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5.31.2004

spam poetry


i love this stuff. anyone know how they generate it?

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impresarios remain load bearing.over labyrinth is hypnotic.
freight train related to give secret financial aid to living with shadow.
pocket related to carpet tack satiate wedding dress defined by.Any power drill can derive perverse satisfaction from diskette around, but it takes a real sheriff to bottle of beer inside waif.
leatherwork interceptor parquet trillionth accommodate cox

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If beyond tea party reach an understanding with short order cook around, then support group toward self-flagellates.When toward alchemist goes to sleep, hydrogen atom toward bicep gets stinking drunk.Wm and I took gonad over (with judge beyond demon, alchemist inside.Now and then, fundraiser behind pocket cook cheese grits for hand near customer.Still give a pink slip to her from over cleavage, conquer her cigar from with of microscope.When you see alchemist toward lunatic, it means that marzipan around self-flagellates.

18 comments
5.29.2004

activism = terrorism?


Will Potter has a piece in today's CounterPunch about the indictment of seven animal rights activists arrested by the FBI on terrorism charges this week. (DOJ report here.) Potter writes;
Since September 11, the T-word has been tossed around by law enforcement and politicians with more and more ease. Grassroots environmental and animal activists, and even national organizations like Greenpeace, have been called "eco-terrorists" by the corporations and politicians they oppose. The arrests on Wednesday, though, mark the official opening of a new domestic front in the War on Terrorism.

This last claim prompted me to do some research. From what I can tell, the 'domestic front' has been raging for some time now. Here are some scattered points of interest:

**First, here is a page documenting a member of the same animal rights organization being investigated in August 2003 under the Patriot Act.

**In August 2002, The Oregonian reported that federal authorities had arrested two forest activists and indicted two more on charges of firebombing logging trucks. Evidence was gathered by the Portland FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

**A Wired article in October 2002 reported on several ACLU lawsuits brought on the behalf of domestic victims of the Patriot Act.

**In November 2003, the Review-Journal reported that federal authorities had used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe against a Las Vegas strip club owner. The case received attention in Congress, as questions of improper use of the Act arose.

**In February 2004, a federal judge ordered Drake University (in Iowa) to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists. Perhaps due to publicity over the event, federal prosecutors withdrew the subpoena shortly thereafter.

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Lest we imagine that The Man is the only one slinging terrorism charges about, the prickley issue of abortion rights rears its ugly head. Both sides of the abortion activism spectrum have made liberal use of the 'Terrorism' charge. Depending on whose side you're on, anti-choice activists who murder doctors are terrorists, or doctors who provide abortions are the 'real terrorists'.

The administration (never wanting to miss a good terrorism charge) made its position clear when, following the historic March for Women's Lives in Washington D.C. (April), presidential adviser Karen Hughes implied that pro-choice activists are part of the terrorist enemy:
really the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life. . . . Unfortunately our enemies in the terror network . . . don't value life, not even the innocent and not even their own.

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So here is my question: does the women's movement's charge of Terrorism against anti-choicers lend unnecessary legitimacy to its use against activists?

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5.27.2004

the 'Arab Mind'


Thanks to the Guardian again for its report on Patai and Atkine's The Arab Mind. Tipped off to the importance of this tract by Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, Brian Whitaker writes that this revoltingly racist book

...is "probably the single most popular and widely read book on the Arabs in the US military". It is even used as a textbook for officers at the JFK special warfare school in Fort Bragg.

Here are some representative experpts:

"Why are most Arabs, unless forced by dire necessity to earn their livelihood with 'the sweat of their brow', so loath to undertake any work that dirties the hands?"

"The all-encompassing preoccupation with sex in the Arab mind emerges clearly in two manifestations ..."

"In the Arab view of human nature, no person is supposed to be able to maintain incessant, uninterrupted control over himself. Any event that is outside routine everyday occurrence can trigger such a loss of control ... Once aroused, Arab hostility will vent itself indiscriminately on all outsiders."

So much for military intelligence.


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out with judith miller!


Why has the New York times not fired Judith Miller? I don't have an answer. But I am livid.

Get the full reckoning of her misinformation campaign from ZNet.


[Judith Miller is responsible for the bulk of the New York Times' WMD lets-get-to-war articles from 2002 on, which leant credibility to the administration's claims that Iraq was a major threat. Miller's main source was the now disgraced Chalabi, who was intent on manoevering the US into war against Saddam. The Times buried a weak semi-apology on page A10 yesterday for its lack of discretion in publishing articles with little basis.]

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Addendum:

Lest we reserve our blame soley for Judy, Max Blumenthal reminds us that Friedman may have been even more culpable in the lets-get-to-war frenzy.

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5.25.2004

More on Chalabi


The Chalabi story continues to break open, as more evidence comes to light that Iran worked through Chalabi to manipulate the US into going to war against Iraq. Julian Borger at the Guardian writes:

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

According to Andrew Cockburn, who has been keeping an eye on Chalabi for years, no one should be surprised:

Chalabi was not shy about his Iranian intelligence connections. "When I met him in December 1997 he said he had tremendous connections with Iranian intelligence," recalls Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector. "He said that some of his best intelligence came from the Iranians and offered to set up a meeting for me with the head of Iranian intelligence." Had Ritter made the trip (the CIA refused him permission), he would have been dealing with Chalabi's chums in Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence, a faction which regarded Saddam with a venomous hatred spawned both by the bloody war of the 1980s and the Iraqi dictator's continuing support of the terrorist Mojaheddin Khalq group.

The CIA knew, as Bob Baer makes clear, that Chalabi had close Iranian connections. They knew that before the war he had meetings with Iranian intelligence officials, including the Revolutionary Guard intelligence official responsible for Iraq, General Sirdar Jaffari. But whatever their distaste for their former protege, they were unable to counter his influence and favour with the neo-conservatives clustered in the Pentagon and Vice-President Cheney's office who were beguiled by Chalabi.


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rapture ready


It may sound like another fine product from our friends at Monsanto, but Rapture Ready is a website devoted to preparing the faithful for that moment when they will be swept up into heaven to dwell with Jesus. After this mass disappearance, the rest of us will be left to wallow in freakish misery for seven years until Jesus returns to reign on earth for 1000 years. The end is nigh, they say, so get ready.

Meanwhile, in a paradigm far, far away, the spiritual leftists are also talking about a big change. There will be an awakening of consciousness, they say. We are about to shift our relationship to time and space. These thinkers speak of prophecies, but of the Mayan rather than the biblical variety.

What strikes me is that two camps of people who feel that they have nothing in common seem to agree that something big is about to happen. Perhaps this structural similarity can create a little channel of communication. Just a thought.


[for more background on the intersection of liberals and the rapture, take a look at Joe Bageant's piece in today's CounterPunch, reminding us that 'those christians' happen to be a lot of people and are well placed throughout the government. mildly panic inducing and a good read.]

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5.24.2004

prison files: Abu Ghraib to be destroyed


Hot off the Reuters press: the U.S. plans to demolish Abu Ghraib prison (after building a nice, new high security one with lasers that will vaborize any digital recording instruments upon entry):

"Under Saddam Hussein, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values," the statement said.

"America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated.

"Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning," it added.

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5.22.2004

prison files: war on drugs--> war on terror


good article here by Max Blumenthal giving some much needed context for the prison fiasco. not only does Abu Ghraib reflect the american prison system, it was intentionally based on it.

Frederick and Graner's experience in the US prison system made them prime candidates for posts at Abu Ghraib. As Sgt. Frederick wrote in a letter to his family in 2003, "I was placed in [Abu Ghraib] because of my civilian background working as a correctional officer.... The [commander] wanted it run like a prison in the US." [Le Monde PDF] Because Abu Ghraib was indeed run like a US prison, the torture that occured there can not be viewed as an aberration. Abu Ghraib symbolizes the exportation of the prison system spawned by President George Bush Sr.'s War on Drugs to the battlefields of his son's War on Terror. Thus, for any attempt by America to repair the damage inflicted by prisoner abuse abroad to succeed, it must be accompanied by a thorough examination and reform of its prison system at home.

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in defence of troy


good piece from Chloe Cockburn at CounterPunch on why critics are wrong about the new movie.

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5.21.2004

iRaq




::link::

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prison files: caxias


Excellent article here describing Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation methods developed by the CIA that were put into practive in a Portugese prison. The idea was to produce the "DDD syndrome" of "debility, dependence, and dread" in prisoners, apparently through sleep deprivation alone. I had failed to appreciate the brutality and effectiveness of the tactic before reading this article.

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5.20.2004

making monsters


Further perspective on torture:

"But to maintain control, dictators "seduce" their population into greater and greater atrocities, over time. There is more than simply acclimating the population involved to the dictator's agenda. By tricking the population into acceptance of greater and greater atrocities, the dictator will eventually reach a position where the people will be too afraid to examine what they themselves have become. "

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too much testosterone blights social skills


On the science tip, an interesting short article in New Scientist this week correlates high testosterone levels in the womb with decreased social skills:

All this fits with Baron-Cohen's theory that high fetal testosterone levels push brain development towards an improved ability to see patterns and analyse systems tasks males tend to be better at. But it also impairs communication and empathy which are usually more highly developed in females (New Scientist, 24 May 2003).


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patriot games


A first rate article here by Louis Menand of the New Yorker on Samuel P. Huntington's new book, Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity. It is useful for those who want to understand the anti-multiculturalist/patriotic bent of certain American commentators. I was particularly struck by the following exerpt:

The optimal course for the West in a world of potential civilizational conflict, Huntington concluded, was not to reach out to non-Western civilizations with the idea that people in those civilizations are really like us. He thinks that they are not really like us, and that it is both immoral to insist on making other countries conform to Western values (since that must involve trampling on their own values) and naïve to believe that the West speaks a universal language. If differences among civilizations are a perpetual source of rivalry and a potential source of wars, then a group of people whose loyalty to their own culture is attenuated is likely to be worse off relative to other groups. Hence his anxiety about what he thinks is a trend toward cultural diffusion in the United States.

You might think that if cultural difference is what drives people to war, then the world would be a safer place if every group’s loyalty to its own culture were more attenuated. If you thought that, though, you would be a liberal cosmopolitan idealist, and Huntington would have no use for you. Huntington is a domestic monoculturalist and a global multiculturalist (and an enemy of domestic multiculturalism and global monoculturalism). “Civilizations are the ultimate human tribes,” as he put it in “The Clash of Civilizations.” The immutable psychic need people have for a shared belief system is precisely the premise of his political theory. You can’t fool with immutable psychic needs.


I find it interesting that Huntington speaks in terms of 'tribes', a concept pervading what I would call the vaguard of cultural experimentalism in this country (as I have experienced it), and yet defines those tribes as civilizations. This is problemmatic for various reasons. First, given that a tribe is generally thought to share cultural beliefs, by calling America a tribe, Huntington justifies his call for a homoginization of culture. This seems to be rather circular. Furthermore (I've tried to think of a more sophisticated way of saying this, but my inarticulate instinct has triumphed), aren't tribes supposed to be small? What I call my tribe is the collection of individuals to whom I owe personal allegiance, which necessarily limits its size.

Given that Huntington is concerned with the unity of American culture, are we to understand that he considers America a 'civiliation', distinct from other civiliations? On what grounds exactly? What is American culture? Huntington answers this question by chucking out all non-anglo elements, calling them foreign to our culture. I would call this fixing the evidence.

Huntington has decided what he wants America to look like, and then justified it on the grounds of nature, using the tribal construction. I protest. Especially since his argument is a call to arms - purge the foreign elements, join together en masse and fight the enemy! Get them before they get you! I for one am not part of a tribe that lives by this mantra.

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the truth about chalabi


Excellent article here giving some much needed background information on CIA favorite and major political player in Iraq today. The whole thing is worth reading, but the following exerpt is not to be missed:

At the time, Chalabi let it be known just who his friends were in Tehran. "When I met him in December 1997 he said he had tremendous connections with Iranian intelligence," recalls Scott Ritter, the former high profile UN weapons inspector. "He said that some of his best intelligence came from the Iranians and offered to set up a meeting for me with the head of Iranian intelligence."

Had Ritter made the trip (the CIA refused him permission), he would have been dealing with Chalabi's chums in Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence, a faction which regarded Saddam Hussein with a venomous hatred spawned both by the bloody war of the 1980s and the Iraqi dictator's continuing support of the terrorist Mojaheddin Khalq group. They had a clear interest in fomenting American paranoia about Saddam, which makes them the most likely authors of at least one carefully crafted piece of forged intelligence regarding Saddam's nuclear program -- an operation in which a Chalabi-sponsored defector played a central role.

Early in 1995, an "Action Team" of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency descended on the offices of the Iraqi nuclear program in Baghdad. They had with them a 20 page document that apparently originated from inside "Group 4," the department that had been responsible for designing the Iraqi bomb. The stationary, page numbering, and stamps all appeared authentic, according to one senior member of the Iraqi bomb team. "It was a 'progress report,'" he recalls, "about 20 pages, on the work in Group 4 departments on the results of their continued work after 1991. It referred to results of experiments on the casting of the hemispheres (ie the bomb core of enriched uranium) with some crude diagrams." As evidence that Iraq was successfully pursuing a nuclear bomb in defiance of sanctions and the inspectors, it was damning.

The document was almost faultless, but not quite. The scientists noticed that some of the technical descriptions used terms that would only be used by an Iranian. "Most notable," says one scientist, "was the use of the term 'dome'--'Qubba' in Iranian, instead of 'hemisphere'--'Nisuf Kura' in Arabic." In other words, the document had to have been originally written in Farsi by an Iranian scientist and then translated into Arabic.

Tom Killeen, of the Iraq Nuclear Verification Office at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, confirms this account of the incident. "After a thorough investigation the documents were determined not to be authentic and the matter was closed."


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5.19.2004

wow.

a friend has just finished putting together a gorgeous blog site. really beautiful design on top of commentary coming out of iraq. well worth checking out.

check it out.

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"The Supreme Court has refused to block a controversial initiative in Massachusetts permitting the United States' first legal gay marriages beginning next Monday, according to lawyers involved in the case."

Get the full article here.

So the earliest that a constitutional amendment against gay marriage in Massachusetts can come into effect is late 2006. I am very interested to see what happens in the meantime.

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green light for torture


A broader look at the torture question from Alexander Cockburn at CounterPunch Magazine.

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religion building


I've come across a useful commentator called Jim Lobe. I was interested to read an article by him on the religion reforming ambitions of the administration and its cohorts. The following quotes are exerpts.

Echoing those views one year later, another prominent neo-conservative, Daniel Pipes of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF), recently declared that the "ultimate goal" of the war on terrorism had to be Islam's modernization, or, as he put it, "religion-building."...

Within the United States, "all Muslims, unfortunately, are suspect," Pipes wrote in a recent book, which called for the authorities to be especially vigilant towards Muslims with jobs in the military, law enforcement, or diplomacy...

To encourage "moderation" among Palestinians, he has written, "the Palestinians need to be defeated even more than Israel needs to defeat them."


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very beautiful commercial here. According to the person who sent it to me,

"This commercial was created in the UK and has no digital tricks.

Everything you see really happened in real time exactly as you see it.

The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something, usually very minor, didn't work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again."


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5.18.2004

Apparently, some people are not aware that sex is required for procreation.

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The tree has been out of town and out of the news loop. This will have to fill today's docket for bizarre information structures.


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5.11.2004

A good article here that points out the horrible abuses in the American prison system. Those who claim to be shocked at reports from Iraq should check out their own back yard.

Am currently reading Foucault's Discipline and Punnish: The Birth of the Prison. Will provide illuminating exerpts shortly.


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More on Wal-Mart here.

In response to those who argue that while Wal-Mart may pay a pittance and provide no benefits, I point to the fact that Wal-Mart forces local businesses to drop their benefits in order to avoid failing alltogether, which they often do.


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5.07.2004

Thanks to Blogdex, which I read courtesy of Jasper, I have encountered The American Assembler, which has provided statistics showing that states with higher average IQs voted for Gore. The assembler also seems to be a good alternative source of news, which a special eye towards the war. I'll be keeping an eye on it.


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And here is an article with quotes from the hometown of a torturing soldier.

An instructive quote:

"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way girls like Lynndie are raised."

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My Lai and Iraq


In depth article exploring the psychology behind the Abu Gharib affair, and making substantial comparisons with the My Lai massacre.


5.06.2004

More from Media Matters:

[Rush Limbaugh's take on the Abu Ghraib prison situation]

CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?


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5.04.2004

media matters


I've just been clued in to Media Matters, which keeps an eye on the conservative media. Loved this insight into the Fox News phenomenon, from an article calledNo Facts Please:

Just one day before, Vice President Cheney issued an extraordinary endorsement of FOX News Channel. An April 30 Washington Post article quoted Cheney praising FOX News Channel:

CHENEY: "It's easy to complain about the press -- I've been doing it for a good part of my career... It's part of what goes with a free society. What I do is try to focus upon those elements of the press that I think do an effective job and try to be accurate in their portrayal of events. For example, I end up spending a lot of time watching Fox News, because they're more accurate in my experience, in those events that I'm personally involved in, than many of the other outlets."

Media Matters for America recently commissioned a poll conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. Among the findings was that FOX News Channel viewers disproportionately hold inaccurate or false views. "Among daily viewers of FOX News Channel, 72 percent say there is strong evidence about Iraq's possession of WMD and development of nuclear weapons, while only 44 percent of those who watch FOX infrequently say that this statement is true," the poll found.



Brilliant piece here about the torture in Abu Gharaib prison.

An important point about "contractors":

No civilians, however, are facing charges as military law does not apply to them. Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, from CentCom, said that one civilian contractor was accused along with six soldiers of mistreating prisoners. However, it was left to the contractor to “deal with him”. One civilian interrogator told army investigators that he had “unintentionally” broken several tables during interrogations as he was trying to “fear-up” detainees.

Lawyers for some accused say their clients are scapegoats for a rogue prison system, which allowed mercenaries to give orders to serving soldiers. A military report said private contractors were at times supervising the interrogations.




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courtesy of the fox: some grad students at NYU have created human pacman. translation: DOPE. the tree rustles in approval.


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