ground that businesses pay taxes.
That principle is twisted. "No taxation without representation" applies only to people--and it does not imply that she who pays more taxes deserves more representation.
The aim of democracy, since Athens, is to prevent rich people from having disproportionate influence in the policy of the state. Allowing business any sort of influence defeats the purpose of democracy.
Roberts helped Bush prevent a recount in 2000.
California has rejected Diebold voting machines because they failed 10% of the time.
The Ukraine's new government is losing support, facing conflicting pressures from the people and from the US. Their main "achievement" to date has been impose WTO-style copyright law. Joining the WTO would mean surrendering their newly-won democracy.
It's admirable to have canceled an unjust privatization, but instead of simply auctioning off the same property, they should be smarter about what to do with it.
UN peacekeepers in Haiti shot innocent people in the head during a raid.
The raid was against gangsters, but those were small fry. The US-installed government is composed of gangsters.
The Bush regime is giving out more hints of starting to pull out of Iraq.
Of course, they don't admit that it's a matter of pulling out. Instead, they're talking about handing over the occupation to Iraqi collaborators. You could call it "Iraqization".
When it's all over, Iraqi will still be a much worse place than it was under Saddam Hussein. It looks like they will have gone from a secular dictatorship to an Islamic fanatic dictatorship. But it will be better than the murderous Bush regime.
All in all, the West has been very stupid in opposing and sabotaging secular nationalism in the Arab countries, because the result was that Arabs turned to Islamic fundamentalism as the only way to resist.
An American reporter overcame the obstacles created by Bush to interview the Bush forces sniper who had shot his Iraqi friend, also a reporter and a doctor.
I think the sniper is right in saying "this wasn't murder"--not on his part. He was afraid for his buddies' lives and had very little time to think. You can't expect people to figure out the right thing to do under such a situation--not reliably. At the individual level, this soldier had moral bad luck: he had to make a choice, and both options could have been very very wrong.
However, the overall effects of the occupation are not a matter of chance. The occupation systematically generates such situations, and systematically a certain fraction kill noncombatants. The result is a lot of killings. The decision to conquer and occupy Iraq is responsible for all these killings; neither Bush nor his officers arrange each one precisely, but Bush's orders made them inevitable.
Then there are the children who die from malnutrition and lack of clean water-- thousands a year.
Thus, Bush is committing mass murder by continuing the occupation. Only a very strong ethical urgency can justify this sort of thing, and Bush knows he has none. That is why he tries to prevent his murders from being investigated, and why the mass media that are in cahoots with him don't report them. The sooner the resistance drives his army out, the less evil Bush will have done.
The UK government has adopted a policy of shooting suspected suicide bombers on sight, without warning. One innocent person was already shot in the head. In effect, the war in Iraq has come home.
The Democrats 2008 Choice: Sell Out and Lose, or Stand Up and Win.
Police in India beat up and injured hundreds of workers who were on strike.
I think there should be an investigation of why the police were there in the first place. I suspect that the business brought them in to try to crush the strike. It is just a suspicion, and might be wrong; but since they raise the question of who started the fight, this might show who really started it.
The "Iraqi government" is selling off oil fields to foreign oil companies. The price will probably be much less than they are worth; that's the usual way that privatization goes. Meanwhile, it will be easy for crooks in ministries to run off with the money. (To run off with the oil itself would be much harder.)
We always knew that grabbing Iraq's oil was part of Bush's war aims. However, it didn't stop there--the article explains that Bush and his cronies have been stealing Iraq's money too.
It is interesting to compare the low degree of attention to this corruption with the much greater attention given to much smaller corruption involving the former Oil for Food program. Corruption is never legitimate, but the regime uses its opponents' small offenses as a distraction from its own large ones.
The House Republicans have control of the chamber, but they're not satisfied with passing bad laws openly. Here they cheated the rest of the House, to give a handout to Halliburton.
A letter from Zimbabwe says: Zimbabwe keeps going down the drain as world sits by and does nothing.
Here's the Amnesty International report.
There is a new campaign to label products that put smaller burdens on the environment.
It might be a good thing, but in order to be effective, I think it needs to apply to consumables, not just to durable goods. Also, it doesn't say that labor conditions are part of the criteria, so this seal doesn't mean it wasn't made in a sweatshop.
Dalits in Tamil Nadu, whose villages and crops were wiped out by the tsunami, are getting no aid. When people try to provide aid to the, upper-cast people stop them and steal it.
Bush extends his War on Integrity to the SEC, by appointing Chris Cox to lead it.
Sad news: the US House of Representatives approved CAFTA. The vote was close; we almost won a victory, but "almost" counts for nothing.
We have to hope that some Central American countries will refuse to ratify the treaty, and protect the future of their potential democracy.
The Indonesian government has made a deal with the Aceh independence movement, which seems to offer the prospect of a peaceful solution involving some regional autonomy.
The UN is wrestling with the question of how to define "terrorism".
The question would difficult even without the political pressures from various governments. I expect the US to demand a broad definition that includes legitimate political protest and excludes anything done by a government.
The Taliban are regaining strength--possibly with the help of Pakistan's intelligence service.
However, the people in the part of Pakistan near Afghanistan are also supporters of the Taliban, and some of them are fighting the Pakistan government.
Pakistan is more or less a military dictatorship, does not recognize human rights. Its laws impose a death sentence for blasphemy. It is one of the countries I would not even consider visiting. If people invite me to give a speech there, I will do it by videoconference.
A close political advisor of Berlusconi has been convicted of working closely with the Mafia at the same time.
Renewable energy sources and cogeneration are now comparable with nuclear power, in their contribution to world electricity supply, and they are much cheaper.
I think this refutes the claim that only nuclear power could be deployed enough to significantly reduce global warming.
"Theft in plain sight" as Israel extends the annexation fence around Jerusalem.
The UN Work Group on Arbitrary Detention condemned the US, saying that the Cubans who were convicted of spying--not on the US government, but on terrorist groups that operate in the US and attack Cuba--did not get a fair trial.
Some Irish police were investigated and found responsible for trying to frame innocent people. They were punished...with being transferred to Dublin.
Shell is paying dearly for jailing Irish villagers that oppose construction of a dangerous pipeline.
This page gives information about what Shell did to the Ogoni in Nigeria.
It appears to be a few years old; there is no longer a military government in Nigeria. I wonder what the situation is now with Shell and the Ogoni.
Was that boy, or the thousands of others like him, less important than someone who was killed in London?
Two teenagers were executed in Iran for being gay.
The House Rules Committee, in approving extension of the USA PAT RIOT Act, blocked the full house from even considering certain amendments to reduce the powers--for instance, the amendment that was adopted by a majority of the house, to eliminate the power to collect bookstore and library records. In other words, even our representatives (weak defenders of our freedom that they are) were bullied and trampled down by the Republican leaders.
The Blair regime is talking about a new anti-terror law that might make it a crime to view a "terrorist" web site. (This is half way down the page.)
Aside from being censorship, this would be quite easy for the police to sucker anyone into viewing such a site, which would then be an excuse to put the person in prison.
I am more scared of this than of bombs in the subway.
More information on Judge Roberts, Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court.
A US representative suggested using nuclear weapons on Mecca as revenge for possible future terrorism.
I can understand the anger that must have led him to say that. Anyone who can understand that anger should also be able to understand how Muslims might feel similar anger after the mass murder that Bush and Blair have committed in Iraq--and how they might also be led to consider setting off explosions that would kill many in the US or UK.
So what is the way forward? To kill more? Or to kill less?
Alfonso Molina, a prominent Colombian journalist, reported in the launch of Telesur that the Colombian army recently seized and shut down a TV station run by an indigenous group. (It was broadcasting views criticial of the government.)
The US House of Representatives voted to extend the USA PAT RIOT act.
It appears that fear-mongering is still too strong for to resist in the name of civil liberties. Although there was opposition on the specific issues of library, bookstore, and medical records, nearly all accepted secret searches (illegal even to talk about) for other kinds of business records.
Bush formerly said he would fire anyone in his administration involved in leaking the name of Valerie Plame. But now he says he will only fire someone if he "committed a crime".
Perhaps he thought, when making the previous statement, that the people responsible would never be caught.
The UK government is prosecuting a colonel for the killing of a civilian prisoner.
It appears that the UK has eliminated the problem of command influence that makes military "justice" in the US a farce. That's commendable. The willingness to prosecute a colonel is also comparable, compared with the US policy of only blaming underlings. However, the integrity of the prosecution system, combined with the fewness of the successful prosecutions, demonstrate how hard it is to build a case against soldiers who kill civilians during war. Which means that mostly they can get away with murder.
South Africa is pressuring Mugabe to pull back from his tyrannical policies in Zimbabwe, in exchange for a loan.
I read in another article (for which I cannot find an accessible URL) that some are pressuring South Africa to demand even more in respect for human rights in exchange for this loan.
A Muslim religious court in India ordered a woman to separate from her husband and marry his father, because he raped her.
Some Indian Muslims are outraged by the injustice of this, but apparently not enough to change it. And the chief minister of the state (equivalent to a US governor) supports it.
Islamic ideas of justice are barbaric, and Muslims can be part of civilization only by rejecting those ideas.
Iraq: A nation where suicide bombing is a fact of life.
This shows graphically how the London bombings are small potatoes compared with the violence that Blair has helped Bush commit. And I was please to read that a poll found that 2/3 of Britons consider Blair partly responsible for the bombings. Britons should not allow Blair to respond by trying to claim down while he continues the evil that motivates such retaliation.
More about Thailand's State of Emergency: it applies only to the provinces where the insurgency is located, but it is meeting some sharp criticism as threatening to Thai democracy--especially from newspapers that object to censorship.
Bush has done all the same things, one way or another--with the exception of explicit censorship, but the mass media are controlled through their corporate owners, and it serves the same purpose. He applies them to the entire US, even though there is no insurgency anywhere in the US. Is this threatening to US democracy?
In May, Bush met personally with someone who participated in the attempted coup against Venezuela's President Chavez.
That is plenty of basis to suspect that Bush supports the violent overthrow of Chavez's government.
I will look for more information about Posada's case. He shouldn't be subject to double jeopardy, but there is no reason for a foreign terrorist to be welcome in the US, even if he can't be convicted criminally for it
Australia's government has been shamed into taking a step back in cruelty to people seeking political asylum. Those that have been imprisoned for years (sometimes as much as 7 years), for no reason except seeking asylum, will be freed from prison while their cases are considered.
Role in Iraq war ' has made Britain a target for attacks'. (And the US too, of course.)
Massive drug company mergers have nearly wiped out the development of new antibiotics, just as the old ones are starting to frequently fail.
Random anti-Muslim violence has increased in the UK after the recent London bombings.
Religion in general is foolish, and has the potential to lead people to persecute others, but people should not be persecuted just for following a religion. Anyway, these understandably angry people are putting the blame in the wrong place. Bliar is more responsible for the recent bombings than all the Pakistani immigrants combined.
A new law authorizes Islamic tyranny in a part of Pakistan, if it isn't declared unconstitutional.
Coca Cola is threatening to sue an Indian photographer for a billboard that includes their logo and slogan--making a political point about how the company's plants dry up wells, so that poor people can't get clean water.
This is an example in a long line of examples of how trademark law is being used to interfere with statements of political views. Nowadays, with governments giving companies so much power, criticizing companies is an essential part of political activity.
Bush secretly manipulated the Iraqi election.
In the US, he stole the election, probably twice. He would not have scrupled to do the same in Iraq. Did he do it?
Abu Ghraib torture has now been traced directly to Guantanamo, so we know the soldiers who were convicted were not acting on their own.
They deserve their punishments, since following orders is not an excuse. But the ringleaders must be punished too.
Bush's Iraqi Army is made of "ghost batallions".
Their corruption follows the example set by Bush's donations to Haliburton etc. If the master is crooked, you can't expect his servants to be honest.
The corruption in Iraq doesn't operate exactly the same as it did in Vietnam, but it fills the same role in the overall pattern: a corrupt regime, democratic only in name, lacking the loyalty of the people and unable to fight effectively against the rebels. So it remains only as long as it is propped up by a foreign army.
Bliar hopes to overcome the opposition to his ID card plan by turning it into an EU rule.
This is known as "policy laundering": governments that wish to impose an unpopular policy on the people arrange a treaty they can sign, turning it into a fait accompli beyond the reach of democracy.
I'm all in favor of a united Europe, if it were done in a democratic way, one that served the public rather than subjugating it to business and governments. But the existing EU is just an excuse for tyranny, and if it cannot be made democratic, it must be abolished.
A state of emergency was declared in Thailand in response to a steady stream of attacks by Muslim insurgents. This involves censorship of the news, as well as that favorite Bush tactic, imprisonment without trial.
One could argue that this is close enough to civil war that it justifies extreme measures. However, let's not forget that the Thai government has a history of disregarding the rights of anyone deemed socially undesirable. A couple of years ago, for instance, the Thai police were reported as killing people who were suspected of drug trafficking. (This probably included some who really did drug trafficking and others who didn't.) Is that partly responsible for the insurgency?
The London suicide bombers were carrying identification papers. They apparently wanted their identities to be known.
So...if the UK had established mandatory ID cards, would it have changed anything? Obviously not. But this is a great excuse for any sort of attack on people's freedom. Just say "We're protecting you from terrorists". The next step, already taken by members of the Bush administration, is to say that anyone who complains (perhaps because he values freedom) is "helping terrorists".
How Chicago police persecute people who live in housing projects--including threatening to arrest people for not hitting other people on command.
When noted free software developer Chip Salzenberg found his employer engaged in sleazy and illegal address gathering from web sites, he reported his objections to the boss. The company responded with a fabricated criminal accusation against him. The state then seized all his computers, disks, etc, before checking if it made any sense. When the DA eventually dropped the spurious charges, the company sued him, and the state handed all his computers and records over to the company.
Anyone who works remotely, using a computer, can be victimized in this way. So there is an effort to defend him and warn others.
This is one is piece of the general pattern known as fascism, in which the government kowtows to business while trampling human rights.
I asked Chip whether the DA is considering prosecuting the company for the activities he originally objected to. He said he could not comment on that. I hope that means this is under consideration. But even if so, the disparity in attention given to the two complaints--acting precipitously when a company claims to be the victim, and slow when it is the perpetrator--is suspect.
Colombian President Uribe is asking European governments to support a law that would effectively grant immunity to the government-supported death squads that are the greatest origin of terrorism in Colombia.
All over the US news media, we are told that US news media are dominated by Liberals. They can say this because it isn't true.
Police collected videos from thousands of surveillance cameras in London to try to spot the bombers.
This was a large job but not impossible, and that's as it should be. When the job needs to be done, it can be done. If it were easy, it would lend itself to abuse of power.
The danger is that newer technology will make it easy, perhaps make it possible for the police to construct a list that records everywhere that everyone goes. That would be a tool for tyrants.
Canadians have been ordered not to read books that were sold to them "by mistake" . Read that article, then don't buy any Harry Potter books.
An interesting essay on the ideas behind the freedom movements of the 60s, ideas that helped inspire the Free Software Movement.
Another essay analyzes the aspects of the counterculture that I sensed inarticulately, which are the reasons I did not participate.
Israeli "soldiers are not used to dealing with 15-year-olds"... because 15-year-old Arabs don't count.
In Laos, as villagers recycle metal from bombs dropped 30 years ago, the live bombs continue to kill adults and children.
This is how Iraq's future looks.
In the week since bombs in the UK killed 50 persons, 60 others there have been killed by traffic accidents (assuming 2004 patterns continue). These deaths were no less gruesome and tragic, even though they didn't all happen in one event. There probably won't another bombing this week, but there will surely be more traffic deaths this week, and every week, totalling over 3,000 a year.
It is important to try to prevent people from being killed, by whatever cause. But sometimes the methods proposed are themselves gruesome and tragic--such as the surrender of freedoms that previous generations gave their lives to defend. Perspective on the various dangers can help in making the right decision.
The Palestinian Authority asks the EU to boycott products made in the Israeli settlements.
CAFTA is designed to increase the harm that was done by NAFTA. Every country that refuses to ratify it will escape from being hurt by it.
CO2 in the air is not just making the oceans rise, it is making them more acidic. That can wipe out many ocean-dwelling species.
Since we are already overfishing most of the edible ones, we are in for a lot of trouble ourselves.
The American Indian influence on American ideas of liberty and the US Constitution.
The Blair regime is starting to think about pulling troops out of Iraq.
This is a good sign--it means they are feeling the pressure. We have to keep up the pressure until they pull out completely.
Of course, they talk about "handing over security to the Iraqi Army". When the US began pulling its troops out of Vietnam, it said it was handing over the war to Vietnamese troops. This was called "Vietnamization". In fact, it was a way to save face while accepting defeat. Accepting defeat is what the Bush forces ought to do; if "Iraqization" opens the door to this, so much the better.
At the ethical level, this war is very much like the Vietnam war. The Bush forces, much like the US army in the 60s and 70s, support a puppet regime whose troops are motivated only by their pay and their perks. (The book John Paul Vann, A Shining Bright Lie explains how this worked in Vietnam.) Bush and his "Iraqi Army", like Nixon and the ARVN, give lip-service to freedom and democracy, but nothing more. The resistance doesn't care about freedom and democracy either, but it really does have some ideals. Their soldiers want their cause to win, not just to get paid.
The government that took over in Vietnam was another dictatorship, but dictatorship and peace is better than dictatorship and war that kills millions. If the Iraqi resistance throws out the Bush forces--and I think they will--the outcome will probably be a dictatorship, and it won't respect human rights. But that's better than brutal foreign conquerors occupying their country, stripping its wealth, imposing unjust laws, killing tens of thousands of civilians, and torturing thousands more--and not respecting human rights.
A study provides specific evidence that music file-sharing does not reduce record sales.
I present this because it helps undercut one of the record companies' arguments, but when we cite this, we should be careful to reject the presupposition that if downloading decreased their income that would make it wrong. The right to share is a human right that takes precedence over anybody's business plan. Also, we should reject the term "piracy" to describe sharing. Don't grant any legitimacy to an unjust law!
In a way, I am disappointed by what this study found, because I'd like to see the major record companies' income go down--all the way to zero. There's nothing wrong with making and selling records, and I would not object to having a copyright system which really did require record companies to pay a share of the sales price to the artists. (The actual system only pretends to do this, except for the superstars.) But the vicious threats these companies have made against the public call for punishment: bankruptcy.
The UN "peacekeepers" in Haiti seem to support the gangsters that Bush put in power there.
A secret UK govt report admits--the War on Drugs has failed.
There is nothing more dangerous than a war on drugs. When a war is on drugs, it forgets who the enemy is, and begins attacking the citizens indiscriminately. Let's get that poor war into a drug treatment plan, quickly!
I'm not in favor of simple legalization of dangerous addictive drugs such as heroin. In the Netherlands, it's illegal to sell these drugs, but addicts are not imprisoned and can get shots from doctors. The policy seems to work well for reducing the number of addicts.
Armed Palestinian extremists attacked a Palestinian singer's concert because he sang a love song.
The G8 summit convinced Bush to make a symbolic empty gesture in the direction of reducing global warming. Whoop-de-do.
Blair has been kowtowing to Bush for years, claiming that this is the way to get Bush to change. It has never worked.
I don't fault Blair for "trying" to convince Bush. I fault Blair for blocking so many other things that could have been done, because supposedly this would enable him to convince Bush. And the Downing Street Memo shows that Blair pretends he is going to convince Bush to be less bad, even when privately he knows the game is up. Bliar, Bliar, World on Fire!
The inhabitants of a suburb of Sofia, Bulgaria, were being poisoned by fumes from the large garbage dump nearby. They protested, blocked the streets, and were attacked by police. They face a choice of being mutilated one way or the other.
The police were beating people up, not to enforce the law, but rather to promote violation of it. The garbage dump has been ruled illegal but the city keeps dumping garbage there anyway.
A call for "carbon rationing" to reduce global warming.
Russia blocked a plan to try to limit arms sales to Africa. (These arms sales take up a large part of African governments' resources and tend to perpetuate poverty.)
In theory one could also address the problem from the other end. Much of Africa's appetite for arms is caused by gangs that conquer the valuable natural resources of specific areas--for instance, diamonds. They sell these resources on the world market. The rich countries could, if they were willing, make it harder for the gangs to sell what they have conquered, or assist more in suppressing and defeating them.
A Palestinian was shot in a protest against the annexation wall.
Elsewhere I've read that Palestinians generally begin throwing stones only after the police attack the initial nonviolent protest.
The only Iraqis that will actually fight the Sunni resistance are Kurds and Shi'ites, so Bush is using them. But I expect Bush's advisors are aware that this encourages civil war between Iraqi ethnic groups. They also surely know the principle of "divide and rule".
This illustrates my suggestion on how to get even for 9/11. We don't know how much of the responsibility falls on Muslim fanatics and how much on Christian fanatics, but supporting gay marriage (aside from being the right thing on general principles) will be a defeat for all of them.
Some 50 people were killed last Thursday by terrorist bombings in London as revenge for the invasion of Iraq. As we contemplate this attack against civilians, we should keep in mind that the Bush forces have done the same to Iraqi civilians more than a thousand times over. The London bombing was just a taste of what Iraq has seen.
Why do they hold Londoners responsible for Blair's participation in Bush's war? Many, who supported the war, are morally responsible. Many others, who opposed the war, are not. Of course, the bombs in London did not try to distinguish. They are not alone in this: the Bush forces' bombs do not distinguish among Iraqis. The soldiers could try, but often don't; the death squads do, but perversely. The radioactive uranium dust that now contaminates Iraq does not discriminate between fighters and children, and it will continue not discriminating for centuries to come.
The best thing we can do now is to learn a moral lesson from all these deaths. We can refuse to allow this act of revenge to be used by Blair and Bush as distraction from the great evil that inspired it--or as an excuse for them to curtail freedom in any way. We should stop them from killing thousands in Iraq, and then the motivation to take revenge by killing dozens of us will fade. When our governments respect human rights, democracy, and justice, we will inspire others to respect them too.
Blair is trying another compromise to get Bush to do something about climate change.
It's not a bad thing to explore other possible deals. A plan like this could do some good--if the World Bank doesn't turn it into additional pressure for its cruel "structural adjustment" deprivation policies.
However, Bliar is ducking the issue when he argues against isolating Bush. It's true that the US won't sign any strong agreement now, but it is just as true that the weak ones the US might sign won't solve the problem. There's only one way to get the job done, and that is to isolate the US today, to pressure it to accept a real solution later. By shielding Bush now, Bliar is blocking the only path to solving the problem.
Police threatened to arrest students on a field trip, and their guide because they took a picture of a polluting chemical plant. They call it "fighting terrorism", but they are the ones trying to terrorize people.
Note that the police made false accusations to threaten the students. False witness is a common police tactic. (I wonder if posting the 10 commandments in police stations would increase the honesty of policemen who are Christians.) Not that it would have been justified to arrest the students for crossing the streat even if they had done so.
Note that the state officials then bullied Fontenot by threatening to abuse their power. Speculation: maybe some of their corporate backers found his activities enforcing environmental law inconvenient and were glad to have an opportunity to get rid of him.
When a public campaign got going to back up Fontenot, the bullies got scared, and started trying to deny what they had done. This isn't unusual--bullies are often cowards.
A report says that the London congestion charge hasn't reduced car trips, and has only moved congestion to different places. (Sorry, I cannot find a URL I can link to.)
What this system has been completely effective at is...surveillance. The system works by recording which cars enter a certain area of central London.
A suitable increase in the gasoline tax would reduce car travel and congestion, with no surveillance at all. The increase could apply in region around London, and taper off gradually to zero as one gets further away from that region.
Bliar was forced, for a moment, to admit his "special relationship" with Bush won't convince Bush to do anything to stop global warming.
Despite this, there has been a little progress. Bush was forced to admit that humans are contributing to climate change. Previously he was a stubborn cold-earther. (A cold-earther is someone one who continues to maintain that the Earth is not getting warmer. Sort of like a flat-earther.)
China's transition from Communism to Fascism is revealed in a series fo uprisings of the poor against local governments working hand in hand with businesses.
But China, where the poorest 10% still own 1.4% of the wealth, is egalitarian compared with the US, where the poorest 40% own 0.3%, and the poorest 18% own nothing.
Microsoft has supplied China with Internet-censorship software that has been used to arrest dissidents.
200 Italian police claimed to "fight terrorism" by forming a secret gang to operate illegally and dishonestly. It has ties to the "far right", which usually means neo-Nazis.
And--this is really interesting--a former CIA agent says that the head of Italian military intelligence "authorized" the CIA to kidnap an Egyptian and send him to Egypt to be tortured. In countries that respect human rights, spy chiefs are not allowed to authorize kidnaping.
The Bush forces are operating death squads in Iraq, and they killed the reporter who broke the story.
A New York Times reporter is going to jail to stand for the principle of confidentiality of sources.
I admire this courage. I wish the New York Times allowed its reporters to be equally courageous in reporting on the lies of the Bush regime and the invisible hand gang.
Here's the text of a complaint that I am sending to the TSA for misleading treatment at Logan Airport.
When I continued to verbally criticize the conduct of the agents, and didn't sit down and shut up, they called the State Police, and one Officer Gillespie told me that "Unless you shut up I will throw you out." I asked if that meant he would arrest me for speaking, and he said, "No, for making a scene." (Different words for the same act.) I told him that was bullying and abuse of power, and refused to shut up.
I then promised I would write about it for my web site, and he asked what it was, so I told him. Unfortunately it took a few days for me to get the work done. I hope he has not concluded I failed to follow through.
Fascism in Ireland: handouts to corporations go beyond money; they allow corporations to ignore environmental protection and endanger people's lives and property.
250,000 Australian workers protested against plans to abolish all protection for workers' rights. The unions have been reluctant to get into the fight.
Protestors are blocking the demolition of Berlin's only memorial of the Berlin Wall.
Palestinians at a permanent border crossing in the middle of their land face the risk of arbitrary discrimination, and brutal and senseless attacks. It makes me think of what I've read about the pogroms committed by antisemites a hundred years ago.
Meanwhile, some Jews try to overinflate the term "antisemitism". Watch out, it might burst.
A gang of Israeli fanatics attacked a harmless Palestinian, then threatened to kill the paramedic who wanted to treat him. A group of journalists saved him, while soldiers were prepared to let him die.
This underreaction to settler violence, combined with the overreaction to Palestinian violence (and to Palestinian nonviolence as well), adds up to a double standard that is the Israeli state's way of blocking peace.
The UN Ambassador of Iraq's Bush-installed government accused the Bush forces of murdering his cousin (a student) in cold blood.
If they kill enough thousands of innocent people, sooner or later one of them will turn out to be related to an official. I don't think the Bush forces will do a real investigation even in a case like this. I expect they will tell a lie and stick to it come hell or high water. (They've done so many times before.)
"Free trade" treaties give corporations the power to make poor countries compete for who will allow the most destruction of the environment.
A UN official accuses the US of keeping secret prisoners on warships.
Debt relief for Africa: "a fraud and a circus".
Gay marriage has been authorized in Spain.
A tibetan nun, imprisoned and tortured by China for over ten years because she said "Long live the Dalai Lama" and "Free Tibet", is now free and telling her story.
The forcible evacuation of Israeli settlers from Gaza has started, and in one place the settlers were evicted forcibly without bloodshed.
However, in many places the Israeli government has treated settlers with kid gloves even when they were threatening people's lives.
Perhaps Sharon is afraid that if he can deal with low-level settler violence without bloodshed, people will demand he avoid bloodshed in response to nonviolent peace protests.
Countries around the world ban organizations by fiat by labeling them as "terrorist".
Since these organizations do not get to have a trial, in effect this policy has abolished freedom of political assembly. Even more outrageous, in the EU individuals can be arbitrarily labeled as terrorists, which in effect sentences them to starvation--again, without a trial.
The US and UK prohibition on supporting these groups extends to "ideological support", which is censorship of political opinion, and the EU prohibition extends to "passive support", which can be stretched to include almost any behavior which demonstrates insufficient zeal in obeying orders.
This policy is tyranny piled on tyranny. Some of the banned groups may be real terrorists, but whatever danger they may present is nothing compared with the danger of tyranny.
For more information, http://www.statewatch.org/terrorlists/terrorlists.pdf
On Socialism, by Albert Einstein.
Einstein recognized that a planned economy could be tyranny. He did not recognize the potential for waste and absurdity that real planned economies have demonstrated. Nevertheless, he hits the nail on the head about how unbridled capitalism subverts democracy, and tends to convert it into what we call fascism.
Microsoft's web of influence is a new example of how far this goes.
How to avoid both of these pitfalls at once is a problem I am trying to think about.
Bliar's ID card scheme is a plan for pervasive surveillance, misleadingly labeled as a system for proving identification.
As the government of Zimbabwe drives millions into hunger they don't die of starvation because AIDS kills them first.
Despite strong opposition, Bliar got the ID card plan through the House of Commons.
Bush said he would tear down Abu Ghraib prison, but now is going to expand it instead.
This is more indication that the resistance is gaining ground. The sooner the Bush forces pull out, the less evil they will have done. They are already responsible for the death of tens of thousands, but that is no excuse for continuing to add to the toll.
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