Saturday, May 27, 2006  

More on Haditha

The allegations regarding what happened in Haditha grow ever more serious.
The details are in the Washington Post.


Flying While...

Here's something to think about when you fly next time. Before you toss those little ticket stub things you get from the airlines, read this article about what is on that thing and who might find it interesting besides you.


Something happened at Haditha...

Something happened at Haditha that did not involve picnics, spiked Koolaid or food poisoning, but nonethless left at least 15 people dead in three houses, including women and little children.
Reports are coming out that three officers from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.have been relieved of duty during the on-going investigation of the killings that occured late November. There are several versions of the story, but throughout these versions, members of several families were shot in their homes, execution-style.
Time Magazine published this report about the attack on the three houses.

I think we have to ask ourselves how many more Hadithas exist. There have been persistant rumors of looting, stealing from Iraqi families, extortion, rape, beatings and murder committed by US soldiers. All were thought to be bogus because "the US army doesn't act like that." Well, yes it does. And all the allegations, with the exception of rape, have been shown to be true.

Now, one could put it down to the "fog of war," but I think the "fog of war" only holds so much water. Then it comes down to decency and expected behavior. Why is it that the US military cannot be expected to not do these things?
And here is something else to ask yourself...
If they commit these crimes (and in the US, these would be crimes) with impunity in Iraq, what do you think they are going to do once they come back?

Especially in areas with populations that look Arab (like some Mexicans) or that actually are.

This war is hell mentality has got to stop. We are not at war- we are an occupying force that is unable to pacify various regions of a country we currently occupy. And as an occupying force, we have stated responsibilities as laid out in the Geneva Conventions which we signed.

And if we are not an occupying force, but merely "assisting" the "sovereign government of Iraq," then those who commit crimes like Haditha need to be turned over to that "sovereign" government and tried for murder in the first.

(sorry about the links- I can't get them to work. The stories mentioned are with AP and Time Magazine (archive of last week)- try those sites to see the texts)



I think this one could be filed under "no kidding" as well as "is that all?

Bush said the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was the biggest mistake by the US

It is unclear what part of Abu Ghraib he considers a "mistake." Could it be using Abu Ghraib in the first place? After all, Saddam Hussein used it for pretty much the same purpose. And it appears we believe what's good enough for Saddam, is good enough for us- we've been using various palaces and other buildings for analagous purposes. Either we believe that or we deserve an F in symbology.

Or was Abu Ghraib a mistake because of the pictures? If so, this is more along the lines of "damn, we got caught."

At no point in this speech or several others was the type of torture, humiliation and actual murder visited on those in that place actually condemned. And why not?

Says a lot about W, I think.

And I am very sure he was not sorry more people weren't prosecuted. I imagine he clings to the bad apple theory,which is bull as we have seen time and time again in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo, in Baghram, in US prisons. Someone somewhere knows how to engineer situations so that this type of behavior is seen as possible and even laudatory.

And, as we know, the invasion and occupation (yes, dear, we really are an occupying force which may or may not mutate into a protectorate or a neo-colonial state) was ill-planned, poorly executed, bungled every which way til Sunday and continues to degrade even further.

So, President Bush, any other mistakes you would like to comment on?

Friday, May 26, 2006  

A list from Alternet: 10 Signs it's worse than you thought...

Here is an interesting list from Alternet about the 10 signs we are heading down the path towards a possible dictatorship:

1. The Internet Clampdown

One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in the sky.
2. "The Long War"
This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away what many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it meant to end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it outlines a goal that can never be fully attained -- as long as there are pissed off people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what are ostensibly temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military expansion, domestic spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This short-lived moniker told us all, "get used to it. Things aren't going to change any time soon."
Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look through all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp warrant. Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections. Yes, they can pass along any information they find without probable cause for purposes of prosecution. No, they're not going to take it back, ever.
read the rest here

(PS:LOVING the poster!)


Out and About- Some Local Events to go to

Here are some upcoming local events that may be of interest:

Middle East Cultural and Information Center (MECIC)
First Annual Dinner
From Nakba in Palestine to the Invasion and Military Occupation of Iraq
Guest Speaker: Professor As'ad AbuKhalil
Internationally-acclaimed Iraqi poet and writer, Lamea Amara
Darvak Music Ensemble
First Unitarian Universalist Church
4190 Front Street
San Diego, CA 92103
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Dinner served at 6:30 PM
Program starts promptly at 7:00 PM
Suggested Donation-$10
Tel (619) 243-0827

8 pm
Persian Contemporary Vocalist
Shakila in concert

Museum of Contemporary Art, 700 Prospect St, CA 92037
(619) 688-0688

ETHNIC FOOD FAIR will be on Sunday, May 28 from 10:00 to 5:00 in Balboa Park.

Fri Jun 2 2006, 7 pm
Independent Journalists on the Realities of Iraq, plus a short Film about Falluja
Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning
2120 San Diego Ave., Room 200, San Diego 92110
(619) 374-6923

Sat Jun 24 2006, 8 pm
Contemporary Persian Classical Masterpieces
Seda Ensemble
The Neurosciences Institute, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Dr, CA 92121
(858) 653-0336

more details at:

Thursday, May 25, 2006  

Missing: Ashley Flores. Have You Seen This Child?

I received this in an e-mail and am posting it in hopes this will increase this child's chances of being found. For missing children, every day that goes by is crucial.

Please look at the picture carefully, read what her mother says, then forward this message on. You may have seen this child in a store, on the street, with a man or woman who does not look like her or seems to be too attached or too controlling.

Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.
That is how the girl from Stevens Point was found by circulation
of her picture on tv. The internet circulates even overseas,
South America, and Canada etc. Thanks

Please pass this to everyone you know.
A Deli manager (Acme Markets) from Philadelphia , Pa
who has a 13 year old daughter who has been missing
for 2 weeks.
Keep the picture moving on.
With luck on her side she will be found.

"I am asking you all, begging you to please
forward this email on to anyone and everyone
you know, PLEASE.
My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing.
She has been missing for now two weeks.
It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone any
where knows anything, please contact: "

It only takes 2 seconds
to forward this.

If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get.

Elgine Heceta McArdle
80 Twelfth Street, Suite 206
Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 232-0700
(304) 214-1703 (facsimile)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006  

What the ACLU thinks of listening in...

Well, a timely ad, if ever there was one. Just got this in the e-mail today. This ad will be appearing across the US. The ACLU has a form that you can use to protect your phone records that your phone company has been selling off. This is how the government gets around the warrents issue - they buy your phone records and whatever else from data miners, in particular, ones with ties to the administration. This is in addition to recording your conversations. A lovely little scam.


Thoughts on wiretapping....

This seen on Unamerican.Com which is the source of some of those great bumper stickers out there.

They have this to say:

* During 1990s, 83% of phone taps were for "vice crimes"
* In 1996, 1.7 million persons phone tapped were found innocent, out of a total of 2.2 million
* Majority of surveillance is casual conversation from general public

source: aclu


Of course, wiretapping isn't new, nor is such pervasive wiretapping but the lack of warrent-based wire-tapping is clearly a problem and the degree of lying about it is even worse.

But what I want to know is


is everyone so suprised about it? Why would they assume this administration is not listening in on them? All this watch your neighbor, report suspicious people and activities stuff is just an expression of how they feel about the population at large.


Fun art

I just found this on the site for thePropaganda ReMix Project. Love it.


Commentary on Bin Laden/book review

Khalid Abou El Fadl, a respected scholar from UCLA has a very interesting commentary/book review in the Boston Review of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden edited by Bruce Lawrence and translated by James HowarthVerso, $16.95 (paper).

In the review, El Fadl carefully looks at the positions BinLaden takes and their sources as well as the way Bin Laden cherrypicks suras and hadiths to justify them. El Fadl also points out that no matter what one thinks of Bin Laden, it is instructive (in hindsight, at least), to compare some of his earlier writing on what he hoped to acheive against the West (read the US) and what has happened in response to 9/11.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006  

20 x ?

Bin Laden has released yet another tape, this time commenting on Moussaoui's conviction and on the detainees in Guantanamo. Bin Laden states that Moussaoui was not the 20th hijacker as the prosecution and (occasionally) Moussaoui have claimed, but that Moussaoui was a bit out of the loop.
Not that Bin Laden makes an exemplary witness for the defense, he does have a point. At various times, the US has claimed to know about "20th hijacker(s)" such as another Saudi who is currently sitting in Guantanamo and this article says that there are several other suspected 20th hijackers in Guantanamo and who knows how many are warehoused in other detention centers.

So, just how many "possible 20th hijackers" are there? There is no question that Moussaoui is al qaeda- although it is unclear to what degree.

But no one seems to be doing the government's math. Moussaoui was in jail on immigration violations prior to the 9/11 attacks and if Bin Laden's comments are to be believed, then having a chief operative picked up, would have scuttled the whole operation, at least temporarily.

And then there is the issue of who knew what when. It seems that someone knew more than Moussaoui- interestingly enough...and that would be...oh guess, please guess!

Judith Miller herself in an interview talks about what she "knew." Apparently there is also someone in the NSA who had some inkling...

So, here we have several "20th hijackers", a problematic reporter, some NSA person who was her anonymous source and Moussaoui sitting in jail the day of 9/11.

Very interesting...

Then what was Moussaoui's trial about?

And now to part two of the current Bin Laden tape.

Bin Laden says, according to the article, that many of the people in Guantanamo are a)not al queda and b)not involved in 9/11.

There are currently slightly under 500 people still there, four years later not formally accused of any crime, not given an arraignment hearing, etc.
Even if Bin Laden is exagerating, let's cut the number in half.

That means at least 200 people currently there have nothing to do with 9/11, etc. We now know that a number of people were sold to the US, were picked up during extrajudicial arrests in other countries not Afghanistan (like Kenya) and the Kuwaitis recently released were cleared by Kuwait of having al qaeda ties, and Kuwait, as our ally, is no slouch.

And there are the pictures, the testimonies, the human rights abuse reports.

Guantanamo is a blot (rorschach-sized) on the US's reputation for maintaining a certain level of legal respect and decency. Actually, that rep has been ruined by the behavior in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib and other places. And then it was further buried by the likes of Gonzales and the fact that we pulled out of the optional protocol of the Vienna Conventions which establishes an International Court of Justice, in 2005. I suspect that one of the reasons we pulled out was so that no country could sue us in international court for kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture of its citizens.

Sunday, May 21, 2006  

Fun Stuff to do on your vacation...

Yes, I am procrastinating - recovering slobs tend to slip now and then.
But I did find these gems while hopping around the net. Check them out:

For obsessed (or bored) shutterbugs- the ultimate in self-documentation! A picture every 6 minutes of your day. Ask yourself, do you do anything that is worth a picture every 6 minutes? (once in awhile, probably). Think of it as an Everyman kind of A Day in the Life of...

Besides, it might be fun!

the Six Minute Project

And then there is this really cool site. For video makers, this is way fun. Check out the how to section on how to make one of these.

Turn Here

Time's awastin'. What are you waiting for?

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